I LOVE FALL. My favorite time of the year when my inner bohemian soul gets rather hyper active. When fall comes around, I often take a long trip to some inspiring destination, to soak up the buzzy, artsy feeling inside me. Sadly, this year has been an exception, but I can still do tons of fun stuff at home, like cooking and photography!
At breakfast this morning, I grabbed a few cook books and magazines, trying to come up with a comfort food that the family would enjoy. There are thousands of them: Japanese, Norwegian, Italian, French, etc... I browsed through all kinds of fall and wintery recipes. But wherever it comes from at this time of year, a comfort food has got to be some kind of soup or stew, right?
I suddenly remembered a bag of beans I bought months ago, that I'd had no idea what to do with. For some reason, I've never been a big fan of beans, except edamame and gorgonzola beans. I do eat them here and there, but not often. Beans are sooooo good for you though, and my daughter is a big bean-eater. She loves munching on them. That's why I bought them, I remembered. Well, I had some left-over roasted pork in the fridge... voila! I made pork and bean soup - really, tasty, definitely nutritious, universal comfort food.
I love making soup. We have it almost every day. I also love making bread, but I haven't done it in a while. Now is the chance. I made a loaf of bread based on a recipe from this lovely cook book that I'm fond of browsing through. It's such a simple whole wheat bread that anyone can make. Feeling pretty good about the combo : )
Pork and Bean Soup (makes 4 big servings)
2 cups of assorted beans (lentil, kidney, white, red, gorgonzola, black eye, soy, etc)
1 1/2 lb. of pork
4 cups of chicken or vegetable soup stock
1/2 cup of chopped bacon
1 cup of chopped yellow onion
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of diced carrots
2-3 cloves of garlic
A hand full of fresh thyme, oregano, sage and Italian parsley
1 bay leaf
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of paprika
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1tsp of cumin
Soak the beans in water overnight in a bowl. Chop garlic, onion, carrots, celery and bacon. Put olive oil, garlic and bacon in a heated pan. Cut the pork in small pieces (I used a left-over roasted pork) and add them into the pan and cook until browned. Add all the chopped vegetables, and then salt and pepper. Satay them for 5-10 min. Pour soup stock in. Add beans, chopped herbs, bay leaf and spices.
Cover the pan and simmer it for at least an hour.
A Loaf of Whole Wheat Bread:
4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tbsp of yeast
2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of honey
Mix all the dry ingredient is in a big bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl and add it into the dry mixture. Mix them well and knead it well for 5 min. Cover the dough and leave it in a warm place for 30 min. Take all the air out by punching the dough and leave it again in a greased loaf pan until it becomes the same size again for about 30 min. Preheat the oven to 375 ˚F. Put the loaf pan into the oven and bake it for 45-60 min.