Sunday, January 22, 2012

Superfoods Month: Paula Deen and creamy kale soup

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Today's Superfood: Kale
Vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber

There's been a lot of talk about Paula Deen's announcement that she's had type II diabetes for three years.

Three years during which she's peddled butter, cream, cheese, sugar, fried foods and other health-conscious no-no's to the American public in shocking amounts and with remarkable consistency.

Why did she do it? For the ratings. People like that kind of food. Even if they know it's not good for them, they like hearing about it, they salivate over it, and most important, they'll watch her make it on TV week after week.

Paula Deen is getting a lot of criticism. She's being accused of feeding poison to the American people even as she knew it had caused grave health issues for her and had radically changed her own eating habits.

I'm not going to be too hard on Paula Deen. She's got a living to make, just like the rest of us. People make their own choices about what goes into their mouths. Paula Deen made her own choices about what kind of food she wanted to showcase on TV in order to maintain her personal brand and her ratings (or the Food Network made them for her, or they made the decisions together).

But it's caused me to take a long, hard look at the food I've been writing about for the past three years. And I realized something:

Unlike Paula Deen, I write about the food I eat, and my family eats, day in and day out. And most food bloggers I know do the same.

Mine is not an "always" or "never" family when it comes to food. We eat vegetables and we eat pasta. We eat salad and we eat dessert.

When I compiled my recipe index, there were more recipes in the "Vegetables" category than in the "Desserts" category. That surprised me, actually. But I realized that's truly a reflection of the way we eat.

We have "often" foods and "sometimes" foods. If this blog is truly a reflection of the way we eat as a family, then meat is a "sometimes" food and vegetables are an "often" food. That's a good thing for our health, and it's the way I want to be seen by you, my readers.

This Superfoods Month series started as a way to keep me on track with my New Year's resolution to eat healthier foods. But it hasn't been a stretch. This, today, is the way my family eats.

I hope you like this kale soup. It's easy to prepare and turned out the color of pine trees. And yes, this is what my family ate yesterday.

P.S. I brought this soup to a food blogger gathering celebrating Idaho potatoes - see the bottom of this post for more Idaho potato recipes.

Click here for all the recipes in this Superfoods Month series

print recipe

Creamy kale soup
A simple soup packed with vitamins and fiber. If you find kale too bitter, substitute chard, spinach or another milder green, or use a mixture.
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan or curly kale, leaves stripped from stems and roughly chopped
  • 1 small potato, unpeeled, diced
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute about 4 minutes, until the onion is softened and turning translucent. Add the garlic and stir another 30 seconds - don't let the garlic burn.Now add the kale, potato and stock. The liquid will not be enough to cover the kale; that's okay. Bring the pot to a boil, turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer the soup about 20 minutes, until the kale is soft and the potatoes are cooked through. Transfer the soup to the blender and puree, or use a hand-held immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings


kitchenarian said...

A beautiful soup and great words on a heated topic these days.

I am disappointed in Paula Deen. I have never been a huge fan of hers, but I do believe that celebrities should have a sense of responsibility when it comes to their image and their lifestyle. Yes, we as individuals need to take responsibility for ourselves, but television has such an influence in what most people consider the status quo. I guess that's why we don't have cable in our house and don't watch much television! (But her recipe for bacon wrapped mac n cheese I saw on the news did look good! ha ha)

Oh, I should have just commented on the soup. It is lovely. :)

Bill said...

How important is the potato? And what "exactly" is a large bunch?

Stephanie Weaver said...

Thanks Erika. I agree with you that bloggers do tend to reflect more balance, if only because we are generally shooting what we have just made, as opposed to having the time, budget, and luxury to shoot themed foods or ultra-rich foods. My blog definitely is in the healthy foods column, with a few treats here and there. Which is how I eat, day in and day out. Thanks for a thoughtful post and a delicious soup recipe!

Erika Kerekes said...

Bill - the potato thickens the soup and gives it a creamy texture. You could use a half cup of cooked rice if you prefer. A large bunch of kale is the size of the bunches I get at Whole Foods or the farmers market. Maybe 6 to 8 cups when stripped and chopped. But precise measurements in a recipe like this aren't super important....

Bill said...

So if i was trying to eliminate the carbs (kinda against your entire "wholesome" article, but its how I eat, and tis recipe sounds interesting) perhaps heavy whipping cresm gets the job done too....will try and advise..thanks!

Erika Kerekes said...

Bill - I have nothing against cream (in small quantities, not Paula Deen quantities). A splash of cream would do very well here. Enjoy and report back!

Dena said...

I am loving your super-foods month and all the recipes. There is an honesty in your work. I share your generosity toward Paula Deen, too. I have only seen her show (by accident) a couple of times. Like most TV chefs, I came to think of her show more as entertainment and less about cooking/eating well. I admire the strength of her career and the loyal following she developed. But I think anyone who thinks the foods she entertains people with, is about cooking, must also think the folks on Jersey Shore represent the kind folks of New Jersey. Sorry to sound harsh, but a little common sense goes a long way. What super-foods will you bring us in February?

Erika Kerekes said...

Dena - thank you for the very kind words. I was intending to give up the Superfoods thing after January, but I'm enjoying it so much that I think I will continue to write about Superfoods recipes now and then. It's almost green garlic season, after all!

Unknown said...

AAAAAAAH. Green garlic season! I am ready!!!!

MeganRomer said...

This recipe is a fantastic bit of culinary framework that works beautifully as written and lends itself well to minor adaptations: I subbed a carrot for the potato, and it was fantastic. I've also made it with a couple of different kinds of greens, and it works well there, too. I'm so happy to have it in my arsenal! Thanks so much!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Megan - I would never have thought of adding carrot, but I bet it cuts the kale's bitterness a bit. Glad you found the recipe useful. Thanks for letting me know!

Nutella Nutterson said...

We made this tonight,, and the 2 1/2 year old said "this kale is delicious, mommy." !!!

We used a bag of frozen kale from Trader Joe's, and took out all the stems.

I did cook the onions and garlic in bacon fat (leftover from breakfast) and we topped it with some crumbled bacon and a dollop of creme fraiche. To round this out for a larger group, I might add more potatoes, and make sure to leave bigger potato chunks. Next time we smoke some pork, I'll probably use this as the base for the inevitable leftover stew.

Erika Kerekes said...

@Nutella - I'm so glad you liked it! I recently learned that all the potassium in kale is in the stems, so if your blender is powerful enough, you probably could leave the stems in. Either way, though, isn't it great to see kids loving greens?

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