...to go outside, the rain and the wind started. AGAIN.
It was a long night of howling (the cats-- as well as the wind), and the sound of torrential downpour on the roof of this old heap we live in.
But, we've certainly fared FAR better than our neighbours to the south of The Border. This "super storm" was NOTHING compared to what the good folks of the Eastern United States were dealt last night, and are still dealing with this morning.
Still, I look outside and see beautiful old trees that have come crashing down around my pond, toppled over right from the roots. Confused, hysterical birds (who should definitely have started heading south ages ago) are twittering around my leaning tower of a birdfeeder, presumably exchanging their own disastrous news.
Only my statue of St Francis, whom we affectionately call "Frank", stands tall and calm in the centre of my garden, smirking beatifically and gesturing with one hand, as if to say, "For Pete's sake, just calm down, you lot... this was NOTHING."
Yep, no plagues of locusts or torrents of toads (yet), so I consider us very, very lucky.
Still, I'm taking the day off today, due to power outages, general ickiness and malaise. School kids and indoor recesses just do not mix well, and all that pent up energy, topped with the anticipation of Hallowe'en hijinks tomorrow, might just be the death of me.
I'm staying home to make soup, instead.
This recipe comes from one of my dearest friends, a born and bred Prairie Girl. If anybody knows about weather and survival, it's her-- she's got one of the warmest hearts I know.
Potato, Bacon and Cheddar Soup for a Blustery Day
I swear, if Winnie-the-Pooh had known about this stuff, he'd have kicked his hunny habit easily. Minus the bacon, however, for poor old Piglet's sake...
2 tbsp butter
1 onion (minced)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped very finely or pressed)
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
2 c chicken stock, plus perhaps a little more if the soup seems too thick
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 c milk (I use 1%, but homogenized is definitely best)
salt to taste
About 10 rashers of good bacon
1 c old cheddar cheese, shredded (at the very least... more, if you like)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Melt the butter in a large soup pot, and add the onion. Cook the onion slowly over low heat, until translucent. Then, add the garlic and stir to combine the flavours.
Add the chicken stock, and once the mixture comes to a boil, add the diced potatoes and thyme. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer slowly, until the potatoes are very tender.
While the potatoes are cooking, fry up the bacon rashers in a frying pan. Cook until very crispy (at least, that's the way I like it), and then place the bacon on a plate covered in paper towel, to absorb the excess fat. Once the bacon is cool, take a large knife and chop it into small pieces. Throw the pieces into the soup pot to simmer with the potatoes.
Once the potatoes are cooked, take a potato masher and squash those suckers up. For those who prefer their soup more finely pureed, use a mixer or food processor to blizz out the lumps. We like our soup to have a bit more texture than that-- especially the bacon pieces, which release a nice burst of flavour when you get a bite of one!
Add the 2 c of milk very slowly, to avoid curdling. Heat the soup through, stirring constantly. Once heated, add the shredded cheese, and continue stirring until all the ingredients are nicely combined. Now is the time to give it a taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add a bit more chicken stock if the soup seems too thick to you.
Ladle the soup into great big bowls, sprinkle with parsley, and share with the people you love best.