Tag Archives: thyme

Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup

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Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup

On my days off, I love spending my free time in my little garden.  Gardening diverts my attention from my hectic day job into something completely relaxing and calm.  Tending to my plants whether it be watering, weeding or picking bugs off the leaves of my lettuce makes me happy.  I’ve enjoyed gardening for many years and every year and season my garden changes.

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My garden is small but very productive.  Two raised beds, a small patch of dirt and several large pots.  That’s it.  I utilize every bit of precious gardening space that I can.  During the spring months, I grow my cool weather crops.  Cool weather crops include kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, kohlrabi and radicchio.  In a few weeks, what you see here will be replaced by tomatoes, squash, beans, cucumbers and corn.  I rotate the variety of plants every year and I make sure that I never put the same plants in the same spot every year.

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A bucket of fresh picked Redbor Kale.  I made the decision to harvest all my kale this morning.  I did that because I needed to make room for the tomatoes that I will be planting next weekend. I gave a few bunches of kale away to friends and family and the rest went into the freezer.  I saved one bunch for my Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup.

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Redbor Kale.  If you are not familiar with kale, you need to know that kale does not form a head like lettuce and that it has a cabbage like texture.  I chose the Redbor variety of kale for my garden this year because I liked the purple color on the leaves and stems.  I was not disappointed.  It has a wonderful flavor too.

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About four feet away from the kale, I planted a small patch of spinach.  2 packets of seed, warm days, plenty of water and a month later I have almost too much spinach.  I need to start sharing the spinach with friends and family too.  What’s worse is that I am starting to think that Bruce is getting tired of having spinach frequently as a side dish for the past couple of weeks. Fresh spinach is delicious and good for you.  Organically grown spinach like mine, is even better.  In a month or so I will be growing zucchini and yellow squash in its place.  Unfortunately, Bruce despises squash.  In the meantime, I hope that he enjoys his spinach.

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My Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup is a simple recipe that I pulled together for a quick and healthy lunch during the work week.  It’s made with fresh picked kale from my garden, great northern beans, carrots, onion and thyme.  It’s easy to make and tastes delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch of kale (I used Redbor)
  • 1 can great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (use more if you like)
  • 1 quart chicken stock. (use vegetable if you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim the kale.  Be sure remove the stems.  In a medium sized pan over medium high heat saute the onion and carrots in the olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add the great northern beans, garlic, thyme and chicken stock.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until kale and carrots are tender.  Taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

Morel Havarti Omelet

Morel Havarti Omelet

One of the things that I love about Oregon is our morel mushrooms.  I never tasted a morel mushroom before until I moved here well over 25 years ago.  Nearly every year I hunt for them on the forest floor of the Cascade Mountains in the spring and early summer.  Some years I am able to find buckets full of mushrooms, sadly, this year, I was so busy with other things, I did not get a chance to go…  From what I heard from people who live in the mountains above the Rogue Valley is that the weather conditions were less than ideal this year and the picking season was terribly short.  So, when I saw these tasty little morels at my favorite food coop, I snagged a brown paper bag full.

Morels are easily identifiable by their shape and their honeycomb texture.  Before going out and picking morels be sure to do your homework and learn how to identify them properly.  There are other mushrooms out in the forest that are similar in shape and size to a morel. Those mushrooms are called false morels and what’s bad about them is that they are not edible and in fact, they may be poisonous.  False morels look similar to a morel so, just be careful…

A half pound of morels.  I always rinse mine before I use them.  The little ridges and pits in the mushrooms can contain dirt and other forest debris.  If you ever get a chance to purchase morels or go hunting for them, by all means, do it.  Morels taste amazing and are super simple to prepare.  You can saute them, fry them, put them in soups, sauces, or use them in ways you would white or crimini mushrooms.  I decided to take some of these mushrooms and put them in an omelet.  I prepared a basic 3 egg omelet and sauteed morels, shallots, thyme, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper in a bit of melted butter.  Filled the omelet with the morel mixture added some Havarti cheese and melted additional Havarti on top.  It was absolutely delightful! Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon cold water
  •  sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup morel mushrooms (cleaned and halved)
  • 1 Tbs shallots (minced)
  • 1/2  tsp fresh thyme (minced)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces havarti cheese
  • sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish

