Saturday, November 14, 2009

"if you don't have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?"

the food: Swiss Chard, Mushroom, and Quinoa Soup
the song: "Dream" Dizzee Rascal

Humble beginnings, from March

Back when I was first considering gardening, I had this image of what our house would be like once the garden was in full swing. I pictured cabinets well stocked with staples to build upon...whole wheat pastas, grains, rice, and broth. The refrigerator would house a weekly rotation of high quality cheese, organic milk, hard-to-grow vegetables purchased from the farmer's market, and seasonal beer. In my fantasy, I would stroll to the garden to see what was available and use my culinary creativity to whip up fresh and sustainable meals.

We've been traveling lately and have been eating a lot of meals on the go. This can really wear on you after a while. I was happy to have an evening at home last night with nothing but time. The husband and I were sharing a Rouge Santa's Private Reserve, eating a bit of fresh mozzarella and crackers when the topic came around to dinner. "I just don't want a meal meal, you know?" We decided on something simple, fresh, and light. And for the ingredients, I stepped right out to our front yard.

This soup is one of my favorite things to cook. I've woken up craving this soup. It is so healthy and delicious. Quinoa is such an amazing food. When paired with a big leafy green, warm broth, and the little kick of herb and spice, it is a near perfect soup. The recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Spinach and Quinoa Soup

Makes 6-8 servings

1 medium onion, diced
3 cups low-sodium veggie broth

3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, oregano*

large bunch swiss chard, ribs removed, chopped OR spinach OR kale

6-8 mushrooms, sliced OR 1 large portabella mushroom, chopped into bite size chunks

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

3-4 garlic cloves, diced

olive oil

splash of wine or beer (optional)

Coat large saucepan with olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add onion, mushroom and extra garlic if desired. Add a splash of the beer or wine.** Saute about 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in broth and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes with juice and chard leaves, Simmer 5 minutes, uncovered, until spinach and quinoa are tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. A little parmesan on top is nice, but not necessary.

*Canned tomatoes are
, and I use them all the time. Last night I didn't have any, so I chopped up some tomatoes (maybe a little past their prime) and thinned out a little leftover homemade marinara with water, and threw in a good amount of chopped garden basil.
**And drink the rest! I'm a huge advocate of sipping while cooking. Very few things are more relaxing. It really enhances the cooking process. Smells are a big indicator of how your meal is coming along, and a nice beer or wine helps you appreciate them more.

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