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Mary Beth: Ray and I were under the weather on Labor Day weekend, so I decided  to make a nutritious soup using all the wonderful vegetables in my garden. As I was picking the ingredients for the soup, I was thinking about the article I read on the Garden Rant blog where the author mentions the occasional bug she may unknowingly serve her family. It made me chuckle, but it made me buck up too — if I don’t eat that kale that looks like it was blasted by buckshot, then what’s the sense of having an organic garden?! So I grabbed a handful of that too. I had to triple wash it and really rub those leaves to get rid of the bugs. I won’t go into details, but it wasn’t pretty.

Anyway, I got through it and the soup was delicious. And maybe, just maybe, the missed bug or two were actually the medicine we needed to get better!

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden

Garden Vegetable Soup with Barley (bugs optional!)

  • 1 bunch kale, with stems, roughly chopped  (I started throwing the entire kale leaves, stems and all, in the soup when I read my niece Kristin’s blog. She has a great blog on nutrition and food. You can read about the benefits and healing properties of food at foodbykristin.)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, with stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 large beets with their greens, beets cubed, greens, with stems, chopped
  • 1 medium Trombetta squash, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 2 large yellow tomatoes, cubed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • handful of basil, roughly chopped
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • lots of garlic, smashed
  • oregano, sage, parsley, sage, tarragon, rosemary — whatever you have on hand
  • Barley about 1/4 cup, or more
  • filtered water
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until tender. Throw in rest of veggies and saute until tender. Add basil, sea salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir. Add water, about 4 – 5 cups, and barley. Bring to a boil. Add the fresh herbs. Simmer for about 30 minutes.

I don’t worry about too much about measuring ingredients for the soup. I just add whatever is ripe in the garden, season with lots of fresh herbs, add salt and pepper and add enough water to make plenty of broth. Whatever ingredients I use, it always makes a thick delicious broth and it’s really good for you. Just don’t look too closely… no, seriously I got them all!

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