Monday, July 14, 2014

Preserving the Bounty: Kale and Potato Freezer Soup

As much as I wish it were hot peppers, our garden has been producing at least one vegetable with abundance and consistency: a trendy brassica known as kale. We've been cutting bagfuls of kale every other day it seems with no let up in sight. I enjoy kale and it's very good for you, so I'm not going to complain, but I was starting to run out of ways to prepare it: after several batches of kale chips, plenty of smoothies and stir-fries and salads, we still had several bags languishing. Kale is a terrible thing to waste, so the search began, Is there any way to preserve Kale for future use?

You can only can greens if you have a pressure cooker, so that was out. I was about to attempt freezing the individual greens when I remembered cabbage soup. My traditional m.o. when it comes to cabbage soup is to make a -huge- batch in the fall and freeze as many leftovers as possible. The result is lunches of cabbage soup all winter long. It occurred to me that something equally delicious might be created with kale.

And I was right! We were able to use up quite a bit of kale and preserve it for down the road when the greens parade has ended for our garden...and the soup is quite tasty too.

Kale and Potato Freezer Soup
inspired by Once A Month Meals

[What You Need]
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 onion
5 cups vegetable broth
4 cups chopped red potatoes
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 cup milk
7 tightly packed cups of shredded kale

[What To Do]
  1. Chop garlic and set it aside to rest.
  2. Heat oil in a large stock pot and add chopped onion. Saute until tender and add garlic.
  3. Add broth, potatoes, mustard, oregano, and yogurt. Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer until potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Carefully blend about half the soup.
  5. Stir in milk and kale. Allow to cook just a little while longer until the kale is slightly wilted.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cream cheese candies [Prozia Margaret]

I was first introduced to these beauties at a cousin's bridal shower. I recall being floored by their delicate appearance and flavor. I also recall being happy to learn of my great aunt Margaret's relatively simply recipe for creating these masterpieces.

Now, I warn you, my recipe may not be 100% exact to her original. This is my attempt to recreate it without calling any relatives. I may have made these very late at night. Additionally, Prozia Margaret's candies were made in beautiful candy molds creating lovely rose shapes, which I did not have on hand. I'm sure you can find similar ones online. These were made very much on a whim and, again, very late at night.

Cream Cheese Candies
via Prozia Margaret

[What you need]
1/4 cup butter
1 8oz block of cream cheese
5 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp flavoring of your choice (I used peppermint as it was what I had on hand, but I recommend almond or anise for a more authentic touch)
a couple drops food coloring in preferred color.

[What to do]
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cream cheese and stir until softened and mixed with butter.
  2. Slowly, a cup at a time, mix in powdered sugar until the mixture forms a firm and moldable dough
  3. Add in food coloring and flavor of choice. Or if you wish to do multiple, separate into bowls and do as many different flavor and color combinations as you wish. Mine were "Patriotic Peppermints" for the World Cup as well as upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
  4. Roll into balls. At this point, you can either put them into molds and allow them to set this way or use a fork sugar cookie style if you find yourself sans molds like I did.