Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Minestrone Soup

I've been feeling pretty under the weather lately.  And I am sure it has to do with the fact that the weather here has officially changed overnight from fall to deep winter, from 50 to less than 20 degrees overnight.  So I've been fighting a losing battle with a head cold since Sunday and am feeling better everyday, but still a little stuffy with a funny voice.  I am hoping it goes completely away or at least that my normal voice will come back within the next day and a half because I have a gluten free class coming up this Friday and would prefer not to sound so nasally with my mic on! 

Soup has been my best friend these last couple days, although admittedly I have not been making it - the kitchen at my job has been making it.  Nothing better than a nice hot organic vegan soup to make you feel better, laced with a ton of cayenne pepper of course!

On Sunday I decided to try to make a Feel Better Soup from one of the many cookbooks I have, convinced that it would help me feel better faster because it contained huge amounts of great for you things - ginger, garlic and cayenne.  I made the soup with a few minor changes and expected it to taste potent, but damn!  It has to officially be the worst thing I have ever made.  Ugh!

I feel like I have been saying that several times over the last week or so.  You see, I am in the process of testing a bunch of gluten free, vegan, soy free recipes for the classes I'm going to teach next term, and even though I feel like I have been doing this forever, sometimes a recipe I test turns out absolutely disgustingly.  Rubbery, hard, gritty, too sweet or not sweet enough.  I feel like I've achieved one from every category this past week or so.  But, out of those failures came many successes too.

Back to the soup!  Last night was the first night I actually didn't feel like immediately crashing into bed when I got home and I was craving soup pretty badly, so I decided to look in the fridge, which was getting pretty sad looking and took out all the veggies I had and decided on a minestrone.  It ended up being delicious much to the Hubby's amazement (he is not really one for soups) and I even brought some to work for breakfast.  Yes breakfast!  When you work in a bakery, the last thing you want is something baked in any form, or really any kind of carbohydrate based food.  Soup is a common breakfast food for us, although some of the girls newer to the bakery have been known to have a slice of pie or cookie for breakfast!

Here is the recipe for the delicious Minestrone that has helped me feel better, and hopefully completely well by Friday evening!

Minestrone Soup:

Minestrone Soup with Multigrain Crusty Bread

Serves: 6-8

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, peeled, sliced into half moons
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 large green pepper, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
4 garlic cloves, cut in half and sliced
1/4 cup sherry
2 cups cooked tomatoes in their juices
6 cups roasted veggie or dark stock
1 cup cooked elbow pasta
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed well
sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed with fingers
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1.  Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, jalapeno and garlic and cook until fragrant and browned.  Deglaze with sherry and allow to cook until almost evaporated.
2.  Add remaining vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring.  Add stock, stir and lower heat.  Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands if large.
3.  Add spices and sea salt.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until vegetables are just tender.  Add cooked pasta and beans.  Season to taste. 
4.  Serve.  Goes well with a nice piece of crusty bread.

If you really want this to help you get better faster, add lots of cayenne to your serving and once you start sniffling and crying, you'll know you've added enough!



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