Sunday, August 06, 2006

Veggie Galore

It's been a very busy week and before I knew it, I was faced with more organic vegetables than I knew what to do with or had the time for. So with Thursday (the day a new box of organic produce arrives at my door) rolling around once again, it was time to clear out last week's veggies to make way for the new stuff. The trouble with being a greedy hoarder is that there is always more food in my pantry than I can consume for a year. Over here a can of cannelini beans, over there a few rashers of bacon; tucked away in the corner of the cupboard a nearly forgotten can of tomatoes... In order to use it all up together with the organic zucchini, carrots, onions and broccoli, I chopped up the lot and turned it into my own version of minestrone soup.

Taking my cue from a sidebar on soup in Damien Pignolet's awesome book French, I sweated the chopped onions in olive oil together with the minced bacon. Then in goes the chopped canned tomatoes, some chicken stock and the rest of the chopped vegetables. An hour and some seasoning later, a hearty soup that needed little else but a drizzle of pesto and good, crusty bread.

Also begging to be used was a giant head of gorgeous red cabbage. I don't think I've ever used red cabbage in anything I've cooked before; in fact, I think the last time I ate any red cabbage was in some steak house's salad bar where the vegetable was sliced into little slivers and thrown into the mix, presumably for some added colour. And like I said in my last post, if you want a recipe for coloureds, you go to Nigella Lawson. True to form, I found one for Viennese-style red cabbage, or in Nigella-speak, "Red Cabbage in the Viennese Fashion".

In this dish, the cabbage is braised atop a stove with sliced apples, beef stock, cider vinegar and an onion. It is a sumptuously rich dish, especially since the cabbage and onion are first cooked in a half cup(!!) of butter or beef dripping. I should have trusted my better judgement and halved the amount of butter since I was serving this with a slab of roasted pork belly. Nevertheless it was wonderfully tasty, with the tang of the cider vinegar (the recipe called for just 3 tablespoons; I ended up using something like half a cup) providing a brilliant counterpoint to all that butter and beef stock. The roasted pork was simpleā€”I just threw it in the oven covered with sea salt, skin scored and baked for 160 degrees Celcius for three hours. Yes, we did consume far more fat than was safe that night, but what happy bellies we went to bed with. The cholesterol we can deal with later. So much for healthy organic food!


Blogger Vajra said...

omigawd! Your blog is beautiful...and tempting.

2:17 pm  
Blogger May said...

I've cooked many a leftover-veggies minestrone the day before organic market day. It makes a fantastic take-to-work lunch. Haven't tried the technique in French yet. Agree with you that it's a wonderful cookbook. I've been eagerly awaiting a Damien Pignolet cookbook ever since I saw him effortlessly throw together a chocolate(!) omelet on a food show about five years ago.

6:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What beautiful crackling your roast pork had! Did you have to prick the skin all over?

You have a great blog :-)


10:23 am  
Blogger persis3 said...

What I want to know is, how did u get that piece of bread to balance on the edge of the bowl like so????! =)

8:07 am  
Blogger ana said...

Also try cooking minestrone.
I'm no healthy eater, love that fat! I applaud you for trying to eat healthy. =D

10:53 am  
Anonymous Mae said...

What a great idea to use up leftover veggies for a minestrone. I also love the idea of using the gigantic cabbage leaf as a backdrop :-)

The pork looks stunning.

4:13 pm  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

wonder where u learn how to take such beautiful and amazing picture ?

Keep it up

5:05 pm  
Blogger Eggy said...

Thanks Vajra!

Hi May, I'm dying to try a couple more recipes from the book too!

LY, I scored the skin rather than pricked it. Is that what you would usually do to the skin?

Persis, it was a very small bowl, so not much rim space :-)

Ana, we can only try, can't we?

Thanks Mae. The moment I saw that outermost red cabbage leaf, I actually stripped it off gently and saved it!

Thanks Foodcrazee. You're too kind. I picked up some tips from my partner who's a photographer. But I reckon I'm too damn lazy to ever turn out really super pictures like J from Kuidore, Mae of Rice and Noodles or Chubby Hubby!

11:40 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

That looks so good!

6:50 am  
Anonymous joey said...

Everything looks fantastic! Great save with the veggies...the soup sounds yummy :) Your pork looks amazing...I am dying to make something like that (I love crackling) but I can't seem to get it right. I made a roast pork for a dinner (posted about it, recipe from Donna Hay) the rind/skin was supposed to turn into wonderful crackling but it didn't. Any tips to share? Your's looks perfect!

8:24 pm  
Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Hearty soups just the way I like them! Yum yum!

2:10 am  
Blogger Precious Moments said...

aiyo I love your roast pork!!! and of course your pictures. Making it to die for.

8:50 am  
Blogger shaz said...

the roast pork is very well complimented by the cabbage. Great choice.

4:21 pm  
Blogger boo_licious said...

I love the roast pork and cabbage pix - healthy and sinful but yummy at all times.

4:14 am  
Blogger boo_licious said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4:14 am  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

" from Kuidore, Mae of Rice and Noodles or Chubby Hubby! " these 3 are living legends.......

your pic is really neat too....look at the contrast of colour of ur roast pork pieces against the green.......kudos to sifu

8:34 pm  

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