Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vegetarian Sunday

We didn't set out with a meat-free goal, but that indeed was the result of our Sunday grazing. It might have been an Andouille-induced hangover from that jivin' jambalaya from the Schutte's Mardi Gras bash but for whatever reason, we went full-out vegetarian last Sunday. To wit:

Breakfast was the usual fresh fruit smoothie and wheat toast. Lunch brought out the on-hand vittles and we whipped up some mini-thin crust pizzas with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil with a hit of spice such as shallot pepper from Penzey's. We tried one with feta but that one was fairly dry and not a match for the ones made with creamy goat cheese. They were quite tasty.

The big hit came from the Cookbook Challenge-created dinner entree: Tuscan Bread Soup from the Daily Soup Cookbook. I was leery about a soup that involved the bread being actually mixed in as opposed to being a topping, as I'm not a fan of soggy bread. However, the result was a big, heaping bowl of layered flavor that had us both raving. The bread certainly thickened it and made for a filling meal; accompanied by a mixed green salad. I would most certainly recommend this soup and the recipe for Challenge #31 follows the post.

I'm not quite ready to go vegetarian as a lifestyle, but it certainly made for one savory Sunday.

Tuscan Bread Soup

Ingredients

1 sourdough baguette (about 1/2 pound and preferably day-old), cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 large Spanish onion, chopped (my store didn't have these; we went with large yellow, sweet onion)
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed well and chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
6 cups vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
1 bunch basil stems, tied together
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and toss to coat bread. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, until crisp all the way through. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, leeks and garlic cloves and sweat for 4 minutes, until tender.

3. Add the thyme, remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir to coat the vegetables.

4. Add the stock, tomatoes and basil stems and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat, stir in the bread cubes and let sit for 5 minutes.

6. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the Parmesan and parsley.

2 comments:

Kristy said...

I hate soggy bread too. I was born and raised in WV and still live here and to this day I cannot STAND biscuits and gravy OR soup beans and corn bread. HOWEVAH, I too have discovered bread as a thickening agent and it's delightful. Your Sunday sounds deliciously flavorful and relaxing. Miss ya!

Courtney said...

As a vegetarian I'm super excited about your meat free day. The soup sounds interesting...too bad I'm trying to cut down on the carbs.

Post a Comment