21 February 2015

Vegan lentil loaf

I've been messing around with different variables in my meatless loaves this winter.  The ones with eggs definitely hold their shape better when sliced.  But I use tahini and gelled flax seeds in the vegan one, and it works pretty well.  This one here has pulverized mushrooms, celery, carrots, breadcrumbs, red lentils, sauteed onions, ground flax, tahini, and thyme.  Parchment paper is a must if you want to have any hope of getting it out of the pan.  Top with ketchup and broil for old-timey feel.  More to come after I get it plated!

Zucchini Spaghetti Alfredo

We try to do a 3 day raw food cleanse from PuraVegan once a month.  This is one of the dinners that is usually a part of it.  I really like it.  Kurt not so much.  Anyway, I finally bought a spiralizer so I could make it myself.  The alfredo sauce is sooo easy to make it is ridiculous.  You can have this on the table in ten mins if you are a fast spiraler.  

For the spaghetti:
One large serving = 3 small winter sized zucchini / 1 big summer one would also work

For the sauce:
2 1/2 cups cashews
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon thyme spice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Throw it all in a blender and blend until smooth.  Toss with "noodles" and top at will.  I had a lonely mushroom so I tossed that in.  Some parsley and black pepper would be great too.

Vegan Gumbo

My sister-in-law's dad is from New Orleans, and always makes gumbo for Christmas Eve.  I volunteered to make the veg version for the other half of the family this year.  I had a bit of a crisis the night before as I was unable to find any decent okra.  Props to my friend and neighbor, Jim, who saw my plea on FB as he was walking down the produce aisle at WF and hooked me up!  Thanks to PostPunkKitchen for the recipe.  It was yummy and hearty hearty!
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 medium sized onion, diced large
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping cup sweet red peppers, diced large (or one red bell pepper)
2 cups cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
8 springs fresh thyme (plus extra for garnish)
2 1/2 to 3 cups vegetable broth at room temperature
2 cups okra (about 10 oz) sliced 1/4 inch thick or so
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans (a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Rice for serving - provided by the cajun!
First we’re going to make a roux, but it has a little less fat than a traditional roux, which means it doesn’t get as goopy. If you’d like a more traditional roux, just add 3 more tablespoons of vegetable oil. Okay, so, let’s proceed.
Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. The wider the pot the better, so that you have lots of surface area to make your roux.
Add the oil and sprinkle in the flour. Use a wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, and stir pretty consistently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the flour is clumpy and toasty.
Add the onion and salt, and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so.
Add the peppers and tomatoes and cook down for about 10 more minutes. If using cherry tomatoes, place a cover on the pot to get them to cook faster and release moisture. As the tomatoes break down, the mixture should become thick and pasty.
Season with fresh black pepper, add bay leaves, smoked paprika and thyme and mix well.
Stream in the 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Add the okra and beans, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Stir occasionally.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the okra is tender. If it’s too thick, thin with up to 1/2 cup vegetable broth. If it’s not as thick as you like, just cook it a bit longer.
Add the lemon juice, and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and thyme stems (if you can see them) then serve in a big, wide bowl, topped with a scoop of rice and garnished with fresh thyme.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Believe me, I tried to find a way to avoid the superbowl, especially this year since my city is being held hostage by a billionaire team owner.  But my cool new neighbors were having a low key party, which meant there would be people there who would converse with me and not be glued to the tv like my husband, so I decided to get in the spirit of things and make buffalo cauliflower bites.

These were good, but I can't remember where I got the recipe!  Honestly I think my previous incarnations were crispier, so I would just google the one that fits your needs.  Some are vegan, some have butter, some have eggs etc.  The one bit of advice I would give is to under-cook them if you can.  Mushy cauliflower is not what you want in this case.  And boy, that Franks sauce is really hot.  See if you can get a mild or medium.  For real.


