Home Alone with Soup and a Movie

September 19th, 2009

What do you do when you are faced with time alone? Sometimes I like to curl up with a good book and do nothing all day; no one to cook for, no extra laundry, no renovation projects to deal with. It is nice for a few days, but I can take only so much of it. David is on a two week motocycle ride with his buddies. I spent the first few days visiting my Son, Daughter-In-Law and Granddaughter. Since I have been home I have been somewhat slothful, cooking my favorite comfort foods like hamburgers, macaroni and cheese and an actually yummy quiche lorraine from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The week has been rainy and cool – the kind of weather that begs for warming, bubbling soup. So yesterday I donned my sweats, pulled out one of my easiest soup recipes and puttered in the kitchen while the soup simmered.

I have been making this escarole, white bean and sausage soup for years. It is easy and quick and very satisfying. I always have cannellini beans and chicken broth in my pantry so it requires few things from the grocery store.
I love making a tray to eat in front of the television to watch one of my favorite DVDs; movies that David does not necessarily love. Here are a few of my favorites.

Grey Gardens
– This movie fascinates me. It is the true story of Jacqueline Kennedy’s Aunt Edie Beale and her daughter “Little” Edie. Their descent into mental illness, co-dependency, and isolation is unbelievable. Their beautiful estate in the Hamptons decays around them. It has recently been restored by Sally Quinn. Drew Barrymore’s portrayal of Little Edie is worthy of an Oscar. There was a documentary featuring the real Beales and Drew Barrymore nailed her role as Little Edie.

The Holiday –
The movie itself is somewhat predictable, but the two homes featured are stunning in different ways. It is the story of two women in the throes of relationship problems who decide to swap houses for the holidays. Kate Winslett’s character lives in an English cottage into which I could move today and live happily ever after. Cameron Diaz lives in a sleek mansion in LA. It doesn’t hurt that Jude Law is one of the love interests. I have watched it several times just to study the houses . . . ok, ok, Jude Law too.

Something’s Got to Give –
What’s not to love about Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson? But again it is the house in the Hamptons that I love. Do you see a pattern here? I love houses.
David will be facing his “home alone” time next week. My biker babe girlfriends and I are going to New York City for four days of shopping and a Broadway show (Jersey Boys). We have reservations at Mesa Grill for dinner one night. Before I give you the recipe, here are two questions. What are your favorite DVDs? And if you have any suggestions for good restaurants in NYC, I could use them. I am tired of “home alone” and could use some fresh ideas.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 pound Kielbasa or Sausage of choice, sliced or diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans low sodium chicken broth
2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch escarole, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add sausage and onion and saute until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add chopped garlic near end of cooking time. Add the beans and chicken broth and simmer to meld the flavors, about 20 minutes. Add the escarole and simmer until wilted. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

22 responses to “Home Alone with Soup and a Movie”

  1. girlichef says:

    Sounds like a lovely day to me! And with a delicious bowl of comfort ๐Ÿ™‚ I almost rented Grey Gardens the other day…now I need to go back and actually get it!

  2. Farmgirl Cyn says:

    This is very similar to a soup I have been making for a while, Minestra. Instead of the sausage it has panchetta chopped fine and fried up with the onions. I think my hubby would like yours better….he would love the sausage!
    Hmm…some of my favorite movies? Return to Me, You’ve Got Mail, The Family Man, Moonstruck, Peggy Sue Got Married…

  3. Lyla says:

    Since you’re going to Bobby Flay’s restaurant maybe you should try a Mario Battali one, too? I am absolutely in love with the Kiera Knightly DVD of Pride and Prejudice. I thought I would hate it since I liked the BBC version so well. I was wrong. The shots of the houses and the lush English countryside are so soothing–plus the score is fabulous, perfect with a bowl of bubbling soup. I also love the old favorite Picnic and You’ve Got Mail. Have fun!

  4. Mary says:

    Your day sounds perfect to me. Try to get reservations at any of Mario Battali’s restaurants. The food is always good.

