Tuesday, 28 January 2014

White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup with Trout Cakes (recipe to come soon!)
I feel like the Queen of Homeownership today. I started by shovelling my driveway, which is fairly annoying, but the end result makes me feel like a highly functional Canadian.

I did my laundry afterwards, which promptly led to my house turning into a Scandinavian spa, since apparently my dryer vent had become unattached from the machine. I didn’t realize it at first, and was sort of enjoying the warmth and humidity. Then I remembered it was -30 degrees outside and so therefore my tropical house made no sense.

Upon first inspection, it was easy to conclude that the dangling hose from the wall was the problem. I’m pretty laissez-faire about home improvements, so I grabbed some packing tape, slapped it around the hose, and called it a day. At this point, I feel it’s important to mention that my “laundry room” is actually a small closet, that only allows a stackable washer dryer combination, with only somewhere around three inches between the wall and the appliances.

Have this spatial visualization in your mind, and then imagine me, a roll of packing tape, some scissors, and my very curious golden retriever, all in this extremely small space. Also imagine trying to get that roll of tape to provide enough material to wrap around the dryer, at about 80% humidity and within three inches of space. You can see why I sort of just abandoned the project after about thirty seconds. The language in that “room” (closet) can certainly not be repeated on our family-friendly blog, and when I let the packing tape wrap around itself without having folded the edge over, I nearly gave up (I CAN’T FIND THE EDGE!!!!). But I persevered, and I was able to slap enough tape on to tell myself it would all be all right, once I got the tape scraps out of my hair.

About ten minutes later, I noticed a slight burning plastic smell, not to mention a humidity level not unlike Fern Gully. I headed back to my laundry closet, which is also conveniently located in my home on a landing in the middle of a staircase. There is not enough room for me plus a laundry basket on this landing, let alone me and the dog and the laundry and now my necessary paraphernalia to actually fix the dryer, and so I approached rather fearfully, since it was quickly becoming a high risk of danger with the space issues and the possibly burning plastic.  

I should confess that this is not the first time I’ve had to fix this dryer vent. It is also not the first time I have rigged up a vent that blows toxic fumes out of my house with duct tape. My portable air conditioner is set up almost the exact same way. Not to brag, but I’m pretty much a pro at fixing vents by wrapping enough tape around them that it either melts and fuses permanently to the vent and tube, or I keep enough tape in the house that I can fix it every single day.

This, of course, means that there is a chronological history of tape attached to this vent. Several layers, some of which have, in fact, fused together, cement-like, however strangely un-sticky to the actual appliance. This means that now, I am in this extremely small space, with scissors, hacking off chunks of ancient duct tape, sweating more than I do in my hot yoga studio in Crow Pose.

All this was highly annoying, and I actually have no idea if it’s actually fixed or not. I’ve since decided just to write a blog instead and hope that I can just get through the next two loads, and maybe the paint won’t peel off the walls until next week’s laundry loads.

In honour of steamy situations, I’ve adapted Ina Garten’s rosemary bean soup, found here, which turned out absolutely amazing. You need:

  • 1 can of white beans (if you don’t used canned beans, you need to soak them for like 1,000 hours or overnight or something. Definitely try to use canned beans.)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • Splash of sherry
  • Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large branch fresh rosemary (6 to 7 inches)
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover the beans)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Deglaze your pot with a splash of sherry, (because I just put sherry in all my soups now) and then add your beans. Cover with the stock and bring to a boil. This can also be a great vegan soup and/or gluten-free soup option. If you want to make it for vegans, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. That’s pretty much the only thing you need to change. It’s already gluten free, especially if you use your homemade chicken stock (most packaged ones seem to contain wheat, for some reason probably no one wants to actually know).

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for twenty minutes. Puree and serve hot. I drizzled olive oil on mine, because I think it looks jazzy. Easy! And I don’t have to think about that bloody dryer for a bit.

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