Friday, February 24, 2012

Creamy Collards Soup and Greening Your Winter Windowsill

Although the climate in Portland suites me perfectly, it seems everyone else has complaints about the grey and drizzly winters, longing for the dry, sunny summers.  I love it all.  Just as each season is on its way out, I welcome the next.  Winter is not too cold, calm, and comforting.  Spring is still cool and provides the excitement of seeing new buds and flowers.  Summer is warm (luckily, on too-hot days I can retreat to the basement to sleep) and sunny and colorful, but can also be exhausting.  Fall is relaxing and allows me to use the oven again.

It's still winter here and right now, we're not growing much in our vegetable garden except for some greens and herbs.  I'm happy to have year-round collards, because, among other dishes, I'm able to make Creamy Collards Soup.  This recipe, found below, was one I posted during VeganMoFo 2011.

If you don't have a winter garden, or any garden space at all, I have a solution to winter blues you may be experiencing.  The first item is something I started doing when I lived in a Philly apartment that was lacking in the natural light department.  It's not a novel idea, but it's a fun way to have a little "garden" on your windowsill.

Idea One: Sprouting!
All you need is a clean jar with lid and a small handful of sprouting seeds.  I've had success with dried mung beans, lentils, alfalfa, etc.
Here "salad mix" seeds have sprouted.
Day 1: Place a tablespoon or so of seeds in the jar and cover with water to soak overnight.
Day 2: Drain water by placing lid loosely over the jar and turning upright, removing as much water as possible.  Replace lid and set on a windowsill.
Day 3-7 (or longer): At least once a day,  rinse and drain the seeds/sprouts, until they're ready to be eaten!

If you want to make your job easier, you can get a small section of screening, place it over the mouth of the jar with a rubber band, instead of dealing with the lid.  Alternatively, you can get an actual sprouting jar, equipped with a fancy lid-with-screen.

Idea Two: Continuously grow your own green onions

I learned about this idea on Pinterest.  And thought "of course!"  Simply purchase a bunch of green onions at your grocery store.  After use, save the bulbs and roots, stick the roots in water, and watch the green grow back!  Empty and refill the water once per day.

Creamy Collards Soup
makes two generous bowls of soup

1 large yellow potato, peeled and cubed
1 small bundle of collards, stems discarded, and chopped
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 small onion, diced
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
4ish cups vegetable broth (I just used "Better Than" bouillon and added water until the right consistency was achieved)
salt and pepper to taste
Hot sauce to drizzle on top

1. Boil the potato in water until soft (about 8-10 min).  Meanwhile, steam collards (about 5-6 minutes) until bitterness is gone and collards are soft.  Reserve about 1 cup of the potato cooking water, draining the rest.  Cool.

2. While potato and collards cool, saute the carrot, onion, parsley, and garlic in olive oil for 5-7 minutes.  Add vegetable broth.  Add half the cooked potato.

3. Blend the other half of the potato and the collards in 1 cup of the potato cooking water until smooth.  Add to the vegetable broth mixture and stir until the contents are well combined.*

4. Serve hot with a swirl of hot sauce and nice piece of sourdough and a salad.

*If you have a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix) you may need to spoon foam off the top of the soup.

1 comment:

  1. oh that second window sill idea is perfect.
    i once saw something in a childrens book quite similar: use carrot heads and water them, so they can grow their greens back. maybe its possible to use the carrot greens for smoothies? i'm not sure.