All Hail to
All through my
growing up years, I knew I did not like kale. I had never actually
tasted it, but I knew, firmly, that I did NOT like kale. Then one
day, in an odd moment of culinary open-mindedness, I tried a winter
greens soup, and immediately fell in love with kale. I made it three
times the following week, and quickly learned a key fact: all kale
is not created equal. Some of the bunches I bought were yummy and
tender, and some were tough and bitter. This led me to my next
conclusion: nothing matches home-grown.
Oh, kale! What a
world of wonder I had been missing! Krinkly, curly Scotch kale,
purple-tinged Red Russian, bumpy Black Tuscan “dinosaur” kale... the
array of colors and shapes is enticing.
The brightly colored ornamental kales are actually edible as well,
as long as you grow your own or know for certain that they haven’t
Kale is one of the
easiest to grow members of the brassica family, an ancient group of
highly nutritious vegetables that includes cauliflower, broccoli,
cabbage, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts. All are cool weather crops,
and some are a bit challenging to grow here in Oklahoma. But kale is
a forgiving and easygoing friend in the garden. Plant seedlings in
early spring for harvesting through early summer, and again in
September for fall and winter meals. Kale will happily carry on
through cold winter temps. Indeed, most varieties are sweeter after
the first freeze, although Red Russian is tender even in early fall.
Pick the outer leaves off the plant, and it will continue to grow
and produce. Hot weather brings bitter flavors. Brassicas respond
well to very fertile soil; composted leaves are an especially good
Those cute little green inchworms that
appear in spring and early fall will quickly devour the leaves on a
young kale plant. In a small patch, handpicking and smooshing is
quick and effective.
My favorite method
of cooking kale is to sauté some garlic, toss in the chopped kale,
cover the pan and let it steam in its own juices, then sprinkle with
lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Winter Greens Soup
Slightly adapted from
Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbs canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
20 cups of kale and/or
other greens such as chard, beet greens, spinach or sorrel,
chopped into strips. That sounds like a LOT, but it really
cooks down. Kale takes the longest time to cook, spinach is
the fastest; add the kale first and the other greens later.
The chard stems can be chopped and added initially to the
Heat oil in soup pot, add
onions, saute about 5 minutes. Add garlic, potato and
carrot, and saute about 5 more minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock,
cover the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes. Add kale and
rest of stock. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until kale
is tender. Puree until smooth. Season with lemon juice, and
add croutons and parmesan if desired.
The pecan harvest this year
has brought me to my knees, both in gratitude, and in order to
harvest this bumper crop. It’s hard to beat the experience of
walking around one’s own yard, gathering delicious food right
off the ground. I never got very far with hand shelling our
pecans, so I’ve been delighted to discover that Farmer’s Grain
in Edmond will crack and blow pecans for .39 cents/#. After
blowing, the pecans are almost completely shelled; you’ll still
need to pick through and discard pieces of shell. By the way,
pecan shells are acidic and make ideal mulch for azaleas and
rhododendrons. Toasting the nuts briefly in a skillet helps
bring out their flavor. I’m posting my favorite Pecan Sandies
recipe on my website, www.eliawoods.com.
1/2# butter (2
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or Arrowhead
Mills Baking Mix
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups ground pecans
and mix well with honey and vanilla. Gradually add equal
amounts of flour and pecan meal, until it's the right
stiffness for cookie dough. Roll into small balls, lay on
greased cookie sheet, flatten a bit, and bake at 350 degrees
until well-browned on the bottom, about 10-12 minutes.
Annual Valentine's Art Sale and Card Making
Sat. Feb. 9, 1-8pm at my studio, 1012 NW 32,
Come shop for one-of-a-kind handcrafted
cards, or join the fun and make your own!
Coming in May… Grounded
Solo exhibit at Individual Artists of Oklahoma gallery, May
Opening reception at IAO, Sat. May 17, 6-9pm
The following weekend will feature an outdoor event at our
OK, folks, I’m trying something new. The limitation of doing an
indoor exhibit about the world outside is that… well, it’s
indoors. While being inside can offer us a chance for focus and
contemplation, nothing awakens the spirit like wind on skin, the
scent of damp soil, or spring’s first sweet strawberry nibbled
straight from the plant. To that end, I am linking my upcoming
exhibit at IAO with an outdoor event at the Central Park
Community Gardens, where we are undertaking a new effort to
create an outdoor green-art-environment which will encourage
visitors to experience directly the beauty, complexity and
healing power of the living world. More details soon!
Issue # 9 -
Classes & Workshops
My solo exhibit
Food for Thought premiered at the Tulsa Artists’
Coalition gallery in October. This body of work celebrates our
sources of sustenance and explores the sacred trust we have with the
natural world. Special thanks to the TAC volunteers and staff, who
made this opportunity possible, and to all of you who were able to
attend or encouraged me along the way. My caterer friend Annie Jordanov created a knock-out array of appetizers
for the opening reception, using locally grown vegetables.
Fellow artist Lynn Craigie wrote a lovely review, which you can read
on my website,
www.eliawoods.com (click on “exhibits”).
I was very
pleased to have my artworks Seeing Red, Little White Lies and
Freedom Got the Blues accepted in Fiber National 2007 at
the Lancaster Museum of Art in Pennsylvania.
Dinner in the Deuce
exhibit at Untitled ArtSpace, 1 NE 3rd, Jan. 11-Feb. 23,
of handcrafted dining environments created by teams of artists. My
team’s table is Poised al Fresco, and includes my handwoven
table napkins and hand dyed silk canopy. Even if you think you
aren’t into art exhibits, check this one out!
City Arts Center at Fair Park
Café City Arts
2008: Circus Maximus
Jan. 18 – Feb 23:
my latest scarves in deflected doubleweave and shadow weave will be
weaving classes resume Jan. 22. Tuesdays,
Thursdays, 10am to noon, $104 includes all supplies.
with Natural Dyes: Free Event!
Sat. March 15,
1-4 pm (come and go) All ages welcome.
Bring your own
eggs; we’ll provide the dyes and show you how to create
tantalizingly beautiful designs.
Children under 12
must be accompanied by an adult.
This is the
first in a series of free intergenerational programs on natural
dyes, held at City Arts Center, and made possible thanks to a grant
from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
Check out more
of our natural dye classes, and our U-tube videos on indigo dyeing
and mud painting at
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
236-3100 x213 or
With A Heart
Adults and teens
Sunday, Feb. 3,
members, $25 non-members
techniques while making a stack of very cool cards.
Kids ages 7-10
Sunday, Feb. 10,
$10 members, $15
Art Nouveau Imagery onto Fabric
Sat. Feb. 16
10am – 4pm
$40 members, $50
Explore the heat
transfer method of applying photo imagery to cloth.
All materials provided.