This is a soup that’s perfect for late winter and early spring. It’s warm, hearty, and full of spring flavor. If you have access to ramps, lucky you. Use them instead of scallions. The crunchy kale adds texture and a slight bitterness. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and butter if you like. If you have a piece of Parmesan, you could pass it around and let people grate the cheese over the top. If you want to make a vegan version, just skip the eggs. This recipe for Garlic Soup with Crunchy Kale is a new favorite of ours. Enjoy!
for the crunchy kale: 1 bunch of kale, washed, dried and cut into 2” pieces 2 T. extra virgin olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper
for the soup: ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling over kale) 1 head of garlic, cloves thinly sliced 6 scallions, sliced 2 t. smoked paprika 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock salt and pepper, to taste 4 eggs
Preheat oven to 400 f.
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, spread out kale and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook kale until crunchy, around 20 minutes.
Let cool completely then store in an airtight container at room temperature.
In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.
Add garlic and scallions to the pot, stirring frequently for around five minutes until golden brown.
Add paprika and cook another couple minutes.
Add stock and bring to a simmer for around a half hour.
Right before serving, whisk eggs in a small bowl and whisk eggs into soup.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with crunchy kale.
Component in Action
-begin making the soup with caramelized onion and rendered bacon.
-add other greens like spinach, kale, arugula or chard towards the end of cooking.
Move over regular old tacos. The crunchy kale is my favorite part. Or wait, maybe the sweet and spicy burst of golden raisin in between bites of smoky roasted cauliflower. Is it Taco Tuesday yet?!?!
Ingredients 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces 1 head of kale, washed and dried well Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling Smoked paprika Ground turmeric Salt and pepper 2 limes 1 T. maple syrup 2 T. chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped ¼ c. golden raisins
On a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out cauliflower into a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Put in oven and cook until tender and golden brown, around 20 minutes.
On another foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out kale and drizzle with evoo, salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, being careful not to burn, around 20 minutes.
While cauli and kale are cooking, make the sauce: In a large bowl stir together chipotle in adobo sauce, maple syrup, lime juice and golden raisins.
Ten minutes before serving, wrap tortillas in foil and put in oven.
When cauliflower and kale come out of the oven, put them in the large bowl and gently stir to combine with the dressing.
To assemble: Put a spoonful of cauliflower mix in the center of each tortilla, top with scallions, queso fresco and greek yogurt. Enjoy!
Component in Action
-filling for burritos
-bowls with rice, couscous or quinoa
-enchiladas smothered with red or green chili sauce
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been on hold for almost twenty minutes with a certain shipping company who will remain nameless. At the exact moment the agent came on the line, my two year old stood up and started the show that only occurs when I talk on the phone. He started shaking the maraca, jumping up and down singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs. I didn’t even know he had heard the song, let alone memorized it.
A couple days later, he informed me it was Christmas day. It was still November, and it occurred to me that if he was already anticipating the holidays at two years old, then he was certainly old enough to get in on a bit of holiday cooking action. So in the hustle and bustle, pull the kids into the kitchen. Give them an apron, a hand wash, and one more reason to love the holidays. Depending on the age of the kids in your life, some might need more help than others, so I’ll leave that up to you.
Happy New Year! I know, a perfectly belated time of year to share the recipe that I’ve affectionately named Christmas Kale, but as I considered renaming, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And then I thought, much like the days where I “accidentally” add the Carpenters Christmas Album to my playlist shuffle, this might be just the dish to add a bit of Christmas to meals throughout the year.
Chestnuts are such a seasonal ingredient, they are of course optional. You also can find them in many grocery stores cooked and peeled throughout the year in the bakery or canned section. In the fall you can find them fresh and in the shell, and roasting them yourself is an easier adventure than you might expect. Some heat, patience and a sprinkle of salt is pretty much all you need to enjoy one of fall’s most delicious, satisfying, and hand warming treats.
So why Christmas Kale? Because, and it’s really as simple as this…why not? In fact, the entire dish could be a reincarnation of your favorite Christmas song, only you can eat it. Bacon adds a smoky depth so maybe think of this as the candle studded wine bar with a baby grand tucked in a corner. The onion and garlic play their part as a stand up bass. They are a whisper in comparison to the bold sweetness of the dates and chestnuts. but are actually an invaluable savory anchor, grounding the entire dish. The coconut? Well, let’s just think of this as the melody and texture…here is a music equivalent of it’s perfection.
1/2 c. thick cut bacon (diced)
1 medium red onion (sliced or diced)
3 garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
1 c. chestnuts (roasted, peeled and rough chopped)
1 c. dates (seeded and rough chopped)
1 can coconut milk or cream (unsweetened)
8 c. kale (washed and roughly cut into bite size pieces)
salt (to taste)
red pepper flakes (optional/to taste)
1.) In a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, cook bacon over low heat until caramelized and the fat has rendered. I love using a thick cut applewood smoked bacon.