No cream creamy cauliflower soup

I was watching my favorite show, America's Test Kitchen, and they made this.  It's a lot of work, but it is also really interesting how they figured out how to cook the cauliflower in 3 different stages.  I have noticed that as a trend in food these days.  You might get a beet salad with some raw, some pickled, and some roasted.  It really does the vegetable justice I think.  Here is the recipe copied directly from the ATK site, which I followed to the letter, because they do trial after trial and don't present a recipe until it is PERFECT, so why change a thing?!


  • 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds)
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced thin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 1/2 – 5 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. 1. Pull off outer leaves of cauliflower and trim stem. Using paring knife, cut around core to remove; thinly slice core and reserve. Cut heaping 1 cup of 1/2-inch florets from head of cauliflower; set aside. Cut remaining cauliflower crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
    2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leek, onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until leek and onion are softened but not browned, about 7 minutes.
    3. Increase heat to medium-high; add 4 1/2 cups water, sliced core, and half of sliced cauliflower; and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add remaining sliced cauliflower, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower is tender and crumbles easily, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
    4. While soup simmers, melt remaining 5 tablespoons butter in 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add reserved florets and cook, stirring frequently, until florets are golden brown and butter is browned and imparts nutty aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to transfer florets to small bowl. Toss florets with vinegar and season with salt to taste. Pour browned butter in skillet into small bowl and reserve for garnishing.
    5. Process soup in blender until smooth, about 45 seconds. Rinse out pan. Return pureed soup to pan and return to simmer over medium heat, adjusting consistency with remaining water as needed (soup should have thick, velvety texture but should be thin enough to settle with flat surface after being stirred) and seasoning with salt to taste. Serve, garnishing individual bowls with browned florets, drizzle of browned butter, and chives and seasoning with pepper to taste.

Hot sauce

My friend Mike was gifted this pile of peppers and passed them onto me hoping I could make better use of them.  I didn't really know what I would do with them either, but then the obvious struck me! I have a few friends who regularly delve into the world of hot sauce making, and I have always contributed peppers I've grown to the cause, one such year I had a jalapeño plant that wouldn't quit!  I harvested about a hundred in one day that summer.  This year I didn't grow any peppers, but it is the year I made hot sauce! Go figure. 
I decided I probably had enough of each color to make separate red and green sauces.  Here is the green in production.  This is more of a quick recipe where everything goes into the blender at once and bob's your uncle.
One recipe called for a purée of boiled carrots onions and garlic.  I wasn't sure which one I was going to add it to, but I decided on red in the end, as it would have destroyed the green color. 
My other recipe called for a fermentation, which is always of excitement for me.  They say to leave it to ferment as long as you like, tasting it each day until the flavour is just right.  I waited about a week, and then I was sick of waiting, so I blasted it in the vitamix with just a little of the carrot mixture, which in itself was pretty spicy because I boiled them inthe same water I used to blanch the peppers. 
When we moved into this house over 10 years ago, I was way into HP steak sauce on scrambled eggs.  My inner hoarder convinced me I needed to save all the empty bottles and they have sat in the basement ever since.  Until now!  I had way more of the red sauce, so I put that in the hoarded bottles, and bought the bottles for the green, which came with a little dripper thingy that I had to remove to get any sauce out of it.  I brought these to our Christmas Eve gumbo party and they were a big hit!  More on the vegan gumbo here.

21 June 2014

Collard rolls

We had something pretty similar to these during our Puravegan cleanse.  After buying some collards on a whim today at Local Harvest, I developed a craving for these tasty collard rolls.

After blanching them for 10-20 seconds each, I cut out the thickest part of the stalks. 
While I did not follow a recipe, I did some googling for advice on how to best roll these.  The answer was one I would not have thought of on my own: use TWO collards per roll and overlap them!

I just winged it on the filling.  I threw some radishes and carrots in the vitamix and tossed them with some kale, cashew cheese, hemp seeds, braggs, and vegetarian fish sauce.  Pretty good, but I think I should have added some acid.  You could put anything you wanted in these really.
Then I wanted to get rid of a half cucumber I had laying around, so I peeled it and sliced it and threw it in.  Fold in the sides first, and then roll just like you would a spring roll or burrito, making sure to tuck in the filling as you go so that the roll ends up nice and tight.

