Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Early CSA Overload

Our CSA farm started with a bang this season. As always, the first few weeks are mostly lettuce and greens, herbs, spring onions and garlic scapes. We live on main course salads during June, trying to keep up with the produce we get every week.
When Monday rolled around this week I happened to come across a wonderful article by Anna Thomas in the latest issue of Yoga Journal about her book Love Soup and including a few recipes. I do love soup but I mostly make it in the fall and winter when a fragrant pot bubbling on the back of the stove warms the house and the soul. When I think of summer soups I think of cool gazpacho or Deborah Madison's Zucchini-Cilantro Soup, a favorite I often freeze during the zucchini abundance of July for a taste of summer in January.

So here's my idol Anna Thomas with three beautiful summery soups and one of them addresses both the challenge of Monday Beans and our CSA overload. To make it a perfect choice, Drew and Ericka brought some fresh oregano from their garden. I adjusted the recipe from the original based on what we actually had and on our preferences.

Butter Bean and Summer Vegetable Soup

1 cup dried giant lima beans

1 tsp. salt
2 onions
1 red bell pepper (I had an orange one)
1-1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes
6 oz. green beans
8 oz. summer squash
6 oz. spinach
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 qt. light vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
juice of half a lemon

Cook the beans in 7 cups of water until tender, then add the teaspoon of salt. Set aside, reserving the cooking liquid.

Saute the onions in olive oil over medium heat until caramelized. Add the garlic scapes and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Char the pepper either on a gas burner, a grill or a broiler. Let it cool, then peel, seed and chop.
Dice the summer squash; trim the green beans and cut in 1" pieces. Toss together with a little olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned, turning a few times during cooking. Wash and trim the spinach and coarsely chop. Skin and chop the tomatoes. I used a box of chopped tomatoes because we don't get fresh ones around here until nearly August.

In a large pot combine the broth, the beans and tomatoes, all of the vegetables and the herbs. Add bean cooking liquid if necessary to bring to soup to the desired consistency. Cook for 20-30 minutes, then add the lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper. Taste for salt. Anna Thomas recommends a swirl of olive oil on top. I left that out because I'm dieting and don't need the extra calories. I don't think the soup suffered for it.

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