Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A humble soup coupled with Italian ABC's giveaway and awards... oh my!

Sometimes when you are in the midst of something, you cannot write about it. Sometimes there are wishes that you previously thought unwishable. And sometimes, oftimes - the distractions in life are very important. I have a mish-mosh of distractions. A giveaway, a humble soup. Two awards. These are all things that make me smile. In the middle



As stated in an earlier post, Joe at Italyville posted a giveaway of this lovely ABC Italiano book by Sonya Caruso - designed to start toddlers on the journey to learning Italian. As someone struggling to learn the language in my rapidly advancing middle years, there's no time like the present to start. I am the lucky recipient of ten of these books (Joe reached his designated 50 comments, bravo Joe!). I will be giving some of the books to the Italian Cultural Institute in Minneapolis as well as to a few local children's charities. (And saving and treasuring one). I will also give three of them away (thanks to Ciao Ciao Linda for the generous idea). Simply comment on the blog and I will randomly select three names to be the recipients of this beautiful book. And please visit Joe - right now he has an olive oil giveaway. And he always has something heavenly cooking in his kitchen.
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My idea of comfort is soup. And a piece of chocolate. But it is the soup that soothes me and nourishes me. It's reassuring, it's warming and it's simple. Some lettuce and beans. Broth. An abundance of spring-like rosemary and just a tad of red pepper flakes to bring it all together.

Chickpea Soup with Rice and Escarole - adapted Tastes of Italia (serves 4)
3 tbl olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbl red pepper flakes
6-8 cups vegetable broth (can use chicken broth)
4 tbl fresh, chopped rosemary (it sings)
2 cans chickpeas
4 cups chopped escarole (can use cabbage, kale or chard)
On the side: 2 cups cooked brown rice
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In a stock pot heat your olive oil to hot but not sizzling. Saute the garlic, celery and red pepper flakes until the celery softens - about 3 minutes. Add the broth, rosemary and chickpeas. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Meanwhile cook your rice separately.

Remove 1/3-1/2 of the mixture. Let cool a bit and then put in the blender. Blend. I like thickening the soup this way - but I also love the chunks of chickpeas floating around - creamy surprises in every bite.


Add it back into the original pot. I am tempted to start serving this now. I can wrap myself around the pot.


Add your escarole. Along with the rosemary, it adds a welcome of the spring that is to come. Plus, I love it. Simple. And packed with flavor.


Watch it cook down. It only takes a minute.



Every thick spoonful brings the humblest bean and the sweetest lettuce. And somewhere in each taste, there is this delightful heat - not overpowering, just a presence of sparkling red pepper dancing. Beckoning.



Let everyone spoon their own rice into the bowls and then ladle the soup over. The rice will never turn mushy if kept separately. While the chickpeas give way to creaminess, the rice will add a touch of the chewy. Sprinkle (or in my case, "drown") freshly grated Parmesan over the soup. What can I say? I am a Parmesan fiend.
`
While muddling in the middle, Claudia at What's Cookin Italian? sent me this. A huge smile. Her recipes are creative and Traditional. Innovative and down-home. Visit her and enjoy.



And the gracious Sophie at Sophie's Foodiefiles sent me this.



There's always some flavor-filled healthy cooking on her blog. I hope you also visit her.
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I would like to send these off into the world to evoke more smiles. If it's all right with Claudia and Sophie, I would like to do this differently. I am at a place right now where choosing is too hard. Actually, "choosing" has always been hard. That's how I wind up with 30 kids in my cast when I direct. Hard to say "no." Hard to say "just you two." It's why I write large-cast plays. If you are one of the first ten commenters, please take the "teddy bear" home to your site. And if you are commenter 11-20, please bring home the "honest scrap" award. Don't be shy - it is yours with my thanks for the visit. And all commenters will be eligible for the ABC's Italiano book.
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Now, I will finish my soup. Can I bring you some?

47 comments:

Chow and Chatter said...

oh wow cool little books, and wow i'll take a bowl of soup please wish I could get cooking lessons from you!

Bridgett said...

The soup looks so comforting and I am with you, I tend to 'drown' mine with a bit of parmesan!

Angie's Recipes said...

The soup sounds and looks very healthy, homey and delicious!

Ruth said...

This is just my kind of soup, full of incredibly flavours. Another one I need to make. Its wonderful to see you so busy and so happy with it. Very generous giveaway too. Wonderful stuff Claudia, as always!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Yea for Joe and for you for sharing with your readers. I can't wait to get them and distribute them. In the meantime your soup is just the kind of soul-warming meal I need with the cold that's developing.

Choices said...

The soup looks soo delicous. I will have to try it. Yes, I do agree, the comfort foods , soup and chocolate. So wonderful to come here to see all the wonderful recipes.

Vrinda said...

I am not a fan of soups,but i am gonna try this one becoz of chick peas...really a comforting soup

Mary said...

Oh, my that looks good. It's a perfect soup for this time of year. It's just gone on my hit list. Have a great day, Claudia.

Wanda said...

Well, Claudia that is a delicious looking soup and a unique way to distribute awards, I'm impressed with both.
Smiles to you,
Wanda

Wanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gera @ SweetsFoodsBlog said...

