Friday, 27 July 2012

The Sacrificial Chard

I'm not exactly known as a green thumb. Truth is, I kill most plants I try to nurture through complete ignorance. I'm amazed that my kids have made it this far - I'm pretty sure the only reason they are is because they can cry out for help and food.

Despite my black thumb, we decided to plant a vegetable garden. Two years ago. We bought seeds and never planted them. Actually, scientist husband did, but I wasn't paying attention, so scratch that crop. I tried again this year, after carefully weeding out the plot and sectioning off different areas for different crops. Hmm, yes. Apparently, that's about all I did right.

Nothing but the swiss chard grew. And man, did it grow. For two-year-old seeds and a girl who has no business in the garden, I was impressed. Sweet. Now what do I do?

Recently, I've been making kale chips for my toddler and he loves them. Considering I've put on a few unhealthy pounds, I figure I could swap them for potato chips (my weakness). And you know ... they are really good! So, I got to thinking: if kale can be turned into salty and crispy goodness, can I do the same to swiss chard? Turns out, you can! Yusssss.

Pluck (or buy, you heathen) a handful of swiss chard leaves and rinse them off well. Pat dry with paper towels. The drier the leaves, the better - they'll get crispier. Soggy chips just ain't chips. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

You're going to want to remove the main vein from the center of each leaf because they can become bitter. That, and the stringy murderers are choking hazards. I found that the easiest way to do this is to simply fold the leaf in half and make one quick slice.

Roughly tear or chop the swiss chard into chip-sized pieces and toss them in a bowl with a little olive oil. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes. You're going to want to peek at those suckers after the 10 minute mark to make sure they don't burn. DON'T BURN THEM. They will taste like garbage.

Once crispy, remove the chips from the oven and salt them. These will legitimately satisfy a salt craving without making your love handles cry with shame. Enjoy!

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