one of my favorite parts of the week is picking up my growing communities veg bag from hackney city farm. every time, i still feel really lucky to live in a place where i have access to locally grown and organic produce from an incredible organization and i can pick it up less than a block away. i also still feel a little weird using the phrase veg bag – it sounds like an insult (you dirty veg bag!) – but hey, when in rome…
this week, i’ve got:
potatoes, onions, and zucchini from ripple farm organics in kent
carrots from hughes organics in norfolk
cherry tomatoes and eggplant from wild country organics in cambridge
and finally, a salad bag locally grown in my very own borough of hackney. amazing!
this week’s salad bag had numerous unidentifiable bits of greenery including baby lettuce, basil, what looked like yellow chard, and a bizarre mottled green lilypad-esque leaf with a peppery bite. hilariously enough, i tweeted about it, and a farmer from georgia randomly told me that it was probably nasturtium leaves. after a quick google search, i think they’re right. man, these interwebs.
following on my veggie burger and carrot potato explorations, i’m doing more fun kitchen experiments figuring out how to use all the random vegetables that come my way. it’s the veg bag game! can’t beat anything that combines games and food: two of my favorite things on the planet besides panda babies.
growing communities is nice enough to include a recipe in the bags each week, which i’ve found to be a great starting point for figuring out what to make. it’s amazing how many dishes can be made based on what can often be found in the kitchen – today i debated a pasta primavera and a stir-fried eggplant with brown rice – but decided to riff off the courgette and cheese soup recipe from the bag. the fun part of the game is playing with ingredients depending on what i’ve got lying around and seeing what deliciousness results. i didn’t have any cheese, but i did have cherry tomatoes and some verging-on-stale whole wheat bread so i tossed them both in for a ribollita-esque soup. more than enough for a filling and hearty soup, but still light without any cream or cheese. mmmmmmm. soooooouup i love youuuuuuu.
Roasted Tomato Zucchini Bread Soup
What You Need:
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 bigass zucchini – seriously, this thing was the size of my forearm. gimonstrous.
a few cups of vegetable or chicken broth or stock – i used a chicken bouillon cube which isn’t ideal but is suuuper easy. (i found the ones with the least freaky ingredients and no artificial preservatives).
2-3 slices of bread
any kind of fresh herbs – i have rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, and sage growing in pots in the 2 square meters of space behind our flat and it’s the best thing i ever did. despite being a very forgetful waterer, mother nature has my back what with the lovely london weather and all.
salt & pepper
What You Do:
1. chop the garlic and onion and saute in a generous splash of olive oil in a big pot.
2. stick your cherry tomatoes in the oven with more olive oil and bake until they collapse into themselves.
3. chop the potatoes, add to the pot and saute for a few minutes, stirring every so often so they don’t stick.
4. repeat with the zucchini.
5. once the vegetables have softened a bit, pour enough broth or stock to cover them and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes or so.
6. while the soup simmers, check on the tomatoes. when they’re done, drop them into the soup and stick the bread into the oven (or the toaster if you happen to have one of those newfangled thingamabobs). toast until brown and crunchy and them crumble into the soup.
7. toss in the herbs, chopped fine, and add salt & pepper. if you ant to get all crazy, you can also stir in cheese. according to growing communities, feta, blue cheese and cream cheese all work well.
8. spoon into mouth. yeeeah. soup is good.