I peered into the refrigerator. My husband has a weird habit of not using things up. For example, he'll almost finish a bottle of shampoo and then start another one. In the kitchen, he'll leave five brussels sprouts or a small handful of green beans in a bag. I'll find two or more almost empty bottles of pickles or salsa, sometimes different brands. He never uses these things and eventually I'll find little bags of rotting veggies, or crusted jars, in the back of the fridge. Does this condition have a name?
I used to have great dreams of finding extra rooms that I didn't know about in our house. Now, in front of the refrigerator, I was having daydreams (not of finding extra shelves and bins), of finding a leftover I'd forgotten was there. As in, "Oh! There's a pan of shiitake, green onion and tofu ricotta lasagna left over from yesterday. I could eat that!" What I actually saw was half a large onion, a small piece of green pepper, the remains of a cauliflower, an orphaned baby bok choy, a container of leftover chipotle peppers in adobo - and some pressure-cooked white beans. Could be worse. Sigh. Might as well make soup again, I thought. I could add some wine and bread a la Tuscan stew.
I peeled and chopped two big carrots, the pepper, the onion and the cauliflower. I sauteed them in a little olive oil until they softened a bit, and added a half cup of red wine and let it cook gently for eight minutes. Then I added three chipotle peppers (this makes a very spicy soup) and chopped them into the veggies with a spoon. I measured the bean liquid at one quart so I added it to the pot with two more cups of water, and the beans. I brought the soup to a boil, reduced the heat and added the chopped greens and a half cup of frozen corn. I also threw in a half teaspoon of salt and the rest of a stale sourdough baguette (about two cups cut into chunks - If you don't want to add bread, you could add cooked pasta or rice.). Last in was a splash of lime juice. (This would be about the juice of half a lime for those clever enough to have fresh limes in the refrigerator) Top with chopped scallions, if you have them. If you don't want the soup to be spicy, use some smoked Spanish paprika instead of the chipotle. Considering the small amount of time and effort expended, the result was very successful.