Posted Sep 30, 2011 in Food | 1 Comment

ModernHostess – Fall into Fall (Cooking)

It’s official; there’s a nip in the air, the leaves are transforming into those golden, signature colours,  and you suddenly find yourself craving warm, cozy food (and sweaters). Fall has arrived! I love cooking in the fall, because I love all the fresh, local produce that comes with the season. In my opinion, it’s also the best season for fashion, but I’ll let another blogger tell you about that.

So many wonderful things are in season for fall: apples, of course, as you may remember from apple-picking trips of your youth, but also pears, plums, squash (mmmm butternut squash is so delicious… try steaming with garlic and butter and then mashing… a great alternative to mashed potatoes!), carrots, bell peppers, cranberries, beets (try them roasted – use gloves so you don’t stain your hands), broccoli and cauliflower. Using seasonal produce can help to ensure that you’re eating fresh food as well as supporting local farmers.

Once fall arrives, I feel comforted by eating hearty, satisfying foods, like pasta with bolognese (meat) sauce, lasagna, stews, and of course, soup. Making your own soup is actually really easy and does not need to be time-consuming. I usually take a significant shortcut by using store-bought broth rather than making it from scratch. Making broth isn’t hard… but it definitely takes time. I choose the low-sodium variety so that I can control the salt content of the soup.

The next time you’re in the mood to get cozy, put on your slippers, build a fire in the fireplace, and make this delicious soup. Enjoy!

Minestrone Soup
-1/4 cup olive oil
-2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-2 small onions (or 1 large one), chopped
-1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
-1 or 2 stalks celery (depending on size… you want roughly same amount as carrots), chopped
-1-2 tsp dried oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence, or any combination of dried herbs
-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, or use more or less to taste).
-1 28-oz can tomatoes (whole or crushed, your choice)
-chicken or vegetable broth, or water (enough to fill the pot about ¾ full; can also use combination of broth and water)
-1 14-oz can chick peas (or any canned beans you like. You could also use cooked pasta.)
-Salt and pepper, to taste

-Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add carrot and celery and a bit of salt and pepper; sauté until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Sauté for about a minute to release the flavours. Add tomatoes and broth/water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes to let all the flavours combine. Add beans or pasta and let warm through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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  1. Great post! I agree that fall fashion in the best, and I can’t wait to try this minestrone on the weekend!

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