Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creamy Potato Garlic Soup (sans cream)

The last time I can recall snowbanks of this grandeur was the infamous Blizzard of '78. Of course, at 9 years old, I was much smaller so perhaps my perspective is skewed. Snowstorm after rainstorm after sleetstorm and more snow on top of that has brought messy conditions, weekly school cancellations, laborious commutes to the office, difficulty walking on sidewalks and lots of shoveling. It's gotten to the point I've noticed, that us New Englanders who are usually eager to discuss the weather as small talk on elevators or as we pass a neighbor by in the street, can no longer even bear to discuss the elements. People are just exhausted by it and it's only the beginning of February. I heard one psychologist refer to it as "snow fatigue". The relentlessness of Mother Nature is wearing people down and making them irritable. I forget what grass looks like and Spring seems an eternity away.
I often think I should approach this scene as Zuree does. As we head out for our walk three times daily, she is equally enthusiastic each time, as if it's the first. She takes in the scene for a moment and then charges ahead. She takes any conditions in stride and inhales everything there is to see and smell. It reminds me of a Zen-type approach: being in the moment and taking things for what they are. There's nothing I can do to control the weather, so getting upset about it is just an energy drain. I've just got to do the best with what is presented to me. And, often, even though I'm dreading going out in the frigid temps to brave the icy sidewalks, once I get out it can be pleasant and peaceful. It's nice to get some air and move around a bit. So, I'll be keeping this all in mind as I head out, especially for the pre-bedtime walk which is the one I look forward to the least.
I'm guessing the soup intake in this area has gone up considerably over past winters. Here's one I concocted tonight since I was limited to ingredients I had on hand.

Creamy Potato Soup
1 head of garlic, roasted (or more if you like garlic, the flavor was very subtle with the one head)
1 tblspn grapeseed oil
1 medium to large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 tblspn all purpose flour
4 cups of veggie broth or 4 cups of water and 2 boullion cubes
3 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1 bay leaf
some dried or fresh parsley
1 14 oz can of cannelini beans
the juice of 1 lemon

1. In a toaster oven or oven, roast the garlic for about 40 minutes on 425. Let cool
2. Meanwhile chop veggies. Then, heat oil in a soup pan. Add onions and carrots and saute until just softening.
3. Add flour and stir constantly for a minute. Do not let brown.
4. Add broth or water and boullion, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley if using dried. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
5. Add cannelini beans, parsley if using fresh, and salt to taste. Let heat for about 5 to 7 minutes.
6. Add lemon juice (up to one lemon depending on your taste)
7. Puree soup. You may find you need to add more water to get it to a consistency you like.

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