Greetings from New York. Early Saturday morning, a mere six hours after we carted in the trick-or-treat candy, the two charges and I hopped a flight to upstate for a visit with Oma and Opa, the Quiet Man's parents. The little ones carried their violins onto the airplane, while I loaded my carry-on down with a sack full of candy and a stack of novels. It was a case of serious overpacking. I should know myself better by now; I never want a piece of candy on November 1st. For me, the sugary charm is over on October 31st-and in some cases even earlier. This year for example, after various batches of donuts and, ahem, a last minute Halloween Day foray into MORE cupcake making (ay mamacita!), candy has temporarily lost it's appeal. I didn't even desire a single piece on Halloween Day and my little cowboy actually chose an apple out of his treatbag over his miniature candy bars. (You can still get apples for trick or treat when you live in Smalltown, USA.)
So if you are looking for a recipe to help you use up your extra crunchies and chewies, I'm afraid you have come to the wrong place. It'll be at least a week before I'll be able to look the black and orange sweeties in the eye. And even then, I prefer to take my sugar with butter and flour, warm out of the oven.
But, if you're looking for liquid penance, a healthful and hearty soup to hose down the sugar and enliven the tastebuds, then read on. This cousin to a minestrone is quick to make, belly-warming, and best of all-it tastes even better the next day. So forget about the Snickers, the Reeses, the Whoppers, the Twizzlers. This soup is the treat you've been looking for.
Money Saving Tips:
You'll save money over the canned varieties, not to mention produce far superior results by making homemade soup. You can use bouillion cubes and water for the broth, or look for cans or broth to be on sale, especially between now and Thanksgiving. This soup makes great use of leftover pasta as well.
Tuscan Vegetable Soup
Estimated Cost: $6.50 for 6 servings
Notes: If you are using leftover pasta, add it in at the very end, just to heat through. If you have any leftovers, you'll need to add more liquid before serving.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained, pureed until smooth in blender
1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
2 (14 ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup small pasta, uncooked
1 yellow summer squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup fresh green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about five minutes. Add basil, pepper flakes, vinegar and brown sugar and cook for 30 seconds. Add pureed tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add pasta, squash, and green beans. Bring to a simmer and cook until pasta and green beans are cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Taste soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil or parsley, if desired.
Tuesdays with Dorie:
Cranberry Orange Rugelach