This was a warming soup that I cooked up last Sunday. It was an unusually cold day that ended in a hailstorm easing off into a rain that has not let up all week. We went early to the Alameda Antique Faire https://www.antiquesbybay.com/ and what an adventure that was. Had to make two trips there and back for all the goodies we bought (like a glass front cabinet, a red leather rocker with footstool, a chest of drawers with side table, prints of birds, a frickin' moose lamp, two candlesticks, a red glass swag lamp and a "lovely" R-rated painting of a naked man that was a steal for 20 bucks). This is the first time I have spent money on furnishings for this apartment in the almost 10 years I have lived here. When I told my mom that I had broken down and bought furniture I could hear the emotion in her voice when she told me how proud of me she was.
When we came back to the city the first time, we stopped at the ATM because our money didn't last and there were many more items to purchase. It was about noon by this time and we had been at it since 6:30 a.m. so I may have been getting discombobulated by the excitement. P. got out of the car, I turned on the flashers, since I was double parked, kept the keys in the ignition, promptly locked the door and stepped out. Why I thought that I needed to lock the door when I was going 10 feet away I do not know. I didn't even notice until I had maxed out my ATM withdrawal limits for the day and then walked back to the car and tried to open it. What a jackass! Couldn't believe what I had done. I stared slack-jawed at the keys in the ignition and we both repeatedly yanked at the door handles- all of them- in the vain hope that one would miraculously open. No such luck. And my cell phone was in the car and P. didn't have a phone or keys.
She walked across the street to "Sammy's" the corner store run by a Mr. and Mrs. Sammy, neither of whom is named Sammy. P. has a special relationship with them as she is a near daily customer for beer and whiskey. Mrs. Sammy ignores me when I go in but she bursts into a huge smile when she sees P. and they have long conversations, mostly about cats. Customers in line will put down whatever item they had hoped to purchase and leave when those two get to chatting. Anyway, she used the phone only to find out that our AAA coverage had expired and it would take 48 hours to renew it, so that was no good. By this time I had gone over to see how things were working out and when P. hung up the phone (which from the looks of it must have had a rotary dial) she told Mr. Sammy the situation he pulled out from behind the counter a wire hanger that had been straightened with a small hook at the end. He said he keeps it for the customers. We raced to the car filled with hope and it was still running happily, blasting heat into it's empty interior. P. got busy and wedged that wire thing in the window and had the door unlocked in less than two minutes. I was in awe! She nonchalantly said it's because she's often given the job of adjusting the laparoscopic camera when she is on surgery so it was a similar skill. Perfect!
Several hours later we were struggling to get the red chair up the stairs when the landlord's boyfriend offered to help. I gave up my position and he hauled the chair over his shoulders and made a quick job of descending the stairs, as we all yelled that we were trying to get it into the house not out of it. All the while, a local man pushing a shopping cart stopped to call out advice on how to get the chair to fit through the door. We unloaded the last load and were dry inside when the hail started. It was perfect weather for a soup. The escarole had been languishing and my repertoire of cooking escarole is soup soup and soup. So soup it was.
Escarole Soup Recipe
Don't be afraid- it is one of the mildest greens and has a silky texture when cooked
- one head of escarole, washed and chopped
- three carrots
- two small potatoes
- one small onion chopped
- about 1/4 cup pancetta or bacon
- parsley, chopped
- salt, pepper, Tony's
- several bay leaves
- chicken stock or in my case a bouillon cube
- grated Romano cheese- parmesean would probably work better but I bought what was on sale
Scrub and chop all the veggies. Put the pancetta in the soup pot and let it brown and release the fat. Take it out and set aside. Add the onions on low to medium heat and cook until translucent. Add the carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper and stir around a bit so that everything shines. Next add in four cups of water and I threw a chicken bouillon cube because I am lazy like that. If you have homemade stock, go for it. I probably added several more cups of water during the cooking process. Turn up the heat and when the potatoes start to soften start putting in the escarole. This will have to been done in batches unless you have a gigantic pot. Cook for five to ten minutes and adjust the seasonings. I then tossed in a mound of chopped parsley, stirred it in and soup was ready.
I bought a baguette when I got the discount Romano so I cut a few pieces, slathered them with butter, sprinkled on some garlic powder, toasted it and instant garlic bread. Shred the cheese over the bowls of soup and top with pancetta.