An easy, delicious and comforting soup! Congrats for the awards!!
Have a great week,
Gera

3 hungry tummies said...

I am looking for such comforting soups at the moment as nights are getting cooler, following you now!

Katherine Aucoin said...

As much as I cook and love to italian food, I should learn a few words!

Very comforting soup, I will keep this since winter refuses to leave.

Congrats on your awards, you know I look forward to your posts.

Claudia said...

Thanks all, I hope you took your award home..... (nag, nag).

Topher said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I absolutely love soup in the winter. I'd eat it almost every night if I could.


Chris

zekks at yahoo dot com

OysterCulture said...

Oh this looks tasty and with a wonderful loaf of bread. I make a Moroccan soup with chickpeas which is a favorite, but this version sounds like it will give it a run for its money!

OysterCulture said...

Oh this looks tasty and with a wonderful loaf of bread. I make a Moroccan soup with chickpeas which is a favorite, but this version sounds like it will give it a run for its money!

5 Star Foodie said...

A perfectly comforting soup and fantastic flavors! Sounds so nice for these chilly rainy days! Congrats on your awards!

figtree said...

What a delicious bowl of soup to help survive a winter that seems to go on and on...

Juliana said...

Nice soup...have to try it...can you believe that I never made soup with chickpea?

tasteofbeirut said...

Yes, please. I love your soup and I want a whole gallon of it this week.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Questa zuppa sembra delizioso! These soup looks delicious! Congratulations on the awards!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Claudia!

I love chick pea soup! I make a creamy spicy version but yours looks so good with the addition of the escarole and rice. Do you have an immersion blender? It is so handy as you can puree right in the pot with it. I bought a $10 model in a CVS drug store and it works fine.

I'd love to win a copy of that book for my grand bambino! Joe is so generous!

Hope the weather warms up for you soon.

Sophie said...

A grand & very tasty soup, Claudia!!

Congrats on the awards as well!

MMMMM,....

Katy ~ said...

Love chickpeas so that soup sounds soooo very very good to me! Big YUMS up.

Congratulations on winning your ABC Italiano books. And aren't you so good to share. Many will be blessed by your thoughtfulness.

And what fun to receive awards. It's fun to be acknowledged by those bloggers whom we admire. Well done!!

Debbie said...

The soups looks delicious Claudia....when I was growing up I could always understand what my grandparents spoke in Italian. I just couldn't speak it back though!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Love the soup. Chick peas are one of my favorite beans.

As one of very few Italian citizens who don't speak the language I could REALLY use this book!

It sure would help me in the airport!

Barbara GF said...

Beautiful soup, Claudia. There is nothing like wrapping oneself around a warm pot of soup in winter, waiting for spring to emerge.

Jen_from_NJ said...

What a great soup! The combination of chickpeas, escarole, and rosemary sounds heavenly. Great tip to keep the rice on the side.

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I would love some of your soothing soup. It looks absolutely delicious! And I love the ABC's Italiano book - just what I need! My fingers and toes are crossed.

Velva said...

Claudia, your soup looks divine. Just looking at it, warms you up immediately.

Love the idea of the toddler Italian books-A great way to start the journey of learning Italian.

theUngourmet said...

I love soup! This one looks warm and wonderful. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. It has such a fantastic aroma and flavor!

janet said...

Soup is my favorite food! This looks wonderful, I am going to make it tommorrow, just need to grocery shop first!

Miranda said...

that soup looks incredible...
i bet it would be awesome with a head of roasted garlic...
yum yum yum

pegasuslegend said...

The healthiest most delicious ingredients all in one bowl and looks absolutely marvelous...love those chickpea's in everything, and everyway possible, your soup looks outstanding, and a must try perfect for this cold weather! Gracie~

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Thank you for linking me. I'm glad you guys like the dish as much as we did. Happy Friday!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Claudia, I'm stuck home today and I think I'm going to make this for lunch! no escarole but I do have some swiss chard I could use, thanks for the inspiration!

bonnie said...

Congrats on the awards... great recipe I love the soup!!

sweetlife

gaga said...

Mmm, looks good. I haven't had soup much this winter. Maybe I should make some before the weather gets too hot!

alwayswinner786 said...

I love this soul soothing soup. Great Claudia!

Cathy said...

I would love to have a steaming bowl of this wonerful soup. And congrats on your awards, Claudia.

theUngourmet said...

I am in the mood for soup today! This one looks terrific! I don't know if I've had escarole in soup. I'd love to try it!

Congrats on your awards too! :)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Just wanted to let everyone know here, that I did indeed make this for lunch, and enjoyed every last bowl full. Thanks again Claudia!

My Little Space said...

Congrats on your well deserved a ards, Claudia. Your soup sounds wonderful! I want to try some too! I think I prefer cheese than cream in my soup. YUmmm....

Claudia said...

Oh Marie - thanks for that comment. I am actually making this tomorrow. And thanks to all of you - you truly have brought me smiles. And that is a very good thing.

Kim said...

I saw my first recipe for chickpea soup just the other day in Lidia's cookbook. Prior to that, I had been missing out! I love that you made it and posted about it because you have convinced me I need to try it.

P.S. I love chocolate too!

Lori Lynn said...

Love the idea of adding escarole and rice. That will be my next version. Thanks Claudia!
LL