Life is full of surprises and unexpected glimmers of joy. My most recent healthy cooking class this week was no exception. This one was a reprise of my popular Veggie Love: Flavors of Asia class, held once again at the Palo Alto Adult School. The first surprise was a bit of a shocker and not so joyful– I would not have an assistant for the class! That’s OK, I’ve given enough classes at the school’s well-equipped Home Ec classroom to know my way around. Good thing I had on my sensible shoes! The next surprise– after I finished my initial setup, I took a break to freshen up. What was that glow in the wire cage between the girls’ restroom and my kitchen classroom? Oh my, a glassblowing workshop. Glassblowing? I thought, how lucky those kids are! The glassblowers left my mind for the next few hours as my class cooked their way through Asia. This being a mild night (sorry to those of you not in California), we had left the door open for our class. Towards the end of class, a towheaded young man came to the doorway. “Excuse me, but we’re glassblowing next door, and it smells so good. Could we buy a few plates of food from you?” What a compliment to my students! I asked him to check back later, and if there were any leftovers, we’d feed him and his fellow glassblowing student artistes gratis, of course. That might be one of the favorite moments I’ve had in my cooking classes!
Here’s one of the recipes the young glassblower might have gotten a sample of, and it also involves a surprise ingredient. As anyone who has attended any of my cooking classes knows, I’ve got a thing for kale. And no, I haven’t run out of fresh ideas yet. At last night’s class, we explored everyday vegetables prepared in unfamiliar ways, with an Asian theme. I included my basic recipe for making homemade kale chips, this time with a surprise ingredient– furikake!
For those of you unfamiliar with furikake, this is a Japanese seasoning made of tiny pieces of seaweed combined with sesame seeds, salt and sugar (and sometimes other ingredients, including flaked bonito). It’s intended to be a seasoning for rice, but it’s good on everything! My basic kale chip recipe simply involves kale roasted with sea salt and olive oil. But that is just the wonderful beginning to an entire universe of kale chip possibilities. In this case, a sprinkling of furikake (which, incidentally, autocorrect keeps wanting to change to “fruitcake”) transports you and your kale chip from your kitchen to Japan.
The Doctor’s Spicebox Furikake Kale Chips
1 bunch kale, washed and completely dried
a few pinches of salt, to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons or more furikake (Japanese sesame seed, salt, sugar and seaweed seasoning available in Asian groceries)
- Wash whole kale leaves, shake out or dry in a salad spinner, then place on a rack to dry thoroughly. Depending on your temperature and humidity conditions, this can take an hour or several hours. Alternatively, dry thoroughly with towels.
- Preheat oven to 275 F.
- Once kale leaves are completely dried, tear leaves off the fibrous central stem into bite-size (potato chip sized) pieces and place onto two baking sheets in a single layer with some space around each leaf. (The space is very important to allow air to circulate and allow the chips to crisp.)
- Sprinkle on salt and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon per baking sheet. Toss with tongs to evenly distribute salt and oil.
- Place prepared kale leaves into the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes, turning over leaves halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle furikake liberally over leaves. Allow to sit for a minute, then serve.
8 g protein
267 mg sodium
1 g sugar
Thanks for coming by! What are your favorite ways to enliven your kale chips? Feel free to share in the comments!
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’d love to cook with you! My Asian Veggies class has sold out quickly twice, so if you’re interested in the other ways I combine seasonal produce with the creative use of spices to make healthy and fabulous food, don’t delay! Visit The Doctor’s Spicebox on Facebook for event information and more!
To your health!