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.
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.