Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cold weather solutions, one pot at a time.

Despite predictions of a stormy, gloomy, perhaps even snowy weekend in the Bay Area, I awoke to blue skies. It was admittedly chilly, though. I've been on a cooking roll lately, but I haven't been much for soup until today. Soup is the kind of thing I usually throw together sans recipe, so every time it's a little bit different. Here's what I made today.

Leek, kale, and white bean soup for a cold winter's night
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and chopped (I like to slice the stalks lengthwise into quarters, then chop into 1/4" pieces)
  • 3+ cloves of garlic, crushed and minced (I think I had 7-8, but they were small)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 4 red potatoes, diced about 1" (bite-size)
  • 1 can cannellini, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped small
  • salt and pepper to taste -- I love black pepper in this kind of soup
In a large heavy pot, saute the leeks in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the leeks are starting to cook down. Then add the carrots and cook until things begin to brown. Turn the heat on high and add the sherry to deglaze, then stir. Turn the heat down to medium high and add broth, dried herbs, potatoes, and cannellini. Bring up to a boil, then add the kale and turn down to medium and let it simmer until at least all the vegetables are cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then let it simmer a few minutes more before eating.

Once I had the soup sorted out, I figured out the direction I could go for a side: rosemary quick bread. I found a recipe that had been taken offline, but still available as a cached copy. Its original source was the '97 Joy of Cooking, but I had to veganize it, so it ain't cheating.

Rosemary olive quick bread
  • Flax egg replacement: 2 tbsp. flax meal mixed with 1/2 cup water, stirred and left alone for a few minutes
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain rice milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 4" sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • handful chopped kalamata olives
Preheat the oven to 350' F. Whisk together the flax meal egg replacement, rice milk, and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the flours, baking powder, rosemary, and salt and mix to incorporate. Fold in the kalamata olives. Pour batter into a lightly greased pan--a bread loaf pan would be ideal, but I just had an 8" square glass dish that worked fine. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

...aaaand I just spent 20 minutes writing about my food instead of eating more of it. Now I'm cold and still hungry!

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