Monday, May 8, 2017

An Amazing Soup & A Celebration

We had a very special family dinner Saturday, to celebrate three birthdays, two anniversaries, Mother's Day, and a huge welcome back to Mom & Dad. 

Not to mention, the Kentucky Derby, of course. 

There may or may not have been a little gambling going on in my house. I'm not saying. 


My tiny dining room table got stretched to fit 12 of us. All the extra chairs were brought in out of the garage, and put to use. 


There were hugs and cheers all around, many gifts, much laughter, and a very large spiral ham. 

Which was also dinner last night, and will be for a few more nights. 

That's ok....as long as I switch things up so it doesn't get tired. 


Yesterday I spent the day in the garden. It wasn't terribly warm, but as the day went on, it got downright chilly, with snow predicted overnight. 

Yup, more snow. 

It was the kind of a day that begged for a big pot of soup, no doubt. 

I decided to make ham and white bean soup. 

It was an experiment, but I figured, how bad can it be?


I got out my big red pot, and started with a classic Mirepoix: 2 large sweet onions, 2 stalks of celery, and 2 large carrots, diced. 

I always go heavy on the onions, which may be why I may have gone just a little crazy when ordering my onion plants for the season. 


That is a LOT of onions for such a tiny little crooked garden! And there are more on the other side....and a ton more that I'm sending home with Sweetie. 

Yikes. 

Anyway, I digress. 


When the veggies were fragrant and a little soft, I made a hole in the center and dropped in a tablespoon of butter. When the butter was sizzling, I tossed in some chopped garlic. I used one clove of elephant garlic, and it was the perfect amount. 

But, of course, I love garlic and can't get enough of it. 

Which is also why this happened yesterday. 


That's about a third of the garlic that I planted - this is Music Garlic. I also planted Red German and White German. 

Music is my favorite, but I think the German varieties seem to hold better for storage. 

The reality is, I love ALL garlic, so either way I wanted to plant a ton. 

Anyway, back to the soup. 


I drained and rinsed two cans of Cannellini beans. 



I chose two chunks of ham that were not sliced to throw into the soup. I had already frozen the ham bone....that will be for another pot of that amazingly incredible split pea soup that I love so much. 

I chose chunks rather than slices as this was going to simmer for a while, and I did not want the ham to get tough or dried out. 


I used the entire 48 oz container of lower sodium fat free chicken broth. 

Note to self: it's time to make more chicken broth for the freezer. 

I tossed in the beans, the ham chunks, and two bay leaves plus a small sprinkle of dried thyme, perhaps a scant 1/4 tsp. I didn't want the thyme to be overwhelming. 

I brought it to a boil, turned it down very low, and let it simmer for about 2 hours. 

I really wanted the ham to flavor the broth and the beans, and it needed some time to really do so. 

The last thing I did was grate about a cup of Gruyere cheese and toss it in. 


Well, let me tell you something, this was one of my best soups yet!  The flavor was out of this world good, as everyone agreed. 

I served it with some warm cornbread, and we all went back for seconds!

By the time dinner was over and the kitchen sparkling again, night had fallen, and it was really cold outside. 


Inside, however, was cozy and warm. I often sit after the rest of the house is asleep without any music or TV on and just enjoy my cozy home, and the quiet. 

And the glow of the candles and twinkly lights.....you can never have too many candles or twinkly lights. 


This morning the sun was streaming through the windows, but it was cold outside! We've had flurries and snow squalls off and on all day. Thankfully, nothing is sticking. 

If it did I might have to cry. 

I think Spring is trying to hold on and win out over winter, which really tends to stick around up here on the Mountain Top. 

Meanwhile, tonight I'll use some more of that ham in a cheesy noodle casserole. It will be good to have the oven on, on a day like today. Soon enough, oven season will be over and I'll be doing a lot of cooking on the grill

I'm ready - bring it on!

55 comments:

  1. Whoa! There are so many things to comment on here. First of all, your table looks great. Second, I am in awe of your liquor collection (and I know that was not the feature, but what can I tell you, I'm nosy!). Your little garden has me envious, and that soup! Wow! Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Pattie!! There's more booze underneath, I'm embarrassed to say! We love to entertain, and often will pick up a particular bottle if we know a guest drinks it all the time. The collection just grew!

