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The Vegetarian

Spring Is Best Season for Abundant Choices

June 02, 1988|DIANA SHAW | Shaw is a free-lance writer in Los Angeles.

While making meals for a friend recovering from surgery, I've found that spring is the best of all possible seasons to be indisposed. The simple reason is the abundance of foods available--sending up the last of the potatoes and winter squash, and yielding the first of the tomatoes and corn. Spring offers an optimal selection of vegetables to press into service for rich and savory sources of vitamins.

SPRING GARDEN

SAFFRON SOUP

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped white onions

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 large sweet red pepper, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 1/2 cups chopped leeks

1 teaspoon saffron

1 bay leaf

Salt, pepper

2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

4 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped (2 cups)

3 medium potatoes, skinned and cut into bite-size cubes

1 cup dry white wine

2 cups fresh corn kernels

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup whipping cream

Chopped parsley

Heat oil in large saucepan or kettle. Saute onions and garlic until onions turn translucent. Add red pepper, green pepper, leeks and saffron and stir until blended. Add bay leaf salt and pepper to taste. Stir again.

Add thyme and tomatoes and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add potatoes and wine, stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Add corn kernels and vegetable broth. Cover and cook 15 minutes.

Add cream and bring to boil. Remove from heat.

Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

WINTER TO SPRING BEAN SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 slice whole grain bread, cut into sixths

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans

1 large tomato, peeled and chopped

1 bay leaf

4 cups shredded cabbage

6 cups water or combination water and liquid from cooking beans

Salt, freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Heat oil in large saucepan and saute garlic and bread over low heat until garlic turns golden.

Remove pan from heat and stir in parsley. Add potato, garbanzo beans, tomato, bay leaf, cabbage water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return to heat and bring to boil.

Cook over medium heat 30 minutes. Puree, if desired.

Just before serving, add spinach and cook just until bright green, roughly 2 to 3 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

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