  5. Kate says:

    I love having my quiet time! I also watch “my” movies…Sleepless in Seattle, The Holiday, You’ve Got Mail, As Good as It Gets, Somethings Got to Give….they are good over and over and over again!

    I am longing for cool weather.

  6. BMK says:

    Sounds like a perfect evening. The Holiday is a great movie and escarole soup is one of my all time favorites! Yours looks hearty and comforting! The Wedding Planner is one of my favorites.

  7. ARLENE says:

    I make a very similar soup, using turkey sausage or kielbasa. It is soul satisfying. I just learned that Dirty Dancing was filmed around Lake Lure.

  8. Hi Penny! Yes, we are close in our birthdays, not in age but who cares. We like a lot of the same things I bet.
    My birthday is October 8. October birthdays in our family are October
    6,7,8,16,19,20,21,22,23,and 24th. How we missed Halloween I have NO idea! ๐Ÿ™‚ We have a very busy October. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for your sweet comment.

  9. Wow..I came to leave a note…and THEN read your post! I loved it. I am doing the same thing these past two weeks as Sweet Cakes is in Maine.
    Favorite movies are.. Sense and Sensibility,
    the Enlish series of the Pallisers…which I loved. Went back and watched it again as I do with all movies I love. I love the old hoop skirted dresses…or the fashions of the 20’s. Any period movie is wonderful for me.
    Miss Potter is a recent new find which I must have missed. I loved Somethings Got To Give and I own all of the above and dozens more. I didn’t like Jack Nickleson when I was young…now I don’t like to miss any film of his. I buy my movies at garage sales…mostly the old vidio’s as they are inexpensive and I still use my player.
    You know, I really have enjoyed my two weeks off. Perhaps I have discovered a good thing? Time alone for at least two weeks. Sweetie will be home this Wednesday. I asked if he would like to stay another week…he declined. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Favorite foods, I hate to say, have been a bit “fast?” ๐Ÿ™‚
    I finally missed my own cooking and like you, delved into one of my favorite and easy recipes.
    Spaghetti! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Susan says:

    Love the soup recipe! Also like your idea of watching “your” DVD’s when alone. I will be doing that the end of next month and definitely want to see Grey Gardena. You are on the right track going to Mesa Grill. For an inexpensive (NY, anyway) go to Becco, owned by Lidia Bastianich, PBS cook, and run by her son Joe. All you can eat 3 pasta choices and inexpensive wine for a great, fun evening.

  11. greetings, I have been lurking for a bit, but never commented. I am also retired, and i enjoy the “seasoned” postings that we can offer the youngsters out there. Now that I am a commenter, I am also a follower.

    I was lucky to have lived in NYC for awhile, and love the city. It is a great time of year to visit, and I do hope you have a great time…

    2 places I recommend for you, for a restaurant, POMAIRE. It is a terrific little place, tucked away on “restaurant Row”, very convenient if you are walking to a Broadway show. The food is based on a Chilean theme, VERY tasty (spiced, but not killer spicy). They have a pri fixe menu with a great chilean Salmon. price for a 3 course meal, $25…with wine, $29 (although they always have a freshly made sangria that is terrific, something different every night). I take my wife back to the city once a year, and this is the only restaurant that we go to every time. Here is their website…


    Next is not a restaurant, but an activity. It is a great way to see a part of the city, a terrific bargain, and combines walking (walking off those fattening meals), history, stories of local flavor and FOOD!

    The Greenwich Village food and Culture walking tour is a morning activity (make reservations early, they are limited in number) which includes the best stocked cheese shop you have ever seen (samples of everything available just ask), an amazing Italian pastry shop, a cookie store, a bread shop and much more. The same company offers other walking tours, but this is their best. A terrific way to get to know a section of the city. MUCH better than that boring double decker bus tour.

