Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Happy New Year! 2011 has begun and thus so has my blog! Welcome to Table 4 Five.  As my family sets out on the Mediterranean eating adventure, I will share the experience with you here.

So I finally planned a week's worth of menus, and this week the crockpot is going to be a very good friend of mine.  Don't you just love the crockpot?  It is a working person's dream appliance. I wonder who invented the crockpot - maybe I'll have to look that up, and send the person a thank you note.

Today, however, was not about the crockpot. Today was about quick and easy.  It is 10:30pm now and I'm trying desperately to keep my head from falling on the keyboard.  I am no spring chicken, so ringing in the New Year definitely has its disadvantages.  Any way, I digress.

Today's Dinner Menus:
  • Quick Tuscan Bean Soup
  • Multi-grain French bread with olive oil
  • Merlot
I know that there are several recipes out there for not-so-quick Tuscan bean soup, and I'm sure I will try them too, but today I didn't get to the store until late and couldn't make the 8 hour crockpot version.  Thank goodness I was able to find a quick and easy version of this soup.

Without further adieu, here is the Quck Tuscan Bean Soup

It was very easy and the family seemed to love it. Thank you to Rebecca Ford for sharing this recipe on the interweb.


  • 1 onion – chopped (I prefer red)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 1 large stick of celery - chopped
  • Handful of white mushrooms - washed and rougly chopped
  • 1 can  cooked cannellini (white) or borlotti beans
  • 1 can  chopped plum tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • tomato paste
  • large handful of fresh basil
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • Around 1/2 litre of freshly boiled water


  1. Cover the bottom of a saucepan with olive oil (vary amount to your taste). Then sauté the chopped onion until it’s golden brown. Add the chopped celery and mushrooms and sauté them too.
  2. When that has softened, add the can of chopped tomatoes - and a spoonful or a generous squirt of tomato paste (vary amount to your taste) - then crush the garlic cloves and add them too.
  3. Let it come up to the boil, turn down the heat, add the canned beans, stir them in and let the soup simmer away. As it starts to thicken, add the water gradually – if you want a thinner soup, add more. Season with black pepper - and salt if you wish - and simmer for around 30 minutes. Then tear the fresh basil leaves and add to the soup, together with the dried oregano. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  4. Serve drizzled with olive oil, a sprinkling of grated parmesan – and a hunk of crusty bread.

Well that's it for today - my first dinner menu for the Mediterranean adventure has been posted. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope I gave you an idea for dinner sometime in the near future.

Until tomorrow....

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