There’s a strange and completely counter-intuitive thing that has happened since I’ve gotten serious(…ish, who am I kidding?) about my blog here, friends: I seem to have lost interest in cooking for myself.
During the week, I often come home, grab something like cottage cheese and a bell pepper from the fridge, and call it dinner–all the while scheming up weekend plans for the most (hopefully) awesome, (hopefully) interesting, seasonally appropriate, (hopefully) photogenic food possible–the kind you, and maybe some other folks on the world wide web, want to see.
It’s not like the answers to “what would make a killer blog post?” and “what do I want to eat?” never overlap. Obviously, quite the opposite is true. However… The starting place for these ideas is different, and that feels screwy, because cooking what I want, for myself, is how I got here. It led me to cooking for other people, and then eventually, cooking for, uh … the whole world to see if they want. (Sidenote: Yikes.)
In other words (not that we need other words, or gratuitous gifs), I forgot the very principles of the Treat Yo’Self Philosophy.
Anyhow, this weekend, the answer to “what do I want to eat?” was soup. Something mostly green, because of post-holiday slump and semi-solidarity with everyone doing cleanses or somesuch–hang in there, you champs, by the way!
Something vegan (at least until I added that foxy, foxy butter to the bread), because sometimes I feel like a big old hippie. Something hearty, because big old hippies get hungry, too. And something bright and herbal, because even though it’s January, it’s… Not cold here. Heavy hibernation food isn’t really calling my name lately.
So. Onions and carrots, for obvious soup reasons.
Cabbage, because it stands up to simmering for a while. Napa cabbage, as a bonus, is easier to shred. Also, it looks like regular cabbage that got a perm, so there’s that.
Lima beans, because I had them, and finding use for leftover things makes me giddy with satisfaction. Also, I don’t understand why people hate them–they’re just perfectly innocuous, typical beans. Whatever. Use any kind of white bean you want! Treat yo’self, remember? Nobody can tell you how to party.
Lemons, because cocktail experiments left me with many to use up, and I hate wasting food. The tangy brightness is a bonus that pairs perfectly with dill, which is involved here because it’s one of my favorite things on the planet.
Chard, because it’s just the prettiest (well, in this form, at least).
Chard gets uglier (but more delicious) with every step.
It’s a good thing everything else is still looking pretty good, right? Including that bread. I have bread experiments going on around here. We’ll talk soon. Meanwhile, I hope you are treating yourself well this winter–whether you feel like soup or not.
- 2 cups dried lima beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups sliced peeled carrots (about 5-6 medium ones)
- 1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
- Zest and juice of 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill, loosely packed (about 1/2 a bunch)
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 3 quarts water or broth (vegetable or chicken, though maybe seafood would be nice too?)
- 1 bunch Swiss, red, or rainbow chard, stemmed and roughly chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Rinse the beans and put in a large bowl. Cover generously with water and soak overnight.
- Rinse beans again and drain.
- In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, 2 minutes or so. Add garlic and stir another minute or so, then add carrots, cabbage, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, bay leaves, and the water or broth. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and simmer until beans are tender, about 2 hours.
- Stir in the chard, remove the pot from the heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper.