Way back before I had kids, I actually had time to read. I read long novels about historic battles, magazines from start to finish without interruption, and took all day to casually peruse over the Sunday paper – specifically the food section.
Then the kids came along and the novels became short stories about little red hens, magazines pile up on the table waiting for my attention, and the Sunday paper, well…do they even make that anymore??
I am a gatherer of recipes. I see something that looks and sounds delicious and it gets put in the “to make” file. These days my recipe file is mostly online – taking screenshots on my phone and sending a link to that page or blogger that I want to follow. But I still hold a very large binder of paper recipes – coming from the magazines and that Sunday paper from long ago. Every other month or so I find a few quiet minutes to myself and I pull the big binder onto the table and gently sift through the papers, finding inspiration, remember trends or wondering why in the world I saved that recipe.
My husband thinks I’m slightly crazy for dragging this big binder around with me but he accepts my strangeness and makes room in our lives for this creaky book full of my past ideas. Some days when he gets home from work, there are recipes all over the counter – my attempt to find something interesting and fun to make in the chaos of everyday life.
Other times he will look at me with a half-crooked smile and a shake of his head as I point at the ten bundles of kale and say “I have a recipe…it’s in the big book” and dive head first into the binder with frightening speed, flipping pages until I can yell, “A-ha! Found it! See!??” Brian cannot understand how I can remember the exact location and recipe page in my big binder but I can still hand him my phone and ask him to show me where the setting button is located. But the explanation is pretty easy if you ask me – I love food. I kind of like my phone. Tradeoffs. The husband gets to program my phone and in return he gets prettily presented food and a big spoon to dig in with.
After my last trip to the farmer’s market I remembered one of the recipes in the big binder that I wanted to make – a cream of greens soup. Remembering that the recipe was from the Sunday paper, I found it quickly and read over the ingredients just to find out (1) I didn’t have half of the ingredients needed on the recipe and (2) the recipe was full of cream, butter and bacon. Now, before you freak out – yes, I love all of those things but it’s almost swimsuit season, regardless of what mother nature is currently dishing out. So I tweaked the recipe to be lighter on calories, but still tasty, warm and filling.
This recipe is more of a template for a cream of greens soup. I have listed some ideas below that will allow you to use what produce you have on hand, to substitute or make additions to the recipe – whatever makes your heart (and tummy) happy. Happy cooking!!
cream of greens soup
makes about 6 servings
1 cup roughly chopped white onion
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
8 ounces baby spinach, washed (or arugula, lettuce or zucchini)
1 bunch kale, washed and trimmed of stalks, and roughly chopped (or swiss chard, collard greens or mustard greens)
1 head of broccoli, washed and roughly cut into 1 inch pieces (or a couple of cabbage leaves, green beans or brussels sprouts)
1 bay leaf
8 cups of vegetable stock (or chicken stock or water)
2 cups cooked quinoa (or rice, potato or other grain)
1/2 cup roughly chopped herbs (parsley, chives, basil, cilantro, or a combo)
1 ripe avocado (or 1 cup of cream or milk)
Place a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom and add the onion and garlic. Cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent.
Add the spinach, kale, and broccoli to the pot (or whatever green veggies you are using) and give everything a stir. Pour the vegetable stock into the pot, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until all the veggies are soft. Stir in the quinoa.
Once the veggies are cooked, carefully ladle the soup into a blender. Working in batches, blend the vegetables and quinoa until completely smooth and pour into a large bowl to make room for the next batch. During the last puree round, add the ripe avocado. Stir everything together, season with salt and pepper and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.