the post where I define some secret ingredients and say other things that you may choose not to share with your mother

A few weeks ago, we had some nice friends and neighbors over for a little get together. I've mentioned already the oysters, the beer and the pizza. For my next trick, I will show you the kale chips. And what I have learned.

Choosing the freshest of kale is always best, but if you don't have access to kale in your front yard, find some nice quality stuff at the store. My mantra is local-is-better, so better yet, find some at the farmers market. Maybe it will still have the secret ingredient in it, too. Only you will know!

Unlike the Bon Appetit recipe, and the one that I so joyfully repeated (drunken style, sorry folks!) several times during the party, YOU SHOULD REMOVE THE RIBS BEFORE COOKING! Take a look:

Tuscan blue kale~Ribbed

As you are removing the ribs, you may notice, depending upon where you purchased/harvested you kale, that there might possibly maybe perhaps be some spiders and or aphids on your kale. I took a look at this and saw each and every leaf had A LOT of small spider eggs and usually a big fat spider, tucked within the folds. I left them all there. I figured that they will add a small dose of protein to our diet because I'd be wasting gallons of water trying to remove them before cooking. And yes, I did the same thing for the party kale, so if you came and ate some there, you did eat bugs. If anyone happens to notice this, just tell them it's pepper!

After you have removed the ribs from the kale and given it a good rinse, set it on the largest cookie sheet you have. You will notice that some of the leaves still have their ribs. This is just on the most tender small leaves. If you leave the ribs on the big leaves, you will be happily munching along and suddenly the dry rib will get stuck in your craw (you'll know it when it happens) and you will curse me for not telling you to remove the ribs. Don't blame me if you skip this step~you've been warned.

Tuscan kale~ribless

After you have dutifully removed the ribs, you are going to add some olive oil. This is entirely dependent on how much oil your diet can afford and/or the amount of oil your doctor has recently told you to stop adding to your cooking.  I put the whole lot of leaves on the largest baking sheet I have, add the oil and then give it a good massage.

Tuscan kale~with olive oil

Final touch~sprinkle on some pepper and a doctor approved amount of salt and put in the oven. In my Wanda Wedgewood, it is taking about 25 minutes for this kale to cook and we're going at about 400 degrees. Do watch this carefully, it can burn!

Enjoy! We eat ours straight up (with bugs) and it's delicious. You can search around or create your own special spice topping to add, but the flavor is going to be outstanding on it's own. They do make good appetizers, though they also leave a bit in the teeth, so watch for that or just ignore it when you see another guest looking a little green in the tooth.

*as I am posting this, I am sending apologies to the lovely Rebecca over at Girl's Gone Child. A few days ago she posted a similar recipe for kale and I took one look and saw "how many photos! how much verbiage! This is the simplest damn thing ever to make! Cut it shorter, girl!" And yet here I am, doing the same thing. My apologies. If you need a better recipe, though, one where the kale is tenderly dried before baking and not just thrown onto the pan, do visit her site. She is much more mannerly about this process than I am.

*I'm just going to add a silent comment here about Kipper. I cannot actually express what I am thinking about this show, not for lack of words but with the realization that someone somewhere might take my thoughts out of context and sue me use them in the wrong way. So, I've not said what I'm thinking but years down the road I'll still wonder if Kipper ever grows up and gets married or if he goes off stage left and hangs out with the otters from Bear in the Big Blue House.


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