After a while, síno fun.
The blizzard was exciting for a time, but the mountains of snow and hard-to-navigate streets it left behind soon tamped down the enthusiasm like a well-packed snowball.
Come to think of it, the drifts dumped by the Jan. 26-27 storm denied kids the chance to sculpt a snowman or build a snow fort, being of the light and fluffy style. Now we seem to be caught in a cycle of pesky precipitation that requires keeping the shovels and ice melt at the ready.
I got an email from a friend, asking whether Iíd ever written about snowy-weather cooking. I believe I have, on a couple of occasions. I recall rhapsodizing about the hot-from-the-deep-fryer doughnuts my Mom used to make ó the cake-style ones, not raised.
Weíd shake them in a brown paper bag with cinnamon sugar for a special treat. To this day, I monopolize the cinnamon doughnuts in the boxed assortments from the supermarket, or home in on that variety when a generous co-worker spoils us with a dozen on Tuesdays.
This emailer mentioned that she had made squash-apple soup, which sounds good, while others she had talked to were simmering batches of kale soup. A hearty stew is great, or how about genuine macaroni and cheese (not that orange stuff from a blue box, though that has its place)? The best part is that with all the shoveling, you burn off the extra calories you consume on snow days while youíre recovering on the sofa with a good book.
Here is a simple soup, ideal for a snowy day, that goes together quickly and doesnít require any exotic ingredients (unless you consider barley exotic). It doesnít demand too much chopping of ingredients, as the box of frozen vegetables simplifies things. Itís been in my recipe box for quite a while, though I havenít made it lately. Now that I think of it, Iíll have to make a batch!
Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup
Makes 12 servings. From Quaker.
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
7 cups water
1/2 cup Medium Quaker Barley (see note)
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 bay leaf
1 9-ounce box of frozen vegetables
In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, brown ground beef. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is tender; drain.
Add remaining ingredients except frozen vegetables. Cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add frozen vegetables; cook about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add additional water if soup becomes too thick upon standing.
Note: To use quick barley, substitute 2/3 cup quick barley for medium barley and decrease water to 6 cups. Cook ground beef, onion and garlic as directed. Add remaining ingredients including frozen vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables and barley are tender.
Joanna McQuillan Weeks is food editor of The Standard-Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaWeeksSCT
Joanna McQuillan Weeks: Warm up your winter with Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup
After a while, síno fun.