Thursday, December 31, 2009

recipes by fruits & veggies A-Z

One of my favorite weekend activities is visiting the farmers' market. I walk through our local market, looking at all of the fresh food and thinking about what I want to make with it, then circle through a second time to make my purchases. I'm lucky to live in a place where these exist year-round. I use the fresh fruits and veggies I pick up there, plus those that arrive every Wednesday in our CSA box, as the centerpieces for the week's meals.

Below, you'll find recipes from Cole's Kitch to date, organized by their main fruit and veggie components so you can easily scan for recipes for the produce you have on hand (or that which you plan to procure from the farmers' market or your local grocer). Enjoy!

A

Apple

Artichoke

Avocado





B

Beet

Bok Choy

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Butternut Squash

C

Cabbage

Carrot

Cauliflower

Chard

Collard Greens

Cucumber

D

Dates







E

Eggplant


F

Fig

Fava Bean



G

Green Bean







K

Kale

L

Leek



N
Nectarine

O
Orange


P

Pear

Pea

Peach

Pepper

Pineapple

Portobello

Potato

Pumpkin



R

Radicchio

Rhubarb

Romanesco

Rutabega









S

Spinach

Squash

Strawberry

Sweet Potato

T

Tomato





Z

Zucchini



Sunday, December 27, 2009

grandma Frances' jewel cookies



I never met my grandmother, Frances. She passed away when my mother was a teenager. But I'm getting to know her a bit through her cookbooks: 3 black, 3-ring binders containing recipes typed on a typewriter in the late 1960's. A yellowing tab on the side of each binder describes its contents:


- Booklets, drinks, canapes, menu ideas, candy, misc
- Rolls, biscuits, cakes, cookies, pies, and desserts
- Main dishes, casseroles, vegetables, salads, soups & salads


I was sitting looking through these on Christmas eve. Neither my brother or I knew what a canape was. A quick search online later, we had the newfound knowledge that canape means couch in French and Spanish; it's also a type of hors d'oeuvres typically made from stale white bread that is sauteed or fried, cut into shapes, and topped with something savory. Interesting.

The cookbooks are filled with amusing treasures. They were assembled around the time when many convenience foods were becoming vogue: Campbell's soup, Dream Whip, Betty Crocker cake mix, Best Foods mayonnaise, Bisquick, Jell-O. One section of the main dish binder is titled "aluminum foil dinners". There's a recipe for Igloo Meatloaf with Potato Frosting. Another for Crescent Roll Lasagna is cited as the 1968 Pillsbury bake-off winner. And then there are the SPAM recipes:


In case you can't read the fine print, the pic to the left shows an entire page of SPAM sandwiches - from top to bottom:

- Chopped SPAM and sweet pickles on sesame bun
- Grilled SPAM cheddar cheese on gluten bread
- SPAM and baked beans on wiener bun
- SPAM lettuce and tomato on whole wheat
- SPAM swiss cheese and sauerkraut on pumpernickel


The desserts cookbook has definitely seen the most use. Flipping through the cookie section brings me back to my childhood, as these are many of the treats my mom made when I was growing up: chocolate crackles, pumpkin cookies, Corn Flakes oatmeal cookies, snickerdoodles, and a Christmastime staple - jewel cookies. I made a batch of these earlier in the week. Here's how they go:

Grandma Frances' Jewel Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 c. flour
1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. currant jelly

Work butter until soft, then add brown sugar gradually and continue working until mixture is smooth. Separate egg yolk from white and beat yolk into sugar mixture thoroughly. Stir in flour.

Chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until dough can be handled easily.

Shape 24 balls of dough. Dip each one into slightly beaten egg white. Roll balls in chopped walnuts. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 5 minutes. Press hole or cavity in top of each cookie. Bake 10 minutes longer.

Remove cookies from sheet and drop a bit of currant jelly into the hole of each cookie.

My posts of late have been more often centered around sweets than not. Those who have been following this blog for a bit know that is not the norm. This will be my last sweet post of the year, I promise! Next comes an exploration of the many cookbooks I added to my collection over the holiday. Stay tuned!

guacamole



Christmas is over. The Chinese food (a Christmas eve tradition), cookies, and fudge are finally out of the house. We ate the last of the other Christmasy leftovers last night. That means a clean slate for this evening's meal. And still enough people in the house to make something substantial.