2.) Increase heat to medium. Add red onion and cook until onions wilt and start to caramelize.
3.) Add garlic and cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.
4.) Add the chestnuts and dates. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
5.) Deglaze the pan by pouring in the coconut milk (or cream) and scraping (releasing) all the caramelized bits of bacon, onion and garlic goodness off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This ensures that all of this flavor makes it into the final dish and doesn’t get left behind for whoever is on dish duty.
6.) Bring coconut milk to a simmer. This is a great time to taste the sauce and season with salt and red pepper.
7.) Add the kale. Stir. Cover pot and cook until kale wilts and is tender (about five minutes).
8.) Give it a taste to check salt and pepper seasoning. Make any additions if needed. Enjoy!
Component in Action
replace kale with any other green veggie you want! (brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
use as a saucy side dish with spicy sausage or chicken or even pork chops
serve over a bed of quinoia or brown rice
leave out the bacon to make vegetarian and vegan friendly
Pesto in itself is a simple beauty from northern Italy, lending a vibrant and luscious punch to everything from a piece of bread to a bowl of pasta. As I was playing around with the recipe this week, it almost became a game as to all the different ways I could use it with what I already had in the house–a perfect sauce with some linguine I found in the cupboard, a delightful spread on some thick slices of toasted bread, an out of the ordinary dip for carrots, celery & cucumber, and with a splash of lemon juice, it made a bright and decadent dressing for a salad of greens and fresh mozzarella.
Traditionally, pesto is made of basil, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a hard grated cheese like Parmesan. And this in itself is amazing, especially in the summer months when basil is abundant and has the chance to get together with good friends like tomatoes. For the rest of the year, there is a lot of room to play around with the recipe and make it work in your kitchen for what’s happening in real life, like a half bag of spinach or a bunch of kale hanging out in the fridge without a hope of being used up before it’s too late. Recently Hans and I had a super rare opportunity for a date night and we spent the evening at one of our favorite spots in San Diego, Ironside Fish & Oyster for one of Chef Jason McLeod’s incredible Chef’s Catch dinners. This particular dinner featured Sara Gasbarra, the special guest of the evening, who also happens to be a friend from Chicago:) Sara owns and operates Verdura, where she cultivates (from concept to harvest) culinary gardens for restaurants and hotels.
This delightful dinner was all about celebrating the lesser-known or ugly parts of vegetables (and animals) that in fact are full of flavor and culinary possibility. Aside from the novelty in creating a gremolata sauce from citrus pulp leftover from juicing, or a pesto made from vegetable tops, or using the forgotten flowers from rapini plants, a deeper chord ran through all the fun and adventure that could not escape me. There is real, nourishing food that never makes it to the bins at the grocery store. And not only that, but there is real, amazing opportunities in my fridge right now even though it may look like “there’s nothing to eat”.
I could not stop thinking about it as I walked through the grocery store later that week, and I continued to think about it as I wandered through the farmers market on Saturday. Actually, I found myself feeling a lot of emotions about these forgotten foods, like I wanted to stick up for them being bullied by the cool veggies like breakfast radishes, or heirloom tomatoes, or the stunning romanesco.
And honestly, I think it’s a combination of the current political shenanigans and things like the anticipation of EO Wilson’s new book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life where he proposes a plan to save the planet by devoting half of the surface of the earth to nature, but I can’t stop thinking about the unknown future and my part in it. I know I probably shouldn’t be writing about politics in a food blog, but oh well. When I heard Drumpf was running for President, I didn’t give it a second thought. I took it as a bit of fun for the media and hardly credible. But look where we are now. This planet has been so good to us for so long, it feels hard to believe that anything really apocalyptic could ever happen, and yet look at what’s happening to the ice caps and weather patterns. So the thought that has been spinning around in my head is this; when we pluck something from the earth, do we have a responsibility to use every bit that we can? There is also money savings when we buy a bunch of carrots with the tops and use the carrots for snacking and soups and salads, and then use the green tops for something as delicious as pesto. The point is, it’s your kitchen, it’s your grocery store run, it’s your trip to the farmers market, it’s your budget. Make it count, make it fill your table with fun, adventure, and make it yours. <3<3
2 large garlic cloves 1 ½ c. kale leaves
(or other greens like carrot, beet or radish tops, spinach, arugula, ramps, broccoli florets, rapini,etc.) 1 ½ basil leaves ¼ c. raw almonds (or pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, etc.) ½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional) ½ c. extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper, to taste
Wash greens and basil well and dry thoroughly.
Blend everything together until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Component in Action
sauce for pasta
spread for croustinis
scrambled with eggs
as a dip by itself, or folded into some greek yogurt for a creamy dip