Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I see where you've bean.

Glorious, golden, tasty soup!

Melissa is a fifth grade teacher and she has school vacation at the moment. We spent most of our Monday organizing the house, including the shared pantry and my office. Now, being a personal chef means I'm always prepared for meal-making. Someone needs something last minute? Worry not, I have what it takes to make a meal with any amount of notice. I see that as being prepared ...

My sister let me know that she wouldn't worry too much about the zombie apocalypse due to my over preparation. She concluded that we had enough cans of various beans to survive several months in seclusion.  I had to agree with her. 

Squash, too. We still have lots of that. But it's winter still! We have to eat those kinds of food and have much of it on hand so we're forcing ourselves to eat it. Seasonal eating is the right thing to do, I swear! So, with another meeting of the CPCBC looming in the not-so-distant horizon I had to figure out what to do with said ingredients ... beans and squash. 

TADA! Butternut squash soup with Cannellini beans. I didn't have *all* the ingredients that an epicurious recipe required, so this is my version of my new favorite soup. (No lies there, it is my new favorite.)

Chop up a few strips of bacon and render them in your pot. Remove the bits when they're crispy and leave the fat behind. Add to the bacon fat a medium onion and several cloves of garlic (like, 6- I told you this stuff was good!). When they're starting to caramelize, add three cups of vegetable OR chicken stock. I went veggie for this one (vegan, in fact). Let that come to a boil, then add a whole butternut squash, cubed. Also, add one can of cannellini beans (with liquid) and a can of diced tomatoes (with liquid). Don't forget to salt as you go!

The next addition was not my idea, but I'm glad I used it ... I took two more cans of beans and pureed them in my food processor, then added that to the soup mix. Instant thickening agent, zero slurry struggle. I like that.

So, let that whole mess cook until the squash is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with bacon. I was so anxious to eat the damn concoction that I forgot to photograph my bowl with the garnish. [facepalm]

It was worth it. So satisfying, so filling. Ideal dinner right there. Plus, fairly low in fat when you consider that you really only use two tablespoons of bacon fat for the whole pot. Not too shabby.

Melissa winged this pasta dish and it came out great! Cherry tomatoes, peas, seasoned chicken breast, bacon, parmesan, whole wheat penne. Top notch meal, sister. Well done.

Allie's light, buttery, satisfyingly savory pastry puffs were filled with chicken, green beans, cream cheese ...
Allie, can you post the recipe in the comments section? This stuff was dynamite. I ate close to five of them. Very close.

Hanna rushed over from work, but stopped to pick up some veg on the way.
I braised these guys quickly, then added olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
So easy, but wicked fancy. You know it's spring when ...

AND there was bread. Hanna brought a rosemary loaf. So we dunked it in olive oil. 
I mean, what else *could* you do with it?

Casey came along for the banter and food ... two bottles of wine between us three gals and we were ready to call it a night. Mark and Hannah's significant, Josh, are both in Vegas right now enjoying the desert air and neon glow of where sin resides. The two could use a vacation, so us gals sat up watching Bizarre Foods, Unique Eats, really anything Food Network or Cooking Channel had to offer after 10.

Overall, a successful night was had. And there's left over soup for lunch. Now that's the way to put a Monday to bed:

Well fed. xo


  1. Hello! The Chicken Puffs were a cinch! Shred 1-2 cups cooked chicken (I used rotisserie, but any kind of leftover chicken would work) and mix it up with 1 cup organic cream cheese, A handful of parmesan cheese, 1 tsp or so garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, chopped fresh parsely and whatever other seasonings you like. If I had bacon cooked on hand I would have put that in there, as well as scallions but I was in a rush so I just threw in what I had. Preheat the oven to 400, and roll out puff pastry (flour the board) to 12x12. Cut into squares (you don't have to be exact- I am by no means a puff pastry expert) and put 1 tsp of filling in each square. Brush edges with egg wash and seal however you can manage.. Some of mine turned into triangles, some into squares LOL. Brush the sealed chicken puffs with egg wash all over and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before attempting to try one, I couldn't wait, and my tongue paid the consequences!

  2. PS.- Say, though there were no green beans in these puffs, what a fantastic way to capture Green Bean Casserole in one bite!!!