The Best Cabbage Soup I Ever Made

Really. Just ask my family and friends.

Valle D’Aosta Cabbage Soup
(Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

SERVES 4-6; PREP TIME 35 min

INGREDIENTS
4 cups cubed bread (about 1/2 lb. – hearty grain bread is best)
5 Tblsp. butter
5 to 6 cups thinly sliced or grated cabbage
1/2 tsp. ground/grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt, or more to taste
6 cups vegetable stock or broth (we used chicken broth)
2 cups grated Fontina cheese

Preheat the Oven to 350. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Spread bread cubes evenly in a 9×13-inch casserole dish or 2-quart ovenproof dish (A little larger pan would probably be good. I had to use a little less liquid since it was so full.)
If the cubes aren’t dry, toast them briefly in the oven. Melt 3 Tblsp. of butter and drizzle over the stale bread. Set aside.

When the water boils, blanch the cabbage just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain well. Spread the cabbage over the bread. Melt the remaining 2 Tblsp. of butter and stir in the nutmeg, pepper and salt, and pour the seasoned butter on the cabbage and bread. Pour the stock over everything and evenly spread the cheese on the top.

Bake until cheese melts and starts to brown, 25-30 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Beans

There’s a good deal to know about dried beans. Here’s a link to Central Bean Company. The site has information about large scale bean production, as well as tips on how to prepare, store and cook with beans. Check out the bean combine photos on the lower right side of the home page. You won’t see a combine that big in Massachusetts. Our bean production is on a much smaller scale, as are our the combines. (That makes it sound like we might have a lot of small combines in Massachusetts. I don’t think so. I bet there aren’t more than a half dozen bean combines in the state.)

This year I’ve included dried beans in the winter share. I think that since beans are a less expensive (financially and environmentally) source of protein than meat, it just makes sense to eat more of them. And it sure makes sense to support one of the few beans growers in Massachusetts by including his crop in our CSA share.

Shared Harvest shareholders will get two pounds of Baer’s Best dark red kidney beans in the next CSA share. Here are two of my favorite ways to use these beans.
Red Beans and Rice
Moosewood Vegetarian Chili

It’s Kohlrabi!

“What’s the green round thing in the share? Tastes kind of like a cross between broccoli and turnip.” No less than ten shareholders have asked about the kohlrabi in Saturday’s winter CSA share. It tickles me to present folks with this “new” treat.

The Boston Sustainable Food Examiner has a nice recipe for it, along with a couple of your fall apples. The photo below comes from thebittenword.com’s photostream.