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Baby kale makes this soup dino-mite

Recipe: Young leaves speed up making of Portuguese kale soup

Baby dino kale and new potatoes speed up this recipe for Portuguese kale soup.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington
Nicknamed Portuguese penicillin, kale soup with sausage is a heart-warming, nose-opening anecdote to winter chills and ills. Made with chicken broth, it gets an extra dose of anti-cold home remedy.

Most recipes call for full-size kale leaves, stripped of their ribs, then chopped. The thick leaves take a lot of cooking to reach total tenderness. (Some Portuguese kale soup recipes recommend simmering for four or five hours.)
Save time and effort; use baby dino kale. With the potatoes and beans, it melts into a rich green broth.
In late winter, baby dino kale is plentiful; it’s ready to pick weeks before a fully mature plant. Baby kale also is more tender and less bitter than older kale. So why wait? Harvest early and enjoy.

Kale leaves in a colander
Dino kale leaves have a distinctive texture.
With its near-black curlicued leaves, dino kale has become a farmers’ market and gardeners’ favorite. More formally called lacinato or Tuscan kale, dino kale got its modern nickname because the strange bubbly leaves appear almost prehistoric. In the garden, it grows on a tall stem with lower leaves harvested first. By late spring, it looks like a little kale palm tree.
New potatoes also are ready now, making them a quick-cooking, easy substitute for full-size counterparts; no peeling necessary.
Linguica, a smoked pork sausage, is a traditional addition to kale soup. For this chicken version, Aidells' Chorizo chicken sausage worked great as a substitute.

Dino-mite Portuguese kale soup
Makes 8 generous servings

4 cups baby dino kale, washed
3 cups new potatoes, washed and quartered
8 cups (2 quarts) chicken broth
12 ounces Chorizo-style chicken sausage, sliced into coins
2 cups cooked red beans, drained
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare kale. Wash it well (especially the underside of leaves where dirt clings). Coarsely chop any large pieces.
In a large stockpot, bring 8 cups of chicken broth to a boil. Add kale, potatoes, sausage and beans. Return to boil, then reduce heat. Stir in sherry vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Over low heat, simmer soup, covered, until potatoes are very tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Serve hot with crusty bread.


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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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