Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Monday, December 8, 2008

Farmers market update -- and Minestrone Soup

The Ahwatukee farmers market is back into full swing, with lots of greens, tomatoes and other good stuff.   My latest step was been to join a CSA (community supported agriculture) called Love Grows Farms.  Basically, I pay in advance for a weekly box of fruit and vegetables every week.  I pick it up at the farmers market on Sunday (where I can conveniently get even more stuff if needed).  This helps provide a more stable market for the farmers, and provides me with an interesting variety of produce.  Here is was everything in this week’s box:

Minestrone soup is perfect to use up odd bits of vegetables (and leftovers).  The following may look like a recipe, but please only use as a guideline.  For sausage I use anything from a couple of links of Italian sausage (removed from the casing in little chunks) to leftover grilled chicken sausage, you can also just use some bacon or skip the meat altogether.  Sometimes I add some cut up winter squash (like butternut) instead of (or in addition to) zucchini squash, or add green beans. I generally don't use any tomatoes.  Add some herbs if you like….   You get the picture.

Minestrone Soup

Serves 6       Preparation Time:  1 hour or less

1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage or other sausage of choice, sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced carrots
1 diced red pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 cup red wine ** optional
Other vegetables as desired
1 16-oz can whole tomatoes (crushed), with liquid  ** optional
3-5 cups chicken or beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 16-oz can white or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup rice or orzo (or 1 cup of leftover rice or pasta)
1 large bunch of greens (spinach, mustard greens, etc), chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh parsley, chopped

Brown sausage in oil in deep saucepan or Dutch oven.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper and carrots plus a little salt.  Cook 5 minutes, add wine. 

Add zucchini, tomatoes with liquid, broth, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes.  Add beans with liquid, rice, and wine.  Cook until rice is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes (less if already cooked). Add greens… If spinach, add just before serving, a bit earlier (~10 minutes) if using a stronger green that needs a bit of cooking to get tender.  

Here are some tasty (if weed-like) greens I like... for reference, that is my big knife:

Check seasoning.  Top bowls of soup with Parmesan and chopped parsley.

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