05 May 2014

Cinco de Mayo tacos

Smoked shitake mushrooms, baby kale, chipotle salsa, cucumbersPanko encrusted tofu, pickled red cabbage, cucumbers

After pressing liquid from tofu, season with salt, cayenne, and coriander
Spread mayonaise (or veganaise) all over tofu, then toss in panko breadcrumbs. 

Bake the tofu at 350 for 20 mins per side, or until browned on both sides

Saute mushrooms until all liquid is released.  Salt lightly and sprinkle with a little bit of Wrights liquid smoke.

Easter Feast

Easter is the only holiday I'm "allowed" to host since I don't want meat in my house or on my dishes.  I think my family fared pretty well with this meatless meal if I do say so myself.
From left to right:
Lidia's Ligurian Potato Salad - This time with lots of extra parsley and horseradish pickles!
Roasted Asparagus
Cousins Quiche from Sweet Art, a vegetarian bakery by my house.  Red onion, green onion, leek
Curried Carrot Salad - with lots and lots of mint from the garden!
Red quinoa, fresh peas, tomatoes, basil, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil

26 March 2014

3 Day cleanse

I've always thought cleanses were kind of stupid.  But after a decadent couple of months, and a few extra lbs, I was craving a way to just reset myself.  To get hold of the reigns again.  I knew that this local restaurant Puravegan offered cleanse packages ranging from all 2-5 days, all liquid to some liquid, and all of a sudden, it seemed manageable and even desirable.  
For first time cleansers, they recommend phase 1, which is 3 days, and consists of 1 juice, 1 smoothie, and 1 raw food meal.  All juices and smoothies come pre-made in mason jars, and the dinners in to-go containers.  Everything was incredibly tasty.  These people know their way around a smoothie!
When you pick up your cleanse from the restaurant, they sit down and explain the hows and whys of everything.  This is a nutrient dense program, and not particularly low-calorie.  The idea of the juice and smoothie is to give your body a chance to heal itself rather than using all its energy on digestion.  And it is designed to make your body more alkaline.  I don't know what that means exactly, but I know it is preferable to an acidic body.  
kale collard wrap with sprouted quinoa and cashew almond spread
The other benefit to the cleanse is that you rebuild your relationship with food.  This was the biggie for me.  99% of the time I eat really really healthfully.  But I also think about food constantly, and often go back for seconds, and when I do add up my calories from food and cocktails, it is far more than I need to be consuming.
carrot and walnut tacos in a cabbage shell
 Could I make by own juice and smoothies?  Sure, but I would end up making them twice as big and would not know when to stop.  The advantage of having them pre-made is that when it is gone, it is gone.  No more til the next meal.  This was kind of a major revelation for me.  I realized that I haven't been truly hungry in years.  I LOVE eating, love it, but I looked forward to these meals like a kid looks forward to a birthday party.  They tasted amazing, and I relished every bite.  And because I wanted it to last as long as possible, I took the time to savor and CHEW them completely!

sweet potato curry pasta
I had my concerns about having enough calories to get through my 2 hour a day workouts, but honestly, it was a non-issue.  I usually burn about 600 calories at the gym.  It is not like I'm an ultra-marathoner or something.  This cleanse provided plenty.  

They say to supplement your dinner with extra raw veggies if you want to.  I did have some pepper strips with the wrap, and snap peas with the tacos, but I didn't need them.  It was just psychological.  I also broke the rules and had some clementines between lunch and dinner.  Not a mortal sin, but so much for the digestion break!

We're going to do this cleanse once a month!  Next time I think I will be able to really own it, and not worry so much about my fear of hunger.  The first night when I went to bed, I felt sorry for myself, but then my mind went to people who are literally  starving all the time.  You feel like an asshole for even thinking you know what it means to be hungry and you get over it.  

