I get a distinct yearning for home every once in a while. Like the past death of a loved one, I fill up with guilt at being unable to do better or be happy with what was around me. I remember the wings I grew at an age much younger than I would have preferred. I could never sit still and I knew I wanted more – to see more, to be more. It’s funny to know and realise that that feeling never goes away. Home is always the sweet, warm sun spot I can focus my mind on when things seem hard.
It’s strange to say this but this and I don’t say it without that same guilt: This summer has made me feel like this place can feel like home. The way the trees blow, the way the pine needles carpet the forest trails, the sound of the birds, the water and the wind has brought me the comfort I’ve been yearning for a long time. This solitude has begun to make more sense when I’m in nature, not talking but sometimes talking about all the life-affirming and hard stuff we all share. Trees don’t judge and neither do good people. I’ve found some of both.
It’s a great way to turn into fall. My new favourite season of curling into a ball with a blanket. I still yearn for home. My room with its green walls and new floor tiles; the air and the noise. As we build up this home of our own, putting plants in the ground and painting walls, I see us change and become better people. I see me take small steps to not being scared about what a whole new country thinks of me (Job stealer? “Good” English speaker?). I see us wait for Friday and have rituals involving eggs and bacon on Saturday. We are figuring things out. We are finding home.
Leek potato soup with parsley pesto croutons
For all the uncomplicated things in life, there is potato soup. The recipe for the parsley pesto makes more than you may need for the croutons but you can save it in a jar and use it on pasta and other weeknight meals for up to a week. If you don’t want to use croutons, the soup tastes just fine with simple pesto stirred in. Cherry bomb peppers are sweet and spicy. I suggested using jalapeno as a substitute because they are much easier to find. Remove the seeds if you don’t want it too spicy.
For the parsley pesto croutons
- 2 cups parsley, stalk ends trimmed
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/4 cup leeks
- 1/4 cup parmesan
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Day-old crusty bread
Add the parsley, pistachios, leeks and parmesan to a food processor and chop it to a paste. While the ingredients are being processed, add the olive oil and process until it turns into a paste. Add salt to taste.
The second half of the crouton recipe you see below can be done once the potato soup is ready:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the bread into cubes to make 2-3 cups. Spread the bread in an even layer on a baking sheet and place it in the oven until the bread toasts and crisps up. It should take 5-10 minutes. Once they are toasted, toss with the pesto.
For the soup
- 800 gms/1.7 lbs potatoes (I used a mix of fingerling and new potatoes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek (a little more than a cup), dark green ends trimmed and chopped in rounds
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cherry bomb pepper (3 tbsp), finely diced (use 1 small jalapeno without the seeds if you need a replacement)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add enough water to a medium sauce pan to cover the potatoes completely. Thrown in two bay leaves and bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to a quick simmer and let the potatoes cook uncovered for 20 minutes. The potatoes should be soft and almost breaking apart. Discard the bay leaves and pour the potatoes and the water into a food processor. Carefully pulse the contents until smooth.
Heat the olive oil in the same saucepan on medium-high heat and add the chopped leeks garlic and peppers. Saute until they soften. If you’re worried about the garlic burning, add it in the last 1 minute of cooking. Pour the potato puree into the saucepan. If needed, add about 1-1 1/2 cups more of water to loosen the potato mixture.
Warm the potato soup until hot and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with pesto croutons.
Love soup? I do too. Here are some more recipes if you’d like to try: