Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Kale Chips & Other Dehydrator Treats

Recently on the MSSF list, someone asked about dehydrators.  As part of the vegetarian minority in the mycology world, I had a sense that a lot of folks only use the dehydrators for drying mushrooms.  When I looked at dehydrators, I wanted to make sure that I got one that was the most versatile and useful for many different uses.  I mentioned all the different sorts of things that I make in my dehydrator and had plenty of positive responses from folks who wanted some ideas for kale chips and flax seed crackers.

I started off with a round dehydrator with a warming element in the bottom, no fan - and realized that it didn't work very well for a lot of things.  Probably if I was just drying slices of mushrooms cut to fit in the shelves, it would be ok but it just didn't dry evenly and couldn't dry faster than mold could grown on some wetter fruits.

About three years ago, I bought my Excalibur Dehydrator as a factory refurb from E-bay, and I have never regretted it.  It can handle so much more than just drying mushrooms, fruits & veggies! 

Jenn's Dehydrator Treats Primer

Teriyaki Almonds

  1. Sprout some raw almonds - make sure you rinse & change the water a couple times; of course it is better to use distilled water or water that has been boiled & cooled (I use what's in my teakettle) than straight tap but use what you have.
  2. In your Cuisinart with an S-blade - mix up a nice batter of raw dates, ginger, garlic and nama shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce)
  3. Mix that onto the almonds, put them on a teflex sheet (or parchment paper) 
  4. Dry at 105 for several hours.  That's similar to the "I Am Spirit" recipe from Cafe Gratitude (super yummy teriyaki almonds - heck yeah!)

Kale chips:
  1. Use any kind of kale - I prefer lacinato/dino kale; you can also use other greens like spigariello or chard - wash the kale and spin dry or spread on towels
  2. Using scissors, trim out the biggest part of the stem/rib, then cut the kale into 2" pieces (more or less) 
  3. Put all kale into a bowl, drizzle with a few tsp of olive oil and massage with your fingers til softened 
  4. Mix up your "batter" - I do it in the blender - and it varies depending on what I have in the house, usually I will throw a small red onion, half a red bell pepper, several cloves of garlic, some minced ginger - all into the blender.  Add nutritional yeast & raw tahini, the juice of 1 or 2 lemons (or limes).  Taste the batter - it should be something you want to keep licking off your fingers - if it is too thin, add more nutritional yeast or tahini (raw cashew butter also works).
  5. Taste and adjust spices - when the batter tastes  FINGER LICKING GOOD (I am not kidding!) - pour it over the kale chips - not all at once.  Use a rubber spatula to gently mix and work it in with your fingers so that both sides of all kale gets covered. 
  6. Spread out the kale onto teflex sheets (or parchment paper) - in as much a single layer as you can.  
  7. Dehydrate on 115 for the first half hour or so, then reduce to 105 - or just leave at 105.

If you have any batter left over - it's great as a base for salad dressing - or get out some other greens (chard & spigariello work great for chips too).  It's a great way to get your greens!

quick cooked kale chips - just rub kale with olive oil, mix with black pepper & sea salt and put in the oven on a cookie sheet at 200 - not raw, but they crisp up super fast and make a great appetizer for a dinner party - your guests will be shocked that they just wolfed down 2 whole bunches of kale in the form of chips!  :)

Raw Crackers - I confess, I grind up my flax seeds.   Our human teeth are not tough enough to break open the flax seeds to get out all the nutrients, so my crackers are usually something like this:

  1. Grind up 1 c of flax seeds & soak in water - add water as needed - may take a few hours or overnight
  2. Soak 1 c raw almonds til they sprout, rinsing & changing water as needed
  3. When all flax & almonds are ready - grind the almonds in the cuisinart then add to the flax seeds and mix in 2-3 cups raw veg pulp from juicing carrots or other veggies, along with a little salt (I use my Kitchen Aid for this)
  4. For more flavor - put red onion, garlic, tomatoes (fresh or sun dried), parsley/cilantro/rosemary into the cuisinart and chop the heck outta them - add to the cracker "dough"  - nutritional yeast is also yummy
  5. Using clean, wet hands - spread onto teflex sheets - flaxseed crackers don't shrink as much as buckwheat crackers, so just make sure there are no bare spots on the teflex - about 1/4" thick is good
  6. Use the back of a bread knife or some kind of spatula, score the wet cracker dough on the tray to the shapes you want - big or little, square or rectangle
  7. Dehydrate 115 for first hour or so then reduce to 105 til crispy
I have made crackers with beet pulp mixed in with carrot and the cracker dough - with onions & parsley added in - looked just like meatloaf!

With the crackers - it's ok to go crazy with fresh herbs - but be careful with dried herbs and salt - you don't want your crackers to be too salty or taste too strongly of one particular dried herb (or maybe you do...  just keep in mind that dried herbs & salt don't reduce in volume like fresh herbs/veggies).

Feel free to drop a line and I'll be happy to talk you through anything.  I'm going to make a big batch of flaxseed crackers later this week if you want to come over and check out the process.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

De-stemming Kale: I know another way that works really well for me.

Hold the stem in your left hand at the bottom.
Put your right thumb and index finger on either side where the leaf starts. Slide your right fingers up the stem and the leaf will pull off. It breaks at the point where the stem is soft.

I LOVE Kale.