Tuesday, May 25, 2010

everything's just ducky!

For the past three days, our backyard has hosted a pair of mallards. In fact, on Sunday, there were three, then four ducks: this pair and two additional drakes. One drake seemed especially interested in the little duck, even though she has a limp. He would sit off to the side, then slowly try to sneak over to her. But this drake (with the saucy little feather sticking out) chased any would-be wooers away with much flapping of wings and lowering of beak and much general bravery.

They let David get amazingly close with his bread crumbs. The duck was more interested than the drake. The drake seemed concerned, so if the duck got too close, he would nip her on her behind.

"I am one brave duck, no? You don't mess with my woman!"

"Here's quacking at you, kid!"
(What a flirt!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zuppa Toscana *updated*

By popular demand:
Zuppa Toscana

1-1/2 C. spicy sausage
2 med. potatoes, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 C. onions, diced
6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1-1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 C. kale leaves, cut in half then sliced
2 Tbsp. chicken base
1 quart water
1/3 C. heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 300°. Spead sausage onto large baking sheet and bake for 25 min.

Place onions and bacon into large saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add chicken base, water and potatoes and simmer 15 minutes. Add sausage, kale and cream and simmer 4 more minutes.

Serves 5.

Disclaimer: I haven't made this yet, so I can't personally vouch for the recipe. But with bacon and cream, it sounds promising!

*UPDATE* We had this soup last night, and it was AMAZING! Everyone loved it. I used a whole pound of Italian sausage, which turned out to be 2 cups. (Who wants to mess around with a half a cup of leftover sausage?) Baking it in the oven was interesting. I'm wondering if I could just fry it up in my electric skillet. Kale turns out to be pretty tasty. Try this soup!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Greens Challenged

Nelson tasted a marvelous soup at school on Thursday. (They were having teacher appreciation week.) He was so excited about it that he got the recipe from the gal who made it. Turns out it's Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. Nelson had to have it this week!

So Friday I go to WinCo to do my regular shopping and I get to the produce department, because one of the ingredients is kale. I'm standing there in front of all these green ... things ... all in neat piles. WinCo plasters the signs about what costs how much all over, with no rhyme or reason or coordination with what in in the bins below. And suddenly it hits me:

I don't know what kale looks like!

Oh, dear! ... That's probably red chard because of the red lines going through it. That looks like some kind of cabbage. Maybe? This looks a lot like the cabbage, but it has fewer leaves and more stem. I pick that up and tentatively put it in the bag. A little voice says that is not kale. I take it back out. All kinds of knowledgeable people are confidently picking up greens and putting them in their bags. I stand there. Do I look like Rachel Ray pondering the possibilities? Only I know that I am greens challenged. ... I know those are leeks, so that's good. What's that curly stuff? Is any of this labeled on those twistie thingies they put on them? Not that one... Hmmm..... There's one labeled "collards." Fortunately, I look again at the curly stuff and it has a twistie thingie that says "kale" upside down. Hurrah! I can make Zuppa Toscana!

And now I know what kale looks like.

In case you're interested:

Then again, you're probably not greens challenged.