Continuing my shameful run of belated recipe-of-the-day posts, I now post the happy ending to my Italian soup run from the past several days. I did previously mention in my post on minestrone alla Genovese-Filippino that I unintentionally made so much soup I kept the other half for very-near-future-so-that-it-won’t-go-rotten consumption; at the same time, that evening, I had a quarter of a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup left over after making my Italian chicken tomato soup spaghetti. To prevent any vegetables from becoming unpalatable, and to ensure that the soup still tasted good, I decided, the next day, to use at least the Genovese-Filippino up.
My usual breakfast is The Honourable Nigella Lawson’s Mexican scrambled eggs, a healthy mixture of fried tortilla bread, spring onions, green chili peppers, and tomatoes [well, fried isn’t that healthy, unless, I guess, you use a healthy oil that won’t smoke when you cook the dish – oh yes, I should try using olive pomace oil for this next time], and, as it is a scrambled egg dish, scrambled eggs. O:) But Nigella uses corn tortillas, which are nowhere to be found here (I use wheat), so it’s not as delicious as her version I think; corn tortillas are sweeter, I heard. So inevitably, and I confess, there are times when I don’t want to eat my Mexican scrambled eggs. Yesterday was one of those times.
To wrap up my three meals of Italian gastronomic delight, and to further explore culinary, non-cooking usages of olive oil, I decided to make my Italian breakfast. The star of the morning would be a bowl of minestrone, as it is the healthy bowl in my humble opinion – though the way I lazily stumble through making said soup isn’t really that virtuous. I usually add some macaroni for carbs, but after feeling inspired by Italiannis (my other favorite, and go-to, Italian restaurant) and having recently been berated by my family for not eating enough carbs (translation: rice – our family believes rice superior to bread or noodles), I decided to add some bread (I want to eat other foods in that level of the food pyramid in place of rice sometimes). But I went beyond simple toast and whipped out two bottles of very Italian ingredients: balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. These I placed into a shallow bowl the way we do in Italian restaurants, and that was where I dipped my bread into, savoring its tongue-tickling delights and, I hope, health benefits.
As for my soup, I did one step, and one step only: I combined the minestrone alla Genovese-Filippino, Campbell’s tomato soup condense, and macaroni into my ever-ready pot, and waited until it bubbled fiercely and the macaroni was cooked al dente. Naturally, after I had replaced it into the Sistema soup bowl I stored the minestrone in, I added a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil.
To this holy trinity of comfort food I added one more delight: a package I had bought from Duty Free the other day. I love Ritz Toasted Chips, which are healthier-eating crackers that are toasted and not fried. The first flavor I ever had was the cheddar flavor, which is heavenly, but I discovered a newer flavor last week that sent us all scrambling back to the Ritz rack for more: the Garden Valley Veggie flavor.
It is typical southern-American fare, with the taste bud-stimulating flavor of the vegetables similar to what one would find in a tortilla or vegetable soup from this part of the Beautiful Country (Chinese and Japanese speakers would know what I mean by this :D). When I opened the first package right after we paid, I enjoyed it so much that I dashed back inside to get another one. This is the vegetable taste I want to live the rest of my life on, a daily bowl of hearty, healthy, and zingy vegetable soup in front of me. One way I did this was with my minestrones above and previously.
In fairness, even with just ¼ of the canned tomato soup added into about 1½ cups of the minestrone alla Genovese-Filippino, it tasted remarkably sharp, as if I had cooked a tomato-based minestrone in the first place. And it was a fine way of wrapping up two meals of experimenting for me – my first non-tomato minestrone, and my poultry take on a UCC classic using a would-have-been childhood staple (we always got Campbell’s when I was a child, but strangely, never the Tomato Soup; perhaps they felt I didn’t like it).
Now, I feel more inspired in Italian cooking than ever, and determined to take a leaf out of Nigella’s book (pun totally intended, but not meant to be taken literally – I abhor the desecration of books) and live out that culinary culture of hospitality, free spirit, and vibrance, adding the personal twists of my own background and environment into it. It’s my brand of cooking, my way of citizenship, sustainability, and social responsibility doing something I truly love.