December 16, 2011
I have been wanting to make some bean soup for a while. This soup was made using what I could scrounge up in my mom’s fridge…I found a carrot, a few stalks of celery, some chard stems, and a bunch of parsley. If you have these things, you can make a soup.
There was an onion sitting on my counter, along with a butternut squash from the farmer’s market. I cut up a bit of the onion with the squash and a few cloves of garlic and put them in the oven with a little olive oil to roast.
Meanwhile, I covered a cup of borlotti beans with boiling water and set them aside. I chopped and sauteed the found vegetables in a mixture of olive oil and butter for about 20 minutes. To the one carrot, remaining onion, two stalks of celery, and a handful of chopped parsley, I added several bay leaves, a few dried peppers and a parmesan cheese rind. And a pinch or two of herbs de provence.
I then added a lot of water, the soaked beans, and a bit of salt.
Then pressure cooked the whole collection for 40 minutes. And then another 20 minutes, until the beans were nicely tender.
After the beans were cooked I added the chopped chard stems and roasted squash for a little extra color.
This is a good soup if you have been on your feet all day. Brothy and hearty at the same time. Perfect to serve with good olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground pepper, and a slice of fresh bread.
December 3, 2011
I have been into tomato soup recently. I like to roast the tomatoes with things like onions and peppers, and then blend them. Or even easier, just open a few jars of tomato sauce, add some water, harissa, salt and olive oil, and serve with broiled cheese toasts.
There are too many options for exactly how to make this soup, but here is a very general guideline that I like to follow.
For roasting tomatoes:
Place cut tomatoes (I slice them in half), butternut squash chunks, hot peppers, onion slices, apples, and anything else you would like to add, onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add a sprig of fresh basil if you have it, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at about 350-400 degrees until the vegetables are cooked and caramelized. It might be advisable to stir a few times during the cooking process.
Remove the vegetables from the pan, making sure to collect the juices from cooking. I will often pour in a little hot water to capture as much as I can.
Mix cooked vegetables with water (or vegetable broth for a richer soup), some harissa, and any other flavors that you would like to add here. Blend with a stick blender or put through a food mill. If it is too thick, you can add water. If it is too thin, you can cook it down, or add a handful of cooked couscous or pasta and let it simmer for a few more minutes. I like this soup to be on the thin side because the cheese toasts end up soaking up extra liquid.
Heat the soup up, and serve with broiled cheese toasts with mustard, and extra pepper, salt, and olive oil for garnish. And some chopped parsley, basil or cilantro.
To make cheese toasts:
Slice 1-2 pieces of stale bread per serving and place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and place a slice or some gratings of cheese on top. Broil in the oven, watching like a HAWK! I am really good at burning the cheese toasts. Serve soup with cheese toasts on top.
September 29, 2011
Below is my take on mushrooms-on-toast. With greens and cheesy white sauce.
First step is to wash and trim the mushrooms. Then slice them and put them in a pan with butter and fresh sage. Sautee until they are nice and juicy. Add herbs to flavor at the end. And some salt to taste.
While the mushrooms are cooking, sautee some onions and tomatoes in a pan over medium heat. After they are nicely cooked, add the finely sliced greens and cook until tender.
For the cheesy white sauce, mix a little butter with a little flour in a pan, and add some milk and salt. Then grate in a little cheese (prairie breeze). I find that cheese sauce gets a little bit grainy, and I am not sure how to remedy this. The sauce should thicken in a few minutes over medium heat.
Then mix the herbs (parsley and tarragon) with a little more grated cheese and layer everything on freshly toasted bread. Vegetables, cheese, mushrooms, cheese, and then cheesy white sauce.
Eat with a fork and knife before everything gets cold and soggy…