Monday, November 18, 2013

The Last Flower of the Year

Sunday was a strange day. Storms were predicted for the afternoon, and as the morning turned to the noon hour, things seemed to be lining up to be worse than originally expected. Tornado Watches were issued (in November!) and the temperature continued to rise. From the safety of the Penthouse I watched as the storm hit, then slightly panicked as the tornado sirens went off and I couldn't see across the street for the wind and rain. Was a tornado really coming? Where are my shoes? What do I want to wear when I am homeless and all of my other other clothes are blown away? I admit to being a wee bit nervous for a few minutes.

Before all that happened, though, I took a stroll around the Garden.

Hosta leaves flattened by the frost.

One of the Autumn ferns still happy and green as can be.

The skeleton of the climbing hydrangea.

All of the Hydrangea Border was wiped out by the frost. I wish I would have picked those last flowers!

Out in the vegetable garden the asparagus fronds have turned a bright coppery-blond.

The little white azalea needs it's burlap coat soon.
Hey! There's a patch of mesclun looking as good as can be!

So many different colors in the Berry Patch. The gooseberries turned a really vivid red this year.

And there she was, knocked over and shivering. One lonely little delphinium. Of course I took her home.
After the storm the sky was rather amazing. I couldn't see anything in this shot when the sirens originally went off.

So beautiful.

The glowing colors were amazing.

And the entire time that storm was raging and then the cold wind was blowing, the last flower of the year sat cheering up the kitchen counter.

Meatless Monday : Black Bean and Almond Soup

We are in the home stretch. One more soup for Meatless Monday and Souper November (souper cheesy?) will be over. I actually already have that soup planned, which I really cannot believe. I mean, I always thing I plan ahead and am organized, but as I type this I should be packing for a quick trip to Indianapolis. However, because I didn't plan ahead on my posts, well, I'm totally unorganized right now.

This soup looked to me like a "pantry" soup since every ingredient, aside from the avocado and cilantro, are pretty much pantry staples. Who doesn't have a few cans of black beans languishing away on the shelf?
This is actually a two for one post, since I made some green rice puree while the soup was simmering. The soup recipe itself comes from the November issue of Martha Stewart Living, and you can find it here.

Once again I used vegetable stock rather than chicken.

Maybe I didn't have ALL of the ingredients. I only had one pretty small red onion, so I used it and an equally small yellow onion.

When you add the garlic and cumin make sure you let the cumin cook. Raw cumin is nothing but nasty.

Rinse the beans, throw them in the pot. Add the veg stock.

While the soup simmers, you can toast your almonds.

And while you toast your almonds you can prep the cilantro for the soup and the green rice, as well as chop up the ingredients for green rice.

Tomatillos, green onion, a white onion, some lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and jalapenos. 
Puree it all together and add some salt and pepper. Here's the actual recipe if you don't want to eyeball it.
Once the soup has cooled, puree it in a blender in batches, adding the almonds and cilantro.

Reheat and serve it up. There is some Greek yogurt buried under all that avocado somewhere.