Yesterday dawned bright and beautiful, but boy, the wind was howling and the temperature was bone chilling cold. Not having anywhere to go and nothing better to do, I decided it was a great day to do a bit of baking and cooking. I needed to bake a couple of wheat loaves to dice up for Thursday's turkey stuffing, so I got that going first thing. The recipe I used was from my favorite bread book "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day". If you haven't checked out Zoe Bakes site yet, it's well worth a peek.
The next item on the agenda was a favorite - 15 bean soup.
To begin, head to the well stocked pantry to assemble the necessary items for the soup.
This is only one small part of the huge pantry we have downstairs. H and I awhile back decided we could not depend on our shrinking 401K and now deal in "grocery futures". We delight in finding a deal at the grocery store and stock up accordingly. Loss leaders in the weekly ads catch our eye if it's something we normally use.
Anyway, I digress. Having loaded my arms with ingredients from the pantry, I headed back upstairs to prepare the mirepoix.
Classic mirepoix consists of equal amounts of finely diced celery, carrot and onion. I used 1 carrot, 3 stalks of celery and a large onion. My personal preference is for only 1 carrot as I feel that too much of it makes the soup seem a bit sweet.
The beans were carefully picked over, rinsed and soaked the night before.
An integral part of this recipe is careful supervision by one or more cats, although the boys were more interested in playing "swat" with each other!
The veggies and about 4 minced cloves of garlic were sweated in about 2 TBSP of olive oil just until soft and the onions glassy.
Add three cans of low sodium chicken broth, one can of petite diced tomatoes, 2 bay leaves and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender - about 1 hour or so. Needless to say, this pot simmered on the wood stove til the early afternoon. About 1/2 hour before they are done, add 1 TBSP each of dried oregano and basil and a TBSP of chopped fresh rosemary, pepper to taste, and salt if you think it's necessary. Now, I could stop right here, but H thinks he's missing something if he doesn't have meat in his dish, so I chopped up one half of a smoked sausage and added that for his Highness.
The resulting potage was scrumptious and just the thing for a cold November Sunday lunch while watching a great black and white, classic movie on TV.
In addition to the cooking and baking, I've been keeping my hands very busy with my knitting. I finished a hat, scarf and mittens for H's Mother, a hat for his sister, a pair of socks for me, two hats for some young folks and I started on a new shawl, but ran out of yarn, so it will have to be put aside til next week when I can get back to Bangor.
Some days, I just don't seem to have enough hours in my day!
Life is very good!
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