Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring has Sprung

Apple blossoms, peach tree in full bloom, and baby apricots.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Vegetable Soup with Basil-Mint Pesto

We recently changed the delivery on our CSA box from the regular box every other week to the small box every week. We found that with every other week we were needing to fill in by the end of the second week. This is only week #2 but so far this is working out better.

Many of the ingredients in this week's box helped me create the soup that I was asked to bring for a dinner party. The soup recipe, which I adapted from a Williams Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook, had some dubious instructions so I basically followed the ingredients list but made it up as I went along when it came to putting it all together.

Start by making the basil-mint pesto.
I went with the following ratio: Basil - 50% (maybe about 2 cups), Mint - 30%, Parsley - 20%. Clean and dry the leaves. Pulse in a food processor. Then run the processor while adding olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Mix until the pesto is at the desired consistency.

For the soup (serves 12):
  • 1 can Cannellini beans (two would have been better)
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 4-5 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, sliced into 1 inch ribbons
  • 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni pasta
  • 16 cups vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
After prepping all vegetables, heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. butter and the same amount of olive oil. Add onions and saute until they start to soften (5-7 mins.). Meanwhile, steam the green beans to soften them up a bit. Back with the pot, add carrots and stir to mix. Add celery and stir to mix. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, steamed green beans, and stock and bring to a boil. Add chard when soup is at its hottest and let wilt. Lower heat and add beans.

In a separate pot, heat water for the pasta. Cook elbow macaroni following instructions but only partially boil. Let the pasta finish cooking in the soup to let it absorb some of the flavors.

The soup can rest for a bit (which is what I did, letting the ingredients blend together). When you are ready to serve, reheat the soup and then ladle into bowls. Place a large dollop of pesto in the center and sprinkle some grated cheese on top.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sharpening Knives

Happiness is a sharp knife.

Keeping Your Knives Ridiculously Sharp from Eric Gower on Vimeo.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jamie Oliver: Teach Every Child About Food

Chef and author, Jamie Oliver, speaking at the TED Conference.

"I came here to start a food revolution that I so profoundly believe in. We need it. The time is now. We're in a tipping point moment."

Take 20 minutes and check this out.