Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kale Chips

Last year the kids and I were visiting a friend at her Napa abode. Along with excellent wine, fruits, almonds, cheeses and breads she served kale chips. Delacate lacy leaves of salty crunch. The children devoured them

Recently I came across kale chips at a farmers' market in Palo Alto. Big jars of them. Super expensive.

Finally, walking along the side walk right here in town, I glanced in a shop window and saw a man busily making ... something. I got in close and started asking questions through the open window. "I'm making kale chips," he said as he brushed marinade onto a leaf. "We sell them all over the country." Turns out I was smack in front of Blessings Alive and Radiant Foods. I must have walked by the shop a thousand times and never noticed it. Unlike the chips I've tried, Blessings Alive dehydrates the kale. Making it extra crunchy.

So, kale chips seem to be a trend.

Of course I had to jump on the bandwagon and try doing it myself - starting with a thick hearty bunch of just-picked kale from my local market. Here's how I did it:

One bunch kale (thick leaves)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove

• Set oven to 250 degrees
• Pour the olive oil and the garlic clove in a large bowl. Let it sit.
• While it sits, wash and dry the kale leaves (it's important to dry them or they won't crisp)
• Remove the garlic from olive oil and discard (or use for something else)
• Put the kale leaves in the bowl and mix to coat with the olive oil
• Lay the leaves flat in a single layer on a cookie sheet
• Sprinkle with salt (and/or pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili flakes, etc)
• Put in the oven and let "bake" until crisp - about 20 minutes

Serve warm, or let cool and store in a sealed jar.
Also great crumbled over soup, salad or pasta!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baby Baby Baby

More on this later. Enjoy.

A Place Callled "Expectations"

The first time I read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster I was about eight. My parents had friends with teenage daughters that we visited often. I found the book in their room, made myself at home and opened it up. Honestly, all the backward words confused me, but I liked the idea of a land beyond the tollbooth... and the fact that Milo (the main character) was able to drive.

Like so many other great children's books (The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, etc) The Phantom Tollbooth can be read on several different levels. When I picked it up last week I was planning on gifting it to Joe (DS), but then I took a peek and was immediately sucked in.

The hook? Upon embarking on his journey, Milo bumps into a little man - the Whether Man - who points the way to "Expectations." What? "Why, Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations..."

I can't stop pondering his words. They roll around in my brain. What are my expectations for this little life of mine? And if I haven't defined my expectations, is it possible to move forward? Does expectation fuel the drive? What happens when expectations don't measure up? Or fall flat all together?

Now, reverse that: what if where get to exceeds Expectations. The roast is tender and delicious, the date went well, the raise was earned. Does it make you happier? By lowering expectations are we creating opportunities for success?

Reverse that (again): high expectations may result in defeat but do they push you beyond where you would have gone with lower expectations?

Me too.

But I think the Whether Man is saying that the expectations we impose on ourselves can drive (quite literally, in Milo's case) us forward and perhaps take us to lands we never knew existed. The words have convinced me to raise mine - expect the universe - see how far I get. Watch me fly beyond Expectations.