my name is lulu. i love to cook. i love to share my cooking with friends and family and as a working girl, i know how important it is to save money. one of the easiest methods of doing that is by bringing lunch to work. but after week three it seems you are eating another sandwich that doesn't quite taste as good as the one you bought at the deli a few weeks back. and you being to think "that 8 bucks was worth it". well, it wasn't. hopefully, this blog will inspire you to create some new and exciting lunches, that will keep your wallet - and your palate happy. lulu.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the "you can't make soup" soup...

I know it's been a while - and the holiday rush is keeping us all very busy, but I thought it was about time to do a wintry recipe. Right now in NYC it is about 23 degrees. There is no threat of snow, just of a cold surge of wind on your already chapped lips and face. Winter, you are beautiful and painful all at the same time.

So, last Friday I found myself home with a cold. I know –sounds familiar- like my first post. Home with a cold from school as a child, what next – tuna fish and beans. This time I went for the obvious choice. Soup. I looked over the island of the kitchen to find my girlfriend looking at me like, “what are you about to do”. I said, in my congested tone “I’m going to make us soup”. She said “you don’t know how to make soup”, I thanked her for her encouragement as we both laughed. Knowing she is a vegetarian I went about looking through recipes that would be good for both of us. If it doesn’t have meat, it better have cheese. So, after flipping a few pages and thinking creatively, I came up with the “you can’t make soup”, soup. I'll admit, I was a little nervous because she was partially right. I've never made soup before, so maybe I can't make soup. But as I started chopping the vegetables and getting my ingredients ready I became more and more excited to see my soup bubble and steam to perfection with every minute that went by.

We made a pot big enough for 12 people and I kid you not, within 3 days it was GONE. I really hope you all enjoy this. It has turned into my favorite recipe because it has created an amazing memory for me.

Tuscan Vegetable Soup with White Beans and Parmesan

1 1-pound package dried cannellini (white kidney beans)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 head of green cabbage, cut into1/2-inch pieces

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

4 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

10 cups (or more) vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth

2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 head of red cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

4 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 3/4-inch-thick slices 7-grain bread, toasted

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

Additional olive oil

Place beans in heavy large pot. Pour in enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Soak overnight. Drain beans.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in very large pot over medium heat. Add onion, thyme, and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes. Add green cabbage, tomatoes, celery, and carrots; sauté for 10 minutes. Add beans, 10 cups stock, potatoes, and basil. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 hour. Add red cabbage and zucchini. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Uncover. Add toasted bread slices to soup and remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Stir in cheese. Divide soup among bowls. Top each serving with ground pepper and additional olive oil and serve.