I have to say that I love our Friday apéritifs. It's the end of the week. I am not in a rush to put the children to bed. I can have a drink and fully enjoy it. My kids love them too and they get very excited when we are going to have it. They want to have it outside on our tiny balcony (weather permitting) or in the salon (as opposed to dans la cuisine). They set up the coasters. They pull out their small chairs and wait for their drink (water with sirop or a little bit of Diet coke)! They know they are not allowed to start drinking/eating until we are all together and have a toast! To life!
They love l'apéritif so much that we actually have to pace them down. Otherwise, they'll eat too much and would not be hungry for dinner. Obviously, knowing that we'll prendre l'apéritif on Friday evening before dinner, I don't plan a heavy meal that evening.
In order to serve something different from olives, chips and Guacamole at l'apéritif, I have been making new dips, new gougères recipes (because they are so easy)...and more recently I started baking kale chips.
I had never had kale (chou palmier in French) before coming to the US. And the first time I purchased some, I did not really know what to do with it. Steam? Boil? Cook it in a gratin like Swiss chard? I must have made it au gratin and did not like it much. Never bought kale again until I read about kale chips. And that, my friends, was a discovery of American new cuisine (or old; I don't know when people started baking kale chips!). They very easy to make. They are very good. They are
- a bunch of fresh kale
- olive oil
- garlic, chili pepper, paprika, cumin: your choice.
- Pre-heat oven to 350F (175C)
- Take the stem and large pieces away. Shred the remaining leaves into pieces.
- Wash the kale leaves and spin them dry in a salad spinner. Pad them dry with kitchen paper towel. They have to be really dry!
- Dress a baking dish with aluminum foil
- Put the kale pieces on the aluminum foil
- Pour 1 TB (15ml) of olive oil and toss with your hands. You want to make sure there is olive oil on every piece of kale. Use more olive oil if need be but don't soak them!
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Depending on your oven, they'll be done by then. You don't want them to turn brown.
- Sprinkle with salt and your choice of garlic/chili pepper, paprika, etc
My personal comments:
- I have started to make some as a side-dish or an appetizer when I want my children to eat more vegetables.
- They don't keep well once cooked. I generally bake half-a-bunch first, keep the other half in the fridge and then bake some more during the week.