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    2. That is a fun collection to have. Mine is growing as well, but mostly by way of oddball stuff. My latest love is Bacon Vodka. Oh my, what that does to a Bloody Mary is absolutely sinful.

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    3. Are you kidding me? Bacon vodka? I can only imagine how awesome that Bloody Mary is! One of the local restaurants garnishes their Bloody Mary with a slice of bacon, yummmmm!!

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  2. You are so lucky you have room for 12 around your table! With our small eat-in kitchen and no dining room, we can't do that. Oh well, it doesn't stop us from entertaining once in awhile...we just make do, with people sitting in the living room and in the nice weather, we have the patio area. Your soup sounds so good. I only wish I could eat that much onions and garlic...can't eat beans now either! With having IBS, all those things are a no-no. I've been eating a little onions and garlic anyway and it doesn't make my tummy happy. I need to go back on the low FODMAP food plan. But, I digress...I also meant to say that I've never seen that view of your house before, in the living room looking into the dining area. I *love* that "window" in the doorframe. At first, I thought it was a french door!

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    1. That's too bad, Melanie, what a shame. I know you cook a ton, so you obviously have figured out how to add flavor without onions or garlic, so I guess you're working it out! Yes, I love that 'window' in my house, I think it was an antique French door that they fixed in place, and added extra trim around. it adds some nice character to the house. Even though my house is a chalet style house, it feels like a quaint cottage inside, which I love!

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  3. That soup looks so good right about now. We have that cold, drizzly, dreary weather here too and I am over it! I can't do what I want in the garden because it is too rainy and cold. I love having a cozy home to stay in during this weather.....a bowl of that soup would be nice too!

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    1. I wish I could share, AnnMarie, but it was gobbled up! I'm ready for the weather to change, yesterday was a nasty day.

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  4. Holy yum! That looks really good! If I had the ingredients I'd make it right now, because I'm drooling. I'm hungry, obviously LOL!

    Geez... more cold weather? I'm sorry. Actually we're having a cold snap too, but no snow that I'm aware of. I hope it warms up, sweet friend :)

    xoxo,
    rue

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    1. I'm ready for the warm up, Rue! Hopefully next week we'll get some nice spring weather!

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  5. Oh I have a piece of ham in the freezer. I need to make some soup too. Yours sounds fabulous.

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    1. No doubt it's not really soup weather where you are, Marty....more like POOL weather, wink wink!

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  6. Isn't it great to have a nice big table for everyone to sit around! Ours seat 10 but I probably could squeeze in 12 by putting two on the ends. Do you ever make anything that is not delicious!!!! Nancy

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    1. My table will fit 8 with both leaves in, but it's a bit of a squish. For special occasions we have a table top made of plywood and hinged in the middle we put right over the other table - it's a bit of a pain to drag it out from under the guest bed and set it up, but it's worth it!

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  7. Hi Debbie. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving the comment. I'm glad you did, for it brought me to your pretty blog. I love to make soup, and your ham and bean looks fabulous. I haven't had breakfast yet, and your photos are making me so hungry I'm going to the kitchen to rustle up something. Looking forward to seeing more of your home as I peruse your site. Have a great day in the mountains. :)

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    1. It's a cold day in the mountains, but at least there aren't any snow flurries today, so that's a plus! Thanks for visiting!

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  8. I love, love, love soup! It's my favorite thing to make and eat (next to cannolis of course) lol.

    Lucky you to have such a nice big table.

    We gambled Saturday on the race and I won!

    xxx

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    1. It's one of my favorites also, Doreen...the older I get, the more soup I make. The table is not big, I fake it for special events ha ha!! I do what I can, you know? xo

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  9. Hi, Debbie! Great to have found your blog! Thank you for commenting on mine. You have such a lovely home. I look forward to keeping up with your blog posts.

    No snow flurries here (for a week or so!) but no really warm weather either. I'm still putting on a turtleneck every morning!

