Hyacinth bean, potato, and kale soup; grilled, prosciutto-wrapped radicchio – 7 October 2018

We bought these cool-looking beans at the Saturday market 8 days ago, and have just gotten around to cooking them (they were in fine shape). They are called “Hyacinth beans” and are native to Africa, according to Wikipedia; but these are locally grown by farmers’ market farmers. I need to check the name of the farm that brought them. D notes that you should pick fat ones – the thin pods had only miniscule beans in them.

It was a nutso day – we were going to go early to our trail in Tilden, then other activities intervened so D said let’s take lunch up. I made perfectly beautiful lunches (mostly D’s suggestions, which were great) and had them all packed up, when our feral cat Notch decided it would be a good time to  check out the house. It was a seriously windy day, and she was not happy about all the noises made by things blowing about, and she apparently felt safer in the house – especially when D was looking after her. So, he took a seat on the floor where he could pet and scratch her, and she checked out the living room (hiding

The source of her name is obvious in this photo, too.

under the couch – safe! – but bumping into the rocking chair, not so much…) and then spent a lot of time in the computer room, where she hid under D’s comfy chair, and also for a time under the corner chair. Finally, she actually crawled into D’s lap – totally unexpected – and after spending some time there (much petting) left, checked stuff out again, and then came back and crawled into his lap again! So, it was a good day for D, but not for workouts. After about 4 hours of this, the wind was calm enough that D decided Notch could go out again, and he moved her food back out (she had been eating in the hall, intermittently) and closed the door (D reported something of a dismayed look at this point). So, we finally went for our walk – but we had long since eaten our lunches, me at the table, D sitting on the floor, petting the cat. Lunch is below.

I was kind of exhausted, and said why don’t we order out (we’re doing this more often than we used to, i.e. more than once every 6 months) but D had spent some of his floor-sitting, cat-sitting time (making sure she didn’t mark any territory) shelling the Hyacinth beans, and thought they would make a good soup, especially since we had leek tops and other stuff available that wanted to be stock. So that worked, and here’s what he did:

Washed up and cut up two mediumish Yukon Gold potatoes.

I picked a couple large handfuls of volunteer curly kale from the garden (no aphids! – wrong season I guess) and washed them and pulled the thin parts off the leaf stems and left them for D.

D started by boiling the stock things in water: two leek tops, 2 or 3 garlic cloves (peeled), a carrot, and a celery stalk. He later discarded the celery and leek tops, but left the garlic in the soup, and cut the carrot into rounds and included it in the soup. He strained this stock, then added the beans and potato chunks, and cooked for 10 minutes, then added the kale and cooked another 10 minutes. He left this on simmer or so while I cooked the radicchio, and served it out when the radicchio still had one face (of 3) left to go, so the soup could cool before we tried to eat it and burnt our mouths on it. I cut the remaining ½ head of radicchio in half, and halved one half, and trimmed the central core down as much as I could and still have it hold the leaves together. I wrapped these two pieces in the remaining two pieces of prosciutto from the fridge, and grilled them on the oil-brushed range grill on medium, for an unmeasured amount of time on the first side (more than 5 minutes), then about 3 minutes on the second side and 3 minutes on the third. For some of that time, I put the defrosted-but-coldish pieces of Acme Sweet Batard onto the back of the grill to char them slightly, for interesting flavor. D was happy I had thought of that.

D tucked the remaining (second) bottle of Stock Werk Austrian red wine into the fridge to get it to cellar temperature, and we had some for cooking wine, and the rest for dinner. We decided we aren’t crazy enough about it to buy more, though it turned out to work well with the radicchio. The notes say “grilled ch” and we never tried it with that, but I’m ok with not buying more of it. The rest of the label says “Zweigelt” (two golds) 2015, and Geyerhof. D remembers we were told it was a cross between two ancient (850 years, says the label, of the winery’s roots) grape varieties, but there is no mention of their names, unless “Kremstal” is one. The label is pretty cool, with gnomes all over it, though you have to pay attention to notice them. It cost $14 at Wine Mine last week.



I carefully packed red grapes, cucumber, and carrot in one package, Kanaar cheese in another, and Sesmark rice crackers and salt packets in another, one set for each of us (but I had the chocolate) to take up the trail. And a hard boiled egg – that’s what the salt was for. And with the cat, we ended up eating these at the house, long after our usual 1pmish lunch time. But, D had a great cat experience, so this was good. We had the last of our first “jco baharat middle eastern spice in dark chocolate” for dessert (this is the one D at Wine Mine sweetly slipped into our wine case one week – excellent! – we bought a second the following week), and finally ended up reaching the trail at 3:58, instead of the first-mentioned “early” (9:30?), or the second mentioned “for lunch” (noonish). But it was worth it to see Notch finally thinking our house was a good place to be. On the say home, we bought Feliway to help her feel comfy in the house, and coffee at Trieste, now Caffe Chiave, for tomorrow. Then I did my workout while D made soup and the rest is history, at least if you read the above.


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