Happy Winter Solstice!

Solstice kicks in here on the west coast @ 8:19 pm tonight. The longest night of the year and POOF! The nights become shorter and Spring is around the corner.

Been racking my brain for a menu and reading various articles. Decided after heading over to my small Saturday farmer’s market this morning to make a big pot of vegetable soup. Carrots, celery, handful of brussel sprouts, 3 leeks (cleaned them like Rachael Ray said Jacque Pepin taught her. You chop off most of the green and make long cuts in them, rinse them, fanning them out, then shake them around like a cheerleader yelling like hell for your team. (I added that last bit as my team is SF Giants)

Added 2 cans chicken broth as had no vegetable broth. Decided to cook the vegetable scarps down to add more broth later in a “Zen” sort of way, a handful of farro, can of tomatoes, handful of cherry tomatoes that were still growing in the garden, 2 small potatoes, one parsnip, 2 carrots, 2 spoonfuls of minced garlic out of a jar (getting lazy),  1/2 onion chopped and some Italian seasoning from one of my favorite places in Little Italy in San Diego, Flipppi’s Pirzza Grotto.   Adjust seasonings accordingly.

It’s on the stove now.  Should I have used a crockpot? I know that’s more energy efficient, but the broth always seems watery. What happens when gas lines are no longer allowed? Berkeley recently passed a law saying all new housing will have electric only. What do professional chefs think about that? I’ve always thought electric stoves were good for one thing and that’s lighting your smoke. Seriously! I used to put aluminum foil around the burners as the stove always looked like hell. Guess that’s apartment living!

Also, going to make an oven sandwich. Recipe from my mom:

You will need:

Baguette or similar bread

1 pound ground burger (I use turkey burger and buy the cheapest pkg at Trader Joes as it’s under $3)

Lunch meat (I like Columbus sliced turkey or chicken)

Cheese (I use xsharp cheddar)

Italian dressing (I use bottled dressing as I can never seem to get Italian dressing to taste right. Need to improve the skill set…)

-Preheat oven to around 375 degrees

-Take a baguette, slice and toast first in the oven using olive oil or butter or just getting it a bit crunchy. You can rub a piece of garlic clove like the French do on the hot bread from the oven. I love the way the garlic just melts into the bread. Toasting the bread helps it from getting soggy from the ingredients.

-Next fry burger. I use turkey burger and chopped onion.

-Assemble sandwich with crumbled turkey burger, cheese, lunch meat and Italian dressing. Use as much or little to your likening.

-Wrap tight in aluminum foil or parchment paper

-Leave in oven 10-15 min until cheese melts.

You now have a great sandwich! A down-home meal for chilling at home to celebrate Winter Solstice. Don’t forget a sparkling wine, spiked cider or a nice Pilsner.





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