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    1. I almost put on a turtleneck yesterday but tried hard to hold onto spring, Mama Pea! A nice bright green fleece did the trick, but it was so rotten out I still had to bust out the down coat again! Thanks for visiting!

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  10. That's pretty close to how I make my ham & bean soup - love, love, love it!

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    1. So amazingly good, Rita, and so simple! Definitely comfort food for a chilly day!

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  11. Dear Debbie ~ What a great newsy post! Love your table set for the multi celebrations. Your other indoor pics of your sweet home are nice too.

    Your soup looks delicious!

    It is 84 and feels like it is 89 down here in sub-tropical s.e. FL. Being in the a.c. feels great!

    Enjoy your week and I hope you'll have some nice 'playing in the garden' weather soon.

    Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Wow, your temps are exactly twice what ours are, good thing you have that new A/C to keep you comfortable, Lorraine!

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  12. Well I sure hope it warms up for you, soon. I've been puttering around in the garden and planting some flowers today. It's mid 80's with hardly any humidity. It feels great. Girlfriend, I'm in awe of all those onions you planted. I planted a few this year for the first time. I have no idea when harvest time is. Of course, they're still very small right now. Tell me, when do you harvest your onions and garlic.

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    1. As late as possible, Laurie - but I think the rule of thumb is when the tops start to die back it's time to harvest. My sweetie always rushes the harvest in his garden, so I wanted to put most in my garden. I'll give him the seedlings that need more daily attention, and try to keep a lot that don't need as much tlc in my garden, since I work full time. Yeah, I might have gone a little bonkers with the onions, oh well! :)

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    2. Lol! Garden control! Love it.

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  13. Any soup you make is fabulous! Your table looked so pretty for your family celebration. And where was Monkey and Miss Lilly during the meal? I know my two rascals would be begging if not put in their little "apartment".

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    1. Miss Lily and The Monkey were the best girls ever during the party, Donna! Yes, there may have been a little begging, but they aren't obnoxious about it, so I don't really mind! If I put them down in my daughter's room when we have guests we just have to listen to yipping and squeaking until we let them out, so I'd rather have them as part of the party!

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  14. You are a woman close to my heart - garlic and onions... yes please! I hope your cold snap didn't hurt them. That soup looks amazing! I never would have thought to put gruyere cheese in a white bean and ham soup, so now I am going to try it! Thanks for the inspiration. Your table is lovely and I am glad you had a great party. Come on spring!!!

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    1. Meanwhile yet another frost warning popped up on my phone today, Vickie - uggghhhh! I think the onions and garlic should be fine, though - it shouldn't be a hard frost, let's hope anyway!

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  15. That soup sounds delicious!!! I love onions and garlic,too. My favorite are Vidala onions and, of course, we can only get them in season. They are really so good in soup and I like them just sauted to use on burgers and hot dogs, etc.

    Glad you had a fun party and I love it when everyone can get around one big table. We have outgrown that point here with 15 grandkids and 10 adults when everyone is together...so we have a 'big table'and a 'young table'....trust me the young table is a lot more fun. lol
    Have a great night- it is mid 50s here today an overcast, damp and windy and was below freezing last night- ugh! xo Diana

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    1. We have actually outgrown my dining room as well, but since there were some of us missing, it worked out! And by the way, Vidalias are my favorite as well, that's what I buy most often. I tried to plant them, but they didn't recommend them for my area, too bad.

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  16. You have created such a wonderful retreat on that mountain of your, Debbie. The gardening, the cooking, the cozy decor and family times all sound positively blissful. I am very happy for you, enjoy every moment. :)

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    1. Thank you, my friend, I certainly do love my sweet nest!

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  17. Looks like a grand time was had by all, we've been doing a little celebrating ourselves lately :)
    The soup looks delicious, and your mountain home so warm, cozy and inviting.
    We are in the throws of spring/summer down here in Tennessee, everything blooming recklessly, and I'm happy to see the returning of color to the landscape.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    ~Jo

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    1. It's a lovely day today on the mountain top, Jo, but cold/rainy weather returns tomorrow, so sad. However, soon enough spring will really stick and the gardens will be alive with color! Thanks for your visit!

