Monday, January 23, 2012

New Years Resolutions

January is one of my favorite months. It represents many things to many people: it’s the first of the year, starting over, beginning anew. Everyone is hopeful that the New Year will bring prosperity, health, happiness; you name it.

January for me is the same, and more. I also see it as a new beginning, and it’s also my birthday month so a bit of celebrating always ensues. This month, however, it’s a milestone birthday year for me. In addition, this year, actually next month, Elinor is celebrating a milestone birthday too; she will be 21. I remember turning 21 like it was yesterday. I remember 30 and 40 … the ones in between, not so much.  I never imagined myself being 50 back when I was 21, but I like this age. I feel like I’ve done a lot – but have so much more to do.

I came across an interesting quote by Carl Jung the other day which seemed to speak to the whole “resolution” idea that has been swirling around in my head:  

            Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you call it fate.

It is something to think about. I have always believed that you control your destiny. Nothing is predetermined – you have free will, and you choose your path. That is exactly what I did almost 5 years ago when I decided to become a full time chef.  

Let’s get back to resolutions … for me, it’s to take better care of myself by eating healthier and being a bit more diligent with my Pilates classes. I also resolve to be better about keeping up with this blog, and hopefully inspiring you to head to the kitchen and do a little creating.

To that end, I have a new recipe to share with you. I happened to be watching a great episode of Giada at Home, on the Food Network, which was focused on her New Year’s resolutions. (I have a link for her recipe below.) After watching the episode I was inspired to make this great soup, but took it a bit further. I dug around my ‘fridge and found a few extra things to jazz it up. I think what I have for you is pretty darn tasty. The best part of her recipe, and mine, is that it’s a totally flexible dish. You can change this up in a lot of different ways. Whatever you have available will work. 

Turkey, Kale and Farro Soup
Makes about 8 servings

1 – 1 ½ cups cooked Farro
2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 large Shallots or 1 small onion, cut into ½“ pieces (about 1 cup)
3 medium Carrots, cut into ½” pieces (about 1 cup)
1 large Bell Pepper, cut into ½”pieces (about 1 cup)
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
8 ounces ground Turkey Meat, (freeze the rest if you get it in a 1 lb package)
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
4 cups low-sodium Chicken Broth, plus more as needed
1 15-ounce can Diced Tomatoes
1 – 1 ½ cups cooked Farro
1 small bunch Kale, coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Parmesan cheese, optional

First thing you want to do is get your farro on the stove. It will take about 20 minutes to cook, and while that is happening you can get all the veggies chopped. In a small pot bring 4-cups of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the farro and reduce the heat to a low boil. Cook the farro until it is a little al dente. It’s going to cook more when you add it to the soup, so don’t worry if it’s not totally done.  I used farro but you can use brown rice, as Giada did in the original recipe. I didn’t have brown rice – so I used what I had in the cabinet. You could switch this up even further and use cannellini beans if you want. One can would be plenty – and add at the end. 

While the farro cooks start chopping your veggies. Get your celery, carrot, shallot, pepper and garlic chopped. Place in a medium size pot with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and sauté until the veggies are soft and have taken on a little color. That should take about 10 minutes. Keep checking your farro, once it reaches al dente drain in a colander and set aside.

Next you want to work on the kale. Remove the tough rib and chop the leaves. The bunch I got at the market, for only $1.50, yielded 8 cups chopped. (I took what was left, wrapped in a paper towel, and placed in a zip lock bag. I ended up sautéing it a few days later with some mushrooms.) Set aside your 4 chopped cups.

Once the veggies are nice and soft add the turkey to the pot and break it up with a wooded spoon. Add the Herbs to Provence and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. (Remember, you must season as you go!)

Once the turkey is fully cooked, add the tomatoes and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes until the kale wilts slightly.

Add the chicken stock and farro and bring to a simmer. Depending on how thin you like your soup, you can add a little more stock, or water.

Finish the soup with your chopped parsley and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

This is a great hearty soup, for a cold day. The best part is it’s super light and won’t weigh you down. All together this soup cost well under $10, and you will get at least 8 good portions from it.

Here is the recipe Giada created: Turkey Kale and Brown Rice Soup