Archive for July, 2010

speed minestrone

July 14, 2010

In a pinch I occasionally have moments of cooking clarity. We have all had the occasion to return home late only to realize that we have not made a plan for dinner. I think this is frustrating to many, but I also think that it can serve as a muse for culinary experimentation. At the very least, it makes us think outside of the box if we make the choice not to reach for a box, freezer pack, clamshell or carton.

I whipped together a vegetable minestrone which I think may have taken under an hour start to finish; and in my sons opinion, “It was very good, maybe your best.” I normally let a minestrone slow cook for hours and it works out well, but this one was done at high velocity.


2 pots- 1 large for the Minestrone and 1 medium for the pasta

1 Saute Pan for oninons

Roll cut carrots

Skinned and diced Potatoes

Roll Cut Celery

Fresh kale or spinach (add the spinach just a few minutes before serving or it will be mush)

1 Large can of fire roasted chopped tomato

1 vegetable boullion

Roughly 2 tablespoons Oregano (fresh and dry) if possible

Roughly 2 tablespoons Basil (fresh and dry) if possible

1 Teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Half a medium onion Chopped

1 or 2 cups of water

1 Can cannelini beans rinsed

2 to 3 cloves minced garlic

Chopped peppers or any other veggies you might have around

2 Cups of cooked pasta. Cook according to directions and rinse in cold water. (I used Penne)


1. Empty Tomatoes into the large soup pot, fill tomato tin with water and add to pot. Set heat on high. Add boullion.

2. Add cannelini beans to soup as soon as it starts to boil and reduce heat to medium high. The soup should remain at a low boil throughout the prep time.

3. Skin, chop and add potatoes.

4. Skin, chop and add carrots.

5. Add Kale if you are going to.

6. Add dried spices now and save fresh ones for later.

7. Chop onions, saute until transluscent and add to soup.

8. Add any other soft skin veggies (peppers), spinach and chopped celery now and reduce heat to medium low.

9. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

10. Add fresh herbs and pasta and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot with a little grated pecorino romano (splurge and get the good stuff if you can).

A bake toasted cheese sandwich on a crusty bread is also good with this one. We had an old picnic bun with Jarlsberg which was tasty (no need to get special bread; work with what is on hand).

For the vegans out there try a slice of marinated baked tofu with a roasted red pepper and fresh basil.

Minestrone is a great lunch soup because the broth has a tendency to absorb into the pasta so tends not to leak out of containers. Add water, nuke, and you are in biz.


beet and carrot salad poached from a mayo clinic cookbook

July 8, 2010

I found this great cook book in a used bookstore a ways back. I must admit I mostly look at the pictures when I am hungry and then eat something boring. There is a great recipe in the book which is super easy for a beet and carrot salad which is amazing and easy. For the parents out there; even the finicky eaters love this one (you can tone down the garlic if needed).


a food processor

2 or 3 medium sized beets boiled until soft and cut into food processor sized pieces

4 or 5 medium sized carrots

1/3 cup of fresh cilantro

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar


Shred beets in the food processor and place in a large mixing bowl (something that will not stain is preferable)

Shred carrots in the food processor and add to the beet mixture

Add minced garlic

Add rice wine vinegar

Add the cilantro and mix thouroughly

Garnish with a little extra cilantro