Tuscan Carrot Top and Rice Soup serves 4
3 Tbs. Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 C. carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 C. vegetable broth
1/2 C. short grain rice
1 1/2 C. chopped carrot tops
4 Tbs. grated fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese
1. Heat oil in a large, heavy-gauge soup pot. Saute onion, carrots, celery, and garlic for 5 min. over low heat until translucent. Add salt and pepper; pour in broth and bring to a boil.
2. Add rice to the boiling broth and cook for 15 min. or until the rice is almost tender. Add carrot tops and cook for 5 min. more, mixing well.
3. When rice is done, pour the soup into four bowls, sprinkle with cheese, and serve. Garnish with finely chopped fresh basil if desired.
For another carrot recipe, here is an intriguing one my sister has prepared:
1/2 Tbs. red wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. canola or safflower oil
3-4 carrots (= to 2 C.), grated
1/4 C. chopped parsley (hmmm....I wonder how basil would substitute here?)
1 C. raspberries, fresh or thawed
In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, salt and oil. Add 2 C. grated carrots and chopped parsley; mix well. Gently stir in raspberries just before serving. Serve at room temperate or chilled (keeps 1-2 days in refrigerator).
Kale is wonderful in soups because it becomes tender without losing all its chewy texture.
The following is great served with a warm crusty bread (with extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar to dip it in) along with a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese:
Kale and Sausage Soup (from Kitchen Gardener magazine)
1/2 to 3/4 lb. linguica or chorizo sausage (spicy sausages)
1 large bunch kale, about 3/4 lb.
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 C. chopped onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6-7 C. chicken or vegetable stock
2 large carrots, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 C. diced fresh or chopped canned tomatoes
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
2-3 tsp. red wine vinegar
1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Prick the sausage 8-10 times with a fork, add to boiling water and boil for 8 min., to cook out some of the fat. Transfer sausage to a plate. While sausage cools, strip kale leaves from stems, tearing leaves into bite-size pieces. Put leaves in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside. When sausage is cool enough to handle, cut into 1/4 inch pieces.
2. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped onion, saute over med. heat 8-9 min. or until translucent. Stir in garlic, saute several more seconds, then add stock and carrots. Bring stock to a boil, reduce heat and cover partially, simmering for 5 min. Stir in kale, sliced sausage, and salt/pepper to taste; simmer 10 min. Stir in basil, tomato and simmer another 8-10 min. Add more salt if necessary. Turn heat off and let soup sit for 30 min. Reheat, stirring in vinegar, to taste, just before serving.
Scallop and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry (from Sunset magazine, May 2004)
Serve with cooked rice.
3/4 lb. sugar snap peas, trimmed and blanched (see Week 4 for instructions)
12 oz. sea scallops, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 C. fat-skimmed chicken stock
2 Tbs. rice wine or mirin
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 Tbs. thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. hot chile pepper flakes
1/2 C. slivered fresh basil leaves
1. Cut blanched sugar snap peas on the diagonal into about 1/2" lengths. Cut scallops in half to form half-moon shapes.
2. In a small bowl or glass measure and whisk together broth, mirin, and cornstarch until well blended.
3. Pour oil into 12" nonstick frying pan or 14" wok over med-high heat. When hot, stir in green onions, garlic, and chile flakes. Stir until fragrant, 30-45 seconds.
4. Add scallops and cook, stirring occasionally, until surface of scallops is mostly opaque, about 2 min. Stir in sugar snap peas and pour in broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until sauce is thick and glossy and scallops are opaque but still moist looking in the center of thickest part (cut to test), 2-3 min.
5. Stir in half the basil, then pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with remaining basil.
And finally, a general formula for making basil pesto:
For every 2 C. firmly packed basil, add 1/3-1/2 C. olive oil, 1/2 C. cheese (typically Parmesan or Romano), 1/2 C. nuts (traditionally pine nuts), 3-4 cloves garlic (peeled and quartered before adding to food processor or blender) and salt and pepper to taste. Blend the above ingredients in a food processor or blender until desired consistency is reached.
Get creative with pesto....experiment with different cheeses, nuts (compare toasted vs. raw), various oils, adding lemon juice, other herbs etc. etc.