Oh dear. It's been a while, hasn't it? What with a crashed laptop hard drive, the end of daylight savings time (which has relegated any and all picture-taking to the weekends, when I'm actually home for the daylight hours), and my spending half of those weekends at work, I'm afraid my camera and blogging software haven't been getting as much love as I would like.
In the meantime, we've gone through not one, but two heat waves, with a spell of glorious (if brief) fall weather in between. Now, a good two weeks into November, we've finally--really, I mean it this time, no more surprise heat waves--shaken off the last of summer. This week, in fact, marks the first time since early spring that we've turned on the heat. Or, I should say, the Suitor turned on the heat. I rolled my eyes and tossed him a sweater.
Which is a little odd, right? A California girl telling someone to buck up and deal with a bit of cool weather? Well, California born-and-bred I might be, but somewhere in the wind-chilled depths of my third or fourth Chicago winter, a long-dormant gene from my Danish ancestors switched on. After all the time I'd spent grumbling about the cold since my arrival, suddenly I loved the cold and everything about it--even that moment when you first step outside, and you cough because your lungs reject the air you've just breathed. I couldn't get enough of it.
Of course, eventually I graduated and moved away from those northern climes; but the damage was done, and ever since leaving Chicago I've missed "proper" winter something fierce. Now, between my convert's zealousness for cold and my penchant for fresh air, I want nothing to do with forced air heating until my fingers are stiff and numb. The Suitor has no such hesitation in turning on the heat, so we're off to a (good-humored) war with the thermostat. He prefers to make himself comfortable in a t-shirt, shorts, and liberal use of the house's heating system. I prefer to get cozy with long underwear, down booties, fleece blankets, and continual application of tea and warm, comforting foods.
It's this sort of food that I've been craving recently: this food that comes steaming out of the oven or off the stove and onto your plate, then sticks to your ribs and warms your belly. In the last week or so, I've discovered (and tweaked) a recipe that it takes one of my favorite winter meals (a bean soup with greens) and one of my favorite things to do with it (ladling said soup over a slice of crisp bread), and bakes it all together in one big pot--including the bread.
The bread gets layered with a quick braise of greens, beans, and bacon (if you're into that sort of thing) and some cheese, over and over until you run out of your ingredients. Topped with a layer of bread and more cheese, doused in broth, and baked for a little while, it's an intriguing and most satisfying meal in a bowl. You can call it a panade, a bread soup, bready mush with greens, or whatever you like; but if you've been in the mood for the sort of hearty meal that one saves for cold evenings in front of the fire, I've got the dish for you.
From My Blogroll
Wednesday, November 18, 2009