Potato Kale Soup

April 11, 2011 § 3 Comments

Dainty’s been back from California a week, but still hasn’t gotten in the groove. Catching up on work, volunteer meetings, dinners out, etc, have given me zero fodder for posting. And you’d think with a weekend just behind me, I’d have plenty to write about. I think  maybe I made a batch of steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast—that’s about it. And a loaf of bread, but it was a workhorse kinda loaf—nothing spectacular.

I spent the weekend working on a homey project—painting the window well in the bedroom. Sure, I saved several hundreds of dollars doing it myself, but I sacrificed several million brain cells in the process (just say no to paint fumes). It’s a project that’s been on my list for about a year and I’m glad I got it done. And while I was scraping and painting, Jennifer was making a big batch of vegan soup to weekday lunches. And this is a good one.

Potato Kale Soup

  • 1 tbs evoo
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced thinly (chuck the dark green parts)
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tbs parsley, minced
  • 3 carrots – whole
  • 3 ribs celery – whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 lb. kale, washed, torn and ribs removed

-Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onions and leeks until soft—abou 10-15 minutes.

-Add potatoes, parsley, whole carrots and leeks, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Boil, cover and simmer over medium low for 45 minutes.

-While that is simmering, cook kale in 2 cups boiling water in a skillet. Cover tightly and cook for 4-5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

-After 45 minutes, remove carrot, celery and bay leaves from soup. Reserve the celery and carrots but chuck the bay leaves. Puree half the soup in a blender. OR, an immersion blender is awesome for this—just whirr up (who says that? Jamie Oliver?) half of it right in the pot. Stir in cooked kale. Chop up the carrots and celery and return to the pot. Heat the soup through again. Salt and pepper it if you need to.

Tada! A vegan alternative for lunch. Sounds like this could use some bread. I think I’ll do that right now.

Cauliflower Masala

March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s not that I don’t like Middle Eastern/East Asian spices. I love them. I just don’t know how to use them.

For me, adding a shake of tumeric or fenugreek isn’t like reaching for the thyme or oregano. There’s a feeling for proportion with these spices with which I am not yet familiar.

Cooking is about trying new things. So, I tried something new last night. Cauliflower Masala.

A few months ago when I was testing out names for blogs I thought would be appropriate for me, I typed in www.growcookeat.com into my little url space and – what do you know – someone already had that blog. A chef/urban gardener/consultant, Julia Shanks had already taken the perfect name. Turns out she’s in the Boston area, too. Julia, if you read this, we should meet up and talk about getting a jump on the gardening season.

Cruising around her site, I found a recipe I just had to put in my “to cook later” files. I love cauliflower (my mother was be aghast to hear that), and it’s about time I try my hand with Middle Eastern spices. The recipe seemed ultra-accessible, so why not?

Again, I made a few changes to the recipe due to only having a 1/2 head of cauliflower – hers calls for a whole head, no potato, one tomato and a whole onion. I kept the spice proportion the same.

Ingredients

Cauliflower Masala

Cauliflower Masala

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, separated
    2 potatoes, on the smaller side, cut into 3/4-in. chunks
    1+ 1 tbs. olive oil
    1/2 onion, chopped or diced
    minced fresh ginger, about the size of your thumb to your first knuckle
    1clove garlic, finely chopped
    ½ tsp. brown mustard seed
    ½ tsp. cumin
    pinch fenugreek
    ½ tsp. turmeric
    2 tomatoes, chopped – try to keep the juices if you can
    1 fresh green chili, sliced
    Salt to taste

-Toss cauliflower and potato with the olive oil and add a pinch of salt/twist of fresh pepper. Put on a baking sheet and roast in a 425F oven for 20 minutes.

-Meanwhile, saute onion, garlic and ginger in another 1 tbs. olive oil on med-low heat. Let it cook down until the onions are transparent – 5 minutes or so.

-While that is happening, rough chop the tomatoes. Instead of slicing, I minced the chili because I’m a wuss. But, I did mix the tomatoes and chili with a pinch of kosher salt and let them sit together until needed, letting the flavors meld together.

-When onions, garlic and ginger are nicely sauteed, add the spices, stir, and let them sit on low for a minute. Add the tomatoes and chili. Cover and let sit until cauliflower is done – no more than a couple of minutes.

-Time the cauliflower to come out just as the tomatoes go into the onions. Add the roasted veggies and mix the flavors together. Season with salt.

Oh my lord, it worked. The flavors were amazing. So simple and so QUICK. I’d serve it on top or alongside of cous cous or rice, but last night we had it on its own.

A note about proportions – I used half a cauliflower because that’s what we had and added in an extra tomato and the potatoes to make up for some of the bulk. Even with a whole head I would add in two tomatoes. The potatoes were good in it, too. The recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks, Julia.

P.S. Yes, my food photography sucks. It’s just my camera phone. But I’m in the process of researching cameras. Any suggestions?

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