Kid got a new camera.

cabbage chop

Photographing food for this blog has been bumming me out for a long time. I cook at night — don’t we all — and the lack of natural light makes for blurry foodstuff or (worse, in my opinion) food lit by the garish point-and-shoot flash.

I have not yet become a master of this device, but suddenly it’s possible to have pictures with a foreground and a background. The next photograph does not feature this distinction, but I like it nevertheless.

place setting

Justin and I got back from our annual convention last week, an event whose encompassing cloud of anxiety we avoided for the most part by staying in Chinatown and escaping to my folks’ house as soon as we could. When we got back to Oakland this recipe had arrived in my inbox; about once a month Vegetarian Times really hits the spot with their courtesy emails, and I recommend this soup highly. It’s like a vegan risotto soup, pretty earthy with the cabbage but creamy because of those little white beans. Very comforting.

Veg Times suggest stirring a mixture of breadcrumbs and pine nuts into the soup. In an effort to one-up them I’ve added capers to the breadcrumb mix, for a little tang, and I served the breadcrumbs on the side for maximum individual control over crunchiness. I know pine nuts cost an arm and a leg but they’re worth it here — no nut is quite as creamy.

warm kitchen

White Bean and Arborio Rice Soup
serves 6
adapted from Vegetarian Times

3 T olive oil, divided
half a large yellow onion, finely chopped
2/3 C Arborio rice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
8 C vegetable stock
2 C sliced green cabbage
1 bay leaf
1 15.5 oz. can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 slices country white bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about a cup)
1/4 C pine nuts
2 t capers, drained

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring, until the onions are wilted and translucent, about 6 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until it’s toasty, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, rosemary, and cabbage, the add the stock and bay leaf and raise the heat to high. Once the soup boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the breadcrumbs. Pulse the bread, pine nuts, and capers in a food processor until mixed together and chopped. (My bread was the tough and chewy sort, so I ended up with breadcrumbs plus bread chunks–this is just fine.) In a small frypan over medium heat, saute the breadcrumb mixture in the remaining tablespoon of oil for about five minutes until the crumbs are crisp.

Taste the soup. Season with salt if needed, and once the rice is cooked add the beans. Serve, spooning the toasty breadcrumbs over the top.