Note: Some of you may not be able to comment because the Like and Comment boxes are missing, but not all of you. Happiness Engineers have yet to fix the problem.
We changed the clocks this past weekend and that means sunset at 4:34 p.m. This is never happy news in my book. There had been some legislation proposed to keep us on Daylight Savings Time all year, but once again that seems to have fizzled out, so here we are, picking kids up from soccer practice in the dark, and yawning at 8 p.m.
A balance of nature?
Oddly, we did not get our first frost or freeze until Nov. 1 this year! For a cold climate like ours, that’s unlikely since we can expect that first drop in temps by the end of September. However, I guess it is a kind of balance since we had a hard freeze in mid-May that damaged a great deal of our apple blossoms and thus the crop. Even stranger, my roses are still blooming like it is mid-June, while just about everything else in the garden has succumbed to the cold snap. It must have been all that rain.
Spring bulb planting
Yesterday, my daughter helped me plant over a hundred spring bulbs – daffodils, tulips, crocuses, and some summer Stargazer lilies, one of my favorites. It was a balmy 55 degrees out, but extremely windy, so we worked efficiently and got the job done well before that early sunset. Other than a last cleanup of pulled weeds, the garden is ready for its winter nap.
A short satisfying simmer
I love a long-simmered soup that fills the house with tantalizing aromas. But after a lot of fresh air and hard work, we might want something a little faster that is still as satisfying.
This is a quick soup that is really good for you and full of flavor. Use any mushroom you like. Here, I used a mix of shiitake and oyster mushrooms grown locally, but crimini would be lovely here as well, even a humble button mushroom.
Add a little green
If peas are in season, use them by all means. But they are available here such a short time, thawed frozen peas work fine. You could also chop up some snow peas or sugar snaps, or toss in some green beans if that’s what you have, which is what I used this time around, salvaged from the previous night’s dinner.
For a quick cook, I used the brown rice vermicelli that doesn’t really need to be cooked at all, it just softens in the hot broth. It’s ingredients are brown rice, rice bran, and tapioca. They are very thin, thus the quick cook. However, if you have a favorite noodle, toss them in halfway through the cooking time. Fresh noodles would be prefect here.
Mushroom and Miso Noodle Soup
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. assorted mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob of ginger, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 quart mushroom or vegetable stock
1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed, or other veggie
1 tbsp. dark miso
4 to 8 oz. brown rice vermicelli noodles
In a stock pot, heat the oil and add the mushrooms, onions, and carrot. Sauté until the onions have turned translucent, then add the garlic and ginger, letting them bloom for a minute or so. Season with lots of fresh pepper, then add the stock. Hold off on the salt until you add the miso and taste.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the carrots are tender.
Cut off the heat, remove a half-cup or so of the broth and mix in the miso so there will be no salty lumps. Add it back to the pot along with the peas and noodles. Cover and let sit for a few minutes so the noodles can soften. Taste for salt and pepper.
You can dress this up any way you like, but it is pretty delicious as is, with perhaps a slice of hearty bread.