Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Past, present, future

The windshield as we left
the parking lot after our walk.

It rained.

My husband and I got soaked on our walk yesterday. We'd have been fine had we turned around at two miles, but instead went 2.5 to make it a five-miler. It started thundering and raining with 1.5 miles left to go. Oh, my. Cold, wet, miserable and did I say wet? Wow were we soaked.

It's raining.

Because it's April and that's what happens in April. Showers. Today looks like an all-day event.

It will rain.

Tomorrow and the next day and the next day, at least.
And because I was pruning a tree on Sunday and slaving over a still-not-finished annual report yesterday, I didn't get anything done in any of my gardens. (Denise, did you see my what-to-plant suggestions?)

So let's talk about something else. Like, oh, soup.

We have a freezer in our garage full of grass-fed beef. There's some shrimp in there, and a pork tenderloin, I think. The vegetables are stored in the refrigerator freezer. We mostly keep beef and chicken in the big freezer and we're low on chicken.

So it made sense yesterday to grab a package of hamburger and make soup. We call it cafeteria soup, but last night's version didn't even come close to what we ate in grade school.

Thrown Together Soup

This is hardly a by-the-book recipe. If you have other vegetables hanging around the crisper, add them to the pot. The soup will be delicious.


1 pound ground beef
1 Tblsp olive oil
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 Tblsp dried parsley (or 1/4 cup fresh)
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups chicken broth

1 head romaine lettuce, sliced thinly
1 oz dried shitake mushrooms


Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat in the olive oil. Add seasonings (to taste) and garlic and cook for a minute or two.

Add the fresh vegetables and cook until onion is translucent. Reduce heat to between low and medium (low if you're going to let it simmer for a while, medium if dinner needs to be on the table in, oh, half an hour or so) and add the tomatoes, broth, lettuce and mushrooms. Simmer until you're hungry.

This was the first time I'd ever used romaine in soup. I couldn't tell it was lettuce. I'm not even sure it added anything to the final concoction, but it didn't make it gross and I needed to use it up. This woman does not live by salad alone, and I hate throwing away part of a three-pack of romaine.

My one regret? I didn't take a photo. We nearly licked the bottom of the pan it was so delicious. A simple meal for simple people. That's us. Maybe it's you, too?


Vickie said...

The only way I can eat kale is in soup. I put it through food processor so it is very small. I can add a lot of it to soup (like sometimes it means we have green soup). I add when it is almost done cooking. In those tiny pieces, it does not require much cooking. So I can relate, it is a great way of getting it in/down.

denise said...

Debbi - thanks for the heads up on the planting info - I had not seen it. You are right, I guess I just need to think about what I want to eat. Of course, the difficulty is that I'm not a great lover of vegetables, but am hoping that having fresh garden variety at my fingertips will help me grow to like them better.

Onions are a good idea. I do love them and use them a lot. I have also read a lot recently about planting a "salsa garden" - which as you can imagine involves planting all the things you put in homemade salsa.

In the next couple of weekends there are a lot of "garden sales" advertised around here, so I guess my approach will be to just go out and see what's out there. I assume local people selling things here will be selling things that are likely to grow well in this environment.

I probably need to know more about different plants and how far they need to be planted apart, what should/shouldn't be planted together, etc. But it's likely I'll just wing it and see what happens! :-)

Thanks for the solid, logical advice!

denise said...

P.S. When traveling back from Atlanta a couple weeks ago we stopped at a NC Welcome Center. They had a bunch of brochures with recipes using NC crops. I haven't looked through them yet, but my Mom has and she mentioned that there was a recipe for grilled romaine. I'll have to check it out and send it along. I thought it sounded intriguing!

Winnie said...

Sounds yummy! Alan gets those 3 packs of romaine, so that is great tip to use it up. I love soup and it still is cold and rainy here too. Not much done in my garden yet, but did lay grass seed in half the yard, the next half will be Sunday. I commend you for that amount of walking in rain! That is dedication.