Its been a busy week at work and I was also quite busy catching up with my girl friends at night. Monday night was dedicated to planning out the menu and logistics for our yearly girls weekend which this year will take place in Long Beach, WA. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it…Croque monsieur, Crepe, Gourmet breakfast casserole, Cheese and chocolate fondue as well as Thai and a nice dinner in Astoria. Long Beach has been Mike and my annual 4th of July getaway place for the past 8 years and I showed it to “my girls” last year and they loved it as much as I do, I am so happy we are going back!
We are waking up to the waves of the ocean, grab a coffee and stroll in our PJ’s through the dunes down to the beach for some beach combing, eat yummy food, drink delicious drinks that we are “inventing” right there, get showered with gifts by our friend Tina, exchange all kinds of stuff (famously referred to as the “Pretty Party”), read magazines, visit the quaint little boutiques of Astoria and consume some fine beer at the Wet Dog Café and Brewery . This all must sound like a nightmare to any man but to us it sounds and is heaven. Of course I will report about the girls weekend activities and festivities – our friend Tina has the gift of turning any ordinary event into a festivity, you will see once I post the photos.
Wednesday night I had dinner with my friend Laura at Din Tai Fung – they do have the BEST Asian homemade noodles. If you live in the Seattle area you should definite give it a try, their latest restaurant just opened in U-Village. U-Village has become quite the money trap for me, especially with Anthropology having a store there – could they have any cuter kitchen dishes? Look at these cute plates I bought – I wanted them to spell out the name DUNJA but the “U” was sold out, it was a Unicorn..so I just went with the last “L” for Lovebirds and my name now spells DLNJA and a bee was immediately drawn to those beautiful dishes!
Its is so gorgeous outside today that even the dogs have Spring fever – is Sky trying to fly?
I am sure you are not really interested in my stories about who I meet when and which stores we are going to, that’s not really why you are on this site, you want to read and see the food I am cooking/baking. Well I am happy to report that I think I am close to having mastered the skill of baking French Macaroons/Macarons (I guess you can spell those either way) which have kept me busy the last two nights. I have to give it one more try and then I will post the recipe.
But since I was so busy this week and Mike had to live off Hungry Man frozen dinner (god forbid he would eat any of my delicious left over pot roast or spaghetti Bolognese) and Ravioli out of the can and since he is sick like a dog, I decided to cook something quick but super healthy – TADA – a Minestrone Soup. For those of you who know Mike they will ask themselves – Minestrone soup for a non veggie eater? I have a trick how I get all the vitamins and taste of the veggies into the soup without him having to eat the veggies. I cook all the veggies for 45 minutes, then mash as much as possible through a strainer, put it back on the stove and then put in the green beans, white/canned beans and pasta in and Mike can eat around the green beans. Mike’s comment on my soup: “One of your better dishes” (that man doesn’t make many compliments so you got to take what you get ;-)). In any case the recipe below is for a veggie eating crowd and no pre-cooking of veggies or straining involved – much faster!
I must have pressed a ton of garlic through this press that it finally broke 😦
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped into small cubes (omit the bacon for the vegetarian version)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 small can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 1 14 -ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or more if you like it to be more “runny”)
- 1 15 -ounce can Great Northern (or other white) beans
- 1 cup elbow pasta
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan
LOTS of veggies for the soup!
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and brown on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the green beans, dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper to taste; cook 3 more minutes.
- Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the white beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan and serve with crusty bread.