NWT – S/O/L/E Food Tuesday
Our first post on this concept went live last week here, Non-Wimpy, Non-meat, S/O/L/E Food Tuesdays. (Thanks to Joseph for the logo help!)
I announced a new feature sharing/cataloging our collective best, meat-free recipes. No sooner had I posted the concept when recipes began rolling in!
Seems more than a few of us are looking for sustainable/organic/local and ethical ways of eating. Time Magazine, among many others, have begun to chat up the concept of the low carbon diet which I discussed on Suite101, too (see Mooove Over South Beach Diet). Our food choices make a difference not only to our own health, the health of our environment is affected by them, too.
Clearly, we have struck a chord. Nothing could make me happier. Well, almost nothing. You know what else makes me really happy? A good bowl of soup! I just read that sales of Campbell’s Soups, among other processed and packaged foods, skyrocket during poor economic times. Resist!
Do you know there’s over 700 mg of sodium in one half cup serving of tomato soup in the red and white can? That’s nearly a third of your daily allowance and I’ve never eaten only one half cup. The nutrition label indicates one can makes 2.5 servings.
Good, inexpensive food does not have come from a can. Good inexpensive food can however, be prepared with some canned ingredients. Boxed broths and canned beans (used here) are two good examples of ways to add depth of flavor and protein to meat-free recipes.
Here’s a beautiful recipe that answers multiple prayers-du-jour. First, it’s meat-free. Second, it’s delicious. Third, it’s not expensive. Fourth, using local tomatoes cuts down the carbon footprint in processing, packaging and shipping of canned tomatoes; as well as the chemical-industrial farming impact of big Ag Campbell’s. Oh, I could go on…but let me show you.
Tuscan Tomato Soup
This is a perfect recipe to take advantage of all those tomatoes in the farmers’ markets now. It comes to us from Viviane Bauquet Farre of Food & Style.
It’s a testament to Viviane’s food and her skill as an instructor that I never realized she is meat-free. I’ve consulted her site a number of times and was surprised when she told me:
“I’ve been a vegetarian for 27 years, but I never call myself one…I guess I define myself more by what I am than by what I’m not… I simply adore vegetables and find them incredibly exciting… So I have devoted my life to creating recipes that honor them and the incredible array of flavors they offer us.”
Here is Viviane’s Recipe, and her description of this lovely dish.
Summer meets fall
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler — but the farmers’ market stalls are still bursting with those exuberant summer vegetables! There is no time to waste. Soon the fall vegetables will take over and the super-sweet corn, the vibrant tomatoes, the shiny eggplants, the colorful peppers and the meaty beans will be only a memory… To me late summer/early fall is the most exciting time of the year, a time when there are not enough hours in the day to work on all the recipes I want to create; a time to still enjoy eating dinner outdoors, even if it means putting on a light sweater; and a time to enjoy the rich flavors of the harvest season.
This recipe takes all these seasonal issues into consideration. In September, the tomatoes are as sweet as can be and are practically falling off their vines! Prepared in this rustic, warm, Tuscan soup they become sublime. A perfect recipe to enjoy on a chilly night while greedily taking in the last luscious flavors of summer.
Tuscan Tomato Soup with Garlic Crostini and Parmesan
For the soup
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 1 small bunch basil (about 3 oz) – leaves removed from stems and torn in 1″ pieces
- 3 lbs very ripe tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped in 1/2″ pieces (seeds strained and juices reserved, about 3/4 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth in cartons
- 1 cup spring water
- 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1–15 oz can cannellini beans – drained
- 1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar (preferably 20 to 25 years old)
For the crostini
- 6–1/2″ slices of sourdough baguette
- 1 large garlic clove – skinned and left whole
- sea salt to taste
- extra virgin olive oil as garnish
- freshly grated Reggiano or Grana Padano parmesan as garnish
Step 1: Heat a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot at high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and basil and sauté 1 minute only (the garlic must not brown or it will be bitter). Add the tomato pieces and sauté for an additional 3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the broth, reserved tomato juice, water, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the beans, stir well, cover the pot and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed and add the vinegar. Stir well and remove from heat.
Step 2: Toast the bread in a toaster or under the broiler until golden. Rub both sides with the garlic clove and sprinkle with salt to taste. Ladle the soup in bowl. Place a crostini in the center of each bowl. Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.
[ed. note: further lower the the carbon footprint of this recipe by using local beans dried or fresh and homemade stock or locally bought stock. For example, soup cafés often sell their own locally made fresh stocks. Then again, your butcher has some lovely bones that would be perfect for the job….]
- Please visit Viviane’s site here: Food & Style. Check out her video demos!
- For more on nutrition benefits and drawbacks of packaged foods, check NutritionData.com.
- For a humorous piece that more than one of us can relate to: see Dave Burdick’s “The Occasional Vegetarian: Freaking out my Grandmother”