Monday, September 7, 2009
Farmers' Market Soup
I've been a bit of a Goldilocks regarding the Saturday Farmers' Market these past few weeks. Last Saturday I said it was too cold and rainy to go. A week or two before that it was too hot. This past Saturday, however, was sunny and breezy. Perfect for biking over with backpack and appetite.
I go to The Main Farmers' Market because it is close to my house and features only local growers. I really like seeing the same people week after week and watch as their stalls fill up with more and more produce. Some of them are organic, some aren't. A lot of them aren't certified organic, but let you know that they grow without pesticides. And everyone is friendly. I came home with a backpack and a bike basket full of produce, mostly organic, for $27 and change.
The most exciting things I got this week were from a grower named Colin Samuels. He helped to further clarify the mystery of the Dragon's Tongue Beans. When I saw a big bucket of the beans in his stall I pointed and asked if they were Dragon's Tongues. He said, "People call them all kinds of things: cranberry beans, romano beans, and yes, Dragon's Tongue beans." He opened a pod to show me the beans inside. A ha! Romano Beans! This makes sense! When Dragon's Tongue beans grow up, they turn into romano beans. "Soften them up," he told me, "And put them in a stew with some greens."
Farmers' Market Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 ribs of celery, chopped
2 potatoes, diced
2 cups of cooked romano beans (see notes if you have fresh ones like I did)
3 bay leaves
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup veggie soup stock
2 cups of collard greens, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro (or other fresh herb like parsley or basil), chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Saute onions and garlic until onions are tender
Add celery and potatoes and cover pan. Let cook for two minutes.
Add beans and bay leaves and let cook, uncovered, for one minute more.
Add soup stock and tomatoes, stir to combine ingredients, and then cover. Raise heat to med-high until soup is simmering, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender.
Add greens and herbs, season with salt and pepper.
Makes 4-6 servings.
-This recipe is wildly easy going. You could probably substitute anything you wanted as long as you keep the liquid to vegetables ratio. It certainly tastes better with fresh vegetables, so I recommend making a big batch and freezing some to eat when fresh vegetables are just a distant memory.
-I loved the flavour and texture of the fresh-from-the-pod romano beans. They do need to be cooked before they are added to the soup. I put them in a pot with enough water to cover them up, added three cloves of garlic, and boiled them until they were tender. It took about twenty minutes.
-My own garden yielded a pile of lovely tomatoes this week which were promptly made into a great pasta sauce at my friend Adam's house for Friday night dinner. We ate them with a batch of tofu balls and made lots of balls-related jokes while we did so. A non-dirty balls-related joke came courtesy of Adam's partner, Gary, who is anti-tofu. When he asked why Adam had closed the front door (which had been open to let air into the apartment) Adam said he didn't like to eat with the door open. Gary scoffed, "Do you think someone is going to come in and steal your TOFU BALLS?" Unlikely, in Adam's neighbourhood of Quebecois meat eaters.