For a while there, I thought we were just going to skip winter altogether. The sun shone day after lovely day and the temperatures were unseasonably warm, even for NOCA. The plants were looking a little dusty and I had to water my excuse for a garden a few times in December, January and February. As others fretted about the shortage of water, I put out the cushions on my porch furniture and blessed the weather gods.
Turns out, however, that winter wasn't missing, it was just late. Like me and my 8am college French class. My French teacher loved me, as I had lived in France and already spoke reasonable French, so she was somewhat tolerant of my tardiness when I'd give her the French salute - an expressive shrug - and say, "Pardonnez-moi, Madame, je n'ai pas d'excuse."
Now that the rains have begun, I have switched back from salads to soups and I'm loving this second chance at winter fare. All you need to make this soup is a couple of spicy Italian sausages, an onion, as much garlic as you and your loved ones can tolerate, a quart or so of chicken stock, a couple of stalks of celery, a generous handful of green beans, about 1/4 of a small kabocha squash and whatever herbs you like best. First, you brown the sausage in little bibbits for tiny meatballs, remove them and add the aromatics to soften and perfume, then add the broth, the veggies and the herbs. Simmer, simmer, simmer and serve. Simple as all get out and delicious to boot.
When you've got a big pot of soup on the stove, it can storm all it likes; you are safe inside with all those aromas. I still have to venture out to walk my dog in the soupy weather, but just knowing that pot is there gives comfort on a dreary day.