Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easy White Bean and Tomato Soup

I made a double batch of this soup tonight to serve 12 people. It was delicious - although I did have to make a few changes of my own. The name doesn't lie - this is about as easy as it gets. It was popular with the whole crowd!

Tomato and White Bean Soup

Adapted from VegetarianTimes

2 16 oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 28 oz. can stewed tomatoes
2 scallions, light green/bottom part of the dark green parts, chopped

1 C vegetable broth
2 Tbs minced fresh cilantro
2 tsp "herb and spice seasoning" 
(I just did a bit of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, and herbs de Provence)

My additions:
~1/2 C chopped onion
2 or 3 celery stalks, sliced

So the soup doesn't call for the onions and celery, but I figured they might be necessary for a little extra flavor boost. Heat some olive oil in a sauce pan and saute the onion and celery over medium until softened and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.

Transfer this mixture to a food processor. Add half of the beans and pulse. Add in the tomatoes and scallions. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. 

Pour the pureed mixture into a soup pot along with the remaining beans, the stock, and the herbs. Season with black pepper. Add salt depending on the saltiness of your stock (I do not add extra salt).

Simply heat the soup through so that it is warm. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Asparagus Frittata

I made this recipe the other night when I had some really nice small asparagus on hand. They are perfect for the recipe because they are so slim and mix in well. There are a few changes I made and will make in the future, but overall it was a success!

Serves 6 (I cut it in half)

 Oh! That reminds me: frittatas are great recipes to adjust to your likes and needs. Not only can you change the ingredients - as I have here - but you can very easily change the amount you make. Just adjust your egg count and veggies to match and you can make any size frittata you want. Sometimes it is fun to use a small - maybe 5 inch - skillet and just an egg or two to make a personal sized frittata!

Asparagus Frittata with Tomatoes and Fontina (or Swiss)

Adapted from the Food Network's Giada De Laurentiis

The Food Network's photo of this recipe

6 large eggs
2 Tbs whipping cream (or milk)

12 oz. asparagus, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces
1 (large) tomato, seeded and diced

3 oz Fontina cheese, diced or shredded (I used Swiss)

I would add:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C finely chopped yellow onion OR the base (white and light green part) of three large leeks, washed and thinly sliced

First, whisk the eggs and cream in a bowl and add a pinch of salt and a nice amount of black pepper. Set this aside and preheat your broiler.

Heat a bit of olive oil along with about 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Here, Giada says to add the asparagus and saute, but I think the recipe could use some garlic and onion. Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium heat for about five minutes until the onion is softening but not yet brown. Now add the asparagus, and saute another 2 minutes. Next raise the heat a little and add the tomatoes and another dash of salt if desired. Cook for about another 2 minutes and then pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan around to evenly distribute the veggies throughout the eggs. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula if needed. Sprinkle on the cheese.

Cook the frittata for a few minutes over medium-high and then reduce the heat and continue to cook until is is almost set. It should be about cooked around the edges but still a little runny in the center. Broil it for about 5 minutes, until the top is set and the frittata is golden brown and bubbly. Keep an eye on it while it's broiling - it might need to be spun in order to brown evenly.

Remove the frittata from the oven and allow it to cool for about five minutes before diving in. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zucchini-Tomato Gratin

Vegetarian Times calls this a "light summer entree". I don't know if I would count on it being very filling, but it was perfect on the side of last night's Broccoli-Edamame Soup

Zucchini-Tomato Gratin

Vegetarian Times

VT's photo

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/8 thick slices
1 1/2 lb tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices (I used romas)

4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs chopped kalamata olives
1/4 C thinly sliced/chopped fresh basil
3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

First, drape the tomato slices over a colander, sprinkle them with salt, and let them drain for about 45 minutes.

Next, spread out the zucchini slices on a cookie sheet or cutting board. Sprinkle them with salt and allow them to sit for about half an hour "sweating" their moisture out.

