Archive for the ‘soup’ Category

loads of kale

There has been a lot of talk about CSAs – community supported agriculture – in the world at large and in the Jewish community. For example, check out the past few Hazon Food Conferences and their The Jew and the Carrot blog.

I first learned about CSAs when my good friend, Meira, the source of the  pretzel chicken “nuggets” recipe, joined a CSA in New York and cooked interesting dishes with her fresh local vegetables. She always introduced each dish with, “I got this squash/cabbage/spinach from Eve, my Jewish female farmer.” She really seemed to feel a kinship with her farmer, especially after going to some sort of outdoorsy event way out on Long Island and driving past the Garden of Eve farm!

So, I was excited when my own local community decided to partner with a CSA. But I was also a bit apprehensive. Sure, there are a lot of pros – supporting local farmers and guaranteeing their livelihood, getting in tune with a more agrarian life (and a little reminder of the importance of the harvest in Jewish festivals), eating fresh (and almost entirely organic) produce, etc. And my friend Laura, whom I call “farmer Laura” since she will be be spending the summer as an ADAMAH Fellow — is organizing the CSA partnership and was quick to point out some of the logistical virtues partnering with this particular farm — Heavens Harvest — notably that they provide timely recipes that incorporate that week’s harvest and pre-pack everyone’s share (or half-share for couples or three-tenth-share for those single people out there…they’ve even thought of us!) which is apparently a vast improvement over other CSAs that have you bag your own which can take forever.

Despite all of these benefits, I was worried about one con – the loads and loads of kale that I would very likely be stuck with at the end of the season.

See, apparently kale is a very hearty leafy green and grows when other veggies can’t quite make the cut. So if the weather is really bad, kale will dominate.

Of course, I have never cooked kale. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten kale.

But, I’m open to new things and in preparation for joining the CSA, I decided to buy some kale and make something with it. In case I needed a push over the edge, the label on the rubber band around the kale was written in French, calling the leaves chou vert frisé. I once had a boss who could convince me to do any menial task by telling me, “it’s French…you’ll like it.”

So I bought some curly green cabbage and tried a recipe on a card near the grocery store entrance.

looked like a bouquet, so I put the kale in a vase

looked like a bouquet, so I put the kale in a vase

Based on my experience, I think I’ll be joining the CSA…

Kale and White Bean Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Kale and White Bean Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Adapted from Whole Foods Vegetarian Tuscan Kale and White Bean Soup recipe card.

Makes ~ 5 cups soup or 4 servings.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

1-2 t thyme (to taste)

1-2 t oregano (to taste)

5 C ersatz chicken broth (i.e., parve chicken soup powder + 5 C water)

4 cups packed chopped kale (i.e., 1 bunch, chopped)

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced; or 20-25 baby carrots cut into thirds

1 small can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes

1 small can (14.5-ounce) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Parmesan crisps (see recipe below)

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion ~3 minutes until softened, then add garlic and cook together another 2-3 minutes.

Add 1t of each herb and carrots to pan and mix.

Add tomatoes, broth, and kale and mix a few times. Cover saucepan and allow kale to steam until tender, ~5 minutes.

Add drained cannellini beans when kale tender. Keep on heat until parmesan crisps finished to allow beans to warm.

Serve with parmesan crisps or sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


Parmesan Crisps

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Spread ~1T of parmesan cheese in ovals on parchment (1T per oval)

Parmesan crisps, uncooked

Bake in oven 5-7 minutes — WATCH VERY CAREFULLY -  these can burn really quickly. Remove before your smoke alarm goes off (like mine did the first time I tried this!).

Parmesan crisps, baked

The crisps will peel very easily off of the parchment paper.

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Yes, you guessed it…I’ve started going to yoga. I am officially a Cantabrigian (n, a native resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts according to Merriam-Webster Online dictionary). Granted, I still try to look like a ballerina in class, I can’t hold a single pose, and I giggle when the teacher says “namaste,” but I do enjoy it and feel great afterward. After class a few weeks ago, I wanted to extend the healthy glow and was super hungry, but had virtually no vegetables in my fridge except for an almost full bag of shredded carrots a week past their use by date. They looked fine, showed no growth, and were not slimy at all. I figured I could turn them into a soup. I’m sure some of you out there are already horrified and will never eat in my home again, but come on….there are starving children somewhere in the world, this was much better than eating Ben and Jerry’s straight from the container, and I wouldn’t run this type of risk for guests. Moving on.

I checked out C&Z and searched for “carrot soup”– Clotilde had a recipe for carrot-mint soup and one of the comments mentioned replacing the mint with coriander. This sounded like a good starting point. I played around a bit and here’s what I came up with. It was great and will definitely reappear on my table for guests (with fresh carrots…).

carrot coriander cilantro soup

Carrot-Coriander-Cilantro Soup

Inspired by Chocolate & Zucchini’s Soupe de Carotte a la Mente I consider this a quick and easy meal because except for chopping the onion, there is virtually no prepping required, and everything is in one pot. The only major clean-up is the pot, your immersion blender, and a few utensils.

Serves 4 as starter or 2 as main

2T olive or vegetable oil

½ onion (red or white), chopped

1-2 t garlic, minced (1-2 cloves)

1 T coriander

~10 oz bag shredded carrots (can also use baby carrots or large peeled and cut carrots)

Ersatz chicken broth mix + 5-6 C water (or chicken or vegetable broth) – I use Osem brand but it does contain MSG

1.5 T chopped cilantro*

1 T lemon juice (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat; saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent

Add coriander; stir and heat until coats onion/garlic mixture and becomes fragrant – approximately 5 minutes

Add carrots and stir frequently until begin to soften, approximately 10 minutes

Add enough broth to cover carrots and at least 1 inch (if using ersatz chicken broth, don’t worry too much about mixing with powder beforehand)

Bring to boil, then turn down heat and simmer for ~15 minutes until carrots soften.

If using larger carrots, this might take longer; when carrots are soft, use immersion blender to puree, but allow some chunks to remain

Remove from heat and add cilantro, lemon juice if using, and salt and pepper to taste (may not need salt if using ersatz chicken broth powder); serve hot

* I keep chopped herbs in my freezer so they are ready to use in soups and other dishes. If my basil or mint plant is overgrown, or I have bought too much, I chop up the herbs, wrap in plastic in a roll so it is easy to measure by eye, and then store in a freezer bag. When I want to use these “fresh” frozen herbs later, they defrost really quickly, especially when dropped in a pot of soup.

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