In this week's Martin & Sylvia's Nature School story, “Impressions,” Sylvia and her friend, Sofia, make a powerful connection between fallen leaves that make a physical impression in the ice, and important leaders who have made impressions on the world, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malala Yousafzai.
When I read about these incredible people—more than even thinking about the events they helped shape — I'm always curious to know what kinds of things made impressions on them? Where did they grow up? What books did they love? And, of course, what were their favorite foods?
Dr. King, for example, was born in Atlanta in 1929, and his documented favorite foods are evocative of that time and place. He loved pecan pie, fried chicken, candied sweet potatoes, and collard greens — a true Southerner.
While you could make that full soul-food feast in honor of MLK day, if you're still feeling a bit feasted-out from the holidays, why not bake up a batch of lighter, healthier collard green chips, instead?
The secret to getting good chips from sturdy greens, like collards and kale, is to get a super light coating of oil on the greens before you bake them. While you can use commercial cooking spray to achieve this, you can better control the ingredients if you make your own spray.
All you'll need is your favorite healthy oil, distilled water, and a clean kitchen spray bottle.
As far as oils go, I loved avocado oil in this recipe, but coconut or olive oil would be just fine, too. Do be sure to use distilled water, though, whatever oil you choose. Oil is the ideal living environment for lots of yucky bacteria (like botulism), so it's important not to introduce any nasties to your mix. Along that same vein, store your newly mixed cooking spray in the fridge and don't make up more than you can use in about a week.
Give these delicious collard green chips the chance to make a good impression on you!
Collard Green Chips
1 bunch collard greens
1 tablespoon oil (olive, coconut, or avocado are all good choices)
4 tablespoons distilled water
½ teaspoon garlic powder
salt, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare two bake sheets by covering them with parchment.
Remove any tough stems from the collard greens, then rip them into chip-sized pieces (about 2 inches square). Wash the greens well, and get them as dry as you can by blotting them with a clean kitchen towel.
Combine the oil and distilled water in a spray bottle, shaking hard to combine them into cooking spray.
Put the collard green leaves into a large bowl, and squirt them several times with the spray, tossing to coat. Add the garlic powder and salt, then give the leaves one last good toss.
Working in batches if you need to, place the collard leaves in a single layer on the prepared bake sheets. Cook for seven minutes, or until the leaves are brittle to touch but still bright green. If the leaves are still moist in spots, return them to the oven for another 2-3 minutes.
These get soggy in storage, so eat them within a few hours of baking them.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.