We spent this past weekend watching the sand sculpture competition in Long Beach, Washington. Who doesn't love the "longest beach in the world?" We'd been to the annual kite festival but had never been to the sand sculpture competition. We checked out contestants early in the day.
Who knew supporting structures lurked underneath the sculptures? But it does make sense when you see them. The rules were: you had to use the sand where you were, only 8 people could work on the sculpture at any one time and you had to get your own water.
At 2pm a whistle blew and judging began. At the main booth they were passing out free hot dogs. I thought I'd never get by the booth. People line up for free food. I took a pass but the hounds became more interested in all the discarded buns and dropped hot dogs than checking out the sculptures.
My trusty cooking assistant was so bored until we saw a living sculpture behind one of the entries. This dog was napping while these people built a sand mermaid around her. I think they should add a new category to the competition.
Why not add a living sculpture award? I can hear it now--"And the award goes to the most mellow dog on the beach!" I didn't think any dog could out do a basset when it comes to chilling out.
We took most of our own food on this beach trip--three salads and enough veggies to make sandwiches. One thing I like to pack is kale chips, although I must say, you have to make a lot to take because so many get eaten straight from the oven. Sometimes I can't stop eating them.
Some people say Tuscon kale is best to use. Other people use Red Russian. Everybody has their preference when it comes to kale chips. I've found flat leaf varieties like this Italian kale cook more evenly.
You could probably even use collard leaves and make collard chips.
You can find lots of recipes for kale chips. Most are basic--remove the tough rib, toss with a bit of olive oil. Many recipes like this one add salt. David Lebovitz said the consensus with his California friends was that a hot oven works the best. But Lebovitz found lower temps work the best, and over the years, like Lebovitz, I've found the secret to great kale chips every time is a low temperature--200F, if your oven goes that low. Keep it low for about a half an hour or even 45 minutes.
I'll be back next week with something more substantial. Until then, try kale chips, you won't be disappointed.
Perfect Kale Chips
1 bunch kale, middle rib removed
Sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 200F. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Tear the kale into bite-size pieces and toss with oil. Lay flat on the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes or until almost done. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, if desired. Continue baking until chips are crisp.