Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Soupy Day in DC

Saturday afternoon I headed in DC to Emily's house.We had wanted to go for a hike but by the time we'd finished chatting and procrastinating the hours of daylight were diminishing so we decided to just take a stroll around the National Arboretum instead. I'd been to this place a few years earlier during the summer and taken many photos during the hike of various trees, shrubs and the wonderful exhibition of bonsai trees they have there. Also an impressive collection of columns stand on a hill which were once part of the Capitol's front facade and replaced in 1958 when the Capitol was expanded. I had returned home after the trip and rushed to remove the film from my camera to get the photos developed only to discover there had been no roll of film in the camera the whole time. I had been crushed. So today I would at least get the opportunity to try again with the columns. The Bonsai House was closed and there were no leaves on the trees but we still managed to snap a few shots.
The afternoon sun illuminating some grasses.
A couple of trees were blanketed in these pretty Christmas blossoms.
As the sun rapidly dropped off the horizon, the temperature plummeted also and a chill wind started whipping around us. We quickly snapped our shutters while our fingers still worked. We were glad to get back to the car and then drove to a grocery store to buy a can of tomato soup. Joe was coming over to Emily's house in the evening armed with ingredients for a Hunt Soup. All we had to have ready was a big pot and the soup.
Back at the house we chugged some beers and waited for the boys to arrive. Joe got to work immediately and I was extremely impressed at how organized he was. Chestnuts were roasted in the oven while he set to work with the soup. His family are hunters so we had homemade venison sausages and kielbasa which Joe fed to us in titbits. It was so good that we were like pigeons being fed in the park, darting around him and snatching any tasty morsel that was offered. A hock of ham, sauerkraut, red wine, onions and garlic were some of the other ingredients we watched being tossed in the pot.
The chestnuts let us know that they were ready with an explosion from inside the oven, despite Joe having slashed each one to avoid this issue. They were quickly hauled from the oven and we crowded around to start munching. There was a second loud explosion as another one detonated, leaving a fine coating of chestnut crumbs on Emily's head. We never found the rest of it.
Finally the soup was ready and Joe poured ladles of creamy orange wonderfulness over dark rye rolls halved in the bottom of bowls. We sat with our supper in front of the TV and watched some episodes of Summer Heights High, my introduction to a hilarious Australian comedy. There was enough soup left for us all to have second helpings and then the pot was empty.
Joe sent me the recipe the next day and has already set up another soup and SHH evening for the beginning of January. Something to look forward to during the Doldrums after the New Year, that period of miserableness which many of us experience once the holidays are over.
I drove home with a warm full belly and snuggled with Kota, enjoying a sleep in the next morning. Then a day spent rushing around and buying last minute gifts but still leaving a few to get on Christmas Eve. Don't want to be too organized, after all...

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