Sunday, October 6, 2013

Eat Me Now, Or Eat Me Later... Just Eat Me

It's Sunday, and I slept 'til 9:30 this morning. It was glorious. Apart from a narrowly avoided incident at 6am, anyway. Let's just say my dreaming subconscious tried to lure me into some very real incontinence, and that's a trick for which I will not fall. Again. (The last time it happened, I was six. I promise.) Trick me once, shame on you, brain. Trick me twice, and Jake would be a very unhappy bedmate. I normally have trouble going back to sleep once I'm awake, but I guess the very near miss of shitting myself was traumatic enough to require a few more zzz's. Jake, on the other hand, couldn't get out of bed fast enough. I can't imagine why.
It's a lazy, watching-football-in-our-jammies, shower-optional (and very unlikely) kind of day in our house today, and I'm so happy our dinner was already waiting in the fridge. I made it last week when I had a free hour, so all I had to do today was reheat it and warm up some bread for dipping. And like most soups, this one only got better with age.

Roasted Tomato Soup w/ White Beans, Collards, & Bacon 
Prep time - 15 minutes Cook time - 45 minutes 
Serves 6


6 oz uncured bacon, chopped 
1 onion, chopped 
1 large carrot, chopped 
2 ribs celery, chopped 
1 bay leaf
kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
*1 small can tomato paste 
2/3 cup red or white wine 
*2 small cans or 1 large can fire roasted tomatoes (such as muir glen) 
1 tbs fresh sage, chopped 
1 tbs fresh thyme, chopped 
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
1 can cannelini or other white beans, rinsed and drained 
1/2 bag frozen broccoli/carrot/cauliflower blend 
1 qt chicken stock 
3 oz grated aged gouda, plus the cheese rind 
1 bunch of collards (or other hearty, dark green), stemmed, chopped, and washed 
2 tbs honey (optional)

*Note - you may substitute 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce (preferably an organic one) for the tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Skip the step about cooking the tomato paste, and be aware that you will probably require less salt and no honey (as many jarred sauces have quite a bit of sodium and sugar).

Add the bacon to a non-preheated soup pot and set the heat to medium. (More fat will render if you start in an unheated pan). When the bacon is crisp, remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and reserve for another use. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bay, a liberal pinch of salt, and the crushed pepper. Cook the veggies until they soften and begin to brown on the edges, 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add the tomato paste and cook a minute more, stirring to incorporate. It will probably look like a big red glob, but just keep moving it around the pan to mix it into the veggies/bacon and toast the tomato paste a bit. Add the wine and scrape up the crusty brown bits on the bottom of the pot (don't be afraid of the crusties - you didn't burn anything; they're going to add lots of flavor).

When the wine has mostly cooked out, add the tomatoes, sage, thyme, and nutmeg and stir to incorporate. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine 1/2 the beans, the frozen veggies, stock, and the grated cheese (reserve the rind); puree until smooth.

Add this mixture to the soup pot, along with the cheese rind. (The rind will steep in the soup.) Bring the soup to a boil, and add the chopped collards, honey (optional), and the remaining beans.

Reduce heat to simmer, 15-20 minutes. Serve, or cool to room temperature and refrigerate for a future meal. Reheat over low heat when ready to serve. Remove cheese rind and bay leaf before serving. 

I know what you're thinking. The soup looks fine and dandy and pretty damned delicious...


What, Oh WHAT!, is that waffle business?!?! It's a new level of foodgasm, that's what it is. And a spontaneous one, at that. The best one's are, aren't they? Accidental awesomeness, that's what that business is!!!

And I'm going to share it with you. 

Just not today. 
(evil laugh)

Stay tuned!

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