Friday, December 31, 2010

Plans for 2011

I've never been big on resolutions. I'm not a good list maker or goal maker (or keeper).

Part of that is just my personality and when it matters I overcome it and I get things done. We all have things we must struggle with, things that just seem to be ingrained as part of our personality. The older I get, the more I learn....and having learned more about myself and life in 2010 - I do know that the things that I am passionate about somehow get my attention. I've always struggled with organization and so in a sense that is going to be a focus for this year. FO-CUS.

And with oganization comes planning - with planning comes puh-lannnnns.
So yes. All of a sudden now I have plans! Good ones too I hope!

I plan on being more consistent here - sharing more recipes, more insights from my raw journey thus far. Part of what that means is to share from my distinct perspective and lifestyle. There are people who focus on raw on a budget, on certain health restrictions and raw, on sweets and raw, etc. . .
So just what is my perspective? Well, its about being raw as a single parent in the midst of a non-raw household. Its about a hectic schedule, working full time, and trying to make raw and cooked food (for part of the family) and all on a limited budget.
Let's face it - there are some inherent struggles in that, but if I can do it - so can others. I'm not going to tell anyone how THEY should do it. NO way - NO how. I'll share how I am going about it - my successes and my struggles. The good and the bad.

Hopefully there will be something of use for others and something that might even inspire someone else.

yay plans!

To start it off - I'm going to share my take on a recipe that you can find all over the raw net.

Kale Chips

Mine are very similar to what else you will find out there, and yes, it does require a dehydrator.

I have to say that while the dehydrator is not a necessity of the raw kitchen, it is nice to have. The dehydrator is inspiring to me. I did fine without it for more than a year, but I'm really glad to have it now and explore some foods that I couldn't previously try.

When I share my recipes I will try to provide photos and also a download at the end.

Here is what went into the chips I made the other day:

Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Balsalmic Vinegar
Nama Shoyu
Rice Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt
Nutritional Yeast
Chili Powder

First tip - do not buy preprocessed kale. I don't know why but it just isn't the same, it doesn't come out tasting right. Buy WHOLE leaves, long stems in.
I prepare mine by removing the stem first.

I do this by folding the leaf over and grasping the leaf part with one hand and the stem/vein with the other
and carefully pulling the two apart.
Discard stem.

the defrocked, errrr, deveined leaf
Next, I tear the leaf into small pieces.
Not necessarily bite sized, but not more than two bites or one large ‘stuffing’ of a bite. ;-)

As I am tearing up the kale, I place the pieces I am going to use in a salad spinner.
This I use to clean and dry my kale.
I do about two very full spinners for a batch of kale chips.

The spinner just makes it really convenient!
The photo is without the lid, I give it a little rinse without the lid, then place the lid on, allowing the water to run through the hole in the lid and I spin the knob heartily to remove dirt.
Lifting the spinner to rest on the middle ledge of the sink, I then spin without water to dry the kale.

Once the kale is spun clean and dry I just set it aside and get to work on my coating.
In a VERY large bowl I mix all of the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the nutrional yeast.
I use a wisk and give it a quick beating.
Then I add the nutrional yeast
I do not have measurements, I just eyeball it keeping in mind what flavors I enjoy most.
You want enough of a sauce to get in all those lovely ruffles on the kale leaves.
Once the sauce is mixed - dump in the kale.

I normally begin mixing gently with a large wooden spoon or spatula.
But then I get in there with my hands, massaging the sauce into the leaves to ensure a good coating.

Once this is all mixed I will typically add another heaping spoonful or two of nutritional yeast.
The yeast really gives a nice flavor as well as a nice visual on the resulting chips.

I like to let the kale sit for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to develop a little, but this is not necessary.

Using tongs, I carefully place the kale in a single layer in the dehydrator.
I try to give the kale some room, but I don't mind them touching or even overlapping a little.
I use two trays in my tray Excalibur dehydrator.
I like to leave some space in between the trays to allow for plenty of circulation.
I also will rotate the trays (upper for lower) about half way through.
I dehydrate them at about 115 degrees for 2-3 hours - until they are nice and crispy!
I check them each hour, sometimes they need less time, sometimes they need more time.
I suspect it has to do with how much marinade is on them and what the temperature/humidity conditions are in the house.
Everyone in my house has tasted these and confirms they are good.
Not everyone likes them enough to choose them over other snacks, but 3 of us REALLY enjoy them.

YUM! SOOOO good!
They have a little tang from the vinegars and soy...
and a cheesiness with a touch of saltiness.
Oh my. I really enjoy these!
Not to mention that kale is REALLY REALLY good for you!

I aim to phase out more of the pre-packaged snack foods in the house during 2011 so these may become more appealing as time goes on.

Click here for the recipe as a free download. (download will be up by Jan. 1, 2011!)


Antony said...

I keep meaning to try these, they always look so good! Happy New Year :-)

Janice said...

Go for it Antony - they are really good!! ANd HAPPY NEW YEAR to you as well!

KstyleFit said...

These are my absolute fave raw food. Yum! It's hard to find good kale around here though.