It’s break time. I’ve been waiting for this moment to step outside and lift my face to the sun, to deeply breathe. Across the street an office worker has hung a hammock between two perfectly pruned trees. From this distance I can see just the top of his still head as the hammock sways in a spring-like breeze. I keep walking around my own office, detouring from the circle to skip-run down the steps connecting our parking lot to the office neighbor. At the end I see a golden lab mix running free across the lot; his owner, dressed in slacks and a button down, ambles behind. The dog zags to me for a hey neighbor head scratch and zigs away again.
I am one self-conscious step away from throwing out my arms and taking on cartwheels.
That was yesterday. Today the high is trying to reach 44, the overnight low went down to 29. I sedately walk my office hallways during break times. In my hands I hold an already cooling cup of coffee and wonder if next break I should go for more or switch to hot tea or hot chocolate. I crave bowls of steaming soup, sitting on the couch to eat, the bowl cradled in my blanketed legs while watching rented DVDs.
I love Austin winters.
There is no heat. Our coldest cold is brief, but appreciated and never extreme. Then these gorgeous breezy days fill the in between. Every four years there is snow and the city shuts down yet somehow the grocery stays open so that we can buy out its alcohol section. We cocoon inside our houses to enjoy this frivolous treat while the rest of the country laughs at us. I love that.
Cold (that’s a 50-60 degree cold) and a day of rain is predicted for this weekend. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to a day of hot dark chocolate and buttermilk pancakes. Soon enough I’ll be back on my no-cook salad and ice cream diet. Right now I’m enjoying steamed up glasses caused by leaning over pots of simmering soup.
Creamy White Bean Soup
1 15-ounce can Great Northern or other white bean, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 leek, thinly sliced
good drizzle olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary
sprinkling of paprika
good drizzle heavy cream
Roast garlic by wrapping in a square of foil and placing in an approximate 400° oven until softened and fragrant. In a medium to largish pot heat olive oil. Add in leek and rosemary sprigs and saute until leek is softened. Add in beans and roasted garlic. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Pour in some vegetable broth to give the beans some cooking liquid and heat for a few minutes until the beans are easily mashable. Remove rosemary and set aside. Puree beans, adding in more vegetable broth to get desired consistency. Add in drizzle of cream. Replace rosemary. Cover and simmer until very tasty. Adjust seasonings if desired. Eat. This would be really good served with some crusty bread and rich red wine. Not that I had either, but I know I’m right on this one.