Okay, now I am starting to freak out. Not a goodness I hope I don’t forget to pack my toothpaste kind of freak out, but a real live genuine HOLY shit I hope I don’t accidentally send one of my children to the wrong country kind of freak out. We leave our family home in 3 days. THREE DAYS. In addition to cleaning, organizing, folding, packing, labeling, and shipping everything we love we are also preparing for a “vacation” to Cuba, waiting for my resident visa for the UK (which could arrive tomorrow or could be 6-weeks down the road), and readying our home for a new family who will be renting it from us for some indeterminate amount of time. This is a lot. Arguably too much – even for a master of multi-tasking like myself. During the day I catch myself going for long periods without taking a deep breath. The phone ringing, a text message coming in, a gentle email request and a dagger shoots into my heart releasing a primordial fight or flight response. Flee, I can not, so I am left to fight.
I am not accustomed to amounts of stress that I do not handle with ease. Generally I thrive off of deadlines, problem solving and juggling. Logistical challenges that send other people whimpering under their covers in the middle of the day invigorate me. They make me stronger. They make me taller. But this? This is too much. Moving. Shipping. Storing. Vacationing. School ending. Summering. Renting. Leaving. Too many -ing words here.
The worst part is that I can not even escape by cooking. Not even procrasti-baking is appealing. The thought of locating, measuring, sifting, blending, creaming and timing a baked dessert freaks me out. It’s just more -ing words.
We still need to eat, though, and no burgeoning to-do list is going to hold that at bay. I just need to avoid too many -ings. Lucky for me, heirloom tomatoes have arrived and that provides the perfect antidote to an overly prescriptive schedule. For dinner tonight, there will be no sifting, no weighing, no creaming, no leveling. Tonight would be a warm summer evening dinner of French rosé, heirloom tomato gazpacho and grilled sourdough bread.
Then, after dinner, my husband and I will sit outside and take in enormous gulps of humid air and I will fight back tears. I will muster the strength to enjoy my surroundings instead of focusing only on the move. I will take some time to be where I am.
And I’ll look around and just make absolutely sure I haven’t labeled a child to go to London with our books and clothes.
- 4 lbs yellow heirloom tomatoes
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup good quality white wine vinegar
- 3 stalks celery
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 white or yellow onion
- 1 cucumber, peeled
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- cayenne pepper
- Pull one tomato, the red bell pepper, a quarter of the cucumber and one stalk of celery and set aside.
- With everything remaining, cut veggies into rough 1" chunks and place together into one large bowl.
- With the smaller selection of the veggies, dice everything extremely neatly into 1/4" cubes. (You can toss imperfect cuts into the large bowl containing the 1" chunks). Mix together in a small bowl, cover and set aside.
- Working in batches add all of the 1" chunked veggies, a pinch of salt, the garlic and the vinegar into a blender or food processor. Blend everything until smooth - 1 to 2 minutes depending on the power of your processor or blender. Pour into a large bowl and mix. Put in the refrigerator for 4 to 12 hours.
- Remove the soup from the refrigerator and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. Then, working again in batches, blend for 30 seconds adding the olive oil in a steady stream as you blend. Stir it all together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Place a blend of the 1/4" diced veggies into each bowl and then top with the smooth soup mixture. Serve with hot crusty bread and a cold French rosé wine.
- Chop everything into 1" chunks and blend together in batches along with vinegar.
- Let sit for 4-12 hours.
- Blend again for 30 seconds, adding olive oil in a steady stream. Adjust seasoning. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.