Holiday tradition in our house includes cleaning and decorating beginning mid-December.
Dec. 18 is our wedding anniversary. This year we plan to celebrate 34 years of marriage with a meal at a local restaurant.
Our wedding anniversary is also when the Christmas tree goes up with decorating to be finished by Christmas Eve.
As we cleaned, I made soup using bits and pieces of leftover vegetables and pantry items. It was thick and savory — the way soup is supposed to taste.
The process for soup-making is simple.
Turn the heat to medium high and place a Dutch oven on the burner.
Drain the juice from a pint of canned, diced tomatoes into the Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
Add a generous amount of diced onions (2 cups or more), three or four peeled and sliced carrots, two stalks of sliced celery, and three bay leaves. Salt generously and steam-saute until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the diced tomatoes.
Next steps depend upon what is on hand.
For this batch I put a quart of turnip broth from the pantry in the blender and added cooked Brussels sprout leaves, and fresh Swiss chard and kale, all from the ice box. I blended thoroughly and added the mixture to the Dutch oven.
Next was a can each of prepared black beans and whole corn from the grocery store.
I found an old box of marjoram in the spice rack and added what was left — about a tablespoon. They don’t sell marjoram loosely packed in boxes any more so it must have been 20 years old or more.
Peeled and diced three red potatoes from the counter and added them to the Dutch oven. I also added the thinly sliced the stalks of kale and Swiss chard.
From the pantry I took a cup of lentils, and a quarter cup each of quinoa and pearled barley and added them.
I submerged the vegetables in filtered water from the ice box.
The rest of the process was to bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook until it is soup — adjusting seasonings until it tastes good, and making sure the vegetables are covered in liquid.
The effort produced enough for a meal with a gallon stored in the ice box in quart Mason jars. We’ll be eating on that until Christmas day.