Friday, June 26, 2009

Northern Bean & Kale Soup

We have so much kale in the garden and as I cannot recall when I saw the last rays of sunshine, I decided to put on a hearty pot of white bean and kale soup for lunch.
Just a simple soup but so comforting and delicious..that just hit the spot. I tossed in a a few handfuls of spinach at the end of the cook to clear out the garden and added a half cup sliced turkey breast and some leftover sliced fennel sausage. With the addition of white Northern beans or cannellini you end up with a very hearty and flavorful soup pot.

Northern Bean & Kale Soup

for a printable recipe, click here

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 carrots, diced
a bunch of assorted kales-well washed & chopped, approx 1#
4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 can northern white beans or cannellini beans
a handful of fresh summer savory
a few sprigs fresh thyme
a tsp fresh rosemary minced
sea salt & ground white pepper

Cook shallots and garlic in olive oil for just a few minutes. Add white wine and vegetable or chicken stock. Bring it to a simmer and stir in the chopped kales. Cook ten minutes and then add the beans and herbs to the pot. Simmer until the kale is tender. At the end of the cook, toss in turkey slices and fresh spinach leaves. Serve hot with plenty of grated cheese. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Greens of my garden

The best thing about this time of year is the fresh, young, salad greens that look so tasty, (especially after a shower of rain). This year I’m trying some cut and come again variety lettuce. It’s been fantastic! Plus plenty of romaine and oakleaf too! I’ve just about depleted the spinach beds and will miss the addition of these spring greens in my salads..until I sow another plot for Autumn salads. But all in all I suppose I can thank the rains for having such a successful season so far of salad greens.

Some of my greens:

Chick Pea Salad

2 c. cooked chick-peas
3 roma tomatoes, diced
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 c. diced pepper
¼ red onion, diced
3 TBLS.extra virgin olive oil
1 TBLS. red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
zest of one lemon
1/4 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. Oregano

Combine the chick peas, tomatoes, scallion, red onions and peppers in a bowl. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano and lemon zest in a measuring cup. Blend well together and pour the dressing over the chick pea mixture, tossing gently. Cover and chill for a few hours before serving over a bed of fresh garden greens.

Click here to see more of my kitchen garden or check out whose been visiting my garden.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Rhubarb, Strawberry & Beach roses

Three things I love about the month of June are the rhubarb patch, the strawberry fields and the beach roses coming into blossom. The weeks have disappeared since I took over a large abandoned garden plot, but the fruits abound, so I keep at it.
Last weekend as the fog lifted and before the afternoon's impending storms moved in so we went strawberry pickin! We pretty much had the fields all to ourselves.. so the picking went fast. It would be such a shame with the amount of rainfall we've been having to just let them go by without at least a few harvests. The elder (92 yrs) caretaker of this plot has since retired but the beds remain just brimming with three different varieties of luscious berries.

Here's the strawberry patch

We picked six quarts.. some for dessert, and some for the freezer. I love opening the freezer in the middle of winter to make shortcakes with early summer berries I've tucked away.

The rhubarb patch is sizeable and a great source of hiding places for my newfound field mouse family that has recently moved in to torment me! ;) It seems they aren't selective in their nibblings.. and now that the nasturtium blossoms are arriving, apprently it's is a delicacy they thoroughly enjoy!

I've just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's bestseller, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and wanted to try her version of Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It turned out well and quickly vanished from our plates. The next time I make it I would cut back on the rhubarb and add more berries. Crisps are pretty easy to make recipes and you can add any fruits of the season you have on hand.

Barbara Kingsolver's Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp recipe:

3 cups strawberries, halved
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup honey (I used wildflower honey)
Mix together thoroughly and place in an 8x8 ungreased pan.
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar (or a bit more, to taste)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1.2 tsp allspice
1/3 cup butter
Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit mixture, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or so or until golden brown.Enjoy!

And no Spring would be complete in our house without at least one of my Strawberry Rhubarb pies being made. This time I added sliced apples as well to my pie. Just yummy!

The new gardens as well as the three farmer's markets I do weekly are keeping me very busy this year and I wouldn't want it any other way. But as busy as it is, I'll always take time to smell the roses.. the beach roses that fragrance our coastline with their exhilarating aroma. The only thing all this rain will accomplish this year will be to produce a plethora of rosehips for my winter cordial this year.