For the meal itself, I'm turning to something I've made many times before - enchiladas. Actually, the appetizer is something I've made many times before as well, but it turns out that I've never posted on it - guacamole. Time to fix that. The recipe below was inspired by one I found on 101 cookbooks, which it turns out is (minus curry powder, which I omitted, and plus tomatoes, which I added) just how my mother makes it.

We ate our guacamole with chips as a prelude to veggie veggie enchiladas.

Guacamole
Makes about 2 cups

1/2 c. onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 avocados
the juice of 1/2 a lime
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
a pinch of cumin
a dash of sea salt
a dash of white pepper

Mix together ingredients, mashing avocado to desired chunkiness. Taste and adjust lime juice and seasonings to taste.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

gingerbread house



The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

This is my second Daring Bakers' Challenge. You may recall that my first challenge took a few attempts to get right (but in the end, the French Macarons were both beautiful and tasty). This time, I was successful on my first try. But this
was still definitely a challenge - it took me three days to complete! Here's a quick recap:

On day one, I made the gingerbread dough, which subsequently chilled in my fridge overnight. Day two saw me spending several hours rolling (a great arm workout!), cutting, and baking the pieces for my house. Finally, on day three, said house was assembled, decorated, and photographed. The house stood on its own - success! The roof did not slide off, as I feared. The unbaked gingerbread submitted to the red food coloring mixed with a bit of water, just as I was hoping it would. The only travesty was a chimney that turned out to be far too large for the house and had to be eaten. All else went as planned.

This is the first time I've ever made a gingerbread house from scratch. I had thought it was the first time that I've ever made a gingerbread house, period, but my mother insists that I built one from a kit at my grandmother's when I was a child. That sounds nice (but I have no memory of it!).

Two recipes were featured as part of this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge. I used Anna's recipe from Good Housekeeping. I halved the recipe, which turned out to be exactly the right amount of dough for my small house (roughly 6"x4"x8"), with some scraps that I cut into small squares and triangles and dusted with sugar ala flat-sided gingersnap cookies. The amounts below reflect the halving of the original recipe.

Gingerbread House
Makes enough for 1 small house

1 1/4 c. packed dark brown sugar (I used dark muscovado)
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
2/3 c. molasses
4 3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1/2 Tbsp. ground ginger

Beat sugar, cream, and molasses in a stand mixer equipped with a metal whisk until smooth. Combine flour, baking soda, and ginger in a large bowl. Mix well. Replace the whisk attachment on stand mixer with the kneading attachment (I'm sure there's a more technical name for it than that, but I am not familiar with it!). Add flour mix to wet mix 1/3 at a time. Knead evenly. (Have I mentioned how much I love my KitchenAid? This would have been painful by hand, but was a breeze with the right appliance.)

Divide dough into three portions. Flatten each to a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for four hours or overnight.

Roll dough one disk at a time to 3/16" (this is the arm workout I mentioned above!). Chill dough on cookie sheet in the freezer 10 minutes or until firm enough to easily cut. Use poster board patterns to cut dough into pieces for the house with a sharp paring knife.

Place pieces on parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving at least 1 1/4" between each to allow for expansion during cooking. Note: chilling discourages expansion, so I put the cookie sheets with cut pieces in the freezer for an additional 10 minutes prior to baking.

Bake in a 300 degree oven 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch (don't overbake, as this will dry out the gingerbread). Try to bake pieces of similar size together. Smaller pieces will bake faster, so reduce time accordingly.

Remove from oven and use patterns to trim pieces as necessary (this will be easiest while the pieces are still hot). Allow to cool.

Use royal icing (recipe below) to glue house together. Apply any decorations to the sides of the house prior to assembling.

Royal Icing
Makes enough to hold together and decorate 1 small house

1 large egg white
1 tsp. white vinegar*
1 tsp. almond extract*
2-3 c. powdered sugar

Whisk egg white, vinegar, and extract together in a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

*I decided to go with a coffee/orange-flavor/red-color theme for my house, and so substituted citrus champagne vinegar for the white vinegar and 1/2 tsp. orange extract for the almond extract called for in the original recipe. 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar was the amount I needed to get to desired consistency (pretty thick, like paste).

Though my house was simple, I had a lot of fun with it. I can see how gingerbread house making can become an annual tradition. It might just have to be one of mine from now on. I'm already thinking about what I might do next year...

