Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

May 23, 2013

Rediscovering the kitchen — and healthy habits

(Continued)

Marvelous Minestrone

2 T. extra virgin olive oil2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2" dice (about 1 cup)1 1 cup fennel6 c. low sodium chicken broth1 c. red onion, diced2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped2 bay leaves2 t. fresh thyme leaves, chopped1/4 t. fennel seeds, crushed1 1/2 c. cooked cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained2 c. fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced1/3 c. uncooked quinoaKosher salt and ground black pepper to taste1 c. fresh spinach, cut chiffonade1 T. basil, thinly sliced2 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated (about 1/2 c.), optional

In a large heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, fennel, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and fennel seeds, and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth, beans, tomatoes and quinoa. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Stir spinach and basil into soup just before serving in bowls. Garnish each with 1 T. cheese, if desired. (From "The Biggest Winner")

Green Soup

2 T. olive oil2 large yellow onions chopped1 t. salt divided2 T. plus 3 c. water1 yam (smallish) 1 bunch kaleApproximately 14 c. spinach4 c. vegetable brothBig pinch cayenne pepperLemon juice to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 t. salt; cook, stirring frequently until onions start turning brown (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat and add 2 T. water. Cook, stirring occasionally (cover between stirs), until onions are reduced and have a deep caramel color — 25-30 minutes.Meanwhile, combine 3 c. water and ¾ t. salt in a soup pot; add the diced yam. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the kale; coarsely chop kale and spinach. When yam is soft, add the kale. Cook for 10 minutes. When the onions are caramelized, stir them into the soup pot with spinach, broth and cayenne. Return to simmer, cover and cook until spinach is tender but still bright green — about 5 minutes more.Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return to pot). Stir in 1 T. lemon juice. Taste and add more if desired. (Note: Cain likes to use rice or potatoes to thicken.) (Adapted from "The Soup for Life" by Anna Thomas.)

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