Slow-Baked Beans with Kale or Other Greens

Slow-Baked Beans with Kale or Other Greens
By Karen Yates, Melrose Depot

(Adapted from a recipe by Martha Rose Schulman, published in the New York Times)

I’ve made this recipe a half-dozen times with different types of greens and dried beans. My favorite version was a once-a-year deal: I harvested a Treviso-type radicchio from the garden and didn’t want to waste the tougher, outer leaves of the plant. Blanching the greens is optional but will remove some of their bitterness.

The original recipe calls for dried lima beans, and a 6-oz can of tomato paste dissolved in 1 cup of water. Almost any type of dried bean will do; I prefer to use up the odds and ends in my cupboard. I also use a jar of tomatoes that I canned last summer instead of the tomato paste and water.

The dish can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated, up to four days ahead. To serve, proceed with Step 4 (bread crumb topping) but reheat in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes or until the beans are bubbling and the bread crumbs are lightly browned.


1 medium-sized bunch kale or other “bitter” greens, stemmed and washed well

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 small carrot, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dried white beans, washed and soaked in a large pot of water overnight

1 14-oz can of tomatoes (or 1 pint of home-canned tomatoes or tomato sauce)

2 cups water

A tablespoon of dried herb blend (such as herbes de Provence or another combo from The Herb Farmacy), or make a bouquet garni from 2 sprigs of parsley, 1 sprig of thyme and a bay leaf

Salt and generous freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs


1. Blanch the kale for 2 minutes in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain, squeeze out water and chop the kale into ribbons.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a large ovenproof casserole. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute for about five minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the garlic, stir and cook 30 seconds until you smell the garlic. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Add the remaining water, the herbs, and salt and pepper. Add the kale, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and bake in the oven at 225 F for about three hours until the beans are tender and creamy (note: small white beans, such as Great Northern, will cook a little faster – check them after 2-1/2 hours). Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed, and a little more water if the beans are dry.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and the bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the beans and bake another 30 minutes to an hour. When the bread crumbs are lightly browned, remove from the oven. Serve right away or let cool slightly, then serve.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Adapted by Michelle Raso Carli from

I got this recipe from a friend years ago. It’s very easy and a nice gift – when they open the jar, the pumpkin bread slides right out.

•Eight 1-pint wide-mouth canning jars (see note)
*3 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
• ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
• 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
• 4 eggs
• 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 cup chopped pecans

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat the canning jars with nonstick cooking spray.
2) In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter for three to four minutes, until well blended. Add the pumpkin and eggs and beat for two more minutes.
3) Add remaining ingredients, except the pecans. Beat for one to two minutes, or until well-blended. Stir in pecans.
4) Spoon mixture into jars. Fill each jar about halfway, to the one-cup line on the side. Wipe sides and top of jars clean.
5) Place jars on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully place the lids on the jars and seal while still hot. Once cool, I tighten the lids again. When you first put them on, they may make a popping sound. Allow to cool completely before opening. To serve, slide the bread out of the jars and slice. While these are baked in canning jars, this is not canning. These can be stored for two to three weeks at room temperature, or frozen for up to two months.
Note: This batter can also be baked in two 9” x 5” loaf pans, adding about 20 minutes to the baking time. However, the canning jars make nice pre-packaged gifts, especially if personalized with a festive ribbon and descriptive label.

Great Grapes!

The grapes in this week’s share are delicious — complex, tasty and more adult than the standard supermarket fare. However, they also have seeds. If seed spitting is not your thing, here are a few ideas:

Make Grape Juice concentrate:  2 cups grapes, 1/2 to 1 cup sugar, put in clean quart mason jar then fill with boiling water, process in boiling water bath 5-10 minutes. Let sit for a few weeks, done.

Popsicles! Juice your grapes and freeze them for the best popsicles you will ever have. I promise!

Edible Flowers

By Rita from the Herb FARMacy

Edible flowers are a mixed selection of nasturtiums, lemon/tangerine marigolds, calendula, chervil, borage, garlic chives, Mexican mint marigold and/or lavender. The bottom of each container will be “lined” with nasturtium leaves or chervil leaves that also can be enjoyed on salads!

The depots will keep these gems cool. Members should refrigerate the containers ASAP and use within 24 hours. They can last longer, but the flavor and color deteriorates. For the best flavor, remove the stamens and pistils from the flowers, using the petals. Some chefs just use the entire flower of the nasturtium; it’s really up to you. If you want, you can g-e-n-t-l-y rinse the flowers before serving, but our farm is certified organic, and we have used no treatments (even accepted organic) on the plants. We have checked for insects, but just in case we may have missed some little ones, please check the flowers before serving.

The flavor of the flowers is similar to the leaves we typically use. So explore and enjoy your edible flower experience.