the beginnings of colder months + minestrone
Winter is coming. I can feel it – in the way I pull my cardigan in a little closer each morning, in the way my body longs to stay outside in the afternoon sun for just a moment longer, and in the dreaded way that darkness seems to fall just a bit earlier each evening. There’s something about winter that has always made me sad. But maybe, just maybe I can choose to view these months as a time to rest and be renewed. It’s about looking for the silver lining, right?
I love fall – cooler weather, crunchy leaves, spices – all of it. Fall is so short-lived, so fleeting here in Alabama, so when it comes, I must enjoy it as much as possible. This past weekend, Drew and I traveled to Tuscaloosa to take photos of a sweet couple and one of our friends who has been working hard and just met her weight loss goal. Earlier in the week, the boyfriend of the couple called Drew and told him that he planned to propose to the girlfriend at their photo shoot. He did just that, and it was a beautiful moment – you could see the love that they had for one another and I am so honored that I was able to be there. I took some photos of the pretty trees at Capitol Park:
I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to survive winter, I’m going to have to make soup like crazy. I didn’t understand the beauty of soup until last year. You can make it on Sunday and then eat it for days. It’s warm, it’s delicious, and it makes going to work on a Monday a little bit easier.
Adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook
Serves 5-6 Prep/cooking time: ~1 hour
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion
5 medium cloves of garlic, minced
12 baby carrots, chopped (or one regular carrot)
2 small yellow squash, chopped
half of a large eggplant, diced
1/2 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
4-5 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce [we had used the other part of it a jar on spaghetti or pizza...it is delicious in minestrone because it adds extra flavor. If you don't have any, you can use a 14 1/2 oz. can of tomato puree]
1 can chickpeas [you could also use cannellini or kidney beans]
1 cup dried pasta
2 handfuls of grape tomatoes, chopped [or 1-2 medium tomatoes]
freshly minced parsley
grated parmesan cheese
1) Heat olive oil in a big pot or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and two pinches of salt. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then add carrots, eggplant, oregano, and basil. Turn down heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally so vegetables don’t burn.
2) Add squash, water, and tomato sauce or puree. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and cook for about 5 more minutes.
3) Remove lid and bring soup to a boil. Add pasta and tomatoes, and cook until pasta is tender. Turn off heat and sprinkle parsley and parmesan on top. Enjoy!