I was going to make a soup. I had some lovely leeks that I found at the market, along with these adorable little tiny white and red potatoes. I had some kale that needed using up. I had a couple of heads of garlic that would go in there too. Come to think of it, there were also like 3 lbs of large white potatoes that had been there for three weeks already.
However, once I started chopping the leeks (3 of them, with the tough green parts removed), I noticed that I had a LOT of leeks. What if I wanted leeks in something else? Also, two heads of garlic is going to be such a waste if I use it in one soup. What if I need garlic for something else? I don't really have a ton of time during the week to go grocery shopping.
FINE. Message heard, universe. I'll do that thing where I prepare myself for making a bunch of different dishes by doing the preparation of the individual ingredients, then cooking them separately. That way, I can use my prepared ingredients during the week when I want something fast. Bear in mind that I do also have some canned beans, some frozen veggies, and (as always) rice, ginger, onions, and coconut milk knocking about in my kitchen, so I can augment whatever I prepare here to keep things varied and interesting.
First I set a large pot of water to boil. I was going to boil, then roast the baby potatoes. It seems a shame to lose them to a soup when they're so cute. I also set my electric kettle on the boil with 1 1/2 litres of water. Then, I separated out the stems from the leaves of the kale. The leaves went into a bowl, and the stems I chopped into thin cross-wise slices. That went into a separate bowl.
I made a garlic confit. Not only does this allow me to be lazy, and use pre-peeled garlic in large quantities if I want (because whenever I buy pre-peeled garlic, I can never get through the entire amount before about 1/3 of it goes off on me. I'm one person. I like garlic, but not to that extent. But, in today's case, I had only the garlic inside the skin, so I peeled it, and submerged it in room temperature olive oil in a cold pan. I set it over medium low head (like a 2 on a 10 point scale), and got to the business of slicing the leeks. Since I was going to want a fair bit of sauteed onion product, I augmented the leeks with 2 medium sweet onions (I used vidalia, but you can use whatever you keep in the kitchen).
Here's a picture of the garlic in the pan. It's ready to go on the stove, over the heat. The leeks and the sweet onions are also pictured here. They go in a pan, with about 3 - 5 tablespoons of olive oil (or however much you need to coat the bottom of your pan. By the time the garlic head was peeled, the electric kettle had boiled the first kettle full of water. I dumped it over the kale leaves, and put in another litre of so of water to boil.
While I was chopping the leeks and peeling the garlic, I was already boiling the mini potatoes. Once the leeks were starting to sizzle in the pan, the potatoes were cooked to my liking (firm, but cooked through).
By this point, the leeks were starting to smell nice. I went and gave them a quick stir.
By now, the kale had cooked through, so I strained out the water, and poured cold water over it. I used the rest of the boiling water to cook the stems. They needed to set in the boiling water for 10 minutes. The kale leaves needed like 5 minutes or so. Meanwhile, once the baby potatoes are in the oven, wash out the stock pot, and put it back on the stove with more water.
I set the kale leaves to drain in the colander, and went to chop up the white potatoes into little cubes. I had around 3 lbs, give or take.
Once the water came to a boil, the kale was as drained as it was going to get. I squeezed out as much water as I could, because I planned on keeping the kale for about a week or two in the fridge in its cooked state. I chopped the kale leaves into very very fine pieces.
I wasn't going fast, just kind of taking my time. By the time I was done chopping up the kale into fine pieces, the potatoes in the oven were roasted, and the potatoes in the pot were cooked through (because they were little cubes of potato).
I put away the kale immediately, while the cubed potatoes were draining. I slipped in a dry paper towel and squeezed out as much air as I could. The paper towel will absorb any excess moisture, and keep the cooked greens fresher for a longer time.
I rinsed off the cubed potatoes with cold water, and bagged them up as well. The roasted potatoes cooled, and I put them into containers. My garlic was soft, and golden brown. I strained the garlic into a deli container, and saved the oil in a bottle.
The onions and leeks were softened, and very light brown. They had considerably shrunken in size. I've been doing dishes as I've gone along, but they do pile up quickly!
Pictured here are clean dishes. If I had to face this amount of dishes during the week, I'd have to call a cleaning person to help me get it under control, because I don't have time on weekdays. However, since this is a weekend, I don't have to worry.