A Protein Packed Pocket

Most people love a good sandwich, but too often rely on lunchmeat (which is loaded with salt) or drive through burgers. What if I told you that there is an alternative to those boring choices. This pita pocket filling is not only yummy, it’s packed with healthy vegetable protein. Introducing the Dilly Chickpea Pita. I typically double this recipe for several days of lunches. It will keep sealed in the frig for up to 3 days. You can add additional veggies such as cucumber (my favorite), tomato, avocado or lettuce inside the pita pocket before you scoop in the filling.

Chickpeas or garbanzos are my favorite legume. They are inexpensive, versatile and delicious. Their charm goes far beyond hummus. They are excellent in soups, stews, salads, as a non-dairy thickener for soups, and in veggie bowls. Either dried or canned, chickpeas are a definite go-to for Healthy and nutritious eating!

DILLY CHICKPEA PITA SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup mayo (either vegan or regular)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon or grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely minced (or 1.5 teaspoons dried)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sliced cucumbers, lettuce or radish to line pita pockets
  • Pita cut in half (or other bread of your choice)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place chickpeas in a mixing bowl and lightly mash with a fork or potato masher for a rustic texture.
  2. Add sunflower seeds, mayo, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, red wine vinegar, dill, salt and pepper to the chickpeas. Mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  3. Split your pita pocket, (or toast two slices of bread), add any other veggies you are using, then spoon on the Dilly Chickpea Spread.
  4. ENJOY!!!

“Hard and dry, a chickpea is inedible.
Hard and dry, a heart is unlovable.
Presoak it in dance, music and art.”
― Khang Kijarro Nguyen

The Heat Is On!

As summer becomes fall, there are still many vegetables in abundance at your local farmers markets, particularly peppers! Look for a plethora of these from mild to fiery hot. You owe it to yourself to consider getting in on this incredible bargain. All peppers freeze well with very little effort. I freeze both bell peppers and jalapeños for salsa, stir-fries and chili; but my favorite thing to make is a savory Hatch Green Chili Sauce. Hatch chilies (a type of Anaheim pepper) come in mild, medium or hot varieties. We grow the medium heat. I use this for chicken enchiladas, white chicken chili, and to spoon over eggs.

Roasted Hatch Chili Sauce adds the perfect Mexican flair for any type of grilled meat, such as flank steak or chicken. I simply freeze it in pint or half-pint containers for future use. Double or triple the batch when they show up in abundance; you’ll be glad you did!

HATCH CHILI SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups roasted Hatch chili peppers (remove stems, skin, seeds and membranes), then chop
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sweet onion, chopped (I use Sierra Bianca’s)
  • 6-8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of one lime, separated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To roast chilies, place them on a preheated gas grill over high heat (or under a broiler). Grill or broil until the skins blister, crack and separate from the flesh. You will need to turn them a few times, depending on their size. Remove the peppers from the heat and place them in a covered glass bowl or inside a ziplock bag to allow them to steam (about 20 minutes). When cool enough to handle, remove skins, stems, seeds and membranes. Set aside until you do this with all the peppers. Then roughly chop.
  2. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I use a cast-iron for this). Once pan is hot add your oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chopped onion. Saute until soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add flour and stir to coat the onions and garlic in the pan (this is your thickener) about 2 minutes. Add your chopped chilies and combine.
  4. Add chicken stock and half the lime juice; simmer on medium until the sauce starts to thicken, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the remaining lime juice and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Let sauce cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Place sauce in batches in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth.

Yields: approximately 4 pints

“Live life with a little spice!”

Skillet Chili Rellenos

As a vegetable farmer, I can or freeze a fair amount of food for our winter consumption. When the tomatoes and peppers are on, you will find me doing something for future use. Currently we are bombarded with peppers of all kinds. Poblanos, Hatch, jalapeños, pepperoncini and serranos. This week as I was grilling some poblano peppers for using in chili this winter, I thought why not use all this produce for something savory that won’t take a lot of time, yet has all the ingredients of one of my favorites, Chili Rellenos. Peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, we had it all on hand. I’ve been using the cast iron skillet that was handed down from my wife’s grandmother quite a bit lately. I love how it can go from stovetop, to oven to table (less dishes!). Bingo! I had our dinner plans.

