Tag Archives: Kale

Hurricane Stew

29 Oct

With Sandy bearing down upon the east coast, I’ve been keeping my mind off of the weather reports by keeping busy in the kitchen.

For Irene, it was a white-bean, turkey, kale stew. For Sandy, I made a red lentil-kale-root vegetable (turnips, carrots, onion, potatoes, garlic) celery stew in the slow cooker.

Despite the whistling wind batting the trees in the yard, the hearty, fragrant, rich smell permeates throughout the house as we anxiously watch the impending approach of the storm.

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Irene soup August 27, 2011

6 Sep

Bean, sausage, kale, carrot, shimeji soup

Between being frightened by the news, and worrying about my vegetable garden being destroyed by Hurricane Irene – the eve of the arrival of the storm was spent with a lot of hand-wringing, pacing and worrying.

My older daughter helped me empty the contents of our covered patio deck into a lovely M.C. Escher -inspired assembly of stubborn patio chairs, precariously balanced over bicycles, a Radio Flyer, and a hodge podge of gardening items methodically stacked inside my ex-car garage-currently-Papa’s-woodworking-man-cave. 

We then ran outside to the vegetable garden, and tried to pick as many string beans/yard-long beans and tomatoes before nightfall.  My little one spun dizzy circles in the yard, her arms out-stretched and her sundress puffing into little parasol shapes as she sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stauw (Star, with Brooklyn accent, thanks to Lala at daycare).”  My older daughter grabbed handfuls of beans and cherry tomatoes next to me.

I then hustled everyone back into the house once the rain started falling.

To calm myself, I decided I’ll cook.  Let’s call it, “Irene Soup.”

Here are the ingredients:

1 container, Trader Joe’s Hearty vegetable stock

1 lbs dried Cannellini beans, picked over and rinsed

2 large handfuls of string beans pulled from the garden, de-stringed and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large onions, cut into bite-sized pieces

4 carrots, peeled, and cut into 1/8 inch pieces

4 celery stalks, rinsed, and cut into 1/8 inch pieces

Handful of kale from our garden – probably about 8 medium leaves – julienned across the “rib”

Handful cherry tomatoes from our garden

1 packet Hokuto Bunashimeji mushrooms – rinsed, and the bottom “stalk” part trimmed.  The mushrooms were pulled into small clusters.

2 sweet Italian sausages, grilled, and cut into bite-sized pieces.  These were left-over from an earlier dinner.

1 Tbs chopped pancetta

1 Tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Handful of thyme and oregano leaves, pulled off stems

In the bottom of the pressure cooker, set over medium heat, I drizzled the olive oil, and added the pancetta to brown.  I then added the onion, carrots and celery until fragrant.  I then added the remaining vegetables (kale, beans, tomato and mushrooms) until they softened a little, (kale and beans will get brighter green in color) and then poured in the stock. 

I then added the dried beans, and brought everything to a strong simmer, stirring occasionally.

I then added the lid, adjusting the heat (medium) until there was a steady, but not hysterical hissing of steam, and set the stove timer for 45 minutes.

Once the timer rang, I let the pot cool until the pressure lock released the lid, and checked for done-ness.  I wasn’t convinced after my original check that the bean soup was done, so I started the pressure cooker again for another 30 minutes.  I added the sliced sausage pieces at this point to the soup.

Once the second round of cooking was done, I stirred and garnished the soup with the herbs from my garden.

The resulting soup was velvety, soft, creamy soup, punctuated by the occasional carrot, bean or mushroom.  The tomato, kale, celery and potato were “melted” into smaller pieces (or shreds) and I knew this would be a hit with the girls.

Thankfully, we did not lose power, and we did not suffer any property damage during the storm.

 

Summer time June wrap up

30 Jun

June is winding down, and things have slowed down a little bit.  I didn’t realize how much time and energy the bento packing took – so it’s nice to have a little time in the evenings and mornings for myself… and to stop sounding like a drill sergeant trying to get the girls ready and out the door so I can get to my job in time.

Summer evenings are wonderful – the girls and I do our chores when we get home, and when time allows, we head into our backyard – the girls heading to the swing set, while I bee-line to my vegetable garden.

We have been picking lettuce, broccoli rabe and kale – and have been picking very young sweet peas which the girls have been eating by the handful.  The peas never are able to grow past the “snow pea” stage – but the ones that escape early picking by eager little hands have sweet, juicy, fresh peas that burst with color and flavor.

EDAMAME!!!” the little one exclaims – ignoring her older sister’s explanation, “It’s NOT edamameit’s peas!” 

She pulls open the pea pods, and picks away at the little pearl-sized globes of goodness.

I’ve always planted bush beans – so this year, we decided to plant pole beans. 

I now understand how “Jack and the Beanstalk” came about.  My beans have outgrown their poles, and wave themselves in the air until they grab hold of anything.  A co-worker suggested I tie string from the top of the poles to the top of my super trellis – and the beans have found this arrangement work… so far.

So far, we’ve thwarted the rabbits – and the soybeans have managed to continue growing. 

The one mistake I made this summer, was my careful cultivation and nourishing of very healthy looking weeds amongst the eggplant.  Had I not looked up to revel at how resilient eggplant seemed to be in n0-man’s land during my dog’s walk, I probably would have continued to lovingly weed around the actual weeds.

We’ll add that to my list of “not” to-do lists!