Anyone else remember that super cheesy/awesome episode of Sex and the City where Carrie talks about “a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you can feel the seasons click”?
(This episode then turns into a very poignant & sappy series of other tear-inducing Carrie soliloquies, surprising I know! Miranda has a baby, Big moves to Nappa, there’s a lot of “Moon River” being played in the background, they eat pizza, very touching…)
This week, although still very warm, New York and all its stragglers stuck in the city for the remainder of August have already made the shift….I know, I know what a typical American/New Yorker/”Type A” person to start talking about the next season already, but if Duane Reade can start advertising ‘Back to School’ & harvest themed displays then I can talk about it darn it!
After the big rainstorm on Tuesday evening, I got up in the middle of the night & was pleasantly shocked at the strong, refreshing, and cold breeze blowing in through my bathroom window, “Hey fall, fancy seeing you here.”
In response to the chilled air, the next day I made a delicious “Indian summer minestrone with late tomatoes and beans”, adapted from a recipe that I stumbled upon in the Fall 2014 issue of Fine Cooking: Cook Fresh. Disclaimer: my tomatoes aren’t late, nor are my beans…
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices of turkey bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 cups medium diced carrots
1 cup chopped fennel bulb (tops removed)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes (juices & seeds included)
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
2 cups small-diced yellow & green summer squash
3 cups sliced kale leave (I used purple because it looked the prettiest at the market)
4 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup diced green beans
1 14 oz. can of cannelini beans (or whatever beans you prefer)
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Thinly sliced basil
-In a large soup pot or Dutch oven (7-8 quarts) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bacon, onions, carrots, fennel, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 9-10 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the veggies have shrunk a bit, the pan looks dry, and you start scraping browned bits off the bottom, 6-8 minutes.
-Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and stir for :30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook uncovered for another 10-12 mintues. Tomatoes should be broken down and the veggies thicker.
-Add the squash, kale, vegetable stock, 5 cups of water, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes.
-Add the green beans and canned beans and cook for 7-8 minutes more.
-Remove from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Taste and season with salt or more vinegar if desired.
-Serve over a 1/2 cup of whatever hearty grain you may have in your pantry, I used wheat berries and also Israeli cous-cous; farro or brown rice would also work well. Top with sliced basil!
Yield: 8-10 servings
Makes for a wonderful brunch soup, add a poached egg & a crunchy muffin/toast/bagel half/morning baked good of your choice.
I froze half of the batch, knowing that it will be just as delicious and probably a tad more comforting in a month from now, when that autumnal chill becomes the ‘norm’.
While enjoying my soup I started thinking about all the things I will indulge in these last few weeks of summer & I encourage you to do the same! All activites include but are not limited to…
…finishing all of the past Spilled Milk podcast episodes, then I’ll have to wait 7 whole days for a new episode! Or just binge listen to something else, any suggestions?
…drinking many more bottles of this.
…painting all the benches orange before the kids return to Edible Schoolyard’s garden at PS7.
…a vacation to The Graham & Co. in Phoneicia, NY with Dustin followed by my last summer visit to Oneida Lake to enjoy the last few days of “summer” with my incredible family, trip to the Great New York State Fair included!
…trying out these newly discovered places in Gowanus, Black Mountain Winehouse & The Roof, yes this is the roof of Whole Foods.
…preparing my body for a new Olympic weightlifting program, designed by Dustin, and cried over by me.
…wearing very short shorts on the street without judgement.
…finish reading A Farm Dies Once a Year & starting the lovely Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life.
…and maybe a few more trips to here.
I hope the remainder of your summer is filled with just as many if not more indulgences as I, because before you know it “The air is crisp, the summer is gone. And for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed”, thanks Carrie B. may I borrow that $450 blanket of yours purchased on your “writer’s salary” when I need it?