white bean, butternut squash & kale soup, revisited on a winter’s morning


It’s a beautiful sunny winter’s morning here with about five inches of fresh snow that fell after sunset yesterday. I’m feeling happy right now, with coffee and a lovely day ahead of me, vindicated in my decision to go grocery shopping yesterday then soak some beans. My snow dog has curled up now on the deck outside my kitchen watching over our green space beyond, and my cat has curled up on my bed. It’s time now for me to put on a pot of white bean and kale soup, then go play ball while I shovel my driveway.

This is a recipe I first made years ago– over time I have found that a 50-50 mix of Great Northern and Cannellini white beans provides the most delicious flavor and texture.

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups white beans
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red potato, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 1 medium rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary (yes, tablespoons; rub between fingers/palms to crush
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, excluding thickest ends of stems, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/2-1 t salt and pepper to taste, added after beans have cooked
  • parmesan or pecorino cheese

Instructions:

Rinse then soak beans overnight, or for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well. Cover with fresh water, bring just to a boil, then simmer for about 1 hour until beans are just becoming soft. Remove from heat.

Using large 5 quart soup pot with lid, saute onion in 2-3 T olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic and potatoes. Saute for 3-5 minutes, stirring until potatoes are lightly browned. Add butternut squash, rutabaga, carrots, celery and spices. Stir all vegetables until spices are well mixed. With pot over medium heat, add canned tomatoes in their juice, apple cider vinegar and basmati. Stir in 5 cups fresh water that is close to but off boil. Partially cover and monitor heat until soup comes almost to boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes to an hour. Checking water level occasionally, add more water as necessary. Continue to stir and check beans, rutabaga, and carrots for doneness: keep simmering until each are soft but not so mushy as to fall apart.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add chopped kale, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so until kale is bright green and lightly cooked.  Serve topped with parmesan cheese. Makes 8-10 servings. Freezes well.

Note on Bouillon: Beware! Many brands of bouillon cubes have partially hydrogenated oils, palm or cotton seed oil, MSG, and a grossly high serving of sodium- all things to be avoided, certainly not added to your food.

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celery root, turnip & black bean salad over kale


Some know it as celeriac, others call it celery root, and some have no idea what it is or what to do with it. Whether it’s seen as funny looking, ugly, or intimidating, it’s a delicious vitamin packed tuber. Some claim it was cultivated in Italy during the 1600’s, and it’s common in Europe today if not in all parts of the USA. It’s high in fiber and vitamins B, C, and K. It’s also a good source of phosphorus and potassium. Best of all, it’s a crunchy and tasty winter vegetable available in the Pacific Northwest that can be paired with many yummy companion flavors.

I wanted to make a winter salad with lightly steamed winter white celery root and turnip paired with black beans and black Forbidden Rice to serve over fresh Italian kale. My celery root was good sized so I made quite a bit– and it disappeared fast! so I’ll make it again before the season for it passes.

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In case you’re uncertain about how to best cut into a large celery root: chop off the bottom and then the top to make flat edges. Then with the celery root placed securely on its flat base, using a sharp knife cut/pare away the rough and knoty outer surface working at an angle from the top, cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down the root. When you get about half way to the bottom, flip it so the bottom becomes the top, and keep cutting downwards several inches each time as you work your way around and down. It cuts easily. Once you’ve cut away the outer surface, slice it into 1/4 inch or so rounds, then chop to your desired shape and size.

ingredients:

  • 1 medium celery root, chopped
  • 1 medium turnip, chopped
  • 4 or so good sized shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 t sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c dry Forbidden Black rice
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 bunch Italian kale

instructions:

Bring scant 1 cup water to a boil with a pinch of salt, add well-rinsed black rice, then simmer covered for 25-30 minutes until water absorbed and rice has nice texture. Remove from heat, fluff with fork, set aside.

Saute diced shallots in 1 T olive oil until translucent and just beginning to turn brown. Set aside in large casserole dish with airtight lid. Using same skillet and a little more olive oil if necessary, saute chopped celery root and turnip over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/8 c fresh water, cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes until celery root and turnip are fragrant and softened a bit, but not mushy. Drain off any residual water, then add shallots and well rinsed black beans, stir all together well. Transfer to your large casserole dish with airtight lid, and dress with 1 T fresh lemon juice. When ready to serve, rip kale into bite sized pieces (discard the thick center spine), then place some cooked black rice and celery root mixture on top. This microwaves nicely for leftovers, or for the first serving if you like the texture of lightly cooked kale, as I do.