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

roasted butternut squash soup with fried leeks



I just fell in love with leeks.

I hesitate to say this, but I am afraid this particular vegetable might have remained foreign to me if it weren't for the CSA box. Before that, I'm not even sure I could have correctly identified a leek. And even with their semi-regular appearance in the weekly box, I feel like I haven't done much inspiring with them. Mashed potatoes with leeks were good, but I just don't make mashed potatoes that often. Typically, the leeks that have found their way into my kitchen have been glorified onion replacements. Until now.

I had no idea how delicious leeks would become with one simple (albeit slightly messy) preparation. Fried leeks just became my new favorite garnish. Here, they make their cameo in cole's kitch atop a simple butternut squash soup. They would also be fantastic over salad. Or potatoes. Or [fill in the blank]. They are simply delicious. I think you could put them on top of just about anything.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Leeks
Serves 4

olive oil
1 medium butternut squash
1 leek, cleaned and sliced into 1/4" rounds (white and light green parts only)
2 c. vegetable broth
1/4-1/2 c. cream or milk
pinch of nutmeg
white pepper
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. arrowroot powder

Carefully cut butternut squash in half length-wise. Scoop out seeds. Brush with olive oil and place, cut side down, in a glass baking dish. Roast in 400 degree oven 60-75 minutes, until soft. Allow to cool. Scoop flesh out of skin and set aside.

Separate the layers of the leek from the cut rounds. Set a handful or two aside in a small bowl (these will be fried into the garnish). Chop remaining leek.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Add vegetable broth to pot, scraping any brown bits from the bottom. Reduce heat to low. Add squash. Puree with an immersion blender, or in batches in a stand blender.

Add cream, nutmeg, and white pepper to soup, stirring until well mixed. Add water or additional vegetable broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Increase heat slightly and stir and cook until heated through.


Dust leek rounds with arrowroot powder, stirring to distribute. Heat vegetable oil in a small pot over medium heat until hot. Add leeks (carefully - hot oil burns!). Fry leeks until browned, 2-3 minutes. Remove with fork or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with fried leeks. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg and white pepper if desired.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

rocky road fudge



From my childhood, I remember two kinds of fudge that my mother would make each year and pack into holiday tins lined with wax paper: the regular kind and the good kind. It turns out that the 'good kind' is perhaps one of the simplest holiday recipes. Ever. It comes together in minutes and makes a large pan of bite size treasures perfect for a holiday gathering. Here's how it goes:

Rocky Road Fudge
Makes about 40 small squares

12 oz. chocolate chips
1 can Eagle sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp. butter
10 1/2 oz. mini marshmallows
1 jar (2 c.) salted, dry roasted peanuts

Heat milk and butter until blended. Add chocolate chips, stir until melted. Stir in other ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a rectangular pan. Allow to harden. Cut into small squares. Enjoy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

broccoli popcorn



I have been wanting to try this out since season 6 Top Chef winner, Michael Voltaggio, made it on the season finale a couple of weeks ago. The remaining 3 contestants were tasked with a challenge to make something inspired by their favorite childhood dish. Michael did a play on broccoli, which he said he hated as a child.

Broccoli popcorn.

Intriguing.

When a head of broccoli showed up in the CSA delivery last week, I knew it was time to give it a go.

A search on the internet for broccoli popcorn doesn't yield much. But it did lead me to discover a new blog - Fatal Foodies (a group of mystery writers and food lovers!) - and a post on broccoli popcorn. Rather than fried, as Michael has prepared it, the Fatal Foodies' version is baked in a super hot oven. It turned out just as I was imagining.

Broccoli Popcorn
Serves 2

2 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
a couple pinches of red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss the broccoli with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until the oil and seasonings are well distributed. Bake broccoli in a glass baking dish, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until crisp and beginning to brown.

Warning: highly addictive. By the time I finished photographing this dish, I'd eaten the whole plate!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the best sugar cookies


It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The decorations are out. The presents are mostly wrapped. Holiday music is playing everywhere (including my living room at the moment!). Our holiday work party last night was filled with fancy dresses and suits, a crazy amount of interesting food (highlights: Peruvian purple potatoes mashed with fixings on Himalayan rock salt, fried mac and cheese balls), flowing drinks and conversation, and dancing. But there's one thing I haven't yet done that's making the holiday season somehow not quite complete - baked. It's time to fix that!

