Snow, soup, and other s-words

Dreary days have arrived here by the lake. We’ve had rain, snow, and all forms in-between. Darkness settles before 5pm, and most all the green has faded to brown. The lakeshore turns stark, and the brown wood possesses its own beauty. But I’m a late spring person. I miss the warmth.

When temperatures drop, I crave filling foods like thick soups. For the past few years, Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash-Apple was my go-to. This year, however, I tried something different, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup from the site Fountain Avenue Kitchen. Me being me, I tweaked. I doubled the garlic and curry powder because I craved a little heat and strong flavor, and I roasted the squash ahead of time because I love the way the sugars caramelize. The result was a hearty, filling soup that I will definitely make again.

I usually prefer to cook beans from scratch these days, but sometimes I find a recipe and want to make it that day. That’s the way it went when I found this Food & Wine recipe for Kale and White Bean Stew. I had everything but the beans–I even had mild Italian sausage in the deep freeze. To be honest, I should’ve gone with scratch beans–the canned cannellini beans were rather flat-tasting, plus they fell apart during cooking. But the stew still came out well. It’s hearty, and very filling. Great with garlic bread and shredded parmesan cheese.

As I type this, U.S. Thanksgiving is past. December’s ahead, with parties, friends and family, and even more cooking. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, and Happy Holidays to all.