Sunday, April 19, 2020

Coping in the Time of COVID-19: Morgiana Celeste Varricchio

"mourn, process, create!"

I received an email with the subject "mourn, process, create!"  Those words fit my frame of mind exactly.  We made the decision to cancel Mosaic's March 20-22 weekend of events on March 12.  On March 16, NYC went into lockdown, and NJ followed a few days later.  For about a week, I was busy with putting away all the costumes, props, and accessories that were needed for the show.  Things didn't seem quite real, but the reality hit home very quickly.  

During week two, I didn't do too much of anything, still in mourning for not only Mosaic's events, but also for the cancellation of our entire spring season -- the various festival appearances the Company was looking forward to.  I did make a big pot of Leek and Swiss Chard soup (the recipe is included below).  Fortunately, I didn't fall down the slippery slope depicted in the cartoon at right.

Week three was my week to process, realizing that things were not going to magically reopen by Easter.  The nice weather and need to just get out of the house were what was needed to figure out a new normal.  I finished some long dormant sewing projects, and made time to start a regular schedule of dance. Family and friends started figuring out teleconferencing, so face-to-face, if not person-to-person, connections can happen

And now, the exciting phase of "create" has kicked in.   I am sewing  CDC-pattern masks for familyyy and friends -- as a start, who knows where this will take me. This time at home is the "writer's retreat" I've often dreamed about, and it's a perfect time to put on paper the plan for a new project that's been in my head for years! 

It's a good time, too, to check into any grants for which Mosaic may be able to apply.  There are not too many grant opportunities available for us, so that means a lot of research time to see what is possible.

We have to make the best of things as they are, and not let them get the best of us.  And before you get the soup recipe, who can resist a cat video -- a perfect example of the trials and tribulations of working at home. 

Leek and Swiss Chard Soup

2-3 leeks
1 bunch of swiss chard (green or red)
1/2 cup (about) regular olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
32 oz. chicken or vegetable broth
2 or 3 bouillon cubes
Small pasta (pastina, angel hair bird's nest)
Robust grating cheese (aged asiago, parmesano, romano)

Cut off the root end of the leeks and wash thoroughly.  Slice the leeks in 1/8 - 1/4" slices, including some of the green part.  Leeks are pretty sandy, so you'll need to make sure all the slices are well rinsed.

Rinse the swiss chard thoroughly, tearing the leaves, and include some of the tender stems.

Heat oil in a large stock pot.  When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and the sliced leeks.  Saute until the leeks are soft, stirring at intervals so things don't burn.  Add the swiss chard, the broth, and then add water to just cover the leaves, maybe 2-3 cups.  At this point, I add 2-3 bouillon cubes (depending upon how much water was added) to flavor the additional water.  Keep the burner on moderate heat until the liquid boils, then cover the pot and lower the heat.  After about 30 minutes, when everything is soft and wilted, puree with a hand blender right in the pot until everything is liquid.  All those stems are now pulverized!  Transfer to storage containers.  Refrigerate or freeze.
When it's time to serve, add about 1/2 cup of pastina, or 1 crushed angel hair bird's nest.  The pasta cooks as the soup heats up.  Garnish with grated cheese to taste.  Buon appetito!

Stay safe and healthy!

1 comment:

  1. Great way to be spending your time, Celeste! Thanks for sharing and God bless you and all the amazing artists of MDTC! This will pass, and you will all be sharing your talents with the world again someday (hopefully sooner rather than later!).