Monthly Archives: January 2010

Suddenly Stormy

Early this afternoon, Howard sent me a “news flash” about a fast storm coming through the area during this evening’s commute. There would be snow, high winds, and possible whiteout conditions. As reported, wet snow came down in the afternoon, blowing against the windows, and then, it stopped. When I left work this evening, the sun was shining. Well, actually, it was dusk, but the sun had been shining. Shortly before I headed home, I noticed that the setting sun cast a lovely pink light on the afternoon’s dusting of snow.

When I got home, Bella and I suited up for her evening walk. I put on waterproof shoes, a hat, gloves, nothing special because the storm had passed. The sidewalk was a little icier than I expected. Instead of detouring back inside for my YakTrax, I chose to just walk slowly. It was a bit treacherous in spots, but, I tried to walk on snow wherever possible, and we ambled along, enjoying the brisk evening.

All of a sudden, I noticed it was cloudy again. Within seconds, I was in the middle of a snow squall, nearly whiteout conditions. I think the sudden weather change made Bella nervous. She started to walk faster, causing me to slip and land flat on my back. It knocked my hat off!

The snow was blowing horizontally, and I could hardly see. We were around the halfway point, so it didn’t make sense to turn back, but we were still 15 minutes from home, under normal conditions. All we could do was barrel ahead.

Fortunately, the plan for dinner was hot soup: Caldo Verde, a Portuguese kale soup. I had prepared most of the components the night before. I had already cooked the sausage and sweet potatoes. I had also had the base, the broth with potatoes, prepared as well. All I had to do tonight was to slice the kale and heat it all up.

Howard commented on how this was the most local meal we’ve made in a while. The homemade chicken stock was stashed in the freezer. The onions and kale were from the past weekend’s farmers market, the potatoes and sweet potatoes were stored from our Winter CSA share, and the sausage was from Chestnut Farms.

Caldo Verde
Serves 4-6
(Adapted from The Boston Globe Magazine, January 3, 2010)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1½ sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in ¾-inch pieces
½ lb hot Italian sausage links
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 quarts chicken stock
½ lb red potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 bunch kale
2 tsp cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 450F. Toss diced sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Roast on a cookie sheet for 25 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Broil sausage links on top rack, about 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Cool until you can handle them. Slice into ½ inch rounds, and then cut the rounds in half again for half moons.

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are very soft, about 15 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes in the pot.

Prepare kale: Cut out the center stem from the leaves. Cut the top part of the leaves along the center stem. Stack several leaves flat. Roll them lengthwise into a tight cigar. Cut the cigar crosswise, as thin as possible. (I rinsed the leaves after preparing them.)

Add the greens, sausage, and sweet potatoes to the broth mixture. Stir and simmer until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cider vinegar, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Serve immediately.

The sweet potatoes, sausage, and broth mixture can be cooked the day before and stored in the refrigerator.


All My Sons

For many years, we have had a subscription to the Huntington Theatre Company, a profession repertory theatre company based at Boston University. We enjoy a variety of productions: drama, comedy, musical, classic, contemporary. It’s something different every time. I have a strong preference for the contemporary productions by new playwrights.

This weekend, we were amazed at their production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. I wasn’t familiar with this particular play. Like everyone, I read his plays The Crucible Death of a Salesman in high school. I probably saw these plays at least once on stage at some point.

All My Sons was hands down the best show we’ve seen at the Huntington this season and is among the best shows we’ve seen them ever do. The play was powerful in content, and the casting and acting were superb. The devastating end left me with tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat. It’s playing through February 7. If you have a chance to see it, I highly recommend that you go.

We attended the matinee. When we came home, Howard took Bella for a walk, and I started dinner.

The February issue of Martha Stewart Living had a recipe for Arroz Con Pollo, a Spanish chicken and rice dish. We had our usual monthly package of 3 whole chicken legs from Chestnut Farms, so I gave it a try. It was a winner, though there was way too much rice in proportion to the chicken, so I’d recommend making the dish with eight pieces of chicken instead of six. I made a simple salad from the salad mix we bought at the Winter Farmers’ Market to complete the meal.

Arroz Con Pollo
Serves 8
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living (February 2010)

1 cup dry white wine
Pinch of saffron
8 chicken thighs and/or legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 or 3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup ground peeled tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
4½ cups chicken stock
3 cups Arborio rice (or other short-grain rice)
1 jar (about 1 cup) pimento-stuffed green olives (I used a jar of Santa Barbara martini olives, but the smaller ones from the grocery story would have been better)

Combine wine and saffron; let stand until ready to use. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over, and cook until browned, 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Cook onion and garlic, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, bay leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 5 more minutes, until mixture thickens. Add chicken, stock, rice, and olives. Bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Stir halfway through the cooking time.

Discard bay leaves before serving.