10 March 2014

Hearty Seitan Stew

My mom often made lamb stew when I was a kid.  I don't remember it being super flavorful, as is often the way with traditional Irish food, but I enjoyed its reliability and variety of textures.  

I've made stews before but this one is a definite improvement on my previous attempts.  Once again, I was snowed in and craving this wintery dish.  And since I am a grocery-shop-aholic, I had everything I needed to make this recipe.  Here is that recipe complete with my own tweaks.  Instead of putting potatoes in the stew, I boiled little ones whole and served them on the side.

1 lb. seitan, cut into bite sized chunks (recipe calls for homemade, but I didn't have THAT much time!)
2 Tbs. oil (I used sunflower)
3/4 cup flour

Put the flour into a bag, dump in the seitan chunks and give it all a good shake.
In a deep pot, bring the olive oil to frying temperature
Brown the seitan until it resembles beef that's been lightly fried

Turn off the heat and add to the pot:
4 large carrots, cut into 3/4" pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 large celery root, cut into 3/4" pieces
1 large onion, sliced thin so it will nearly disintegrate into the gravy this recipe automatically produces
2 small bay leaves or 1 large one
1 garlic clove, minced

In a large measuring cup place:
1 1/2 cups of hot broth, vegetable or no-beef broth
1 tsp. Annie's Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian)
1 Tbs. Kitchen Bouquet (in the spice aisle and vegan; it adds a great beefy taste)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
Pinch of ground cloves (don't leave this out; it's what gives this stew it's extraordinary taste)
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of hearty red wine (I use Burgundy)

Stir the liquid to distribute everything evenly, then pour it over the seitan and vegetables. Cover the pot and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the vegetables are fork tender.

It would be filling even without the potatoes on the side.  And without potatoes, you can feel ok about serving it with some awesome bread to sop up the delicious sauce.

Brussels Sprout Pizza

In November we took a vacation to NYC with our only two goals being 1) see friends and 2) eat lots of delicious things.  On our very first night in town, our friends suggested a pizza place that just happened to be across the street from our hotel.  One cannot go to New York and not eat pizza, so why not do it right away!  The great thing is that this was Neapolitan pizza, which is delicious, and not New York pizza, which is flavorless and floppy.  If you are in Brooklyn, check out this place Sottocasa.  You will not be dissappointed!  This is my take on their "Autunno" pizza, only mine is on whole wheat, no speck, and probably way less cheese.  Smoked mozzerella and brussels sprouts is a combination I recommend highly.  Sorry for the crappy picture.

English Muffin Bread

Sometimes when I'm snowed in, I have to spend the entire day cooking so I don't lose my mind with the boredom.  It is not that I don't have plenty of things that need doing around the house, but cooking is my way of blowing those off!  Cooking is the the brighter side of my "dark playground" Breads and soups are staples of the housebound menu because they don't involve going to the store if you keep a decently stocked kitchen.  

I had just seen an episode of Cooks Illustrated Cook's Country where they made this bread.  Kurt says - "I want that!"  I've got a subscription to their website, so I looked up this recipe and went for it.  It turns out super crispy on the outside, which makes me love it enough to forget that it is made with all white flour.  I've copied the recipe here for your use.  I hope they don't mind!

  • cornmeal
  • 5 cups (27 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 41/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups heated milk (I used almond)
  1. Grease two 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pans and dust with cornmeal. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Stir in hot milk until combined, about 1 minute. Cover dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes, or until dough is bubbly and has doubled.
    Stir dough and divide between prepared loaf pans, pushing into corners with greased rubber spatula. (Pans should be about two-thirds full.) Cover pans with greased plastic and let dough rise in warm place until it reaches edge of pans, about 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
    Discard plastic and transfer pans to oven. Bake until bread is well browned and registers 200 degrees, about 30 minutes, rotating and switching pans halfway through baking. Turn bread out onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Slice, toast, and serve.

