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March 2013

Africa-inspired Greens and Sweet Potato Soup

African Greens and Yam Soup
We are at the end of the greens season here, which means we are swimming in them, as some of our favorite farmers harvest the last of them and send them our way. We have been serving them up for months, starring in dishes like Curried Greens and Beans, regular old Greens and Beans, and tangy Spicy Orange Greens, and tucked into ones like Sweet Potatoes Mexicano, Sweet Potato Chili and every other soup we've made recently. They are a super-food, nutritionally speaking, and everyone loves them. But while their familiarity is not breeding contempt exactly, it is breeding a little boredom.

So here's something new-ish: a collard soup with an interesting mix of spices in a very flavorful broth. The original recipe is here. I intensified the flavors a little and switched a few ingredients - then muliplied it by fifty for our café! We added rice just before serving, with an ice cream scoop - for beauty and to keep it from absorbing too much of the broth. And the dollop of red you see was one of two of the Graham's hot pepper jams: Cayenne Pepper Jam for medium-hot soup, and Red-Datil Pepper Jam for fiery hot. 


  • 5 green onions, sliced, using as much of the green tops as possible
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 whole sweet potato, diced
  • 5 cups kale or collards, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp dark miso paste
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil in a soup pot until onion is transparent and garlic is lightly browned. Add spices and briefy sauté together. Add the vegetable broth, sweet potatoes and collards, stirring until collards wilt. Add more broth or water to cover if necessary. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until veetables are tender. Just before serving, disolve the miso in a cupful of water and add to soup. Salt to taste. Serve alone or with rice. And with hot pepper jelly or sauce. Makes 2 or 3 large servings. 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Black krim
It's easy! I have never liked spaghetti sauce from a jar and have prided myself in making it from my mother's recipe (from a box of Mueller's) - which called for cans of tomato and tomato paste. The only time I ever made sauce from my own tomatoes was from ones I had canned! 

While on vacation, I was inspired by a recipe I'd saved to Pinterst for tomato soup made from roasted tomatoes (it was delicious). John noticed that with a few changed it might make a good sauce. He was right. 

There are already lots of hothouse tomatoes at the farmers market. Soon there will be many more - from our own garden too. 


10 plum tomatoes, halved 
5 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
one large onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 tablespoon honey
a pinch of hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

First, roast the tomatoes and garlic. Place them on a lightly-oiled or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté onions in a dutch oven or large pot with olive oil, adding oregano and basil as onions become translucent. When tomatoes are done, whirl them in a blender, then pour into pot with onions.  Add honey and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes to two hours, adding a little water if it becomes too thick (we didn't need to). Salt and pepper before serving.

This made four large servings for people who like spaghetti a lot.