I came across a Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup in an email today, and since I had a zucchini in the fridge I decided I needed to make it for lunch.
So I did.
I pinned it, and then printed the recipe. I made a few changes off the top, mostly to the sequence of events, and switched out the broth, the beans and the tomato products. My recipe—with the changes—is below.
I started with this deep cast iron skillet acquired at a garage sale. Paid a whopping $5 for the rusty old thing. The size is midway between a skillet and a Dutch Oven. I cleaned it up and this is my first time to use it.
Should have taken a “before” picture! It was a mess.
Ain’t it purty? Cleaned up right nice, din’t it?
Beautiful seasoning! This is what a well-seasoned iron skillet is supposed to look like! My plan was to resell it because it was so gross I didn’t know if I could get it all the way back. But I might be in love. Even though it’s a no-name skillet, it will do the job.
Celery and onion went in first.
I always chop the onion last, just in case it makes me cry. When the onions and celery are soft and smelling good, I add the garlic. Garlic will burn if you cook it too long or if the heat is too high so I wait to add it just before the next step.
I added the carrots here because I’m not a fan of soggy cooked carrots. Adding them now means they still have some crunch when the soup is done. If you like soft cooked carrots, you can put them in the pot at the beginning.
This is where I added the dried oregano. I could have added it sooner, but I forgot. I like to stir it around and coat the veggies with it before adding the liquids. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I think the veggies take in more flavor when I do this instead of letting the herbs just swim around in the liquid later.
Now I add the broth, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Then the zucchini—I don’t like soggy zucchini either—and the rosemary. I intended to drop in a sprig of fresh rosemary, which is why I didn’t put it in with the oregano, but instead of taking the time to go outside and snip some, I used what I had in the cabinet.
While I waited for everything to come to a boil, I built a salad.
A couple of handfuls of spring mix; two slices of seasoned, crispy, oven-baked French bread croutons, broken into pieces; a sprinkle of sunflower seeds; and some slivers of Parmesan. I dressed it with homemade vinaigrette: olive oil, cranberry vinegar (homemade), brown and spicy mustard, Worcestershire, Tabasco, garlic granules, and sugar).
When the soup came to a boil…
… I added the pasta.
Then I ate my salad.
When I finished the salad the pasta was done, and, as pasta does, it absorbed a lot of liquid. I added the beans with the liquid (again, I don’t like soggy, smushy beans) and filled the empty can with water to add to the soup. I didn’t want to dilute the flavor, so I sprinkled a teaspoon or so of chicken bouillon granules on top and stirred it into the mix.
Salt and pepper to taste. I only added a smidge of salt but I gave it several good cranks of the pepper mill. I add pepper to practically everything.
Then I spooned it into my salad bowl. I used a wooden stirring spoon so I didn’t get a lot of liquid. I gave it a good splash of Tabasco and garnished with slivers of cheese. I used a potato peeler.
It was larrupin!
Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup
It was 1 hour and 4 minutes from the first picture to the last. The original recipe said 30 minutes, 10 for prep and 20 to cook, but I couldn’t do it that fast unless I had help chopping the vegetables.
This would make a yummy brown bag lunch with a salad, and it will freeze well for leftovers. Leftovers and freezing are two more reasons I don’t overcook the veggies.
|3 large stalks||Chopped Celery||In Dutch oven, sauté onion and celery in oil.|
|1 medium/smallish||Chopped Onion|
|2–3 Tbsp||Olive oil|
|2–3 Garlic Cloves||Minced garlic||Add garlic to sauté.|
|1–2 tsp||Dried oregano||Season with dried herbs, stir to coat veggies.|
|2–3 carrots||Chunky chopped carrots||Add carrots.|
|1 32 oz box||Swanson’s Chicken Broth||Pour in broth, crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.|
|1 14.5 oz can||Crushed tomatoes|
|1 8 oz.||Tomato sauce|
|1–2 stems||Fresh rosemary||Add rosemary and zucchini. Bring to a boil.|
|1 small zucchini||Thick sliced zucchini|
|2 cups||Uncooked pasta||Add pasta. Stir. Cook al dente.|
Eat your salad while the pasta cooks.
|1× 15.5 oz can||Great northern beans||Add beans and liquid.|
|1 15 oz. can||Water||Use the empty bean can to add water.|
|1–2 tsp.||Wyler’s Chicken Bouillon Granules||Sprinkle on top. Stir.|
|To taste||Salt & Pepper|
Finish eating your salad and then ladle the soup into your salad bowl.
