Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
—Pietro Aretino

Kale, Kollards and Kabbage

Recipes: Kale and Potato Soup; Braised Collards with Potatoes and Red Pepper Oil; Smothered Cabbage.

Kale and Potato Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
6 cups vegetable stock
1 bunch kale, rinsed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped
Dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds, optional garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, add onion and garlic, and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add potatoes, stirring to coat with oil. Sprinkle with thyme.

2. Add stock and bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add kale and continue cooking another 15 minutes, until potatoes are soft and kale is tender.

3. Lightly mash the potatoes with a potato masher and serve soup in warmed bowls with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Braised Collards with Potatoes and Red Pepper Oil

Easy, delicious; I could eat this everyday–really!

1 small bunch collards, or 4 large leaves, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 – lb potatoes, quartered, or in small chunks, if large
1 c water or stock
1 – 2 T olive oil
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1. Combine the collards and potatoes in a deep skillet. Add about a cup of liquid (or enough to almost cover the vegetables) and the salt. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover, turn the heat to medium and cook until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally, probably another 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil, red pepper flakes and garlic over LOW heat in a small skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes–watch it as the garlic can burn in a second.

3. Once the vegetables are ready, pour the red pepper oil over them and stir to combine. Serve immediately–enjoy!