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.

 

yellow split pea dal with garden hot peppers and rainbow chard


An Indian Summer cool morning then bright sunny hot day with a breeze, ahhhh. “Another trip around the sun”. The changing season and the ripe peppers and chard in my garden told me it was time to revisit making spicy yellow split pea dal– I started in my garden and moved to my kitchen sink.

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Then I looked for a prior recipe post with this as a lead in:

“One of the many great things about yellow split pea dal is that dried split peas don’t require soaking before cooking, and they cook in 30 minutes, a much shorter time required than for dried beans. They’re high in protein and dietary fiber, satisfying and healthy; I did the math and calculated this recipe has 310 calories per cup served over a cup of rainbow chard. I made a large pot of the dal, and served it on a bed of rainbow chard leaves cut into ribbons topped with 1/4 cup of Bhutanese Red Rice for an easy “one bowl” meal. Leftovers taste great, and it freezes well.”

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Then I considered, how would I like to make this today? I tweaked the spices and used coconut milk given how hot and dry the weather has been– following is my revised recipe today.

ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  •  large jewel yam, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red Nardello pepper, diced (these are sweeter savory)
  • 1 small Lemon Drop hot pepper, diced with seeds
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t black mustard seeds
  • 1/4 in fresh ginger root, minced
  • 3/4 t cardamom
  • 3/4 t coriander
  • 1 1/2 t cumin
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1/4 t salt, black pepper to taste
  • 1 6oz can Thai coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard

instructions:

Cull through then rinse split peas well, cover with 4 cups fresh water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer covered for about 25 minutes, until quite soft. Drain then set aside.

Cut thick stems out of rainbow chard. Chop the stems and set aside. Cut the chard leaves into thin ribbons and set aside.

In a large soup pot with 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat, add the mustard seeds and allow them to heat up til they just start to pop. Add onions, garlic, and all spices, and stir until onions just begin to turn translucent. Add the chopped yam, stir to coat well with spices, add severak tablespoons of water, reduce heat and cover to simmer until softened, about 4 minutes. Add coconut milk, yellow pepper, celery, and chopped chard stems, cover and simmer another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. When split peas are soft, drain their water into a measuring cup to use later. Add split peas to large pot of spiced vegetables, stir to mix all together well, then add the cooking fluid from the split peas to obtain your desired consistency of dal. Serve over rainbow chard ribbons, dress with fresh squeezed lemon. Serve in a bowl with Bhutanese red rice for a more substantial meal.