Thursday Night Nicoise Salad

Thursday Night Nicoise Salad
Allow all of your salad stars to shine on their own. Dress each component of your salad individually and pile onto a platter. Simple food is just so darn pretty. Make something like this whatever you have on hand!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Farmers Market Soup with Turkey Meatballs

From a recent trip to the European Farmers Market in Chesterton, I had some nice large bell peppers, a huge sweet white onion, and some bright and beautiful round yellow squash. With carrots and celery on hand along with a couple of potatoes, I knew I had the basics for a nice late summer vegetable soup. I sauteed chopped onion with sliced carrots and celery in olive oil, in a large pot. Chopped bell peppers were added to the aromatics along with some chicken broth and beef stock. I once read that combining chicken and beef stock/broth together produces a slow-cooked, veal stock flavor that is really delicious, so I have often combined the two in soups with excellent results. To brighten the flavor of the broth, I added a can of whole tomatoes, crushed by hand and 4 small but potent fresh red chiles, sliced, seeds and all. What a difference between fresh chiles and dried crushed red pepper flakes. Wonderful freshness. As the soup simmered away, I quickly mixed a pound of ground turkey with freshly grated Parmesan, fresh bread crumbs, salt, pepper, one egg and some chopped freshly picked parsley from the yard. As I rolled marble sized balls and dropped them into the simmering pot, I wished I could have taken a sip of wine from the glass that was calling my name. My hands, were, of course, too gooey to pick up my glass. Pity. Patience is a virtue. I had to wait. Pinch, roll, drop, pinch, roll, drop. You get the picture. Making tiny meatballs for soup is a bit time consuming. You really must resist the temptation to make the meatballs progressively larger in an effort to finish the job faster. Patience. The wine?
Panilonco 2007 Reserve Carmenere from Chile. Red wine-winos . . . make a note. This wine is light but lush. It's smooth. It's food-friendly. It goes down easy. I think it would be an excellent choice for red-wine-newbies. It is lovely to me from the first sip. Silky tannins is what they say. I LOVE this wine and I think you will too! Try it today. Guess what friends? It's only around 5 measly bucks at Trader Joe's!!! You'll thank me for this, I know. I really really like it, so feel free to bring a bottle if you're coming over for dinner any time soon.

Back to the zuppa now. The turkey meatballs are simmering. I cut the squash and a couple of potatoes into bite size cubes and added them to the pot. Check your seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add kosher salt and your favorite pasta. I found this really beautiful pasta at Jewel. Check it out when you have a chance. The brand is Culinary Circle, which I believe is a Jewel brand name. The pasta is authentic bronze cut pasta made in Italy of semolina flour. Look for the white bags that look like waxed paper. The pasta I used in the soup is called "Trottole" and they are shaped like large rings that kind of wind around a center stem. I am very selective when it comes to pasta because I am not a happy camper when the pasta turns to mush. Don't you hate that? This pasta holds its shape and stays firm and al dente'. Just like it should. Tip: I never cook the pasta in the broth unless I am making a small batch which will be eaten in one meal because the noodles will S W E L L and become softer and softer from sitting in the broth, and before you know it, your rich and wonderful broth will be absorbed into the pasta and disappear! I learned this from my mom, Emily, many, many years ago when I amazed myself by re-creating her homemade chicken soup for the very first time. I was ecstatic, needless to say. My mom often makes orzo or acini de pepe pasta for her chicken soup. Always in a separate pot.

So, the soup was served with the pasta and topped with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. I baked a loaf of Asiago cheese bread from Jewel (you can buy those frozen and bake them yourself, if you like) and we had the pleasure of dunking buttered cheesy bread into our healthy vegetable soup, LOL.

I can barely breathe right now. Talk about swelling.

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MORE 4 U

From here, you can continue scrolling down to check out some of my favorite dishes and KPK highlights.

For more posts (articles), recipes, stories and pictures, you can scroll up (in the right column under "What You Missed") and click on 2008, 2009 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013. As of June, 2013, there are are total of 139 posts in KPK. You can spend more time here when you know where to look, right?! Another way to enjoy my kitchen is to click on any items of interest in the section entitled "Passion Posts", also up above in the right column.

Love, Katie ~ I am so glad you're here! Stay awhile!

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