The following recipe is one of my holiday staples. Perfect, buttery sugar cookies. The source is Mary Engelbreit's Cookies Cookbook, which I've had since college (and now that I think about it, might actually be the very first cookbook I ever purchased!).

My modifications to the original recipe are minor. Whereas the original recipe calls for rolling the dough to 1/8" thick (and the picture that accompanies it is of thin, delicate cookies), I like my sugar cookies to be a bit heftier, so roll the dough about 1/4" thick. The recipe also calls for sprinkling the cookies with colored sugar before baking. My preference is for frosted sugar cookies. These modifications (and my frosting recipe) are reflected below.

The Best Sugar Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
colored sprinkles

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, then the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.

Divide the dough into thirds, shape each piece into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/4" thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters and place 2" apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. At this point, you can decorate with colored sugar and sprinkles, if desired (or leave plain if your intent is to decorate first with frosting, which is the approach I've taken).

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


To make frosting, mix the butter, milk, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add more milk/powdered sugar as needed until frosting reaches desired consistency. (Only add very small amounts of milk at a time - a little goes a long way in changing the consistency of the frosting.) More powdered sugar will make for a stiffer frosting that can be piped via a ziplock bag with the corner snipped, more milk will make the frosting glaze-like. I typically start with a stiffer frosting and then when I'm running out of frosting or decorating patience, add a bit more milk to make it glaze-like, which is a little speedier to decorate cookies with.

Once cookies have cooled completely, decorate with frosting and colored sprinkles.

Plates of these cookies will be accompanying me to work tomorrow to share with the team (perhaps Romeo the Reindeer will even make an appearance). Spreading joy through sugar. My holiday season is complete!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

eggplant pizza



Pizza and a movie with Marika: a great Friday evening.

Here's what we ate:

Eggplant Pizza

olive oil
1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4" rounds
prepared pizza dough (I typically use this one)
2 c. of your favorite tomato sauce
1 small red onion, chopped
4 oz. mozzarella, grated
a couple pinches of red pepper flakes

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant (as many rounds as will comfortably fit) in a single layer. Cook 3-4 minutes. Drizzle with additional olive oil. Flip and cook on other side 3-4 minutes, until eggplant is tender. Set aside and repeat with additional eggplant if needed.

On the prepared pizza dough, spread tomato sauce. Sprinkle with chopped red onions. Place the eggplant rounds over the sauce and onions in a single layer. Cover with cheese. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

Cook according to pizza dough directions.

YUM!

Monday, December 7, 2009

pan roasted salmon bread salad



Bread salad has always struck me as a simultaneously strange yet delightful dish. Bread. In a salad. It seems almost contradictory - shouldn't salads be made of vegetables? In fact, most bread salads I've had in the past
are mostly vegetables. For example, the one I had a couple of weeks ago at a cafe on Bainbridge Island, Washington with my friend, Dave. It was packed with greens, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, and a lovely balsamic reduction. Yum!

The weather has turned cold (it's supposed to be a chilly 32 degrees in my area tonight, which is actually warmer than much of the rest of the country). Salad seems unseasonable. Still, I was intrigued when I saw this recipe in the October edition of Food & Wine. After all, if it's roasted, that means it must be warm, right? Yep. And true to form, I found it both strange and delightful!

A couple of notes: I halved the recipe from Food & Wine, which said it would serve 4. We still ended up with a decent amount of leftovers (at the quantity we eat, I'd say the recipe below would safely feed 3, possibly even 4). I omitted the parsley called for in the original recipe because I don't really care for the flavor. My final variation from the original recipe was due to my lack of lemon (it turned out what I thought was a lemon from the neighbor was in fact a yellow lime!). In its stead, I substituted 1 Tbsp. minced preserved lemon and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice.

Pan Roasted Salmon Bread Salad
Serves 2+

4 1-inch thick slices of ciabatta, cut into large chunks
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, halved lengthwise and very thinly chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. salmon, cut into 2-inch chunks

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss bread and 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl. Add bread to a roasting pan. Roast 5 minutes, until bread is lightly toasted.

In the same bowl, toss tomatoes with garlic, capers, lemon, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir tomatoes into bread. Roast 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften and break down.

Still using the same large bowl, toss salmon with 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle salmon into bread and tomatoes. Roast 6 minutes, until salmon is just cooked through.

