December 4, 2006

What a Winter Storm

Well winter is upon us here in the Midwest. Last week on Thursday my company’s offices closed early and on Friday one of the worst winter storms came through and dropped 4 inches of sleet and 17 inches of snow at my house and in many other areas across the Mid-Missouri. The last time we had this type of accumulation was in 1995, and I think the total was only 8-10 inches.

Needless to say, I was unable to make it out our driveway on Friday morning and a phone call from my boss telling me to “stay home,” was music to my ears. I don’t think I would have been going anywhere in my Explorer.

The problem my husband and I had was we were completely out of groceries! Which never happens at my house, but I had planned on going grocery shopping on Friday. I did manage to make some homemade pancakes for breakfast though, which we both enjoyed.

My husband spent most of the day shoveling our driveway and I spent my time inside cleaning the entire house! I got quite a bit accomplished over the “snowed in” weekend. I cleaned the entire house including: all cabinets and refrigerator, the basement and I even organized every closet and cabinet and in our house!

But, by Saturday my husband and I both were had “cabin fever” and were ready to get out of the house! So, we drove into town on the still ice covered roads and made it to the Wal-Mart (yes Wal-Mart). I don’t like to go to Wal-Mart very much, I try to support my local grocery stores when I can, but most all of the local stores were closed or had ran out of certain types of foods.

Charlie and I did our shopping and then had to stand in line for 40 minutes to check out! It was not a fun experience, but we needed food if we were going to spend all weekend trapped inside.

We also went too Blockbuster and rented three movies to help make the time go by faster. It was actually a much needed break that Charlie and I needed. It’s so beautiful outside and I will admit, it was very nice being snowed in with my husband all weekend!

Here is a much needed recipe to help us all warm up on these blustery cold days. Enjoy!

Navy Bean Soup
Food Network Kitchens

1 pound navy beans, picked over, rinsed and drained
10 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
1 bay leaf
2 large smoked ham hocks, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
8 cups of cold water
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Butter for garnish

Place the beans in a large saucepan and cover with cold water by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for one hour. Drain and reserve. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, hocks, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans and hock are completely tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Turn off the heat and remove the hocks. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the hocks, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

Pour into heated bowls, place a small pat of butter on top of each soup, and serve.

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