While we are thrilled with our move this summer, I was very sad to leave my garden behind. For five years I poured precious time and energy, not to mention lots of sweat and chigger bites, into building that garden. When we made the decision to move in June, I stopped attending to the garden completely and focused on the details of moving. Despite a very dry summer, my garden lived on without me! I was so pleased this fall when we put the house on the market to have just enough growing in the garden to hopefully make it a selling point rather than an eyesore. I had a few tomato plants, a couple peppers, lots of basil, onions and kale-mighty, impressive kale!!
I stopped by the house last week to pick a little kale and brought home two huge shopping bags full! I would have easily spent $30 to buy that much organic kale from the grocery store! The only effort I put in was planting it last March and watering until it was established. Well there was that tiny detail of picking off the caterpillars that were calling the kale home, but they left more than enough to share and the chickens were happy with their little protein feast now that grasshoppers are in short supply.
When in the course of human events does a mother have to scold her children for eating too much kale? Never?! Well that is until I made kale chips and my children inhaled them. Kids, REALLY, you are going to get upset tummies from eating that.much.kale, at least in one sitting. Yeah, we are pretty crazy in this house.
Kale chips are extremely easy to make. Simply wash up your kale, making sure to diligently remove all green caterpillars that might be hiding in all those curls (if you buy your kale from the grocery, you can skip the caterpillar step!). Pull out the stem and tear into about 2 inch pieces. I then put it in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. I baked mine at 375 for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully and turning about midway through. Remove when starting to brown and turning crispy. Amazingly, I only over baked one batch of the many that I did. Even more amazing was to take them to a party that evening assuming I would be laughed out of the room with my crazy kale chips. Not only were they well received, but I returned with an empty bowl and everyone was asking how to make them!
Now about the title of this blog entry. As my picture clearly shows, this kale was grown in my garden. However, have you noticed the nurseries are selling lots of kale right now? They are selling an ornamental variety and while google tells me the ornamental type can be eaten, the eating varieties are preferred. The main difference in the eating varieties and the ornamentals is the height. Why not slip an edible variety right into your current landscaping? I am so amazed by its hardiness this summer and it loves the cold more than the heat. If it turns out to be a few inches taller than its ornamental cousin, even the strictest of the HOA police would likely be fooled! I stopped by Marshall Grain on Friday and picked up a few more kale and Swiss chard plants that will hopefully provide us with kale chips and greens for juicing all winter long.