Lemony soup with white beans, kale and pasta

Lemony soup with white beans, kale and pastaThe days have grown hot and sticky here. I have all the windows open, and the fan on the highest setting to try and get a bit of relief.

“Why are you posting a soup recipe then?!” you ask.

Excellent question. And the answer is that this soup is too good, and too versatile to hold back from you. It’s delicious and filling, but the flavours are fresh and tangy, making it a perfect summer dinner meal. It’s also great in the winter, providing comfort and a promise of spring and all things green.

I tweaked a couple things in this recipe. It calls for dried beans to be cooked along with other ingredients, but I usually cook a huge batch of dried beans at once and then freeze them, so I just added some from my freezer, which significantly cut down the cooking time (and subsequently the amount of time my stove was on! Win-win!). This method makes it easy to substitute in a can of cooked beans too. If you’re working from dry, follow the source link to the original recipe for cooking instructions. The second thing I changed was to add a Parmesan rind to the soup as it was cooking, instead of grated Parmesan. I remove the rind at the end, before serving, and I’ve found this method infuses the soup with incredible flavour. It’s still delicious without Parmesan if you’re vegan or if dairy just isn’t your thing but if you’re okay with cheese, I really recommend the rind method.

Lemony soup with white beans, kale and pasta

Source: Flourishing Foodie

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 small white potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1.5 cups of cooked white beans (equivalent to 1 can of white beans)
  • 1 Parmesan rind (mine was about 2 inches long, but this is not an exact science – work with what you’ve got)
  • 1 cup small pasta (I used macaroni this time, but  have also had great success with ditalini and orzo)
  • 1 small bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, fry onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent. Add potato and fry for another minute. Add the vegetable stock, lemon juice, white beans and Parmesan rind, and cook at a simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the kale and cook for another few minutes, until the kale and pasta are both tender. You may need to add a bit more water if a lot of yours has evaporated during the cooking process*. This is the beauty of this soup: you can make it as thick or thin as you like, and both are delicious.
  3. Remove the Parmesan rind, serve and enjoy!

*If you store the soup in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer (which you should! It’s such a good leftover meal!), you might have to add more water or stock, as the pasta will absorb some of the liquid and expand over time.

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Returning soon!

IMG_20140521_153049Oh friends, it’s been quite a year. There’s been no end of sick pets, cooking burn-out, and challenging days. I’ve found myself in constant need of tea and naps, and the amount of time I’ve had to read has been abysmal. This poor little blog has fallen by the wayside. I’ve reached the point where recharging is the only option, and intentionally taking time for grounding, rest and the things that nourish me is essential.

To that end, I’m going to be making a concerted effort to update this blog on a regular basis and build up to some sort of routine. Up next, a new favourite of mine: a lemony kale and white bean soup!

Roasted garlic, olive, tomato and fresh basil pasta

DSC00797Nina’s family has a tradition: pasta lunch on Sundays. We adopted it last year, and are so deeply in love with the tradition. We make our own tomato sauce in huge batches and then freeze it, thawing a portion each Sunday to have with pasta, garlic bread and a quick salad. It’s easy comfort food at the end of busy weekends, and routines make me happy. It also limits our pasta intake to once a week, which has been a challenge in my vegetarian life before. Win/win/win!

As I said, we usually make pasta with tomato sauce, but then this recipe came along and I couldn’t help substitute it for our regular fare. Nina’s first words after eating it were “you need to tell people that this is shockingly good!” And it is.

Roasted Garlic, Olive, Tomato and Fresh Basil Pasta
Source: the Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 3 small heads of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound of pasta
  • 15 ounces of whole or skim ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 small tomatoes, roughly diced
  • 1 cup black or green olives, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tops off the cloves of garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the cloves (cut side up) in tin foil, and place the packet in the oven (I just put mine in like that, but you could also place it on a baking sheet). Roast for 40-50 minutes or until the garlic is very soft. Remove and let cool.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, mix the ricotta and yogurt together in a medium-sized bowl. Open the foil packet of roasted garlic and with your fingers or a spoon, squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into the ricotta/yogurt mixture. Once it’s all added, mix it to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and return to the pot. Add the ricotta/yogurt/garlic mixture, tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. Toss everything together and serve! This is delicious hot, but we also add the cold leftovers the next day and it was just as delicious.

Blog Hop

My friends O and S have a food blog called A Finger in the Pie (you should check it out!) and they tagged me in a “blog hop” they participated in. It’s basically like an email forward quiz (remember those?), and I thought it would be a good way to introduce myself a bit more! I challenge any of you reading who also have a blog to participate by answering the following questions on your site and linking to a bunch of your own favourite blogs!

What is the working title of your next blog post?

Flourless peanut butter cookies!

Where did the idea come from for the blog?

