Monday, September 10, 2012

Garden Fresh Dinner

I'm a little nervous.  I've been meaning to make this soup for a few weeks but keep chickening out.  Why?  ZUCCHINI!  Why do I have such a hang up about zucchini?  Bill says it's the texture that bugs me.  Yes, that and usually zucchini doesn't taste like anything.  So as we speak, (not literally)  I am beginning this recipe.  I will comment and post a pic later.

Savor the Moment

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks (thanks Annette Robino!)  She gave it to me on a business trip to Miami and I have treasured it since.  I have loved every recipe I have tried in this book.  So, DEEP BREATH, here we go...

Zucchini Basil Soup
2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
8 cups chicken broth
14 small zucchini (8 cups chopped)-- one large from your neighbour’s garden
3 tbsp uncooked rice
1/3 cup cream cheese

Saute the onions, garlic, basil and thyme in butte in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat until the onions are tender.  Add the chicken broth and the zucchini.
Bring to a boil and stir in the rice.  Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cream cheese until melted.

Using a hand-held food blender (or a regular blender-- do a few batches) blend until smooth.  Season with salt.  Garnish with a basil leaf and a dollop of cream cheese.

The cook book recommends serving Zucchini Basil Soup with Tuscan Bread Salad.  This is AMAZING SALAD!!!!  A great way to use your garden tomatoes when you are tired of making salsa.

Tuscan Bread Salad
4 large tomatoes, chopped (or 8 if you have a ton to use)
2 bell peppers (yellow or red), chopped
6 oz mozarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (1 heaping Tbsp dried)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
8 oz Italian or French Bread*

Combine tomatoes, bell pepper, cheese and basil in a bowl.  Whisk the olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add to the tomato mixture and mix well.

Cut bread into 1-inch cubes.  Spread on a baking sheet.  Broil for 1 minute or until the cubes just begin to brown, stirring once.*  Add to the salad and mix gently.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4+
*Really?!?  Erica's short cut. Break out your favourite croutons (2-4 cups depending on taste) and mix in.

Happy Healthy Eating

1 comment:

  1. The soup was pretty darn good. A little too much basil for my family's taste but, yum for me! The cream cheese gives it a creamy goodness, but it is still mostly vegetable. I'm going to try a spice variation to see how my family likes it. Hooray for new recipes!