With weeks of recipe developing still ahead of me for my forthcoming cookbook, the recipes on the blog have been waning — mostly because at the end of a long day in the kitchen, the last thing I want to do is cook some more. It’s a little ironic that after making all these beautiful, healthful meals for my book, what I’m really craving as soon as the last dish is washed is a big. fat. greasy. helping of fast-food fries. !!! (Don’t tell my editor though.)
But when guilt gets the best of me, I whip up a big pot of this comforting soup. These days, I’m all about simple one-pot meals that will take me through the next day (or until I call for delivery). It’s just the thing I need when my feet are throbbing from standing all day, my back is aching from bending over the oven, and the couch is calling me to sit in front of the TV and eat bowls and bowls of this soup in my lap.
For the last week I’ve fielded a few questions about the clawfoot tub from my previous post, so I thought I would share the process of how I repurposed mine into an outdoor planter — though there wasn’t much to it.
The five little things that made my week…
1. The Sputnik has landed! (Kohlrabi definitely come from a different world, don’t you think?)
I started a new garden bed last fall, and I didn’t dig a thing. It actually would’ve been pretty challenging to dig anything, as I started the new bed in an old bathtub. In my backyard! Four months later, the first plants seeded are finally thriving, thanks to the longer days.
I inherited this vintage, enameled-steel clawfoot tub from the previous owners after I moved into my house a few years ago. They had it propped up under the feijoa tree on a stack of stones, and for many summers it was our repurposed party cooler, filled to the brim with ice and stuffed with cases of beer. But having the tub sit empty the rest of the year seemed silly, especially since we weren’t using it as an actual tub to wash anything in the garden.
We’ve had torrential rain for the last four days. It was utterly awesome. And not just because the rain was desperately needed in our drought, but because it gave me an excuse to make a fire every day and drink hot cider, the kind of wintery things I adore but don’t get to do that often (especially this year, with our bizarre 75°F winter).
Living in a place with year-round balmy weather sometimes gives me sun guilt. It might sound like an oh, boo-hoo type of thing to say, but it’s a real thing… like a reverse cabin fever. It happens when the days are so calm and clear, you’re guilted into spending all of your time outside instead of inside, vegging on the couch, when that’s all you actually feel like doing.
I love the rain. And one of the reasons I love the rain is because at some point during the day, when there’s a break in the clouds and we have a brief moment of stillness, I run out to the yard for a quick round of weeding.
It seems that as soon as the days start getting longer, the weeds start emerging en masse, appearing everywhere from the cracks in my patio to the bed of desert plants. They’ll even pop up from the mulch of shredded bark and the river stones that line my walkway. I usually leave them until the garden gets drenched, either from the hose or the heavens.
The record-setting drought in California has been big news lately — at least on the west coast, where it was recently announced that Central Valley farmers will get no water this year from the federal government, and a Gold Rush ghost town hidden underwater since 1955 has resurfaced at the bottom of Folsom Lake.
Most of our rivers depend on snowpack in the Sierra, and the lack of precip this winter not only hurts the state of agribusiness in the rest of the country, it also means no fishing, mediocre skiing, and maybe kayaking (if we’re lucky) in the spring. We might get a week or two of whitewater if we watch the river flows closely, compared to the four-month window we normally get in a good season, and it’ll be a toss-up whether one of our favorite rivers will be running at all this year.