My poor mother has been having all sorts of health troubles lately. First her eye problem came back. Another trip to the ER, some alarming drug reactions (we added another drug to her black list), and more doctor visits… They say she has something called Posner-Schlossman syndrome, which, as I understand it, is a form of glaucoma. Anyone have any advice for this?
Then her stomach acted up again (too much acidity I think), leading to a very miserable few hours of intense stomach pain for her on Saturday evening. So she’s taking her Nexium again, eating carefully, and has sworn off fruits for the next few days.
And it is cold out! I feel like I’m back in Saskatchewan. Tonight it’s going down to minus 10, and with the wind, the weather people say it’ll be more like minus 17. Whoa.
So with all this in mind, I decided on Mellow Minestrone for dinner. Minestrone because I’ve been craving soup pretty much all the time now, and thought that nothing would warm us up like a big bowl of steaming vegetably goodness. Oh, and “mellow” because I made it without tomatoes (too acidic for my mom’s stomach) and the flavour is mild and simple. But still oh so good.
- 2 zucchinis, diced
- 1/2 small eggplant, diced
- 3/4 lb. mushrooms, quartered
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5 C whole wheat fusili
- 1/2 bunch of kale, trimmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can white kidney beans
- 9 C liquid (I used 3 C low-sodium chicken broth and 6 C water)
- 1 tsp of dried herbs (I used a basil, oregano, and thyme mixture)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese (optional)
- fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 500°.
Put zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms into large bowl; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss well and coat the veggies with the oil. Spread them out onto 2 cookie sheets (they do fit onto just 1 sheet, but they won’t brown properly if they’re too crowded, so it’s best to spread them out). Roast for 10-12 mins. Pull them out when they have a nice brown colour, have softened, but are not yet super soft. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium-high temperature, heat some olive oil. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Stir and cook until slightly browned. Splash in some broth or water to deglaze (scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan). Add dried herbs, a dash of salt and pepper, followed by the rest of the liquid. Bring to boil.
Reduce heat to medium-high. Add in kale and cook for 3 mins covered. Then add pasta and cook covered for another 6 mins. Add beans, cover for 2 mins. Then add the roasted veggies, cover for final 2 mins.
To serve, place a handful of spinach into bottom of bowl (optional, but so nice to have some vibrant greens and they wilt immediately with the hot soup over it).
Ladle soup on top of spinach.
Garnish with some parmesan shavings (again, optional, but so good when it melts in the hot bowl; it adds such a lovely salty and nutty flavour).
The key to this soup is the roasted veggies; the roasting adds such depth of flavour and really makes this soup so satisfying.
Len described it as such: “It may be mild, it may be mellow, but it’s still Mmm Mmm Mmm Minestrone!”
I paired the soup with Sesame-Crusted Salmon Sandwiches.
But first I made Yogurt Tartar Sauce to go along with the sandwiches. (I love tartar sauce but never keep mayo on hand, so this is my super simple version)
- 1/2 C plain non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 TB sweet relish
- 1 tsp whole grain dijon mustard
- pinch of sugar
Mix althogether and that’s it! Sweet, tangy, and much healthier than the usual tartar sauce.
Sesame-Crusted Salmon Sandwich
- 1 lb wild pacific salmon fillets
- 2 TB green onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced and made into a “paste” (sprinkle salt on garlic, crush with the flat of the knife blade)
- 2 tsp whole-grain dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp seasme oil
- 14 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp olive oil
- pinch of dried thyme
- generous pinch of dried dill
- generous pinch of sugar
- salt and pepper
- sesame seeds
- yogurt tartar sauce
- lettuce leaves
- tomato slices
- bread or bun of your choice
Finely dice (or pulse in food processor) the fillets and put into a bowl. Mix in green onion, garlic, mustard, sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil, dried herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper. Form into 4 patties. Sprinkle one side with sesame seeds.
Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place patties in pan, sesame seed side down. Cook for 3 minutes, or until the seeds start to brown. Sprinkle the other side with sesame seeds, then flip patties. Cook for another 3 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.
Slather tartar sauce onto bread, top with lettuce and tomato, and place patty on the veggies.
The salmon was mild in taste, but moist and flavourful, and it paired nicely with the soup. Warmed us up from the inside out. Perfect for this wintery weather!