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Analog Sundays

Pantry Minnestrone

So far, so good. A few weeks ago, I resolved to not open the computer on Sundays. It's amazing to wake up in the morning knowing I won't be beholden to anyone's urgent email or sucked into reading Facebook updates. Emily has been talking a lot about Sabbath lately, so I suppose it's rubbing off. One of her current favorite quotes from Sabbath by Wayne Muller:

"I have sat on dozens of boards and commissions with many fine, compassionate, and generous people who are so tired, overwhelmed, and overworked that they have neither the time nor the capacity to listen to the deeper voices that speak to the essence of the problems before them.  Presented with the intricate and delicate issues of poverty, public health, community well-being, and crime, our impulse, born of weariness, is to rush headlong toward doing anything that will make the problem go away.  Maybe then we can finally go home and get some rest.  But without the essential nutrients of rest, wisdom, and delight embedded in the problem-solving process itself, the solution we patch together is likely to be an obstacle to genuine relief.  Born of desperation, it often contains enough fundamental inaccuracy to guarantee an equally perplexing problem will emerge as soon as it is put into place.  In the soil of the quick fix is the seed of a new problem, because our quiet wisdom is unavailable."

I love how he contrasts our default problem-solving methods with "quiet wisdom." I haven't been trying to solve world poverty on Sundays, but I sure have felt some of that quiet strength.

Space Needle

And I've been making soup. A quick fridge-cleaning produces a pot to share at church, and the kitchen volunteers are always happy to receive it. Last week, I used leftover chickpea curry. I dumped it in a pot with leftover rice, added water, another can of tomatoes, and fresh spinach. The only problem, of course, is being asked for the recipe--"Make too much chickpea curry, and leave it forgotten in the fridge for a few days. Pull it out, find some cooked rice in the back, and see what you can do it with it."

This week, the bits in the pantry and produce drawer were much more accommodating if, for instance, the cook were a food blogger and wanted to scrounge up something to keep her faithful readers on the line.

P.S. Seattle friends, when was the last time you were at Volunteer Park? The leaves are turning, all the lovers and families were out yesterday afternoon, and I even got Yancey to take a picture of ME, for once. Oh--and those rascally children of mine.
Volunteer Park

Pantry Minestrone
These were the things I happened to have around, but you could certainly use lots of other things--white beans instead of kidney and garbanzo, shredded cabbage or spinach instead of kale, carrots and celery.

Couple big glugs of olive oil
1 small red or yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow or red pepper, diced
2 small zucchini, finely chopped
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
couple handfuls chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley and lemon thyme)
1 bay leaf
pinch red pepper flakes
1 or 2 parmesan rinds
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 14-oz. can kidney beans, drained
3/4 c. small elbow macaroni
1/4 c. fine bulgar
1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
juice of one small lemon

Saute olive oil in a big stockpot. Add onion, garlic, diced pepper, and zucchini. Saute for five minutes, then add salt, pepper fresh herbs, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Saute for a couple minutes, then add parmesan rind, tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, and enough water to cover by a couple inches. Bring to a simmer, then add macaroni and bulgar. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until pasta is tender. Take out a couple cupfuls (or stick an immersion blender in there) and puree. Add puree back to soup, add chopped kale and lemon juice, and stir. Add more water along the way at any point, and taste at the end, adding more salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, or lemon juice to taste. Serve with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil on top.


Reader Comments (12)

Sarah, you've brought tears to my eyes tonight, several times over. The words first. That middle picture, second. You've no idea how I miss those gray skies. And then, our beloved Volunteer Park. My father in law lives a few blocks away. It's where we always walk, whenever we visit. I hope you said hello to the horse chestnuts for me. I didn't know how much I needed these reminders. All of them, text and image both. Thank you.

P.S. Those rascally children look like absolute perfection.

P.S.S. This is exactly how I make soup.

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermolly

Love the pic of you and the kiddos!

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

'bout time you got your mugshot on your own blog!
Sometimes it's nice to have a day off from the computer, though this blog should be for enjoyment and pleasure as it brings to us!

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstacey snacks

Two things: noticed you changed your profile pic on FB (funny how they let you know everything about your friend's activity) and thought-- "I bet she has a new post."

I've read a couple things by Wayne Mueller and so appreciate it. I forget the lady's name who deals wholly with Sabbath rest. She refers to Mueller and if I find her name--I'll let you know. I find when I don't open FB or computer on Sunday it is much more restful.

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKamille

your kids are precious and this soup looks amazing!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterclaire

Great picture!

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElenor

It is amazing how much your children look like you! They are so cute. I always enjoy your photos of them. I'm all excited about this post because about a month ago I made the decision to make a pot of soup every Sunday to ensure there was something quick, nutritious, and homemade on hand for when we're busy and hungry during the week. Like you I made minestrone this week. What should we make next week. ;-)

October 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Fay

Nice reminder about taking a Sabbath. Love it. Love the Seattle picture, too. Good memories :)

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlynn

I was at Volunteer Park last Thursday, and remembering our first visit there. If you ever need to feel like your children are less rascally, we should do that again sometime soon. :)

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi Momosis

I love your description of the recipe "...make too much chickpea curry!"

I love making soup - its such a great way to use leftovers - and since my husband never eats leftovers, my lunches consist of "leftover soup."

I am lucky because I have a full kitchen at my office (I work at a law firm) and this morning I realized I had leftover rump roast that we grilled over the weekend. I chopped that up, peeled and cut up carrots and potatoes, added the juice in the container, added chicken broth and seasonings and then brought it to work to simmer this morning.

I am calling it yankee pot roast soup! :D

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiz

Yum! I made this right after I read it -- substituted spinach, medium shells and northern beans. It was awesome! Thanks for the inspiration!

October 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Hi Sarah, I made this for the second time tonight. First time was amazing, and the second time I put in too much lemon juice. Do you have any suggestions for balancing it out (for the leftovers)?

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristin

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