Tag: kale

Meet In Your Kitchen | Krautkopf’s Roasted Kale, Apples and Potatoes

This post is part of my Meet in My Kitchen podcast series:

How did we get to where we are in life and what does food have to do with it.

“It’s really the story of simplicity. You can create great taste with just a few really good ingredients. You won’t need much.” – Susann Probst

When I hopped onto the empty platform after a 2.5 hour train ride I found myself in front of an old red brick building with broken windows and a faded sign painted over the door. I smiled as I thought of the last sentence I had written to Susann Probst and Yannic Schon of Krautkopf “If you won’t manage to pick me up in time, don’t worry, I’ll walk around in the village. There was no village.

The first Meet in My Kitchen Podcast On Tour took me right into the picturesque countryside of Mecklenburg Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) in the north-east of Germany. Golden hills draw their rolling lines into the landscape right where the cloudy sky begins, old trees frame the endless alleys, and villages are rare. This is the place that a young couple chose as their new home, after 10 years in Berlin building up one of Germany’s most successful food blogs, publishing a cookbook, and releasing a recipe app.

An old post-war Siedlerhaus (settlers house) rustically built in 1948 out of leftover bricks and beams, compiling of a barn, a couple rooms, and a vast amount of land made Susann and Yannic fall in love with a region that couldn’t be more of a contrast to buzzing life in Berlin. However, exactly that – and the creative potential of the two old buildings and the huge garden – were the reason why they both felt ready for a new chapter in their life.

You see what is in season just because that’s how you planted it. There was all this creativity happening, you went outside and looked into your harvesting basket or in general, you looked at the plants and what was going on there.” – Yannic Schon

The Krautkopf cosmos is the inspiring symbiosis of two minds, well attuned, who express themselves through photography, food, design, and now also gardening. Susann and Yannic found a new playing field for their creative energies initiated through the big move in 2020.

The house’s interior brings together warm hues, all shades of earthy colors, it plays harmonically with darkness and light, and it treasures all the old features. The dining room feels like a cozy cave, the kitchen, which used to be the barn, still has the old uneven brick flooring, the little lattice windows letting in beams of light. It wouldn’t really surprise you if you saw a sheep munching on hay next to you. It’s all very rustic but then at the same time it doesn’t have the dusty layer of the past covering up the fact that it’s 2021. It’s minimalist and modern without neglecting the past, here, the presence lovingly embraces the past.

Susann and Yannic always keep all creative decisions in their own hands, be it a blog, a book, a sofa, or the new field of gardening. They read and learned everything they could possibly find about seeds and seedlings, flowers and orchard meadows, bees and bushes. The couple created a garden that combines all the romantic ideas of living in the countryside with the modern desire of a sustainable life with nature and not against it. The huge vegetable garden offers every ingredient a cook could ask for. Tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers, peas, beans, and potatoes – all popping when their season has come. There’s really everything right at hand in front of the kitchen door that a cook could ask for – and it all looks so perfect and pretty.

When Susann and Yannic worked on their new book, Erde, Salz und Glut (soil, salt and heat; only in German) they just had to walk into their garden to create all the colorful recipes circling around vegetables that fill their book’s pages. The concept for the book came up during a trip to Scotland. Living in a tent and reducing ingredients, tools, and techniques to a minimum for their travel cooking, the ingredients basically only needed salt and heat. When they moved to their new house shortly after the trip and when gardening and harvesting became such a big part of their everyday life, they added ‘soil’ to the book’s title.

The recipe they shared with me is from their new book. It’s a celebration of their garden and of their favorite season, of autumn, its flavors and its colors: Roasted Kale, Potatoes and Apple.

The podcast episode with Susann and Yannic is in German. You can listen to the Meet in My Kitchen podcast on all common podcast platforms (click here for the links); there are English and German episodes. You can find all the blog posts about these podcast episodes including my guests’ recipes here on the blog under Meet in Your Kitchen.

Listen to the podcast episode with Susann and Yannic on:

Spotify / Apple / Deezer / Google / Amazon / Podimo

On Instagram you can follow the podcast @meetinmykitchenpodcast!

