Mustard green chips.
I repeat: Mustard. Green. Chips.
As a self-professed fair weather vegetarian and halfway decent cook, I like to think that I will gladly experiment with and consume any vegetable that comes my way, but admittedly, I have had a somewhat difficult time with the spicy, horseradish-esque flavor of mustard greens. When I found myself with a four pound bag of mustard greens harvested from the Hilsman garden earlier this week, I felt an earnest desire to somehow use them to connect with our middle schoolers. I knew the odds were not in my favor. Their young palates, which have become so very receptive to Takis, pop tarts, and Chick-fil-a, tend to steer them away from fresh vegetables, especially weird-smelling leafy greens that they have never heard of. I thought about giving up and handing the greens over to a Hilsman teacher who I can only assume survives solely on mustard greens throughout the week, because she buys pounds upon pounds of them from me on Fridays. But as I lay in bed on that fateful Tuesday evening, I was struck by the Lightning of One Thousand VISTAs. You guessed it: mustard green chips. And call me crazy, but I decided to take it a step further: microwave mustard green chips.
I tried not to think about it as I pushed myself to fall asleep, but I couldn’t let the idea go. I tried googling recipes, but found nothing. Sure, there are enough kale chips recipes to stack on top of one another and build a staircase to Pluto, but none that were specifically for microwave mustard green chips. Yet, we are humans and we adapt. After tossing and turning in a mustard green-ridden field of dreams, I awoke early the next morning and tested out my poorly-thought-through plan. Some olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, and three minutes in the microwave and those puppies were crisped to perfection. That is correct, I had mustard green chips for breakfast that day, and I do not regret it for one second.
Being the excitable creature that I am, I could not sit back and waste precious time with four pounds of mustard greens burning a hole in my large, metaphorical canvas bag of a pocket. Nay. I emailed Ms. Smith, Ag Science teacher extraordinaire, immediately and asked if I could borrow a few of her sixth graders during second period for some good old-fashioned microwavin’. Not only did she give me her whole class and her classroom to use for this undertaking; she also stomped out one of several small and not-too-terribly-dangerous fires we accidentally started due to our excessive salt use. Thus, microwave mustard green chips were born.
We set up a small sampling station in the back of the cafeteria at lunch, despite many quizzical looks and pseudo gagging motions, over one-third of students and teachers who tried the chips responded to them positively. Several came back for seconds, and the best part of all was that so many of the, began asking questions. What are these? Where did they come from? How can I make them at home? And suddenly, doors are flying open with reckless abandon at Hilsman middle school, begging to be satiated with microwave mustard green chips.