From the open window, a breeze tickles the tall trees outside in such a way that lets me know rain will soon fall. This morning I lolled in bed for an hour longer than usual. Do you find lazy mornings one of the most luxurious and decadent ways for the day to unfold? The ultimate morning for me would involve a book of poetry, heavy covers, and no clock. I meandered down to the farmer’s market, stumbled upon ingredients still in season that made me giddy. Early Girl Tomatoes! Concord Grapes! Lemon Verbena! Albion Strawberries! Last Monday, I flew back from Texas and sat next to an 85 year old woman from Arkansas who helped me think differently about the seasons of life. A big birthday looms in the not-so-distant future for me and I’ve begun to understand the reticence some people have for announcing their age. People ask me if we have children. They ask me if we plan to have children. To answer that question is to try to explain what has kept you from answering it the other way. The adage that time flies sometimes applies, other times, it stealthily slips through our fingers. I thought I had more time. I still do.
I hadn’t walked the farmer’s market in weeks and felt out of step with what was in season. Did I miss the tail end of zucchinis and summer squash? Would eggplant still be around? Earlier this week, I scouted around in the refrigerator for jam to smear on toast. Wistfully I uncorked one of two remaining jars of Morado Jam, 2015 reserve, thinking I had missed making reserve 2016. This jam walks the line between summer and autumn. It’s a bit like me right now in this season of my life. So, imagine my surprise and glee when I spied Concord grapes at the market this morning. Without hesitation, I bought several pounds of the dusty dark clustered orbs, knowing the work ahead of peeling, pitting and cooking them down into something sweet to be preserved for a different season.
It’s a funny thing when a jam hijacks a recipe for soup, but I could easily see a plate of crostini, dabbed with Morado Jam and chèvre served alongside this soup. The ginger juice obsession that started this spring continues. I’m still tinkering with a few recipes that when ready, will be wonderful additions for autumn. My first pot of Carrot Ginger Soup came together in an in-law apartment so near to the Ocean we could almost taste the saltwater in the air. At that time, I was in my early 20’s and according to my Dad, was in an age of invincibility. I’m not there anymore. Instead, I see the delicate webbing of our lives. The rain is about to fall. A stillness inhabits the space around us. We wait for autumn to come in earnest, girded with a bowl of soup.
Ginger Carrot Soup
Makes 4 to 6 servings
10 carrots, peeled
1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 white onion, minced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup ginger juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Carrot Top Pesto, optional
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush the carrots with the olive oil, using the pastry brush. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a fork can easily penetrate them and they almost fall apart. Cool the carrots for 2 to 3 minutes.
Sauté the onions until caramelized. Pour the orange juice, ginger juice, carrots, onion, celery seed, turmeric, salt, and chicken stock into a blender. Purée in batches until smooth. Warm on the stovetop for 5 minutes. Season with pepper. Serve with a dollop of pesto on top, if desired.