    Here is their website…


    One final NYC tip… Sardi’s (that famous place you have seen in hundreds of movies, with all the caricatures hanging on the wall) is a fair place for dinner (that could be generous, the food is OK for the price). But, if you are there early before a show, the bar has all the atmosphere of the restaurant for the price of a classic cocktail. No better place for 4 girls on the loose in the big city to enjoy a cosmopolitan. OR, it is my favorite place to go after the show. Dessert and coffee in that setting is a bargain! Here is their website…


    Best museum by far if you have a limited time is the little known FRICK MUSEUM. All of the classic artists are there, in an amazing setting (just off 5th Avenue, a former home of one of the wealthiest men in NYC). I always imagine how other people might have lived, and this is an amazing place. On Sundays, from 11 to 1, pay “what you like” in admission fees. A great place to go after a Sunday brunch and before a Sunday Matinee. Here is their website…


    More than you asked for, but it is a great city… Have fun, and I do love your blog

    OH, Susan is right about Becco (located on the same block as Pomaire) is another great restaurant in the theatre district.

  12. Penny says:

    Hi All, I am totally overwhelmed by your wonderful suggestions and I have tried to respond to you all individually. What a wonderful world of friends we are. Thank you!

  13. Hi Penny, it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon of football around here, and my Chiefs have already lost. So, I have been pondering your trip to NYC, and I have one more suggestion…

    You said you are going shopping. Bloomingdales is all it is cracked up to be. If you have never been, you will not be disappointed.

    BUT, just around the corner from Bloomies, only a single block walk (maybe 2, they have LOOOOng blocks) is a place called Serendipity 3. Oprah made this place famous a few years ago when she made their frozen hot chocolate one of her favorite things. They do sell a powdered version that is fabulous. Would be a terrific souvenir to give to those left behind, or to make for a reunion of the four of you a month after the trip… Kathy Lee used to have birthday parties for her kids, and Cher rented the place out for her crew one night after rehearsals and before performing. One of my very few celebrity sighting stories happened there, when i saw Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell but I digress…

    The food is amazing. Specialty sandwiches and desserts a specialty. They serve BIG portions, so if you can find a couple of things for you 4 to split, you will be happy. The prices are a little steep, but splitting an order makes it very affordable. And at least one of you MUST order the frozen hot chocolate, Oprah was right

    Also, they fill up fast and there can be a line. Make reservations if going at night, or go there first before shopping (before noon if possible). They have a very odd gift shop with lots of unusual novelty stuff. Perfect for grandkids Christmas stockings.

    Here is their website, and you have now heard the last from me for a bit… Do enjoy your trip and keep us informed (and Jersey boys is a terrific show)!


  14. Penny says:

    Dear Year, You have given me a gift of your experiences and I will explore all of your wonderful suggestions. I will report back to all of you.

  15. No suggestions here but to have a great time with the girls!

  16. Karine says:

    It is always good to have a day for yourself. I hope you had fun!

    By the way, I love your soup!

  17. Katy ~ says:

    Your day sounds idyllic and the soup! Oh my! Does that ever sound good! I enjoy escarole and sausage together. Love the dishes!!

  18. Kate says:

    Hey Peggy, thought I should stop by to tell you that I mentioned you on by blog yesterday. Stop by if you have time.

  19. What a comforting soup for the cool, wet weather. We have cooled down considerably (frost the other morning!) but have been dry for a couple of weeks. I am hoping it rains like they promised.
    My favourite DVD is The Big Chill. I probably know it off by heart, and have a huge crush on William Hurt.
    I haven’t been to NYC though – have a great time! (I think Bobby has opened up some burger joints there too – you might as well check them out!)

  20. Karen says:

    This soup looks so comforting. Wow, you have so many great suggestions for NYC! I’m sure you and the other babes will have a blast! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Oh, that all sounds so good! When I am home alone, I feel rudderless. My husband made a two-week trip a few years ago, and while I enjoyed watching my own stuff on TV and eating what I wanted, i was happy when he came home.

    Good movie choices!

  22. Hi Penny, I would have emailed you, but I couldn;t find it…

    But, have you read my most recent post…any thoughts?



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