Thursday, March 25, 2010


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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something Delicious For You to Make and Eat

Holy crap people. Has it really been a month since I've shown my face around here? What on earth have a been doing? There was a week-long visit from the mother-in-law, a week of books taking precedence over computers, a week where I thought I was going to die from a series of maladies all plaguing me at once, and somehow, now here we are a month later. Ooops.

I haven't been working on much anyway. I do have one finished project to show you and a couple of things in progress. There are two quilts I need to get started on asap for weddings both less than a month away (yikes!!). And I have a huge stack of library books that I'm still reading my way through. So, you know.

"But what about this delicious something for me to make and eat?" you ask. I'm about to tell you. It is a minestrone soup. A soup I've made every week for about a month now. We've been eating it for lunch basically every day and we love it (even William!) It was originally based on a recipe from The New Basics Cookbook, but I've made so many alterations that it's really my own now. So here you go!

Cara's MINESTRONE (or, as William calls it, Rocket Soup)

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely diced
1 leek, finely diced (I only have made it with a leek once. It's good, but optional)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 head of cabbage, roughly chopped into bite-size pieces
1 potato, peeled and diced (I also have used a parsnip, which was really good)
8 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
5 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt, to taste
15 oz red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz white kidney beans (or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I get this from Trader Joe's and it's amazing -- it's tomatoes and green chilis. If you don't want a spicy soup, just use regular canned diced tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar(the "secret" ingredient that I think totally makes it!)
freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish

optional: Italian sausage, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat olive oil over med-high in a large pot. Add garlic, onions, carrot and leek and cook until veg start to become tender (10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally). Add cabbage, potato, stock and tomato paste and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add 2 tablespoons of parsley along with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Add beans, tomatoes and cider vinegar. Simmer until all veg are tender. Adjust seasonings and add sausage if desired. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of parsley before serving. Serve with Parmesan.

(You can also add pasta to this at the end. Add a few ounces of a small pasta before adding the sausage and simmer until pasta is cooked. We leave out the sausage and pasta generally to reduce calories.)

This recipe yields 6-8 servings and is only between 200-300 calories per serving (without sausage or pasta)! It makes for a tasty, quick, healthy, filling-but-not-heavy lunch. And, like all soups, I like this more the day after it's made. All the flavors really come out and blend.

I will be sad when these veggies go out of season (they've all been coming in our CSA box), but will be just that much more excited to make it next winter! That is the joy of eating seasonally -- you're not likely to burn out if you can only have them at certain foods at certain times of the year! It really makes you not take anything for granted, too. Which is a lesson we all need to learn. :)

P.S. Sorry about the lack of a photo! You'll just have to make this yourself so you can see it. :)

EDIT: Got a photo finally! Doesn't it look delicious??