Saturday, January 10, 2009

Parsnip. Parsnip. Parsnip.

All of these "how to be a genius-mom" websites say that the golden key to hyper organized living and super-mom-hood is "planning your meals" but if you cook via divine inspiration/seasonal mood swings, planning what your family is eating six nights from today becomes a bit cumbersome. Not to mention it really messes with the what-I'm-in-the-mood-to-cook thing. I guess if you don't consider preparing supper one of the most fun parts of your day, it pays to plan. But whatever. People who come back to this blog more than once are either foodies, nosy gutless stalkers, or my Mom. Hi Mom. So maybe food planning isn't any good for any of us.

At any rate, today was supposed to be a "Spaghetti and Beer Bread" lunch. But then I started thinking about influenza and the part about how I had it for a week (so much for four consecutive days at home with Highlander sans kiddos) and am pretty sure that I could have died. There's also the bit about how number one son and I crept home last night from the northern parts at 35 miles per hour while praying to the ditch-gods every time we were passed by a psycho semi driver going twice as fast as we were. Our 1-4 inches of overnight snow turned into an 8 inch dump of powdery fluff, and aside from tonight's big hockey game, our weekend is pretty much going to consist of hanging out at home.

Spaghetti did not sound good to me. Plus, I felt like chopping something. Shortly after breakfast (blueberry pancakes.....hooray!) I started thinking about inventing a new soup with celery and carrots and parsnips and onions and chicken stock and fifteen minutes later was well on my way to soup heaven. The idea was that it needed to be spicy, but I don't really like super spicy stuff if there's no balance to it, so I went for the spicy/sweet thing with a side of medicinal ginger. Soup like this takes the edge off of winter.

Here it is:

Note to Genie: It was great without the pig. At least try it that way before you add a cup of bacon, for the Love of God.

Parsnip Ginger Winter Stew

Assemble the following vegetables and chop them into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces

1 large parsnip

3-4 large carrots

2 large white onions

3 ribs celery

Saute them in 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

While they are sauteing, slice 8 cloves of peeled garlic and add to the vegetables. Grate 1 1/2 inches of fresh ginger over the pot and stir.

When the onions are translucent, pour in one small can of Swanson Chicken Broth (or some kind of chicken broth that doesn't have MSG or any other scary crap in it.) For the vegan version, use a good vegetable broth.

Cook the mixture over low heat for 10 minutes.

Add one can of black beans, rinsed and drained well.

Add the very finely diced meat from one thigh of cooked then chilled organic, free range, formerly happy chicken. Or skip this if you are vegan/vegetarian.

Pour in another can of the stock you are using and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Stir in one teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and simmer over low heat for about twenty minutes.

While to soup is simmering, chop up a bunch of Kale, rinse it well, and divide it among the bowls you'll be eating the soup out of.

Taste the soup and adjust seasonings.

Pour soup over kale in bowls and remember that winter keeps the riff-raff out.