Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Feastof Soup

I'm not a lover of cold New England weather.  Mid-Spring will always be my favorite time of year, but there is something to be said for those beginning days of fall when the air just begins to chill, and the smell of damp or burning autumn leaves hangs in the air.  It's when the cooking side of me kicks in.

I'm a good cook who enjoys it, but now that my husband (a phenomenal cook and a stay at home Dad) does most of it, I prefer not having to think about it as much.  Until this time of year that is.  When the chill sets in so does the desire for foods that will warm my family on the inside and fill them with the feeling of home that I remember from cold Sunday's when my Mom would make a big Sunday meal. While I still enjoy a good roast, or poultry (especially now with our convection oven!) I can always count on soup to find my thrill.

Soup is easy, yet so many people avoid it.  A few years ago I figured out the secret: anything goes!  Let the cold wind owl and shake the windows in their sills,  let the light drop from the sky too early, if you have a really good bowl of soup it simply feels like part of the adventure.  Add a glass of wine, and the warmth will really settle in.

I do not meaure.  I "feel" my way through the addition of ingredients and smell my way through the spices based on what goes in.  Tonight, I have started by sauteing the following:

all Fresh -
Leeks (are phenomenal!)
Red onion
sliced portabello mushrooms
fresh chile pepper
brussell sprouts

Once all of those ingredients begin to soften up a tad, I ad a bit of the pre-made Kitchen Basics (no salt) soup base.  Then I start layering in my spices.  Tonight it was salish, fresh ground pepper, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, chives, cumin, bay leaf and dried porchini mushrooms.

Once those have melded and the smell was right, I added in the remaining carton of soup stock, about 8 cups of boiling spring water and diced up chicken thighs.  Chicken thighs, even you haven't tried them, give soup the best deep flavor.  And the longer you can simmer the soup, the better it becomes.

The light has faded in our dining room, the clouds are under lit in the most incredible mauve tones and the air has stilled.  The soup simmers ready for ladling into bowls.

Happy Sunday evening.  May your week be easy on your brain.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ready or Not....Not!

My oldest boy recently invited a girl to his school dance.  I was just looking at a picture of him holding his baby brother; he has the soft skinned puffy look of of a typical four year old.  He's no longer that boy to me, but nonetheless I cannot fathom fully that ten years have passed, nor that he's half way through the pubescent stage of boyhood and girls have become interesting.

When did I become the adult here?  I still dream about traveling about the world.  I still wonder what I'm going to be in order to make those travels happen and I got nervous thinking about meeting the parents even though it's my son dating the girl, not me dating the guy!

We haven't fully fallen pray to the "supposed to be" which is likely why we can still have fun, and we probably never will.  Life is short and we are all going to die.  Why start any sooner than we have to?

G., who is still so young in many ways is nevertheless beginning his own life.  I started teaching him how to drive this summer letting him get behind the wheel in a vacant parking lot..  I'm not one of those who isn't ready to let go, and I know when to push when they feel they aren't ready.  But it brings a tinge of sadness to my heart to know that soon he will be beyond our full influence.  That he'll be persuaded by his own heart, by the wiles of another, by the pressures of life's demands.  We've repeated some of our parent's mistakes.  We have rectified others.  And we find ourselves finally understanding what they tried to tell us.  That no one is perfect that no one has handed to them an instruction manual.  You do the best you can, you pay attention, and you let them go when their wings begin to strenghten....