Minestrone

minestrone

  • 1 large “bunch” of Swiss Chard–about 12 huge leaves, or what would add up to this if you used smaller leaves.
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of cannellini (white) beans–15 oz
  • 1 can of garbanzo
  • 4 diced fresh carrots
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 large zucchini-quartered lengthwise and in 1/4 in. pieces
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • lots of fresh ground pepper–to taste
  • 1 half of a large cabbage–chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • parmesan cheese to put on top to serve.

Saute carrots and garlic. Carrots should begin to soften. While it is cooking, open cans and puree one can of the white beans. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper.  Add wine and cabbage, stir and cook about 3 minutes.  Add the pureed beans, the other can of white beans, the garbanzos (chickpeas) and the broth.  Simmer about 15 minutes.  Serve with a tablespoon of parmesan on top with fresh bread to sop up the delicious broth.

 

Swiss Chard

Huge bag of Swiss chard ready for sharing with my office, and making soup.

Huge bag of Swiss chard ready for sharing with my office, and making soup.

I have a trash bag full of Swiss chard from the garden.  It is totally mature (beginning to go to seed), and only suitable for soups, or it can be used like collard greens.  Swiss chard can be used in a salad when it is tender, can be steamed when it it a little more mature. However what I picked in my garden this past weekend is going to become a few soups.  I have a few that I will post–the first one is the best minestrone that I have ever had, and I have tweaked this to become my own.  I made a minestrone when I worked at Romagnoli’s, but I do believe that this one is better.  Eric loves this soup, and it doesn’t last long around here. Here is a picture of the bag of Swiss chard!

Strawberry season

Strawberries are very late this year due to a cool wet spring. I understand that the farm that I enjoy going to will be opening on the 8th. We will be making strawbery shortcake from my recipe for homemade biscuits, and plan on bringing some to Eric’s mother for Mother’s Day. We also plan on making some fresh strawberry ice cream in the near future also. I remember last years fondly. Shannon will be home for a bit for all of this, so it will be nice to enjoy that with her.

Irish Shepherd’s Pie

Authentic Irish Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. However, that is harder to find where I live, so this is made with ground beef. This recipe has a very rich gravy, which really IS the recipe. I make this in stages, and will describe as follows.
7 potatoes
5 diced carrots
1 1/2 large vidalia onions
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of red wine
1 small can of tomato paste
2 1/1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
2 cups peas
1 cup beef stock
1 egg beaten
cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese for cover
Make mashed potatoes using 7 medium potatoes. There really is an art to making mashed potatoes that I learned later in life than most. The trick is get the potatoes very tender so they pretty much fall apart. I use Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe cut into 3 inch cubes, cover with water, and let simmer while I chop the other vegetables.
I drain most of the water out, and whipped them with the electric mixer, added some milk, salt white pepper, and set them aside. They should be stiff enough so that they will sit on top of the meat mixture.

Meat mixture–Cut 5 carrots into small dice. Cut 1 1/2 LARGE vidalia onions into small dice. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute the carrots until they begin to be tender. Add the onions and saute. Add the meat, saute until cooked, and drain off the fat.
Add the can of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and red wine. Stir and heat. Reduce, and then add flour to thicken slightly.
Lightly grease a 9″x14″ casserole dish, and place the above meat mixture in it. Place the reserved mashed potatoes on top. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place casserole in the oven for 15 minutes until potatoes begin to get stiff. Pull out and sprinkle with your choice of cheese. I used a mall bag of grated Cheddar for the one in the picture. Put back in for another 15 minutes or until cheese is browned.
Enjoy!20130502_191441

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