We have a local eatery in town – which is about as close to a “soup and sandwich’ spot as you’ll find here – and their specialty for the last 25 or so years is their homemade bread made from wild rice.
In fact, Minnesota wild rice figures prominently in many of their lunch dishes, including soups and salads.
I like this place because their menu is pretty innovative with the combination of ingredients, and they will happily veganize something when requested. This yummy and filling Wild Rice salad that I had, for instance, normally comes with hard-boiled eggs. I asked if they could replace they eggs with avocado slices, and I believe that made it even more yummy! Plus, it’s served with a slice of their soft wild rice bread, which is pretty addictive.
I’ve loved wild rice (which is technically a grass) since I was a kid. I think it’s great that it’s being used so creatively at this restaurant, and it’s certainly proved popular as a result – just check out the longish lines at lunch hour!
More ‘stock’ photography! Tee-hee! Ok, sorry for the pun. But I’m in love with homemade veggie stock. I’m super-in-love with the way it makes me feel, this energy-giving elixir. This particular one, pictured, was derived from bits of carrot, onion, celery, tomato, eggplant, cauliflower, garlic, and dried herbs (which you see at the bottom of the cup). It’s so perfect, it doesn’t even need salt. I simply sip it like a tea. And I instantly feel energized and all warm & fuzzy.
I love those lazy days off from work where I can, at my discretion, knit, nap, read, and most importantly, cook. I always have veggies in the house, but today I noticed that some of them needed to be used as soon as possible – you know how veggies get that sad, dull, almost-but-not-quite-squishy look to them, begging to be eaten or cooked. Yep, I had quite a few of those.
Take cherry tomatoes, for instance. I bought them last week at a local farmer’s market; a tiny, but heaped-up basket full – and down to about 10 or so today, they were looking a little wan. I also had an uncut green pepper who needed attention as well, so I chopped those guys, along with some elephant garlic, and started a tasty sofrito that will be used in some black beans and rice. Sofrito – the homemade kind -adds a wonderful flavor to Caribbean dishes. Skip over the jarred stuff and make our own – trust me. It smells awesome while it’s cooking.
Last week’s leek greens and kale stems had been saved, along with some mushroom stems and onion bits. I’m of the mindset that you pay (sometimes dearly) for produce; you should get every bit out of it that you can. I save things like stems and inedible parts to make pure vegetable stock. Kale makes amazing stock. I let my bits boil away for two hours, and the result is a hearty stock that forms the base for many soups, such as this shell pasta/veggie soup I made today as well. Yum. Good comfort food for a lazy day off!
Do you ever feel like sometimes you love something almost TOO much and then it becomes unbearable after a time?
I’m like that with pizza. I’ve had really good ones lately, and really crappy ones. The difference between good pizza and bad is like driving a Jaguar and driving a Yugo. (Does anyone still own a Yugo anymore?) When I eat really, really good pizza it’s kind of hard to stop. And then my waistline and hips are screaming at me for days afterward.
Then: lightbulb time. Why not take all the flavors of a good pizza, and condense them into one smallish little meal? I started with a whole wheat pita, and lightly brushed it with some good olive oil. Then added a little bit of grated cheese, and chopped veggies: olives, red bell pepper, baby spinach, onion. I added a tiny bit of dried oregano and hot red pepper flakes (because I roll with that stuff all the time). Popped it into my toaster oven for 10 minutes on 325 or so, and voila! A perfect, yet healthful portion of pizza that is way more filling than you would think. No sauce, you say? Nope. It didn’t really need it. The brushing of healthful olive oil serves two purposes: providing enough moisture to anchor the cheese and veg, and giving the pita “crust” just enough crackle to make you think this is one darn good “East Coast-style” ‘za.