Daily Archives: 7 February 2011
A Ray of Sunshine in a Snowy World
The weather is getting to be a boring topic, but I’m so sick of winter that I have to say it. I don’t usually feel this way. I’ve always preferred winter to summer because I really don’t like to be hot. However, I don’t remember a winter in recent memory with this much relentless snow. It’s wearing me down and tiring me out. Even so, I wanted to share some of my favorite snow photos from this weekend.
My disdain for winter has come on gradually. In fact, about two weeks ago, when I read the following fabulous quote in the newspaper, it made me laugh, and I quoted it for days:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”
We spent a good part of the weekend on snow remediation. We are fortunate that despite all the snow, and ice dams on the edges of the roof, we don’t have any leaks in the house. One activity involved shoveling the roof of the one low part of our house. My primary responsibilty was standing at the foot of the ladder, prepared to call 911 if Howard fell. I did take a turn on the ladder when his arms tired, but he worked at this harder than I did. When it warmed up Sunday, Howard cracked through the inch-thick coating of ice on the driveway and pathways, and I helped move the ice chunks onto the snow piles. I’m definitely not the main brawn for these tasks, but I am a very good helper.
It’s the sheer volume of snow that’s overwhelming. We live on a very busy road, so a lot of the snow that gets cleared from the road, ends up in our not-very-big front yard. Look at it all! My friend Lauren sent me a link for the The Boston Globe’s Shaq-o-Meter, to measure our snowfall. I have to admit that it made me laugh. Check it out.
It’s been so cold that the snowpiles haven’t really had a chance to diminish between storms. The backyard snow gauge more than 2 feet, so only about half of the overall snowfall has melted or sublimated.
What counteracts the winter doldrums, besides a getaway to tropical climes? Soup always works for me. We still have bags of carrots and parsnips in the refrigerator from our Winter CSA, so I wanted to use those. This is a very simple soup with great flavor, color, and texture, at least to me. I made a bisque with similar ingredients a couple of weeks ago, but this recipe is completely different.
This soup is garnished with parsnip chips and scallions. Always liking to make the most of my ingredients, I used the thin ends of the parsnips that were a little too skinny to peel. I gave them a good scrub and sliced them thin.
I used dried dillweed because I didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand. This would be even better with fresh dill.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups water
½ tsp dried dillweed
Salt & pepper to taste
- Parsnip Chips:
- ½ cup parsnip slices, using the well-scrubbed ends of the parsnips or a whole parsnip
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onion. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender. Keep an eye on them to be sure they don’t brown too much or burn. You can cover the pot, trapping moisture in the pot, or add a little of the water, to keep them from burning.
Add chopped parsnips and carrots, chicken broth, water, and dillweed. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
In the meantime, make the parsnip chips. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the parsnip slices and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
Remove the pot from the heat. Let it cool down for about 5 minutes. In batches, puree the soup in the blender until smooth. Season to taste.
Reheat if necessary. Serve garnished with parsnip chips and scallions.