Friday, March 12, 2010

false spring.


I've lived in Portland pretty much my whole life. I know, I don't count as a "native" I guess, because I was born in Ohio, but we moved here when I was still a baby and if you don't count the few weeks I lived in San Jose when I was pregnant (Homesickness + hormones, that move didn't last long), I've been here all along. That's why listening to people alternately complain/marvel about the weather here kind of drives me CRAZY. It's always like this, you guys- every year. It always hails in the spring time. The weather is always erratic and weird during the changing of seasons, so early spring and fall are always punctuated with bursts of cold rain between lazy sun breaks. Some days it will go from dreary to cheery and back again in 10 minute intervals. It always pays to wear layers, and umbrellas are for pussies. Get with the program, y'all. Welcome to Portland.


Yesterday was cold and bleak, lots of rain. I know it annoys people to say things like, "Oh, I love the rain!" but whatever, I do. I like the way it smells, I like wrapping myself up in thick swaths of fabric before I leave the house, I love hot tea. I mean sure, I love hot weather too. But being raised in the Pacific NW, I tend to feel really at home when I'm holed up in my house, watching rain splatter outside. So, yesterday was a, "we need to use this chicken broth" day, and I made a big pot of soup. Using whole, bone-in legs in my chicken soups has changed the way I look at soup FOREVER. I'm never going to stop doing this. This was a really simple soup- diced carrots, red bell pepper, onion, shallot, and zucchini. I sauteed all the veggies (except the zucchini, I sauteed that separately just before the soup was ready and added at the end to prevent mushiness), dumped in some broth (I don't know how much, I think I only had 4 cups or so), and then added 2 whole chicken legs with the skin mostly removed. I added some more water until the chicken legs were covered and simmered the whole thing until the meat was cooked, then I removed the legs, shredded the meat, and returned it to the pot. After salt & pepper was added, it really didn't need any seasoning at all. Lemon zest would have been nice, but neither of us felt like running to the store for a lemon.


I had started a loaf of no-knead bread that morning, and for the first time ever, it occurred to me to throw a head of garlic (in foil, with olive oil) into the oven while I baked the bread. Kind of a no-brainer, right? I don't usually bother roasting garlic because it seems so stupid- HUGE OVEN! TINY HEAD OF GARLIC! But since I already had the bread in the oven it was like the natural progression of things. After the garlic cooled a little, I squeezed it into a bowl and mashed it up with some butter for slathering all over the bread.

So, yes- I am a little over it as far as the weather goes- I bought some really cute dresses that I want to wear and I want to go berry picking and we finally have a backyard so lets do some damn grilling already- but I still have it in me to enjoy a cool evening. And at least this way I don't have to water my garden.


Carmel said...

I literally just said the same thing this morning. I keep hearing people complain about wanting spring--well, this is it. They must want spring in another part of the country. As a native Northwesterner (born and raised in Seattle; transplant to Portland over 10 years ago), I know this. Why does everyone forget it? I love the rain, too. It's comforting, much soup! Looks lovely.

suthrncan said...

We're having the same weather right now. It was gorgeous and warm for a few days and now it's rainy and cold again.

{lauryl} said...

You crack me up. I feel similarly about the rainy season... I mostly love it. And I get really annoyed by people who bitch and moan about rainy season here in LA. I mean, seriously? It only lasts about one month out of the entire year. Pussies.

i.c. said...

if you saw how long it takes me to flat iron my hair you would understand why I use an umbrella. that business gets wet and it's insta frizz.

Monika said...

It's funny; I live in Toronto, and we were just blessed with four days of gorgeous weather (now it's torrential downpours) And when that happened, it was like everyone here had forgotten that spring does indeed come after winter! I guess we just adapt to winter and assume it's permanant!
Lovely photos!

folkstories said...

your blog is lovely! I've been hunting down for a great food blog.


Magnus said...

I would love to be privy to the recipe for the no knead whole wheat bread!

kate said...

i'm on the other side of the country where it only rains for about a minute in the year, but of course we have the same issue with funny weather in the transitional seasons. we'll be swapping our weather soon, and dear dear me, you can take the sunshine while we borrow your rain for a moment. i'm glad you're posting again, i've missed you.

Molly said...

Man, I miss that rain, that fantastic damp smell of new rain on dry cement. It's good rain, though, there in the NW -- a steady pitter patter, just right for cozying up and cooking soup.

Oh, and that garlic tip? So obvious. SO OBVIOUS. Why did it never cross my mind? Thanks.


red ticking said...

i am sooo hopeful that we do not get a bad storm before spring truly arrives...i do love rain but after spending 10 days in the sun i am ready for spring... xx

LuLu said...

Just the other day I had a conversation with my boyfriend that went like this:
*note* we live in Chicago

me: We should move to Portland. Doesn't your company have an office there?
boy: yep.

(next day)

boy: Good news-work is sending me to Portland to close up shop.
me: I'm coming.

So I've been reading your blog for the pretty pictures and recipes and then it him me that you are a Portlander(?). I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of something non-touristy to do. Yoga class? beer tasting? restaurant? anything. Pretty please!

Thanks Alice.

Daisukimoto said...

I love that: "Huge oven! Tiny head of garlic!" you made my day!

I'm so glad you're back to posting, I'm a huge fan <3


Allison Jones said...

This whole post made me giggle. I love the nutty PDX weather this time of year, and I totally think you count as a native. Jus' sayin.