So let’s get this out of the way – you are probably wondering where the squirrels are that I hinted at yesterday. Well this morning as I was laying in bed this was the post I had to share and thus it is the one I am writing and this is the contest we are launching today. Squirrels are pending.
Back to our story. The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo spoke to me not just because I am prone to fits of being a Francophile but because it’s just a darn pretty book. Sadly it’s not a vegan-friendly book really. Like many books that embrace French cuisine it celebrates meat, cheese and heavy cream in a way that most French people I know don’t even do. But this isn’t a book for French people – they have their own Paris kitchens. It’s a book full of photos of farmer’s markets, cafes in the rain and balcony parties over looking La Basílica de Sacré Coeur and Eiffel Tower. It’s takes you to Paris. I plan on veganizing the heck out of this book.
So it might seem strange that my first post would be an adapted form of one the only vegan recipes in the whole book – there are some jams. But when I started making this soup yesterday for lunch to celebrate it being September and it just kinda begged to be shared.
Soup au Pistou is a simple vegetable based ‘peasant’ meal that traditionally uses water to make the broth and not bouillon. I’m guilty of breaking the first rule because this recipe makes a lot of food and I just didn’t want to end up eating something I didn’t like for lunch everyday this week. What really makes this soup special though is the pistou. This is a sauce from Provence that is a lot like pesto except minus the pine nuts and cheese. It’s just garlic, fresh basil and olive oil. You don’t want to skip this step. It’s what the soup is named after for lordy sake. The pistou recipe below is enough for 4 small bowls of soup. You’ll want to make another batch (or 2) to top off your leftovers.
Which brings us to today’s contest! I wanted to make this soup yesterday because I’m starting to feel that longing to visit France again but know that until we wrap up Book II we can’t just book plane tickets and let these bones wander. Le Sigh. Today we’re giving away a 12.4oz* bar of Sabonete Aromatico Honeysuckle Soap that we got on our recent trip to Porto, Portugal – that is made with essential oils from France. It was really the beautiful art nouveau packaging that reminded me of Paris and seemed to make it a good fit for today’s contest.
To win all you have to do is leave a comment below telling us where you’d go this weekend if you could go anywhere in the world and how you’re dealing with your wanderlust… for example: drinking beer from Germany or making samosas while daydreaming of the Taj Mahal. We’ll be picking ONE winner this Saturday (Sept. 7th, 2013) randomly so there is no right or wrong answer. PLEASE MAKE SURE THE EMAIL ADDRESS YOU LEAVE IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW IS CORRECT.
Sorry for the caps but we’ve had some issues in the past and I really want to make sure you get this soap that came all the way back from Portugal in my carry-on and is not from a local Whole Foods although you might find them there because we now live in a global economy that apparently trades soap.
OK enough about soap – let’s make some soup!
Soup au Pistou
(Adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Red Onion
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Thyme, dried
3 Bay Leaves
1 28oz can Crushed Tomatoes
2 Carrots, sliced (we mostly use organic produce so that might help you gauge how big they are)
1 Summer Squash, sliced (see note above on sizing)
1 Zucchini. sliced (again see carrot note)
1/2 pound fresh Green Beans, cleaned and broken in half
1 14oz can of Cannelini Beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups Vegetable Broth
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 pinches of Oregano
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper
1/2 cup Small Pasta, uncooked (we used some accidentally vegan farfalline we found in Little Italy at Piemonte Homemade Ravioli Company but if you can’t find that in your home town – you can always use orzo)
2/3 cup Frozen Peas
1 cup fresh Basil Leaves
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4 Tablespoon Olive Oil
In a large soup pot or a Dutch oven, heat your Oil, Onion and Garlic over a medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to coat your vegetables in hot oil while they cook. Once your Onions are tender, mix in your Bay Leaves and Thyme. Then mix in your Carrots, Squash, Zucchini and Green Beans. Let cook for 1 minute than mix in your Broth and heat to a boil. Cover and let boil – while stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes. Then add your Braggs, Onion Powder, Oregano, Lemon Pepper, Pasta and Peas. Cook uncovered until your Pasta is tender.
While your Soup is cooking, make your Pistou by blending all your Pistou in a food processor until it makes – well – pesto.
Serve your soup hot with a dollop of Pistou on top and some bread.
* If you’re trying to picture this bar of soap in your head to guess the size – yes – it’s 12oz so not that much smaller than a can of soda. It’s pretty huge.