Sunday, June 17, 2012

Minestrone and Lady Lessons

I'm not good at following directions. I am REALLY not good at following recipes, though I REALLY am trying, since my sweet husband bought me the most adorable Kitchenaid mixer, and I've been working on baking more.

But I am a lady. I am a lady that believes more in buying fresh, ripe, and hopefully local veges instead of what's in a recipe. And I always think I'm right. It's very charming.

Lady Lesson one: ignore directions whenever you want.

My momzo sent me an LA times recipe for Minestrone... and I went to the Farmer's Market, recipe in tow. HOWEVER, my market didn't have fennel. Or broccoli rabe. My market DID have bok choy and Chinese broccoli (hold your horses, interwebs, I know those aren't even close to the same thing.)  so I will be substituting. And it will be fine. Soup is about making a meal out of a pot of veges... they don't have to be the exact combo that the recipe days... it just has to be good. This lady's soup will not be stopped just because I can't find fennel. And I'll be darned if anyone says that minestrone really has no business containing bok choy.

vegetables are vegetables.

2 tablespoons of olive oil (approx)
6 slices of bacon, diced (plus more, for you to eat while you're cooking. Soup is hard, y'all!)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced bok choy
1/3 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, smooshed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped thyme
3/4 teaspoon chopped rosemary
3 teaspoons chopped basil
1 can (14.5 oz) tomatoes, diced
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1/2 cup sliced chinese broccoli
3/4 cup cooked orzo (from 1/4 cup uncooked)
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
**please note, none of the ingrediences were measured when I made this soup. Except for the dry orzo.

Heat your awesome soup pot. Add bacon, onion, carrot, bok choy (or fennel, if you're good at finding ingredients...), celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and basil. Stir until it smells like heaven - 5-7 minutes.

That reminds me of 7 minutes in heaven. Which is weird, because I never played that game. I am a lady. And before I was a lady, I was a prude. But I think I read about it. Or I saw 13 going on 30 too many times.

Lady Lesson 2: Don't play 7 minutes in heaven. Unless you want to, in which case, I'm not here to judge.

Anyway, add the tomatoes and broth and let the whole gang come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes, so that the flavors can get married.

You rarely get married after 7 minutes in heaven. Or so I assume.

Lady Lesson 3: find a nice man to marry you and buy you kitchenaid mixers and eat all the soup you make.

Add water until you have 1 quart of soup base. Taste it and add S&P if you want.

Lady Lesson 4: you don't always have to measure. Nor do you need to know what a quart is.

Meanwhile, make your orzo. and chop all your other ingredients!

It's been said that you shouldn't rinse mushrooms in water, because it will make them tough. You are supposed to wipe them with a damp paper towel.

I am a lady that does not use paper towels.

So I threw caution to the wind... and RINSED THEM IN THE SINK!!!! Directions - who need's ya?

Sometimes ladies take chances.

Lady Lesson 5: take chances. don't use paper towels.

In another pot, not as big, heat the rest of the olive oil (2-ish tablespoons) and add the rest of the veges, and stir until just tender and lightly colored, about 6-8 minutes.

Lady Lesson 6: Don't crowd the mushrooms! Julia is always right.

Until, of course, you have no choice but to crowd the mushrooms to cook them until just tender and lightly colored, about 6-8 minutes.

Stir the veges into the soup base and add the cooked orzo and garbanzo beans. Heat through and be sure to taste again for seasoning.


Soup Santa

**DISCLAIMER** I do not claim to be an expert lady.  Follow my instructions only if you want to turn out like me.

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