Sunday, August 15, 2010

When Life Gives You Vegetables

I love farmers market produce but after my trip to the market a week and a half ago my refrigerator was still full of quickly-rotting veggies.  Here's an idea if you're looking to use up a lot of veggies.

Step One

Wait for a cold-er-ish day.  The dew points finally fell below the 60-degree mark today and while you'll rarely hear me complain about heat of any kind I must admit that the summer months do put a cramp in my cooking.  I just can't bear to be in front of a stove when the sun is calling my name.

Step Two

Chop up all the veggies you want to use.  Seriously, any veggie will do.

When you're done, cut up some more.

I used five ears of corn (boiled in water for four minutes and then kernels cut off), some green beans, A LOT of carrots, a red onion, three yellow squash and three cloves of garlic.

Step Three
Butter.  And lots of it.  I used a whole stick.  Just plop it in the bottom of the biggest stock pot you own and let it get all melty on medium low heat.

Step Four
Add the vegetables and a palm full of salt.  You could get technical and add the onion and garlic first then add the carrots and wait for them to get tender and then add the green beans and squash since they cook quicker but I wasn't in to getting technical today.  So I just threw them all in the pot at once.  Minus the corn kernels because they were already cooked.

Stir all the vegetables around so they get coated in the buttery goodness.  I let my vegetables cook in the butter for about 20 minutes.  Just keep an eye on the heat so that the butter doesn't start to boil and brown.

Step Five
When your husband gets home from the store with the chicken broth or when you've had enough of the whole butter saute thing, add in one 32-ounce container.

Turn the heat up to medium until the liquid starts to come to a low boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Now's the time to add seasonings if you're in to that sort of thing.  I added one bay leaf and some dried thyme.

In the meantime start boiling water in your next largest pot.

Step Six
When your water in the second pot comes to a boil, add one pound of any small-shaped pasta you like.

If it were me I would have added whole grain pasta.  But when the husband comes back from the store just smile and nod at whatever he bought.  I cooked the pasta for a minute less than the package suggested.  The pasta will cook a tiny bit more in the large pot and I hate nothing more than mushy pasta.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and set aside.

Step Seven
Test the veggies.  Since I had a lots of carrots I knew those would be the last to finish cooking.  Once my carrots were tender I knew the entire pot was ready.  When this happens, reduce the heat to as low as it goes and pour in the second 32-ounce container of broth and the cooked noodles.  This is also the time I added in my cooked corn kernels.  Once the pot is heated through turn off the heat entirely.

Step Eight

Eat!  Brian and I added shredded parmesan into our bowls.  And you could be like me and serve the soup with some homemade cornbread and berry crisp but that's only because I haven't been in the kitchen forever and I just. couldn't. stop. cooking.

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