November 23, 2009

Rainy Day Vegetable Soup

So many choices. Applesauce with cider, homemade birthday cake with sour cream chocolate frosting, butternut squash soup with leeks (a flop- not the way to start), then finally smashing successes. A simple vegetable soup that simmered into a thick, luscious tomato-y gravy that gently bathed a basic mix of carrot, onion, celery, red pepper, tomato, and cannellini beans. Not bad for a made up recipe based on emptying my fridge pre-Thanksgiving travel.

That's what I chose to start with, to introduce myself with. The kitchen is my favorite place-warm in winter, the action spot during family time, where I am most creative. From all the things I've made in the last weeks, it couldn't be any other way than a made up recipe pulled from what I wanted a soup to be on a rainy Sunday.

The other success? Sweet and salty cupcakes, with the idea ripped off from the superb sounding bakery in NYC Baked, and the execution infinitely easier with a mismash of recipes from trusted sources. TBP- to be posted.

So here goes the first of many.

Rainy Day Vegetable Soup
Serves 4

Olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
3 carrots, medium dice
3 stalks celery, medium dice
1 red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic
large pinch italian seasoning
salt & pepper
1 28oz can whole tomatoes
1 15oz can cannellini beans
1-1 1/2 cups chicken stock

Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, in a medium sized saucepan. Once up to temperature, add onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper. They should sizzle gently, not browning, to soften for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add a pinch of salt to start the seasoning process.

Add garlic and herbs, stir, and heat until fragrant about 30-45 seconds. Add the juice from the can of tomatoes, then crush tomatoes by hand and add to pot. Drain and rinse the beans, add as well. Add chicken stock. Add more salt and pepper, then let simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed. After about 30 minutes, check the liquid level- it is proper soup consistency? I added about a 1/2 cup of water, and let simmer for a few more minutes.

As with most soups, this is better the next day. I can imagine a minestrone version with some greens like chard or kale. I ate mine with some friends and warm whole grain baguette.