Season-Crossing in the Kitchen
Fall is in the air... OK not really in our air. It's hot and muggy and raining here in southwest Florida. But it's in the stores, and it's in the magazines, and there are murmurs of Autumn throughout the blogosphere. So, the changing season is on my mind (a gal can dream, right?).
With tomatoes still aplenty (and groans from DaddyBird at even the mention of more gazpacho), I took some inspiration from SouleMama's Carrot-Tomato Soup and Rose's Tomato (Alphabet) Soup, and pulled out my soup pot today. I've been working through the seasons in Anna Thomas' fantastic Love Soup, and settled on a hearty summer Kale and Tomato Soup. Thomas calls this a "truly season-crossing tomato soup" where "flavors from summer and winter meet beautifully in early fall..." I served it, as recommended, with a spoonful of her Simple Basil Pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese toasts.
I also turned out a batch of Lemon-Zucchini Cornmeal Cookies, another great season-crossing recipe, which I made last year about this same time. (I used 1/2 the sugar called for this time and they are perfect and kid-approved).
In case you're up for some season-crossing cooking, here's the recipe from Love Soup. (Note: like most of the recipes in this cookbook, it takes a long time to prep and cook this concoction, which is overflowing with farm-fresh ingredients.)
Kale and Tomato Soup (from Love Soup)
8 oz. Russian kale, or any kale
12 oz. Yukon Gold potatoes
1 1/2 lbs. red tomatoes
1 stalk celery
8 oz. leeks
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
3 cups vegetable broth
Wash the kale & trim away the hard stems. Cut the leaves into 1-inch strips (cut them in half if they are long). Scrub the potatoes & cut them into 1/2-inch dice. Peel the tomatoes & chop them coarsely, and thinly slice the celery. Trim the leeks, cut them in half lengthwise, wash them thoroughly, and them slice them, using only the white & palest green parts (yields about 1 1/2 cups).
In a large soup pot, combine the kale, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, about 3 1/2 cups water and a teaspoon of sea salt. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about half and hour, or until the vegetables are soft.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in a saute pan and cook the chopped red onion in it over medium heat until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add half the chopped garlic & 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to color, about 20 minutes. Add the leeks to the pan and keep cooking until the leeks are soft, then add the mixture to the soup, along with the basil and parsley.
In a small saute pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the remaining chopped garlic and stir for a minute or two, just to let it lose its raw edge. Add the red pepper flakes and stir over medium heat for another minute or so until garlic turns golden. Immediately pour this mixture into the soup, deglazing the pan with a ladle of the broth, then adding it back to the soup.
Add the vegetable broth, correct the seasoning with a bit more salt & red pepper to taste, and gently simmer for another few minutes to marry the flavors.