Roasted Kale, Potatoes and Apple

by Susann Probst and Yannic Schon (from Erde, Salz & Glut)

Serves 2

  • 700g / 1 1/2 pounds small waxy potatoes (with skin)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled
  • 2 medium baking apples
  • 100g / 3 1/2 ounces kale
  • 1 handful walnut kernels
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 70ml / 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon apple juice
  • 4 medium sprigs tarragon

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F.

Cut the potatoes into 4 wedges each. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil on a baking sheet, add the potatoes, toss them in the oil and spread them out. Roast the potatoes, on the middle rack, for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, cut the onion into slim wedges, cut each apple into 8 wedges then cut out and remove the core. Trim the kale leaves and tear large leaves into smaller pieces. Chop the walnuts roughly.

Add the onion, apples, and kale to the potatoes, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, mix with your hands, and season to taste with salt then bake for another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and just cooked through. Add the walnuts and roast for 1 more minute.

In a small bowl, whisk together the walnut oil, mustard, and apple juice and season to taste with salt. Remove the tarragon leaves from the sprigs then drizzle the dressing over the roasted vegetables and sprinkle with the tarragon. Serve immediately.

Clean-Out-The-Fridge Soups

Food52 asked me about my approach to soups. Not just any soups, but big-flavor, clean-out-the-fridge soups to cure the winter blues. I love them now, but that wasn’t always the case. We’re like friends that had to learn to love each other. So I shared our bumpy love story, my basic soup formula, and three soup recipes from my new book, 365, on food52.com. Converted and convinced that a soup can be one of the best things to find on your dining table after a long day of work, I also decided to share my article on these pages here (and you can find two of the recipes from 365 below):

I have a new habit, recently, I often have soup for lunch, which is actually my breakfast as I only have green tea with lemon in the morning. My relationship with liquid foods wasn’t always so harmonic. Soups and stews are very popular in Germany, thick lentil, pea, or potato soup enriched with smoked sausage (Knackwurst or Knacker) is a German winter classic. As a child, I ate it, but I wasn’t particularly fond of it. There was something missing, or maybe I just wasn’t ready yet. Then the eighties came, the Nouvelle Cuisine reached home kitchens and all of a sudden soups where always puréed and as bright as candy: yellow squash, purple beet, squeaking green pea pod. Shallow bowls filled with colorful compositions, smooth and shiny, conquered the menus but unfortunately not my palate. Despite their vibrancy, they didn’t excite me. This is essential to me, and my taste buds – I want, I need food to excite me. So I took a break of many, many years until I found the kind of soup that I like.

Fast-forward to today and it has become a constant in my weekly culinary routine. My basic soup formula is very simple:
1. Canned legumes and dried lentils that don’t need to soak overnight. I always have a vast collection of cans filled with butter beans, cannellini, borlotti (cranberry) and kidney beans on my pantry shelves, and bags of black beluga lentils, dark green French Puy lentils, and yellow and red lentils. Legumes make a soup rich and wholesome, they add heartiness and a nutty touch. It’s what turns a light soup into a proper meal.
2. Cleaning out the vegetable drawer. This drawer is a treasure box that needs to be emptied once in a while. Leafy vegetables, kale, chard, and spinach that start to wilt, sturdy roots like potatoes, parsnip, and beets that lie forgotten, the whole range of winter and summer squash, fresh beans, peas, and tomatoes. Every season has its produce that’s just waiting to crown a soup.
3. Using homemade or quality store-bought broth. My mother taught me to always cook my own broth, with leftover vegetables, chicken, duck, and beef bones, with fresh herbs and whole spices like allspice, peppercorns, and juniper berries. And a bay leaf, always a bay leaf. I then freeze it in 4-cup portions to have my tasty broth right at hand whenever I need it. I never use instant broth as I find it adds an artificial flavor. Broth is the base of a soup, it adds its taste to all the other ingredients and therefore deserves utmost attention.

Soups can easily follow the seasons and the cook’s mood. I want to throw them together spontaneously, quickly, without too much planning or overthinking. A quick look in the pantry and fridge and my mind starts playing. A soup is a simple, a frugal dish, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be exciting. Playing with flavors is a boundless game, playing with textures is at least as rewarding. And varying toppings allows the cook to serve a soup repeatedly without anyone noticing. Crunchy bacon cubes or dukkah, a dollop of velvety mascarpone or ricotta, a fried or poached egg, or a crumbled hardboiled egg, fried herbs like sage or rosemary, or roasted fruit like grapes, apple, pear, or apricot.

