Saturday, March 27, 2010

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup
from If the Buddha Came to Dinner by Hale Sofia Schatz with Shira Shaiman

Serves 6 to 8
preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Seasons: Fall/Winter

1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
4 small leeks (in my case I used a locally grown onion)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (I used dried)
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2" pieces (I only had two sweet potatoes in my basket this week, so I substituted the two I was missing with red potatoes)
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 small bunch kale, fibrous stems removed, leaves chopped (I have no idea if my bunch was small or not...)
1 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Slice off the top of the garlic head, exposing the cloves slightly. Place the garlic in a small shallow baking dish. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over the top of the exposed cloves, cover, and bake for 2- to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool, squeeze the cloves out of their papery shells, and set aside.

2. Trim the roots off the leeks. Slice off and discard the tough green leaves from the tops of the leeks. Wash the remaining white and light green portions thoroughly in cold water. Make sure to rinse in between the layers, removing any sand. Shake dry, then slice them thinly on the diagonal.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot. Saute the leeks, rosemary, and roasted garlic cloves over medium heat. Cook until the leeks become translucent. Add the sweet potatoes and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the water or stock. Bring to a low boil, cooking until the potaties are tender, about 12 minutes. Add more liquid if a thinner consistency is desired. Add the kale, cooking just until it begins to wilt, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For a creamy consistency, puree some or all of the soup in a blender before adding the kale.

~::~ After the Meal ~::~

Overall the soup is okay, although we aren't sure we're big fans of the texture of the kale in it even after zipping it through the blender.

Inspired to Cook, and Willing to Share

Thank you Jamie Oliver for opening my eyes to the point that pushed me over the edge. I've seen the light and I'm now taking the plunge to cooking my own food from scratch using fresh (and as much as possible, local) ingredients. It probably won't be easy, but I think my picky eater of a partner and I will be better off from it.

Now don't get me wrong, it hasn't been just Jamie's influence that has gotten me here. I'm not a mainstream do-what-everyone-else-is-doing kind of girl. For example, I'm seriously obsessed with green methods of construction and permaculture. I've been trying to prepare more food at home so I can control the amount of garbage going into my body for the last six months. But it wasn't until watching Jamie's TED speech this winter that I realized I was really willing to take the plunge and make my meals from local, seasonal foods as much as possible without spending an arm and a leg. I recently signed up for a "Good Food Box" from a local not-for-profit group that is trying to help farmers waste less of their food, farmers find a local market to sell their produce, and give the community a cost effective manner to get more fruit and veggies into their diet.

With the Earth Hour an hour away, I think this is the perfect point to start talking about what I'm doing. I'll probably also use this to track what recipes are working for me and which ones aren't.