Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I missed my kitchen!

Kevin and I just got back from a four day backpacking adventure in Shenandoah National Park. I didn't have much time to plan because I worked 60 hours in the three days before our departure (yes, it's legal.. though midwifery borders on human rights violation, if ya ask me. I digress.) I did, however, get the food planned pretty well. We feasted on vacuum packs of Indian food and seasoned soybeans/chickpeas from TJ's, along with lots of fresh apples, avocados, and a big ol' bladder full of wine. 'Cause when you take the 'box' out of 'box wine,' you're left with wine in a bladder.

After some post-hiking indulgence at my favorite Korean home-away-from-home, Spa World, and more kimchi than you can shake a chopstick at... I returned home to my cozy kitchen and started cooking up a storm.

Brunch was Gingerbread Waffles from Vegan Brunch. Apples baked with cinnamon were yummy as topping.

Between brunch and dinner, I made more zucchini spelt muffins, roasted a massive butternut squash, cooked a spaghetti squash, and made homemade veggie broth. I keep a freezer baggie of all of my veggie scraps that are good broth makin's (peels from onion, leeks, carrots, pieces of celery, scraps of herbs) and eventually cook it all down once the bag gets full. One gallon freezer bag made about 4 quarts of veggie stock!

Because Kev and I are both fighting off the allergy-induced, post-nasal, almost-sick-but-not-quite nasties-- soup was in order! I reworked an old Gourmet magazine favorite. This soup really warms your soul. I added a little Sriracha at the dinner table, just to clear my sinuses! You could skip the potato step; it just thickens the broth.*

White Bean and Arugula Soup

1 small to medium potato, finely diced*
1 cup water or broth*
1 large onion, finely diced
2 medium carrots, finely diced
3 cloved garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1 T water
1 T tomato paste
2 cups veggie broth (I used my homemade freeze scrap stock)
2 cups water
2 cups cannelli beans or chickpeas
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
7 oz of arugula (TJ's sells in this size bag, less or more is OK too)

In small but heavy saucepan, boil the potato in the water or broth until tender and set aside.*

In a heavy pot (about 5 qt capacity,) heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and water. Cook until veggies are tender, stirring often.

Add tomato paste, stir to combine, and let cook for about a minute.

Add beans and broth. Simmer briskly until everything is tender, about 15 minutes.

In blender, combine the contents of the potato pot with 1 cup of the bean soup. Blend to puree, then transfer back to pot, stirring to combine. Careful with hot liquids in the blender! 

Stir in arugula, partially cover the soup pot, and let cook until the leaves are wilted, about 1 minute.

Enjoy with crusty bread!

Camping kitchen: good in a pinch but not ideal for vegan gourmet.

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