Crazy for Kale: Perfect Kale Chips for Pizza [Language NSFW]

I used to despise kale.

Really and truly. I wanted my salad bare and simple, to the point where romaine lettuce seemed like a brazen life choice.

But that was then, and kale is very much now. And not just for me… kale seems to be popping up everywhere—as a power elixir, snack food, bath salts and yes, even on pizza. We have a popular place in Atlanta’s Inman Park called Kale Me Crazy, serving up all sorts of kale-yumminess, including shots of extract, elaborate salads and the like. As Sarah Rosenberg can attest, we heart that joint a lot.

We put kale chips on our “Fun Tina” pizza last year and it was one of my faves of all time. Have a look at that here. She was pretty to look at, too.

the finished "Fun Tina"

the finished “Fun Tina”

Not everyone is convinced that kale is the Second Food Coming; for all fads, remember, there are contrarians. Just ask the Vulgar Chef what he thinks.

Well then. Amidst the noise I’m trying to keep a level head about kale since I’m always the skeptic when it comes to fads. (Writes the guy who still buys $18 Levi’s at Target.)

Anyhoo, kale—despite it’s sometimes annoying hype—makes an already spiffy pizza all the more grand. Here’s my guide on how you can turn your kale in to luscious, ready-to-nomnom bites of goodness.

(I made up the part about bath salts—but you totally believed me there for a second.)

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Ingredients

head of kale
1/4 cup of EVOO
squeeze of lemon
dried garlic (optional)
kosher salt & pepper

Directions

• preheat the oven to 300˚
• wash the kale well. break away all leafy-green pieces from the stem and place in a stainless steel bowl. dry the kale well and then rip the pieces to the desired size. (remember, the greens reduce in the oven.) compost or discard the stems.

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• in a measuring cup, put the olive oil and lemon together with desired pinches of salt and pepper (optional). mix well.
• pour mixture over the kale, one pour at a time, and use your hands to toss. this may be a bit icky to some, but it’s the best way to get the pieces all covered.

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• since heads of kale vary, keep this in mind: you don’t want to go too heavy on your liquid. so, add just enough to cover whatever amount of kale you have. give the pieces a final lashing of kosher salt and pepper. mix one last time.

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• spread pieces out on a baking sheet or a slotted pan cover (shown). bake 10 minutes and turn the pan once; bake for another 15 minutes, but check back to see if it’s done sooner (ovens vary). be patient… cooking at a lower temperature means they’ll be just right after they cool.

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I dare you not to eat half of the chips before they cool. Enjoy! Please post here if you make this at home.

#QuotableMondays: Conflict Kitchen & Promoting Cultural Understanding

Can an food outlet actually double as an art project? In the case of Conflict Kitchen, yes. And it’s generated some important political conversations along with it.

The restaurant, located in Pittsburgh, serves up cuisine from countries with which the United States is in a state of conflict. That includes places like North Korea, Cuba and Iran, among others.

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all photos courtesy of Conflict Kitchen’s website

 

Here’s a piece I caught on BBC News that first got me thinking:

“Our goal is to create a larger discourse with the countries we’re in conflict with,” says Conflict Kitchen co-director Jon Rubin.

But it’s the post on their website that qualifies as Pizza for Good’s #QuotableMonday entry. A major kerfuffle erupted when CK passed out fliers with a recent Palestinian-food offering; some objected to the content being excessively pro-Palestinian. As a result, Heinz bowed to outside pressure and pulled funding.

“Promoting understanding is at the core of Conflict Kitchen’s mission. We have demonstrated this in the past by presenting the food, culture, and viewpoints of Iranians, Afghans, Cubans, North Koreans, and Venezuelans. We believe that presenting the viewpoints of Palestinians promotes understanding of Palestinians.

Protecting freedom of expression from the influence of biased media and powerful political and lobbying groups is essential for the cultural and political health of a democratic society. We are extremely upset that one of Pittsburgh’s most important arts and culture funders would disavow their grant to us when seemingly pressured by strong outside forces.”

No matter what your viewpoint is on this, it’s always important for all sides to keep talking. And that’s exactly what Conflict Kitchen is engendering. Bravo.

all photos courtesy of Conflict Kitchen's website

all photos courtesy of Conflict Kitchen’s website

#QuotableMondays: ‘Create Community by Offering All You Have’ – DJ Donpasta

How is this the first I’ve ever heard of DJ Donpasta? Whatever chef cred I had should be revoked, clearly.

Gliding between the soundtable and butcher block with gleeful ease, DJ Donpasta (otherwise known as Daniele de Michele, an author, DJ and exhibition cook) proves that, YES—you can be a master at many things.

Michele spoke to Lara Rabinovitch at The Daily Good for a profile, and he had some great thoughts about how food—you know, the fresh kind you make at home—is a key ingredient for building community. From the story:

De Michele sees food-oriented gatherings as central to building community and preserving cultural memory—they’re political acts, in his view. “It sounds crazy, but when I try to explain parmigiana you can see how society in the south of Italy works. You have the respect of the season; you have the respect of the work of the people that prepare the tomatoes… You have the respect of tradition. I think the parmigiana is a metaphor for the persistence of tradition and resistance to modern globalization and corporatization of food. You create a community by offering all you have. To create community—to create emotion, a sensation, a connection to memory—you need to make a party, and for me, parmigiana is an instrument.”

Treat yourself to some of his books, or check out his website. He’s quite a character, and I obviously won’t be able to live until try his eggplant parm. 😉

#QuotableMondays is an ongoing series that highlights trailblazers, pizza do-gooders and pioneers in the culinary industry. Subscribe to the PFG blog for your Monday fix!

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