Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kale Pt. 3, The Soup, Garlic, and a Few Fresh Herbs in Zone 5b

I want to start out with onions and garlic from my garden, harvested in August or September.  The garlic is hard neck, and is easy to peel.  The onions and garlic may not be lasting much longer.  I'll have to watch the garlic for drying out, and the onions for spoilage.  My in-laws grew the garlic, and there is always plenty, even though I just figured out last year that you are supposed to replant it.  I didn't get that done this year, and may not get a chance now.  I know I have some younger plants that weren't ready for harvest this year, so it will be OK.  

I started out by cutting up all my veggies.  Usually, though, I cut the first ones to go in the pan, and cut the rest as the first are starting to cook.  To cut kale, take the stems out, either by cutting along the edge, or just tearing the leaves off of the stems.  If the weather permits, put the stems on your compost pile.

As always, I looked at recipes, then made something up.  I normally don't measure, but did, sort of, for this soup.  Rather than trying to measure 8 cups of chopped kale in a dry measuring cup, I just put it in an 8 cup liquid measuring cup to get an idea of how much kale to use.  I don't like it when recipes give you a number of a kind of vegetable to use, because they come in different sizes, but I did that so I wouldn't have to measure.

I went ahead and tore up the rest of the kale off of the stems rather than cutting it, as it was just as easy.

So, for this soup, I used what you see in the next photo.  I'll give an approximate recipe at the end of the post.  :o)  Originally, I was not going to use meat, but decided to because Larry is not a big soup fan, and he is really disappointed if there is no meat in it.  After making it, though, I think I used too much meat  for the amount of veggies.

Let's take a little side trip to see what fresh herbs I put in the soup.  I cut some sprigs off this Arp rosemary, but ended up not using them, because I used a larger sprig from the Madeline Hill outside.

I just took this next pic to show the other rosemary plants that haven't dried out so far!  I used a couple leaves I'd dried previously from the bay plant on the lower left.  You can use fresh bay  leaves, too, but the flavor is not quite the same, and I wanted to use up the dry ones.  (I should have posted the lavender flower for GBBD!)

These next pics were taken just before using the herbs for the soup, after it turned dark.  Here's the thyme that is still  hanging on in a pot, next to some sage.

It's either oregano or oregano thyme in the pot with the handle, that I used for the soup.  Two kind of chives are in the middle, upper and lower.  I used some of them the other day for my herb cream cheese spread.  Salad burnett is on the right, and I haven't used it lately.

The Italian parsley has been nipped by cold weather, but is still edible.

In the back, is the Madeline Hill rosemary that is supposed to survive zone 5 outdoors.  It's looking good so far.  There is tarragon to the right back, sage on the lower right, and thyme on the lower left.

I ended up not using the Arp rosemary on the left, but used most of the rest of these herbs, and put the rest on a plate on a shelf to use later.  It may or may not be dry yet when I decide to use it.  It doesn't matter.

I love snipping fresh herbs like parsley right into the pan with the kitchen scissors I only use for  herbs.  You can see the kale has cooked down.  At first, I thought I  had forgotten to include a pic of the kale in the pan, and had to scroll up and look.

For rosemary, I snip the top leaves off, then turn the side ones, so they all face the same direction, then snip them off. 

I love the kind of thyme that has the leaves going up and down the stem, and just run my fingers down the stem to get the leaves.

After I put the soup in a bowl, I thought it might be good with shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

Larry picked up some bread that needed to be baked.  It was pretty good with the soup and the leftover herb cream cheese spreads I had made for Friday get togethers.  

I'll call it Sunday Kale Soup, because if I made it again, there would be something different about it.  Feel free to tweak it however you want, and post a comment to say what you did.  When I asked Larry if he liked it, he said he did, but he didn't like the kale in it.  LOL  For me, kale was an acquired taste, but I may not eat as much of it if I didn't know how good it is for me.  I have some seeds for the fancy narrower leaved kind, but didn't plant them, because the kale I already have is doing so well, so I hope to plant it in the spring, maybe in a flower bed.

Sunday Kale Soup:
1 T. olive oil
2 medium/small onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 carrots, cut into thin circles, or chopped
4 medium sized potatoes, chopped, peeling is only if those eating the soup won't eat the peelings, but I bet if they don't eat potato peelings, they probably don't eat kale  ;o)
1-2 cups turkey ham, chopped
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 can each, northern and pinto beans, or any other beans you like
1 can diced tomatoes
8 cups chopped or torn fresh kale
to taste: fresh or dried herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme
About 2 T. shredded mozzarella cheese per bowl of soup, optional

1. Heat oil, then add the next 5 ingredients, (through the turkey ham) in the order listed, stirring with each addition, giving the onions time to get tender by the time the turkey ham is added.  

2.  Add the water, bay leaves, beans, and tomatoes.  Cook until the veggies are tender, and almost done, about 10-15 minutes.

3.  Add the kale and herbs, and cook until the kale is tender, another 10 to 15 minutes.

We  had lots of leftovers.  I forgot to measure the number of servings, but there were at least 8 cups there.  I plan to put some in smaller containers to freeze to take for lunches.

By the way, there are a lot of good kale recipes out there you can find using a search engine.  I even found some kale information on some blogs.


  1. hello sue :) just stopped by to say 'hi' :) i came here via technicolor cottage. i must admit i'm no cook.. i can't cook ... i eat out all the time, and i'm not a garden person because i live in a condo with a small balcony. but i do have some lovely plants in pots... but never like plants in a real garden. i just really enjoy your pictures... so lush and green! the feeling of your blog is very very homey :) i may not understand everything you write about gardening and cooking but just by looking at the photos you put up already feeds the psyche :) thanks for the lovely pictures and God bless :) have a great week ahead.

  2. Thanks Luthien,
    I enjoyed your comments. I used to wonder why people say they can't cook, but lately, someone said something about having trouble with things getting done at the same time. I have that trouble, but just keep certain things wrapped up in a towel, or reheat things in the microwave that may have cooled while waiting for something else to get done.

    I looked at your blog about painting, but didn't have time to comment this morning before going to work. I love your paintings of flowers!

    God bless you, too!

  3. Dear Sue,
    I so enjoyed reading how you made this yummy pot of soup.
    I also grow herbs and veggies. I loved seeing your butterflies on your sidebar!
    I am looking forward to catching up on all your posts and getting to know you.
    You might enjoy my posts on Q's Corner. I take pictures of the birds and butterflies in my backyard.

  4. Another great tutorial!

    If you had this "series" on videotape you have yourself your own show on YouTube!


  5. Sue, soups are a mainstay of our winter fare and this one sounds great. I owuld think the ham added a nice flavor to the kale. Isn't it wonderful to be able to pick which herbs you want to use? you have a lovely selection and would rival any chef!

  6. Sue,

    I want to start a herb garden next year. I enjoyed reading how you used them.

    I really don't like to cook. I'm always in a hurry. But it is a necessity, isn't it? Fresh herbs may make the job more palatable (pun intended).

  7. Hi Marie,
    I like to cook, but sometimes I do things fast and easy or have my husband grill, because I get so busy with other things.

    I love cooking with fresh herbs. They were the first kinds of plants I started growing in my 20s, and have been growing them all along.


I welcome comments and questions from anyone, including those who do it anonymously. Some people find my posts by doing searches, and I like hearing from them. I guess spammers won't even read this message, but I will delete spam as soon as I see it.