Friday, November 9, 2012

The Irresistible Domesticity of November


The Irresistible Domesticity of November

Certain rooms in my house see more of me during certain times of the year.  On a May morning when the curtains blow into the room on a rose-scented breeze, I can often be found in my bedroom, reading or writing on my chaise lounge by the four-poster bed, listening to bird song.  My library, being the coolest room in the house, is where Edward and I spend hot summer afternoons, him dozing, me reading, while the southern heat melts the bright palette of springtime into a landscape of faded, impressionistic vignettes.  But, November.  Everyone knows to look for me in the kitchen when the eleventh month appears.  Rolling out pastry, stirring thick soups, sitting at the kitchen table with my knitting on my lap as I wait for sourdough bread to rise in the pan.  Perhaps it’s the faint scent of woodsmoke on the brisk, chilly wind.  Or maybe its simply the colours of autumn - the hearty gold, the cheerful orange.  Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, I cannot seem to resist the soul enriching warmth of domesticity in November.  I turn inward, close the door and light the fire.

This particular November finds me the proud owner of a brand new stove, albeit one both unwanted and unneeded until about a month ago.  At the risk of revealing myself to be thoroughly and irreparably spoiled, I confess that I’m one of the lucky ones.  The Songwriter makes me breakfast every morning.  I know, I know, ... but it has something to do with his preference for absolute quiet when he wakes up, a state of being I seem to shatter when I rejoin the land of the living each day.  As I could never be mistaken for a “morning person”, waking up to the fragrance of hot coffee already made and ready to pour is truly a treat unparalleled.  Several weeks ago, fancying a bit of cinnamon toast, The Songwriter opened the cabinet above the stove and reached for a too-eager, tiny glass bottle of cinnamon which proceeded to jump off the shelf before he could take hold of it.  The little thing plummeted down, down, to a tragic demise on top of the glass surface of the stove where it made a tiny, seemingly insignificant crack.  Then, with a sickening slowness, like the pouring of syrup, the crack, though thin as an eyelash, began to spread - an almost inaudible pop here, a hushed little crackle there - as The Songwriter, clad in striped jim jams with a sad piece of bread in his hand, watched in silent horror.  Like the shifting of tectonic plates under the floor of the desert, the entire surface of the stove slowly shattered.  It took two whole minutes to complete the process and I still can’t help but giggle every time I imagine The Songwriter’s horrified face as he watched it unfold.  

Laughs were less frequent however, when we began to search for the stove’s replacement.  We live in an old house and these days appliances are created for new ones.  Like Goldilocks searching for her perfect chair, every stove was either too tall or two wide to fit in our kitchen.  No showroom had one.  So like most modern families, we turned to the internet where we found a big, sturdy fellow sporting a spacious oven and shiny dials just made for imaginative cooking.  He fits perfectly, and with the arrival of November, he is being put to excellent use.  I have made an apple pie a week for the past three weeks, one for a neighbourhood bakery auction where all the proceeds went to the animal rescue facility from which Edward and Apple were rescued, one for a beach weekend with friends, and one, made only last night, for The Songwriter himself.  There have been two big pots of soup and yes, just this morning, The Songwriter finally chanced another breakfast of cinnamon toast.  I’m happy to report it was both tasty and uneventful.

I do highly recommend rediscovering the wonders of your own hearthside this November and to that end, I’m sharing one of my favourite soup recipes.
  It’s a scrumptious minestrone from my neighbour, Nancy.
  Delicious and healthy.  
Enjoy!

Oh, and Edward and I are humbled, and quite tickled, by the amazing 
reviews of our new book!
Read Art House Design's Review HERE
And Splenderosa's HERE
And get your own copy of From the House of Edward HERE.
Be sure and put in the instructions box if you'd like the book
 wrapped for Christmas and shipped to a friend!

November Minestrone
Ingredients:
2 Teaspoons of good olive oil
1.5 cups chopped onion
1 medium carrot, sliced lengthwise and chopped.  About 3/4 cup
1 clove garlic
1.5 cup brown rice ( I use a mixture of brown and red rice, with barley and rye thrown in, yum!)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2.5 cups water
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10 oz can of organic chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 15oz can cannellini beans
1 10oz pkg of frozen spinach
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil on medium high heat and add onion, carrot and garlic.
Saute 3 to 5 minutes.
Add rice and next 4 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
Simmer until rice is done.
Add zucchini and next 4 ingredients and simmer till ready to serve.
Sprinkle each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving.

26 comments:

  1. OMG, I hate morning people !! This is so true, having coffee already made is so nice.

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  2. Delicious recipe! So glad all turned out well for you both, time in the kitchen is well spent in my eyes. Every weekend my family will find me there, only to have me emerge flour covered and smelling of spices Sunday evening.

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  3. thank you for the delicious recipe (i
    can tell!)

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  4. I could not be mistaken for a morning person either. In fact, early morning fills me with dread. I don't know how I lived all those years of getting up with kids, driving while it was often still dark. :<)
    Any possibility you might post a picture of that stove and your kitchen?? Please.

