I’ve never made gazpacho. I’m not even 100% convinced I really like it. But it’s a soup, and I love soup. And it’s socially more acceptable to eat in the summer compared to a rich cream of whatever vegetable blend. So it was settled. This year I would make gazpacho. But it couldn’t be a bland, ordinary version. I needed something different, something vibrant that would push me over the wall into “I love gazpacho” territory. For my husband’s birthday we dined at Traif for the first time. After what seemed like hours to choose our selection of tapas-style small plates, we were greeted by a sake glass filled with icy strawberry gazpacho. It barely touched my lips and I knew. I was making this soup.
What I love most about Spring is the range of weather. You can leave in the morning with a thin sweater, strip down to a sleeveless shirt at lunch and still need a light jacket as evening draws near. Along with the variety of clothing options, it creates food options as well. I’m not very likely to sit down to a rich winter strew filled with root vegetables. More so because I’m sick of carrots and parsnips. But I love that I can still enjoy a bowl of soup when the evenings still have a bit of a chill, accompanied by a light salad.
I needed green garlic for a recent recipe. A whole tablespoon of it. If you’ve spent any time at the markets lately, you’re probably well aware that green garlic isn’t sold by the stalk, let alone the tablespoon. So to fulfill my needs I purchased a bunch, used a quarter a stalk and was left with the rest. Green garlic isn’t something I cook with too often. I generally wait for garlic scapes, or for the most part use the bulbs alone. When I read somewhere that sauteing it over low heat resulted a cross between a light garlic flavor and caramelized onions, I couldn’t think of anything better than to stick in a soup. Considering potato leek soup is such a great success, how could subbing green garlic not be equally as awesome?
A few days of warmth followed by so so temperatures. April is often one of the most disappointing months for me. I understand March being wishy-washy with its temperature decisions. Spring, winter, spring, winter. It’s in transition. But April. We are now in full-fledged spring. There’s no excuse for cooler temperatures. I expect sunshine and daffodils from here on out. But yesterday seemed to miss the memo. I wanted to drown myself in warming comfort food to shield myself from the bite of “spring”. Nothing rich and hearty like a winter stew. I wanted something that spoke to the lightness of spring but soothed my winter reality. A creamy soup, warm but light, paired with a salad. Parsnip soup.
It might have warmed up outside (a bit) but my apartment is still cold as ever, a drastic change from our last place. We used to live across the hall in the same building in a one bedroom apartment. I mean, literally right across the hall. Open our door and our old apartment is right there. We’re now in a two bedroom because we decided we needed more space. Really I was tired of being forced to read in the bedroom, where I would usually fall asleep, or combat the sounds of Doctor Who in the living room.
The two places might have been right across from each other but they’re drastically different. Before we were in the back of the building, but now we’re on the main avenue so it’s a bit noisier. The radiators in our old place where loud (think bowling balls being thrown on the pipes) and way too warm. Our apartment would run a toasty 80°+, with windows open, and generally shorts and t shirts where the winter attire. I guess I should also clarify that our apartment, along with most NYC complexes have forced hot air systems. On the plus side we don’t have to pay for heat but on the negative, we can’t control it either. We moved into this apartment last November and the temperature seemed to be pretty comfortable. What we didn’t account for was living here after a full summer, with window air conditioners that stay in the windows year round. So now, it gets a bit drafty. We’re working on some sort of temporary insulation plan or those thermo curtains, but for now, the solution is lots and lots of soup.
This past week has been unseasonably cold in Brooklyn. Once upon a time, I remember winters where there would be snow on the ground from December to March and hats, scarves and gloves where essential, not just fashionable. Years ago, weeks like this would be a bit chilly but close to the norm. But these days, with the thermometer hovering around 40°F all winter, a morning in the teens (with a real feel of -1°F) is pretty damn cold. It’s the first time that I noticed my window’s aren’t as insulated as they should be and that draft from under the AC units makes the room really freaking cold. I’ve forced myself to go outside when necessary, even drag myself the chilly 6 blocks to the gym, but really all I want to do is stay inside, bundled in blankets, eating soup and stews.