Osmocote Advertisement

Birds and Beans


All the snow we’ve had recently brought many more birds to the feeders outside our kitchen window. A lone starling was joined by sparrows, house finches, downy woodpeckers, seven cardinals, goldfinches (which are beginning to show faint yellow feathers as they lose their winter plumage), mourning doves and the occasional Cooper’s hawk (which sends the small birds scattering). It’s a good time to be indoors cooking and sowing seeds of tomato and pepper plants. As soon as the snow melts, I’ll get my soil thermometer and when the top inch of soil reaches to 52 F or so, I’ll begin sowing kale seeds. Kale is the current darling of foodies and cooks. It’s rich in nutrients, it provides fiber and it’s tasty. ‘Red Russian’ has smooth red leaves and you can harvest them in about 25 days. I like the curly varieties such as ‘Redbor’, ‘Toscano’ (the “dinosaur” type) and curly ‘Scotch’ or ‘Dwarf Blue Curled Vates’ with their blue leaves. Kale is a member of the Brassica (cabbage) family, but even if you don’t like cabbage, you may enjoy this leafy green, which can be steamed, sauteed, used in omelets and in soup.

Here’s a winter kale recipe that’s easy to make.

Kale with Cannellini Beans

2 pounds of curly kale (2-3 large bunches)*
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 T olive oil (I like basil-infused oil, but you can use any good olive oil)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry white wine
15 oz can of cooked cannellini beans, rinsed well
Freshly grated Parmesan or Parmigiano reggiano cheese
*4 cups of finely chopped raw kale will wilt in cooking to about 1 cup.

Mature curly leaved kales have tough ribs and stems. Fold the leaves in half and remove the entire stem/rib before cooking. Baby-size kale leaves can be cooked stem and all.

Put a quart of water in a deep pan and add 1 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer and add the kale. Simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Drain the kale and reserve the water for another use — you can drink it or add it to soup. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and rosemary and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking for another 4 minutes. Chop the kale into small pieces. Add the beans and kale and cook a few more minutes to heat. Place in a bowl and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Good as a side dish or enjoy as a warm salad with some fresh French or pumpernickel bread.

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Blog
A Blast from the Past

Back in January 1906, the Gardener’s Monthly Magazine featured these women perusing seed catalogs and magazines.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Lawn Chaney’s Turf Talk

Editor’s Note: Though he acknowledged that it is bad form for a writer to miss a deadline, especially when it is only ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2014

This is our “Ideas Issue,” designed to be a keeper, although of course we hope you keep all of our issues. So to get this ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Tulipa sylvestris

It’s probably been more than four years since a wild shade-loving tulip made its surprising appearance in a shady, grassy bed in


Article Thumbnail
Features
Perk Up with Pots

In our family, my sister Chris hosts Christmas and I host Easter. Among her many talents, Chris pulls out the stops when it …


questions

My lilac had a grayish blight on the leaves this summer. What caused this and how can I prevent it?

I received a beautiful flowering azalea plant during the holidays. I would like to continue growing it over winter. Will I be able to bring it into bloom next year?

I’d like to plant a white bark birch in front of my home in my sunny front yard. What can you tell me about Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement