April Morning Snow

fullsizeoutput_5c80It’s April 2, and it snowed for over an hour this morning.  The crocuses that were so vibrant yesterday are tightly closed today, and I feel that my creativity has shut down as well, leaving me vulnerable to distractions.  I started the morning washing dishes, and then vaguely thought I would like to bake something.  I started researching recipes that use lots of ginger, as I have too much fresh ginger by mistake.  (I left it on the shopping list, having forgotten I’d already restocked.)  I was thinking about triple ginger scones, but couldn’t settle on a recipe. From there I fell into to filing loose recipes and re-organizing my recipe binder.  That at least felt a bit productive; attacking clutter is always satisfying.  Flipping through recipes got me thinking about dinner, and after some more browsing I settled on a marinated chicken sheet-pan meal, a mash-up of two recipes, that will use both ginger and some garam masala which needs to be used up.  The chicken is now thawing, and the marinade ingredients are waiting.  During this process I came across a recipe for vegetable-parmesan broth, which reminded me of the frozen parmesan rinds in the freezer.  It was a quick prep, so I got that started for the base of tomorrow’s dinner.  It was a productive spurt of activity, although not what I set out to do two hours earlier.

fullsizeoutput_5c82It’s still cloudy, but the snow has stopped now;  there’s even a bit of shadow as the sun tries to break through the cloud cover. Inside, a comforting garlicky-cheesy aroma from the simmering broth fills the air. On my to-do list is planning the layout of the vegetable garden and ordering the seeds that I will need this spring. Perhaps I will attack that after lunch.  As my energy builds, maybe I’ll call down to the general store (curb-side delivery, of course), so I can pick up the heavy cream that the ginger scones recipe needs.  It’s not a lost day, distractions can turn productive, and though the crocuses won’t open today, their colors still brighten a dreary landscape.

Vegetable-Parmesan Broth

  • 1-2 T olive oil (or a generous “squirt”)
  • 1 onion, chopped (and/or scallions, leeks, etc. as desired)
  • 1-5 gloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • ½ to 1 cup white wine
  • 8 cups boiling water (12 cups if using a large quantity of ingredients)
  • Parmesan cheese rinds – from a large handful (¼ pound) to a pound
  • 2 carrots, chopped (and celery and other vegetables if desired)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • thyme, oregano, parsley – a small handful, as desired
  • 1 tsp salt – to start.  Adjust seasoning after straining.

Heat olive oil in a sturdy soup pot.  Saute onions and garlic until soft and bits are starting to brown.  Deglaze the pan with wine and boil down a bit.  Add water.  Add other ingredients.  Simmer for 1-2 hours, uncovered to concentrate flavors or partially covered to preserve liquid.  Cool and strain.

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