1. Practice taking pictures with my sweet camera while there was natural light
2. Make some Minestrone
Nate and I both really like Minestrone but I've never made it. I have not idea why not, since it is basically vegetable soup...but I digress. I knew I wanted to make it in the crock pot, so I found a recipe in my new crock-pot cookbook that my brother gave me for Christmas.
I got all of my lovely fresh produce at my new favorite (and almost exclusive) grocery store, Sunflower Market. Here's a picture of all the ingredients "mise en place" which is French for "set in place" and basically means that all of your ingredients are ready to go, preferably measured out/chopped/prepared before your start cooking. You read about doing this all the time in cookbooks but I basically never do it (shocking)...but I'll be darned if it doesn't speed things up in the end.
One thing you should know about me is that when I cook from a recipe (especially for soups) I rarely follow the size recommendations for vegetables. If the recipe calls for a medium onion chopped...I chop an onion...regardless of size. If it calls for two small carrots...I put in two carrots. Sometimes it occurs to me that I may have over chopped one thing in particular so I might try to decrease the amount of something else...say Zuchinni in this case (you're welcome Nate). Buuuuut...usually I think to myself, "it'll be fine, it's not like we're going to think there's too many onions in this soup."
Remember I'm practicing my photography skills...hence all the artsy angles.
Anyway, I'm thinking that my generous use of vegetables is why most of my "soups" turn out to be more like "stew." Because...you know...I follow the recipe exactly when it calls for the amount of liquid.
This recipe called for a dry red wine. I used to use cooking wine, but a few of the articles I've read about cooking with wine made me feel like I might as well be cooking with toilet water. So I lugged my pregnant, Mormon self to the liquor store to purchase these cute little single serving bottles of wine. They come in packs of four...isn't that great!
And here is the final product. Made complete with fresh parmesan and sourdough bread. Mmmm. It was delicious.
**I'd now like to put in a plug for Laurel's friend's new blog. Grant has some pretty hilarious posts about his new slow cooker. I'd also like to say that if Grant happens to read this particular post, he needs to know that I do not recommend this cookbook for him because I think the recipes require more preparation than he's willing to do...but I could be wrong.