Put a bunch of spices to warm in a pan. Oh! There's that little frying pan you thought you'd lost in the move! Sitting right there...in the frying pan drawer. Oh well, sometimes you look for milk in the fridge for half an hour before realizing it's right in front of you. You're supposed to add garlic, but for some reason there's none in the house. This must be the heat, you figure, addling your mind. Who doesn't always have a few cloves of garlic lying around? Okay, so you use a shallot finely diced instead. This turns out to be more than fine, delicious even.
Paprika, cayenne, cumin - hot colors fusing together into a muddled brown, the kitchen filling with fragrance. Even though the recipe says an immersion blender is too much, you use an immersion blender, just a few pulses, to chop the tomatoes a little more. You leave it chunky, though, just as Barbara says to, and stir in the spiced shallot. Forget about the celery, or the fennel, which was your inspired idea for a celery substitution. Who wants to chop anything more than a few tomatoes? Not you.
In goes a little vinegar, a squeeze or two of lemon, chopped parsley because cilantro is too hard to find and did you already mention your short fuse? Be kind to yourself today. A few stirs with the spoon and soon you're sitting at the table, slurping spoonfuls of cold soup, dunking Turkish bread into the bowl. Who cares that you gave up with the tomatoes after about five and that the spice mixture is meant for over two pounds? This means the soup is humming, the spices vibrant in your mouth and throat. Maybe it's a little too strong, but it doesn't really matter. You eat in big spoonfuls anyway, grateful for the kick of flavor, the faint numbing of your lips. You feel your inner temperature, the knot of frustration and the sweat at your temples subside.
Tomorrow will be hot again, there might only be salads and cold yogurt and more complaining on the horizon. But today you have cold Moroccan tomato soup, a faint breeze and that will have to do.
shallot, minced fine
2 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
teaspoons ground cumin
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
1.5 pounds tomatoes, cored, peeled and cut into 1-inch
1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro or parsley leaves
teaspoon white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a small saucepan, stir together the shallot, paprika, cumin,
cayenne and olive oil. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring
constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Put the chopped tomatoes with their juice in a large bowl. Pass an
immersion blender through once or twice, leaving most of the tomatoes
Stir in the cooked spice mixture, the cilantro, vinegar, and lemon
juice. Taste for salt. Eat immediately.