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  18. Debbie, Your soup looks so delicious and your house is so welcoming and lovely! How nice to have your table be able to seat twelve people when needed. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Carol! It is great to be able to stretch the table when I need to, although it takes some effort!

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  19. A hearty and delicious soup, infused with so many tasty ingredients and aromas is sure to be a satisfying meal on its own. Like you, I really appreciate my quiet time, when everyone is asleep, and it's just me and my little laptop, connecting with friends, seeing what's happening in the world and creating posts.

    Have a lovely Thursday, Debbie!

    Poppy:)
    P.S. Hope your daughter is loving Greece! I tried emailing you my reply to your comment on Poppy View, but you show up as a noreply-comment email.

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    1. Thanks, Poppy! How bizarre, I don't know why I showed up that way, but I'm glad you came for a visit! She arrived safely today to Santorini and is absolutely awed by the beauty! I'm delighted she's safe, and I'll be worrying about her until she's home again, safe and sound.

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  20. This is exactly why we adore a good ham, it stretches out for delicious other meals. We use up all but the fat. And that reminds me, have you ever made ham broth? I came across a recipe in an old cookbook that called for it and googled it and should try to make it as I bet it's incredible in soup, but it did call for straining. I know you make your own chicken broth and probably beef too but I wondered if you'd ever make ham broth?

    The thing I love most about your posts on entertaining is that you are so enthusiastic about it. I bet your guests love coming for that reason as well as knowing the food is going to be scrumptious.

    I love also that you love to sit quietly and enjoy your house after the guests are gone and cleanup done. I think that's such a part of your love of your mountain top life--you get more pleasure from it and it's hard work than anyone.

    Now I'm going to check out your pea soup because I love that, even though I know I probably made notes from it the first time I read it! And I have white beans out to pick and soak tonight, no ham for it tomorrow but I will empty out the produce bin.

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    1. No, Dewena, I have never made ham broth, that's interesting - I'll have to look it up!! I'm excited that I have a ham bone in the freezer and 2 lbs of yellow split peas....I'm ready for the next cool day!

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  21. The soup looks delicious and I seems so strange to me to read about snow flurries in May. We are in the 80's some days now.
    May is full of family birthdays for me too. Mom will just do one big dinner though.
    Lisa

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    1. We're in the 80's today also, Lisa - it's HOT on the mountain top!!

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  22. That soup looks delicious! I made some hamburger soup the other day and we are eating it again tonight. You must live up north since you're still having cold weather. Glad to hear it is starting to warm up now.

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    1. Mmmmm....hamburger soup sounds pretty darned good right about now, Kelly!

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  23. Your tablescape was stunning! I love that you were able to gather with family and celebrate so many special occasions under one roof. :) Your meals all sound so good and filling on cold days like you have been having. I did giggle at your rather overzealous onion plant buy. I may or may not have begged people to take some of the plants that I may or may not have overbought myself in the past. ;)

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    1. Ha ha, well, if they all take off I'll be up to my eyeballs in onions this fall!!

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  24. Now that looks like a wonderful celebration.
    White bean and ham soup is one of my favorites. Believe it or not I use a recipe that I saw made on QVC and love it. I always reserve my ham bone for making it. Yours looks yummy and I can only imagine how the addition of Gruyere added to it.
    Thank you for stopping by to visit. So glad to have found your blog now.

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    1. I'm so glad you found my blog also, and so glad I found yours! And doesn't the addition of cheese just make EVERYTHING better? :)

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  25. It's been ages since I've made ham and bean soup ; you have me craving it now ! :)

    It turned pretty chilly here as well but at least not cold enough for snow :)

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    1. Things sure have changed up here since I wrote this post, Deb - we're in the mid 80's today, it's HOT and buggy!!

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  26. What a pretty tablescape. Your soup looks so tasty and your little onion patch is just fantastic.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! My little onion patch is a bit bigger than it should be in such a tiny garden!!

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