Swapping soup with Sharon

It’s much less shady that it sounds. Ever since I heard about a group of friends who started a freezer food collaborative, I have been bugging my own friends to do the same thing. Well, today was the day. My friend Sharon and I had scheduled a study date and realized that we were both planning to make a batch of soup before we met up. We also both happened to be throwing away jars of tomato sauce so we decided to use them as vessels for our soup exchange. I made a variation of Alice Waters’ minestrone and she made a spicy southwest soup with chicken andouille and chickpeas.

Here is a photo of our two jars in the coffee shop. (It’s a crappy image taken on my phone but I think it’s funny that we both decorated the jars.)


Minestrone soup ingredients:

1 cup dried cannellini beans (I LOVE zursun beans)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth or water)
1 small leek, diced
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into small dice
1 14.5 oz can organic diced tomatoes
2 cups spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
**I used my food processor to separately chop the onion, carrot, garlic, leek, and zucchini. It definitely sped up the prep time for the recipe.

Soak, cook, and set the beans aside. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for 15 minutes until tender. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes longer. Add 3 cups water, veggie or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Next, add the leek and green beans. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add the zucchini and tomatoes. Cook for 15 minutes and taste for salt. Add the cooked beans and chopped spinach. Cook for 5 minutes. If soup is too thick, add more liquid (can be bean cooking liquid, water, or broth). Remove the bay leaf and serve with additional olive oil, Parmesan cheese, or pesto as a garnish. Enjoy!



Spinach and chickpeas

In an attempt to eat more plants and legumes, I tried a spinach and chickpea recipe that I found on Serious Eats for dinner tonight. It was so delicious that I had to be sure to write it down here – not for you but so I could come back and make it again. It was a super tasty (and nutritious!) meal with flavors that I usually don’t come up with on my own. Next time I would double it so that I have leftovers for lunch. As it turned out, I ate the entire batch which was meant for two.

Because my camera is being repaired, I copied this photo from the original recipe online.



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh spinach, rinsed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2-inch slice from a country loaf, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used vodka sauce)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I minced mine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges (I didn’t have one)
Pour half of the oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly, and cook until the leaves just wilt, about 4 minutes. Drain contents in a colander. Rinse out saucepan and dry with paper towel. Add 1 tablespoon of remaining oil to the saucepan and return it to medium heat. Toss in the bread cubes. Cook, stirring often, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil along with the garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute (If garlic begins to burn, remove contents from pan immediately). Transfer the bread mixture to a food processor. Pour in the vinegar and process into a paste. Add the paste back to the saucepan along with the tomato sauce and chickpeas. Turn the heat to medium, and cook until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors, about 5 minutes. Quickly chop the drained spinach, and then add it to the saucepan. Season mixture with salt and pepper. As soon as the chickpeas and spinach are warm, turn off the heat. Serve with sprinkling smoked paprika and fresh lemon juice.

Thursdays are for cooking

I am lucky again this quarter in that I don’t have class on Fridays. Because Thursdays are my Fridays,  I’ve enjoyed spending my “down time” on Thursday afternoons in the kitchen. A couple of weeks ago I made a vegetarian cassoulet to break in my new dutch oven. I’ve also been cooking as much salmon as possible because I know the run is coming to an end. Today I made pumpkin walnut bread and yellow split pea and sweet potato soup. I also made a batch of yogurt and started soaking some chickpeas to make hummus for sandwiches. Oh how I love Thursdays…