|"C'est ton tour maintenant!|
Allons, en garde, allons ah!
Toreador, en garde! Toreador! Toreador!"
-from "Toreador" by Georges Bizet
It’s easy, and comfortable, to get in the habit of doing the same old thing. (See last week’s post.) But it’s often new activities that give me energy and make me feel engaged.
Over the past week, I got to try a few things for the first time. Last Sunday, Andrew and I attended a concert put on by our friend Laura, an opera singer. She and three other soloists sang music from an opera they’ll be performing in Italy this summer, and it was stunning. Hearing opera music wasn’t new for me, but the audience participation component definitely was. Lyrics to three of the pieces, including “The Toreador Song” from Carmen, were printed in the bulletin, and we were encouraged to sing with the artists. I can truly say that singing opera – in public – was a new experience for me.
On Friday night, we attended The Sonnet Show, a fundraiser for my friend Sara’s theatre company. Five playwrights were each assigned one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and had two weeks to write a short play based on it. Fourteen lines – fourteen days – fourteen minutes. The actors and directors each received the script on the morning of the performance and had one day to memorize their lines and stage the play. That night, we walked from room to room in this heritage building, each room being home to a different play (in one case a musical). The results were spectacular!
This week I was inspired by my youngest daughter to try something new in the kitchen, too. The year-end project for her high school Graphics Class involved designing a menu and tent card for an imaginary restaurant of her choice. She decided to create a restaurant that served international soups and stews. As she created a menu, the food all sounded great but I couldn’t get the African Peanut soup out of my mind. New, yes, but the flavours (sweet potato, ginger, garlic, peanuts) are ones I love. When I replicated it for our family, I chose an Ellie Krieger recipe and I was happy with the results, as I always am. Some things never change.
|"So are you to my thoughts as food to life..."|
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 75
Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup
(adapted from The Food You Crave)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 large or 2 small onions, diced (1 1/2 to 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
6 cups low-sodium, chicken or vegetable broth
One 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring, until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in two batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts and flavours mingle, about 10 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with green onions and peanuts.