Herbaceous Babe is going to be a little less regular in the days to come as the author gets launched in her professional career. Keep checking back, because there's no telling when a new post will appear!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Senza Ricetta Stew

Senza Ricetta  is regular fare in my family. But the phrase "just like ma used to make" holds a different meaning for us. You see, my mother almost never used a recipe, especially for soup. It usually involved a legume, a grain, with a handful of this and a dash of that, then served with the disclaimer, "If you like it, great. If you don't, oh well. Either way, you'll probably never have it again." Over the last year, I've carried on the tradition, making one-time wonders nearly every week. The Wild Rice and Lentil Stew from last month was one such recipe, followed by many other variations of Senza Ricetta (Italian: without recipe).

If this post provided a recipe, the title would be an oxymoron. However, hopefully the following ideas will inspire a bit of reckless creativity in your kitchen!

Once upon a time, my sister left me for a week without a dinner companion. On lonely nights, I have a terrible habit of raiding the cupboard for rice cakes and raisins. To prevent such aimless grazing, I assembled an epicly nutritious soup with chickpeas, kale, zucchini, tomato, onion, carrot, celery, jalapeno, salt and pepper that bears a striking resemblance to December's Winter Bean Soup or Happy Herbivore's Chana Palak Masala.

This one reminds me a bit of paella. It was near the end of the grocery week, and any leftover veggies went into the pot: tomato, squash, and who knows what else, paired with the ubiquitous wild rice. Hearty, cozy, and perfect for a winter evening.

A festive spin-off of the Creamy Kale, I used wild rice and threw in some chopped red bell pepper for a slightly different flavour.

Finally, a crowning moment. Nothing can transform a standard lentil and rice soup into a gourmet wonder quite like balsamic vinegar and sage. Of course, the garlic, ginger and chili powder may have helped a bit.

Soups are pretty hard to mess up. So play a little. Treat every day as a culinary adventure. And, if all else fails, remember you never have to make the same thing twice.

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