kohl rabi 2

This is the beginning of our kitchen’s favourite time of year.  It’s busy and hot … and everyone else is on holiday or has just come back and wants to tell you all about it  … but the produce makes it all worthwhile! The asparagus and strawberries are over, now we are getting lettuces and greens of every description, broccoli, garlic scapes, snow peas, snap peas, the above-pictured baby salad turnips and of course, everyone’s favourite alien-looking vegetable … the mighty kohlrabi!

Today’s recipe is for Black Bean Soup.  Looking back, I realize we have explored the possibilities of this most-nutritious-of-all-legumes in dips and in desserts but not in the easiest and most obvious of ways.  It is delicious, versatile and so good for you … unfortunately it is not particularly attractive (being a sort of lumpy dark grey) so no pictures unless you take them yourself after trying the recipe.

 BLACK BEAN SOUP

Soak overnight …

4 c black beans

Discard the soak water, rinse beans. Place in a large pot and add fresh water until it covers the beans by 2 inches. Add …

6 bay leaves

Simmer until beans are soft, skimming when necessary. Drain.

Dice …

2 c each of onion, celery and carrot

Saute until soft with …

2 T minced garlic

2 T coconut oil

Add …

4 c canned tomato

2 t dried thyme

1 t chillies –if desired

2 T grated orange zest

2 T lime juice

2 litres water or apple cider

Cooked beans

Bring to a boil, then simmer for half an hour, stirring frequently.

Remove 1/3 of the soup and puree roughly – watch out for bay leaves! Add back in to soup and adjust salt and pepper according to taste.  This is nice served with sour cream or yoghurt, diced green onions and a bunch of friends.

Enjoy the summer … remember the Taste of Italy in September … and take care of each other!

 

 

 

An Ode to August

purple peas1

‘Tis the time of year cooks love … all the hard work of our wonderful farmers and farm interns is now (literally) bearing fruit … and vegetables and herbs and a bewildering variety of greens!

It is such a privilege and a joy to work with ingredients that you know were picked that morning and conveyed down the hill by a friend.  This year we have the added pleasure of poetry with our produce …

Hey Susan, a purple and yellow pea poem for you:

For you we’ve grown these wonderous peas,
Like our children, they’ve grown so fast.
Sunshine and Sunset, their colours will make you freeze,
But if we harvest them any later than next week, their time will probably be past.

So to you, I hope that you will have reason to use
these marvelous twenty feet of delicious, if I may.
Just keep in mind that, thanks to plant-cues,
We may just harvest them Friday.
El Patricio (senior farm intern)

and my reply …

Oh Homey mine,

A thousand, thousand blessings upon your nappy head,

I beg you – quickly, quickly – pluck them from their loamy bed!

For I will surely serve them, with grandeur and with glee,

Upon the very instant you deliver them to me.

 

And if it would facilitate this so-long longed-for day,

I could even come collect them as I pass you on my way

Into my kitchen kingdom where I work (seems more like play)

To do the utmost justice to the treasures that you grow,

Enhance their subtle flavours and set retreatants all aglow!

Susan Sprague – Kitchen Manager and Queen of Doggerel Poetry

But enough frivolity for one post … here is a lovely, easy, gluten free cake that we like to make…

BLACK BEAN CHOCOLATE CAKE

Process in a blender or a food processor until free of lumps …

1 c well cooked black beans

3 eggs

1/2 c sugar

3 heaping T cocoa powder

1 orange – blossom end and seeds removed

1 t baking soda

1 t vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Pour into a parchment-lined loaf pan (or double the recipe and bake it in a 9 inch (sorry, Dad) springform pan).  Bake at 350 F until just done (approximately 35 minutes).  Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then gently remove it to a cooling rack.  This is a rather delicate cake – so be careful!

If we are feeling decadent, we make a ganache to ice it with by heating a good semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler until just melted and then stirring in an equal amount of almond milk.  If it is too thin to spread, let it cool (stirring occasionally) until it reaches the proper consistency.

When eating this cake, it helps to chant the mantra “Black beans are the most nutritious of all beans”.  This will allow you to contemplate a second slice.

Until next time, take care of each other!  ❤