I really wasn’t sure what to do with all that cheddar I hoarded back from Tillamook. When the nice lady working at the factory’s store told me that the cheese was indeed transportable as long as it was unopened, I went apeshit and got a few blocks, forgetting that the only thing I really do with cheddar – and I only eat the sharpest of the sharp white – is slice it up and munch on it with wine, or make a decadent quiche. But, I do love that cheese. I have an immature taste when it comes to cheeses – back when most people were in their cheddar phase at oh, maybe five, I was tasting and spitting out Kraft American singles.
So when the latest Food and Wine magazine published a recipe for White Cheddar and Scallion muffins, this had to be for me. Since I rarely bake, the first ingredient purchased was a muffin pan. I got a silly, rubbery silicon one in cobalt blue that looks like it should belong in PeeWee’s Playhouse rather than a kitchen. I’m not sure why manufacturers have to choose bright colors for an already preposterous-looking tool.
The muffins – I don’t have anything less than fantastic to say about them. The recipe did call for using only scallion greens, however, so I paired these muffins with a light soup that uses the rest of the scallion.
White Bean Zucchini Soup
The simplicity of this recipe really rides on using fresh, green, and flavorful vegetables. Caution on use of rice: if soup is too salty, it’s a good idea to add it, but if soup tastes slightly bland, it’s best to use a smaller amount of rice and season to taste.
1 can cannelini beans
1 can low-sodium chicken broth (or veg. broth)
1 large whole celery stalk and the top half of another celery stalk, both with plenty of green leaves
1 medium carrot, peeled, halved and chopped to a small dice
2 large scallions, chopped (reserve most of the green parts for the muffins if cooking)
½ of a medium to large zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bay leaf
Handful of rice (optional)
Heat olive oil in pan and add celery, carrots, and scallions. Cook on low for 5-10 minutes, stirring. Add garlic and stir. Add broth, beans with liquid from can, bay leaf, and some black pepper and heat through. If using rice, add and stir. Cover, and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. For slightly thicker texture, mash beans a little with a wooden spoon against the pan. Add zucchini, and cook 5 minutes longer. Add more pepper or salt to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with any leftover scallion.