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  5. What I wouldn't give for a new stove, one I could cook various things at different temperatures. The last one I bought cheaply, thinking I would wait and get a new nice one in the near future. Wrong. I didn't know Edward and Apple were rescue dogs. It hurts my heart in a way, but oh how lucky they were to have found you. Have you tried Granny Smith apples with brown sugar instead of white?

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  6. Ohhh, yum. I've been looking for a new ministrone to try and November Ministrone will be the just the one.
    Thank you.

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  7. Ohhh, yum. I've been looking for a new ministrone to try and November Ministrone will be the just the one.
    Thank you.

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  8. I can just see it; the cracked glass ... spreading, spreading... Poor old stove. Poor Songwriter. I am sure he is feeling better now, with all the baking you have been doing. A lovely story. Veronique (a new Follower)

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  9. I called my husband in to read him your story and we both laughed. That is exactly why he refused to put cabinets over our glass top stove! "See there!" he told me. I didn't read him the part about making the apple pies. He might have wanted me to make one. Very glad to have the minestrone recipe as the one I fix, infrequently, takes hours and is from The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. I bet your recipe is every bit as satisfying and quicker to the table. Loved reading about November finding you in the kitchen.

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  10. Thank you the recipe. It will do good in the cold, rainy and windy Copenhagen November.

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  11. What a delicious looking recipe, soups are always welcome in our household. My husband is Polish and soups make the meal...
    Happy for you to have found a new, fitting stove.
    I know how that feels, our house is small too and to find the right size appliance has also been a challenge.
    I am glad you succeeded. Did you ever see the Elmira stoves? I think thats the name, very retro.... There are a few cool ones!
    Since you like to cook, here is a link to a wonderful slow cooked baked bean dish, our family loves to eat on chilly days...

    http://victorialifestyle.blogspot.com/2012/10/autumn-foods-food-for-thought.html

    Enjoy!
    xoxo

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  12. Hi, I came over from Jayne First's site; enjoyed the interview and the concept of your book so much. I'm following your blog now.

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  13. Wherever do you find the images that accompany your blog? This one is absolutely perfect.....so illustrative of your subject.
    I am so glad to hear that you, too, feel the need to hunker down in November and heed the call to knit and cook. Me too!! It's snowing now in NY so the perfect weather for it.

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  14. It’s been a hectic week and I’m so glad to have had some time to catch up with you. I absolutely adored your charming Halloween story, (only got to the second part today), and, if it’s ok with you, linked to it from my own site. Shame about the cooker. This happened to me too but with more drastic results. The booming explosion shot glass into and broke the kitchen window. (This was a million years ago, probably before tempered glass, and no one was hurt) But how lovely of you to share the recipe. I read it out to Chloe and she’s in. Minestrone a la Edward tomorrow. :)

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  15. I can just picture the sense of horror as the crack spread. The kind of event where time stills, almost to a dejavue state, as one realises with horror what is about to unfold!

    But all's well that ends well, and you now have a cheery stove to replace the old faithful. This recipe looks delicious - I fancy the idea of spinach added to the minestrone. Will try that, as our spinach is growing out of control so always looking for novel ways to hide it in the evening meal!

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  16. Hmmm, maybe we'd best move all the glass jars from the vicinity of the glass topped stove? I too have the luxury of breakfast in bed, though I'm the quiet one and he's the morning person. We've been eating soup since the beginning of October when it started being quite autumnal here.

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  17. When I visit our market tomorrow Pamela, I shall buy any ingredients for that soup that are not already in my store cupboard. It has inspired me.

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  18. Reading your post on a rainy afternoon yesterday, I decided to stop at the store and pick up what I needed to make your soup. Yum! It was delicious and I'm having it again now for lunch.

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  19. what a marvelous husband you have Pamela. It's as though I can smell the coffee and warm cinnamon toast and feel the warmth of your stove in your cozy kitchen. Far..far different that my wee, non-heated type. Congratulations on your book too. So exciting and I know it has to be a treasure.

    Cheers from Scotland x Deb

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  20. It's so delicious when two people are able to carve out their own time with no distraction from the other. I am a morning person, Dave was not; I made breakfast and dinner; he made supper. It was all good.

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  21. yeah to november for exactly the same reasons, re-entry into the kitchen!
    when we remodeled our ancient kitchen this anglophile wished for one thing, an aga stove. it is the heart and soul of our kitchen, once again it is active and much loved in november
    xo
    debra

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  22. Ahhh...I was just ruminating on that same thought....and wondering what long cooking soup or stew I should make today!

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  23. Pamela I am like this; enjoying the home and hearth as fall sweeps into winter.

    I love taking this time to add items from my seasonal stash...a bronze pearl garland,a table runner with tones of terra cotta and cream. more scented candles, pillow change, etc.

    Thank you for always sharing so much inspiration. (going to make an apple crisp today).

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  24. Oh and forgot to mention that my late husband, like your beloved songwriter, always woke very early and had coffee ready for me!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  25. The songwriters accident prone routine sounds vaguely familiar.

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one!