Sunday, December 13, 2009

Minestrone Soup

My original plan was to come home from England on Friday, and do the last 'cross race of the season on Saturday. I knew I wouldn't be in the best of shape, after switching time zones and not having had much time to run or ride while there, but figured I'd just go out and have fun with it. Unfortunately, I was in much worse shape than I even anticipated. After having almost no sleep for 6 out of the 8 nights there, getting sick partway in as a result, not being able to exercise, and having a not so great diet, I was totally wrecked by the end. I spent most of yesterday, my first day home, walking around in slow motion, trying to accomplish little things, but too foggy to do so. Probably adding to this, it's the first time it's been really cold this year. When I left, we were embarking on unseasonally high temps at almost 70 and when I got home it was in the 20s. I think this blast of cold added to my body's need to bring things down a notch, so there was no racing for me. Instead, I am going to slowly ramp back up into running and riding, and spend this week having a "casual" detox. My diet last week consisted mostly of dairy, pasta and bread. This week I will focus on vegetables and grains and try to eat as little of the aforementioned as possible.
The second I stepped out of the airport Friday evening and felt the cold wind, I knew I wanted some soup to soothe my soul. I stopped at Whole Foods on my way home to get a few veggies to make some minestrone. I got a mix of things, versus sticking to one season. Upon consulting my Moosewood Daily Specials cookbook and seeing they had a minestrone recipe for summer, autumn, winter and spring, I realized that I would like to stick to seasonal veggies and spices next time. But, for now my standard mix n' match minestrone would do. The trick is to not put too much of any one thing, especially something with a stronger flavor, like broccoli. There are many variations to the veggies I will add (often using green beans which I did not for this one). I could've sworn I had blogged this before, but couldn't find it, so here it is.

1 tblsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced or sliced, however you like it
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 small russet potato, diced
2 cups water
4 cups veggie broth
1 tspn oregano
1 small zucchini, sliced and cut in half moons
1/2 cup small pasta, such as orzo or elbows
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 14 oz. can kidney beans
4 or 5 leaves of kale or swiss chard, chopped
1 tblsp red wine vinegar (or red wine)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1. In soup pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic. Sautee for 5 minutes.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, water, oregano and potato. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
3. Add zucchini and pasta. (I sometimes cook the pasta separately, especially if I'm using elbows, and then add it when I'm serving at the end. Otherwise, it gets really soggy in the leftovers.) Simmer for 10 more minutes.
4. Add peas, kale or chard, vinegar, kidney beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 10 more minutes. Serve.

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