Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spring Minestrone Soup

It’s absolutely gorgeous outside and I can’t stop myself from checking what produce has sprung up from our area this week.   I wasn’t sure what to expect while considering all the randomly warm weather we’ve had here throughout the last two weeks.  It’s pretty crazy.  Before you know it, eggplant and zucchini will be in full bloom! That’s completely wild, given the multiple feet of snow we had on the ground last year at this time.  So I walked into the market, open-minded.  You never know what you’re going to get in the middle of March, nearing the first day of Spring.

Omnipresent at the market, was that beautiful broccoli rabe.  So, obviously,  that’s what I used most of for this soup, followed only by green beans, since they were surprisingly awesome in both looks and taste, that day.   In a few weeks, asparagus, peas, and spring onions will be popping up in all their deliciousness, so you might want to use a combination of those instead, if they’re available and perfect-looking.  I used less of those this time around, since they weren’t quite ready here yet.  But, if you live in a sunny, warm, beautiful place year-round where you don’t have to consider these things as much as when you live in the sticks outside of New York…good for you!  If that’s the case, then just get whatever you like the best.

 That’s the beauty of soup, in my opinion.  It’s the easiest, most nutritious way to just combine the best of the moment, in produce.   Plus, it’s just good.  Even my kids love soup, so it must be a crowd-pleaser.   I also made some no knead bread, sliced it and rubbed it with some garlic then melted some provolone over it and topped it with some fresh herbs and yellow cherry tomatoes, just to add a little heartiness to the meal.  It was fantastic and a definite hit at our dinner table, just two days before the very first day of Spring.

 

 

Spring Minestrone Soup

  • 3 cups basic mirepoix (chopped onion, celery, and carrot)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3-4 spring new potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cups, chopped, broccoli rabe and greens
  • 1 cup, trimmed and chopped, green beans (substitute peas and/or fine asparagus tips, if desired)
  • 15 ounces, fully cooked, red beans (or one can, drained and well-rinsed)
  • scallions or ramp, trimmed and finely sliced (about 1/4 cup)
  • fresh basil leaves and flat leaf parsley, chopped (about a handful of each)

 

Place stock pot over medium-high heat.  Drop mirepoix into bottom of pot and sprinkle with salt and pepper to sweat.  Stir mirepoix occasionally until onions are translucent, then add olive oil, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Pour in stock, then drop the potatoes into the pot and stir to incorporate.   Bring to a boil until potatoes are tender, then add broccoli rabe, red beans and green beans.  Once greens are wilted, add scallions or ramp and finish with basil and flat leaf parsley.  Stir to combine and season to taste.

 

 

 

Posted in Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Lunch, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Irish Soda Bread

 

I, for once, am ahead of the game.   My metaphorical “in-box” is empty for at least the next hour!   Woah!    You’d think I’d sit down and take a breather and maybe even watch some trashy television    super important news, or something.  Maybe, I could even start reading “The Hunger Games”, which everyone I know (and the world) is raving about.  I have every intention of reading it, people.   I promise, it will happen..eventually….hopefully.   But, now, I have enough time for some recipe experimentation, so that’s what I’ll do.   It is my favorite thing, after all.

I woke up really early this morning and made the beds, did the laundry, squeezed my workout in, made breakfast, did the dishes, got the kids dressed and ready, made the snacks and then got ready myself.  Trey’s now at school, Mike is now at work, and Max is playing with his toys and singing to himself, while removing all the cushions from the chairs and couch to stack on top of one another.  He then laughs hysterically when they fall down (pretty fun to watch, by the way).

Irish soda bread time!  I love Irish soda bread because it’s fast, easy and just sweet enough for me.  Saint Patrick’s day lands on a Saturday this year!  I’m thinking that this soda bread with some tea will be the perfect thing to wake up to next Saturday.   Yes, that’s going to be delicious.  This recipe is a definite keeper, too.  I found it through a really easy internet search and didn’t change a thing and it turned out beautifully.

Irish Soda Bread

Recipe from food.com , “Irish Rosie’s Irish Soda Bread” 

 

  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)
  • ¾ cup raisins

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl beat eggs and stir in sour cream.
  3. Add the egg and sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Batter will be very thick.
  5. Add the raisins and caraway seeds and stir well with wooden spoon or knead in with your hands.
  6. Place batter in a greased 9-inch spring-form pan.
  7. Dust the top with enough flour so that you can pat the batter like a bread dough evenly in the pan without it sticking to your hands.
  8. With a knife make a shallow crisscross on the top.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven.

 

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments