Monday, March 26, 2012

Italian Chickpea and Greens Soup and the art of bartering

A Guest Post by Finn the Cooking Assistant (aka the dog picker)

I learned how to barter from my old mentor Abe when I was a puppy. Abe would sprawl across doorways or pull his ancient flaccid body onto chairs just vacated by the Lady or Man. The Man would choose another route, step over Abe, or sit in an uncomfortable chair, but the Lady enticed Abe to move with biscuits, and sometimes only when she resorted to cheese, would Abe open his eyes. The Lady called this "bribing," but I like to call it bartering because we both get what we want in the end.

When my sister Chloe came to live here, she invented a fun game. When we are outside and want to be inside, we to run out to the edge of the yard and bark at the pit bulls next door. We keep barking even if the pit bulls aren't out. Our goal is to get in the house pronto. We occasionally look at the back door and sooner or later the Lady looks out and yells "Stop it!" This is the fun part. We wag our tails as if she's cheering us on and we bark louder, and usually within a few minutes, the Lady returns with a reward for each of us. Once I thought I heard her hiss " you bad dogs!" I ignored this bad loser attitude. I try to repeat this game as often as possible.

Walks also offer an ideal bartering opportunities. On the lookout for delicious treats, I try not to leave my finds until a chip is offered. This too, is a great game, but the lady is often a poor sport and she scolds me

I was allowed to take this find home. Management consistency, I tell you; I'm glad when it works in my favor.

I pout when bartering chips aren't offered. The "sad look" comes easy and I mine it frequently. Being cute is also rewarded.

The word "Wait" will also bring very cool rewards--baby carrots, sticks of celery, brussels sprouts, apple slices and all manner of dog biscuits. Big or small, life is good.

Often the aroma is overwhelming.

And who am I to whine about half-empty or half-full or even an empty bowl? The next phase is handing it to me so I can lick it out.

This snood keeps my ears keeps them from dragging in food as I eat. If you want to know I have many of them, but I don't complain about things Management fusses over. Distractions do not make me lose my focus.

For this soup, the Lady used things from the pantry, the door to which, I'm not allowed to even sniff, but geezer Abe, the Gingerbead Thief, occasionally hit the pantry door just right with his nose and it popped open. What pantry staples Abe finished off in the back of his kennel was a deep secret.

Chickpea Soup with Garlic, Greens and Parsley
(Serves 4 to 6)

A handful of dry mushrooms, soaked in 3 cups boiling water
1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 head garlic, cloves separated, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dry basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano oregano or rosemary
1 carrot or sweet potato, diced
1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional)
1 28-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup sliced olives
4 cups chopped greens, tough stems removed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn or peas
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Soak mushrooms for an hour. Remove mushrooms and chop, then return them to the water.

2. Rinse the chickpeas and set aside. Heat a soup pot or a pressure cooker over medium heat. Add the garlic and oil, stir and saute until garlic begins to brown. Stir in basil, oregano, then add carrot, sweetener (if desired), tomatoes, mushrooms and water, and drained chickpeas.

3. Cover or secure the pressure cooker lid. Simmer for 1 hours or more until chickpeas are tender or bring up to pressure, cook for 12 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. (Total cooking time is about 20 minutes with the natural cool down.)

3. Stir in the olives, greens, corn or peas and simmer over low until greens are tender. This take about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley or Parmesan cheese.

All I've got to say is, if you're really going to call this soup Italian, use flatleaf parley. Management happens to be a fan of curly parsley, so maybe they should've called it French Chickpea and Greens soup.

Not sure I'm up for the parsley, but do I get around it?

I'll just take a little off the sides. No one will ever know.


Torviewtoronto said...

soup looks wonderful lovely pictures

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

Thanks so much for visiting. The chickpeas melted like butter, they're one of my favorite beans.

Joan said...

Definitely a soupy day here in the PNW! I think I do have chickpeas in my cupboard...thanks for the dinner inspiration!
p.s. love that sneaky little lick Finn!

Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

I hope you liked it Joan, it's an easy-to-make soup, the greens and tomatoes, I could easily make this one again.

Debbie @ Easy Natural Food said...

So excited to see another soup from you! You and your cooking assistant have outdone yourselves, this looks delicious! Chickpeas are a real favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing this with Sunday Night Soup Night, look forward to seeing you again soon!