Hurricane indeed! Hmpfh! Sandy certainly made her presence known last week around these parts. Her howling winds made for quite a long night as every creak and groan outside made me cringe with worry that my roof was about to fly away or the trees were about to come down. We lost power early in the afternoon on Monday and the beautiful ambiance of candles and solitude quickly faded as her winds whipped up a frenzy outside. With daylight, it was amazing to see the extent of the damage in the area – even an hour from the coast! Huge old 60 foot pine and oak trees tumbled down all over the county like matchsticks. Roof shingles were everywhere. However, we were incredibly fortunate that the worst of it was four days without power. Our fellow friends to the northeast in New York and New Jersey took the brunt of the storm and the pictures of the devastation following are hard to see….so many lost so much. My heart goes out to those suffering.
After four days without power, the simple joy of cooking a hot meal was immeasurable. How we take the joys of our daily lives for granted. Our friend, Sandy, surely sent me a reminder to be thankful every day for everything we have. Chilled to the bone, we headed out for dinner on Thursday night to a local restaurant that had only had power restored a few hours previously. The menu was extremely limited but we sat around the bar with our new also-powerless friends lamenting about how we missed our electricity and how we were spending our chilly nights. One couple at the bar heard that they had their power restored while we sat and they quickly glugged down their drinks and headed home to the warmth. The rest of us looked after them with sad puppy dog eyes as they hightailed it out of there. Finally, it was time to head home to the cold and darkness of another night without power. But ss we pulled up the drive, as if on cue, the lights in my house magically came on. I could have kissed the light bulbs then and there. I was so ready for a good long hot shower. I have to admit that I am much more ‘Barefoot Contessa’ than ‘The Pioneer Woman’! 😮
So last night for dinner, I opened a bottle of red wine and made a good ole pot of sausage, kale and cannelloni bean soup – savoring every minute of preparation. The warmth of the soup along with the wine was just what we needed to feel connected and grounded once again as our hearts expanded with gratitude for life’s simple pleasures. Buon appetito!
Sausage, Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound sausage, cut into one inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups of good quality chicken broth
2 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of kale (preferably Tuscan if you can find it), stems and center ribs removed and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a dutch oven or sauce pot over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the sausage and transfer to paper towels to drain. If there is a lot of oil in the pot, use a paper towel to remove excess.
2. Add in the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, stirring. Add in the cannellini beans and cook for a few minutes, stirring to combine all the wonderful flavors.
3. Add the chicken broth, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over medium low, covered, for 15 minutes.
4. Add in the sausage, kale and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, until kale is tender. Discard the bay leaf. Season the soup to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Serve with a generous dusting of grated parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy!