tea party and houseguests, I spent way too much in May. I'm going to do a modified pantry endurance test - I'll still need to buy produce and dairy. There's loads of protein in the house, including the turkey I bought in November. That sucker is going to take a week to defrost, it's been at the bottom of the chest freezer so long.
First up is things that need to be used before they go bad. Top of that list was an opened can of tomato paste. I wonder if the stuff would last longer if it was sold in those pouches like fruit purées. It's just a shame to toss a can after you've used only one or two tablespoons. The last bit of white beans in the pantry and a quickie veggie broth out of the full broth bag makes this a nice starter or light meal.
There was a minor snafu the day I made this. The power went out due to the heat wave, and it wasn't even a very hot day. Somewhere in the back of my memory was the fact that you used to have to light gas stoves with a match before electric starters were invented. Half of the problem solved, I had to figure out how to purée the beans. I got out the food mill, which is a manual food processor. Unfortunately, food mills catch all the skins and fibers in food and pass through only the soft matter. Beans are all fiber and skin. Still, it mashed them fairly well. I scraped all the mash that didn't pass through the holes into the pot. My soup was not nearly as smooth as if I had been able to use the blender, and the bean solids kept sinking to the bottom, which meant my basil garnish wouldn't float. The flavor was still what I expected, just not the texture.
I added too much salt. The vegan way to fix this is to add more bean purée or a dollop of unseasoned mashed potato. Lacking either, I used some un-vegan heavy cream. For the leftovers, I simply had it chilled. The saltiness was perfect for a chilled soup and I didn't have to add anything for balance.
1 quart vegetable broth (low-salt if you can find it)
*1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 C dry Navy beans (or 1 15oz can)
salt and white pepper to taste
fresh basil for garnish
1. If using dry beans, soak for 8 hours and simmer for 2. For canned, drain and rinse.
2. Purée beans in blender with 1 C of broth. Bring purée, tomato paste, and all of broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Taste and add salt and white pepper as necessary. Serve hot, garnished with fresh basil or another herb that works with the rest of the meal.
Difficulty rating π