My Sous has a Pickle and The Judgmental Garden
One morning recently
I couldn’t sleep.
Tiny had been up for hours in the night
my husband was on a string of night shifts
always causing me to sleep poorly
it was hot.
I couldn’t sleep,
even in the morning
after we surrendered to a higher electricity bill and turned on the window AC unit,
even after Tiny fell asleep and my husband came home and slept beside me.
I tried to sleep.
On my back, on my side
on my stomach with arms above my head
foot out of the covers.
and I can’t say ‘against my will’ or ‘against their will’
because they were most willfully open and they are quite a part of me,
I tried to decide what to do.
Weed the garden? No.
Clean the bathroom? I’d rather weed the garden.
Make bread? Too damned hot.
Foot under the covers.
My husband slept beside me
Tiny in the room across the hallway
dogs in their kennel downstairs.
My stomach growled.
No bread, but food
I got up
one foot and then the other
down the stairs.
When they allow it
I hand-peel my tomatoes.
It took a few attempts before I managed to come home from the grocery store with everything for Garden Minestrone from The Essential New York Times Cookbook.
I kept at it
because the method for making the soup interested me.
Everything is carefully layered in a pot
(demands the book).
The vegetables create their own broth
no liquid added
save olive oil.
It appealed to me and my willfully open eyes.
What would have been even more appealing
would have been to crank out the soup and photos without my pants being pulled down
but my sous chef awoke
and was determined to pull down some pants.
A pacifier and a pickle later
he was happy to leave me alone.
I weighed my frozen peas and lima beans
chopped some parsley
and then I began layering and slicing
There was quite a bit of slicing.
It makes for a good knife-skills recipe.
The layering took a while
and Tiny needs.
It did give me time to stare out the window in front of me
and to feel silly for using store-bought produce
what with our garden staring back at me through the window
Not to be bothered by a judgmental garden
I added the peas and parsley
Olive oil and then a lid for the time on the stove.
When I checked on it after the specified NO STIRRING time
it didn’t look very brothy.
Maybe my heat was not correct
maybe the broth was hidden?
I asked myself these things
and I decided to stir.
It wasn’t brothy enough for me.
I still think that perhaps my heat was too high
or I didn’t let the vegetables cook for long enough.
I added about four cups of chicken stock to the soup.
I made a pesto for the top
and added pine nuts to break up the cooked vegetable texture.
For later servings,
I crushed sun-dried tomatoes and added them to the pesto.
When I make the minestrone again,
because I will,
the pine nuts and sun-dried tomato pesto will not be left off.
I made a tiny bowl for my Tiny
and pureed it.
I’m not going to post a photo of the puree
because you can guess what that looks like.
Undeterred by the least appealing-looking foods
Tiny relished the minestrone.
That little fist looks like it says
“Oh, this is so good.
And it was.