OK, three for four on soups. We’re doing great! Even though I’ll have made three trips to the grocery store three times this week. Whoops. And although I’ve done pretty good on soups, I haven’t been doing very well with blogging. Making soup all the time is kind of exhausting. There’s a lot of chopping involved.
Two nights ago I made white bean spinach stew (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's chard and white bean) and pesto parmesan bruschetta crostinis (adapted from Fat Girl trapped in a Skinny Body's recipe.)
I loved the poached egg on top of this soup, even though the poached egg pictured is a little overdone. A.J.’s turned out better, I promise. And I really liked the texture of the soup. But I sort feel like all tomato-based soups taste the same. The texture was certainly different than the lasagna soup, but it tasted basically the same to me. (A.J. said he could taste a definite different, so maybe I just don’t have enough soup-eating experience.
Anyway. The pesto bruschetta crostinis were so delicious. I could seriously eat 100 of these cute little things. They were kind of labor intensive — think: nothing like the pumpkin fries, but similar in effort to frosting that pumpkin spice cake I made the other day — but they were completely worth it.
Because the bruschetta had to chill in the fridge, I started that first. In this bowl we have three roma tomatoes, seeded and diced, about half a red onion, diced finely, some minced garlic, some Parm and balsamic vinegar.
I mixed and got this:
I put that in the refrigerator to cool and prepared the bread.
So, Fat Girl suggests buying French bread. I read that as French baguette in the store, so my crostinis are about half the size of hers. No matter, smaller things are cuter, right? I made little mini crostinis. Crostminis? Crostinys? Whatever. They’re small.
Also, I know the whole thing with bakery bread is that you want to buy it the same day you are going to eat it so it doesn’t became stale because there’s less preservatives in it. However, I bought my baguette a few days prior since I knew I was going to toast it anyway, which dries the bread out.
So I cut my French baguette into little slices.
And laid them all out on a baking sheet.
And added a dollop of (jarred) pesto to each one. (See what I mean about the effort involved? Tedious, but not difficult.)
And I set those aside to start the soup.
First, I sauteed the veggies (that’s celery, carrots, shallots and garlic) in some olive oil.
OK, so the thing about making soup is that everything happens really fast. There’s like this sweet spot between the sauteeing and the simmering that you have to add everything in and get the liquid in the pot so things don’t burn. All that is fine, but taking pictures while all this is happening has proven to be extremely difficult.
So after I took the picture of the sauteeing vegetables, I added some white wine, two cans of drained and rinsed white beans, some veggie broth, some pureed tomatoes, a bay leaf, some thyme sprigs and salt and pepper and got this:
I let that simmer for about 20 minutes and then added baby spinach leaves and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
While that was simmering, I began poaching eggs. This was my first two poach attempts ever, but it was pretty easy. I referred a little bit to Smitten Kitchen’s poached egg tutorial, but the most important thing to remember is EGG SPA. I don’t know where I heard about the egg spa, but it’s basically what you want to think about when you’re poaching eggs. In other words, you don’t want boiling water, you want it just to be a nice cozy jacuzzi for your eggs. Also crack your egg in a bowl first, and right before adding it to the pot of spa water, give it a swirl, like a whirlpool. It’s easiest to do one egg at a time and it takes longer than you’d think, so plan accordingly.
And it’s OK if it looks messy at first.
This hot mess:
At T minus 8 minutes, I threw the pesto bread into the oven to toast.
When the edges were crusty, I pulled them out and scooped the bruschetta mixture on top of each one and sprinkled Parm on top.
These would make a great appetizer for a party. Or to eat anytime.
When I had the eggs poached and the crostinis made, I topped each bowl of soup with a poached egg and it was go time.
Here are the recipes for you to make this yourself:
PESTO AND BRUSCHETTA CROSTINIS (adapted from Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body)
3 Roma tomatoes, diced, seeds drained
1/4 c. red onion, diced
4 tb. dried basil
1 tb. minced garlic
1 tb. balsamic vinegar
2 tb. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tb. olive oil
1 long French baguette
8 oz. pesto
Mix the tomatoes, red onion, basil, garlic, vinegar and 2 tb. of Parm together in a bowl and let it chill for about an hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch thick slices. Dollop a little pesto on each slice and spread it around. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the edges start to turn brown and crusty. Remove form the oven. Top with fresh bruschetta and sprinkle with Parmesan.
WHITE BEAN AND SPINACH STEW (adapted from Smitten Kitchen's)
Even though I made SK’s version and it called for tomato puree, I’m actually going to eliminate that from this recipe because I didn’t like that in there. It turned everything tomato-y and I think the white beans lost their flavor. I think it would turn out better with more veggie broth and less tomato.
handful of baby spinach
3 tb. olive oil
1 c. baby carrots
1 c. chopped celery
4 minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 c. dry white wine
2 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
3 c. vegetable broth
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 poached egg for each serving of soup
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add carrots, celery, shallots and garlic and saute for 15 minutes.
Add wine (scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pot) and cook it until it reduced by one-half.
Add beans, broth, a few pinches of salt, freshly ground black pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes, or longer if you need to.
Add spinach and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove thyme and bay leaf.
Serve topped with a poached egg.
Printable recipes here.