Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer, and Yellow Pepper Saffron Soup

I don't care what the calendar says; summer started today.

After the blur of graduation, the campus has been swept, the parade of vans full of parents moving things has left, and garbage trucks have picked up the debris of chapters closed.

I had some extra time before the office opened, so I asked my son if he wanted to walk to daycare, instead of being dropped off.  As we set out down the block, he reached out for my hand, like he often does when we're walking together.  The air was still just a little cool, but damp, and in the early sun, the day felt completely luxurious, like we had all the time in the world, like we could make the morning move in slow motion.  I don't remember what we talked about, but he talked the whole way, wriggling his hand in mine, half-skipping every few steps.  I savored it, knowing that he will not hold me, or let me hold him, like this much longer.

After I'd kissed him good bye, embarrassing him in public, I headed back to the house to pick up my car, stopping to wave at friends from town on the way to school with their kids, and walking arms outstretched to the gentle breeze and the warm sun.  I thought about the start of our CSA, which we squeezed into at the last minute at the urging of a friend who wanted to split a share, and was willing to pick up in September, when my schedule gets busy again.  I thought about our vacation plans falling into place, a week in Nova Scotia, miles of road and ocean.  I drove to work that morning with the windows and roof open, Coldplay on the radio (which sounded better a decade out from overplay), resisting the urge to get out and dance with wild abandon at the traffic lights.

Every once in a while I think back two years, and I am reminded of just how gifted I am, today, right now.

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah, they were all yellow.

Roasted Yellow Pepper and Saffron Soup
Light, nuanced, and eminently condiment-izable, this soup, adapted from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks site, is like pouring summer and sunshine into a bowl.  She doesn't roast the peppers, but I found the skins to be a distraction from the flavor, and roasting takes away any potential bitterness in a slightly underripe pepper.

5 yellow peppers
a few threads of saffron
a few pinches of sea salt
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 t. turmeric, and the saffron salt
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
6 c. water

Preheat oven to 375.  Wash your peppers and place them on a lined baking sheet.

Roast peppers, turning every 20 minutes or so, until they're evenly browned and blistered.  Let them cool 20 minutes or so before you slice them open, and remove the skins, which should slip off easily.  Make sure to remove all of the seeds, which should also come off easily.

In a mortar and pestle crush several saffron threads with a few pinches of sea salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large pot. Saute onions with garlic and salt until soft, but not brown.  Add peppers, turmeric, and the saffron salt and continue to saute for another minute.

Add potato and water, and simmer for 20 minutes. When the potatoes are tender, let cool a bit, and puree. Taste and add more salt if needed. To serve, top each bowl with chopped toasted almonds, crumbled feta, and fresh dill.
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  1. Happy Summer!
    I love love love how my 4 year old still wants to hold my hand (my 2 year old, unfortunately, will have nothing to do with being restrained in any way)

  2. How do I love this post? So many ways!

    I'm glad you're aware of the right-ness of your life and are feeling some joy. Makes me hopeful.


  3. Nova Scotia just sounds beautiful. I'm so glad your hectic life calms down just a bit for you to enjoy summer.


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