Thursday, November 11, 2010

A story and a recipe

My new brother in law, George, grew up on a Greek island- Crete, to be exact. His idea of winter is largely what mine was for the first 18 years of my life growing up in Los Angeles. That is, perhaps cool enough to wear long sleeve top at night time. Another interesting fact about George is that he is fluent in 4 languages. I only say this to let you know that when I talk about his funny mishaps with the English language, it's not to make fun of his intelligence...for Heaven's sake, I can barely get basic French!

As I said, George's English is fantastic, but we've found that although he knows certain words, the exact usage of said word can be a bit tricky. This combined with the fact that George has never lived anywhere cold has created a funny discussion around what the word "cozy" means. We have tried to explain it to him as a pleasant situation; something warm that makes you happy inside. He then later responds to that with an observation like, "Look at that cute squirrel! How cozy!"

"No no, George." We say.

But really, how do you explain cozy when it's such a...feeling? I've even tried to describe it with pictures of things that, to me, are cozy:

{my all time favorite Christmas album}

{a thick sweater}

{hot tea}

{snuggling with Toby in my down comforter}

{hanging out with my family and watching sports on a holiday}

{a weekend retreat to a cabin during the winter}

{a spice colored, soft, snuggly blanket}

Still, no amount of describing things can invoke a feeling.

Until...a few days ago when we took Toby for a walk. The sun had just gone down, it was chilly outside and silvery gray. We walked for a long while until we were freezing, and then went back to our house. When we walked through the door, we were greeted with golden light, jazz on the radio and the aroma of bean soup wafting through the door.

George said, "Oooh! This is so nice!"

"No, George," I said, "This is cozy!"

White Bean and Kale Soup

2 cups finely chopped kale

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large cloves garlic

2-3 cups cooked white beans

1 ½ cups stock

1 cup water

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Freshly grate pecorino cheese

Wash kale and remove the stems from the leaves. Roll up kale leaves and cut into thin ribbons. Set aside

In a 4 quart soup pot, heat olive oil and sauté the garlic briefly over medium heat. Add about half of the cooked beans and the stock. Puree the rest of the beans and water in a blender along with the tomato paste and sage Stir the pureed beans into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in kale and simmer until wilted (about 10 minutes). Add the lemon juice and enough water to make the soup a desirable thick consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust seasonings. Serve the soup topped with pecorino.

1 comment:

Gracie L said...

Nice stuff here! I appreciate hearing your thoughts.