03 March 2014

Mexican Chile and Mushroom Soup

I was planning a Mexican menu for a dinner party and went in search of a recipe that did not contain corn and would not be too filling.  I didn't want to have more corn since we would already be having chips and guacamole AND enchiladas.  Surely 3 corn courses is too many.  

The other dishes were to be my Frontera Salad and Spanish brown rice, and the weather was freezing, so a soup made sense.  I had gone a little crazy buying mushrooms, as I do from time to time, so that narrowed the search down to Mexican+Mushroom+Soup.  Who knew that was already a thing?  I thought I was going to have to wing it or adapt a different recipe.  I ended up going with this Epicurious recipe because I liked the simplicity, and I had all the indredients already.  I've copied it directly below since I didn't really change anything for fear of making something gross for guests.


3 large garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1 (1/2-inch-thick) slice large white onion
1 (3-inch-long) small dried ancho chile* (1/4 ounce) - I think that's what I used, although the bag wasn't labled, and I bought it a long time ago so who knows.
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (28 fluid ounces)

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Lightly smash garlic in skins with side of a large knife, then add to skillet along with onion slice and cook, turning over once or twice with tongs, until onion is well browned and garlic is slightly softened, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, discard stem, seeds, and veins from chile and tear chile into 4 pieces. Add chile to onion and garlic in skillet and toast, pressing flat with tongs and turning over occasionally, until chile turns a brighter red, about 1 minute.
Discard garlic skins and coarsely chop onion, then purée garlic, onion, and chile in a blender with water, salt, and oregano until smooth.
Heat oil in skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid is evaporated, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate, then add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add purée and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Stir in broth and simmer 5 minutes.

Try this recipe for your next Mexican dinner, or just make it any old evening!  It's hearty and spicy so it is perfect to warm up with on a winters night.  And it's basically zero calories so you can eat a ton of it!

01 November 2013

Mushroom & Kale Stroganoff

This was dinner was prompted by my spotting of whole wheat egg noodles at the store.  I would have made this a lot sooner if I had known how easy it was to find them.  I try to keep a stash of shitake mushrooms at all times, and the kale was just outside in the garden waiting for a job!  A Pretty quick dinner to throw together.

In one pan, sautee mushrooms, garlic, kale, onions.  In another, make a simple roux based cream sauce. In a third, boil the egg noodles.  Combine vegetables and sauce and pour over the top of noodles and serve.  Easy!

01 June 2013

Raw Nori Rolls

 There are very few places in town where you can grab some real food on the run.  OR Juice and Smoothie is one of them.  The owner is one of the crankiest and most brisk women I've ever met, and either she has a twin, or she can bi-locate because she is always there to take my order, no matter which location I go to.  The one in the CWE is way nicer and even has it's own bathroom!  The one near the Richmond Heights Schnucks is way more hilarious, but you have to go to the bar and grill next door if you want to wash your hands.  Both locations offer entertainment in the form of hand-written notes instructing you on how to behave in the establishment.  There is a special location for straw wrappers and you will get in trouble if you use your cell phone near the food.  You can't make this stuff up!
 But the food is great!  My favourite order is a beet and carrot juice and a large order of raw nori rolls.  The problem is that comes out to almost $13.  I've always told myself to just going to start making them at home, but it didn't happen until now.  Seems like rabbit food, but I swear you will be full if you eat 6 of these.
Prep is pretty self explanatory.  Layer the ingredients at one end of the nori strips and roll them up!  The tomatoes are temporarily down at the other end to 1) hold it down and 2) moisten the end so the rolls can be sealed.  OR J&S serves them with a yummy Braggs vinagrette, but I don't know what magic is in it, so I made a miso vinagrette with low sodium miso, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil.

Ingredients clockwise from left: greens (any kind you have-here you see baby kale,) shaved carrots, tomato, onion, avocado, sushi nori.

After I posted this, I wanted them immediately,
so I made them again.  This time with red cabbage
 instead of kale, and the addition of yellow peppers.
  And I made the sauce out of Braggs, apple cider  vinegar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. 
Even tastier!

