Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Sept. 11th

On September 11th, 2001 I was living in the japanese tea house. I wasn't married, or a mother yet. I was just a girlfriend to the buddhist electrician; a nutritionist making her way in the wild world. I was not yet even 30 years old. I was young enough to call my father instantly for reassurance watching the nightmare come true before my eyes, but old enough to know in an instant nothing would be the same.  We had no tv. Internet was dial-up. At 6:30am my friend called me to tell me what was happening. With no voice mail, I heard her voice on the answering machine. I immediately called my sister and sat on the phone with her while she gave me the blow by blows watching tv. The second plane hit the tower. The first building fell. Then the second. People screaming. People jumping from the burning towers. America fell apart, and we cried together. How could this be happening? She worked for Gap corporate then, and the company told them not to come to work that day. Good thing, because I had begged her not to go to work as soon as I saw what was unfolding, before we all knew it was an isolated event. I remember telling her I had dreamed this would happen the previous week. Dreamed of being in the twin towers (which I have never been in) riding an escalator, reading a newspaper while in the building about the future events that were unfolding in my dream. Dreamed of being in the basement while the skyscraper above me fell, dust everywhere. But back then, big news still happened on television and not on the internet, so I felt simultaneously safe being in the middle of nowhere and the angst of having limited information. It seemed the world was in a daze in an instant. Shock worked its way into our nervous systems that day, and we all were just people in the world watching people jump from buildings, crying while feeling completely helpless. 

Sometimes it takes events this big to move us.

And honestly I will tell you I moved into fear. I stockpiled food over the next few months. I made sure we always had gas for the generator to power the house. I asked for a pressure canner that Christmas so I could put food in jars. I made contingency plans with my twin sister who lived in the bay area. It felt like the only way to hold on to control when it felt like I had so little of it in the world. This was before WMD, anthrax, Saddam Hussein, wars in Iraq and a dude named Bush acting like Oz behind a big curtain calling the shots. Every day seemed bleaker.

But then stories emerged from the ashes that moved us. And collectively it seemed that we kept getting messages from those ashes that stayed with us in a different way than before Sept. 11th.
Be kind to your neighbors. Enjoy each day you have. Love your family. Don't take anything for granted. Happiness is an inside job. Life is an illusion. Courage was redefined that day by many, many people.

Sometimes it takes events this big to move us.

A new generation is here now. Technology is here now. I don't live off-grid in the so-called-safety of dirt roads and stockpiling. I live in the security of going inward. I live in the security of knowing that I get to decide where to place my focus when the world is falling apart. I had no way for myself on Sept. 11th 2001.  My first real glimpse of the impermanence of life was Sept. 11th. And if I had not had that gift; that realization that nothing stays, and it is all love anyway, I would not have looked for more.
If we do not know we are suffering then we cannot find a way to love it.
And that day I was moved. And this day I am moved. And I keep going. And I keep loving. And I keep choosing the focus to love. And it is always inward. And a thousand billion tears can be shed, and lives can be lost, and I am thankful for the perfection, even in that. Because more loving can come forward when I choose to see it that way. When the the disaster is the miracle. When love does not fall apart. It glues us together.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Best Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Soup Ever

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes. It deserves capital letters. I had never even heard of them until I moved to California. But for the last 12 years they have been a special breed of tomatoes for me. They are little bursts of sweetness and tartness. They are so far superior to cherry tomatoes that I hesitate even comparing them in the same sentence. Sun golds are little cherry tomatoes that are bright orange in color and pack a flavor punch that is worth seeking out at your farmers market or produce stand.
A few weeks back a local farmer and friend Ruby asked if I had made a soup with these little gems. I knew right then I would be working this recipe into my list of early fall must-haves. As we move through tomato season, you will find great prices on them!
This is fall in a glass.
You know I am all about simple and easy, and this soup is. But, dang if this does not give any kind of bisque a run for its money, I don't know what will. This soup has no cream in it like bisque soups do, but tastes like it does. I know it has a stick of butter, but just go for it! I did not add stock on purpose to see how concentrated I could get the flavors. It was a good call. People will ask you for this recipe if you make it, so be prepared!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Soup
makes 4 servings (about a quart worth)

3 baskets sun gold cherry tomatoes (take little green stem off)
1 stick butter
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 large onion chopped fine
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
1 clove garlic chopped
salt to taste

In a small soup pot, sautee onions, garlic and shallot in butter on medium heat. Add tomatoes and wine after 15 minutes. Cook on medium heat covered for about 1 hour.
Then pour soup in blender (it will be hot so cover the top of the blender with a clean dish towel so you don't burn yourself, and blend until smooth (about 1 minute) or use a immersion blender in the soup pot for a few minutes. Either way you want the soup to be relatively creamy. Cook for another 20 minutes on low heat covered. Add salt to taste.
Strain soup through mesh strainer into a bowl. Use spatula to force all the soup through the strainer leaving all the tomato and onion skins behind. Compost those.
Note: you could add a bit of stock to this to stretch it. I like the concentrated flavors and how thick the soup is. 


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