Cold Winter’s Night Simple Dinner, Winter’s Hot Chocolate, & a Yarn Sale…

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
Hal Borland

Fabulous year’s end kind of day and what a lot to cram into one page…Now my Noah/Norwegian forest cat predicted the weather several weeks ago donning his ultimate winter coat since he moved from PA to NC a few years ago and if I showed you a photo it would look like the ultimate luxurious furry rug to lounge on!  I checked once and didn’t come away with a specific number of layers this breed would don, but he has maxed out the coat limit in my opinion…

The highlight of my day was stopping in our local yarn/knitting haven, The Salty Sheep and while I hoped to find soft yarn for a knitting project that I had in mind for myself, I ultimately came away with a load of yarn for 3 new projects.  Thanks to Peggy and Janet for all of their assistance, in winding loads of yarn and of course for the fabulous sale!  It wasn’t difficult buying such wooly elegance since the temperatures are in about the 20’s and something cozy and warm would really come in handy if temperatures actually stay in and around that 25º mark for the next 10 or so days.  Then there is the tendency to hibernate in front of the fireplace surrounded by piles of cozy wooly things only breaking now and then for dinner speaking of which something easy and comforting was in order for this day and for several days to come.

Simple for today a hot bowl cannellini beans and escarole sounds boring, but we enjoyed it with a big Greek salad and skipped the grilled sausages that we had originally planned on.

Cannellini beans & Escarole for 2:

I like to fry fresh oregano leaves and minced garlic (separately) in 1/4 cup hot EVOO for seconds just enough to crisp the leaves and to give the minced garlic a bit of a tan/light golden takes seconds.   Turn off heat and remove to paper towels and reserve for a garnish if you like.

1 sprig whole fresh oregano leaves
1 medium clove garlic, minced

2 cups of cooked cannellini beans, use canned, but drain and gently rinse
3-4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf/fish out of soup before serving
1 sprig fresh oregano (about 1 teaspoon) leaves minced
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4-1/2 head cleaned escarole leaves
1/4-1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1-2 inch piece of parmesan cheese rind
grated romano cheese, parm or a mix of both

*if not crisping garlic and oregano sauté minced garlic just long enough to season the oil and then add beans.

If you have crisped the oregano leaves and minced garlic in olive oil just stir in the beans, gently warm over medium heat for several minutes, add white wine and cook down for 3 minutes or so, add 1 cup chicken broth, cheese rind, herbs and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add additional broth, tomatoes, escarole, salt, and pepper to taste, simmer until escarole is tender adding additional broth if you like, I like it as a soup.

*optional add grilled sausage slices
Serve hot with crispy garlic, oregano, and additional cheese