A couple of months ago, while in the deli section of The Good Food Store at lunch time, I saw a pot of mushroom soup. It looked rich and strong and creamy and delicious so I helped myself to a bowl. At the checkout, the clerk smacked her lips and said that it was one of her favorites. She told me that the cooks based the mushroom soup on a recipe from an old Moosewood Cookbook. I sat down at one of the tables in the store and started spooning up the soup. I’d never tasted anything like it. The flavors of the paprika and dill were strong and surprising and when underlain by the silky and earthy mushrooms and onions the whole experience was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it much less never eaten it before. As soon as I got home I googled the recipe. The Moosewood Cookbook was written by Mollie Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood Collective and self-published in 1974. Now, some 50 years later, there are upwards of 30 versions of the soup online. So, after making it a few times, here is my take on this celebrated soup.
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These dark purple beauties make a wonderful pot liquor. The beans have black stripes on them and are a lighter color before they are cooked. I purchased these beans from www.ranchogordo.com, the company started by Steve Sando that specializes in heirloom new world beans. According to Sando, they are also known as Hopi String Beans and while they are somewhat like pinto beans the Rio Zape beans have a deeper flavor. CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE
Every time I eat some beans from Rancho Gordo I think that they are the best beans I’ve ever eaten. These white runner beans are grown in California from seed from southwestern France. In France they are called Tarbais beans. Steve Sando, founder of Rancho Gordo, calls them Cassoulet beans and said,
Tarbais beans were developed by generations of farmers in Tarbais, France. The original seed is a New World runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and most likely originated in Mexico. Out of respect for the French farmers and terroir, we’re calling the bean Cassoulet Bean. We think in order to call it Tarbais, it should be grown in southwestern France.
You can order these as well as many others at WWW.RANCHOGORDO.COM.
This silky, smooth bean can be used in many ways. These beans can be mashed and used as a spread or dip. They can be combined with some cooked greens and spooned over toast. They can be added to some flavorful vegetable stock and served over spaghetti. Or you can just eat them straight up with a piece of bread and a glass of wine. CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE
When I started exploring plant-based diets a couple of years ago I relied on canned beans. It was hard enough trying to figure out what we were going to eat that day and preparing all of our meals and the thought of preparing my own beans seemed to be too much. So I was happy to use canned beans in my recipes. I have since seen the light and when someone tells you that beans cooked at home are light years away from canned beans, believe them. It is true. And the fresher the beans, the less time they take to cook.
A while back I asked my sister, who lives in Santa Barbara, to send me some specialty beans that are available there. She said she would and then asked me if I knew about Rancho Gordo, the bean place. I didn’t so I immediately Googled them and then my life changed.
WWW.RANCHOGORDO.COM has many different beans and their story is interesting. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I ordered several beans including Bayo Chocolate. Who could resist the name? These small beans are indigenous to Mexico and while they look like chocolate, they don’t taste like chocolate. Which is a good thing.
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This vegetable soup with kale, Ribollita, is one of a number of thick soups from Italy served with a slice of bread in the bottom of the bowl. It has no additional pasta or rice. The name Ribollita means reboiled. Traditionally the soup was made by heating leftover vegetable soup in an earthenware pot in the oven. This recipe was inspired by the comprehensive Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, Phaidon Press, 2005. As with most plant-based recipes, the method of cooking the vegetables is crucial to obtaining the deepest, richest flavor for the dish. In this recipe, some of the vegetables are sautéed in wine before they go into the stock. These caramelized vegetables provide a contrast with the sharper kale and tomatoes in the stock.
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