I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beautiful soup

Kale is not a pretty vegetable when it's cooked. I tried to dress it up for the photo but it's pointless. It's dark and sloppy and not at all photogenic. But we are not trying to win beauty contests here. We are trying to eat!

When I saw a big ol' two pound bag of cleaned, stemmed, chopped kale on sale for three dollars, I said hoo boy, it's time to put leafy greens on the menu. Plus there were potatoes to use up. I saw a recipe here that had been converted to vegetarian (and I had soy chorizo from Trader Joe's- yay!); it had originally come from a recipe by Rachel Ray here. So I poked around for the other ingredients, and naturally came up short on a few items.

No turnips. OK, we'll ratchet up the carrot and onion. Not enough kidney beans in the freezer. We'll supplement with the last of the pintos. A can of diced tomatoes with the juice for the chopped fresh tomatoes. Dried herbs for the fresh (it ain't summer here in the Mid-A!) And basically doubled the whole shebang cause I didn't want to split a 12 oz. package of veggie chorizo when I had nothing to do with the other half (but later I found a recipe for a rice dish with sun-dried tomatoes and chorizo- will try a veggie version of that soon).

When I opened the chorizo it basically disintegrated back to it's soy crumble origins. But it was really flavorful and spicy, and this soup kicks. Just don't expect to be able to slice or dice it into chunks if you get this brand, it's more like veggie ground. OK by me, and I've got soup for a week!

I have seen some recipes for veggie chorizo floating around the 'net and have put that project on the to-do list.

Portuguese Kale Soup
(aka Caldo Verde)

2 Tbs. olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup diced onion
2 cups chopped carrot
1 lb. kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
12 oz. soy chorizo (such as Trader Joe’s), chopped or crumbled
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
8 cups vegetable stock
3 - 4 cups cooked kidney beans (or other beans of choice)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
4 medium to large potatoes, diced

In a large stock pot (you're going to be stuffing in a lot of kale), heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the garlic through carrots and cook for 5 - 10 minutes to soften a bit. Add the kale through herbs and mix well. Add the stock through tomatoes. Stir it to get the kale immersed in the broth so it will start cooking down. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the diced potatoes. Cook until just tender, about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them to the soup. Remove the bay leaves.

If there's anything lacking nutritionally in this, I can't think of it. Plus it is delish. It just looks homely.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Eat your veggies

Hooray for January, the holidays are behind us.

Hooray for us, we elected the smart guy this time.

And hooray for dill dip, cause it makes me eat my veggies! (If you use a vegan dip base, you get a double hooray!)

Silken tofu could also be used in place of the vegan sour cream/mayo combo.

Dill Dip

1/2 cup vegan or light mayo
1 1/2 cups vegan or light sour cream
1/4 tsp. dried lemon zest (or a teaspoon of lemon juice, if you have fresh)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. onion granules
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. dried chives
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients well, adjust seasonings to taste, and refrigerate for two hours to blend flavors. Serve with cut up vegetables and pita chips or crackers.


Use all sour cream, or a combination of sour cream, soy yogurt, Tofutti cream cheese, and/or mayo (to equal 2 cups total for the dip base.)

If using fresh herbs, double or triple the amount used for dried herbs.