And now, because it’s the last week before the market opens and possibilities will soon abound, let’s have just one more go around with…kale!
This soup is lightly adapted from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian, a book that followed me home from Powell’s and appeared to have many solid Italian selections that align with our available veggies. (A friend who locally haunts the restaurant has confirmed that the restaurant is indeed a winner.) Easy and frugal, this soup is one of those magical recipes that makes something wonderful out of not much. I love that you use the chickpea water instead of stock, and I think the technique of using the food processor is a really unique way to change the texture of the kale in a soup. I’m dreaming of future pizza potlucks with this soup on the side.
Chickpea and Kale Soup
about 8 hearty bowls
2 cups dried chickpeas
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
1 stalk of celery, quartered
1 onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
5 strips of lemon peel
1 sprig of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
1 tbls. kosher salt
1 cup of olive oil
3 tbls. olive oil
4 additional garlic cloves
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 large bunches of kale
- The night before you want to make the soup (or 8 hours ahead of time), soak chickpeas in a large bowl full of water.
- Using an empty tea bag or a scrap of cheesecloth, create a secure bundle that contains the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon peel, and herbs.
- Add the bundle, soaked chickpeas, 3 1/2 quarts of water, salt, and 1 cup of oil to your soup pot. Bring to a boil over high, then reduce to low and simmer for about 1 hour. (Taste a chickpea to test that it’s done.)
- Near the end of the hour, prepare your kale. Remove ribs and coarsely chop.
- In a medium skillet, heat 3 tbls. olive oil over medium-low. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and stir once. Add kale. Cook for about 3 minutes.
- When the chickpeas are done, add the kale garlic mixture, 2 cups of the chickpeas, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the food processor. Pulse until the chickpeas are smooth and the kale looks finely chopped.
- Add this puree back into your soup. Season with salt and pepper, and heat until hot.
- If you like, finish each bowl with a little lemon juice, olive oil, and/or Parmesan.
- Reheats well!
- The first time I made this soup, the kale I used had a purple tint to it and resulted in the interesting coloring that you see in the photo.
Don’t we live in a beautiful place? We feel particularly grateful lately. The sun is out, the plum tree is in bloom, and the chickens are finally laying! We’re flush with eggs! Here we suddenly find ourselves in the sweet season of plenty. (We’re helped this time, by circumstances – our Heyday Egg subscription has overlapped with this onset of eggs from our own chickens.) Custards, puddings, pasta, and yes, even brioche have been happening in our kitchen lately.
Here’s a recipe that’s one of our favorites. Served to a neighbor recently, she labeled it “fancy,” but really it’s extremely simple. This custard is quick to make up, allows you enough time to shower while it’s baking in the oven, and, in our household, is child approved 100% of the time. We began with the recipe in The Breakfast Book and adapted it to our own taste. Hope that you enjoy it too! Here’s wishing you many eggs and a happy spring time!
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. cream
2 tbls. maple syrup
dash of salt
unsalted butter, room temperature (for preparing ramekins)
- Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare four 1/2 c. ramekins by buttering the insides generously with your fingers. Set a tea pot of water on to boil.
- In a large measuring cup, whisk milk, cream, eggs, maple syrup, and salt together. (Or, alternatively, pulse with the immersion blender a few times.)
- Pour egg mixture into the buttered ramekins. Place ramekins in a 9 x 9 glass pan.
- Fill pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the ramekins.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve in ramekin or unmolded onto plate.
- This recipe easily reduces for two eaters (or even one.)
- Adjust maple to your own taste. Maybe you like it sweeter?
- Want to try a savory custard? (It’s a great way to sneak veggies past a sneaky eater, but you didn’t hear that from me.)
- Of course, this is much better with a little Hitchcock bacon sprinkled on top.
It’s the end of February and so when dinner time rolls around, it’s more of a question of finding out what is stashed in the freezer rather than the vegetable drawer. Here’s a delicious dinner composed mostly of gifts from our freezer and those Booth Canyon pears.