This Rustic Thanksgiving Apple Pie by Ryan is truly the definition of Larrupin!
It was not fancy. It didn’t look like something you’d find under a plastic cover at the grocery store. The contemporary keywords of Rustic and Artisan apply. Oh, and delicious!
Ryan is my nephew and he made this from scratch. Which means he made the crust too.
Especially the crust. It was the best pie crust I’ve ever had.
You’ve heard the phrase Easy as pie? There’s truth to that. Pies are easy. Roll out a crust. Fill it with fruit and sugar and put another crust on top—or not—then bake it. Easy peasy.
But there must be something to the technique because this was beyond amazing.
He baked two pies the day before Thanksgiving and was such the connoisseur that he put them back in the oven before dinner so it would be just-right-warm when we ate it later.
At the end of the day we each piled up a plateful of leftovers to take home and I politely only took one slice of pie. I’ve been hoarding it and finally ate it this morning. After 30 seconds in the microwave I smeared it with a dollop of Creme Fraiche, one of my favorite dairy products. Oh my!
Still so Larrupin good!
Ryan is dad to three of these cuties —the white sweater and two plaid shirts—I shot last Thanksgiving. Ryan is also just one of the math/computer geeks in the family.
Get it? Apple Pie?
Sorry I can’t find the symbol for 3.141…
Just Larrupin! Thanks Ryan!
Now begins the cereal portion of my year.
I’m not a cereal eater. It’s not because I don’t like it.
I do like cereal, but I’m one of those people who ends up with a drop of milk on my chin after nearly every bite! And it’s annoying.
Unless I make a batch of party mix. Here’s my Larrapin Party Mix recipe.
I made my first batch of the season last night and threw it together with ingredients on hand: Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, Cheerios, peanuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
I mixed it up in a couple of big bowls and microwaved it instead of using the oven. I was impatient.
It’s easy peasy. Two minutes, stir; two minutes, stir; two minutes, stir. Eat.
Let it cool. Eat.
Divy it up into plastic containers. Eat.
A friend has a garden full of tomatoes and I’ve been lucky enough to get some of the overflow.
I came across a recipe for grilled cheese and fresh tomatoes and my mouth started watering.
I can’t find the original inspiration recipe—I thought I pinned it, but alas, I couldn’t find it—but I remember it called for sharp cheddar.
Here’s what mine looks like.
Janz Larrupin Good Grilled Cheese and Fresh Tomato Sandwich
- 100% whole wheat bread
- Soft butter
- Spicy brown mustard
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Garden fresh tomato
- Olive oil
Smear butter on the outsides of two pieces of bread.
On the insides, on both slices of bread, spread mustard and top it with cheese.
One side add a layer of sliced tomato and close the sandwich.
In a med/low hot iron skillet pour a plop of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then slide your sandwich in.
Brown on each side leaving it long enough to melt the cheese into the tomato so it will all hold together. Put a lid on the pan if the bread is browning faster than the cheese is melting. Cheddar has a higher melting point than some of the softer cheeses so start with lower heat and be patient.
I let my pan get too hot before I put the sandwich in and the cheese didn’t melt as much as I would have liked (even with a lid), but the flavors were still all there. It was sooooo good.
There are so many options for this.
Crustier bread and balsamic vinegar.
If you have some fresh tomatoes how would you put your grilled cheese tomato sandwich together?
Anyway you like it, it’s larrupin!
I didn’t plant a garden this year, but a friend did, and she has been sharing the bounty! I have garden fresh tomatoes for the first time in years, an I am in hog-heaven!
I put this quick snack together a few hours ago.
Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
For a Single Serving
- 6 half-inch slices sour dough bread (or any other dense bread)
- Olive oil spray
- Garlic granules
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 fresh tomato
- Balsamic vinegar
- Put the bread slices on a foil lined toaster oven tray.
- Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic granules. Turn slices over and repeat on the other side.
- Sprinkle with oregano and basil.
Optional: Toast the bread at 300°–325° to your preferred crunchiness. Skip this if you’re in a hurry or if you want your bread soft.
- Top each slice of toast/bread with a slice of tomato.
- Sprinkle with more basil and oregano.
- Top with slivers of Parmesan cheese. (Feta crumbles are also good if you have any.)
- Slide the toast in the oven at about 350° until tomato is warmed through.
- Serve with a small bowl of balsamic vinegar. Dip toast in the vinegar before each bite.
Note: if you make more than one serving each person will need a personal bowl of balsamic vinegar. There will be double dipping.
Place a slice of