Whole wheat crisps & kale chips

Today was a snacky day, and after my goat cheese purchase at the farmer's market yesterday, I have been trying to think of ways to use it.  I attempted a grilled goat cheese sandwich with toasted kale and tomatoes, but it wasn't top notch.  I think I was being too sparing on the cheese (trying to ration the deliciousness!) so it was quite dry.  Still tasty, though with the smokiness of the grilled (homemade) boule bread, the crispness of the kale, and the creamy cheese.  After some thought, I came to the conclusion that the best way to eat this goat cheese is to have it with as few other ingredients as possible so the taste can be completely enjoyed.  Because I'm not going to eat it with a spoon straight from the container (although it's tempting), crackers seemed like a good option.  Problem: no crackers in the house.  Solution: make your own.  Bonus: I have a final this week and baking is an excellent procrastination technique.
Whole wheat crisps
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Makes about 5 cups crackers

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sea salt
3/4-1 cup water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Cracked pepper, salt, parsley, or whatever herbs or spices you like

Combine the flour and sea salt in a bowl, then add 3/4 cup water and stir.  The dough should be tacky, but not too sticky or soggy.  Add more water or flour if needed.  Knead the dough a little with your hands, and form it into a ball.  Divide the ball into 9 pieces, either by cutting or tearing.
Roll each small ball in a little olive oil and set on a plate.  Cover the plate with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 - 60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 with a baking stone or cookie sheet inside.  When the dough is done resting, flatten each ball with your hands and run through a pasta roller or use a rolling pin.  Make sure it is pulled very thin so the crackers end up crispy!  Cut the dough into whatever shape you like (I did a mix of triangles and rectangles), place on the hot stone, poke with a fork to prevent puffing, and top with some black pepper or whatever herbs or spices you like and bake until golden brown.  Cool before serving.
Cost of ingredients:
   Bag whole wheat flour: $3 (about $0.30 for portion above)
   Bottle olive oil:  $4.50 (about $0.75 for portion above)
Total cost of recipe: $1.05

Now, on to the kale. I am a huge fan of kale.  Huge.  I can remember thinking how disgusting the name sounded when I was a kid, and I didn't get around to trying it until later in life, but now I'm in love.  In salads, in sandwiches, in anything.  I had seen a couple of recipes for baked kale in places like Cooking After Five and Smitten Kitchen, and after my bag of kale impulse buy at the farmer's market (have I talked about this place enough yet?), I have plenty of it around and I decided to give it a try.

Kale chips
Makes about 1/2 cup

2 stalks curly kale
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 300.  Tear the leaves from the stalks.  Curly kale has a bit of a natural indention in the wave of the leaf about every inch, and this is a good place to tear to make small pieces.  Toss the kale pieces in the olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet.  
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until nicely toasted - about 10-15 minutes.  Be sure to check on it to make sure it doesn't get overdone.  Parts of the leaves will turn brown, and this is ok.  I overcooked mine a little too much because I was worried about them being crunchy enough, but they were still delicious.  Allow to cool, then enjoy!  I managed to get some goat cheese on mine, but any kind of spread needs to go on gently - these are delicate. 
These are by far my new favorite snack.  And a healthy one!  Kale is packed full of vitamins and minerals and fiber.  Sometimes I want to kick whoever decided to start decorating salad bars with it... most people don't think it's even edible!  Such a great veggie.  Cheap, delicious, and very versatile in the kitchen. 

Cost of ingredients:
   Bag of kale: $3 (about $0.25 for portion above)
   Bottle olive oil:  $4.50 (about $0.55 for portion above)
Total cost of recipe: $0.80

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