Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ruled by the Wind...

...or the sun, or the jet stream, or an off-shore flow, or some crazy ass storm travelling down from the Bering Sea.  While the weather tends to dictate what I eat and how I eat pretty frequently, a day's or night's cravings may or may not be fulfilled.  Or you can say, 'to hell with it!' and throw caution into that Santa Ana wind event that's bound to come rolling around.  

And so again it happened.  I wanted soup, it was the kick-off weekend of fall, after all...and yet...Mother Nature thought it would be amusing to give Southern California yet another few days of hot, sunny, 102 degrees in the shade before finally gracing us with days that were almost crisp, where heading out in the morning, I could wear a jacket and maybe even a scarf!

I was thinking about Italian Wedding Soup when I made this.  I still  want to make a classic wedding soup.  When I was young and dad made it, I usually ignored the escarole and ate as many mini meatballs as I could get my hands on, even before they made it into the soup.  Meatballs would have been in the same danger had I made them on this go-round.  So little meatballs...you're safe for the time being.

Curly Endive and Millet Soup
Easily serves 2-4

1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, minced
4 cups stock, vegetable or chicken
2 cups water
5-6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
1 bouillon cube, optional
1 medium bunch curly endive, washed with leaves torn from stems
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup Italian dry sausage, sliced thin into quarters, optional
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large stock pot, add the olive oil, bay leaves, garlic, and onion.  Over medium heat, cook the onions until translucent.  When the onions are ready, add the stock, water, bouillon cube, basil, endive, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine and let simmer for 5 minutes, allowing red pepper flavor to bloom.  Remove the bay leaves, then add the millet and sausage (if using).  Let soup simmer for 20-25 minutes to let millet cook.  Serve with toasted hearty, crusty bread.

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