Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bowl of Soup

I made dinner tonight from a soup recipe we enjoy quite a lot. Cannellini beans, squash, onions, bacon, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Its supper yummy.

As I was chopping away I looked down the ingredient list and realized that with the exception of some of the beans, everything was something we grew or -in the case of the bacon- purchased from someone who raised it locally.

The localvore concept entered our lives a few years ago and after first assuming that "we already did that" we started looking more closely at what food we consumed that was either produced or was grown locally. This started a fundamental shift that made us more closely attuned to examining just where everything we eat and drink comes from.

What caught my attention this evening was how, without any conscious effort, our dish was almost completely local. This is not special and I'm not trying to say its even that big a deal, rather that I find that this little calculation happens almost as a habit most of the time, and has really for the last few years, with pretty satisfying results.

There's pride and satisfaction in a meal like this, and I feel lucky that we get to make the choices we do when it comes to food.

Here's the breakdown:

Bacon -- from Helm, the Frozen Butcher, northern Vermont
Onions, garlic, butternut squash, and rosemary -- grown by us right here
Chicken broth -- made by Nancy from the parts left over from chickens we co-raised last summer
Cannellini beans and navy beans -- some we grew, some are from unknown
"Sundried" tomatoes -- we grow and dry tons of sungolds in our dehydrator
Salt and pepper -- from parts unknown

If you've read this far and are actually curious about the recipe, here you go. Try it. You'll be psyched.
  • 2 thick bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 decent sized chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves(or more!), minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups cubed and peeled butternut squash
  • 4 cups cannellini (white kidney beans), undrained
  • a cup or so of sundried tomatoes, otherwise diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Sauté bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add chopped onion and garlic to drippings in pot; sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to boil. Stir in butternut squash, 1 or so cups cannellini with liquid, drained tomatoes, and fresh rosemary. Puree remaining 2-3 cups cannellini with liquid in processor until smooth; add to soup. Cover and simmer until butternut squash is tender and flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Bacon and soup can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap and chill bacon. Chill soup uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm bacon and soup separately before serving.)

Garnish with chopped bacon and serve. Or just chop up the bacon and put it in with everything else, but don't leave it out!

We got this recipe from Epicurious and have modified it slightly since.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tweed Run

A year or so back I learned about the Tweed Run. Here's the concept:

"The Tweed Run is a group bicycle ride through the centre of London, in which the cyclists are expected to dress in traditional british cycling attire, particularly tweed plus four suits. Any bicycle is acceptable on the Tweed Run, but classic vintage bicycles are encouraged. Some effort to recreate the spirit of a bygone era is always appreciated."

This just seems so fun to me. Combining the pleasures of beautiful bikes, vintage fashion, and a leisurely group of fellow riders. I don't pretend that life was necessarily better in the old days, but I certainly think there were some things going on style-wise that's its a shame to have lost. Wool, leather, canvas, wicker, steel, silk...

Turns out Tweed Runs are turning up all over the place, including Boston, but I didn't catch wind of this until after it had already happened sometime last fall. Maybe the next time around.

I think what's so fun about this is that it humanizes riding a bike and makes it playful, in total contrast to the pretension of "performance" get-ups and it appears to me that there is enough creativity going on to keep this business from becoming too pretentious itself.

Goofy? Even a little embarrassing? Sure. Fun? Yep.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Yesterday the Volvo turned over 300,000 miles. We were driving back from Boston and making guesses the whole way about where we thought it would actually happen. Its sort of insignificant and yet cool.

When I was researching what car to buy back in the mid nineties, I talked to a guy at Performance Motors in Hadley, MA --a shop that just worked on Volvos-- who said if I took care of it it'd go to 300,000 no problem. Well, he was right. I feel like this car has done it's work and everything from here on in is gravy.

In fact, my odometer was busted for about 6 months a few years back, so in actuality, this car has long since hit this milestone, but hey, it wouldn't work to take a picture at, say, 298,742 and say I think this car is really about to hit 300,000.

Let's hear it for the Volvo 240!