Many months ago I issued a challenge to my favourite vegetarian (and complete non-Trekkie) Nicole. I would make and EAT her kale chips, if she would watch the Star Trek movie reboot. Immediately after this, British Columbia commenced some sort of kale embargo and I was unable to procure any. Until Sunday, when I found some at my local grocery store.
Our family averages two or three vegetarian meals a week. It took me a while to come around to eating vegetarian dishes. My initial attempts were lack luster. I have three bits of advice for anyone wanting to experiment with vegetarian cooking:
1. cultivate a taste for ethnic food. We eat a lot of meatless curries, tagines and stir fries.
2. learn to like beans. If you are making a stew or casserole, decrease the meat and substitute in lentils or chickpeas. Beans are the gateway drug to vegetarian eating.
3. stay the hell away from recipes created by Mollie Katzan or the Moosewood Collective. Vegetarian dishes that are weak reinterpretations of classic meat-centric meals are best left to patchouli-scented, baby-boomers who are too old to know that grated carrots are gross. Mollie Katzan must have huge forearms from spending her whole life grating vegetables.
This experiment didn't start off well. When the kale was in the oven, the smell was reminiscent of my neighbour burning his lawn clippings. After the allotted two hours of cooking, they tasted like tahini and lemon juice and salt, which is a good thing since this is what I rubbed all over them The last ingredient was my own substitution because I didn't have "nutritional yeast." Nutritional yeast is not easy to procure here. Even if it was, I'd hesitate to buy any because Nicole informs me that it tastes "meaty."
Things that should be described as meaty:
2. other bits of animal flesh,
3. political or theological discourse, and
4. Russell Crowe, circa 2009-2010.
But not YEAST.
Mr Wrath declared the kale chips "interesting." My sons were not enthusiastic. Klaxon (age 7) declined to sample one. "You're not going to trick me into eating that by calling it a chip. It's cooked lettuce." Zarf (age 9) was curious as to why vegetarians would even cook kale. "It's not like there's meat in potato chips," was his main issue. Good point.
My conclusion is that I probably won't make kale chips again. They tasted fine, but it took two hours to cook/dehydrate and I'm not THAT patient. They were very delicate so there's no hope for combining them with dip. When I brushed my teeth about twenty minutes after snacking on a few, the spit and the brush came out green. The kale also turned my tongue green and it stayed that way for hours. That was a bit unnerving.