Thursday, April 25, 2013

Again the blackbirds sings; the streams Wake, laughing, from their winter dreams, And tremble in the April showers The tassels of the maple flowers. ~John Greenleaf Whittier

April's Charms by William Henry Davies
When April scatters charms of primrose gold 
Among the copper leaves in thickets old, 
And singing skylarks from the meadows rise, 
To twinkle like black stars in sunny skies;

When I can hear the small woodpecker ring 
Time on a tree for all the birds that sing; 
And hear the pleasant cuckoo, loud and long -- 
The simple bird that thinks two notes a song;

When I can hear the woodland brook, that could 
Not drown a babe, with all his threatening mood; 
Upon these banks the violets make their home, 
And let a few small strawberry blossoms come:

When I go forth on such a pleasant day, 
One breath outdoors takes all my cares away; 
It goes like heavy smoke, when flames take hold 

Of wood that's green and fill a grate with gold.

An April Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
'T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain.

I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth's loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April! many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life's golden fruit is shed.

The lyric sound of laughter Fills all the April hills The joy-song of the crocus, The mirth of daffodils. ~Clinton Scollard

I love the season well When forest glades are teeming with bright forms, Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell The coming of storms. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recipe for Spicy Chipotle Kale Chips

My name is Laura, and I am a Kale Chip addict. I am not a fan, however, of the cost of seasoned Kale Chips st the co-ops I shop at. A one-serving container of similar chips costs $3.99, and I've even seen them at $7.99! Kale grows amazingly well in my garden, but it's winter/early spring here, so I purchased this organic kale at $2.99 a bunch. You may want to cut this recipe in half, or even quarter it. Also note that the curly kale varieties work best in this recipe. Dinosaur Kale is too flat and tends to stick to the dehydrator shelves.

First thing you do is wash the kale and separate the leafy green parts from the thick center rib. (You can compost the ribs, freeze them for later use in soup stock or feed them to the geese and chickens!)

Tear the kale greens into bite-sized pieces and shake as much water from them as possible

Remember, I can eat Kale Chips any time of night or day... this is 4 bunches of washed and torn kale leaves.

In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine
1/2 cup water
1 large Sweet Red Pepper, roughly chopped
1 large Onion, roughly chopped
2 cups raw Cashews
3/4 cup raw Pumpkin Seeds &/or Sunflower Seeds
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
4 to 6 cloves Garlic, smashed
2 teaspoons Sea Salt (optional)
1/4 cup Tahini OR Vegetable Oil (I use Spicy Sesame Oil)
1-2 tablespoons Smoked Chipotle powder
1-2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
3/4 cup Nutritional Yeast flakes (NOT baking yeast!)
3 tablespoons shelled Hemp Seeds
2 tablespoons ground Flaxseed

Pulse the ingredients (except Kale) and run to a smooth paste

Grab a few handfuls of your prepared Kale (in this case, 4 bunches store-bought) and place them in a workable bowl. Plop 3 or 4 spoonfuls of seasoning paste onto the kale leaves. 

 Very gently toss the kale with the paste to coat to your liking. Some folks prefer a thicker covering of the seasoning paste than I do... it's up to you!

Here is a close-up of the covered leaves as I like them... not too thick, not too thin

Carefully lay the coated kale in a single layer on your dehydrator shelves. You want to be sure that the leaves are layered fairly individually so the dry completely.

As you can see, I have skipped every other dehydrator shelf at first. The kale is thick and tall, so I put it in on alternate shelves for about one hour to let it shrink down a bit. I have an Excaliber dehydrator with 9 shelves... this recipe gives me a half-gallon and a quart and a half of Kale Chips.

Then I go back and put the rest of the kale on the other shelves and continue dehydrating for another 4 to 5 hours longer. It is helpful to rotate the position of the shelves throughout the dehydrating time.

Here are the finished kale Chips. Make certain that they are crisp and completely dry. Then store in glass jars (NOT plastic!) and munch away!