- ½ Tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ lb. very lean ground beef
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup canned whole tomatoes (including juice)
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup very small pasta
- ½ cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups spinach, shredded
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- In a bowl combine the fennel seeds, oregano and ground beef. Add a little salt and pepper and form the mixture into small meatballs.
- Heat oil in a stock pot. Brown meatballs on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside. Don't clean out the pot.
- Slice onion, carrot, and celery. In the same stock pot, saute the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil for 5 minutes without browning the vegetables. Add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add the whole tomatoes, including juice, and break them up with a spoon. Add the tomato juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add pasta and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Add the chickpeas, spinach, and basil to soup. Add the meatballs to the soup and cook to heat through, about 4 or 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove and discard all side leaves and branches.
- Holding celery stalk firmly under a heavy stream of water, brush down both the inside and outside of the celery stalk with your finger or a vegetable brush.
- If a worm is spotted in the celery stalk, slit open celery stalk, remove worm and wash thoroughly.
DESCRIPTION: Fresh Chives, basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme are often used as spices or garnishing.
Please Note: Curly leaf parsley is very difficult to check. It is therefore recommended that only flat leaf parsley be used.
INFESTATION: Aphids, thrips and other insects may often be found on the leaves and stems of these herbs. Insects tend to nestle in the crevices between the leaves and branches of herbs. These insects can curl up and stick to the leaf once they come in contact with water.
Vegetable spinners, power hoses, and light boxes are not always available in the home. We therefore recommend the following alternate procedure.
RECOMMENDATION: In order to determine if a particular bunch of herbs is infested prior to washing, bang it several times over a white cloth. This is most important when checking oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. If only one or two insects are found proceed with the steps below. If three or more insects are detected in a particular bunch of herbs it should not be used.
- Soak herbs in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated unscented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
- Agitate the herbs in the soapy water, in order to loosen the sticking excretion of the bugs.
- Using a heavy stream of water, thoroughly wash off the soap and other foreign matter from the herbs.
- Check both sides of each leaf under direct light.
- If one or two insects are found, rewash the herbs.
- If any insects are found after repeating the agitation process twice, the entire bunch must be discarded.
Please note: To prepare herbs such as cilantro, dill, or parsley for use in soups, wash them thoroughly and place in a cooking bag.
SPINACH & ARUGULA:
Please note: Only flat leaf spinach is recommended because its flat surface lends itself to efficient washing. Curly leaf spinach is difficult to clean and check. It is therefore not recommended.
INFESTATION: Spinach and arugula tend to be highly infested throughout the year. Light green thrips are often found in the small curls of the leaves. Occasionally, worms may be found in burrows within the body of the leaf. Look for a narrow (1/8_) translucent burrow speckled with black dots breaking up the deep green color of the leaf. These burrows will often trap the worm within the leaf. To rid the leaf of these worms, carefully slit the bumpy part within the burrow with a sharp knife and remove the worm.
- Soak leaves in a solution of cold water and vegetable wash. The proper amount of vegetable wash has been added when some bubbles are observed in the water. (In the absence of vegetable wash, several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent may be used. However, for health reasons, care must be taken to thoroughly rinse off the soapy solution.)
- Separate the spinach leaves and agitate them in the soapy solution.
- Using a heavy stream of water or a power hose, remove all foreign matter and soap from the leaf surface. Alternatively, a vegetable brush may be used on both sides of the leaf.
- Several leaves should be checked over a light box or under strong overhead light to verify that the washing procedure has been effective. Both sides of the leaf must be checked.
- If it is practical, it is best to check each leaf.