Friday, December 10, 2010

The more the merrier, except for mosquitoes!

Dear you,

This winter, we've been spending a lot of time - good, quality time - with family and dear friends.  I love nothing more than a houseful of people, arguing about football teams and cupping mugs of hot cider with cinnamon, falling asleep on the couch and talking until three AM.  I've always dreamed of having a home where people feel welcome to visit and share and learn and teach, and, of course eat.

The other day, Gary and I were going to make dinner.  One of our friends was staying the weekend at our house, and I asked one of my friends over for dinner, and Gary asked one of his friends over.  I was at my mom's house that day, so I told my sister to come over, too.  She texted me later and asked if her friend could come with, and of course I was fine with that, and then her friend invited another of my sisters. This is my idea of a picture -perfect evening!!  The more the merrier, I always say!  I love it when people pile into the house and shout and exclaim over the smell of dinner and pile their jackets and boots under the living room window.

My sister Mandatory and I made potato soup for dinner the other night when we had an impromptu dinner of six, and had to come up with a spur-of-the-moment dinner.  (Nobody can pull this off better than my mom - having a husband and eight kids, not only is she already used to serving up huge meals, but used to having everybody bring one or two people home for dinner!)  I served it with homemade sandwich bread and butter, and whipped up a Legacy Apple Cake for dessert.  Everybody was full and happy, and I was able to serve dinner on a dime with twenty minutes notice.  That's pretty perfect for me.  I didn't get many pictures of the food, but we got pictures of happy cousins ...

My brother beating eggs for the soup ...

Me reading my soup book, the starting ground of many of my soups ...

And the soup-pot, the home of many happy meals!

Enjoy serving this homemade pot of good to your family and friends!


Mrs H
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Everyday Potato Soup
based on a recipe from the Twelve Months of Monastery Soups (I highly recommend this book.  It arranges the soups by month, so you always have seasonal ingredients, and hot or cold soups based on the weather!).  This soup was rated five stars by everybody who ate it, and the leftovers didn't last long at our house.  It can be vegan if you leave out the optional ingredients or use vegan replacements.

8 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 quarts water or stock of choice
3 onions, sliced
2 - 10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, per your taste!
1 cup milk or 1 can coconut milk
Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste
2 tablespoons butter or oil
2 eggs, optional
4 teaspoons chopped parsley or chervil, optional
1 pint canned pumpkin cubes, optional
Shredded cheese of choice, optional

1. Put the potatoes into a soup pot.  Add the water and bring to a boil; cook for twenty minutes or until soft and tender.  Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in oil until soft and golden.  Add to the potatoes.
2. Either cook the potatoes until they start falling apart (my preferred method), or use a hand-masher to puree a few in the soup pot.  Add milk, canned pumpkin and liquid, salt, pepper and other seasonings if you wish, and stir the soup until hot.
3. Optional: beat the eggs in a separate bowl.  Scoop out 1 cup of the hot soup and slowly pour into eggs while continuing to beat the eggs.  Once fully mixed, pour the mixture back into the soup pot.  Do not let the soup return to a boil or the eggs may curdle.  Mix them in and bring soup to a low simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Just before serving, add butter (or oil) and parsley. Stir and mix well.  Serve in bowls and top with shredded cheese.  Serve with hot bread for dipping!



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