Monday, June 7, 2010

Big, Bad May and Easy Vegetable Soup

May was a tough month for my wrist and consequently my kitchen and my blog.  I have something going on in my right wrist and hand that has caused quite a bit of pain, lack of stability and range of motion and the inability to exert any pressure on it.  This made typing, mouse clicking, stirring, chopping, hell even brushing my teeth or turning a doorknob very, very challenging.  Thanks to the wonders of a steroid shot, I am in much better shape now and can start to catch up.

May was tough in other ways too.  Incomprehensible amounts of oil are pouring, unabated,  into our beloved Gulf of Mexico since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 22, 2010 .  Like everyone else on the Gulf Coast, Kid Cayenne and I  have been watching it happen with developing levels of horror, helplessness and fury.

Like hundreds of others, we gathered in the French Quarter on Sunday, May 30th, to rally against the terrible injustice and demand intervention.  I don't know that it helped anything to show up, listen and nod to the speakers.

More than anything, we just wanted our presence felt... two more standing up against what is wrong and terrible and devastating. We wanted to reject complacency and to somehow represent the self respect and self worth that Louisiana deserves, to support those who were voicing their outrage and their positive ideas for ways we could all help.

Now, it's June and though the oil still spills, I have been able to do the dishes, make a nice vegetable soup (O, meditative chopping, how I missed you) and otherwise try to grasp some amount of order from the unruliness that was last month.

For the soup, a mixture of fresh, frozen and canned to make things really quick and easy...

3 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 ts cayenne pepper
1 ts salt
2 TB olive oil
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 can cannellinni beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 1 lb. bag of frozen vegetables (I use a mixture of corn, peas, lima beans, green beans and more carrot), thawed
1 quart of very nice homemade chicken broth if you have it, or a carton of premade if you don't
1 cup orecchiette, shell or other small pasta
1 tomato, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan Reggiano to grate over the top

In a large, heavy bottomed pan, heat olive oil and sauté shallots and garlic until soft.  Season with salt and cayenne pepper.  Add carrots and sauté until beginning to go golden.  Add squash and zucchini and sauté until just beginning to soften.  Add cannellinni beans, frozen vegetables and broth.  If your broth isn't very flavorful (I had made mine with thyme and a few other herbs originally) consider adding whatever dry herbs please you at this time.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Raise heat slightly to get a high simmer.  Add pasta and cook for amount of time directed on the package.  Salt and pepper to taste.  At the end, add diced tomato and stir in to heat.  They should warm but not cook down.

Serve with plentiful amounts of shaved Parmesan Reggiano over the top and bread or crackers.


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