Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nuts for the winter.

The historian asked me, "You don't think Bruiser is getting. I mean, you don't think he has even a little extra, because . . . "

We both have our eyes on this question because last spring my kids' dad greeted Bruiser with a "Getting a little fat, Bruiser?" Which stung us, I confess, and we were all, No he isn't! And after that, we were all, Is he?

"You're supposed to be able to feel their ribs," I said, feeling his ribs.

"Can you feel them?"

Of course I could, but there was quite a bit of dog hair between my fingers and his ribs, otherwise known as "fur." Which complicates the question. Of course we could feel his ribs! Of course we could.

Maybe someone should devise a "feel the ribs" test for all of us, since, with the weather getting cold, we're all observing the evolutionary imperative to store up fat. Yeah, evolutionary imperative! But I want to tell you that soup may be the answer. Answer to what? Why, what to eat when the weather gets cold, that's what.

"I hope you don't mind having soup night after night," I said to the historian, since tonight was night three of my new initiative, "Soup Night After Night." Let me tell you about it:

Night 1: Vegetarian Chili and Quesadillas. I used dried black beans that I have had for, I think, a hundred years, literally, as well as assorted this and that, farmer's market onions and garlic and peppers, and roasted tomatoes. It made a delicious follow-up lunch burrito and another delicious follow-up bowl the day after that.

Night 2: Onion Soup with a Lovely Crouton, accompanied by a green salad. The secret to onion soup is to cook the onions forever, slowly, in butter until they caramelize. You could use oil, but why, when there's butter? I used a yellow, a white, and a red onion, as well as some garlic. Also, I find that a tiny little tip of something extra in the soup deepens and complexifies the flavor, like wine or even a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar. I am not ashamed to say that I use vegetarian vegetable bouillon cubes. This soup was awesome.

Night 3: Potage Bonne Femme* with Caprese Salad and Peach-Blueberry Crisp for dessert. I added two potatoes and a bunch of carrots to the leftover onion soup, some more water and an additional bouillon cube. Once the vegetables were falling apart, I blended the whole thing. I thought about adding some milk, but it was unnecessary. This soup is unbelievably delicious, considering its humble ingredients. I was particularly proud of the way I troped the previous night's dinner into tonight's. High five to myself! It's still blowing my mind that I have wonderful tomatoes and basil. But I do. And the crisp I made from some of the half a lug (that sounds about right) of peaches we cut up and froze a month ago, as well as blueberries I froze when they were kind of cheap. (*original recipe, adapted here, given to me when I was a young wife by my oldest friend--and still going strong!)

Someone still has to do the dishes, however. Where's the evolutionary imperative for that, I ask you?


  1. M-m-m-m. I would love your soup. And after we ate your soup, I would share the grape jam tart I made tonight with you. Autumn eating at its finest.

  2. Soup is wonderful. We had tomato and red lentil soup last night. Delicioso!



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