Well, a new year is quickly approaching. It seems that they are beginning to fly by so quickly they are bumping into each other. I hardly get into one year before reading about something that will be bigger and better the next, or the year after that. This certainly aids in keeping the world moving faster and faster. The older generation seems to be struggling with most of the technology, while the younger generation is keeping up quite nicely!
While sitting in church one Sunday evening not long ago, one of the 6-year olds wanted to know if she could sit with me (I had candy). After we ate all the goodies in the little bag, she started getting bored, so I whipped out my iPad to allow her to play some games.
One particular game that I had a difficult time completing, she had finished in a mere five minutes, and wanted to play a different one. So much for keeping her entertained.
Speaking about technology, I received more offers in my email this year for good deals and bargains on Black Friday, and online Cyber Monday, than I have ever before. And they started coming in long before Thanksgiving Day was even considered. I would venture to say that if you have stock in UPS or FedEx, then you are going to do very well in the next decade, as our world gets more and more connected.
There is a new concept in the food business that is getting more and more attention – especially for working mothers. It is all the food catering stores opening up around the country where you can walk-in and grab a pre-made casserole with a few sides. We have quite a few good stores in our area, and they prepare some tasty dishes. You can take them home and pop them in the oven and by the time you have changed clothes, brought in the mail, and helped with homework, dinner is ready. What a time-saver and convenience. Even better, if you are “cooking - challenged.” You no longer have to opt for fast food, or spend an hour in the kitchen stumbling through a recipe you do not quite understand.
Well, as I have stated before, hearty winter soups are one of my favorite things to cook and serve to my family, and I have the perfect one below; and you don’t have to be culinary-trained to prepare it. It is easy and quick, but only serves about four, so if you want leftovers, better add to the ingredients a little.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces kielbasa, cut into bite-size chunks
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
8 small red-skinned or new potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
3/4 cup sour cream
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add the paprika and one-teaspoon salt; cook until the oil turns deep red, about one minute. Add the flour and cook about 30 more seconds. Immediately whisk in four cups water. Add the kielbasa, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and salt to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer; cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the broth has thickened, about 20 minutes or so. Add the vinegar and season with the pepper.
Combine about half of the parsley with the sour cream in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the stew into bowls; top with the remaining parsley, a dollop of herbed sour cream, and a sprinkle of paprika. Serve with hot crusty bread.
Kay Bona is a staff writer for the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist and photographer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.