Saturday, September 24, 2011

Storms And Soups

I never met a storm I didn't like. Now please understand that I am talking about a thunder and lightning extravaganza. I wasn't crazy about the three Minnesota tornadoes I lived through or the multiple earthquakes that have rattled my California home.
I love storms. Especially the thunder and lightning ones. Growing up on southern Minnesota's farmlands, my sisters and I got used to lightning bolts renting the sky and thunderous claps that seemed to jangle the whole house. I credit my mom with teaching us not to be afraid but to take pleasure in stormy days. How I remember my sisters and I sitting in front of the living room windows, watching the exciting displays and complaining when they were over.

Now we are all southern California girls and have been for a long time. Each one of us loves storms, has taught our kids to love storms, and they, in turn, have taught their children to love storms. I mention that only because these sissy native Californians are mostly so afraid of thunder and lightning that they draw the drapes, lock the doors, and hide in the closet till it passes. At least that has been my experience.

Since we don't get many good storms in San Diego, I have taught myself to be content with drizzly days, overcast skies, and foggy gloom. In my opinion, it's better than nothing. These days, all it takes for me to get in the mood for home made soup like mom used to make is a bit of a drizzle, a cloudy sky, and a lack of sunshine for most of the day.

That's what it was like yesterday. And the first thing I wanted was mom's Navy Bean soup. Being a vegan, I had to leave the ham bone out. Surprisingly, the soup was still delicious. Next time, I'm going to add just a little liquid smoke. I think that might make up for the smokiness the ham bone would have added.

Need I say that this soup recipe has been around a long time. Whether mom created it or got it from her mom or out of a magazine, I can't tell you. What I can say is that every spoonful reminded me of a childhood spent watching storms roll by. You can imagine any scenario you wish. As for me, I enjoy thinking about my times past, those simple days when all I had to worry about was whether last year's raincoat and rubber boots would still fit.


Into a large soup pot put:

1 Tbs. oil
2 carrots, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, chopped thin, all of the white and a bit of the light green

Saute until the vegetables are soft and translucent.

Add to the pot:

2  15 oz. cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes or two dashes of hot sauce

Bring all the ingredients to a simmer. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to  break up about half of the beans so they will work as a thickener. Move the soup pot to a back burner, cover, and let it slowly simmer about an hour so the spices have time to marry. 

Serve steaming hot with garlic toast or biscuits or any other kind of bread that sounds good. 

This recipe serves 4 hungry people.

Author's note:
My mom cooked her beans from scratch. I was just too lazy and used canned cannellini beans because I was out of canned navy beans. You do what pleases you.


No comments:

Post a Comment