 

black-eyed peas with kale, dijon mustard & thoughts on traditions


My mother was raised in Texas, and her parents were from Oklahoma and Louisiana, so  in keeping Southern traditions every New Years dinner my mother served black-eyed peas and ham. Black-eyed peas in the South are traditionally eaten at the start of the year to bring good luck in wealth; adding greens doubles down on wealth (and nutrients too.) I’ve adapted this recipe to include fresh kale (collard greens are the classic Southern side), and also some heat from the lemon drop pepper and texture from the fresh celery.

Throughout my childhood each holiday included food traditions– some which I enjoyed (especially the boxes of Van Duyn’s dark chocolates each December when we put up the Christmas tree!) and some not so much (the gamey lamb with sugary green mint jelly at Easter.)  Beneath this New Year’s tradition though the messaging I remember learning from my young mother includes “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” and “There’s never enough.” She was widowed at a very young age which fairly shook her confidence when she had two small children and no career plans other than being a wife and at-home mother. Yet we certainly never went hungry or lacked for anything we needed.

As an adult I’ve reflected on what I learned from my mother’s actions and words, incuding how food traditions are “baked in” to most of our lives, how we celebrate with food and alcohol, and soothe ourselves and others with food and alcohol “treats”. I think about how our core values are messaged through our choices of what and how we eat, both intentionally through holiday rituals and unintentionally in our daily routines.

I want to keep what’s good from my life experiences, and discard what is not supportive of my living mindfully, well, and feeling good in the years to come. So I’ve retained my mother’s black-eyed peas New Years good luck in wealth tradition– I’ve taken her recipe, and made it mine by deleting the ham, deleting the fear of loss and not having enough. I’ve added kale and hot pepper, self-reliance with a career to support myself and my daughter, also study of nutrition and exercise for physical well being, and thus confidence. Here’s to a healthy and wealthy, purposeful and productive, and happy New Year for all!

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black-eyed peas, well rinsed
  • 1 T plus 1 t whole-grain or Dijon mustard
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 hot pepper, diced (I used hot lemon drop)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped into thin ribbons
  • scant 1/4 c olive oil
  • scant 1/8 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed juice with pulp
  • scant 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground green or black pepper to taste

instructions:
Carefully inspect dried black eyed peas, discard any stones or misfits, then rinse well. Place dried peas in a large pot, cover with water and let soak to soften for 4-8  hours or overnight. Rinse well. Cover generously with fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until soft but not mushy, about 30 min-1 hour. Drain. Rinse to cool and drain again.

Place the chopped kale in a large bowl, drizzle with a little of the olive oil and salt, then massage until just softened. Add in the diced vegetables. Stir together well, then add the drained cooked black-eyed peas and mix those in gently. Whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.  This can be made a day or even two ahead– refrigerated in a covered casserole dish, the flavors will meld. Serve hot over rice as Hoppin’ John, a traditional black-eyed pea dish, enhanced with veggies.

Tuscan white bean soup


I’ve just returned from a lovely spring vacation– adventuring in Paris, Florence, and the Tuscany region. So much yummy food and wine, so much fun! Now home in the Pacific Northwest, I’m tired from long days out exploring, late nights having fun, and most of all from jet lag; I made it to my favorite grocery store and mowed my crazy long grass my first day back. The weeds in my garden will wait another day while I cook some nurturing food, channeling Tuscany. I love eating out in other cultures, and love cooking just as much.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 dried cannelli beans
  • 1 head Lacinato kale, stems removed, cut into ribbons
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small turnip, chopped
  • 1 small rutabaga, chopped
  • 1 14 oz fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 6-7 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped, or 1 T dried
  • 1-2 t basil
  • 1/3 c fine corn meal
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • 1/4 t salt, fresh black pepper to taste

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instructions:

Cull and clean dried beans, then soak overnight in fresh cold water. Drain, cover with water, and simmer for an 1- 1 1/2 hours or so until soft. Remove from heat. Saute chopped onion in 2-3 T olive oil in a large soup pot for 2 minutes, then add minced garlic and spices and stir for another minute or so. Add 1/2 of cooked beans with 1/2 of their fluid, the chopped turnip and rutabaga, the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir together well. Puree the other half of the beans and their liquid, then add puree to soup pot. Place lid on, and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until root vegetables are softened but not mushy. Place corn meal in a measuring cup, add the lemon juice, then fill with cold water to make 1 cup, whisking together well. Add to soup pot, stir well, then add chopped kale; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or so until kale is bright green and softened, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Serve topped with grated Pecorino Romano cheese, a Tuscan Sangiovese wine, and simple green salad with walnuts and black olives.

golden beets, ginger & kale salad


ingredients: IMG_0905

  • 3 medium golden beets, chopped
  • 3 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into thin ribbons
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

instructions:

Coarsely chop beets in half, then each half into thirds, so pieces are approximately equal in size (so will cook quickly while also still being easy to pare after cooking). Place into saucepan, barely cover with water, bring just to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Do not overcook- check frequently with fork for doneness. Drain and rinse in cold water. Using sharp paring knife, remove and discard tough skin, then chop into bite sized pieces. Transfer to deep serving dish with lid.

