Sautéed Mushrooms with Baby Kale

Served up with some local ham.

Served up with some local ham, and sweet & sour mustard.

My older sister has just bought a small home on Thetis.  I tell you, this island is somehow in our blood.  We have a small photograph of our grandparents standing on the rocks by the Chemainus boat slip in 1921, with Thetis in the background.  This might not seem unusual, but my grandfather met my grandmother in London while convalescing after WW1.  He came home to Canada, and then turned around and went back to England, bringing her to the Fraser Valley to be his bride.  It was on their honeymoon, while travelling around Vancouver Island, that the photo was taken.

Allan & Grace Carruthers Chemainus 1921

Allan & Grace Carruthers
Chemainus 1921

Now another of their granddaughters is making a home here.  She was on the island last weekend, measuring rooms, going over the water system and such, with the present owner.  She brought along a friend, and we gathered for dinner one evening.  I knew what I was serving, so was very relaxed as our evening slipped along.  At least I thought I knew what we were going to eat.  When I got out the Brussels Sprouts, I realized I had only enough for three or four per person.  I was going to sauté some mushrooms and decided to extend them with some baby kale.  Here’s what I ended up doing, and towards the end of the meal we decided the recipe was a “keeper”. Continue reading

Kale & White Bean Soup with Fresh Chorizo & Rosemary

IMG_3396The last day of this season’s Soup’s On program, we served large pots of seemingly never ending turkey vegetable soup to a crowd of friends and neighbours.  So many dropped by to get their last fix of the Soup’s On experience to last them until fall.  When we had served the last tray of sweets and the kitchen was back to its sparkling self, there was a bit of sadness that we wouldn’t be doing this for the next five months.  Of course, there was also feeling of relief as we looked forward to the next five months of living in one of the best places on earth during its summer weather.

However, when I got home that day, with the program’s finances to be balanced and the summary to be written up for our files, for some whacky reason I felt the need to make soup.  I’m sure there’s an analyst out there that could explain this to me.  Maybe it was because I hadn’t done the soup for lunch that day (I had done the baking) and felt that the day was somehow incomplete?

Or perhaps it was because that morning I’d soaked beans thinking that they’d be part of our dinner.  Well, now dinner was going to be soup.  We had a pound of fresh Chorizo sausage from Jollity Farm, and I had recently done a similar version of this for Soup’s On in early March, so started to pull it together as I worked on the accounts.  Multi-tasking doesn’t always work when cooking, but soup is very forgiving.

This so easily becomes a vegetarian soup, just leave out the sausage, and add in ½ t of dried chilies when you’re sautéing the onions.

Enjoy it like it might be the last bowl of soup you have, until the weather changes next fall. Continue reading