Although I prefer to grill my peppers, you can also broil them in the oven on a sheet pan. Simply cut your peppers in half lengthwise and place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan, skin side up. Broil the poblanos about 15 minutes, until the skins char and blacken. They should puff up. Remove, place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until they cool slightly. Then peel off the skins and discard along with the seeds and stem.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 roasted poblano peppers, peeled and seeded; cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 jalapeños, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 fresh roma tomatoes, chopped or one 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese or a combination of Monterey Jack and cheddar
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish
  • Sour cream for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and jalapeño and saute them for about 5-6 minutes to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, oregano, ancho powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-low, until the tomatoes soften up and the mixture becomes saucy. Scoop half of the sauce into a bowl.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. In the same 12-inch skillet, layer half of the poblano strips and half of the cheese. Add the remaining sauce, then the remaining poblano strips, then half of the remaining cheese.
  6. Next, beat the eggs and pour the eggs over the mixture over the top of the skillet. Add the remaining cheese.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the eggs set and the cheeses are melted.
  8. Remove and let set for 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4-6

My favorite time of day is to get up and eat leftovers from dinner, especially spicy food. — David Byrne

Dippidy-Do-Da

We farm for a living, and I hate the heat; go figure! The one thing that keeps me going is all the fresh produce we grow or purchase from the farmers market. My head literally spins with the endless options for creative food and meals. This time we are focusing on fresh corn. This is a riff on Mexican Street Corn or Elote (grilled corn on the cob). I put up quite a bit of corn during summer for chowder, fresh corn polenta and this particular dip. That way, we can enjoy all that goodness during the winter months, when fresh is in short supply. It’s full of summer flavors and can feed a crowd on short notice.

I prefer white corn for this, but any corn will do. You can use Mexican crema or sour cream, salty Cotija cheese or feta depending on what you may have on hand. I like to use a cast-iron skillet for this, so I can take it from stove top to oven, and then to table all in one pan. You can also use a skillet and pour it into a baking dish for serving. Either way it’s sure to be a hit!

MEXICAN CORN DIP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 medium white onion (like Sierra Bianca), chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Juice of one lime, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, crumbled and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add corn, garlic, onion and jalapeño and cook, without stirring, until lightly charred, about 3-5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low and add Mexican crema or sour cream, mayo, half of the lime juice, spices, and half of the cheese. Mix well.
  2. Spoon contents into 2 quart baking dish if using, or place cast-iron skillet into oven. Bake until cheese is melted and outer edges begin to bubble, about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Drizzle remaining lime juice oven corn, sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with chopped cilantro.
  4. Serve with taco chips.

Serves 6-8

“Life without Mexican food, is like no life at all!”

Summer + Corn = Delicious

It’s been a while since my last post, but when the farm season is on it demands most of our waking hours. It has been hot and humid for the past month. At the end of the day, all I want is a shower and a cocktail! We had a successful garlic harvest that was sold in just two days! We are currently harvesting our early potatoes and onions. When my brother in law brought a dozen ears of corn to us, I knew I wanted to make some corn chowder. It is such a pleasure to use vegetables from our farm, at their peak of freshness.

Making a stock out of the corn cobs really deepens the flavor profile. I prefer the sweetness of white summer onions, red potatoes and dill for this soup; but use whatever suits your taste. You could substitute the red potatoes for Yukon golds, use a sweet yellow onion like Walla Walla, and cilantro instead of dill. This soup uses a mirepoix for a base, but you could use onions and jalapeño for a southwestern flare. Either way, the end result will not disappoint.

