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The comic, inspiring and always fashionable adventures of this "mad designer" as she navigates the reality of pursuing her dream...living the artisan lifestyle of a jewelry designer.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Minestrone Soup



Funny, I started this blog to promote my jewelry but I feel that I need to include my other love… food. Spring in Hanoi, Vietnam has been moderate (mid 80’s) so far except for one really hot week (high 90’s)  in which I thought I would have to stop cooking for the season because I couldn’t stand to add any additional heat indoors. Anyway, today was nice, slightly overcast so I thought this would be the perfect time to try out a new recipe. 


Artichokes may be my favorite food which is what originally drew me to this “Spring Minestrone Soup” recipe in the first place…imagine my surprise when I got home from shopping for veggies only to realize I was out of artichoke hearts! No worries…I substituted mixed mushrooms (white button & baby portabella) for the artichokes. My original thought was to add yellow squash & zucchini but after I prepped all the veggies I could see this was going to be a very hearty soup so I ( with some difficulty) controlled myself and pretty much stuck to the original recipe below. See notes after the recipe for my other substitutions & additions. My tummy is full and I have a huge smile on my face, I would definitely make this again next time with the artichokes in addition to my mushrooms just to see if I was missing anything with my substitution…Enjoy!


Spring Minestrone Soup Recipe

from La Tartine Gourmande

  • Prep time: 20 minutes (give or take)
  • Cook time: 40 minutes

You can either make fresh pesto for this recipe, or you can just buy some high-quality pesto in the market.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 green garlic stalks, or 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 pound baby potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen), chopped roughly
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (peel and slice slightly thinner if you use the fat stocks)
  • 2 cups greens (dandelion, chard, spinach, kale, arugula, etc.), sliced into thin ribbons
  • Up to 1/4 cup pesto
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for garnish
  • Finely chopped fresh herbs, finely chopped (see my additions note at the bottom)


1 Chop the green onions and green garlic and separate the white and light green parts from the green tops. If you are using regular garlic cloves, put them with the white parts of the green onions. Slice the potatoes, mushrooms if you follow my lead and artichoke hearts into chunks you would want to eat with a spoon.

2 In a large pot set over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the white parts of the green onions as well as the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the (mushrooms), potatoes, stir to combine and cook 1 minute.

3 Add the diced tomatoes with their liquid and the quart of vegetable or chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste, then cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

4 Add the artichoke hearts and cook another 5 minutes, then add the chickpeas and asparagus and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the cover from the soup and add the green peas. Cook 2 minutes. Add the greens and the green parts from the green onions and green garlic & herbs (save some herbs for garnish) if using. Stir well to combine and cook 1 minute.

5 Turn off the heat and stir in the pesto. I added more of my homemade chicken stock at this point to “soup” it back up again as it was acting more like a stew.

Serve topped with finely sliced/grated cheese and fresh chopped herbs .

Yield: Serves 4-6. (Very hearty 6 main course serving, in my opinion)


  • 1 1/2 heaping cups Mixed Mushrooms (white & portabella) sliced and cut into spoon size bits vs. artichoke hearts
  • My  2 cups of greens:
    • Unknown Vietnamese greens (looks like cross between baby spinach and lettuce but who knows)
    • Leek greens that would not fit in refrigerator veggie drawer

Additional Herbs:

  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme finely chopped
  • Assorted Fresh Bun Cha Herbs finely chopped (left over from my salad basket at lunch assorted Vietnamese mint)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ROCK ON...with Phoenix Design Jewelry!

ROCK ON! by Phoenix Design Jewelry