I've always liked winter. Have never been one of those people who get all depressed when the temperatures start to drop and just dream about the return of Summer and think about palm trees and beaches. You'd think I would be, considering that I grew up in Miami where it is always Summer. Yet that was the problem, it was always the same. There is a rare day here and there during the winter months when the temperatures might plummet to 50F or some such horror and then the residents go crazy, pull out the heavy coat and proceed to complain all day long...for that one day because the next day it's back to 80F. So when I moved to the Northeast I was ecstatic, I was going to get four seasons which are very well defined here and as far as I'm concerned, make the world go round, there's always a change. At first I especially looked forward to Winter, I could wear beautiful coats, scarves, hats, gloves, boots...and Winters here are pretty temperate, it's not New England. Except for this year. Single digit temperatures day after day after day for practically the entire month of January with strong winds which brings it into the minus category, and snow, snow, snow. Everywhere I look
Not to mention the getup I throw on every morning to walk Max in 8 F weather, not to mention Max's misery at having to wear this
Soak some dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes, chop coarsely and set aside. Saute some chopped onion in bacon fat until translucent, add about 1/2 cup of barley, shaking the pan around until coated with the fat. Add 4 cups of broth (any kind) or water and cook covered until the barley is tender, about one hour, Add the chopped mushrooms, season with salt & pepper, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of cream depending on how thick you want it to be. Heat through, eat and warm up.
Then finish it off with some hot chocolate made with chocolate from Spain.
Bring on February!