After half an hour, heat about a teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the zucchini for about four minutes until golden and beginning to soften - you may need to do this in two batches if your skillet isn't big enough.

Layer half of the zucchini into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half of the tomatoes and sprinkle with half of the garlic, olives, and basil. Season with a bit of black pepper and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the entire layer. 
Repeat with the layering second half of the zucchini followed by the rest of the tomatoes, olives, garlic, and basil. Top it with all of the remaining cheese.

Bake at 375 covered with foil for ten minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 minutes more. You want the cheese to be "melty" and the gratin to be bubbly.

Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Broccoli Edamame Soup

I tried this soup tonight and it was a nice change - it has good flavor and it has a pretty good amount of protein thanks to the edamame. The recipe is from Vegetarian Times, and their recipe included goat cheese crustini, but I just served it with warm bread and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

The recipe says it serve eight. I made a full recipe for four people. The soup was not the main dish, and we ate at least 2/3 of it. We either eat a lot, or the eight servings are intended to be appetizer size.

Broccoli-Edamame Soup

Vegetarian Times

This is the picture from It includes their goat cheese croutons but  I didn't try those out.

1 large onion, chopped (2C)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 C vegetable stock
3 C frozen, shelled edamame
1 lb. broccoli, ends trimmed, stalks and florets coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat olive oil in a soup pot and saute the onions and nutmeg for about 10 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir in 1/2 C of the stock, scraping the pot to remove and onion bits. Add the rest of the stock, the edamame, broccoli, and garlic.  

Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, mostly covered, for about 20 minutes. When the broccoli seems thoroughly cooked, remove the soup from the heat.

 It is time to blend! You can do it in batches in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. I used the immersion blender, and it probably would have bin a bit more of a puree had I used the food processor. I like it with a bit of texture, but if you want it as smooth and creamy as possible, go with the blender or food processor. 

Serve with bread and sprinkled with cheese if desired

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Better Black Bean Soup

I decided that I like my black bean soup a little bit thicker than the recipe I had been using for a while. I searched online and this is what I came up with...I made a few modifications of my own and it turned out really yummy!

Black Bean Soup from Bon Appetit

Okay this isn't a picture of my actual soup, but it looks JUST like this!

1 lb dried black beans

2 green bell peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups (or more) water
~ 1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro

My additions:
Splash of low sodium V8 Vegetable Juice
Squirt of Sriracha (or any other hot chili sauce)
Immersion blender :)

To garnish:
Sour cream
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Chopped roma tomatoes

Cook your dried beans however you usually do. Either soak them overnight and cook them until they are almost tender, but still a bit too tough, or use a pressure cooker. Personally, I like the pressure cooker. I just throw 1 cup of beans in with about 3 cups of water, put the lid on, and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Let it sit there about a minute or so, then turn the heat off and let the pressure fall naturally. For this recipe, the beans are perfect and ready to go - they are still a bit tough but they will be perfect after the soup simmers for a while.

With the beans done, heat some olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and add the peppers, onion and garlic. Sauté until brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the oregano and cumin then stir over the heat for about another minute. Transfer the mixture to a large soup pot or dutch oven and add the beans along with the water. Add a good pinch of salt and maybe a bit of black pepper.Bring to boil then reduce the heat and simmer.

After about ten minutes of simmering, I got skeptical and decided i needed to "doctor it up" a bit. I added a splash of V8 (around half a cup). Also, I squirted a little Sriracha in, but be careful - only add as much heat as you like. 

Now let the soup simmer nicely until it thickens, probably for about 45 minutes or so.

Finally, whether you decide to blend or not, stir in the cilantro and serve the soup topped with sour cream and/or cheese, and tomatoes if preferred. You could also sprinkle some finely chopped jalapeno peppers on top if you like the extra spice.

 I decided to take the immersion blender to my soup, pureeing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the mixture and leaving the rest untouched. You could achieve the same thing by removing a portion of the soup into a blender or food processor. This gave it that last little bit of thick, creaminess that I was looking for, but it's up to you.