SUMMER CORN CHOWDER

INGREDIENTS

FOR CORN STOCK:

  • 4 cups chicken stock (homemade if possible)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Reserved corn cobs

FOR CORN CHOWDER:

  • 4 cups corn kernels (from about 4-5 ears of corn), reserving cobs for stock
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion of choice, finely diced (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
  • 3 stalks celery, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Make the corn stock by cutting kernels from the cobs with a sharp knife. Set corn kernels aside, and place cobs in a stock pot.
  2. Add 4 cups chicken stock, milk, and heavy cream. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes while you make the chowder. Use tongs to remove and discard cobs.
  3. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, brown chopped bacon over medium-high heat. Remove bacon bits to paper towels to drain with a slotted spoon.
  4. In the same pot, add chopped onion, carrot and celery to the bacon fat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and translucent.
  5. Add corn kernels, potatoes, additional salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste, and a pinch of cayenne. Add corn stock and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add fresh chopped dill and ladle into bowls. Top with bacon bits.

Serves: 4-6

“Summertime, and the living is easy.” –George Gershwin

A Big Bowl of Yummy

When we’re busy on the farm in the summer, it’s good to have some go-to salads that can be made in advance, and eaten over several days if need be. This a riff on tabbouleh, a Lebanese salad from the Middle East, made primary with bulgur and parsley. Bulgur is made from parboiled or steamed wheat kernels/berries that are then dried, partially stripped of their outer bran layer, and coarsely ground. The result of this process is a highly nutritious grain that cooks relatively quickly. There might be as many recipes for tabbouleh as their are cooks. The ratio of fresh parsley to bulgur is one of the reasons.

Traditionally tabbouleh is made with bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, parsley and mint. Since we are vegetable farmers, I like to load mine up with additional ingredients like radish, grated carrot, and chickpeas. I also like to use a little more bulgur than they might use in the Middle East, making it packed with fiber rich whole grain, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Although most recipes call for a medium-coarse, or #2 bulgur, I like to use a fine bulgur or #1 for my tabbouleh. If you enjoy a more chewy grain, use the #2 medium-coarse. Either way, 1 cup dried bulgur will yield 4 cups cooked bulgur. I buy my fine bulgur from a Middle Eastern grocery store. At any rate you can adjust proportions and ingredients to your personal preferences, however non-traditional it may be. Just don’t omit the bulgur or fresh parsley altogether. Tabbouleh, although best when fresh, will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

BRICKYARD FARMS TABBOULEH

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup bulgur, #1 or #2
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber, sliced 1/4 inch, then quarter slices
  • 4 green onions, sliced using both white and green parts
  • 6-8 radishes, sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and shredded on large holes of box grater
  • 1 large bunch curly parsley, chopped
  • 6-8 large mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (quality matters here)
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. If you are using fine or #1 bulgur: Place 1 cup bulgur in large bowl. Boil 2 cups of water and pour in over the bulgur. Let rest for 10-12 minutes. Fluff with a fork. I like to place it in the refrigerator for about an hour to cool it down. You can also just let it cool in the bowl.
  2. If you are using medium-coarse #2, place 1 cup bulgur in a heavy pot and add 2 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional). Bring to a boil, then turn down to low and cover. Cook for 12 minutes. Take of heat and let stand for 10 minutes more. Fluff with a fork. Let cool to room temperature or place in refrigerator for one hour.
  3. To the cooled bulgur add your halved cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green onions. radishes, chickpeas, grated carrots, chopped parsley and mint.
  4. In a separate bowl or pint mason jar, mix together the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Mix with a whisk, or shake vigorously to emulsify. Pour 1/2 of dressing over tabbouleh. Mix thoroughly. Add additional dressing just before serving.

Serves 6-8

“What is more refreshing than a salad, when your appetite seems to have deserted you?” –Alexis Soyer

Cutting Carbs? No Problem!

I’ve been a vegetable lover all my life (well, except beets and okra, but that’s another story). Being organic vegetable farmers, we eat seasonally as much as possible. There are certain vegetables we return to again, and again for their amazing versatility; one of these is cauliflower. You can rice it, steam it, roast it whole or with other vegetables. This particular recipe calls for it to be made into a luscious gratin. This is a riff on a recipe from my main man, Yotam Ottolenghi. He is an absolute genius when it comes to vegetables. I have switched up some of the spices, and adjusted for our heat preference. Feel free to do the same.

