I Went to the Market. . . September 28, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Eating Down the Fridge, random stuff, soupe du semaine.
You know, there’s more to my bi-weekly trips to the public market than just stocking up on lovely, seasonal fresh vegetables.
Let me try to put it in perspective for you.
We have what you might consider a “tiny” kitchen.
As in, the Jar can lie, only somewhat stretched out, and touch the refrigerator with his nose, block the stove with his body, and his tail end is brushing the dishwasher. And that’s pretty much the whole kitchen.
So, while it may be all well and good to come home with scads of fresh produce (which it is, to be sure), well, I’ve got to have a place to put it, now, don’t I?
The obvious solution is to stick what I can into the fridge.
Which I do. After cleaning it, chopping it, and otherwise preparing it for weeknight use, that’s a lot of stuff going into the fridge, isn’t it?
Have I mentioned that we do a lot of cooking?
Yeah, there are always leftovers of one sort or another knocking around the refrigerator.
Plus, there’s always counter stuff – fruit and the like. And, when I’ve got a counter full of tomatoes, well, it gets a little crowded.
Of course, with fall on its way, we’re getting into soup season, and what better thing to do with excess market produce, overstock tomatoes, and random leftovers than make soup?
But one thing I’ve learned – and maybe you’ve heard this before – is K.I.S.S. – keep it simple, stupid.
I can’t tell you how many soups I’ve ruined by, essentially, trying too hard.
Get a picture of what you want, and find the simplest way to get there.
In this case, I had some beet greens to use (they came off the most beautiful beets!), which is where I started.
I also had plenty of ripe tomatoes on the counter, just getting riper, and about a quarter pound of crumbled cooked Italian sausage (left over from pizza night).
Huh. We could work with that. Soup it is!
We started by sauteeing a chopped onion and some slightly old fennel we found in the freezer in olive oil with plenty of oregano and black pepper.
Add the chopped stems from the greens (waste not want not) (which is kind of why my fridge is always full to overflowing, but never mind that), and maybe a couple of cloves of garlic, then a couple, three chopped fresh tomatoes. I’m sure you could throw a can of diced in if that’s what you’ve got handy. We’re just making this up, you know.
Add about a quart of chicken stock, and maybe some parmigiano rinds (if you’ve got them stashed in the freezer, which of COURSE you do!) and let simmer for a bit, maybe an hour or so. Don’t worry if it doesn’t taste like much yet – just add some cooked sausage, and maybe some beans. I still have some dried red beans from last fall – I pressure cooked those and tossed them in, but canned would work as well too.
Lastly, you’ll add the greens – you can either add the greens to the soup and let them cook until they’re to your desired tenderness, or what I did stuff the greens into a large container and dump the soup on top of them and shove it in the fridge, since we weren’t going to serve the soup until later in the week. Then, a few days later, it got transferred to the slow cooker, to simmer happily until dinnertime.
This was definitely a tasty soup – the cheese rinds added a certain body which made it a hearty soup indeed. Well, that and the beans.
While, if I did this again, beet greens wouldn’t be my first choice of greens, (I’d probably go with something more traditional like escarole) they certainly didn’t hurt it – just added an unexpected beet-y flavor.
So tell me, how do you fly by the seat of your pants to get rid of stuff in the fridge?