I awaken at 2 a.m.—a frequent occurance in my life. When I could not fall back to sleep quickly, my mind stumbled on the roasted vegetables. I served roasted cauliflower soup at my first open studio day, and it was gobbled down quickly. I came home and roasted another head of cauliflower, then found some florettesof broccoli and put those in a separate pan. I had to get up, make the soup.
I made the cauliflower and broccoli soups separately. I loved the cauliflower, but wasn’t as sure of the broccoli. Soups complete, I headed back to bed for another four hours of sleep. I got up in the morning, gathered together what I wanted to take the studio. I grabbed the pan I thought held the cauliflower soup, then went back to find the other pot of soup. It was not in the refrigerator, nor was it in the car. I figured it would show up!
When I got to my studio I saw that the soup which I had was the broccoli one. Cauliflower was missing! I called my neighbor ands asked her to comb through my house, looking for the missing cauliflower soup. She could not find it!
Fortunately the cauliflower and broccoli combine beautifully, and nobody else misses the cauliflower soup. I have absolutely no recognition of where that soup went. The problem of nocturnal cooking.
I left my house at eight and headed out to Reitz Ranch. I had not been out for several days because I was so involved in preparations for the studio tour. The workspace was locked, but I knew back ways to get in. I spent quite awhile admiring the pottery displayed out there for their studio tour, then headed home.
One particular cottonwood, right on the road, speaks to me season after season, her branches forming a wonderful head resembling curly hair. The sun caught her uppermost golden boughs. She wriggled in the wind, enchanting me once again.
Then I drove on to where the yellow cottonwoods and the black slag piles sang to one another in the rising sun. And the Verde River! She shimmered with reflections from the trees, the golden grasses, the achingly blue sky overhead.
The beauty of the Verde Valley overwhelmed me. I was brought to tears.
As I continued back to my studio the radio blared with the news of the shooting at the Orthodox Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Even on a gorgeous fall day in Arizona, nasty headlines from outside can invade. According to headlines I found, this occurred during a bris, the ritual circumcision for babies on their eighth day after birth. I still cannot fathom the sharp divide between the faith and joy of the worshipping Jews, and the hate this shooter must hold within him. For the second time in minutes, I was moved to tears.
Antidote for a One-Day Winter
A quick, short piece. It is time to post a soup recipe. Finally, as February sputters out into March we are blessed with a week-long winter. Brisk wind. Snowflakes in the Arizona desert.
All “winter” this year we have been blessed with one gorgeous day after another. In January Hank Erwin entertained us with his soulful music out in the sun for two hours. On Christmas, I sat and watched the Verde River under 70-degree blue skies.
I know we will pay for this come summer. There will be one week after another when I will arise ay five, get all my outside work done by nine and avoid melting by staying inside for the next 12 hours.
With this little spate of winter, I turned with my taste buds, my inner chill, toward my love of soup. Fry’s cooperated. They put asparagus on sale. 77 cents a pound. I roasted it for soup. The warmth of the oven. The savory fragrance of vegetables. The perfect antidote for the stinging, blowing snow.
Here is the recipe. I love asparagus every way I can prepare it. With homemade mayonnaise. Stir-fried with teriyaki chicken. But this was the best ever. So sweet you would think some sweetener had to be thrown in. I did not even add salt!
1 bunch of asparagus
2 large sweet onions
5 fat cloves of garlic
2 ribs of celery
1/2 cup olive oil
1 can coconut cream
1/4 c sherry
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon five spice
1/2 teaspoon pepper flakes
2 or 3 cups water or broth
wash asparagus and snap off tough ends
peel and chop roughly the carrots
put into roasting pan with the olive oil
roast at 425 degrees for 90 minutes
process in food blender
add everything else
simmer for several minutes to blend flavors
And with less than ten minutes of active prep time, a yummy, vegan soup! Maybe we should have a few more days of winter just to savor this.
"With all the beauty surrounding me here above the Verde Valley, how could I not create more beauty?"