Friday, February 04, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

Normally, I enjoy a snow day as much as the next kid. But this past Wednesday when schools were closed for the onslaught of snow that was paid forward to us from the midwest, I was, shall we say, less than enthused. My day started with foraging through a maze of boxes and Halloween decorations in the garage to get to the snow shovels so that I could then dig a path all the way around the house to clear the kerosene monitor's exhaust pipe. This was followed by a lesser shovelling out front so the dogs could have a spot to potty (as they had begun using the porch...ewww).

The whole premise of this particular snow day was annoying, because I missed the first night of a once-a-week class, which is nothing short of a disaster that screws up the following week, too, and basically throws the whole schedule off for the semester before we've ever even met! I did email the class to tell them how to get caught up for next week's class, but most of them won't read their school email. So I had to spend more than an hour calling 20 people and repeating the same message over and over again to as many voice mail systems. Ugh.

I realize, however, that grumpiness in the face of an unexpected mid-week day off is a highly inappropriate response. To reframe my attitude, I bought very cheap airfare for spring break (Burlington, VT to Charlotte, NC=$222 round trip!), took a two-hour nap, and when I awoke, set about making a ginormous cauldron of a quick and easy, but very hearty and healthy soup. The original recipe came from my high school friend, Sheri, but of course, I had to put a few of my own twists on it. I can't believe how fast this came together, and yet it was so savory and satisfying. Definitely put this one in your snow day soup repertoire--in fact, it's simple enough for a harried week night, too.

And let us heed the words of my wise friend, Vicky: "Just being home and able to make soup is a great thing. These are the days that break the monotony of our lives, make time slow down, and force us to rely on our own talents and resources. Love the snow day! Don't struggle against it, ride it!"

Snow Day Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. chicken sausage, sliced (I used a 12 oz. package of Italian)
1 lb. artichoke hearts, if frozen, thaw & halve (I used one 15 oz. can, drained and very roughly chopped)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 or 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon)
64 oz low sodium chicken broth (I needed extra stock, so I used one 48 oz. box of chicken and two cans of vegetable=77 oz.)
1 bunch (1 lb) greens (chard, kale, etc) stemmed & roughly chopped (I used half of a ginormous bunch of kale)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained

Garnishes: fresh lemon juice, shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil, and saute the onions until translucent. Then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until tender. Add the sausage and brown. Add the artichoke hearts, oregano, red pepper, black pepper, vegetable bouillon and both kinds of broth.

Bring to boil, turn down and let simmer ten minutes, then check seasonings. Add greens and white beans and simmer three more minutes until the kale is tender and beans are heated through.

Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a generous sprinkle of shredded parmesan cheese. Serve with a crusty bread.

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