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Souper February

Have I told you about my food manifesto? I’m sure I mentioned it in the early days of the blog, back in ’04 or ’05, but since the archives are down, you’re just going to have to take my word on it.

Anyway, a central tenet of my whole food world lies in the idea that soup is pretty much the perfect food. It has, truly, endless variations. You can get a wide variety of foods in a one-dish, single serving. You can make enough to eat all week AND freeze for later. It can be as fancy and impressive, or as quick and easy as you’d like.

I love soup.

Then Kellee (it is always Kellee, yes? My most favorite enabler and ringleader.) was all, oh my god, my friend started this thing called Souper February. We’re going to make a different soup every day during February and post it to Flickr. You should totally do it. It will be AWESOME. (Or something like that. It was in email form, and Kellee does not speak or type Valley High School.)

And I was like, um, Soup? Awesome. Every day? Um, that’s, like crazy. (See above disclaimer, except apply it to me.)

But, I love the spirit of the challenge and have decided to try for 2 soups a week. I am already behind, but my first soup of February was a little ditty from Jamie’s Italy. (Oh Jamie Oliver, sigh. I love your veggie garden and ragamuffin way of tossing together ridiculously delicious-looking food.)

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)
From: Jamie’s Italy

Ingredients:

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, trimmed and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
spring of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 – 14oz cans chickpeas
2.5 C chicken stock
3.5 oz ditalini (I used elbows)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil or parsley for garnish (optional) (I used basil)

Cook onion, celery, garlic and rosemary with splash of olive oil as gently as possible in covered saucepan for 15 – 20 minutes until veggies have lost all color.

Add chickpeas to pot, and cover with stock. Cook gently for 30 minutes, then remove 1/2 chickpeas with slotted spoon and reserve in another bowl. Using immersion blender, blend remaining contents of pot until smooth. Add reserved chickpeas and pasta, season with salt and pepper, and simmer gently until chickpeas are tender and pasta is cooked.

If soup is too thick, thin with water, and season with salt and pepper.

NOTE: Don’t try to get smart or cute, and decide to thin the soup with additional chicken stock, like I did. Jamie knows what he’s talking about. I used a total of 4 C of chicken stock, and the soup was too rich and salty. Water would have cut it beautifully, and let the natural flavors of the chickpeas, herbs and veggies shine.

A One Yard Wonder

Project: Mailbag Pocket Duo from One Yard Wonders

Materials: One yard of fabric bought from fabric.com sometime last year in a fit of sewing enthusiasm. Other sewing accessories: thread, scissors, a sewing machine… the usual.

Time to complete: 3 naptimes.

Useful Quotient: Super useful. We had no designated place for mail in our new house, the result of which was unseemly piles cluttering up our kitchen, and my desk.

Happiness Quotient: Exceeded my happiness expectations. I don’t generally find joy in the act of sewing, more in the finished objects (sewing is just so damn useful!)… but there was something utterly gratifying in sitting down for an hour each day, making solid progress, and then being Done.

Other thoughts: I am completely smitten with One Yard Wonders. I don’t know if it’s just that projects made from one yard of fabric seem so inherently manageable, or if the projects in it seem so freaking useful, but I’m happy I ran across it the other night at the bookstore.

Happy weekend everyone!

That is all.

Coming Clean

As I told you in my last post, there are Things that I have been keeping from you. Time to come clean, I suppose, before we can move forward.

Firstly. I have learned to crochet. And I love it. Maryse gave me a lesson at knit night a few weeks ago, and I am hooked (groan). (sorry, I am a total cheezeball.)

Here is a picture of my first little sampler swatch:

Nothing special, just rows of single crochet and double crochet, except I now have the skill set to make one of these, or these. That’s really the only decision left. Babette vs. Granny Square Blanket. Feel free to weigh in, I am susceptible to good arguments and peer pressure.

Secondly. I am pregnant again. Good news on all fronts: strong heartbeat, nausea is gone, energy is back, and I am not filled with the bottomless, irrational rage that came with my first pregnancy. So I don’t expect this blog to become a pit of darkness for the next 6 months. Lucky for all of us, really.

Thirdly. I have hardly been crafting this past month. (See “Secondly”) I have, however, gotten back on the horse this week with the most unlikely of my crafty pursuits: Sewing. I expect to finish my project today, and am excited to have something real to post soon.

Fourthly. No secret to anyone who has read this blog before I moved to NYC, but holy god I hate February with the fury of a thousand blizzards. I mean, really, it was Negative Five (absolute, not windchill. Windchill was Negative Twenty.) (Fahrenheit not Celsius.) the other morning when we woke up. There are many things that I am doing to mitigate my dread of its arrival, and one is to try to appreciate the good things that belong to February.

The days are getting noticeably longer, and the sunsets can be glorious.

Now, if only I could feel my toes.

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