Vegetarian Honey Winter Vegetable Soup

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

One 35-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

One 2-by-2-inch piece Parmesan rind

7 ounces butternut squash, cubed

5 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into an 8-quart stockpot over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the carrots, celery, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes. Add the water, soy sauce and Parmesan rind, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the squash and kale, cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Return the mushrooms to the pot along with the beans, honey and red wine vinegar and cook until all is heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind and serve warm with shaved Parmesan.

Serve with hearty whole grain bread and a green salad.

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Brunswick Stew

Southerners love to debate the origins of Brunswick stew. Virginia,Georgia and North Carolina all claim to be its birthplace, but the truth most likely is that it originated with Native Americans. The first stews of early America contained all sorts of wild game, and folk history recounts that Brunswick stew was originally made with squirrel meat. The modern version is usually made with chicken, but leftover turkey is an ideal substitute.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

4 cups leftover turkey, diced

6 cups chicken or turkey stock

1 (16-ounce) can of tomatoes, drained, seeded, and chopped

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh or frozen lima beans

1 cup fresh or frozen sliced okra

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 teaspoon honey, or to taste

Directions:

Add the tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, lima beans, and okra to the stock. Season with the salt, pepper, and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the turkey to the vegetables and taste the stew for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or honey as desired. Cook an additional 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve hot in warm bowls.

The flavor of this stew is even better the next day!

Spicy Penne Pasta Salad With Tomatoes And Artichokes

Ingredients 

1 pound penne pasta
1 pound ripe meaty tomatoes
6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons best-quality olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into the boiling water. Scald for 10 seconds, then, with a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water. Scald all the tomatoes in this fashion, then drain, cool, and slip off the skins. Cut crosswise into halves, squeeze out the seeds and juice, and chop coarsely. Reserve.
Drain the artichokes and reserve the marinade. Add honey to reserved marinade.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the black peppercorns to the onion mixture.

Add the tomatoes to the sauce, season with the salt, and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 1 hour.

Add the reserved artichoke marinade and simmer, stirring often, for another 30 minutes.

Stir in the artichokes and continue to simmer until the sauce is rich and thick, another 20 minutes or so. Stir in the Romano cheese, and taste and adjust the seasoning.

Cook pasta al dente and toss with sauce.  Cool to room temperature. Can also be served hot.

The Simplest Tomato Sauce Ever

I raised my children on this.  It’s still my favorite basic tomato sauce recipe!!

Ingredients:

2 cups canned plum tomatoes (whole, peeled, chopped, with their juices about one 28-oz. can) (I prefer San Marzano)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
salt, to taste

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter, and the onion halves in a medium saucepan.

Add a pinch or two of salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, at a very slow but steady simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free from the tomato.

Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and salt as needed.

Discard the onion.

Italian Week – Linguine alla Cecca

This is one of my favorite recipes. I’ve made it for years and years.

It’s from Nora Ephron‘s wonderful novel  Heartburn, which is a fictional account of her marriage to Carl Bernstein of All The President”s Men fame.

She is a wonderful cook, and the book contains a number of fantastic recipes. I consider it one of my cookbooks!

Linguine alla Cecca is a simple recipe, but oh, so satisfying!  It’s perfect for summer suppers with a loaf of crusty bread. This is my comfort food.

Drop 5 large tomatoes into boiling water for one full minute.  Peel and seed and chop.

Put chopped tomatoes into a large bowl with ½ cup of olive oil, a garlic clove sliced in two  (more garlic is okay. Actually, preferable!) , 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, salt and hot red pepper flakes.

Let sit for a couple of hours. Remove the garlic if you wish.

Boil one pound of linguine, drain and toss with the sauce.  Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.