Hey Vegan MoFo'ers and welcome to the 2012 Megatarian version of Vegan MoFo! Last year, I really sucked at this, so this year, I'm going to try not to suck. That's my goal. I think I can achieve it for the following reasons:
1. I got laid off! I spend a lot of time cooking because I can, and because I don't have much else to do, and because it's more cost effective to make things from scratch than buy shortcuts. That said, if you have a job for me, let me know. The unemployment office said to tell everyone I need a job, so I NEED A JOB. If anyone is hiring a Researcher in the NY Capital Region, or anything in higher education administration, or if you need a PhD in Social Welfare, or a personal chef, pet sitter, something... drop me a line!
2. I got a puppy! This actually has nothing to do with completing MoFo. We got the puppy in February from the SPCA, but he actually prevented me from doing a lot of things for several months, because he was actually a Vampire Piranha Shark Puppy, who peed on things if you weren't staring at him... and sometimes when you did. Now he's a charming 9 month old housebroken puppy who loves the game "find it" (I dropped food! Come eat it!) while I cook. Meet Hamilton:
Don't be fooled, this puppy is PURE EVIL!!
9 months old, so handsome and well-mannered!
And back to food!
I categorized this blog as "comfort food" for MoFo, I think because it didn't fit anywhere else and I couldn't think of a good "other" at the time. Maybe I can stick to the theme too, who knows? Trying to at least start on the theme - I give you... soup!
When I was an omni-kid, my dad would make homemade chicken soup with noodles and escarole. I loved that soup. Not the chicken so much, honestly, because my dad doesn't discriminate against gristle, but I loved loved the escarole and noodles in broth.
Escarole is a leafy green that looks kind of like a bushy loose head of lettuce. It is part of the chicory family, like raddichio and endive, is slightly but not overly bitter, and can be eaten raw or cooked. It's somewhat difficult to find where I live, it appears at the co-op periodically, and sometimes they have it at the grocery store but it's often old and wilted there, so I was thrilled to get a giant head in my CSA box last week! I knew exactly what I was going to do with it -- make dad's soup!! I sub in vegetable broth for chicken broth, and white beans for chicken, and it is fantastic!! It makes approximately one giant vat of soup, but you could cut it in half or freeze some, just leave the pasta out until you are ready to serve it or it will suck up all the broth.
The boy fancies himself a food stylist, so he stuck bread in it for the picture.
Escarole and White Bean Soup
1 quart vegetable broth
6 cups diced tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, cut into coins
2 stalks of celery, sliced into bits of equal thickness to the carrots
2 cups cooked white beans
1 head escarole, chopped
2 cups cooked pasta of your choice
salt & pepper to taste
1. Boil a giant pot of water and toss the escarole in to soften for about 5 minutes. (You could do this in the soup after adding the broth to the veggies, but I find you need a much bigger pot, and it's just easier this way.)
2. Puree together the vegetable broth and diced tomatoes to make a smooth tomatoey broth.
3. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee the carrots and celery in the oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee for another minute or two.
4. Add the broth, beans, and blanched escarole. Bring to a low boil, then turn the heat to low. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the cooked pasta immediately before serving. If you won't be eating all the soup right away, add the pasta to individual bowls and store separately so as not to have the noodles absorb all the broth.