In a small bowl whisk vigorously together the eggs, water, salt and pepper.  In a nonstick pan on medium high heat add canola oil.  Add the egg mixture covering the entire pan.  Lift parts of the egg mixture with a spatula to allow egg mixture to go under the omelet and cook.  Cook until set.  Meanwhile in another pan, saute the morel mushrooms, shallots, thyme, salt and pepper in butter.  Add mushroom mixture to omelet.  Add 1 ounce Havarti cheese and fold.  Add remaining havarti to the top of the omelet, add a tsp of water, cover and melt.  Remove from pan and slide onto a plate.  Serve immediately.  Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme.  Makes 1 omelet.

Slow Cooked Lamb and Mascarpone Polenta

Lamb and Mascarpone Polenta

Yesterday morning Bruce and I made the decision to spend our Memorial Day afternoon down at the river.  By mid day, we were on our way to the 53rd annual Boatnik Memorial Day Celebration on the Rogue River in Grants Pass, Oregon.  Before we headed out the door, I had a pound of fresh Oregon free range lamb that I tossed in the slow cooker to cook low and slow for an easy dinner when we got back home.

If you don’t own a slow cooker, I highly suggest that you go out and get one.  Slow cookers are perfect for busy people such as Bruce and myself.  They are inexpensive to buy and really easy to use.  Just toss in your ingredients, plug it in, disappear for a few hours, and when you get back, dinner will be nearly done!

In all the years that I have lived in Oregon, I never once attended Boatnik…  I am now asking myself what the heck was I thinking?  Boatnik is three days of carnival rides, food, boat races and tons of family fun!


Bruce and I found a shady spot under a tree along the river with a great view of the jet boat race.  The weather was perfect and we sat right before the finish line.  We ate our lunch and watched the jet boats fly by on the surface of the water.

These little jet boats go crazy fast!  During one part of the race, a boat driver caught a bit too much air and crashed his boat.  Fortunately, he’s doing okay.

What fun!  I really want one…  I’m quite positive that Bruce would say nope, uh-uh, no way, no how, not happening Tess…  Oh well, I’m not gonna argue.  I know when to save my bullets :).

By the time we got home, we had tender lamb waiting for us in the slow cooker.  I added a splash of white wine, some flour to thicken the sauce, prepared the mascarpone polenta, picked lettuce for the green salad and less than an hour later, dinner was ready.   It was simply delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Slow Cooked Lamb Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lamb stew meat (I used local Oregon free range)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 white wine
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 tsp garlic paste

Begin by grabbing a nonstick fry pan.  Place on stove and heat to medium high heat.  Add lamb, onion and canola oil.  Cook until lamb is golden brown and the onion is cooked.  Add mixture to slow cooker.  Add black pepper, seasoning salt, thyme, 1 cup water, and 1 chicken bouillon cube.  Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

When you get back, whisk together the 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup white wine, 2 Tbs flour and 2 tsp garlic paste.  Add mixture to crock pot, give a quick stir and cover.  Cook for another half an hour or until the sauce has thickened to your liking.   Taste and correct your seasonings.  Meanwhile, prepare the Mascarpone Polenta…

Mascarpone Polenta Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cups polenta
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

Grab a covered sauce pan and bring to water, salt and olive oil to a boil.  Add polenta and whisk to mix.  Cover, turn heat down to low and cook for about 20 – 30 minutes stirring occasionally until polenta is cooked and thickened.  Stir in the mascarpone cheese.

Ladle hot polenta onto four plates or shallow bowls.  Divide lamb mixture and add to top of the mascarpone polenta.  Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme.  Serve with a fresh green salad on the side.  Makes 4 servings.