I just had a moment. One of those moment's that catch you off guard. Tomorrow is Chris' birthday - and that's not why I had the moment. I had it because I realized that it will be his first birthday without his mom. It just kind of caught me off guard.
I remember after my dad passed away, I thought about that kind of stuff all the time. I remember when his birthday would come, or Christmas, I would try and think of what I would have given him as a gift. And there were times that I would stop and think - he's not going to be here for this. 13 years later, I still do this.
I know that days will be tough, and days will be even tougher, but I know that having love and support of family and friends will make things easier.
We're having dark, wet fall weather already. It seems to early for it really. I secretly want to stay home one day, curled up on the couch watching tv, drinking hot chocolate with the blinds open watching the rain. Secretly.
About a month ago, we had a very rainy day. It was the worst rain day that we had had in a very long time. I was needing to cook some comfort food that day - so made a nice big pot of homemade soup. Good 'ol homemade soup. I wanted to make a pot tonight, but I had to shop for Chris' birthday. Secretly, I think that he would have loved a bowl of my homemade soup than a birthday prezzie. Unless, the present was 50 inch flat screen, or a new jeep, or $10000, or season's tickets to the Canucks.
Sims Style Summer Soup
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1 large zucchini - sliced into small slices
1 red pepper - chopped into small pieces
8-10 slices of bacon
3 1/2 cups of stock (I used chicken, but vegetable can keep it vegetarian)
1 can of white beans - drained
1/2 cup orzo
Kosher salt and pepper
In a large pot, saute the onion in olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Saute for about 8 minutes. In a separate pan, saute the bacon until it is cooked - not too overly cooked.
When the onions are done, add the garlic another sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper and continue to saute for another minute. Add the stock and the white beans and let simmer for a couple of minutes. With a hand blender, puree the white beans. This will allow a creamy texture, without the cream. Add the zucchini and peppers and orzo. Cut up the bacon into small pieces and add that to the soup as well. Simmer over low heat, stirring often to ensure that the orzo does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Finely chop the rosemary and add to the soup and allow to simmer for the last couple of minutes.
When it is seasoned to the way you like it, bring out the bowls and serve away.
This is a hearty soup that can be served on a summer day or on a cold fall evening.
I served this soup along side a grilled sandwich with roasted vegetables, prosciutto salami and bocconcini.
Grilled Sandwich with roasted vegetables, prosciutto and bocconcini
2 peppers - red and yellow - cut in half
4 slices of prosciutto salami
1 tomato - thinly sliced
Bocconcini cheese - 2 small balls for each sandwich
I used my panini grill to grill my peppers. I cut them in half and grilled for about 10 minutes.
On a slice of sourdough bread, add a couple of spinach leaves, the prosciutto, the peppers, 2 slices of tomatoes - season with kosher salt and pepper, and the slices of bocconcini, and then another slice of bread.
Grill on the panini grill for a couple of minutes. If you don't have a panini grill, toast the bread first. Then place all of the ingredients on the bread and then bake in the oven for a couple of minutes on high heat.
Enjoy these together. It's a hearty meal, it's good comfort food.