Friday, April 22, 2011

how do you want it?

despite having some relatively more expensive expenditures recently.....i really don't eat out like this on a regular basis. april is a month filled with many birthdays which may provide some insight into some of my recent visits and a few upcoming ones. in between celebratory dinners and such, my meals are primarily simple ones at home....consisting mostly of veggies, lentils, eggs, bread, dairy, pasta, and grains. there is always a weekly treat of some sort....either an ingredient i get to play with from the market....or jam/conserve/sweet from the likes of tell tale preserve, recchiuti, or june taylor....or perhaps some charcuterie or nduja from boccalone. quite often though, my meals are about what i can scrounge around in my kitchen for.

a perfect example of this is a rather random soup that i made earlier this week that i suppose i could call a veggie + grain soup....which actually doesn't sound very appetizing...but i think it looks and tastes a lot better than it sounds.

it all started when i looked into my fridge one morning after a bunch of meetings and wanted to put a pot of soup to simmer on the stove while i was working. i also didn't want to go out. i also wanted it to be a soup that i could modify throughout the week with "add ons" to create new flavors and textures.

i do this sort of thing a lot.

i think about and plan for making something that i can use and eat as a base and then modify it later to how i want it later. in my kitchen....it is all about how i want it.



so with those goals in mind, i grabbed a bundle of green garlic and a bundle of carrots while taking note that i still had some braised kale and blanched cabbage in my fridge as well. i often have braised greens in my fridge to add to soups, stir fries, or as sides with a dipping sauce (soy or nuoc mam based). i figured that i could make a soup with the green garlic and carrots for certain.....and then see what else i could come up with on the fly as i was cooking.

so as i sauteed the green garlic and then the carrots with some extra virgin olive oil, dried chilies from tierra vegetables, dried sage (that i dried at home...it is so easy and you know how old it is when you do it yourself), and dried a bay leaf (same thing as the sage)...


i realized after looking through my pantry that i could add some orange lentils to bring some body (and protein) to the soup, i also had about a tablespoon of some bouillon paste (don't hate) so i added that...



....and a bunch of water.....then i realized that i could make things chewy and substantial by adding a couple of different kind of grains.......




then i added the grains, stirred it a bit, and waited for it to get to a rolling boil....turned it down....covered the pot with a lid so that there was still a tiny space for the steam to escape....and went back to work for a while.....

checking on the soup about twice.....



i knew it was "ready" when the grains were cooked through.....


then i reheated some of the leftover braised kale and blanched cabbage i had in the fridge as my "add on"...





it was just perfect for what i needed. it makes for a very hearty and filling meal. pretty simple too. i made enough so that i filled a few mason jars (once the soup had completely cooled) and have been having leftovers with different "add ons" (i.e., different veggies, cheese, ground chilies, etc. etc.). since. it is nice when one of the random meals works out nicely.


No comments: