Tonight's menu, a bridge between Summer and Fall: Coconut Curry Tomato Soup, Good Bread with Butter, Rustic Chicken Salad (recipe coming Monday), Crisp White Wine I've been holding on for dear life. As I hear other people wish for the shortened days of Fall to grace us with her beautiful colors and slight chill, I wince and hope that their wishes don't come true. I'm not being mean, I'm just not ready. Not yet.
This is the first year for as long as I can remember that I have not been ready for what has steadfastly been my favorite season. You see, in Seattle, we wait and wait (and wait) for the long days of summer. For the blue skies and sunshine. For the temperatures that range mostly between 55 and 80 degrees. For the dry weather. And, when summer finally arrives, it's too perfect. It's "pinch me, I must be dreaming" good. It's "I will never leave this area from July until October" good. And, I'm not quite ready to let it go...
But, Fall. She’s knocking on the door, wanting to settle in. The leaves are slowly starting to turn to vivid shades of red and orange and yellow. The blue of the sky is shifting to what I have always referred to as Autumn Blue. The daylight is taking its time to greet us in the mornings, making my very early runs glorious under a dark sky of moon and stars. There is a delicate chill in the air. Summer lingers, but Autumn, I can tell that she's just around the bend.
I'm anticipating the smell of firewood burning, the feel of layers and the aroma of wool, earlier and cooler evening walks, cozy blankets piled on our couches, baskets filled with pears and apples, pumpkins finding new homes on front steps right next to colorful potted mums, and the tastes of warm, Autumnal food. In our home, Fall means more slow cooker meals with the smells of warmed meat traveling from our kitchen to greet us at the front door as we return home from work and school. More baked goods. Yes, many more baked goods. Soups simmering on the stove for hours and then being eaten half by spoon, half by the bread that has been dunked in the bowl to soak up the flavors. Warm foods, more hearty foods to help transition us into the new season and to make the sting of the close of summer a bit more tolerable.
To help bridge the transition from Summer to Autumn, try this tasty soup that has just a hint of spice from the cayenne pepper and curry, yet the cool of coconut milk. It will have you grabbing a second slice of buttered bread so you can keep dunking...and, if you are like me, perhaps, it will actually make you excited to feel Autumn's chill.
Coconut Curry Tomato Soup adapted from a recipe of Heidi Swanson's on 101 Cookbooks Ingredients: 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon Kosher salt 2 teaspoons red curry paste 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, at least one fire-roasted 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
In a large pot over medium low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften up - 10 minutes or so. You may get a bit of browning, but I think this just adds depth to the soup.
Stir in the curry paste, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and cook just until the spices are fragrant- about 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tomatoes with the juices from the cans, the can of coconut milk, and 4 cups of water. Simmer for as much as time allows, but at least for fifteen minutes- I simmered it about 1 1/2 hours- then pour (taking care not to splash!) into a blender to puree until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). Add back to the pot and continue simmering on low until you are ready to eat.
This soup is great served simply with a slice of good bread, a sprinkle of sharp cheddar cheese, and a large torn leaf of fresh basil.
Happy eating and Happy nearly Fall!