Inevitably, when I am sick, I get cabin fever — and then I start nesting. As cleaning seems more like punishment than anything, generally this means that I cook. I’ve had a recipe I’ve been wanting to try since last weekend, a roasted red pepper sauce for tortellini, and I decided to go out today and get the final few things I would need for it — and while I was out, I also picked up everything necessary to make Italian Bread Soup, as found on A Food Year.
So I made my way through the market (first to The Merc, our friendly local whole foods co-op place, which was having customer appreciation day; then to SuperTarget) and still managed to end up at home, hungry, and missing one thing I needed for my recipe: more roasted red peppers. I have a 7 oz jar, but needed 12 oz — and the only red peppers I found at Target were 2 for $7.99 in their organic section, so that recipe got skipped.
Which moved Italian Bread Soup up to tonight. The only problem with doing this was that it called for a stale baguet — and mine was fresh and tasty from The Merc. I baked about a fourth of it in the oven for a while at around 275 degrees to stiffen it up, but… just not enough advanced planning to get really crusty bread this time.
Nonetheless, the soup was fabulous. .
Italian Bread Soup:
2 T extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped (I used 1 T of the ready-chopped kind from a jar)
19 oz canned crushed tomatoes (only, they come in 28 oz cans. I used the whole can, and tend to think this may be a typo)
15 oz canned cannelini beans (I sort of half-drained the beans, since the recipe didn’t specify. When I do it again, I might try it without any draining, because the bean flavor is good)
2 c. chicken stock (I used vegetable stock, pacific brand out of a carton. They also make mock-chicken, but I tend to like the regular old veggie stock just as well. It’s a bit carroty. Yum.)
1/4 stale baguette, torn (about 3 c. of torn bread)
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)
salt and pepper
I followed the instructions just as they’re listed over at A Food Year, and they’re ridiculously easy. Basically: saute garlic and onions in oil until soft; add tomatoes and stock and bring to boil; simmer, add beans and bread and salt and pepper; remove from heat, add basil (I did), allow to cool slightly. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan, onion, and drizzle of olive oil (which I forgot, woe).
And then you get four HUGE servings of this:
While waiting for the soup to boil (and that didn’t take long, which explains something about the ease of this next recipe) I turned to my good friend Nava Atlas and her life-saving on-the-go vegetarian cookbook, The 5-Ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet. I wanted a smoothie-type thing, and had almost convinced myself that it would be worth it to dirty the blender. But! No! You don’t have to do all that, Nava says, and provides me with a nice little recipe for an Orange “Creamsicle”:
1 c. orange juice (I used Simply Orange brand with no pulp)
1/2 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt (I used Stoneybrook Farms Organic non-fat vanilla)
1/4 c. seltzer water
dash of vanilla extract (optional)
Mix everything together in a glass (she says you can blend it for a more smoothie-like texture, but I used a mini whisk and found it was just fine) and then pour over ice if you want. I had no ice, so I did not want. The drink turned out to be very tasty, and once I get it tweaked to perfection with the vanilla and everything, it may just save me a bundle in trips to Juice Stop for their orange thingy.
A picture of the happy couple:
And one just to prove that I did it! On the left, chopped onions. On the right, parmesan cheese bought at The Merc.
And at the top? One of the world’s worst utility knives. But it gets me through, for now.
If I didn’t have a cold, I would’ve said the perfect accompaniment to the soup would be a nice glass of milk; however, colds make me wary of the dairy (yogurt, I know, I know), so I made do with water. My other perfect cooking accompaniment was the CD of African music that sent over, which gave me a nice boost of energy. Your payback CD of Bright Eyes or The Postal Service or both will be on its way soon, my friend.