Disclaimer: If you’re a food-lover and prone to foodgasms like I am, the content of this post may be considered pornographic… although my photography isn’t wonderful enough to do the food justice.
This post could also have been titled “How to make a complicated recipe even more complicated” because that’s precisely what I did. The recipe is Italian Bread and Cabbage Soup from Jamie Oliver At Home. One of the best cookbooks in the history of cookbooks, in my opinion. And this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. But Jamie’s recipes aren’t exactly quick – at least not the ones in this book – so it’s a good thing it also feeds us for three solid days.
What’s so complicated about this particular dish is the number of times you have to cook and then set aside, which happens to be my cooking pet peeve because it uses so many extra dishes. But anyway, away I went, boiling the entire head of cabbage and the bunch of kale and setting them aside. Frying bacon, mixing in boiled cabbage and setting it all aside. Rubbing garlic onto a bazillion slices of toasted bread… and setting them aside.
But you might know by now I’m a bit picky about my food being real. I’m positively anal about Little Man’s food being real. One thing I’m really not ready for to him eat yet is factory bread. The ingredient list on most bread packages makes me feel sick, so he only eats bread if I make it at home. Thus, I spent the morning making lovely whole wheat italian bread that I would sacrifice to the soup. That’s it on the baking stone.
I also don’t love commercial soup bases. If you get the liquid versions, they’re disgustingly salty. The bouillon cubes are not only disgustingly salty, but also full of hydrogenated oils and food dyes. So I make my own. In this case, 3 quarts of it. I keep a ‘stock box’ in my freezer to collect stems from greens, carrot tops, asparagus bottoms, meat bones… Every week or so it gets full enough to make a little pot of stock that I stick back in the freezer for days like yesterday. No salt, no food dye.
So once I brewed up some stock, baked some bread, par-cooked everything else and set it aside, I assembled the whole thing in layers like a trifle. Whew! Like I said, luckily it’s a huge dish (as evidenced by the barely noticeable dent made in it by filling my bowl) and a delicious one (just ask Little Man, who scarfed it down)! Yay for cooking from scratch 🙂