Nancy Minestrone + crackers



This is my very own minestrone that I made up tonight! I had a bunch of soup/ chili things around and didn't want such a heavy beany chili as I usually make, but still wanted a main course soup. This totally did the trick. It's a tomato-y version of minestrone, but it's really good and has to be super healthy with all the veg in here.

Also, because we had no bread or cracker element, I made some! Davey was bananas for them, I think they're good but could use a little tinkering. It's a seriously modified recipe from a magazine (I veganized it and changed some of the flavors). They're a hint floury, but all in all, it's pretty awesome to have soup and homemade crackers, so I'm not gonna complain. If you want to make them together, the crackers took about a 1/2 hour or so, I started them after the hour simmer phase on the soup.

Here's the soup recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 large onion, diced
2 carrots, coined
2 stalks celery, chopped (I think I'd do 3 next time, the celery bites were primo)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
2 c spinach, roughly chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained
1 c. cavatappi pasta
1/3 c bulgur wheat
6 c Better Than Bouillon no chicken flavor
1 little can (8oz, I think) tomato paste
2T olive oil
1t oregano
1t parsley
1t basil
1/4 t sage
1/2 t thyme
1/4 t marjoram
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t sugar (optional)
1 bay leaf

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat, add onion, carrots and celery. Sautée until carrots are softened and onion is translucent. Add garlic for a minute or two being careful not to burn it. Add broth, tomato paste, tomatoes, all spices except basil and sugar. Once the soup starts bubbling, reduce the heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 60 minutes or so. Over the hour, stir every 15 minutes or so and taste after 45. If it's too acidic from the tomatoes, add the sugar and the beans. If not, fugget the sugar- just add the beans.

After the hour of simmering, add pasta, turn heat up to medium and cover pot. Let that go about 10-15 minutes until pasta is tender but not fully cooked. Add basil and bulgur wheat, cover and continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes until pasta is done. Add spinach and stir until it wilts, remove from heat and serve.

...And the Cracker Recipe:

1c unbleached all purpose flour
1t thyme
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 T earth balance margarine
Egg Replacer equivilant of 1 egg
1/4 c cold water
2T of olive oil for brushing the tops
salt for the tops

Preheat oven to 350. Pulse flour, salt, pepper & thyme in food processor to combine. Add margarine, pulse until it's a course meal. With machine running, add egg replacer and water, process just until dough is combined.

Roll dough out on a floured surface (it may help to divide it into 2 for rolling space), roll until dough is about 1/8" thick, err on the side of a bit thinner if you're not sure. Cut with a biscuit cutter (just like cookies, combine the scraps, re-roll, cut crackers, etc till you're out of dough). Place crackers on ungreased baking sheet.

Brush oil over crackers and dust with salt (sparingly- I love salt, but oversalted). Bake until firm to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Check on these after about 15, though, 1/2 my batch cooked way faster than the other 1/2 (uneven oven, I guess).

Cool on a cooling rack, store in an airtight container. Bask in the pride of having made a flipping cracker.