I’ve been reading food blogs since I learned to cook. I baked a lot with my mom when I was little, but I didn’t really learn how to cook until I moved out on my own in university. I’d call my mom often to ask how to make this or that, and I had a couple good cookbooks (thanks for not letting me starve, Jeanne Lemlin!) but it wasn’t until I discovered food blogs that I cooked for any reason other than sustenance. Hearing people’s stories and the meaning they got from cooking, eating and feeding others was humbling and inspiring. I wanted to participate in this community, and here we are!

What genre does your blog fall under?

This is definitely a food blog, but I’d like to branch out a bit. I’d like to share what I’m reading, where I’m eating, the outcomes of my (successful) craft nights with friends, etc. I sometimes find it really hard to talk about myself and what’s going on in my life, so I think some slow and gentle branching out is in order.

Which actor would you choose to play your character in a movie rendition?

Hmmm. Can I be animated?

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your blog?

A vegetarian food blog, with hints of tea and books.

How long did it take you to write the draft of your first blog post?

It was a very familiar cupcake recipe, so not long (maybe half an hour?)

What other blogs would you compare this to within your genre?

For vegan/vegetarian food blogs, I really like the Curvy Carrot, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!, the Post Punk Kitchen and Oh She Glows. 101 Cookbooks and Sprouted Kitchen aren’t vegetarian, but many of their recipes are, and they both also focus on whole foods and natural products.

Who or what inspired you to start this blog?

Food! And the C.S. Lewis quote I named the food blog after: “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

What else about your blog might pique your readers’ interest?

I have a lot of trouble finding totally vegetarian food blogs, so that may pique some people’s interest. I’m also hoping to try to do some regular “features”, like restaurant reviews, books I’m reading, etc. I’m a creature of order and routine, and I’d love to have a bit of structure around here.

Here are the bloggers whose work you can check out next:

I don’t know many bloggers personally, but these are the blogs whose URLs I have memorized and that I read daily.

  • Annie’s Eats: This is perhaps my favourite food blog. The recipes are simple and delicious, the photos are beautiful, and the writer (Annie) is just so lovely and cheerful.
  • Joy the Baker: I just got the Joy the Baker cookbook, but I’ve been reading the blog for years. It’s my go-to for baking recipes.
  • Smitten Kitchen: I also just go the Smitten Kitchen cookbook after years of reading the blog. A lot of my favourite recipes that I come back to over and over again (ratatouille, lemon risotto, the best brownies on the planet, etc.) are from here.
  • Orangette: Reading this blog is like reading a collection of short stories. Every entry is so beautifully written that I savour every word, even if the recipe doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily, most of the recipes DO appeal to me as well!
  • Dooce: This isn’t a food blog, but it makes me cry with laughter every time I read it. The author has two children and two dogs, and describes herself as a “recovering Mormon”.
  • A Beautiful Mess: This isn’t a food blog either, but the writers (sisters Emma and Elsie) often post food and drink recipes. This blog is also one of my main sources for crafting and DIY projects!

Caramelized Cauliflower x 2

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It has been ridiculously cold in Ottawa lately (-40. -40!). So cold I’ve been reluctant to leave my house. So cold I cry when I got outside, and then the tears freeze. It’s obviously time for comfort food and for me, that’s caramelized cauliflower.

I have two recipes for you today, both which begin by roasting a head of cauliflower. Slice it thinly (1/2 cm wide), toss it with a bit of olive oil and salt, lay it on a parchment-paper covered baking sheet (the parchment paper isn’t necessary but helps with clean-up) and roast it for about 30 minutes at 450 degree F. You can actually stop right there too, and just eat the plain roasted cauliflower as a side – it’s DELICIOUS. But if you’re feeling like something more, these recipes are for you.

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Caramelized Cauliflower Soup
Source: Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, roasted as per above directions
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup of bread torn into 1″ pieces
  • ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. While the cauliflower roasts, head 2 tsp of olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute shallot and garlic for about five minutes to soften. Add vegetable broth, dried thyme and white balsamic vinegar. Warm through.
  2. When the cauliflower is roasted, add it to to the broth and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper, and keep warm.
  3. To make the croutons, heat the remaining olive oil in a small pan. Add the torn bread, pepper and saute for 5-8 minutes until the bread is crispy and the edges are browned.
  4. Serve the soup topped with croutons, hazelnuts, fresh thyme leaves and grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

DSC00755Caramelized Cauliflower Risotto
Source: The Vegetarian Collection (Canadian Living)

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, roasted as per above directions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. While the cauliflower roasts, bring broth and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Fry shallot, garlic and salt, stirring occasionally, until shallot and garlic are softened (about five minutes).
  3. Add the rice, stirring to coat and toast the grains. Add wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains (about one minute).
  4. Add the broth mixture a 1/2 cup at the time. Stir after each mixture until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This should take about 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cauliflower, cheese and parsley.
  6. Serve and enjoy!