Friday, October 16, 2009

Winter vegetables: kale, white bean and pasta soup

I just shot the cover for a cookbook on winter vegetables. I created a vegetable still life for the shoot and, in order to do so, bought quite a few vegetables. I always cull through all the options to find just the ones I think will photograph well and then add many for backup - just in case. The result was that after the shoot, I ended up with a refrigerator literally teaming with vegetables including onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and winter greens including kale and cabbage. I am always determined not to waste the food I shoot and I quickly devised a list of dishes that could make best use of the hearty photography models. A series of winter soups were obvious candidates. The first creation? A kale, white bean and pasta soup seasoned with Parmesan and spicy Harissa. I have since made a beef stew (a take on this one), and today, a celery root, potato and leek soup - all so delicious and in the spirit of the season. What do I have left? Russet and fingerling potatoes, beets, more cabbage and kale. Any suggestions?

Kale, white bean and pasta soup

1 lb+ Kale, thick center stems removed, chopped roughly
1 lb dried cannellini beans (note: for faster cooking time, soak beans overnight)
1 26 oz can chopped tomatoes (I like Pomi brand)
1 large onion, diced
3 medium-sized carrots, diced
3 turnips, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus rind
1 cup small pasta
1 Tbs Harissa
2 Tbs olive oil
8 cups water (or half water, half vegetable stock)
1 small bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped roughly
Salt and pepper

Sweat carrots, onions and celery in olive oil with a healthy sprinkling of pepper until translucent. Add turnips and saute for a few minutes.

Add water, tomatoes and dried beans and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to a simmer. Add Parmesan, Parmesan rind and Harissa (note: Harissa is very spicy - if you do not enjoy spicy soup, reduce quantity or omit Harissa).

Simmer for 45 - 90 minutes until beans are just tender (timing will depend on whether you soaked the beans overnight). Add additional water, cup by cup if soup is too thick. Add pasta, kale and sprinkle liberally with salt. Add additional Harissa or pepper to taste.

Cook until pasta is barely tender (it will continue to cook once you have removed the soup from the heat). Again, add additional water if thinner soup is desired. Remove and discard parmesan rind. Add Italian parsley. Serve with some nice, rustic bread.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Photography update

Wanted to let you know of two new photography offerings: kids portraits and holiday cards. I don't think I've mentioned the former on this blog. Inspired by my friends' children, and most recently, my own child, I have started offering portrait sessions and packages for little ones. You can read more about it on my website here. I am excited about this expansion to my business and hope you will spread the word to anyone who lives in the New York City area.

Secondly, I am offering three sets of "sweet" holiday cards this year. Cards are 4x6, professionally printed on thick card stock, and come in packages of 25 for $55. The outside features adorable sugar cookies and the inside of the card can be printed with the default greeting of "May your holiday season be sweet" or another greeting of your choice. This is a great value for a custom card and hope many of you will take advantage. Please email me at skrockodile [at] gmail [dot] com to place your order.

Hope all of you are well. Thanks so much for your continued readership and support!