Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tuscan Bread Soup

The best thing about running is definitely the way you feel when you're done. I had such a great run this morning and it was so rejuventaing after some not-so-great ones this week. Last Saturday I definitely went way too fast for my body and was paying for it for the next few days. It was discouraging. I only ran twice with Kate this week because I was being lazy and they were slow slow runs - she's a saint for sticking with me :)

Then I went to the gym last night and wanted to hop on the treadmill for a little bit. I ran TWO miles. TWO. And they were so painful and terrible. I hate the treadmill!! Its so much harder than running outside, mentally at least. I think the hardest part is that you can get off at any time. And its boring. Dead boring.

So I was so thankful that my two good friends stuck with me this morning and went nice and slow with me for a longer run. Such a great way to start out the weekend.

Here's some great weekend food, perfect for a cold day like today. Kate gave me this amazing cookbook for Christmas called the Daily Soup Cookbook and everything in it looks delicious. This recipe did NOT disappoint. It was a hearty "peasant dish" that was pretty inexpensive and fast. My favorite things about it are 1) that its vegetarian but still very filling, 2) I got to use leeks (had to you-tube how to cut and prepare leeks because I forgot), and 3) I loved the bread in the soup. It won't disappoint!!

Tuscan Bread Soup

1/2 sourdough baguette cut into 1 inch cubes (mmm I love sourdough!!)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet, place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes at 300 degrees until crisp. I did this part earlier in the day when the kids were occupied just so I could throw the soup together faster before dinner. You could do it the night before if you wanted. Took 2 minutes, and you could even reserve some of the cubes for croutons for salads through the week!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large spanish onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed and well chopped (how to prepare leeks)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
6 cups Veggie Broth
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and diced
1 bunch of basil STEMS tied together (will discard before serving)
shaved parm and chopped parsely for garnish

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion, celery, leeks, and garlic. Let it "sweat" for about 5 minutes until tender, then stir in the dry spices (salt, pepper, cayenne and thyme). Toss to coat.

Add the stock, diced tomatoes and basil stems tied together and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes. I loved doing this with the stems - it really infused the basil flavor without actually adding basil. It was a cool method to try - but if all you have is dried basil I'm sure thats fine too!

Now remove from heat, remove those basil stems, stir in the bread cubes and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Here's where I would do it differently next time - this made PLENTY of soup, and I wish I put the bread cubes in each individual bowl and ladled soup over it. The second you add the bread cubes it starts absorbing liquid. Kevin was about an hour later then he said he would be and I was calling him going "HOW FAR AWAY ARE YOU??!! My soup is being ruined by the second!!" Also we didnt finish it all and its sat in tupperware in the fridge for about 1 week now (about to move on to the trashcan) because its straight up soaked bread now. I HATE wasting leftovers. It really has to be eaten right away so I would recommend doing it bowl by bowl. Its easier to save it that way too.

Top with the chopped parsley and shredded parm... it really was a pretty bowl!

Oh and Batman gobbled it up! So its kid friendly too. He liked the pieces of bread just cut up! It goes without saying Superman wouldn't get near it... kid doesn't know what he's missin!


The Longendyke Family said...

trying this tonight!!! :)

Angela and Mike said...

I have to tell you, I avoid chopping things at ALL COSTS. I don't know what it is, I feel like it makes dinner hard. So, I always avoid those recipies, which is a shame since all of yours involve lots of chopping and goodness.

Tell me your chopping secret...good knife, patience...what is it?

stewsie.stoll said...

Made this tonight and LOVED it!!! Threw some broiled chicken in as well for some protein. So good. Keep the recipes coming :)