Thursday, May 23, 2013
There seem to be areas of life that are best left undiscussed, especially if they happen to be going well. Baby sleep comes to mind. Also weather. Seems that as soon as you say, "The baby has been sleeping so well!" or "Well, it seems like spring has finally arrived," you're in for it. It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and instead of heading to the beach, we're just glad we didn't tuck away all the sweaters quite yet.
My husband has been really busy at work lately, so I've been flying solo at dinner time more often. The bright side of the situation is that I'm able to branch out of the normal rotation and make some delicious meals he might not enjoy. I find a lot of joy in cooking just for myself. Of course I'll be glad to have him back when this busy season is over (so glad!), but I'm enjoying the ritual of cooking, eating, and cleaning up all alone, in a mostly-silent house, after the baby is soundly sleeping. Chopping, stirring, tasting. Predictable, unlike motherhood. A quiet meditation. A sip of wine, a pause... Listening; is the baby awake? No. (sigh of relief.) A little more salt. I set the table (real dishes, real napkins, s'il vous plait), sit down, breathe deeply the delicious aroma. A gift I give myself after pouring myself out for others all day.
This soup came together almost by accident. I've been making several trips a week to the produce market down the street, just for a few things. It's something to do in the time between nap and bed, a time that tends to drag. I grabbed some dandelion greens, and after trying them in a salad (too bitter!) decided to stick them in a soup. The next time I was there I grabbed a can of hominy. The rest of the ingredients were things I had on hand, lucky me! It turned out so magnificently, I had to share. This soup is bright and fresh, in shades of spring green. Enjoy!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, membranes and seeds removed, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 29-ounce can white hominy, drained
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups chopped dandelion greens (or kale, spinach, or other dark leafy green)
1 big handful fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, celery, and carrots, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges of some pieces are browning and things are getting softer. Add the hominy and stock and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until everything is heated through. Toss in the greens and cilantro and stir, cooking about 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt. Thinly slice half an avocado and place in a soup bowl. Ladle hot soup over, and squeeze half a lime on top. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.