Monday, June 16, 2014

Che Farro Porcini Soup and Veggie Pesto Panini

When starting today's dinner, I fully intended to follow recipes I had on hand. I swear I did. It's a dreary day in Boston, rainy but not too cold. Soup and a sandwich sounded like a perfect match. So, I found a soup in one of my many cookbooks and a sandwich from one of my many Pinterest pins. I started making my shopping list and discovered I already had too many easy replacements for what I would otherwise buy. Here is where we find the happy crossroads between following and experimenting-- adaptations of circumstance.

I decided to use farro, a grain I found on sale once and still had in my cabinet, rather than the barley called for in the original soup recipe. This decision led me, of course, to hum the Gluck aria, "Che faro senza Eurydice." Hence the soup's new name.

Che Farro Porcini Soup, adapted from Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
Olive oil or cooking spray
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup farro
5 cups vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Place mushrooms in a bowl with hot water and set aside. Let them soak until soft.
2. Heat a medium skillet and coat lightly with oil or cooking spray. Sauté the onion and carrot until soft. Remove from heat.
3. In the slow cooker, combine the onion mixture, farro, broth, tomato sauce, soy sauce, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
4. Strain the mushrooms, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid. Add this liquid and the mushrooms to the slow cooker. Stir everything once or twice.
5. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

Veggie Pesto Panini, adapted from this recipe at Culinary Covers
Makes 4 sandwiches

1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice

Oil or cooking spray.
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 red bell peppers, sliced
3 zucchini, sliced

8 slices hearty bread
2 ripe avocados, sliced

1. Combine all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. To prepare the veggies, heat a medium or large pan and coat lightly with oil or cooking spray. Sauté the carrots, onion and garlic over medium heat for about two minutes. Add the peppers and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
3. Assemble the sandwich. Spread pesto on one slice of bread and add a layer of veggies and half a sliced avocado. Repeat with other sandwiches.
4. Grill the sandwiches in a panini press or in a pan on the stovetop until bread is a golden brown.

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