Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mixed Bag

It is cold here in Chicago. Nasty cold. The windy kind of cold that wouldn't really be so cold if it weren't for the damned wind! Every year about this time I am reminded that while I own elebenty million coats/jackets (seems like it anyway), I do not own the right kind of jacket for this kind of weather. A windbreaker with fleece lining. Maybe a little bit of batting in there for extra warmth. I have wind breakers. I have fleece jackets. But one does not fit so easily under the other. So, maybe this year I'll finally get that holy grail of jackets.
In the plan for today is SOUP! (What else would you have expected from me?) But I'm switching up the recipe. I'm making a butternut squash soup, just not exactly according to the book. I figure I'll roast the squash, then simmer it in broth with onion and seasonings. Once the squash is really tender, I'll add some cream and puree the stuff. If it works, I'll be sure to tell you what exactly I did (if I can). If it doesn't, I'll.... I'll... figure something out.
Mama Bird and Co. are in New Mexico again. I'm only slightly jealous this time. They've been on the land, they've been to a party (Mama Birds birthday was Sunday), they had to get pulled out of a ditch. Dirt/gravel roads don't really have a shoulder, just ditches. Luckily, no one was injured, not even the car. They're there for a few more days, enjoying the quiet and the views. I used to think that the desert (in this case the high desert) would be an ugly place. Dry, barren, with nothing to see. It is dry, but that's the only thing I got right, and even that was only half right. There is a small river near where we stay, and a reservoir big enough to go boating on. There are colors in the mountains that you might not expect, pinks, yellows, and deep reds. When the sun hits them at sunset, they're amazing. (I'm told that they are equally amazing at sunrise, but I can't confirm that. I don't get up that early unless forced to. And then I'm so bleary eyed and cranky, the landscape is the last thing I'm paying attention to.)
I recently figured out that the tomato tart might not be the best idea to cook for Whirly Bird and her boyfriend while I'm in St. Louis, so I need some suggestions. Got any?

Little Bird is on a quest


Mama Bird said...

You forgot to mention the golden aspens and cottonwoods this time of year. But then you may never have been here in Oct, as you usually are only here in summer or winter, maybe a spring here or there.

Little Bird said...

Winter, one spring, one miserably hot summer camping trip, and once in late(ish) September.
It should be noted that those trees are ONLY along the river or right up against the reservoir. Otherwise it's pinon (I can't seem to get the squiggle over the "n") and juniper. And both of those are evergreens.
(Of course with the pinons not doing to well they're turning into everbrowns.)

Mama Bird said...

You should see it where we are this trip. There are golden trees everywhere because there's lots of water. Beautiful creeks and crystal clear springs. We may stay at a house near here for the holidays so you'll see it in it's brown state unfortunately.

Coyote said...

Hi Avis. Last winter I promised you a soup/stew recipe to warm you up. My life got too interesting and I didn't deliver. Well here it finally is. Enjoy. I don't know just how suitable it is for St. Louis, but you may like it at home.

Spicy Chicken With Beans (From, more or less, Simply Perfect Hot and Spicy cookbook)

1 pound ground raw chicken or turkey
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, cut up
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, or red kidney beans
1 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup dairy sour cream or shredded Cheddar cheese
Sliced green onion, to taste

Cook chicken or turkey, onion and garlic in hot oil in large saucepan over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender. Drain off fat.

Add the cumin, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, and jalapeno peppers. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add beans; heat through, Serve topped with sour cream or cheese and green peppers

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Notes: Use as many peppers as you like. Make it one day and serve it the next. Microwaves up great. Plan on using plenty of french bread.

*in best Julia Child voice* "Bon appetit"