Happy New Year! / by Brad Schmidt

Loving the snow!  Happy 2017!!

Loving the snow!  Happy 2017!!

Wishing everyone a fantastic 2017 ahead... may it be full of fun adventures, kindness and lots of laughter... oh, and a few dog lick's from your favorite canine! (or me.. Millie!) 

I had a blast this holiday season with lots of old and new friends to play with on the snowy trails.  It is pretty awesome here on the mountain right now with great snow and a super fast sledding hill thanks to Dad's grooming!  Here's a shot of my vacation fun and of course Mom wants to post a recipe... (she cuts into my blog all the time!).  This recipe is one "my humans" love on a chilly night and it comes together within an hour for a delicious wintertime dinner to enjoy by the crackling fire!  

SMOKEY MINESTRONE WITH TORTELLINI AND FRESH PESTO 

From Food52 blog                                                              Serves 4-6

From Food 52 food blog comes an easy weeknight dinner idea for a cold winter night... 

2 slices preservative-free bacon, chopped 

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided 

1 leek, chopped

3 carrots, chopped 

1 large onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 potato, chopped 

1 can (15 oz+/-) chickpeas

3-6 garlic cloves, to taste 

1 cup kale, chopped 

1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes

4 c chicken or vegetable stock

1 9-ounce package all-natural cheese tortellini

1 cup fresh basil or parsley leaves

2 tablespoons pine nuts

parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar for topping at service 

With an hour to dinner, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large pot and add the chopped bacon, stirring until they begin to brown. Add 2 more tablespoons of oil and add the chopped onion, garlic and leek. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. After it's softened, add the chopped carrots, zucchini, celery, and potato. Stir for another minute or two, and then add in the stock, chickpeas, and tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you go. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender.

Take a whiff of the delicious aromas now swirling around your kitchen, and set to work whipping up the pesto. First, toast the pine nuts. Then, chop the fresh basil or parsley—then, chop it some more. You want it to be very fine. Add in the pine nuts and garlic and chop them too.

Once the soup has simmered for 30 to 40 minutes, add the chopped kale and the tortellini. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the tortellini is done, but not soggy, and serve immediately. Garnish with a spoonful of the pesto, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar, if you have some handy, and buon appetito!