I kicked off this weekend's adventures with a trip to the farmer's market. I've been meaning to go for weeks now. I finally saw Food Inc. this week, and apparently that was all the motivation I needed. Great film, by the way, as are the books by both authors featured. Full disclosure, though: I did eat a bowl of Smacks during the movie. Apparently, it was convincing enough to get me up at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, but not enough to keep me from eating things with 40+ ingredients.
Back to my market trip: I managed to resist the temptation of the crazy juices, donuts, bagels, and homemade pastries (are we sure that organic cream puffs aren't good for me? Really sure?) and mostly stick to my list. I made it back to my car loaded down with fresh eggs, tons of herbs that I will try my hardest not to kill, plenty of delicious things to dip in hummus, and grass-fed beef.
In celebration of delicious things, lunch was maybe the most amazing poached egg I've ever had, soaked up by a crusty piece of bread and topped with fresh rosemary. Dinner was the first burger I've had in a couple years (I think), on a flaky roll and topped with orange-dyed cheese that comes individually wrapped and somehow melts before any contact with heat. Things like this find their way home when you live with boys. The beef, though, was delicious.
I had planned to share my favorite recipe for pizza dough, but the vegetables and densely seeded homemade bread I came home with were just begging to become a pot of soup (with, um, bread. Which does not go in the soup.).
|How could this not turn out well?|
You see the garlic, right?
This soup is my go-to guy for any number of occasions: when it's cold out, when I accidentally buy way more vegetables that we'll normally eat, when I realize that the boy hasn't eaten anything green in a week. I've been making it for so long that it was weird to go back and look at the original recipe. No oregano? That's sometimes the only spice I add! What do you mean a small zucchini, I usually add two! I actually made this soup with beet greens instead of spinach once and ended up with a bright purple concoction. It was delicious, but I couldn't convince anyone else to try it. I think there's still some of that batch in my freezer.
As is, this soup is perfect for the end of summer. You can fill it up with that last push of summer produce still coming in, but it's warm and filling enough for those first nights where you start to feel hints of fall. Which I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in the South. Enjoy!
Vegetable and Rice Soup
Go ahead and toss in almost any veggies you have on hand. I sometimes add a can of french-cut green beans, and you can use just about any kind of green. I often end up with a much bigger pot of soup than I intended, but it keeps beautifully in the freezer!
Adapted from Ellie Krieger.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large (or 2 small) zucchini, diced
1.5 cups chopped okra
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
5 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
1 can (14.5 oz) cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed well.
3 large sage leaves, chopped (or 0.5 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 cups spinach
1 cup cooked brown rice (preferably cooked in stock)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and okra, cook for about 5 more minutes or until tender.
Add canned tomato (including juices) and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the spinach and herbs, and in a small bowl, mash half the cannellini beans with the back of a fork.
Add beans (mashed and whole), spinach, and herbs. Turn off heat, the spinach will wilt on its own from the heat of the soup.
Add rice, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm, crusty bread, and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.