Fast forward to present. It is 37 degrees and snowing. In Texas the chance of snow makes people go crazy. Crazy, as in excited. Crazy, as in "can't drive because the precipitation is white" kind of crazy. The smallest trace (even sleet) can make a Texan giddy. I though, living in the north for a few years have a different perspective of what snow really is. And to tell you the truth, I was pretty skeptical about this "hill country snow." Then I looked outside. Big, chunky flakes of the white stuff falling gently to the earth making this skeptic's heart go aflutter.
Happily, I will take my one day of winter. I am going to relax and watch the gentle snowfall and remember all of those little winter comforts that I enjoyed and now miss. My winter comforts:
- A well used, warm quilt that feels soft against the skin
- Knitting a scarf and hat made from the softest merino wool-and then wearing it.
- Decadent and rich hot chocolate.
- Sipping chamomile tea before bed time.
- The sound of a gas heater lighting.
- Warm oatmeal with cream, maple syrup, brown sugar, studded with raisins.
- The comfort and security of a heavy winter coat.
- Becoming entranced by a crackling fire.
- Snuggling in my cozy bed watching the snow fall through the window.
- A big bowl of steamy soup-just like this one!
Mushroom Barley Soup
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- one package of dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large celery stalks, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Reserved porcini broth and canned vegetable broth equaling 8 cups
- Salt and Pepper
- Melt butter in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, reconstitute the porcini mushrooms according to package directions, reserving liquid. Add cremini and porcini mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and barley. Sauté until vegetables begin to brown, about 20 minutes.
- Add flour to pot and stir 5 minutes. Gradually mix in reserved porcini broth and vegetable broth. Bring soup to boil, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer until barley is tender and soup is beginning to thicken, about 40 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.