Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bell[e of the Ball] Pepper Soup

A note by the author suggested one serve this soup alongside the Whole Wheat Penne with Cabbage and Cumin. Done and done. My husband enjoyed the soup even more than the main dish, which--since it was fabulous, means this was even more so. Mmmmm.

Bell Pepper Soupfrom Diana Shaw's Almost Vegetarian

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrot, and celery, turn the heat down to medium and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the bell peppers and potato, and stir to coat with the other vegetables. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potato falls apart when you pierce it with a knife, about 8 minutes. Puree the soup (using a stick blender in the pot or by transferring the soup to a food processor). Serve hot.
I used four peppers instead of just the two that were called for (why not?) which gave this soup a very peppery taste. I'm not usually a "blend everything together" soup fan, but in this case it was fantastic.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

nevermind kings, tell me more about cabbages

Three heads of red CSA cabbage brought me to my knees in desperation was my inspiration for this recipe search. I'd already had to toss one head because I'd left it so long it turned squishy (yuck), and I shredded and froze another for future batches of borscht, but I wanted to use the third.

Diana Shaw's cookbook Almost Vegetarian has been sitting on my shelves, neglected and forlorn, for nearly ten years now. On this occasion I suppose it was Fate's hand which guided me to its lime green spine and made me pluck it from the shelf. The index search brought me to this recipe--a gift from the gods (or as near as cabbage in any form can be considered a gift):
Whole Wheat Penne with Cabbage and Cumin

  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 medium red or white low-starch potato, peeled and sliced paper thin
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 4 ounces fontina or taleggio cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups imported dried whole wheat penne

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, carrot, cabbage, potato, and cumin, and saute until the onion is soft and limp, about 8 minutes. Cover and let steam until the cabbage is very tender and the potato has cooked through, about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat. 
Meanwhile, cook the penne according to package directions. Drain, then quickly toss it into the skillet, along with the cabbage mixture and the cheese. Toss briskly with two wooden spoons and serve at once, in warmed bowls.
Even though this was a Hail-Mary-of-cabbage situation, it worked out very well. I substituted a bit from the ingredients list. I was out of cumin seeds so I used ground cumin, and I didn't have either of the fancy cheeses for which the recipe called, so I substituted a bag of shredded mozzarella & parmesan. I would never have considered cabbage and cheese with pasta, but turns out its a very satisfactory combination. In my house, cabbage is more often served raw in salads or cooked to a near soggy mess with brisket--with this pasta dish it's sautéed and then steamed, and then the cheese ensures the cabbage/veggie mix becomes sauce-like, coating the whole wheat pasta. Really, an excellent way to not only use-up cabbage, but to eat pasta. We'll be making this again. Thank you, previously unused cookbook!