Sunday, April 15, 2012

Garlic fix

This mysterious bag appeared in my school mailbox on Tuesday.  Hmmm, I thought.  Then I looked inside and gave an Oh yes! full of joy.   (Officer Tim, our security guy whose office is just off the mailroom, probably wonders about me sometimes.)
My dealer had come through once again.  Our computer guru, a man of great patience (especially since each middle school faculty member was recently handed a brand-spanking-new iPad), is also a farmer.  He loves to grow garlic and has hooked me up a couple of times.  Oui, me personally.  (When he brings it in for everyone I am lucky if I can snag one bulb before the vultures descend and take them all.)  Seriously.  This stuff makes the grocery store look and smell fake. 
Today I decided to make what I will now call Easter Soup.  Why, you wonder?  Well, because my family always has ham for Easter lunch.  Is this an American tradition, my Frenchies would ask me, ham, du jambon, for Easter?  I have no idea.  I guess.  Je suppose.  Both Son 1 and Son 2 were here for lunch.  But both of them left the next day.  (We celebrated on Saturday since Son 2 had to drive back to Tennessee on Sunday.)  So, even though I sent Son 2 back to his home with a bag of leftovers, we still had some left in our refrigerator.  Ham sandwiches are only interesting once, in my opinion.  The Ex-Ex never complains, bless his heart.  Armed with the knowledge that I had the garlic, onions, celery, white beans, and ham in the house, soup came to mind. 
The pot of deliciousness is simmering as I write.

Easter Soup

My soups are a little of this and some of that.  Be creative.  Add whatever you want.  Make it your own!

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3-4 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 stalks of celery, sliced
Thyme and/or herbes de Provence**
2 bay leaves
Salt, to taste
2 15-ounce cans Great Northern Beans
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
30-ounces vegetable broth

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.  Sauté the onions and celery just enough to soften them.   Add the garlic and heat for no more than 2 minutes, stirring.  Add the thyme and herbes de Provence.  Stir.  Add the broth and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil.  Taste, add salt, if desired, and adjust seasonings.  Add the beans and ham.  Add water if more liquid is needed.  Heat to boiling again, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes.  Remove bay leaves before serving.

**I have to tell this story from the March 2012 trip to Paris.  I will now think of it every time I use herbes de Provence.  We took the students up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at dusk so they can see the lights of the City of Light come on.  A sight truly not to be missed.  (Google sunset times and buy your tickets accordingly.)
A  couple of hours later, after we descended, we found a little pizzeria nearby so the little darlings could have dinner.  Arles Lucy was checking out the English menu that the waiter had given her.  She leaned over and asked me a question-- What are grasses of Provence?  What?  I looked at my French version and found herbes de ProvenceHerbe means grass as well as herb.  Whoever translated that menu didn't speak English.  Another delicacy on the menu?  Lawyer in vinaigrette sauce.  Oh yes.  Avocat.  The French word for lawyer as well as avocado.  I didn't dare ask.  I just hoped it was the latter they were dishing up.

Bon appétit, garlic!  Merci, KS!

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