Monday, February 28, 2011

Guest blog for Katsiroubas Bros

I am honored to have guest blogged for Katsiroubas Bros! Here is a link to the post: Tuscan Kale

And here's the blog (for good measure)...

This past week was cold and bitter, and so I was pleased to be guest blogging for the new blog of Katsiroubas Bros....what was I going to highlight???? Tuscan Kale, one of my most favorite greens, using it in a Greens and Beans Soup.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse boasting the following nutritional prowess:
-it's low in calories (1.5 cups of cooked kale has only 55 calories)
-it's a great source of fiber and protein
-it's a rich source of phytochemicals which have anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties
-it's a potent source of Vitamins A and B, and one of the highest vegetable sources of Vitamin K (good for strengthening bones)
-it's packed with minerals
Tuscan Kale has a long, dark green leaf with a tough stem. It's best to remove the leaf from the stem before using.....

The soup was a hearty soup which used well, the Tuscan kale, as well as dried white beans, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes and was flavored with veggie stock, cloves, bay, whole peppercorns, parsley and lemon.....
I started with dried white beans or cannellini beans, which I soaked overnight in cool water. Cannellini beans are a great bean to use in soups or stews because they hold their shape well and are pretty mild in flavor. At the same time though, they have a nice creamy texture when cooked through. Nutritionally, the cannellini holds it own with a whopping 25 grams fiber and 24 grams protein in 100g dried beans!
After the overnight soak, I drained the beans and prepped my aromatics and kale....I sauteed the aromatics in olive oil until softened, seasoning with sea salt and pepper.
I added in the beans, the veggie stock and some flavor: cloves, peppercorns and bay.
Once the beans had softened up, after about 20 minutes, I added in the potato and kale as well as a generous pinch of sea salt and let the soup finish cooking. It took another 20 minutes to cook.
To finish the flavor profile, I added the zest and juice of a lemon and chopped parsley; the lemon heightened the flavor and made it shine.
The result was a luscious soup with an amazing velvety texture from the potatoes, a hearty bite from the cannellinis, a nutritional punch from the Tuscan kale and a complex flavor from the cloves and the lemon.

Greens and Beans Soup
2 cups dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight, then drained and rinsed
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 onion, diced
1 leek, sliced and washed well
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups stock of choice, I used a rich vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
5 peppercorns, whole
1 potato, yukon golds work well, peeled and cubed to similar size as beans
2 heads Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves cut or torn into pieces
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

1. Soak dried beans overnight in cool water (cover by an inch or so), then drain and rinse.
2. Saute onion, leek, garlic, carrots and celery in fat of choice over medium high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper.
3. Add in beans, veggie stock, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until beans start to soften up. At this point, season generously with salt of choice (I used Celtic sea salt).
4. Add in potatoes and kale and bring to the boil again, reducing heat and simmering until the beans are done cooking and potatoes are cooked through.
NOTE: Add more stock or water if it appears that the soup is cooking down too far before beans have completed cooking through.
5. When soup is done cooking, add in lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley; taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

It was fun to guest blog and I am thankful for all the beautiful produce and ingredients that Katsiroubas Bros donated to me to make this delicious soup.

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