I am no longer in denial about the inevitable transition to winter.

3 Oct

Dear Emma,

I love picturing you out at Mary and Steve’s farm, horse-sitting. Despite the raucous cat-dog-puppy fight that I overheard, it sounded so peaceful – a warm end-of-summer-sun shining down over the fields and horses, turning everything golden. I miss home.   Zoe

Being from Iowa, I like to talk about the weather. Honestly, I don’t think it’s as dull as it sounds, (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, I rest my case).  But the past month, in Washington, DC the weather has been DULL. Day after day of gray compounded by an unrelenting drizzle of cool rain, and no spark of sunshine as a quick break.  September had no wild and windy thunderstorms, no cold snap, or heat wave, just weird mix of humid warm air, cool rain, and gray, gray, gray.

Gray, Gray, Gray

But then came October. On Saturday, I was only half-way though a 60 mile bike-ride, when I realized I couldn’t feel my toes. That is when I knew it had happened; it was autumn.

So I high-tailed it home because numb-toes are no-joke, I had to pee, and there was neither restroom nor private bush. At home it took putting on snowboots, and jumping in place for 40 minutes (hello downstairs neighbor!) to get my toes to work again.

Once I warmed up, I got to work feeding myself with the last of the summer veggies from my CSA. This soup is inspired from one that I had at Bread & Cup, in Lincoln, NE. It’s a perfect farewell to summer, and a welcome to winter (yes, I said it.).

Seasons Changin’ Soup, for Julia

1 quart of homemade, or high quality chicken or veggie stock

2 potatoes (red, yellow, or blue!)

1 small onion

2 ears of sweet corn (or 1 cup of the frozen stuff)

1 small zucchini, diced

1 small winter squash (acorn, butternut or delicate) (1 cup total)

1 Tbs fresh herbs, minced (rosemary, thyme, basil)

3 Tbs half and half

Salt/Pepper to taste

1 Tsp olive oil

Dice all of the veggies into small ½ inch squares, except for the corn. If you have never sliced ear off a cob, nor diced a winter squash, then you are in for a treat! Instructions below.

Pre-soup beauts

In a soup pot, toss in diced onions and potatoes with the oil and sauté over low heat until they begin to soften. Stir often and add oil, if the veggies begin to stick before they begin to cook. As the onions and potatoes cook, toss in your fresh herbs (reserving some basil to sprinkle on top at the end). When the onions and potatoes have softened slightly, then add your diced winter squash, and soup stock, simmer over low heat until the veggies are al-dente, about 20-30 minutes. Add zucchini and corn and cook until tender. Immediately before serving, stir in cream and add salt/pepper to taste.


How to slice corn from a cob:

Shuck and de-hair your corn (this means remove the outer leaves and silky insides. Then lay the ear of corn on a cutting board. Use one hand to gently steady the ear and take care to keep thumbs and fingers out of the way. Use a bread knife to slice off the kernels. Unfortunately it just takes practice and is dependent on your variety of corn, to know how large of slices you should slice.

How to peel and dice a winter squash:

Wash off mud and grit from the exterior. Steady your squash on the cutting board, again, take care to keep thumbs and fingers out of the way. Halve the squash. This will take a sharp knife and some force. Remember: keeps your thumbs and fingers out of the way. Inside you’ll find a pocket of seeds and veins, scoop them out like a jack ‘o lantern. Keep halving the squash in smaller and smaller pieces until you feel you can manage them. Peel with a paring knife. Feel accomplished and tough.

Slice up these suckers!


One Response to “I am no longer in denial about the inevitable transition to winter.”

  1. Jody Bailey October 3, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Looks delicious. While I am sipping on homemade soup of my own, I’m going to look back at your wryly posted links and revisit the Floods of 2008. We do love our weather talk around here. Comparing narrow misses with tornados is not something everyone gets to brag about over beers. We do in Iowa, though. Love from autumn in Iowa, Zoe.

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