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The Greens of Ranui Gardens–Soup with Greens, Garlic and Orzo

Sue at PC Farmers MktBelonging to a CSA is the closest thing to having a personal veggie garden. Thanks to John and Sue and the farm crew for the work that goes into growing and picking and packaging for us. And then there is our work when we receive our weekly produce–the washing and putting away.

Epazote in water in a glass jar, covered with a plastic bag

Epazote in water in a glass jar, covered with a plastic bag

Robbie and I think it is best to take care of the harvest right away so there is less prep work before dinner the rest of the week: Run a sink-full of cold water and wash the salad greens, arugula and any other greens, spin them dry in a lettuce spinner, wrap in a kitchen towel and refrigerate in the plastic baggy they came in. If we receive beets or radishes with good leaves, cut them off, and wash and stand them in a glass jar with the plastic bag cover. Greens held this way are still dandy for use the next Monday.

The same with fresh herbs: cut a little off the stem, stand in a glass jar half full of water, covered with the plastic bag—they will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. If the oven is on for something else– roast the beets, or boil them until tender, so they are ready for salads throughout the week.

This is a delicious soup recipe employing assorted greens and garlic scapes. I made it with bonus bean stock from cooking last week’s black beans.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 or 8 garlic scapes, trimmed and cut in 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 to 8 ounces beet greens

6 to 8 ounces radish greens

5 cups black bean or other vegetable broth

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup orzo pasta

Sea salt and red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Grated Parmesan or other cheese, optional

Heat the oil over medium flame in a saucepan or small soup pot. Add the scapes and onion and cook and stir until the onion is soft. Add the minced garlic and cook and stir a few more minutes. Pour in the broth and white wine and reduce the heat to low. Wash the greens and trim away the stems and ribs. Cut into 1-inch ribbons. Add them to the soup along with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of the pepper flakes. Stir until the greens have wilted a little. Cover the pot and simmer 10-15 minutes.

In another pot, bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer until the pasta is cooked through but still firm enough to bite with your tooth–al dente—about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the soup. Add the chopped cilantro. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top if desired.

Makes 4 or 5 servings.

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