At one of the last farmers’ markets of the season, Tani Creek had a glorious pile of ginger for sale. On their advice, I bought a lot and tossed it in a freezer bag. This has worked out well. Throughout these dark months, I’ve been breaking off small pieces to give an extra kick to my meals. We’re also once again grateful to have a deep freeze full of pork thanks to our friends at Dropstone Farms (former islanders who moved out yonder to Orting but still make deliveries to Bainbridge.) Pork is back on the menu! Meatballs with ground pork and stuffed chops are some of our winter favorites.
The last gift from the freezer to complete this meal, are the green beans from our very own garden. When we eat them, I can remember the summer sunshine beating down on the soil while I watered. Good times.
One Skillet Pork and Pears
serves 2, easily doubled for 4
2 pork chops
olive oil, salt, pepper
1 1/2 tbls. apple cider vinegar
1 tbls. sugar
1/3 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
about an inch of fresh ginger
slurry: 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp. water
- Prepare. Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Slice onion thinly. Peel ginger and leave in a hunk. Slice pear thinly. Measure out stock and add slurry to it. Set all of these things aside until needed.
- Heat pan. Heat a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in a little olive oil. Saute onion for about 4 minutes, then remove onion from skillet.
- Sear porkchops, browning each side for about 3 minutes. Remove pork from skillet.
- Add sugar and vinegar to the skillet. Whisk briefly until it darkens and then immediately add wine.
- Back to the skillet, add pork, onions, knob of peeled ginger, and pears. Pour stock and slurry over. Stir. Cover with lid.
- Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Holds well on low, covered, until ready to be served.
- Don’t forget to remove the ginger knob before serving!
- If you’re going to freeze fresh ginger next time it’s available, I’d suggest breaking it up into small pieces before freezing. It is doable to chop it off with your chef’s knife, but it would be easier of course to do it when fresh.
Let’s take a break from kale, and potatoes, and winter, shall we? Happy Valentine’s Day.
Here’s a cookie that I’ve had in my files for years. It’s time you had it too. This recipe was gifted to me by a mom I got to know when teaching her children. She brought them to share one day, impressively round and all perfectly the same size. What a treat. There are a lot of chocolate cookie recipes in this world, but when you bite into a keeper, don’t you know it right away? You’ll find these just the right thing for a deep chocolate craving. I think it’s worth a little extra fuss on the shaping to help them appear as beautiful as they taste. A good cookie for gifting, they even mail well if your valentine is far away.
Small and Sweet Chocolate Cookies
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. high quality unsweetened cocoa
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (or more, if you like)
- Set butter and eggs out to come to room temperature. (You need to be able to press the butter with your finger and see some give. Plan ahead, if you live in a chilly house. This could take a few hours.)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time.
- Add cocoa and mix gently until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this to the cocoa and butter mixture. Mix just until combined.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
- Using a 1 inch cookie coop, drop balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. With wet hands, reshape each ball slightly by rolling.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. (If you choose to make a larger, more standard size, bake for 15 minutes.)
- If you don’t have a cookie scoop, roll 1 inch balls with wet hands and then place on parchment.
- The cocoa which I used for this recipe was gifted to me and is Callebut cocoa powder, CP-776. We call it the “good” cocoa and use it for special recipes that really feature the cocoa, because it does really make a huge difference. (I’ve also made this recipe many, many times with our bulk grocery store cocoa. Still delicious!)
Winter got you down? Add a little local fruit back into your diet. Booth Canyon Orchard, a certified organic family farm, will be coming to the island on January 23rd. You can pre-order a box or buy fruit by the pound upon arrival. We’ve been absolutely savoring our last box of pears. They keep well tucked into our crisper drawer. Firm and sweet, each pear has brought a little brightness to our breakfasts. They are so delicious that I have not even been tempted to bake with a single one – they’re just too good not to eat raw! If you’re interested in ordering ahead of time, here is the information from Stina:
I feel like the baking season is winding down. Did you know there was a baking season? Surely you did. It’s that time before Thanksgiving when you’re stocking up the freezer – breads, morning cakes, goodies for the meal itself – and then the mad rush onward to Christmas treats. Now that those piles of cookies are dwindling and all the homemade gifts have been gifted, we can taper off our flour use and get on with clean living. In case you too need help transitioning, here’s a cookie recipe for you to aid in bridging the gap. It’s healthful and tasty and a lovely thing to put in your little one’s hand as they struggle back into the school schedule.
