Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Living in Season
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)
48 degrees, wet and blustery. A typical late fall/early winter day where we live. I know many people long for year round summer but I have learned from experience (5 years in Hawaii) that I am happier living where there are distinct seasons. We live above the 45th parallel and our climate is quite mild but the change of seasons is clear.
Preparing for winter.
This winter we are in our own "new to us" home. A cement block house, built in the 50's on a 10th of an acre. A big change for us after many years of apartment living. The house is snug and much warmer than anticipated and we are enjoying the fireplace and the quiet neighborhood. After a week of sorting and putting away it is taking shape. Still don't know where some things are but it's getting closer.
Yesterday we began our 2014 garden. Re-purposed many of our moving boxes by spreading them on the backyard and covering with straw we found on craigslist. If the leaves ever fall off the trees we will rake them onto the pile and add a layer of goat or bunny manure. Soon the compost bins will be assembled in the same area. At some point a small group of chickens will be housed near by.
Husband is a WSU Master Food Preserver among other talents. The last of our big canning projects is waiting in the garage. A 40 lb. box of crisp, green Granny Smith Apples for pie filling. The scent of cinnamon will fill the house.
As a child in the high desert of Oregon I dreaded the cold of winter and being trapped indoors by the weather. Now I look forward to long evenings knitting by the fire, playing music with our friends, sharing good food and conversation.
A simmering pot of soup will fill your home with warmth, while the herbs and spices tingle your senses. Spend a quiet evening with loved ones or gather your friends to share some seasonal delight.
Toscana Soup Recipe
1 pound Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
½ pound bacon, diced
2 ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
5 medium potatoes
4 cups fresh kale
1 cup heavy cream
Brown and fully cook sausage; drain and set aside. Peel and dice potatoes; set aside in a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. Thinly slice fresh kale; set aside.
Cook diced bacon over medium heat in 8 quart saucepan until slightly crispy. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Drain excess grease. Stir in garlic and cook one minute.
Add chicken broth, water and potatoes. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer for 25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir in kale, cream and sausage. Cook for five more minutes. Serve warm. Freezes and reheats well. Serves 6-10, depending on how hungry they are and if you serve it alone or with other items like a salad.
If using a crock pot, wait to add the cream just before serving. If cream is on sale, buy the larger container and freeze it in ice cube trays. When frozen put into freezer bags and label with contents and date.
Here is a great cookbook for this time of year.