Thursday, June 4, 2009

Here Goes Nothing!

Well Hello There Potential Readers!

My name is Lynn, and until I figure out how to set up some of the privacy functions for my Blog, we're gonna keep it to first name only for now. For some reason, I have of late become moved to start blogging. Like most who do so, I have a lot to say, on a lot of subjects, and putting all of one's thoughts somewhere is definitely therapeutic. I will probably end up writing several blogs, but in this particular blog, I will endeavor to focus mainly on all things food :)

I LOVE Food, everything about it, from growing to shopping to reading to cooking and, of course, eating. Food is Life, Food is Art, Food is Love. Am I a trained cook? No. But believe me when I say that the Kitchen is Home. I think I started this blog so that I could hopefully bring a sense of cohesion to my constant culinary rambling. I have other passions too, Theatre and Environmentalism among them, but that's another blog (or blogs). So here we will chat about Food and all that that subject entails in my world :)

So how do we begin? With a new recipe, of course!
This afternoon I found myself hungry, as I am wont to do, and a cupboard/fridge search left me with a hodgepodge of ingredients and leftovers. Though I would not call myself a strict vegetarian, I'm trying to cut down on my meat consumption, and keep it to only a few servings per week (more on that later). I had vegetable broth, canellini beans, about a half loaf of Italian bread, a small onion, a bunch of escarole....and what did all this say to me? SOUP! What resulted was a lovely cross between Pasta Fagiole and Ribollita, slightly tangy, perectly suited to a late spring or early summer lunch, though I can see it being quite tasty in the fall/winter too. Although I did not necessarily mean for this to happen, this recipe is Vegan, no meat, no dairy, no animal products at all. So, this would be a good choice to serve for those who follow a Vegan diet. Also, it's CHEAP. Beans and broth are quite inexpensive, often less than $1.00, one loaf of bread, and pantry staples, that's it! You could put this whole meal together for under $10.00!

This recipe is scaled for one person, as I was only cooking for myself, however, it could easily feed two people, or be scaled to feed more. One of the reasons I love soup so much is because soup it is one of those miracle foods wherein there always seems to be enough to feed everybody :)
Give it a try, let me know your thoughts :)

Beans and Greens Soup
-2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-1 small onion finely chopped
-One-half loaf of day old Italian or French Bread, or about 5 or 6 ounces (this recipe will work with fresh bread too, but bread that is a few days old will better absorb the liquid and add the right thickness to the soup)
-2 14oz. cans of vegetable broth
-1 can canellini beans
- a few pinches of dill (fresh or dried) to taste
- a few pinches of garlic powder, to taste
- 1 medium sized bunch of escarole, rinsed and drained, leaves separated from core.
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Pour two tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil into medium-sized soup pot over medium high heat, when oil is rippling, add chopped onion, saute onion until lightly browned. While onion is browning, cut bread into large bite-size pieces.
2. When onion is finished browning, place bread in soup pot and stir thoroughly so bread becomes coated in the oil.
3. When bread has absorbed the remaining oil, add one can of vegetable broth. Stir, lower heat to medium.
4. Tear escarole leaves into medium-sized pieces, add to to soup pot and cover, allowing the leaves to wilt into soup mixture, stirring occasionally. (don't worry if the pot looks really full, the leaves will shrink a great deal as they wilt).
5. When leaves are wilted, add remaining can of vegetable broth and canellini beans (don't rinse them before they go in the soup pot). Add salt, dill, and garlic powder, cover and simmer on medium low-heat for 10 minutes, or until desired thickness is achieved (some people like soups and stews thicker than others).
6. When desired thickness is reached take soup off heat, add apple cider vinegar, and stir. This would be lovely topped with a spinkle of Parmesan Cheese :)

Try the recipe, let me know if you like it, or better yet, let me know if you like my blog!

Till next time :)


Brande said...

You know, I've never been brave enough to put bread in soup any longer than necessary for dunking, lol. I saw Rachel Ray make a bread soup once that looked SO good, but I was too scared to try it. Is it a pretty fail-safe technique?

LynnieBee said...

In general, I would say yes, definitely!
You really can use any type of bread in soup, even fresh bread will work, but my personal preference is to use bread that is a day or two old, because then it dissolves better in the soup and gives you the best consistency. Really fresh bread doesn't dissolve as well. Bread works as a thickener, giving soups substance and making them "creamier" without adding actual cream. If you have no slightly stale bread on hand, you can slice some fresh bread into cubes and toast them under the broiler for a few minutes to give them some crispness, and then it will work basically the same way that stale bread would :)