So with my massive haul from Wolfe Spring Farm, I had to get cracking on Saturday afternoon.
With the crisp evenings we’ve been having, I felt some sort of soup was in order and so the planning began. Soup is always a good way to use lots of veg, and forgiving, too. After some deliberation with Hubs, I decided on a Minestrone-style Vegetable Soup. This would be my lead dish for the weekend. I mapped out my other dishes and figured out which ingredients I could prep simultaneously. I would prep the ingredients for the vegetable soup and Freekeh Pilaf at the same time, since I could chop onions and garlic for both dishes in one shot.
Timing was also a factor, so I decided to put up some of the vegetables because it would be impossible to consume all in the week. The veggies are organic, and most have a short shelf life. I would freeze the bell peppers and roasted eggplant (must chop all peppers first, and grill the eggplant), as suggested by Agrigirl in a comment last week. And the tomatoes would turn into Sweet Tomato Jam, but not until Sunday.
And lastly, why not make some kale chips?
At one point, I had 5 dishes going in various stages of preparation in the sink, on the stove, in the oven and on the grill. Controlled chaos at best. Or, why chefs and cooks who do this, day in, day out, impress me to no end. Like I said, it was my own personal form of self-torture. If I knew how to insert a table into this post, I’d have a matrix with the following headers: Ingredients, Dish, Cooking Method. That’s how much I had goin’ on. And this didn’t even include Saturday night dinner!
The good news is that the “lead” dish du jour, the Vegetable Soup, turned out delicious. I call it Minestrone-style because I used tomatoes and it has a light tomato base, but I didn’t use any beans or pasta, which you usually find in a Minestrone soup. Here is my recipe, and like most others, consider it a starting point and alter it based on what you have in your cupboard.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium or large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 carrot diced,
2 stalks celery, chopped (I didn’t use because we didn’t have any, but highly recommend)
8 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth for the carnivores)
1 cup tomatoes, chopped, cored and seeded
2 small potatoes, diced in 1/2 inch,
1 Parmiggiano cheese rind (I keep the rinds in a plastic bag in the back of my fridge. Use in risottos and soups, add great flavor)
1 cup winter squash, diced (I used spaghetti squash and surprisingly, turned out great. Had never used it in a soup)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage (left over from last week’s pick-up. A head of cabbage goes a looong way)
Large handful of parsley, leaves only, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In large soup pot, on low-medium heat, saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add carrots and celery and continue to saute until vegetables are softened. Add potatoes, squash and bell pepper (or whichever “hard” vegetables you are using – turnips, parsnips would also be great). Saute for 2-3 minutes to give vegetables some color.
Add liquid – broth and chopped tomatoes, and Parmiggiano rind, if using. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until “hard” vegetable soften. Add cabbage and parsley (or other “soft” vegetables or greens, like zucchini, kale, collard greens, etc). Season with salt and pepper, simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool. Serve with shredded Parmiggiano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
What’s left in the basket from my CSA Pick-up? Cauliflower, a cucumber, cherry tomatoes (I was greedy with these), watermelon, raspberries (not worried about the fruit) and 2 shiitake mushrooms. Looking for suggestions for the shiitake mushrooms and cauliflower. Any ideas?