Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuscan Bean Soup

Good Morning Everyone!

Boy am I glad that I didn't get up to go for a run this morning.  Currently, it is snowing.  Not sticking, but snowing!  I guess a nice little run in the snow wouldn't have been that bad, but it just looks so cold!  So instead I had a warm bowl of nuts and squash and two pieces of homemade bread smeared with fig jam!

Last night, while making dinner, I had my tv on.  All of a sudden there were a bunch of really loud pops and then silence.  My tv went dead, kind of.  I unplugged everything and then replugged and turned it on.  Again, popping and then silence.  I did some research on the internet and it said that it was probably a build up of dust.  So today, after work, I am going to disassemble my tv and vacuum it out.  Keep your fingers crossed that it works.

The funny thing was, I didn't really miss it last night, although I did rent a movie on iTunes.  I went to bed thinking about selling my little tv set up and what I would put there to replace it.  I thought about all the different kind of pictures I would hang on the wall and how I could get a nice long bookcase to showcase my beans.  I also thought about all the more constructive things I would be doing besides watching tv, like reading, knitting, studying, sleeping!  So, I think that by the end of the week I will decide if I can live without a tv.

Onto food!

The cold weather and the now probably 23 pounds of beans in my closet are really good excuses to make lots of bean soups and stews.  This next recipe has been haunting my thoughts ever since I bought "Clean Food."  I had seen it the first day I bought it, but it just seemed too hard and difficult.  Funny how a long list of ingredients can do that to us.  If fact, it was an incredibly easy soup.  I even soaked and cooked my own beans!  And this soup/stew is so flavorful and filling it is kind of ridiculous.  Try it with polenta or pasta!  Or if you can eat bread, a nice crusty piece of bread.

Tuscan Bean Soup
Courtesy: "Clean Food"

1 Thumb sized piece of kombu
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon dried basil
2 Teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 Cups cooked chickpeas*
1 1/2 Cups cooked white beans*
1 1/2 Cups cooked aduki beans*
4 Cups canned chopped tomatoes with their juices
1 Bunch kale or collards, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 Cups water or vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon brown rice vinegar
1 Cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley

* For the beans I used aduki and two of the white beans I got in my CSA.  Feel free to experiment with the beans or use what she had called for.

Place kombu in bowl with enough water to cover and soak 10 minutes or until soft.  Drain, mince and set aside.

In Dutch oven over medium heat, saute garlic and onion in olive oil 3 minutes or until soft.  Add basil, oregano and rosemary and stir.  Add chickpeas, white beans, aduki beans, tomatoes, greens, kombu and stock or water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Stir in vinegar and wine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat, garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 6

Tuscan Bean Soup over Ancient Harvest Gluten-free quinoa elbows

Crunchy Cinnamon Plantain Chips
Courtesy: "Thrive"

So here is another one of those items that I picked up at the store because I have never tried it before.  I knew that I had seen some sort of recipe for plantain so I thought I would give it a try.

"Thrive," a book by Brendan Brazier, is an eating guide for vegan athletes.  Well, it is a book for anyone looking to eat healthier and cause less stress on their bodies.  He has a lot of wonderful recipes and had introduced me to hemp products.  The recipe says that these plantain chips turn crispy, but mine never really did.  Either way, they were delicious!

1 Large plantain
1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 Teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300.

Peel and thinly slice plantain from end to end; the strips should be long.  Place on a baking tray lightly oiled with coconut oil.

If coconut oil is hard, heat until liquid.  Combine lemon juice with coconut oil.

Rub a bit of oil and juice mixture on top of each plantain strip.  Rub on cinnamon and sea salt.

Bake for 25 minutes.


  1. This weekend I am considering trying the Tuscan Bean recipe. It sounds so so good.

  2. Dan you really should try it. It was really, really easy and really, really yummy. Tell me all about it on Tuesday!

  3. I'm right in the middle of cooking the Tuscan Bean thing, and ohhh man it smells good. I am thinking maybe I'll bring some to the club, if it turns out well.

  4. Okay, I finished and took a picture to show ya. It turned out pretty good! I'm very happy that I didn't mess it up.