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Hi! Thank you for stopping by to watch me, Leah, cook kosher. I've been the owner operator of my boutique catering firm in Seattle, Leah's Catering, for the past 14 years.
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Classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup

I'm not going to lie to you; I'm beat! It's only the 9th of January and the year feels 1/2 over given the number of events already lined up into June. Passover menus are set and next week I order ingredients. Receiving the "save the date" deposit for a Bat Mitzvah in May, I mentally move my plans to run to Puerto Vallarta, alone with a stack of books, to the 2nd week of the off-season. Mind you, I'm not whining.....Thank G-d I'm always so busy. No, I'm not whining....I'm just saying.....

Ending 2011 taking a much needed break, my routine is off kilter. Naturally a night owl, years in the bakery taught me to start my day much earlier than preferred. Staying up late to watch the ball drop in Times Square, admittedly 3 hours after the fact due to the time difference, I start the year unable to get up early. It's almost midnight and now I'm awake; could barely move all day.

But, I did get up early and sit on the couch to look at my calendar on the off chance I really can't lollygag (have I ever written that word in life?) around all morning. OMG, I have a small breakfast for 10 and need to stop for milk, bagels and get to Hillel. As I wait to checkout, my eyes focus on a food magazine with "Tuscan Vegetable White Bean Soup" warming the cover. Hey, I just made that for Shabbat dinner for the students. True, the image features rustic bread stuffed into the bowl and a shed of Parmesan cheese...I didn't go that route. I made herbed foccacia to serve on the side.

Anyway, since I didn't make my bed I'm putting off laying in it until I post this recipe. My Shabbat dinner was Italian inspired so I pulled Giulaino Hazan's book, "Every Night Italian" off the shelf for ideas. "Classic Tuscan Vegetable Soup" looks amazing and my shopping list gains about 12 items, most requiring the washing by a mashgiach. The list is long but the soup is easy. Simply throw everything into the pot as it is prepped and simmer for a few hours. I admit that after tasting the soup it came off a bit flat, salt and pepper being the only seasoning. Adding Parmesan cheese when serving would make it a bit saltier but still, I wasn't rolling my eyeballs with delight.

So, I pull a "Franco" and add Balsamic vinegar, his go to acid. We always laugh about it in the kitchen but it does give a subtle kick and offers many foods a taste bailout. I mostly always trust Franco's taste buds....but, he was sick and didn't work on Friday. I'm tempted to start adding a bunch of other 'Italian' herbs, etc. but there is something about the word 'classic' that begs me to resist the temptation to go pedestrian. Maybe an Italian from Tuscany knows more than I do. Adding salt and pepper, I call it good...and, it is good and it is beautiful!

2/5/2012 note: Carol Maslan returned from Tuscany recently; ADD THE HERBS, it's okay!



Kosher Status: Parve
Number of servings: 8 - 10
Main Ingredient(s):
Preparation Time: 00:30
Cooking Time: 02:30
Skill Level: 1 - Easy (1 Easy - 5 Hard)
Estimated POINT value:


Ingredients:


  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1 cup of sliced leeks
  • 1/2 pound Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound red chard, stem removed and sliced
  • 1/3 cup 1/4" diced celery
  • 1/3 cup 1/4" diced peeled carrots
  • 3/4 cup 1/2" diced zucchini
  • 1 can (15 oz) canned cannellini beans
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 pound white boiling potatoes, 1/2" diced
  • 5 cups of cold water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Balsamic Vinegar to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)



Steps:

In a large stock pot, saute the onion in the olive oil until tender. Meanwhile, wash and check the chard. Remove the stem and rough cut across the leaves into about 1/2" strips. Add to the onion.

Continue to prep ingredients in order as they appear. Add to the pot and cook over medium heat as you prep the next ingredient.

The veggies will settle down as they get limp. Great, more room in the pot....keep going!

Don't stop until you are done! Then, simmer for a couple of hours until the veggies and beans are soft and tender.

Adjust seasoning before serving.



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