This gratin can be made in advance (up to one full day) and refrigerated until ready to bake. It will pair well as a vegetarian dish with a side of brown rice, or goes well with roasted chicken and/or fish. I find a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of micro-greens rather than parsley works well too.

CAULIFLOWER GRAIN WITH MUSTARD & CHEDDAR

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large cauliflower , broken into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon medium curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups white cheddar (about 6 ounces), shredded on large holes of box grater
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I blast mine in a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Steam the cauliflower over boiling water for 5 minutes, drain in a colander and let cool slightly.
  2. In a 12-inch non-stick skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 8 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the cumin, curry powder, mustard powder, and chilies and cook for 4 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard seeds and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Pour in the heavy cream. Add 1 1/4 cups cheddar and salt/pepper, then simmer for about 4 minutes, or until sauce slightly thickens. Add the cauliflower and stir gently to coat. Remove from heat.
  4. In a small bowl, place the 1/4 cup cheddar, with the breadcrumbs and parsley. Mix until combined. In a 9-inch buttered casserole dish, fill with the coated cauliflower mixture. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Bake until golden; about 25 minutes (slightly longer if refrigerated)

Serves 4

“There is nothing that is comparable to it, or as thrilling,

as gathering the vegetables one has grown.” –Alice Toklas

A Soothing Bowl

There have been many times when I’ve felt a little off, that I want to eat something warm, nourishing, and easy to digest. A warming bowl of kitchari is what I make to settle myself and sooth my digestion. It’s clean, wholesome and quite frankly delicious. I sometimes incorporate it with a simple 3-day fast in the spring and fall to bring my system back into balance. Kitchari comes from the Ayurvedic system of eating and health that has been around for thousands of years.

Kitchari is made from organic basmati rice, split mung dal, ghee and spices. You can also top it with the vegetables of your choice, cooking them in the kitchari itself. I enjoy putting a dollop of my homemade cilantro-chili sauce, Greek yogurt and microgreens on top. Vegan’s can simply leave the yogurt off. Kitchari is best when made fresh, so plan your proportions so you don’t have leftovers. I make enough for each day and leave it covered on the stove top. If it firms up simply add a little additional water before reheating. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; you can also find premade spice mixes if the list seems to daunting.

For those of you that are curious and want additional information about Ayurveda, http://banyarnbotanicals.com is a great website to explore.

BASIC KITCHARI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup split mung beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 more tablespoons ghee
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2-4 cups fresh vegetables (greens, spinach, kale, zucchini)
  • 2 more cups water (as needed)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Measure out the rice and split mung dal and place in bowl. Add water to cover and soak overnight. You can skip this step (although it cooks much quicker) by rinsing the rice and dal in a colander until the water is clear. If soaking, drain and rinse the following day.
  2. Melt a tablespoon of ghee in a medium saucepan and add the whole cumin seeds and hing. Lightly toast them, taking care they don’t burn. Add the rice, mung and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick. It should end up looking like porridge or oatmeal in consistency.
  3. Warm the last two tablespoons of ghee in a small skillet. Add the coriander, peppercorns and bay leaf and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then stir in the rest of the spices and the onion (and garlic if using). Put the sautéed spices in a blender with about 1/3 cup water and blend well. Pour the spice mixture into the rice and mung. Rinse out the blender with the last two cups of water and add it to the kitchari as well. Add your vegetables. Cook for 10-20 more.
  4. Top with garnishes of your choice like cilantro, yogurt or microgreens.

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap.” —Ani DeFranco

Stocking Up!

During the fall and winter there is nothing I enjoy more than a steaming bowl of soup. Commercial stocks are inexpensive, plentiful and convenient, but they will never replace homemade. I typically make 36 quarts of chicken, and 24 quarts of vegetable stock each season, and freeze it for future use. Not only does the house smell terrific while it simmers, it is the foundation for all sorts of delicious meals that include soups, stews and risotto. I find that vegetable stock in particular, benefits from a little love and attention to the ingredients.

