Photo: Kelly Rossiter
I'm still managing to cook my meals without heading out to the grocery store. It's a bit of an exercise in frugality by not spending any money, but also using up the vegetables I have before buying any more. I'm starting to have some space in both my refrigerator and my kitchen cupboards. Now all I have to do is use up my pickles and condiments, as I still have plenty in my cold storage room from my mad preserving this past year.Rather than cook with Indian spices today, I went with a Mediterranean style vegetable stew. The tiny container with leftover tomato paste was the deciding factor. I've thrown out more moldy tomato paste because it always gets lost at the back of the fridge and I was determined not to let this stuff go the same way. Add some vegetables from the crisper, some of my home canned tomatoes, a can of beans and I was in business. If I'd been thinking, I would have put some pasta in there as well. I transfered this to the oven, but you can cook it on top of the stove if you like. There was lots left over, so tomorrow I will add some vegetable stock or even water to it and have a great vegetable soup.
Bean and Vegetable Stew
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 portobello mushroom, or 6 button mushrooms
1/4 savoy cabbage, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 can tomatoes, with juice, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 pitted green olives, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add onion and celery, stir and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add green pepper, zucchini, mushroom, cabbage and thyme cook until the vegetables have begun to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste and tomatoes and about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water, depending on how soupy you want the stew. Add beans and olives stir in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover.
3. You can transfer the dutch oven to a 350F oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, or keep it cooking on the stove over a low heat, for about the same time.