It seems all the forces are conspiring today, promoting in me an overwhelming need to nest. It’s cold outside, for one (cold being a relative sensation; remember, I live in the southwest). Number two, I’m home with a sick kid – serious cough and drainage happening here – and all I can think about is what can I possibly come up with for dinner?
(Ok, truth: that’s all I can think about other than the fact that Quinn’s blowing quickly through our Kleenex supply and how fetching her brown eyes look when her lashes are all moist like that, and how to use my motherly powers of persuasion, such as they are, to get her to cough in her sleeve and please, honey, just a little Chapstick? Your lips are so red and crackly, and I know they must hurt…)
I’m not sure what it is about being home with a snuffly, barking little one that sends me tripping over the semi-organized jumble of Polly Pockets in a heady rush to get to the kitchen. Is it the knee-jerk nurturer in me, or is it a flight response?
Either way, it’s a somewhat strange turn of reason that’s brought me here, vis-à-vis with this lone zucchini in my fridge, this December anomaly of unknown provenance that came in the (typically seasonal) co-op produce basket last go-round. I haven’t yet decided what to do with this one—there were three total: one I snuck in a cheesy pasta thing, another I shredded for the obvious zucchini bread – but it’s got to figure in to tonight’s dinner somehow, seeing that it’s only a couple of days until the next produce pick up.
So in planning I’m taking into account three facts: the presence of this zucchini, my youngest daughter’s cold and subsequent atrophied appetite, and my older daughter’s recent orthodontic adjustment, which has rendered the act of chewing an ordeal.
That said, I’m in just that frame of mind to purée many of the contents of my frigo and throw everything into a soup, the way I’ve seen my mother do oh-so-many times before. And so I will. I’ll sauté a bit of chopped onion and a minced clove or so of garlic, dice a potato, cube the zucchini, cover the lot with chicken stock and simmer it all until soft. And when it cools slightly I’ll dump it by batches into my blender, proud finger pressing the purée button.
I’ll heat it up again, then finish it with the itty-est splash of cream (oh, who’s afraid of high-fat dairy?) some kernels of corn (the kids will balk less if there’s corn involved), small slices of avocado, a sprinkle of chopped mint, and one more grind of fresh pepper.
Once again, friends, in the middle of it all (and with the addition of a quick salad and bread, as Quinn does not believe in a meal sans bread) we have that happy little accomplishment known in these parts as dinner.