Tuesday, January 4, 2011


housebound today.

i've been keeping the leg iced and can feel it getting better. there is something quite humbling about hobbling around to go a few feet from one room to another. i also had no interest in taking even one step of the six flight of stairs today either.

thankfully, i have a pretty full pantry and for times like this, when i am unexpectedly housebound, it is nice to have things in the kitchen that i can make for myself.

i decided that after my rant, rave, and absorption of some junky food yesterday, i'd make myself a simple kale and potato soup. i started with a kalamata extra virgin olive oil that i like...then sauteed some onion and garlic with some salt. i find that with veggie soups in particular, it is a good idea to start with a very good quality olive oil. i'm not exactly stingy with the fat either.

i love the smell of onions and garlic cooking in olive oil. there is something intrinsically comforting about it. it hints at a beginning of something delicious and tasty. as i was inhaling the wonderful smells, i was thinking about how the emotions were a lot calmer today than they were yesterday. proof again, that i need to not keep things bottled up so much and that letting go, is necessary.

also, admitting to anger is also necessary.....even when i'd rather not care enough to be angry. but emotions are what they are at times. one of the fortunate aspects to having a blog is that i'm beholden to no one regarding its content. hence, you get me at my best, worst, forlorn, cranky, angry, etc etc. you see me, for who i am. for better or worse...but you see me ....and not a veneer. this is where anonymity is quite useful.

so after the onion begins to brown around the edges, i add some dried sage and thyme....by crumbling the whole leaves with my fingertips. i've dried the herbs on my own...to know how old they are. then i added some chopped carrots....stir....and added two types of kale (because that is what i had in my fridge). again, i add the crumbled herbs to the fat...partially because i like to flavor the fat at the start of a dish and partially because i like the aromas that are released as i do it. i know that i'm breaking quite a few rules by doing this, but oh well. again, a benefit of being a home cook that decides to cook for my enjoyment.

cooking for me is more than the final product, dish, or taste. it is the entire experience. from the selection of the ingredients, to the way my fingers and hands caress or delve into the ingredients, to being intensely in the moment as i use a knife to do something as simple as peeling a potato, to the blooming aromas that i coax out of the combinations in the various pots or pans....it is every moment.

it is a moment when i can stand there and just be in love with the color of chopped carrots against the greeness of the kale....while inhaling the aroma of sauteed garlic, onion, sage, and thyme. a moment of comfort and simple anticipation of what will come later.

next, i added some water as well as two potatoes cut in different sizes. yes, i know....breaking of more rules...but i like it when the smaller cuts disintegrate into the soup while the larger sizes are paired down....but still remain substantial chunks to bite into. i enjoy carrots and potatoes this with soups and stews....so i deliberately do this when i cook for myself.

then after i put in the potatoes, i realize that i have a couple of cheese rinds that i've been saving for a veggie soup....so i hobble over to my fridge to find them and excitedly place them into the soup.

then by this point, my leg is really saying that it needs me to stop standing so i let that simmer as i hobble over to my couch-like thing, set ice upon my leg, and return to work on my laptop.

after it simmers for a while, i get hungry and i realize that while the soup isn't truly "ready", i want to eat a small bowl anyway.

so i do. i scoop some out of the pot and then decide to put on a topper of extra virgin olive oil from mcevoy. i love putting very high quality olive oil to finish a soup. it added a lovely fruity flavor to it.

although technically, the soup wasn't "ready", it still tasted quite good (which i already knew it would because i had been tasting periodically throughout...again....the whole experience).

i also thought it was quite amusing that the soup made one of the pets quite curious.....

it is rare that i am able to get one of them on camera. they don't like the camera. i know that the blog has featured more pics of the cuddle bear....but that is because he really doesn't care about the camera. my pets, on the other hand, seem to be keenly aware of the device and don't like it. so, it was a nice treat to be able to capture a moment of curiosity.

this was my first bowl of the day and i was able to return to the soup later, when it was truly done. the broth at this point reflected a lot more heartiness from the smaller cuts of potatoes that disintegrated as well as the salty savoriness from the cheese rinds had really come through.

it was almost like eating a different soup. the first bowl was a young bowl....and this bowl was a more mature one...of heartier flavors.

the beauty of making a soup like this is that it is very easy to add some elements to it to create new flavors. i have a feeling over the next couple of days, i may be adding some cooked quinoa to a bowl or two....or perhaps some cooked garbanzo beans....or maybe even an egg.

i suppose i'll just have to see how i feel.

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