The only thing that bothered me about this dish was the lack of green. I remedied this by serving it along a simple green salad.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

sushi bowl



I love sushi. A typical sushi night for us involves walking (or driving, if we're feeling lazy) to the local sushi restaurant, perusing the vast menu while sipping a martini or Japanese beer at the bar, ordering our rolls to go, and bringing them home to enjoy. I've never been brave enough to actually make the sushi at home. But I think perhaps I've found a fix for that.

I was at my mother's house a couple weeks ago browsing online for healthy recipes. I came across a posting from Heidi Swanson at 101 cookbooks from a couple of years ago featuring a "sushi bowl" recipe. It wasn't the recipe itself that excited me so much (though it did sound delish), but rather the concept. Sushi deconstructed. In a bowl. I had to try this!

My first go at it took place while I was at my mother's. The combination was super simple: brown rice, tofu, toasted nori, sesame seeds, and green onions, dressed with a little soy sauce. For me, it was one of those dishes that had the perfect balance between great flavor and healthfulness - after eating it I felt more healthy, energetic, and ready to face the world than when I began.

It turns out that this feeling probably wasn't just in my head. Sushi (and traditional Japanese food in general) often works to bring together a harmony of the five flavors: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. The basic philosophy behind it is that each flavor has its own respective important effects upon the internal organs. So when you eat them in combination, in addition to balanced taste, you get balanced positive effects throughout your body. (Note: this is absolutely my lay-woman's interpretation of what I've read!)

Back to my initial sushi bowl. Two of the five flavors were underrepresented in my opinion: sweet and sour. I vowed to remedy this in my next attempt, which took place earlier this week. Here's how it went:

Sushi Bowl
Serves 2

1 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. short grain brown rice
6 oz. firm tofu, chopped into 1/4" cubes
1-2 sheets nori
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 avocado, sliced
1 persimmon, cut into small chunks
1 tsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp. black sesame seeds, toasted
wasabi (optional)

Sauce:
2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp. agave
1 tsp. rice vinegar

Cook rice according to directions.

Mix sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust flavors if needed. Add tofu and allow to marinate while rice cooks.

Toast nori in a dry skillet over medium heat until it turns bright green.

Once rice is done cooking, allow to cool slightly in a large bowl. Add tofu with sauce, crumbled nori, persimmon, and green onions. Mix to combine. Put in individual bowls. Top with avocado slices, sesame seeds, and wasabi (if desired).

This time, the five flavors were in harmony. (My only mistake was a bit too much wasabi...)

Part of the beauty of sushi bowl concept are the practically limitless combinations of ingredients. Pull out your favorite sushi takeout menu for inspiration!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

veggie bean soup



It's been awhile, but as of today, I'm officially back in my kitch. I have spent the past few weeks in the Pacific Northwest with my family.* I did do some cooking while there, but rather than exploring new recipes I stuck primarily to familiar dishes (a sampling: butternut squash mac & cheese, miso soup, roasted garlic mashed potatoes).
*My mother was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in early November. The initial surgery went very well. Next comes chemotherapy. The future is uncertain, but we're taking things one day at a time. Thank you to everyone who has been keeping us in your thoughts.

Today, as I was scanning the pantry in preparation for a trip to the grocery store, I spotted a bag of mixed beans that I bought at a market in Sonoma several months ago. I decided it was time to put those beans to use in a hearty fall soup. Here's what I did:

Veggie Bean Soup
Serves 6ish

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 c. dried beans**
4 c. water or veggie stock
1 bunch chard or kale, destemmed and chopped
**Any dried beans will do; I used a mix that contained kidney, navy, pinto, white beans, lentils, and some others that I'm not sure I can correctly identify! Check out the bulk foods section of your local grocery store for inspiration.

Dried beans quick soak:*** Add 2 cups dried beans to 6 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Allow beans to soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
***For those like me, who tend not to think in advance far enough to allow time for beans to soak overnight.

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add celery and carrot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add spices and mix to combine.

Add tomatoes (with juice), beans, and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until beans and veggies are tender (1 1/2 to 2 hours), stirring occasionally. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency.

Add chard and cover to allow to steam for a few minutes. Remove cover and mix kale into soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

We ate our soup together with freshly baked corn bread. It's good to be back in the kitch!
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