by ZeBot Planet-DooF
If you know anything about zebras, you’ve probably figured out that we love to graze, especially on green stuff. The other day, my cousin ZoeBot and I were trying to figure out if there was a green snack we’d never tasted AND that was possible for zebras to make without totally messing up the kitchen.
Zoe was a little nervous, since she just got here from Planet DooF, where we have no food at all (unless you count Gloop, which I certainly do not).
“I feel like I’m all hooves, ZeBot – I don’t want to try and fail,” she kept saying to me. “But I’m so hungry I think I could eat a whole hay bale – my appetite’s as big as a whale. I really have a taste for something yummy and fresh. You know: definitely not stale.”
Since Zoe obviously had a taste for rhymes, I yelled out the only thing I could think of: “KALE! Let’s make something with kale!”
What the heck is kale, you ask? Good question! In fact, it’s what Zoe asked, too! Kale is a kind of cabbage with really cool-looking curly green leaves. If you like technical stuff, you can call kale by its scientific name: Brassica oleracea. Or you can just call it “kale” (which is what zebras usually do).
Humans say kale originated in the Mediterranean part of Europe some time before the Middle Ages. Its strong leaves resisted frost damage, so kale was especially great for winter when most vegetables wouldn’t grow. And guess what? It’s also great for summer!
Kale is a real nutritional powerhouse! It’s naturally packed with Vitamins A, C and K (makes sense: it’s KALE, right?). These great-tasting leaves are also a good source of beta-carotene, lutein, calcium, potassium, fiber – and lots of other good-for-you stuff.
If you cook kale with a little olive oil, the nutrients are more bioavailable (that means they’re easier for your body to absorb). Olive oil also makes the kale taste better than ever.
Zoe and I love superfoods, and we’re also crazy about healthy chips: so we decided to make kale chips. They tasted AMAZING: light and crispy with just the right amount of savory salty, peppery flavor.
We’re putting them in our Zebra Snack Hall of Fame and making them every chance we get – we hope you will, too. Hail to the Kale Chips!
Recipe: SuperZebras’ Favorite Kale Chips
A big bunch of kale or a bag of pre-washed & cut-up kale
Extra-virgin olive oil – about 2 tablespoons (you’re just going to drizzle it on)
Salt (just a sprinkling)
Fresh-ground black pepper (only if you like it)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (if you’re a kid, make sure you have an adult around to help with hot stuff!)
2. If your kale isn’t pre-washed, now’s the time to wash it. Rinse the leaves really well, then drain them in a colander (those are kitchen tools that kind of look like bowls with holes – and that rhymes!).
3. Zebras love stems, but if you don’t, just tear the leaves off the stems. You can save the stems to make vegetable broth, put them in your compost bin or feed them to your favorite zebra (hint, hint!).
4. Put the kale leaves on a baking sheet. You can spray the sheet with a little cooking oil spray, line it with baking parchment or use a silicone baking mat called a silpat (that’s what ZoeBot and I did).
5. Drizzle a bit of olive oil onto the leaves and toss them around with your hooves or hands, so that they all have a very thin coating. Make sure that they’re all in one layer and not stuck on top each other.
6. Sprinkle the kale leaves with salt (if you want, you can also add a little ground black pepper).
7. Ask an adult to put the kale leaves in the oven. If you’re old enough, you can do this yourself. How do you know if you’re old enough? Ask your parent or another adult in charge of you!
8. Bake the kale leaves for about 12-15 minutes or until they’re crispy. You need to watch them really carefully as you get to the end of baking so they don’t burn.
9. Put your kale chips in a bowl, yell “Hail to the Kale Chips,” and eat them. If you’re at all like a zebra, you’ll eat the whole batch!
As you can see, kale chips are super-simple to make – and a blast to eat! You can find lots more great recipes online (most of them are pretty much like the ones we made).
If you’re looking for a great cookbook that includes kale chips, plus tons more recipes that kids AND zebras love, check out this one by our DooFy buddy Michelle Stern: The Whole Family Cookbook!
And stay tuned for more adventures — see you soon!
Photos and Text: Intergalactic © 2012 Laura Martin Bacon