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Friday, January 13, 2017

Cream of Kale Soup

Cream of Kale Soup


With nicknames ranging from "Power Soup" (no guesses who picked this one) to "Brown Slime" given at home, this filled-with-green-goodness soup is one of my favorites, even if kids drink it reluctantly every time I make it. Fifteen more times and am sure they'll end up loving this soup.

Pressure cook some greens - kale, mustard greens, spinach - with celery, onions, garlic, and mayo coba beans. Then, run it through the blender to make a smooth mush. Then, strain it to remove pulpy lumps for a smooth texture.

At this point, stirring in cream and simmering gently should be fine. But, since I like to use my slow cooker to keep the soup warm and ready for dinner when I come back from work, I poured the strained soup into the slow cooker one morning and let it slow cook till dinner time. Around the 8-hour mark, some heavy cream was stirred in, plus dried basil (I use freeze-dried which feels intense fresh), dried parsley, dried oregano and continued till the slow cooker is done.

Cook longer if preferred for the soup to come together with a creamy  warmth. I start it first thing in the morning and let it slow cook till dinner time - about 12 hours - in the slow cooker.

With a few slices of Pumpernickel bread, the kind made according to "old world methods, utilizing a slow-rise process", from Trader Joe's. Of course, the name "Pumpernickel" itself has fun origins that we talk about every time we eat this bread.

An alternative origin of "pumpernickel" is nearly as strange, if somewhat less savory. "Pumpern" was a New High German word similar in meaning to the English "fart" (so chosen because, like the word "achoo," it imitated the sound it described), and "Nickel" was a form of the name Nicholas, an appellation commonly associated with a goblin or devil (e.g., "Old Nick" is a familiar name for Satan). Hence, pumpernickel is the "devil's fart," allegedly a reference to the bread's indigestible qualities and hence the effect it produced on those who consumed it. (Some word fanciers have claimed that "pumpern" refers to the sound produced by thumping on a loaf of pumpernickel, but that explanation is extremely unlikely.) 
With winter firmly here, the old slow cooker gets a lot of use with stews and soups; quick one-pot meals come about often as well, like casserole and roast vegetables.

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