Monthly Archives: March 2014

Soup’s On

Cupcakes, Black Forest Mousse 011Escarole and beans was a staple in my grandmother’s kitchen, especially during Lent.  Tonight we had a soup that is a heartier version of this traditional Italian dish. This one is made with a grain called farro. It’s similar to barley, but has a nuttier taste and does not get mushy. You can find farro at your favorite supermarket, Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe’s. Your local health food store will typically have it in the bulk bins. My recipe calls for Better Than Bouillon “No Chicken” Base. This is a vegan soup base that mimics chicken broth. You can use vegetable broth or plain water if you’d like. The soup is even tastier the next day. Buon Appetito!

White Bean, Escarole and Farro Soup

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, ground
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. Better Than Boullion “No Chicken” base
  • 6 cups chopped escarole
  • 1-1/2 cups white beans (15 oz. can), drained and rinsed

Cut onion, fennel, carrot and celery into pieces. Process in food processor until finely chopped.

Coat bottom of pot with oil; add farro cook until browned slightly. Add ground fennel seeds and cook until aromatic. Add onion, fennel, carrot, celery, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until slightly browned.

Add water and bouillon base. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until farro is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir escarole and beans into soup and cook about 4 minutes.

31 Mar 2014

New Directions

Life has a way of taking us in new directions. Until about a year and a half ago the thought of me adopting a plant-based diet was, well, not even a thought. I was eating a gourmet version of what some people are referring to as the “Standard American Diet” or “SAD”. I had my favorite butcher, deli and cheese store that I patronized weekly. I had a reputation among family and friends for making delicious desserts rich in butter and eggs. Today, not only am I living a plant-based life, but I’m starting a blog about it as well.  A die-hard foodie, I remember having many doubts when I first started out . . . what would we eat, could we eat out, what do we do about holidays, vacations, dinner invitations? Oh, my! It wasn’t easy at first and there were some bumps along the way, but I got through it. The more people I talked with, the more I realized that they too had those same doubts. Looking back, I know I could have used a guiding hand, someone who knew where to get the best vegan groceries or talk shop with. This realization became the motivation which became My hope is that the lessons I’ve learned along the way will help others who would like to transition to a plant-based diet. What can you expect from my blog? Well, even I don’t know just yet, so let’s say it’ll be like a pot luck – some helpful hints, plant-based nutrition, menu ideas, personal insights and of course, recipes. Come back as often as you like because this kitchen is never closed.

26 Mar 2014

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