In the dark days of winter, vegan recipes come in handy. Eggs are scarce and thrifty baking is a necessity. But in contrast to this starkness, this recipe is also an opportunity to celebrate your well stocked pantry. Use your homemade applesauce and dried fruit that you may have squirreled away in the bright days of summer. (And, if you didn’t, your bulk aisle will come to your aid.)
one 9×13 pan of bars or squares
1 c. AP flour
1/2 c. white whole wheat flour (see notes)
2 c. rolled oats
1/8 c. flax meal
1/8 c. oat or wheat bran
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. apple juice
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. dried fruit, chopped
1/2 c. nuts, chopped finely
1/2 c. coconut
- Prepare a 9×13 pan by cutting a piece of parchment to line the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- In a large bowl, place all of your dry ingredients and mix.
- Stir in juice, applesauce, oil, and vanilla until fully incorporated (no dry flour.)
- Mix in your fruit, nuts, and coconut.
- Spread into your pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn upside down onto a cutting board, peel off parchment, and cut into bars or square. Arrange these on a baking sheet so that there is a little space between each bar. Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Hooray, oh happy day! Central Market now stocks Nash’s freshly milled flour in the bulk section. Both their hard red wheat and white whole wheat are available. I remember the days when it was hard to come by, and it’s exciting to now have a steady supply.
- I used dried blueberries and strawberries.
- This cookie is not very sweet. (That’s good – it can be breakfast.) I dusted the top with a little powdered sugar and cinnamon this time.
- This recipe was adapted from Mollie Katzen’s, Honest Pretzels, a great resource for cooking with your child. The recipes are engagingly illustrated and the directions are easy to follow. It would be my first recommendation for any family with an interested young cook in the kitchen.
Green beans, new potatoes, fava beans, and basil are all ingredients that delight me when they begin to show up at the market. Living in the midwest, I used to feel that it was finally summer when I saw corn and tomatoes. Here in Washington, it’s the green beans that I wait for. And this year, at the beginning of this season, I discovered a new delight. Have you tried the parsley from Tani Creek? It’s like none other. You’ll want to add it to dishes as a main ingredient, not just a garnish, as it is often relegated. Adapted to our climate, this “awesome tasty” heirloom variety has a pedigree which you can read about on the farm’s website while you peruse their seeds for sale.
Here’s a spunky salad that features parsley prominently. (Feel free to substitute it for the basil entirely.) It does take a bit of time to prepare. Think of it as a potluck show off dish. Or, make a big bowl of it on Sunday and smugly take it for a hearty lunch all week.
1 pound new potatoes
1 pound green beans
1/2 pound fava beans (That’s the weight for the beans after being removed from pod.)
6 slices crispy ham, optional (See note.)
- Put a medium sized pot of water on to boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside.
- Wash and slice potatoes into about 1 1/2 inch pieces. (If very small, you may not need to cut the potatoes. Yum!)
- Add potatoes to boiling water. Salt. Cook for 25 minutes.
- While your potatoes are cooking, attend to your green beans. Take the ends off the green beans and cut into large bites, about 2 inches long.
- Prepare fava beans by removing large beans from pods.
- Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to remove potatoes to ice water bath. When cold, remove potatoes and place on a dishtowel. Pat dry.
- In the same water, boil green beans for 2-3 minutes, tasting to see if they are the consistency you might like. Follow the same procedure as the potatoes – ice water, then towel.
- For this dish, boil fava beans for 2 minutes. After chilling, remove the skins.
- Place all the vegetables in a large bowl and pour vinaigrette over. Add crispy ham, if using.
1/4 c. fresh parsley leaves, packed
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tbls. champagne vinegar (or other gentle, white vinegar)
2 tsp. mustard
2 garlic scapes (or one large clove of garlic)
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
a few grinds of pepper
Add all ingredients to food processor and process until smooth.
- We always pick up a ration of Hitchcock Deli meat for the week – turkey, beef, ham, bacon. Occasionally we might be overzealous in our order and have a little leftover at the end of the week. Crispy ham is a remedy to this problem. Take ham that’s been in your fridge for awhile, crisp it up at 450F for 5-6 minutes and voila – a yummy crunch for pasta, eggs, or salad.
- Feel free to play and add other seasonal veggies that you might prefer, of course.