Bean me up, Scotty

Second: I’m just going to say that cooking with dried beans is certainly a labour of love… I soaked them for 8 hours on Saturday and they still had to cook for another 2+ hours to soften, but the end result is fabulous. I’d do it again for sure.

Cavolo Nero and Cannellini Bean Soup

  • Yield Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds cavolo nero (also called Tuscan kale), stemmed and coarsely chopped (I bought a bag of pre-chopped boerenkool, which made my life a lot easier)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion (I added more)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (same here)
  • 1 dried red chile, crumbled (be careful here, my soup ended up with a lot of heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (I forgot these)
  • 4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock (I used sodium free vegetable bouillion)
  • 8 ounces dried cannellini beans, soaked according to package instructions (I used dry, as mentioned)
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup) (I used 2)
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 loaf Tuscan bread (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and toasted (I skipped bread all together)

Directions

  1. Prepare an ice bath; set aside. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add kale; cook until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Plunge kale into ice bath. Drain. I didn’t do this. I did boil it quickly but then I just ran it under cold water.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chile, and fennel seeds; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in stock, beans, and tomato. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Add kale in the last 5-10 minutes if you want it more tender.

Image and recipe: Whole Living

Advertisements

Every once in a great while

I’m productive… it seems that with this wintery weather, all I want to do is hibernate. I love being in my pajamas under the blankets or on the sofa watching movies. I hate riding my bike in the cold. It could be due to me not having an effective hat so the cold air just goes right through it to my ears, but it’s not nice. When I get home from work, sometimes all I can think about is taking a bath, or making a cup of tea and crawling under something warm, so I end up skipping the grocery store and just scrounge around the house for anything reasonably edible.

Recently this has been Wasa crackers with butter, Wasa crackers with cream cheese and cranberry sauce, pasta, and… pasta. Anyway, I got fed up with that (and eating both breakfast and lunch at work) and finally went to the store tonight. I ended up buying a load of nice food like dried legumes, fruit, tofu, my favorite yogurt, and vegetables. When I got back, I made a delicious soup that I found here. I forgot to take a photo of my own serving, and the rest was already put into plastic containers, so I’m using the site’s version.

Here’s the recipe, including my changes.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (just pour some in)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (or more, I usually add obscene amounts of garlic to anything)
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced (I don’t like celery and I almost skipped it, but don’t, it was actually really nice)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used 3 large plum tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils (This stuff expands like mad, so my suggestion is prepare it separately and add it to the soup towards the end to the desired thickness. Whatever you have left over can be frozen and used for something else)
  • 1 turnip, peeled and diced (I couldn’t find a turnip, so I roughly chopped 3 small potatoes with the skin on)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Use fresh, it matters!)
  • 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
  • 2 Vegetable bouillon cubes (My add-on as I found it to be rather bland otherwise)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • Chili Flakes (My add-on, I like my soup like I like my men… heartburn inducing)

Directions

  1. In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and celery; cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add lentils, turnip, potatoes, bouillon, and 6 cups water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in parsley and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

So that’s ALL you do, and this yields approx 8-10 servings. So I’ll fill my freezer with this and enjoy it for the next couple of weeks. I have more ideas for cooking, those include making my own veggie burgers with chickpeas and brown rice, a bean stew, a calcium rich smoothie with vegetables and fruit mixed (crazy!), and some dried fruit crunchies rolled with flax and sesame seeds. I’ll post more about those as I make them

Via: Whole Living

Thinking Food

I go through ebbs and flows when it comes to cooking. Sometimes I’m very excited by the idea and cook on most days, others I can’t be bothered and eat crackers with avocado for dinner. What I’ve realized though, is that eating healthy and mindfully requires some degree of forethought… I try to prepare a lot of my meals so that they can be frozen and I take one out the night before and have it for lunch the following day. I’ve tried to establish whether or not it’s worth it in the long run, as my canteen at work is heavily subsidized and the vegetarian offerings are quite impressive. I am able to eat a meal and a fresh pressed carrot juice for less than 5 euros… however if I multiply that by 5 and then include the morning cappuccino for 65 cents, it starts to add up. I can’t argue that for 100 euros a month it isn’t really that bad, but I’m convinced that my method is more cost-effective. Is it when it comes to the time investment, though? I should keep track of the monetary investment and time spent in preparation for the month of November and see how it balances out… not sure I will though, since I’m too lazy :)

Black bean soup | Asparagus, artichoke, shiitake risotto | Roasted red pepper hummus |

Chard and white bean stew | Spicy lentil salad | Mushroom bourginon