After Norah was born my friend Wendy loaned me “Operating Instructions.” I’ve read Anne Lamott’s books before but not for quite some time and this one is biographical – her experience raising her son that first year. I snorted my way through it surprised that Norah didn’t wake up as I identified with what she was saying and my belly shook from laughter. Whether you have kids, are expecting kids or are just looking for a fun light and hilarious read this book is great!
The synopsis reads “It’s not like she’s the only woman to ever have a baby. At thirty-five. On her own. But Anne Lamott makes it all fresh in her now-classic account of how she and her son and numerous friends and neighbors and some strangers survived and thrived in that all important first year. From finding out that her baby is a boy (and getting used to the idea) to finding out that her best friend and greatest supporter Pam will die of cancer (and not getting used to that idea), with a generous amount of wit and faith (but very little piousness), Lamott narrates the great and small events that make up a woman’s life.”
Our awesome neighbor Jane Ann kicked off our Meal Train (GREAT idea to do for new parents) with this delicious soup recipe. It had appeared in a Burlington magazine. She substituted Chorizo so we did too the next time we made it. It makes the broth a bit oily (or at least it did when we made it) but it is SO flavorful and hearty and the perfect recipe for a cold winter night (we’ve been having a LOT of those lately). I don’t usually gravitate towards recipes with beans in them as I tend to find the texture a bit mushy and Jeff isn’t the hugest fan of Kale but we both love this recipe and it’s relatively quick and easy to make. Enjoy!
White Bean, Sausage, and Kale Soup
2 lb. sweet, hot, or a mix Italian sausage, casings removed (we used chorizo instead)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large leek, chopped 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
1 cup dry white wine
4 c. cooked small white beans, rinsed and drained
4 or more quarts chicken stock (more or less depending on how thick you want your soup)
1 bay leaf
2 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 t. fresh thyme
1 lb. kale, stems and center ribs removed and roughly chopped
If you use sausage :: Put a little olive oil in a large soup kettle and heat over medium-high. Add the sausage and saute, breaking up the meat into bite-sized pieces, until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pot, drain, and reserve.
If you use already cooked chorizo :: Just cut up into small bite sized pieces and add after sautéing the vegetables
Add the onion, leek, carrots, and celery to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Add the white wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Puree 1-2 cups of beans with a little chicken stock in a blender or food processor until smooth (more if you want a thicker soup)
Add the sausage, beans, bean puree, remaining stock, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme to the vegetables. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
(add in a piece of parmigiano-reggiano rind (about 2×3 inches) to the soup for more flavor and richness)
(the soup can be made ahead to this point. Cool to room temperature, cover, and store in the fridge. Reheat to a simmer on medium and continue with the recipe)
Stir in the kale and simmer on low, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 20 minutes.
Sweet Emily is a five month old bundle of energy and exploration – talking and teething and just overall being a VERY happy kiddo! You can see Emily’s Mom’s beautiful creativity in the color wheel quilt that hangs over her changing table and the gorgeous flowers on the wall – Sarah has SUCH a great eye for design and the result is a cozy nursery you want to spend time in.