Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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.


bok choy and button mushrooms

April 12, 2010

I like the way this dish looks and tastes, my son likes it, it is light and hopeful; above all it is fast and simple. As we move into spring and the damp loamy rains I think about lightness both in color and taste; buds, blossoms and stirrings in the darkness just beneath the soil.


2 cups (at least) of fresh cleaned and dried button mushrooms

1 or two heads of medium sized bok choy (the larger bunches tend to be bland) cleaned, dried and chopped into 1 inch sections. Separate the white from the green bits; they go in at different times.

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water (add the cornstarch first and then add the water and it won’t clump).

1 tablespoon of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable broth (I have been using a brand called Rapunzle bouillon which is great) link:

1 tablespoon of wok oil or another good high temp cooking oil

1 wok or similar pan


1. Fire up your burner to high and after a second or two add your oil.

2. Add the mushrooms and stir fry for about 30 seconds stirring rapidly.

3. Add the white portions of the bok choy and continue stirring for another 30 seconds.

4. Add the green portions and stir for anther 30 seconds.

5. Add all of the liquid ingredients  and give it a quick stir. Let the mixture  boil for a minute and add the sugar, stir for 30 seconds.

6. Remove from heat and place lid on wok to let the steam finish the cooking.

Note: The cooking time may vary. You want the bok choy to have a little crunch, but it is fairly forgiving because it tastes great even if over done and is a little soft.

Serve over rice or eat it straight up; it even holds up the next day as a treat at lunch.