White Bean & Barley Soup

Hello all– I’m up in San Francisco visiting kids this week and Larry stayed home this time to work with a house project going on. (thanks Larry!)  So I made up a big pot of soup with some of his favorite ingredients — beans, barley and Swiss chard (the last sign of life in our vegetable garden).  It should keep him happily fed for a few meals!

WHITE BEAN & BARLEY SOUP
3 tab. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cl*oves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable broth*
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup pearl barley
1 bunch of chard, stems discarded, chopped (about 3 cups)
15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
garnish:  sour cream and/or grated parmesan (and a little green**)

Heat the oil in your soup pot and then throw in the chopped onion. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, add the garlic, salt & pepper and cook a minute more.

Pour in the broth and tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then add in the barely.  Lower to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, until the barely is tender.

Add the chopped chard and rinsed beans and cook 4 or 4 minutes more to warm it all up.  Stir in the parmesan an serve with a dash of sour cream or a sprinkle of parmesan on top (or both!).

*I used chicken broth because that’s what I had in the cupboard.
**I have marjoram growing like weeds in my side yard, so dropped a piece on top.

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Potato Soup with Sausage & Swiss Chard

IMG_5586Hi friendsl– I have to admit I’m a little jealous– just read a facebook post from our girl Laurel in Chicago– “It’s snowing.  (I’m listening to Christmas music).  Where my candy canes at?”

Sheesh– it was in the 80’s here today– lovely weather, but we could use a little snow to really truly appreciate this nice hot soup!!  But I guess I can put on a little premature Christmas music and pretend…  In any case, whether is sunny and toasty where you are, or the big chill is rolling in, I think you might just like this homey potato soup.

POTATO SOUP WITH SAUSAGE & SWISS CHARD
2 Italian sausages
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2  14 oz. cans of chicken broth
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
2 tab. cornstarch
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup whole milk (or half & half)
3 swiss chard leaves

Take the skin off of the sausages and break them up into small pieces as they cook in the bottom of soup pot.  When the sausage is broken up, add in the onions and butter and cook it all until the sausage and onion are cooked through. Pour in the 2 cans of chicken broth and the chunked up potatoes.  Simmer this all together for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

In a container with a lit, shake together the cornstarch and 1/3 cup water.  When it’s thoroughly blended stir it into the simmer soup until it thickens.  Add the milk and season to taste with salt & pepper. Cut the stem and center vein out of the chard and chop it to shreds.  Add it into the soup and simmer until it’s hot enough to eat.  Bon apetit!

Crostini with Creamy Burrata and Chard

IMG_1087Hello friends– A while back Larry and I drove on down to Mozza, for a celebratory anniversary meal–  The Crostini we nibbled on before dinner was the best!  So I decided to try my hand at duplicating it.  Cooked it up along with a pear & almond salad for a light dinner on a warm evening.  It was crunchy, creamy, cheesy delicious!

CROSTINI WITH CREAMY BURRATA & CHARD
4 thick slices of sour dough bread
(or your favorite sturdy loaf)
4 large leaves of Swiss chard
2 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
8 oz. Burrata mozzarella creamed cheese
2 tab. pine nuts
2 green onions

IMG_1098Lightly toast the slices of sour dough bread.  Then heat the olive oil in a pan.  Drop in the Swiss chard and give it a couple shakes of garlic salt.  Stir it in the pan just 1 or 2 minutes until it starts to wilt.  Then take it off the heat.  Sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over the bread slices.  Cover them with the Swiss chard and top that with slices of the burrata cheese.  Sprinkle on the pine nuts and pop the them all in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melty and the nuts brown a bit.  Drop the green onion bits on top as you pull them out of the oven.  Eat them up hot and gooey!