Dear Barbara: I love making kale crisps, but as I was letting them cool, the thought crossed my mind that because they are baked, they might be losing all the nutrients. Are they?
— Joan from Mundelein
Dear Joan: Kale crisps are one of the biggest new trends in food; even though people have been making them for years, they are just now really catching on. I read many, many blogs and articles and never once read anything negative about them! People seem to love them. Now I want to make them, too.
As far as nutrients go, they are loaded with them and are not losing that many by baking them. Kale is very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc and is a powerhouse for vitamins A,C,E and K and is also full of fiber. Most of all the recipes I read said to wash it and let it completely dry. Remove the stems and massage the greens with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a good sea salt and lay them out on a parchment covered cookie sheet to bake. Watch them carefully because they can go from crisp to burned in a matter of minutes, or even seconds. Of course, kale has a lot of water in it no matter how much time you spend patting with paper towels or spinning in a salad spinner. Don’t use the stems or stalk, but tear the greens in larger pieces because they are going to shrink considerably.
Most of the blogs and articles that I read actually like them better than potato chips and also like that they can eat much more for less calories and they’re better for you!
Dear Barbara: I was in the city last week and went into this great little cheese shop. In the Mexican cheeses, I bought queso fresco. They were browning it on a griddle and just serving as a tasting in order to sell cheese. It was delicious; can you do anything else with this cheese? I have not checked the package but I assume because it is fresh cheese and not high fat, that it would not melt well. What else can I use it for?
— Kayla from Lodi
Dear Kayla: Queso fresco is a mild white cheese. It has so many good qualities. You can crumble it on salads or sprinkle it on veggies. It is a melting cheese, but only in the respect that it gets very soft, which makes it great for dishes like enchiladas. It is used a lot in chile rellenos because it will melt, but doesn’t get runny.
Barbara Spitzer is a Lodi home cook who also develops recipes for specific consumer products. Do you have a cooking question? Send it to Barbara Spitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.