21 February 2013

My take on a Frontera salad

The next time you have a layover or are stranded in Chicago's O'Hare airport, or hell, even if you only have a few minutes, plan on eating at Rik Bayless Tortas Fronteras in Terminal 1 and 3.  This place puts all other airport food to complete shame.  The food is local, free range and organic for goodness sake!  What other airport restaurant can say that?  Seriously, if you know of one, tell me, and I will fly to there. 

So I've been there twice this year.  The first time it was still morning, so I got a breadless breakfast torta.  That is actually something they offer on the menu, so I wasn't being too awkward, that is until I requested they add mushrooms to it.  But they don't mind at all!  So the employees are awesome too!  So I had arugula, scrambled eggs, rajas, mushrooms, avocado and 2 kinds of Mexican cheese all served in a cute paper cup with a wooden fork.  Bonus points again for the minimal packaging! 

The second time I was too late for eggs, so I opted for the Taqueria Salad, to which once again I added the mushrooms from a different sandwich on the menu.  It was one of the best salads I've ever had. 

So I normally don't crave salads when it is freezing cold outside, but yesterday I did, so for lunch I headed on over to Crazy Bowls and Wraps for a Fajita Salad.  That consists of romaine, chickpeas, avocado, pepperoncinis, tortilla strips and subbed grilled tofu.  That comes with a bag of tortilla chips and way too much dressing, so the chips and dressing came home with me.  Yes the dressing is that good, and I suck at Mexican style salad dressings.  

ANYWAY, I finally had all the fixens to try my hand at the Frontera salad, so I made it for dinner. 

Of course I can't leave a recipe alone, so mine is a bit different from the original.

Romaine - torn
Baby Spinach
Red Cabbage - shredded
Red Pepper - strips
Avocado - strips
Green Onion - sliced
Goat Cheese - crumbled
Shitake Mushrooms - strips sauteed
Tortilla Chips - smashed
CBW dressing, or something similar

13 February 2013

My favorite breakfast, time allowing

Brussels sprouts, halved and cooked face down in coconut oil in a cast iron skillet.  It is all I want to eat lately.  I have been known to have this for breakfast lunch and dinner on the same day.  If you cover the skillet while they are cooking, they will steam and cook faster.  If you want them to caramelize without getting soft, only cover for final min of cooking time.

Cauliflower Risotto

I got a fancy new blender with a shredding blade, which worked pretty well to turn a head of cauliflower into the consistency of rice.  Other than the lack of rice, this is pretty much a basic risotto.  Oh, and I was low on stock, so I used white wine to make up the difference.  The result was kind of boozy, but for me it worked. 


I first had this soup years ago at Ernesto's, a little wine bar in Benton Park.  Then I forgot all about it until Sauce Magazine posted a recipe early this winter.  I love this soup because it is traditionally vegetarian.  The name translates to "cooked water."  Want it vegan?  Leave out the poached egg.  Below is my own adaptation of the Sauce recipe.

1 yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
5 bay leaves
1∕2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Olive oil as needed
4 carrots, sliced
1 T tomato paste
1 carton Pomi tomatoes
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 cups water
Salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 parmesan rind
1 lb. fresh greens, rinsed and chopped - I used collards on this occasion
2 cups cooked cannellini beans
Crusty bread
Parmesan cheese, optional
Eggs, optional

• Purée the onions, celery and parsley in a blender.  You could skip this step, but it makes for a nicer texture.
 • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the purée and cook for 1-2 mins.  Add the carrots and cook until they seem dry and sticky.
• Add the red pepper flakes and toast 1 min.
• Add the tomato paste and tomatoes and simmer for 1 min.
• Add the water, salt and black pepper to taste. Add the greens, parmesan rind and beans and bring to a boil.
• Once the soup reaches a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 45 minutes.
• Top each serving with a poached egg and serve with garlic rubbed toasty bread.