Sharing meals with friends and family is one of life's greatest pleasures. Featured here are some of the simple, yet wonderful, celebrations that take place in our home on Any Given Sunday throughout the year.
This is pretty much an "un-recipe" since it's not exact in the way a "real" recipe is but if you've ever soaked beans for another recipe in the past, this will seem familiar to you.
It basically goes like this (feel free to improvise): soak a one-pound bag of cannellini beans in water overnight (should be enough water to cover beans by at least double their mass since it will get soaked up as the beans absorb the water). The next morning, drain any excess water from the beans and rinse them thoroughly. Set aside until ready to cook.
In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, saute the following ingredients in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil: one medium onion (or two shallots), chopped; three or four cloves or garlic, chopped; a bundle of sage and one large poblano chile pepper (the chile pepper is optional). After the onion, garlic, sage and chile pepper have become soft (approximately 5 minutes at medium heat), add beans along with 6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock and cook over medium heat until beans are soft and have absorbed all the stock. If stock cooks off completely before beans are soft, you will have to add more stock or water until beans are fully cooked. Once the beans are cooked through, remove the sage and serve it either as a soup (if there is enough liquid left) or you can serve it as a vegetable side dish. Another option is to puree the mixture into a thick soup. No matter how you serve it, you have rich, flavorful, protein-rich dish you will want to enjoy again and again.
This Sunday felt so much like spring that I wanted to cook something that tasted like spring as well. I had peas on the brain when I went to the market but there were none to be found so I settled on three big celery root bulbs and made a pureed soup out of them. Served with more olive oil drizzled over the top than you think it needs, a crusty bread and a green salad with lemony vinaigrette - delicious!
¼ cup olive oil
3 small leeks, white part only, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2½ cups peeled, coarsely chopped celery root (about 1 pound after peeling, or 3 medium-size root balls)
3 cups homemade vegetable broth
4 to 7 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black (or white) pepper
Extra olive oil for drizzling over finished soup
Fresh cilantro or tarragon for garnish
1. Place olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, onion, celery and garlic and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
2. Add celery root and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until celery root is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
3. Using a blender and working in batches, purée soup until smooth. Add cream as needed to enrich soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve soup in warmed bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and cilantro or tarragon, serve hot.