Thursday, April 28, 2011

Winter CSA Cooking: White Bean, Pancetta, and Cheddar Soup

End of Season Soup
"When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."
-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

If you truly love food, and you haven't read Hemingway's, "A Moveable Feast", please drop what you're doing, and set out to read it. You will not be disappointed. I promise.

False springs are common here in New England. Sometime in March, you'll get a 65 degree day, quickly followed by 6-inches of snow. March and the beginning of April can seem painfully long. Bare, dead trees dotting the landscape; your grass a shade of brown straw. However, as if by magic, and overnight, the rains come. It's cold, it's dreary, but suddenly you start to see green again. It graces the trees, your lawn, and the tulips start actually revealing their party dresses in hues of yellow, red, and white.

It's time to put to bed my Winter CSA experiment. I wandered to Heron Pond Farm in South Hampton, New Hampshire for my first pickup way back in October. At that point, my bags were filled with bright fall corn and as many pumpkins as I could handle. As the leaves fell from the trees, kale filled those baskets, along with beautiful sweet onions, garlic, and the random kohlrabi. I learned new ways of preparing new produce. I found exciting ways to cook those dear and dear to my heart. I learned to love kale, a lot. I hope you all learned a bit about how to cook your way locally through the winter as well. You can see all the various recipes by clicking here.

Now, would I do it again? I definitely would. Having a constant supply of local produce all winter long was priceless. I did miss scouring the market for my own things, but it sparked my creativity to do different things with the items I was getting every (or later in the season, every-other week). That being said, I'm very much looking forward to the opening of the Newburyport Farmers' Market this weekend (details later in this post).

Along with the opening of the market, I'm happy to pass on that every Monday I'm going to be trying to help you all ease into local eating. No politics, no stigmas, just happy, local, yummy food. I'm hoping to help you stretch your dollars locally, learn how to prepare what you can find at market, and hopefully preserve some of the bounty for the long winter months. I'm so excited to help you get on this path. It's a fabulous change in your life that will not only enrich your kitchen, but your community as well. I hope you'll join me, ask questions, and join in the discussion along the way!

However, before we say good-bye to the winter, I have one more recipe to help you use up the last of those late winter/early spring vegetables. We'll nickname it "End-of-Season Soup", and you can pretty much change out the produce to whatever you have - greens, carrots, parsnips, whatever. I hope you enjoy.

White Bean, Pancetta, and Cheddar Soup
Serves: 4-6

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup pancetta, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large parsnips, roughly chopped
1 can white kidney beans (cannellini beans), drained and rinsed well
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar (I used Cabot Extra-Sharp), shredded

In a large dutch oven, over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Once heated, add pancetta and cook until crisp. In the drippings, add onion and saute until translucent. Now, add your garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. At this point, you can add your carrots and parsnips, and cook until tender about 8-9 minutes, stirring here and there so your garlic doesn't burn. Next, pour your beans into the mix and cook for about a minute before adding your chicken broth to the mix. Finally, season with salt, pepper and dijon mustard. Lastly, add your shredded cheddar and stir until it melts into the soup. Simmer for 30 minutes so the flavors can combine.

North Shore Bloggers Consortium Weekend Picks 4/29-5/1

Opening Day of Newburyport Farmers' Market
Sunday, May 1st - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tannery Marketplace, 50 Water St. Newburyport, Ma.

Yay! My home market is back and open for business! So many awesome local farms, artisans and vendors will pack the parking lot so you can pick up all that spring has to offer. There will also be live music and plenty of snacks. Please stop by!

The 6th Annual Newburyport Literary Festival
Friday, April 29 & Saturday, April 30
Various locations click here for details

This is an amazing event. It celebrates all kinds of literature from fiction, non-fiction to children's books and poetry. There's a opening ceremony at the Firehouse Center for the Arts on Friday night, and a breakfast and a TON of activities on Saturday. See the website linked above for all the details!

Pettengill Farm Open House
Saturday, April 30th, all-day
45 Ferry Road, Salisbury

Welcome spring with an historic flower farm that has been in their family since 1792. They strive to grow for you the latest and greatest in annuals, perennials, shrubs, and roses. On Saturday, April 30, please join Pettengill Farm for the “It’s Showcase Time” Spring Open House! This all day event will feature free mini classes from 10a – 12p, refreshments, prizes and more.

See what the other North Shore Bloggers have in store for you this weekend!

From Good Morning Gloucester’s Joey C, the usual fantastic round up here.

The wonderful Jane Ward has some great ideas, over at Food and Fiction.

The Two Palaverers have chosen some fine things for you to explore and you’ll find those here.

Check out what Seth of Lynn Happens has found for you here.

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Marie @ Chocolate and Wine said...

I think my boyfriend and I might go to the Newburyport Farmer's Market this weekend! Maybe I'll see you there!

xo - Marie
Chocolate & Wine said...

Sounds like New England and the Midwest have something in common... We had 70+ two weeks ago... then this nasty overcast with rain that has yet to go away! BUT I can enjoy this weather with a bowl of that!! I love everything that is in there... especially the pancetta!! :) YUM! Delicious soup, Kim!

Celia said...

This looks so delicious! I'm going to be holed up for the bar exam in Newton this summer - can't wait to see your local produce recs, and try some of the recipes out on my family...

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

Marie - drop me an email if you do, I'd love to say hi!:-)

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

I have family out in Chicago, and we were on a cruise together last week and while we were down there, they said it snowed 3 inches at home... in late APRIL!!!

Kimmy @ Lighter and Local said...

I hope you get to try some of them out, and if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked (or didn't like) them. I love feedback!

Fooddreamer said...

Looks fantastic! That's my kind of soup.

Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels said...

Oh my this soup looks soooo good. Love the addition of the extra sharp cheddar. YUM! :)

Wendy (healthier kitchen) said...

I love this soup!  Will save for fall, though, as it just got HOT here in DC.  So great to meet you last week!  Love your blog.