Using 2 T olive oil in a large skillet with lid, saute diced shallots for 2-3 minutes over medium heat, then add minced garlic, mined ginger and chopped yellow pepper; continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes.  Add a splash of water, reduce the heat and simmer covered for about 2 minutes, until the yellow pepper is bright and only lightly cooked. Transfer to serving dish with beets. Remove tough middle stems from kale, then slice into thin ribbons. Using the same large skillet, saute for 2 minutes over medium heat, then add a splash of water, reduce heat and simmer covered for about 2-3 minutes, until the kale is bright and lightly cooked, not mushy. Transfer to serving dish, mix all together well. Dress with juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon. Will store well in an airtight container for a couple days.

I served this with tofu baked in a spicy peanut sauce on a cold wintery day– bright and complementary flavors, and wonderfully warming.

garbanzo quinoa patties with basil and kale


Delicious Bajiya patties made by the Horn of Africa restaurant that we ate at the Oregon Brewers Festival recently were my inspiration for this recipe. I saw from their menu that theirs were made of ground garbanzos and split peas, lightly fried. I had some things I wanted to use up in my refrigerator, also some good cold beer, and a friend coming over… and came up with this, which we enjoyed.

ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, mostly lightly mashed
  • 1 stock celery, finely chopped, about 1/2 c
  • 3 leaves Lacinato kale, finely chopped, about 1 c
  • 8-10 large leaves fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano pepper, including seeds, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
  • scant 1/4 c oat flour
  • 1/4 c parmesan cheese, or to make vegan use roughy ground walnuts
  • 2 eggs, or to make vegan use 3T ground flax seeds mixed with water to same consistency as eggs
  • dash or two balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8-1/4 t salt and black pepper to taste

instructions:

Preheat oven to 375F, and lightly wipe baking sheet with 1-2 T of olive oil. Rinse canned beans very well, drain, then mostly lightly mash in a large mixing bowl: leave just enough partial bean chunks to provide for an interesting texture, but not so large chunks as to cause the patties to fall apart when baked. Chop and dice and mix all veggies, then add to the mashed garbanzos with the cooked quinoa and flour, parmesan, salt and pepper. Break and stir the eggs, or in lieu of eggs the ground flax seed, then stir the balsamic vinegar and eggs into the bean mixture. Batter will be very sticky and heavy. Use a 1/4 c scoop, then your palm to form lightly flattened round patties. Bake about 18 minutes, then check the bottoms; flip carefully and bake for another 10 minutes or so, until lightly browned both bottom and top, and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes 12-14. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. These store well in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple days, also freeze well when separated by wax paper.

 

tempeh & garbanzo bean salad with kale


Potlucks with BBQ and great local brews are a summer tradition… What to bring that would be simple to make, light fare for the hot weather but also substantial protein for vegetarians passing on the meats on the grill? Here’s what I brought on the 4th, and it disappeared fast!

summer potluck salad

summer potluck salad

ingredients:

  • 1 pkg tempeh
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, well rinsed
  • 3/4 cup bulgur (or quinoa to serve gluten free folks too)
  • 2-3 yellow medium-small summer squash (pattypan or crookneck), chopped
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped into ribbons
  • 3-4 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • fresh lemon thyme, a few sprigs
  • 1/4t salt
  • lemon pepper to taste

instructions:

Place bulgur in a large serving bowl with lid. Bring just a little more than 1 3/4 cup fresh water to a boil, pour over bulgur and stir well, then cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain off any residual water. Chop tempeh, then saute in large frying pan in 2T olive oil over medium heat stirring well for 2-3 minutes; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook til lightly browned- stirring frequently to prevent burning- about 5 more minutes. Rinse garbanzo beans well. After bulgur and tempeh have each been cooked, stir these three ingredients together in serving bowl.

Using same frying pan, add 2T olive oil and saute shallots for 2 min. Then add minced garlic, fresh lemon thyme and summer squash, stir well and saute for 2 min over medium heat, then add 2T water, reduce heat and cover to simmer for about 2-3 minutes, until squash is bright in color and soft but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Reusing same frying pan, saute chopped kale for 2 min, add 1-2T water, and cover to simmer for about 3 min, until kale is bright in color and wilted but not mushy. Add this to serving dish. Season with 1/4t salt and lemon pepper to taste. Stir all together well, cover and refrigerate– keeps well for 3-4 days. It is great served warm, room temp, or cold.