Kale and Chickpea Soup

Kale and Chickpea Soup
Originally uploaded by bookbum.

Pulling a bag of wrinkled and shrunken garbonzos from the bottom of my lentil bin, I wondered if they could be saved. How old are these things? Looks like maybe I've been carrying them around since my college days, piling newer beans and lentils on top, these working their way down, year after year after year. I gave them a try, using a recipe I found at Epicurious.com which morphed into something of my own. Changing recipes to suite myself or what I have on hand was once a sacrilege. Who am I to re-think and present a recipe that's been printed in a book or newspaper? Bloggers taught me that I am somebody to do just that (as long as credit is given). Just what my mother has been trying to tell me all along, when I complain on the phone that I can't make such-and-such because I have no heavy whipping cream or fennel or turkey legs or ....

To see the recipe at epicurious.com, click the link above. My adaptation follows.

Kale and Chickpea Soup:

16 oz. chickpeas
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (1 c.)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bay leaves (2 if large)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 lb. (approximately 4 c.) stemmed kale, processed finely
32 oz. chicken stock
1 - 2 c. water, as needed

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 links hot Italian sausage, casings discarded, diced

2 hot green chillies, seeds removed
1/2 - 1 tsp. groung Ancho Chili Pepper
1 tsp. Garam Marsala

Soak chickpeas overnight, changing water several times. Cook beans on the stove, or, as I did, in a pressure cooker for 10 -12 minutes, until tender. Gather and chop ingredients. Stem kale and chop finely in a food processor. In a 5 - 6 qt. Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook 5 - 7 minutes, until onions are soft. Add cubed potato, kale, chicken broth, and water. Cook 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, "skin" Italian sausages and discard casings. Separate into bite-size pieces and fry in a skillet with a little extra-virgin olive oil until the color changes from opaque to brown. Drain on a paper towel and add to soup. Add hot green chillies, Ground Ancho Chili Pepper (Penzey's) and Garam Marsala. Pause; stir, taste. Add salt, and ground pepper as needed.

∗ Note: The chickpeas, however old they were, came out beautifully after soaking a day and a half and pressure cooking; pre-soaking chickpeas is normally not required for pressure cooking. The ground ancho chili pepper, extra garlic, and hot green chillies added some of the flavors of the chorizo that was missing from my version. Garam Marsala was a tasty addition to the chickpeas, here, as it is to Bengal gram in Indian cooking.


Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies


These cookies have been hanging out in my flickr! account so long that I forgot how to post them here. I've made notes in case I have another lapse. The recipe came from Real Simple.

Do use less oatmeal than called for, three cups was, with the other additions to the cookies, way too much. And like the recipe says, do not overcook. I wanted to have nice golden cookies for my photo, so I let them go an extra 3 minutes.

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1c. light brown sugar, packed
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs, large
1 tsp. vanilla

1½ all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

2½ to 3 c. rolled oats
1½ c. raisins
½ c. walnuts

Set oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Cream butter with a mixer. Add sugars and beat for approx. 3 minutes. With mixer going, add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Combine next 4 items. Then add to butter-sugar mixture above. Add last 3 items to all. With a large spoon, shape dough into 2-inch cookies, with at least 2 inches between each. Bake 22 - 25 minutes, until edges are brown, but center is still light. Do not overbake.


Do You Cook Anymore, BookBum?

Yes! I apologize for the delay between posts. I've been cooking and photographing the results (sometimes forgetting, I admit), but I get a little sidetracted with the rest of the process when I sit down at my laptop. First I just wanted to modify a couple things on my page. As I learned more and saw blogs that really caught my eye, I wanted to fancy-up my blog, as well. Posting, here, came to a standstill. I'll work on that. I'll work on everything just a little bit harder.