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!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard Zuppa!


So, we're all snowed in, right? I had the idea earlier in the week to make a gigantic pot of vegetable soup and eat it all week long. Weight Watchers has a cabbage soup that's really simple and completely fat-free. What a great idea to have a hearty bowl of soup and eat as much as you want, without a worry! That recipe/idea has been around for years, I believe. I remember a "cabbage soup" diet from the 80's. Anyway, that was partially my motivation. The other part is that I really love a bowl of spicy and flavorful soup, brimming with vegetables and beans, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with freshly grated cheese. It's warming, satisfying and simply delicious. So, during the storm, I was storming the produce department to stock up on color. I was short on everything, so, I picked up the following vegetables:

Onions
Celery
Carrots
Parsnips
Kale
Cabbage
Red Bell Pepper
Jalapeno Peppers
Red Potatoes

Unlike the Weight Watchers soup, I like a little more flavor and a little more fat. It's all healthy, no matter what. It's kind of a vegetarian (not vegan because of the chicken broth) minnestrone without the pasta. I used all of the above vegetables, plus the following ingredients which I had in stock:

Garlic
Cannelini Beans
Light Red Kidney Beans
Garbanzo Beans
Black Beans
Swanson 100% Fat Free Chicken Broth
Passata di Pomodoro*
Bay Leaves
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt & Pepper
Chili Powder
Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Red Pepper
Adobo Seasoning

So, I coated the bottom of my 16 quart pot with olive oil and then sauteed these chopped veg: onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnip, red bell pepper and jalapeno peppers...... in quantity! Then, salt, pepper, a couple of bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Then I added the kale (ribs removed, chopped coarsely) and the cabbage (chopped coarsely). If you make this (or something similar), just add, stir and cook. Then, I added the chicken broth and the passata di pomodoro* (you can also add canned whole tomatoes, broken up, or tomato sauce, or fresh or canned chopped tomatoes or whatever you like). Season with your favorite seasonings. I used chili powder, ground red pepper and some Adobo seasoning. Use whatever makes you happy. If you don't add enough salt and seasonings, your soup is going to be bland. So, don't be shy. Once the soup simmers for awhile, the vegetables become tender and the flavor develops. Then, add peeled and cubed potatoes (red potatoes work well since they're waxy, they won't disintegrate . . . what potatoes? lol) and also add the beans, rinsed and drained. I always rinse and drain canned beans because I find that the liquid is sometimes salty and kind of gooey. I do believe that canned beans are a great product and one of the few canned items (plus tomatoes, for sure) that I have the utmost faith in....

OK... Taste, Taste, Taste. Adjust. You don't want to end up with a huge pot of bland and boring soup. I love the way ground red pepper and fresh hot peppers plus the tomatoes add zippiness to zuppa! Don't forget the salt because the broth is low sodium and it's up to you to flavor your food : ) : ) : ).

Barley or farro would be an outstanding addition to this soup, but be careful not to add too much or all of your flavorful broth will be absorbed and it won't be soup anymore. : )..... Pasta is always great. Make it separately and add it when you reheat a small pot or just add it in the bowl..... Ditalini or orzo would be great if you want to add more carbs and make it really filling. In any case, here's the best way to serve it up:

Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan, Romano, Grana Padano or aged Asiago
Add freshly ground black pepper
Crusty, chewy, fresh, rustic bread on the side ~ buttered and ready to dunk
*Passata di Pomodoro - Try some! Super-fresh tasting, seeded & sieved tomatoes, imported from Italy. You can find them in bottles at your local Italian import store. Just tomatoes and salt. Really a nice addition for soups or even for a really fresh and simple pasta sauce.

Um, I'll ttyl. I'm gonna go eat another bowl. One of the bowls most people use as a serving dish. LOL.

Love ya,

Enjoy the snow and the soup,

Love,

Katie






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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.

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