The Irresistible Domesticity of November

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Irresistible Domesticity of November

Certain rooms in my house see more of me during certain times of the year.  On a May morning when the curtains blow into the room on a rose-scented breeze, I can often be found in my bedroom, reading or writing on my chaise lounge by the four-poster bed, listening to bird song.  My library, being the coolest room in the house, is where Edward and I spend hot summer afternoons, him dozing, me reading, while the southern heat melts the bright palette of springtime into a landscape of faded, impressionistic vignettes.  But, November.  Everyone knows to look for me in the kitchen when the eleventh month appears.  Rolling out pastry, stirring thick soups, sitting at the kitchen table with my knitting on my lap as I wait for sourdough bread to rise in the pan.  Perhaps it’s the faint scent of woodsmoke on the brisk, chilly wind.  Or maybe its simply the colours of autumn - the hearty gold, the cheerful orange.  Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, I cannot seem to resist the soul enriching warmth of domesticity in November.  I turn inward, close the door and light the fire.

This particular November finds me the proud owner of a brand new stove, albeit one both unwanted and unneeded until about a month ago.  At the risk of revealing myself to be thoroughly and irreparably spoiled, I confess that I’m one of the lucky ones.  The Songwriter makes me breakfast every morning.  I know, I know, ... but it has something to do with his preference for absolute quiet when he wakes up, a state of being I seem to shatter when I rejoin the land of the living each day.  As I could never be mistaken for a “morning person”, waking up to the fragrance of hot coffee already made and ready to pour is truly a treat unparalleled.  Several weeks ago, fancying a bit of cinnamon toast, The Songwriter opened the cabinet above the stove and reached for a too-eager, tiny glass bottle of cinnamon which proceeded to jump off the shelf before he could take hold of it.  The little thing plummeted down, down, to a tragic demise on top of the glass surface of the stove where it made a tiny, seemingly insignificant crack.  Then, with a sickening slowness, like the pouring of syrup, the crack, though thin as an eyelash, began to spread - an almost inaudible pop here, a hushed little crackle there - as The Songwriter, clad in striped jim jams with a sad piece of bread in his hand, watched in silent horror.  Like the shifting of tectonic plates under the floor of the desert, the entire surface of the stove slowly shattered.  It took two whole minutes to complete the process and I still can’t help but giggle every time I imagine The Songwriter’s horrified face as he watched it unfold.  

Laughs were less frequent however, when we began to search for the stove’s replacement.  We live in an old house and these days appliances are created for new ones.  Like Goldilocks searching for her perfect chair, every stove was either too tall or two wide to fit in our kitchen.  No showroom had one.  So like most modern families, we turned to the internet where we found a big, sturdy fellow sporting a spacious oven and shiny dials just made for imaginative cooking.  He fits perfectly, and with the arrival of November, he is being put to excellent use.  I have made an apple pie a week for the past three weeks, one for a neighbourhood bakery auction where all the proceeds went to the animal rescue facility from which Edward and Apple were rescued, one for a beach weekend with friends, and one, made only last night, for The Songwriter himself.  There have been two big pots of soup and yes, just this morning, The Songwriter finally chanced another breakfast of cinnamon toast.  I’m happy to report it was both tasty and uneventful.

I do highly recommend rediscovering the wonders of your own hearthside this November and to that end, I’m sharing one of my favourite soup recipes.
  It’s a scrumptious minestrone from my neighbour, Nancy.
  Delicious and healthy.  

Oh, and Edward and I are humbled, and quite tickled, by the amazing 
reviews of our new book!
Read Art House Design's Review HERE
And Splenderosa's HERE
And get your own copy of From the House of Edward HERE.
Be sure and put in the instructions box if you'd like the book
 wrapped for Christmas and shipped to a friend!

November Minestrone
2 Teaspoons of good olive oil
1.5 cups chopped onion
1 medium carrot, sliced lengthwise and chopped.  About 3/4 cup
1 clove garlic
1.5 cup brown rice ( I use a mixture of brown and red rice, with barley and rye thrown in, yum!)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2.5 cups water
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 10 oz can of organic chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 15oz can cannellini beans
1 10oz pkg of frozen spinach
salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat oil on medium high heat and add onion, carrot and garlic.
Saute 3 to 5 minutes.
Add rice and next 4 ingredients.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
Simmer until rice is done.
Add zucchini and next 4 ingredients and simmer till ready to serve.
Sprinkle each bowl with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving.