Hearty Bean and Vegetable Soup

Well, I received my CSA shipment from Farm Fresh To You (farmfreshtoyou.com) a few days ago, and I’d customized my box to include some fresh dill.  I love fresh dill.  It reminds me of the ca…

Source: Hearty Bean and Vegetable Soup

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Hearty Bean and Vegetable Soup

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Well, I received my CSA shipment from Farm Fresh To You (farmfreshtoyou.com) a few days ago, and I’d customized my box to include some fresh dill.  I love fresh dill.  It reminds me of the cabbage borscht my grandfather used to make when I was growing up; there was always lots of dill in his soups, and they were always so savory and delicious.

I also added rainbow carrots, zucchini, spring onions, chard, and sweet potato to my  delivery.  As I customized my box, I had in mind to make a really hearty soup that reminded me of the old days (minus the beef).  If you flavor your dishes, whatever they may be, I doubt you’ll miss beef or chicken.  But, if you want to include those, you can still use this basic recipe, and add the meat of your choice.

So, I’ll just describe how I made this, because I rarely write a recipe down, and it’s often trial and error, tasting as I go to adjust the flavor to my liking.

I prepped 4 sweet potatoes by scrubbing and chopping in equal-sized small pieces (not peeling, because a lot of the nutritional value is in the skin); 2 rainbow carrots, unpeeled, scrubbed and chopped; 1 large chopped zucchini; 4 spring onions, chopped (including stem); small bunch of chard, washed well, stem removed, then finely chopped and reserving about half cup for serving bowl; about 6-7 stems of fresh dill, washed and just torn, including stems; about 2 cups of previously fresh-frozen Brussels sprouts leaves; 1 16-oz can each of black beans and cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained; 1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes; about 2 cups of V8 juice; about 64 oz. filtered water; vegetized sea salt to taste; pepper to taste; about 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar; a few bay leaves; about 1 tbsp dried basil; about a tsp. each of freshly grated turmeric and ginger; bee pollen to sprinkle over each serving, some extra spring onion bulb chopped for garnish, as well as the extra chopped chard.

Once all the vegetables were prepped, I heated the stockpot with EVOO on medium.  I added the sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, spring onions, chard, dill, Brussels sprouts leaves, bay leaves, basil, turmeric, and ginger.  I stirred it all well and let it cook down for about 20 minutes. Then, I added the Pomi crushed tomatoes, V8, rinsed beans, water, salt and pepper, and apple cider vinegar.  I let it all cook on a simmer with a tilted lid until the vegetables were tender, and the flavor was robust, probably about 40 minutes.  I like to cook soups slowly, so all the flavors marry.  Add more water, salt and pepper to your taste before you serve.

I added the extra chard to the serving bowls, and I topped each bowl with some spring onion (from the bulb), and then sprinkled some bee pollen on each one.

Veggie Patties from Slow-Cooked Beans

I’d made a large batch of my slow-cooked beans (recipe on this site), and I thought it might be interesting to use some of them to make some veggie patties.  I’d just received a new CSA shipment that included some sweet potatoes, and the flavor of the beans mixed with the sweet potatoes seemed like it might be tasty.  It was, and here’s the recipe:

2 cups slow-cooked beans (from my recipe on here), 3 medium-sized baked/skinned/mashed sweet potatoes, 2 tbsp. Tahini, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 cup each flax/Chia seeds, 1/2 cup #coachsoats 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1 finely chopped sweet onion, 1 tbsp. Westpoint Naturals vegetized sea salt, extra cumin/smoked paprika/pepper to taste (they’re in the slow-cooked beans, but you may want to add more). Mix well, shape into patties. Bake in a 400F oven on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil for about 15 minutes on each side.

I made the guacamole from my recipe on here as well.  The snap peas and strawberries were from my CSA shipment, too, and I had the English cucumber on hand.  I just served all of it platter-style.  The leftovers are great for snacking and/or more meals.
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Curried Cauliflower Soup

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The absolutely most savory and tasty soup ever! It was so simple to make, that I am just going to describe how I made it because I didn’t use a recipe, and it was a taste-as-you-go kind of effort.

I had a whole cauliflower that I washed and broke into small florets. Meanwhile, I sautéed over medium heat in a heavy soup pot about 3 tbsp. EVOO, one large yellow chopped onion, three chopped celery stalks, three finely chopped carrots, a fresh and finely chopped large tomato, about 5 finely chopped garlic cloves. After a few minutes, I added a generous amount of high quality yellow curry (about 3 tbsp), about 1 tbsp each of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and ground cumin. Stirred, and then grated about 3 tbsp each of fresh turmeric and ginger, and added that to the mix, along with the cauliflower florets. I stirred all ingredients well, and let sauté for a few more minutes before adding about 6 cups of fresh filtered water. Brought it all to a boil, then simmered until the cauliflower was tender (about 25 minutes). Before serving, I added some baby bok choy, chopped, and some chopped cilantro. I garnished each dish with a little whole baby bok choy, and some fresh parsley and cilantro, as well as some freshly-squeezed lime and a little Tamari.

All of this can (and should) be modified to your own taste. The main thing is to use the different ingredients, all organic, and maybe modify the measurements according to what you really like. It’s all about experimentation. This one turned out very well, and I just loved it (and still have leftovers).

