The Rains of February and a Winter Soup

Last week the Bay Area got what it desperately needed. Rain! In Sonoma County near the farm, the National Weather Service reported up to 20 inches since last Friday. Quite impressive and almost unprecedented. The plants are so happy!

 This week the box will have the ingredients for a winter soup since winter has finally arrived. What you’ll find is kale, garlic, onions, chili, carrots, rosemary, sage and thyme as well as French radishes ( amazing with salted butter), eggs, Bloomfield salad mix, and potatoes. The premium added products included in the boxes are some amazing Cassoulet Rancho Gordo Beans from our neighbors in Napa and Revolution Bread out of Petaluma.

Zuppa Lombarda ( kale and bean soup) recipe



Zuppa Lombarda ( kale and bean soup)

serves 4-6

This is one of my favorite soups to eat on a winter’s eve. I gleaned the recipe from my years in Tuscany eating at one of my favorite roadside spots near Florence called Ponte Rotto in San Casciano Val di Pesa. This recipe can include an added poached egg at the end if desired.

1 pound of beans (approx two cups) of the tarbais or "cassoulet" beans from Rancho Gordo  or  cannellini beans.

2 onions cleaned of grit, chopped fine using most of the green tops

2-3 small carrots chopped finely

3-4 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped

one quarter chili pepper chopped fine (depends on taste, they can be very spicy)

a sprig or two of thyme just the leaves, a few sage leaves chopped, and a tablespoon of fresh rosemary chopped

one bunch of  kale (about 8 leaves) washed and coarsely chopped

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can use Bloomfield Chili Oil to substitute)

8 small tomatoes  

parmesan (optional but preferred)

 a poached egg if desired.

toasted bread rubbed with a garlic clove


1. Soak beans overnight in a bowl with enough water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. The next day, drain them and put them in a large stockpot, cover, bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the water simmers gently. Do not add salt during this step, it prevents the beans from getting tender. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender (an hour or so or much more if you didn’t soak them). Once cooked, take almost half the beans out and puree them with two cups of the cooking liquid in a blender. If it’s thick add a bit more of the liquid or water. It should be pourable. Save the other half or more of whole beans in a bowl and set aside.

2.     Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. When it’s hot but not scalding, add the chili, onion, green onion tops, carrot, garlic, and season with the herb mixture and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are very soft, 12 to 15 minutes.  Taste for salt and the power of the chili. Adjust to suit your taste. Add the tomatoes cut in half, stir, coat with the mixture then add the whole beans and do the same. This mixture will flavor the beans that act as little sponges. Once again, taste for salt. Add the puree. Stir.

3.  Add 5- 6 cups of water to adjust the soup for thickness. Add the chopped the kale. Adjust the heat so the soup simmers steadily, and cook for 15 minutes.

4. Serve soup hot, over a piece of toasted country bread rubbed with garlic. Add a poached egg if desired. Then pour a tablespoon or two of fresh green olive oil or chili oil over the soup, sprinkle a bit of chopped rosemary and grated Parmesan cheese to finish. (Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to several days.)