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Monday, November 8, 2010

Minestrone Monday

We've discussed before my bland Norwegian taste buds.  They tend to transfer over into eating out as well.  My favorite things to order at restaurants are usually soups, so that I may then dunk my bread into said soup.

Because the life of a musician means spending much of your December conducting, singing, eating, sleeping, and breathing Christmas music, Matthew and I ventured out today in hopes of getting some Christmas shopping done.  While eating lunch with a friend I had the MOST delicious minestrone (you guessed it) soup.  What better thing to have for dinner than the same exact thing you had for lunch?

Let's start with the bread:

Honey Wheat Bread

1 cup lukewarm water
4 tsp honey
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt

I mixed the water, yeast and honey in a bowl, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  In the meantime, I combined the flour and salt in the food processor.  With the food processor still running, and in hopes that I wouldn't make a complete mess, I emptied the yeast mixture into the food processor.  I pulsed it until it became a ball of dough.  This went into a greased, covered bowl to rise for 1 hour.  I then punched down the dough, patted it into a rectangle, folded it in thirds, and formed it into a loaf.  Ok, ok, Matthew did this. The loaf went into a covered loaf pan (go figure) to rise for another hour.

I suppose I could have taken time-lapse photography of all of this, but that would be awful boring.  After 2 rises, the dough baked in the oven at 350 for 1 hour.  It smelled like heaven in our apartment, and it was also quite warm.

Please ignore the finger hole in the top of the loaf.

Minestrone Soup

2 cans vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes
3 medium carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1 can cannellini beans
1/4 cup uncooked macaroni
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp oregano

The vegetables simmered in the broth for about 20 minutes, until they were fairly tender.  I then added in the tomatoes and seasonings.  We got a spice rack as a wedding gift, and most of the time I just experiment and get lucky.  So, my measurements aren't super exact, so be creative.   This simmered for about 10 more minutes. I added in the spinach, and stirred it until the spinach was wilty and dark green, again, not an exact science.  I added in the beans and macaroni, and increased the heat.  I cooked it until the macaroni was al dente, as Giada would say.  I made Matthew taste it, and add any salt or pepper he might see fit.  We sat down to a very humble-looking, but very filling autumnal meal.  How is that for an awesome sentence????

Minestrone is always better when you have it twice in one day.

The bread will appear in a later blog, so beware.

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