Sunday, January 6, 2013

Soup Salve-ation.

 Eggplant Soup from this Month's Food and Wine Magazine

In the winter, my routine narrows significantly. My scope is survivalist. There's no more agenda-free wandering of neighborhoods and hiking trails for hours. There's point A and point B that need to be navigated. Usually, it needs to be navigated through a rainstorm, so expediency is key. Being relieved of the task is key. So I can get home and turn up the heat. Take a warm bath. And do one of the following things: read, write, watch West Wing on Netflix (shameless) - or cook. But even my cooking becomes survivalist. It needs to be steamy-warm, nutritious and quick. It needs to be soup.

Soup, itself, is never routine though. The possibilities are endless. My Winter 2013 tally of soups that will help deliver me to spring and something new and fresh, hopefully:

Kale and White Bean Soup - Love & Lemons (adapted from Bon Appetit) 
 Made for a Sunday afternoon get together in early January. Very hearty and colorful (and well-received).

Posole in Broth - 101 Cookbooks

Pumpkin and Rice Soup - 101 Cookbooks
After my mom gifted me a 20# pumpkin, I made lots of things with pumpkin in early November - this soup being one of them. Pumpkin soup for a week, pumpkin soup for the freezer, pumpkin soup 4EVR. Unfortunately, the recipe felt incredibly bland to me - like weak baby food. I don't think I'd make this again, or if I did, I would cube not puree the pumpkin, and add other vegetables (maybe some mushrooms and greens).

Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini - Smitten Kitchen
On the docket for today! Can't wait to serve it with a little Nan.

Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame - Smitten Kitchen
 One of my favorites that I make again and again, always expecting to get sick of it, but never do. Freezes great.

Carrot and Parsnip Soup - from Portland's awesome Natural Selection restaurant (via Sunset Magazine)

Silky Eggplant Soup with Baby Peas and Radishes - Food and Wine Magazine

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's dark, not bleak.

 Winter and I don’t often agree. Portland's winters are relatively mild, misty and monotone. Vivaldi’s Winter concerto section of The Four Seasons, done Portland-style, would just be the first few bars, played on repeat, until you hit spring or go insane, whichever comes first. All those shades of grey leave me feeling similarly dull and muted, which I vow to conquer this winter with a few simple resolutions. (Thanks to this blog post for the inspiration)

1. Say goodbye to my TV. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my TV. I don’t get cable, and the 5 channels I get tend to tune in and fade out with the weather, or when the upstairs neighbor stands in his apartment. And it’s a giant beast. The space I’ll reclaim won't just be physical, either. Quiet with room to think, read, write or listen to music.

2. Greet the morning. Winter mornings are the worst, but they needn’t be. I’m going to rise early and embrace the cold, the dark, and the quiet. I’ll make a hot pot of tea each morning and write.

3. Get outside, often. Again, in Portland this isn’t so much a resolution as it is a requirement. If you wait for it to stop raining, you will NEVER go outside. But we’ve each figured out, in our own way, that rain doesn’t kill you and it’s never as cold as it seems once you’re in it. And there’s winter farmer’s markets, cozy neighborhood pubs, and moss-laced waterfalls in the Gorge just waiting to be explored.

4. Make it smell like heaven. The apartment, that is. A respectable stock of candles, a heady soup or batch of scones in the oven each weekend. Is there anything better?

5. When in doubt, look to the cat for inspiration. Because Bee knows how to live, man.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ode to Winter

My morning commute is with the sunrise, and evening with the sunset. There's two ways to picture winter: a pain-in-the-ass season of slogging through the rain on my bike, wet and cold - a blur of short, gray days and cold nights. Or, I can feel the acute cold on my fingertips, the icy rain stinging my face, and the grateful clarity of the rare day without rain - hot pinks sunrises and sunsets. Everything is intensified. This external experience brings a new freshness to my writing, too. With the short days the outside world shrinks, and the space for quiet reflection and creating stories swells. And that's pretty lovely.

First Winter Portland Farmer's Market

Today was the first-ever winter farmer's market here in Portland. So instead of that dreadful time from Thanksgiving to April, when we could only dream of getting a jewelry box of multicolored eggs and having cheerful conversations with the mushroom man (I should really learn his name) we have all sorts of (surprisingly colorful) treats at our fingers: cabbages, kale, turnips and a crazy-looking black beer radish. It's nice to know that even when produce goes underground in winter, the damp and depressed citizens of Portlandia don't have to.

If you're's a few soups that have kept it cozy the last few weeks:

Nostrana's Tuscan kale, white bean, and ciabatta soup

Creamy sunchoke soup with fried parsnips and mushrooms (from Home Made)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The First Thanksgiving

This year, I'll be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for the first time. I've lured my parents over the windy 4-hour drive along the Columbia from Walla Walla to Portland, and I will be serving (perhaps a bit to the initial disappointment of my traditional, meat-loving dad) an entirely vegetarian meal. I was surprisingly nervous pulling together the menu - this is a notable right-of-passage in American lore, no? I'm thankful to be given the chance to show my family how much I appreciate them, and good food is usually the way.

~ Thanksgiving Menu 2011 ~

Wild Mushroom Lasagna

Roasted Parsnips and Root Vegetables with Caper Vinaigrette
(also from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty)

(from the lovely Heidi Swanson of

A couple rustic baguettes from Grand Central Bakery 
Some hometown, Walla Walla Valley Blue Mountain Cider from Bushwhacker Cider (yes, Portland has cider-specialty shop) and a bottle of red from L'Ecole 41, just down the road from my parent's house, which has now been taken over (in a pleasant way) by wineries...

A simple pumpkin pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert
(although if I were a richer lady, I would spring for a half dozen whiskey apple hand pies from Portland's Pacific Pie Co.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Back, Eat Soup.

  by Eden from Sweden
, a photo by Eden from Sweden on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy National Coming Out Day!

live and love