Squash Soup with White Beans and Kale

Well, here in New England we are mostly all back online from the October snow storm that broke our trees into pieces.  Friends and family have been keeping their frozen goods in coolers, heating water in beer brewing equipment, and cooking on gas grills for a week or more.  On the flip side of all of the stress and anxiety caused by lack of heat and power, folks really pulled together, reached out to one another, shared their homes, their showers, hot meals.  Out of the bad came some good.

This recipe is good for New Englanders this week  on two counts: 1) it’s vegetarian, so if you lost all of your meats in the great non-electric thaw you can still make dinner and 2) if you’ve still got CSA veggies coming in (like me), this is a great way to use them.  A bit of herbs (dried can certainly be substituted for fresh), a can of beans, a container of broth/stock, and your squash & kale and you’ve got a hearty soup that’s packed with flavor and nutrients.  If you’re still cooking on the grill, and you’ve got a side-burner, you’re in luck.

Ingredients

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup apple cider

1 quart chicken broth

4 cups chopped kale

2 cups white beans, rinsed & drained

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound peeled and seeded winter squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (I used a combination of acorn & butternut)

Directions

  • Heat the olive oil in your soup pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and herbs and cook until the onions are just beginning to soften
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions are translucent
  • Add the cider and broth and bring to a boil
  • Add the kale, beans, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes
  • Add the squash and cook until just tender, about 10-20 minutes more depending on which varieties of squash you used

This recipe was inspired by a post on Whole Foods market’s site.

Wilted kale salad

This recipe could serve a few different purposes: it could give you a great way to use up an excess of kale, it could give you a great alternative to yet another mixed greens salad, or it could give kale a whole new flavor profile in your head that you just can’t get over because you love it so much.  Or, like Neil, you could really dislike it- which is fine.  Not everyone can share my love of all things green and funny looking that are meant to be ingested.  But, really, I did love this salad.

Ingredients:

1 pound kale

Mediterranean Dressing

2 tsp lemon juice

1 medium clove garlic, pressed

1 TBS extra virgin olive oil

salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop your kale leaves into 1/2-inch slices, and cut again crosswise (stems included)
  • Add the kale to a steamer basket and cover and let steam for 5 minutes
  • Transfer to a bowl and toss with Mediterranean Dressing ingredients  while still hot

This recipe was inspired by a post on World’s Healthiest Foods.

J

Creamy Sesame Greens

I am frequently surprised by the fact that I’m not yet sick of eating hearty winter greens.  It’s true, I’m not, although I make no promises that I won’t be in another few weeks when I begin to pine for the fresh pole beans and beets and spinach of spring which I will have to continue to wait for.  Then I’ll move on to wanting fresh, juicy summer tomatoes and squashes, basil and dill.  Until then, I’ll keep on trying new recipes for my winter veggies, and working on the layout of my garden for the spring.  I’m thinking that raised boxes may be in order this year, if I can just get my act together and build them.

While looking through some recipes on Whole Foods’ website I came across this one and thought that it would make for a great side to some simple white fish.  Then I did my usual and got carried away trying to pair flavors & themes in foods and ended up marinating  the simple piece of haddock in a store-bought ginger-garlic-soy sauce before baking it.  And I kept going from there….

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons water

6 cups chopped kale, chard and/or collard greens

2 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Directions

  • Heat the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, water and garlic. Add hot greens, toss to combine and serve.

On this particular evening I also steamed up some fingerling potatoes and sliced sweet potato.  I took the steamed starches and tossed them in non-fat sour cream which had been mixed with Chinese 5-spice .   This made for an interesting flavor combination (as Chinese 5-spice includes cinnamon, fennel, licorice root, white pepper, etc.)

What I would not suggest is the pairing of all three of these (marinated fish, dressed greens, and spiced creamy potatoes) together.  It was a little busy on the palette.

J