In my new book, 365: A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking, I share a recipe for each day of the year, following the seasons and also the rhythm of the week, from Monday to Sunday, from quick and simple weekday dishes to luscious – and more time-consuming – roasts, stews, and cakes on the weekend. Soups are a constant treat in this rhythm, especially during the colder part of the year. There’s a cozy kale and borlotti bean soup for example, cooked in a flavorful duck broth (recipe from 365 below and on food52.com) – a clear vegetable broth works just as well – and it’s the perfect cure for winter blues. It’s crowned with a poached egg and when you cut through the yolk and let it run into the broth, it adds a creaminess that’s even better than cream; as an added bonus: it only takes twenty minutes for dinner to be ready.

A golden squash, parsnip, and sweet potato soup – basically the tasty finds of a fridge clean out – could be kept chunky but with a nod to the good old Nouvelle Cuisine, I purée it and also go for a more extravagant topping that makes this recipe fit for a Christmas table. Red grapes roasted with woody rosemary until soft and shriveled, and a dollop of whipped orange mascarpone turn this dish into a festive stunner (recipe from 365 on food52.com). However, crunchy bacon bites would make it even heartier and also quite appealing.

One of my favorite soups is the minestrone because there are no rules and limitations. Every vegetable, every combination that the cook finds fitting, works. For my green minestrone, I use green beans, peas (which I always have in my freezer), and zucchini, but that’s not set in stone, and add tiny meatballs refined with lime and arugula. It gives it a fresh citrusy note, similar to lemongrass. This is the speediest of all weekday soups. Once the meatballs are mixed and shaped, the entire soup and meat only need to cook for about 5 minutes (recipe below).

So what changed my mind, what made me fall in love with soups after so many years of skepticism? First, the taste, I had to find combinations that excite me, but then there’s something else. Sitting in front of a bowl of steaming soup is one of the coziest things I can think of. It makes me feel good while I eat it and this feeling stays. A soup is a friend of my mind and my body.

Kale and Borlotti Bean Soup with Poached Eggs

from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 4

For the soup

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 large cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 7 ounces (200 g) trimmed kale leaves, cut into strips
  • 5¼ cups (1.25 liters) homemade or quality store-bought duck, chicken, or vegetable broth, hot
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 medium sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) drained and rinsed canned borlotti (cranberry) or pinto beans

For the topping

  • 4 to 8 large eggs
  • Coarsely ground pepper

For the soup, in a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic, stirring, for a few minutes or until golden and soft. Add the kale, stir, and cook for 1 minute then add the hot broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the kale is tender. Remove and discard the herbs then add the borlotti beans and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and finely ground pepper and keep warm.

For the topping, bring a small saucepan of salted water to a low simmer. Crack 1 egg into a small bowl. Hold a large spoon just over the surface of the water and gently pour the egg onto the spoon. Lower the spoon into the water and hold until the egg white starts to turn white then use a tablespoon to gently scoop the egg off the large spoon. Poach the egg for 3 minutes. Using a slotted ladle or spoon, transfer the egg to a plate. Poach the remaining eggs the same way, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. It’s best to poach 1 egg at a time, but you can cook 2 at once.

Divide the soup among bowls, place 1 to 2 eggs in the middle of each bowl, and sprinkle with a little coarsely ground pepper. Cut the tops of the eggs with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Green Minestrone With Lime-Arugula Meatballs

from ‘365 – A Year of Everyday Cooking & Baking’ (Prestel, 2019)

Serves 2-4

  • 14 ounces (400g) ground beef
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed, plus 1 large clove garlic, cut in half
  • 2 ounces ounces (60g) arugula leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (heaping) freshly grated lime zest
  • Fine sea salt
  • Finely ground pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound (340g) trimmed mixed green vegetables (such as green beans, frozen peas, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or kale, cut into bite-size pieces if necessary)
  • 1/4 cups (1 liter) homemade or quality store-bought vegetable broth, hot
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 spring onion (green part only), thinly sliced

Combine the ground beef, crushed garlic, arugula, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a large bowl and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 38 roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) meatballs.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add a little more oil and the vegetables and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the hot vegetable broth, lime juice, and bay leaf, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 4 to 6 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lime juice.

Divide the soup among deep bowls, sprinkle with the spring onion, and serve immediately.