Recipes from Ohio

Life has surprises.  My websites bring a lot of them my way.  And, one of those surprises was Dee.  She has a website to promote safety in schools.  One guy who wrote a booklet for her said, "I ONLY want Phillip Martin's art in the book."  Like most people on the planet, Dee never heard of me.  But, she contacted me and the surprises started.

I said I thought it sounded like she'd gone over my website.  Had she seen my murals?  No.  But, she was interested.  And, a couple days later she contacted me to say I really needed to publish e-books about my murals.  Dee knew how to do that.  She had the technology.  More importantly, she wanted a series of at least twelve books.  No way!


A few days after that, Dee called again.  This time she said, "Your recipes are so fascinating!  You need to write cookbooks, too."  That was so funny it bordered the absurd.  I've never been a cook.  That gene totally skipped by me.  I collect interesting recipes and adventures as I travel.  But, I've almost never made any of the dishes.  That is until now.  I'm making cookbooks and someone has to create the dishes and photograph them.  That someone is me.  I said life has surprises, but this is just shocking.

Dee, of course, says my photos are great.  As an artist, I hope to hear that a lot.  I may not know a lot about photography, but I have that artist's eye for a picture.  But, when Dee tells me my photos are terrific, I just beam inside and out because she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her photography.  Yep, when she says I do well, it's all kinds of thrilling.

Anyway, I tell you this story to contrast me with Anne.  I write cookbooks and fake my way through the kitchen.  Anne is a master chef (at least in my eyes).  She gives cooking workshops and has contemplated opening a bed and breakfast/cooking school.  Anne can invite a dozen people over to her home -- on a whim -- and delight them with whatever she throws together from inside her kitchen pantry.  Events like that would bring me untold stress and grief.  There is never anything in my refrigerator to "throw together".  And, nobody comes to my place to eat unless it is a pot luck dinner.   

Fortunately for me, I've been invited to Anne's home many times.  It's always delicious.  She even swears that most of her dishes are easy.  I'm not totally convinced.  But, I knew when I needed a recipe to go with my NNEMAP mural, I could and should and would only turn to Anne.

When I asked Anne about a recipe, she immediately recommended Portuguese Kale Soup.  I liked the "Portuguese" sound of it.  But, honestly, I've never had that dish with her - yet.  More honestly, it has ingredients in it that I would never put in soup.  I'm talking about kale, turnips and vegetarian sausage.  Seriously?  But, let me repeat, I've never had a bad meal in Anne's home.  And, this is the dish she wanted to share.

Anne's Portuguese Kale Soup
by way of Columbus, Ohio

  1 Tbs olive oil     3 bay leaves
  1 Tbs garlic, finely chopped   3 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
  1/2 cup diced onion   2 Tbs. fresh thyme, chopped
  1/2 cup diced turnip   6 cups vegetable stock
  1/2 cup diced carrots     1 cup kidney beans
  1 bunch of kale, stemmed   3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  6 ounces soy chorizo   2 medium potatoes, diced

The instructions are easy enough to follow.  I'm sure it could be done with a crock pot or in a "large stock pot" as Anne suggested.  I'm not totally sure what a "large stock pot" is, but I have a pot big enough to make soup in.  It's been done before in my kitchen.  So, start off with a large container.

Heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Toss in the garlic, onion, turnips (if you must stick to the recipe) and carrots.  Cook them up for five minutes.

Mix in the kale, chorizo, bay leaves, parsley and time.  The kale should be stemmed and roughly chopped while the chorizo will have no soy in it if prepared in my kitchen.  I seriously don't believe any Portuguese kitchen would actually use vegetarian sausage either.  But, if you must blindly stick to the recipe, then, you know what to buy.

After you pour in the vegetable stock, beans and tomatoes, bring it all to a boil.  Then, reduce the heat and simmer everything for 20 to 30 minutes. 

You may think it's time to sit back and sip a glass of whatever good Portuguese chefs sip.  Not so.  This dish has my favorite food in it - potatoes - and they need a bit of individual attention.

In a medium sauce pan, bring some salted water to boil.  Toss in the potatoes and cook them until they are tender.  Aim for ten minutes.  Then, drain the water and add the potatoes to the soup. 

The soup is ready when the three bay leaves are removed.  And then, any Portuguese the chef should be ready for some port, wine, aguardente or Ginjinha.  This chef prefers iced tea.

Copyright 2015 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.