I stare into the white wall across from our bed, and beneath the mermaid painting I imagine an expansive shoreline. The ocean rolls in, riding powerful crests and picks up the sand, the way a horseback warrior might charge through a quiet household and steal his forbidden love. The birds flap hard against the horizon generating eddies of air, which swirl in their wake like gasoline on water. A single lighthouse perches against the gray skyline like a cadet in a crows nest. From shore he is pointing toward the promise of discoveries, from sea he brings home new insights embroidered in distant memories. A single ocean ebbs and flows beneath his watchful eye. I imagine digging my toes into the cold sand, and close my eyes to hear the seagulls squeal…
mrmeow..mrmeow..mrmeow the cats are pawing at the door. Their full body stretches against the wall are traced by claws scraping down wood. It seems like magically they grow four feet taller when behind closed doors. I resign to getting out of bed and letting them in. The moment I turn the door handle, Eugene jumps and twists into the air, and prances toward the kitchen. He looks back over his shoulder like a child hoping to be chased.
I follow him, but am distracted by a sudden lightness. The sun has decided to take Minnesota back into his good graces, and we are getting extended visits from him these days. It is hard to be sad or serious in the presence of such a captivating, and energetic house guest. He dances his toes lightly against our hard wood floor, making shadow puppets out of house plants. He fashions toy birds that bounce off of our computer screens and cellphones, and flutter about on the walls, sending the cats into a wild and playful chase. He takes our coats and hats, and warms our hands and feet. He teases us with stories of barefoot walks, and outdoor swimming. He promises an abundance of gifts from his garden.
With spring floating on the horizon, I begin to consider whether I have fully allowed myself to appreciate winter (as opposed to just surviving it). Since it is not yet too late, I gather together some of my favorite winter vegetables so that Christina and I can indulge in one last cold comfort soup.
Heat the oven to 375.
1 acorn squash
1 sweet potato
1 head of garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ cup beef stock (or onion, or veg stock)
½ small or ¼ large green cabbage
2 Tbsp butter
¼ yellow or red onion
salt to taste
3 cups stock (beef or veg)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp muchi curri powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chili powder
1 pinch of brown sugar (optional if the veggies are not in season)
salt to taste
Prepare the vegetables (cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds, peel and cut parsnip into large pieces, cut sweet potato in large pieces, cut the top of the garlic head for roasting). Place them in a roasting pan and cover with olive oil and salt. Cover with tinfoil and roast for 20 min. Add stock and roast for an additional 40 min. Remove the squash and the sweet potatoes and (if the parsnips are not yet done) roast the parsnips and garlic for an additional 20 min.
On the stove, heat butter and salt and add diced onion and garlic. Add diced green cabbage. Cover and simmer until tender, slowly adding the stock as it cooks (about 20 min).
Place all roasted vegetables in a soup pan (removing skin of squash and garlic). Add cabbage. Blend well with hand blender. Add seasonings. Garnish with cubed carrots (if you like).