Chasing the Winter Blues Away With Recipes




I love the lengthening days of late January, but for many of us winter stretches on for three more months!  For me, neither Aspen nor Connecticut sees a hint of green until the third week of April.  I always thought spring came in March, but it seems I am wrong about that in my neck of the woods. Last week in Aspen it was a lovely 13 below zero, and this morning in Connecticut it was a toasty 16 above!

I am back east, working on Charleston plans and shopping the market (will show you some of that before too long).  I looked out on a dreary winter’s day and thought, “Time for some stick-to-your-ribs soup.”  Since I am trying to clean up my act in the eating department (no more chocolate chip cookies for breakfast),  I decided to do a hearty lentil soup and a healthy salad. I had tried Michale Anthony’s ‘Slow Food Fast’ recipe from the Wall Street Journal of a couple of weeks ago, mixing raw kale and cabbage with a creamy caper dressing, and it was quite good.    Inspired,  I  invented my own kale salad with red cabbage, a few thin slivers of red onion, a sprinkling of dried cranberries, and toasted pine nuts. It was tasty, colorful, and, oh, I felt soooooo virtuous!





IMG_0657As wholesome food alone cannot push the winter blahs away (though a glass of wine helps), I decided that we needed a flash of spring. So I ordered five bunches of white tulips and set the table you see. I loved the clear simplicity of the white flowers on the white linen — it just looked so fresh, like the shot of bright energy I was seeking.

For those of you who are interested in china, a brief side note: I bought these plates from the YSL auction of Yves’s Chateau Gabrielle in Normandy.  I had wanted to buy, as a memento of this great designer, something from the historic first sale of his things from Paris. But as you may remember,  the prices went through the roof and I got nothing. It seems the rest of the world wanted a piece of this remarkable talent as well. The YSL Collection Sale, Part II,  made for my lucky second chance.

Back to a happy and healthy lunch or dinner.  If anyone is interested in the recipes please let me know and I shall post them.


Lentil Soup

16oz Lentils
8 cups Water
3.5 cups Beef Broth
1 Smoked Ham Bone
1 cup Celery, chopped
1 cup Carrot, chopped
3 Onions, chopped coarsely
2 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 Bay Leaf

We used regular lentils, however, any variety of lentil will work.

Sort and rinse lentils, then put in a large pot with 8 cups of hot water. Simmer gently, with tilted lid for 15-20 mins until tender.

Add remaining ingredients to pot and simmer for 90 mins.

Take bay leaf and ham bone out of the pot. Remove ham from the bone, chop into small pieces and stir back into the soup.

Serves 6-8 people

Kale and Red Cabbage Salad

1 bunch of kale leaves
1/2 red cabbage, sliced into thin ribbons
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil (or to taste)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pan roasted pine nuts
1 tsp. white balsamic vinegar


I was taught by a young friend that in order to make kale more tender, chefs are massaging kale. Go figure!  You can probably look it up online, but basically, put olive oil on your hands and massage the kale between your fingers. Remove the spine of the kale and chop or tear  into 1/2″ pieces ( approx.). Mix kale with the red cabbage and onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Roast pine nuts in a skillet until golden. Add cranberries and pine nuts to salad and toss.


28 thoughts on “Chasing the Winter Blues Away With Recipes

  1. Stunning table setting with this very special china. I love anything blue and white. We can’t wait to try the healthy soup and salad very soon.
    xo, Lissy

  2. Of course we want the recipes. I still make the wonderful corn soup you gave to us last year(?). It is wonderful and I am sure the soup and salad above will be just as good. Many thanks.

  3. Just love the simplicity of the blue and white. Also, would love the recipes – they both look yummy!

  4. Certainly fresh and bright…springlike. This whole post is like a tonic. I’ll join everyone else in looking forward to the recipes for soup and salad. Thanks!

  5. Thanks so much for your comments. I’m getting the recipes together and will add them to this post very soon. cr

  6. Yes, I’d appreciate the recipe for your lentil soup and your salad.

    They both look delicious!

    Thank you!

  7. Beautiful table, as always! Of course we’d like your recipes. I am curious about the great looking champagne
    glasses, and all the glassware, actually. Love receiving your posts, lovely lovely.
    Best Regards,

  8. FABULOUS, I got the e-mail this time!So, I’m onboard finally!The recipes………………are a MUST.Making a MInestrone soup as I type…………..your soup looks delicious!But I do like the idea of chocolate chip cookies in the morning!How lucky you are to own a YSL……………….possession!Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love how a simple meal shared can add so much warmth to Winter.
    Thank-you for sharing your magnificent table and I shall be back to see the recipes and give them a try.
    Off to make a cake found on Epicurious.

  10. I have been looking for the stemware in the beautiful table setting in the April 2011 issue of Veranda forever! Any clue as to whether it is available anywhere?

  11. Tulips always brighten my day. They are so graceful and elegant. The color scheme blue and white is classic and provides a perfect background to the foods you are serving. Classical elements are my favorite decorating choices. Carolyne, I think you are going to enjoy your time in the South!

  12. I didn’t realise you did a blog – just linked through another blog.

    I love love love your take on flowers and home aesthetics.

    Great pics – I look forward to going back your archives now!

    I have you on my google reader now so I won’t miss future posts : )

  13. Both of my daughters graduated from the College of Charleston. I took advantage of doing 16 seasons of walking home tours there. The Preservation Society and The Historical Society each take a Fall or Spring season. For the life of me I can never remember which one does which season but they are so worth the 3 hour time slot. Approximately 10 homes, on or just off one of the streets in the peninsula opens their homes for three hours accompanied by docents. The best are the tours South of Broad Street. The street changes each day and they happen for a 4-5 week span. They are enhanced by a fabulous lecture and luncheon series, with topics on things like collecting antiques and serving a proper tea. Totally charming, I dragged my daughters and girlfriends to many of them. It would be a real treat to some day see yours.

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