Our first day was about the farmer’s market, and getting fruits we can’t get fresh back home. Coconuts, lychees, starfruits, bushels of baby bananas, dragonfruits, mangoes, sugar cane. We came back to our house and laid it all on the table like loot we had scored. Then we made it down to the Kauai state fair. Photos to come tomorrow.
Mateo has only one day left until preschool graduation, and I've got to say it's a rather bittersweet time for me. We've known these kids and their families for three years now, and in some ways spent more time with them than our own families and friends. The photos above are of the last field trip the "campers" who are off to kindergarten, took to the El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. The tarantula, who partially hid himself from prying eyes, and the skunk skin were the big hits of the day.
With the evenings being as cool and cloudy as they have been around here, a bean soup didn't seem out of the question last night. We call this one Crayon Soup because of all the different colored beans in the mix. It's a pretty traditional vegetable soup, except for the addition of the mint almond pesto that is the final, and most important, touch on top. Served with some flatbread and these boys (including the grown-up one) could eat this all day. Both Mateo and Nico demanded the leftovers for their lunch today.
Crayon Soup with Mint Pesto
2 cups mixed beans (soaked overnight if dry)
2 carrots chopped
1 large onion chopped
1 large leek sliced and ringed
4 celery stalks with leaves chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
3 tsp. cumin powder
1 bay leaf
6 cups water or vegetable stock
4 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup Italian parsley
Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into a large pot. Over medium-high heat, cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, leeks, celery and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add beans, water (or stock), cumin, bay leaf, and salt. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 40-45 minutes or until beans are soft. Do not overcook the beans. Once soup is done, add lemon juice and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
For Mint Pesto:
1/4 cup of raw, unsalted almonds
1 cup chopped mint leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Place almonds in a blender or food processor and grind until you have a course meal. Add mint and combine. Add cheese and combine. Last drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Drop 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto onto each bowl of soup and stir it all together. Enjoy!
Summer really feels to be waning around here, faster than I'd like it to be. The weather this summer seems to have been weird everywhere, with friends and family on the east coast talking about the incessant rain and lack of sweltering days. We've had a particularly gray one here, with the mornings and evenings hidden behind cool, thick clouds with the warm sun breaking through for a few hours in between. It's typical June gloom that just didn't end in June. We've still managed to make the most of it though, and this weekend felt like what we've come to expect of Southern Cali.
We try not to eat a lot of pasta around here, maybe once a week. But this is a dish we've come to really like that I found here on the Tamra Davis cooking show. The key is the smoked tempeh that gives the pasta some depth and structure, and some solid protein.
Fakin Bacon, Tomato, Broccoli and Pine Nut Pasta
8 slices of Fakin Bacon or 2 slices of substitute bacon per person
4 medium tomatoes – chopped up
1 cup of broccoli – cooked chopped (or other green, kale or asparagus)
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 ounces of goat cheese – optional
1/3 a cup of pine nuts toasted
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 16 ounce package of spaghetti
Cook the spaghetti. Meanwhile – In a serving bowl put in your minced garlic with the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes. Boil your broccoli in a ½ a cup water till it’s green and slightly softened. Add this to the tomatoes. Fry up your Fakin Bacon in a bit of oil till it’s crispy. Chop into bits. (Don’t wash the frying pan just yet) Add this to your bowl. Toast the pine nuts in the frying pan. Set aside. Drain your pasta. Put it in the frying pan. Add the bowl of all your bacon, broccoli, nuts, and tomato sauce. Heat it up. Sometimes I add another drizzle of olive oil or add some goat cheese to give it a bit of a creamy sauce. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Top with the pine nuts. Serve with parmesan cheese.
In Tamra's show, she also makes a celery soup, but we opted for an asparagus soup instead.
Asparagus Soup with Parmesan
3 T. Extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 large bunches of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
To a large pot over medium heat add olive oil, onions, shallots, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until onions start to get soft. Add the asparagus and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus starts to get soft, but not mushy. Remove from the heat. Puree well in a blender and return the soup to the pot. Push it through a fine-mesh sieve if you have one to make it extra smooth. Whisk in sour cream and parmesan cheese. Make parmesan cracker in the oven if you want.