Thursday, December 18, 2008

recipe of the week

More warm and wonderful bread and soup recipes for this cold snowy day. First up, a delicious crusty artisan bread. If you're at all intimdated by making bread, this is the recipe for you. It's easy and incredibly forgiving, and one bite of it's crusty, chewy texture and fabulous yeasty flavor will forever turn you off to cottony, flavorless grocery store French bread. The only caveat is that it takes a bit of advanced planning. You have to make up the starter the day before you plan on eating it. Once I get it all made up, I keep the dough in a big bowl in the fridge, and cut off individual sized pieces for us whenever we want them- it stays good for about 5 days, but it's rare that it lasts that long.

Crusty Artisan Bread (follow the link for the recipe)

And second up, an easy, healthy and hearty soup for your tasting pleasure. A family from church brought this soup to us shortly after Lincoln was born. It quickly became one of our favorite recipes. Try it!

Beef Soup Provencal
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 can (13.75-14.5 oz) vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz) diced italian style tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. herbes de Provence, or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme and 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
4 c. coarsely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, brown beef over medium heat 4-5 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink, breaking up into 3/4" crumbles (don't over-cook the meat, it will continue to cook as the soup simmers). Drain. Stir in the beans, broth, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Stir in spinach, continue simmering 5 minutes. Sprinkle wth cheese. Enjoy!

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