Italian White Bean Soup with Rice

I’m pretty sure I used the last jar of my grandma’s tomatoes. Or maybe it was salsa. She made that sometimes. Regardless, the tomato based and that’s what I was looking for. We have this habit of saying “Thanks, grandma!” out loud anytime these jars get opened. There aren’t many left.

This came about in a fit of “I don’t know what I want to eat, but I don’t want to go get anything.” I manage to surprise myself with whatever I have in the pantry. It never feels like much until I start digging into it. This is perfectly acceptable peasant food, and for some reason it has me thinking of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. It’s still sitting on one of my grandma’s bookshelves. I should get that back one of these days.

I thought about going the pasta route, but I need to really be in the mood for pasta and beans. It feels like too much a lot of the time. I went the canned route, even though I did finally make a batch of beans from scratch for the first time at Christmas. What a difference. That would be exceptional here, but canned work. I’m not going to pretend I’m going to go all-homemade-everything around here. That’s a resolution I’m just not making [as I have my first batch of homemade almond milk in the fridge…]. Speaking of resolutions, these cooking resolutions are inspiring. I’ve already got my eye on this pot roast and to freeze some leftovers. That kind of meal planning is unheard of in our house. The fact that I even remembered to take the last of the steaks out of the freezer is worthy of a pat on the back.

Inspiration: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans of cannellini white beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preparation

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery, cooking it until soft. It should take about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for 30-seconds. Add the stock, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Bring the mixture to a boil before stirring in the beans and reducing everything to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the rice before serving. Top with grated Parmesan.

2016 Recap

What a year. Christmas came and went like that. 2017 is barreling toward us with a quickness. How to summarize this year? My CPA license was gotten. Germany was traveled. We spent more time entertaining guests in Portland than we did traveling. Many, many restaurants were frequented. I spent a lot of the last part of 2016 with residual stress that comes from being used to studying for something for the better part of my 20’s and into my 30’s. I still come home thinking there is something I need to do, but there isn’t. It’s glorious, but the feeling is weird. It lessens by the day.

For once there aren’t set plans/goals for 2017 other than some international travel [Japan? Malta/Sicily?] and a couple weddings. I’m just going to let things happen, and see where that gets me. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Some new-to-me and awesome restaurants this year: Tehuana Oaxacan Cuisine, Pizza Jerk, Coquine, Jacqueline, Pine Street Market, and Hat Yai.

So what were the top posts this year?

Cannoli Pound Cake

Caldo Verde – Portuguese Green Soup

Porter Braised Chicken Thighs

Green Curry Porridge

Carrot Goat Cheese Shepherd’s Pie

Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Sandwich

Sweet Potato Spinach Pasta

Enchiladas Suizas

Mexican Alambre

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Roasted Sausage, Beans, and Greens

After talking about how much I’ve been lusting after Cheese Club at Cyril’s, I went! They had to reschedule December’s pick-up party because of the weather, so I could make it happen. It was better than I could have imagined. I picked up a block of Rocket’s Robiola from Boxcarr handmade cheese, tasted four others [two of which were also Boxcarr’s], and had a pairing with Clay Pigeon’s 2013 pinot noir and a beer from Occidental that I can’t remember now. A couple of the bottles of pinot came home too. They were having a 25% off sale. Can you blame us?

Simplicity has been the name of the game since the weather has been crap, we’ve been busy, or there have been holiday leftovers in the fridge. Recipes like this are what I want. Protein. Greens. Fiber. Put in a pan. Roast. Eat. Cheese not optional. This works with pretty much any combination.

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 16oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1lb sausage [about four], cut in half lengthwise and then sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded parmesan, optional

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Tear the Swiss chard leaves into bite size pieces. You can not use the stems if you want, but I chopped them up and used them.

In a large baking dish or ovenproof skillet, combine the chard and beans. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, paprika, and olive juice. Drizzle over chard and beans. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens.

Nestle the sausage pieces into the greens. Roast for 20-25 minutes. The chard should be tender and the edges crispy. If your sausage isn’t precooked, it should no longer be pink.

Top with shredded parmesan before serving.

Weekly Reads 11

I spent the weekend in Vancouver BC. It was a quick getaway with some friends for the sole purpose of a hockey game. I’m not a crazy hockey fan [second game I’ve ever seen live], but I am a Vancouver fan. Places I went this time: Tacofino, Birds & the Beets, Brassneck Brewery, Congee Noodle House, and a whole lot of walking/shopping. The weather was freezing, literally, and the snow crept in this morning so we had to get out early. Vancouver trips are becoming a yearly thing, and I’m not bummed about it. It’s such a great city.

I’m a sucker for Swedish design. This home is the perfect balance of cozy and clean. That kitchen!

Gingerbread for a pie crust? Yes, please.

Taking off her engagement ring helped her job hunt. Sigh.

The science of asparagus pee. I had to know.

Seven things introverts understand. Check. Check. Check.

Have you heard of the Christmas Price Index (CPI)? PNC Financial Services Group analyzes the items in the 12 days of Christmas for price changes. Can you say accounting nerd? That’s me.

Miso brownies! A new use for that tub of miso sitting in my fridge. Savory desserts ftw.

This bathroom is gorgeous, but I’d need that natural light before I’d consider those black tiles in my own house.

So many books to add to Goodreads from NPR’s staff picks. I only read a couple of these this year.

Cacio e Pepe Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

I’m really, really falling for Cyril’s @ Clay Pigeon Winery lately. They have three of my favorite things — wine, cheese, and charcuterie. They have a lovely space. They have a cheese club that I haven’t brought myself to participate in but follow it with rapt attention. They hosted an urban winery event recently with more of my three favorite things. Fourteen wineries were in attendance. Nonperishables for charity were contributed. It was a great time. Wineries now on my radar that weren’t before — Fausse Piste and Jasper Sisco.

Cacio e Pepe. Cheese and pepper. Two of my favorite things. What don’t they make better? I like to eat vegetables, but I definitely don’t eat as many as I should. I could blame it on a variety of reasons, but I’ll just own it. I did eat a jar of canned beets standing over the sink the other day. That’s the kind of classy vegetable lover I am.

The article from Bon Appetit that spawned this whole thing said a lot of what I feel. It spoke to me. Sometimes I want a certain level of vegetable matter in my dish because a salad just feels silly. Roasting a ton of vegetables, covering them in a buttery cheese sauce and a ton of pepper really makes all of this worthwhile. The pasta is just a filler. I could have easily doubled the vegetables and eaten them as is. I went with sweet potato to finally kill that craving from months ago and some Brussels because it’s the season. The world is your oyster. Just make sure they’re evenly sized pieces so you can let them roast together.

Inspiration: Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 5-7 Brussels sprouts — halved or quartered to get them the same size as the sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2lb pasta of choice
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Pecorino cheese

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a pan with parchment or a Silpat. In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato cubes and brussels sprouts with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on the pan in an even layer. Roast them for about 45 minutes or until soft and browning on the edges.

Cook your pasta according to package directions. Before draining, reserve a cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and add a ton of black pepper. Add a ladleful of the pasta water and bring the mixture to a boil. Toss the cooked pasta in the mixture. Make sure it’s well coated before adding the vegetables. Grate a ton of Pecorino cheese over everything. It should melt into the hot ingredients and turn glossy. Taste for more salt, pepper, and cheese.