The woman bundled in mittens, scarf, and hand-woven hat sitting outside of Rock Spray Nursery in Truro this morning was busy seeding when I pulled into the white shell parking lot.
An NPR discussion on the rising number of American kids entering—perhaps unnecessarily—the world of higher education floated out through the shed window. With the rising price and four-year opportunity cost of college, many of these kids would do better to go to a trade school, or apprentice themselves to a local craft person, the guest trailed off. I wondered what the learning trade-offs would have been had I chosen a Maine gardener over Middlebury.
One thing's for sure: I would surely have a better knowledge of the round-up of hardy little seedlings ready for planting this time of year in our false-spring climate. Luckily, today the nursery was there to help.
Vegetable seedlings were on sale—10 for $3. I picked out three shoots of brussel sprouts, two miniature heads of lettuce, two wavering fennel bulbs, two leafy kale sprouts, and a tiny radicchio. An early summer's bargain harvest.
While picking time is still a long way off, by the time I had them home I already knew how I planned to eat my kale: in a pot of Portuguese Kale soup. The recipe comes from Alex; it's the one he makes daily for Mac's Seafood on the Wellfleet town pier. For those of us feeding a family rather than a town, the large batch makes plenty to freeze for later.
MAC'S PORTUGUESE KALE SOUP
Makes one large soup pot full
In a large frying pan, sauté 2 large chopped onions, 6 minced cloves garlic, and 2 pounds linguica in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 4 chopped fresh tomatoes and cook for another two minutes.
Pour 2 quarts water into a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add 8 diced medium sized potatoes and cook until almost tender, being careful not to overcook. Add linguica mixture, 2 pounds kale, 1 quart beef broth, 1 pound fire-roasted canned tomatoes, and 1 pint canned red kidney beans. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.