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December 2012
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February 2013

Kale Chips


The other day I was reading one of those year-end round-ups of annoying things that food bloggers do and halfway down the list was this (paraphrased):


This made me laugh out loud, because just that morning I had practically dragged my mother into my kitchen to show her how to make kale chips, aren't they amazing, OMG and I couldn't wait to blog about them. I'd made my first batch the night before and they had blown my mind. Then they proceeded to blow hers. So, of course I couldn't wait to tell you all about them, even if I was the last one to the party, by, like, two whole years. And now here someone was telling me to stop talking about them already! They were so over kale chips and these overly enthusiastic food bloggers and their stupid kale!

In case you, like me, have been living under a rock or have just never really trusted that rubbing kale leaves with olive oil and sticking them in the oven would result in something irresistibly delicious OMG I'm not even kidding, then this post is for you.


(Is this the best food blog post you have ever read, or what?)


First thing you have to do is buy really nice, fresh kale. (Incidentally, it's the one leafy green that is not hard to find here in my beloved city because Berliners love themselves some curly kale. In winter, it's all over the place here, packaged up in 5-kilo bags to be stewed for hours along with coarse sausage called Pinkel (which also means to urinate? Which, uh, is neither here nor there.)) Back home, you strip the leaves off the ribs and discard the ribs. Then you wash the leaves and dry them carefully (I use the salad spinner and then I dab the remaining moisture off with a paper towel or two). You put the dried leaves on a sheet pan in a single layer, scatter some fine salt over them and drizzle them with a tiny bit of olive oil. Then you get your hands dirty, massaging the olive oil into the kale so that every square millimeter of leaf glistens darkly.


Then you stick the pan in the hot oven and set the timer for 10 minutes, checking every once in a while to make sure that the leaves aren't going black. When they're ready, the kale chips will still look mostly like they did before, albeit a little more cooked. But when you put one in your mouth, it will shatter like a potato chip! A virtuous potato chip, though! And it will be delicious! All roasty-toasty and nutty, salty and delicious! You will probably eat the entire pan clean before your cohabitors even get wind of what fantastical treat just passed them by. And then you will spend the rest of the day dragging people into your kitchen to show them the kitchen magic you know how to do.


I used this video and the accompanying comments for guidance on making them.

Cuckoo for My Rice Cooker

One minute, you're just some lady heading out for a bottle of soy sauce and an evening stroll with your baby in the days before Christmas and the next you're suddenly the proud and somewhat puzzled owner of a pistachio-green Cuckoo rice cooker. True story!

The strangest thing about this is that I am, shall we say, conservative when it comes to electronic appliance purchases. I've been thinking about buying a standmixer for the past decade, but can't bring myself to pull the trigger, both for the cost and the precious counterspace it would take up. I had a food processor when I lived in New York, but that was a gift (I had to leave it behind when I moved to the land of 220 volts). Besides a toaster, which we use every day, and an immersion blender, which is easily stashed out of sight, I just don't want to be encumbered with stuff.

(Though that's probably a discussion for another time, my allergy of stuff. Ooh, how I hate stuff.)


And yet, in less than twenty minutes the other day, there I was, handing over cold, hard cash for this not-so-little green machine (its casing is sort of hideously 1970s, but I'm trying to ignore it). I hadn't discussed it with anyone, I hadn't spent months poring over online reviews, I hadn't searched for the lowest possible price point. Nothing. I just went into the little Korean store, was handed my bottle of soy sauce, got distracted by the lineup of rice cookers and then, bam, there it was in my hands and the next thing I knew I was heading out the door with it.


Since the purchase, I've used it almost every day. I am all aglow for it, keep stealing glances at it sitting quietly on the countertop, running my fingers along it when I pass it on the way to the fruit basket. I've used it for sushi rice, basmati rice and brown rice so far, all with wonderful results (the brown rice needed a touch more water, but I'm blaming that on my shoddy math skills more than anything else). It's been such a delight to use and the joy of perfect rice every time I turn it on has already more than made up for the price of the machine.

Do any of you have a rice cooker? Are you as taken with yours as I am? Do you use it to cook anything else besides rice?


To serve along with the gorgeously sticky sushi rice I made the first day I used the cooker, I cooked up a pan of teriyaki turkey (adapted from this perfect recipe) and lo, it was as good as in any Japanese restaurant. Ooh, was I proud!

Now that I have a 5-pound bag of sushi rice to use up, tell me your favorite uses for it, would you? Thank you! And do you have any must-have appliances that you couldn't live without? Mine are the toaster, the immersion blender, the mini food-processor (which I use for Hugo's meals) and now the mighty, mighty rice cooker.

Happy New Year!