Veggie and Tofu Chow Mein

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This was as easy as can be to make, and yet it looks like a dish you’d order at a Chinese or Thai restaurant (in my humble opinion, lol). It was quite delicious, low-fat, healthy, filling, and super easy and quick to make. If you make the tofu ahead of time (which I’d made the day before), it’s nothing to throw this together. The key here (as in the case of making any dish requiring quick and hot cooking) is to have all your ingredients ready before getting that wok or heavy skillet hot with oil.

INGREDIENTS

1 pkg extra-firm organic tofu (cubed and then tossed in a little olive oil and baked in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes, turned, and baked another 15 minutes or so)
1/4 pkg. dried linguini, broken in half and cooked per pkg. directions, then drained in cold water and put aside
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced lengthwise
1 onion (sweet or yellow), sliced lengthwise
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally
1 carrot, sliced diagonally
Vegetable oil (I used a light vegetable oil blend)
Soy sauce
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
Roasted sesame seeds
Cucumber (few diagonal slices to garnish the plate)

METHOD

After preparing all the ingredients above, heat oil in a heavy skillet (or wok) over high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and stir quickly for about 30 seconds before adding the red bell pepper. Stir for about a minute before drizzling about 2-3 tbsp. of soy sauce over the vegetables. They’ll steam up. At that point, I added the minced garlic and the grated ginger, and stirred it well into the mixture before adding the cooked linguini. Add more soy sauce to taste, mix well. Plate onto a platter and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Garnish with the cucumber. Serve immediately.

Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)

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This Tuscan soup is more like a hearty stew than a soup, and it may not look great but it’s so incredibly flavorful and delicious. It only requires a few ingredients and can be made very quickly. In Italy, it’s made year-round with a few modifications; in the summer months when plum tomatoes are aplenty and ripe, they make it with fresh tomatoes. When the tomatoes are not in season, they make it with canned plum tomatoes. If you make it with the canned tomatoes, make sure to buy Italian-made because they will have nothing added (no salt, no preservatives—just tomatoes). And I have never tasted better tomatoes than fresh Italian tomatoes. They are exquisite. I watched about five Italian YouTube videos to see how differently each chef makes this dish, and I made mine based on theirs. There are a few ingredients that you don’t change: lots and lots of fresh basil, vegetable broth, stale crusty bread (I used a white Artisan-style bread), and of course the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

1 28-oz can Italian-made (I used Cento) crushed tomatoes (you could use whole)
1 beefsteak tomato (skinned), chopped (I added this because I wanted more chunky tomato)
1 32-oz carton organic vegetable broth (or, you could make your own)
About a half a loaf of stale Artisan-style hard bread, cut into ~2-inch chunks
About 2 cups of fresh basil — I used fresh from my garden
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (you could use leek bulb, instead)
3 carrots, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, whole but smashed (you’ll remove them once the soup is cooked)
EVOO (high quality)
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

Generously swirl olive oil into soup pot and heat on medium. Add the garlic and stir around for a few minutes in the olive oil. Next, add the carrot, celery, and onion. Stir to mix and let cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, but not brown. Add the canned (and/or fresh chopped) tomatoes, stir well to mix. Tear about a third of the basil into the mixture (never cut or use scissors—always tear it). Mix and let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. Add about half of the carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add the bread, mix well and simmer on low. Add some more torn basil leaves, and the rest of the vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Simmer and let the bread become really soft and mushy. Remove the garlic cloves. Serve in individual soup bowls, garnish with fresh basil, and (optional) drizzle a little olive oil over top.

Curried Cauliflower with Garbanzo Beans

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I posted this recipe last week when I made it. It appears to be one of the favorite Instagram food photos on my new account, so it deserves some recognition here! I love cauliflower, and I’m always looking for new and creative ways of preparing it. This dish was hearty enough to stand on its own; I added garbanzo beans to it, and of course a host of other ingredients that made the flavor of the dish pop like a weasel. So, here it is!

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into bite-sized florets
1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, washed and drained well
1 medium-sized tomato, deseeded and finely chopped
1 handful of fresh cilantro, washed and finely chopped
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of finely chopped garlic (or less, if you’re worried about your breath)
2 tbsp yellow curry
1 tsp Garam Masala (an Indian spice for those of you unfamiliar with it)
1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of half a lime, plus a wedge for the plate

METHOD

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large heavy skillet. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the curry powder and Garam Masala, and mix well. Continue cooking over low heat to let all the flavors blend for another 3-5 minutes. Add the cauliflower florets and mix well so that they are coated with the curry mixture. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir-fry for about a minute or two before adding the water (or vegetable broth). Add the garbanzo beans, stir well, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid to test the cauliflower for doneness. Depending on how well you like your cauliflower cooked, you can cook a few minutes longer with the lid on. Remove the lid, and if there is still liquid, let it evaporate by cooking a few minutes longer. When all liquid has evaporated, add the tomato and the cilantro, stir well and cover. Turn the heat off and let it sit for a few minutes. Test for salt and pepper. Plate into bowls, squeeze a little lime juice over each bowl, and garnish with a wedge of lime on the side.

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