If you roast or brown the vegetables before you assemble the stock, the caramelization improves the flavor profile. Adding dried porcini mushrooms and tomato paste will impart a savory or umami element that deepens the end result. Unlike chicken stock which is simmered up to 24 hours, vegetable stock is simmered no longer than 90 minutes. The addition of herbs and onion skins add flavor and color to the stock.

VEGETABLE STOCK

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped onion (save the skins)
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 3 cups chopped carrot
  • 2 cups chopped parsnip
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed (can leave skins on)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 large handfuls spinach

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Rehydrate dried mushrooms. Place the dried mushrooms in a 4 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup and pour 4 cups boiling water over them. Set aside.
  2. Brown the onions, celery, carrots, parsnips and fennel. Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large stockpot. Add the chopped vegetables and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Cook over high heat for several minutes, stirring only occasionally. Be patient with the browning of the vegetables, as they have a high moisture content. It may take 10-15 minutes or longer to brown them.
  3. Add the garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to turn a rusty color.
  4. Add the mushrooms and their soaking water, the rosemary, thyme, onion skins, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley and 4 additional quarts of water. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low. After 45 minutes add spinach. Continue to simmer for a total of 90 minutes.
  5. Strain the stock with a basket skimmer or slotted spoon, removing all the big pieces of vegetables and mushroom. Discard or compost. Set up a large bowl with a wire mesh strainer in it. Line strainer with a layer of cheesecloth. Using a ladle or 2 cup measuring cup, pour stock through strainer. When the liquid slows down, you may have to change the cheesecloth.
  6. Pour into jars, or 1 quart plastic deli containers and chill or freeze. Make sure you leave 1 1/2 inches of headspace if freezing.

Yields: 4-5 quarts

“The secret to change, is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” –Socrates

Zuppa Cloverdale

Winter has definitely arrived in the small town of Cloverdale. After 12 inches of snow, and sub-zero temperatures, one tends to prefer steaming hot bowls of something savory. When looking in the pantry and freezer for inspiration, I decided on soaking some flageolet beans, and pulled out a package of sweet Italian sausage. I still had a decent looking cabbage, and wha-la! Something savory and wonderful was going to happen.

Cabbage seems to be an under used vegetable. Part of the brassica family, it is high in vitamins C and K. It will help improve your digestion, is low in calories and high in soluble fiber (and you thought kale was the darling)! I love cabbage in salads, soups, stews, stir fries, rolls and roasted in wedges. We grow three different varieties of cabbage; savoy, red and a beautiful variety called Dead-On, a red tinged savoy. The following soup uses your basic white cabbage, but during the growing season I encourage you to go to your local farmers market and branch out. You will be surprised how vibrant color and texture can inspire your creativity.

ZUPPA CLOVERDALE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dried, soaked and cooked flageolets or cannellini beans (alternatively you can use 1 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed cannellini beans)
  • 12 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 4 links) removed from casings.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock (homemade if possible)
  • 4 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded pecorino cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. If using dried beans, (which I highly recommend) cook these first. They should be soaked for 8 hours or overnight. Drain them and put in a heavy Dutch oven or pot and cover with cold water to about 1-2 inches above the beans. Place two cloves of garlic and a bay leaf in water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender. DO NOT SALT YOUR WATER!! Salt will prevent your beans from softening. When beans are done leave them in pot until ready to use; then drain and add them to your soup. Otherwise, simply drain your can of beans and leave in colander until ready to use.
  2. In a large, heavy pot on medium-high, place your sausage links (casing removed) into pot. Break larger pieces up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and no longer pink. Add your onions and garlic; sauté until onions are soft.
  3. Add chopped cabbage, stock and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook until cabbage is soft, about 15-20 minutes. Add drained beans.
  4. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and/or freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  5. Ladle into bowls and pass pecorino cheese if using.

Serves: 4-6

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” –Aristotle

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