Monday, August 30, 2010

Adapt, Substitute, and Enjoy!

Living and cooking in my border town always seems to present one challenging situation after another. One major challenge over the last year has been trying to find all the ingredients in my recipes. We have a Wal-Mart, a HEB, and a tiny base commissary. The HEB has the best selection of most things, but even they don't carry everything. With the closest speciality grocer about 300 miles away, you have to learn to adapt your recipes and make substitutions. Today's recipe is a great example of one such substitution! Apparently barley does not make its way down to my little border town, so some quinoa I had from a big city trip did the job!

The Friday before last I got  wisdom teeth out. Since then I have been on a liquid/soft diet. So, we've had a lot of soups. This was probably my favorite out of the new ones I tried.

Zuppa of Farro With Tomatoes and Spinach

1 tsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 medium sized carrots, finely chopped
3 ribs celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa
4. cups chopped spinach
salt and pepper
2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onions, carrots, and celery, stirring until the onion begins to soften, 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and broth and stir in the quinoa.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan, and simmer until the quinoa is tender - about 30 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish each serving with some cheese, if desired.

Nutritional Information:
163 calories per serving without cheese
Makes 6 servings