I can’t sleep. And now I can’t see, because I’ve gone and plucked my contacts out, and my glasses are so old and scratched and bent that they hardly count anymore. I can’t move my head without them falling off, and ordering new ones seems to slip down my list of priorities as fast as my glasses slide down my nose, so if I decide to read or type anything after making that final commitment to blind myself at bedtime, I do so with my face an inch and a half from the screen. Which leaves me with a neckache, which doesn’t help with the not sleeping.
I blamed afternoon iced lattes for awhile, and a large snoring dog who’s starting to smell more strongly of river, and pre-dawn wakeups (kids can’t fall sleep when they’re overtired, right?) and now I’m wondering if this is just the way it’s going to be from now on.
I went downstairs and ate a bowl of Cheerios, even though I wasn’t hungry. I should have had soup.
And so I flick through blogs and get more ideas that I’ll likely forget by morning, make notes to myself in the dark and send the occasional email while I’m thinking of it. And my latest fall-asleep-quick strategy is to imagine what’s in the very back of my fridge that I forgot about that I should use up, or what to do with those two enormous zucchini that have been sitting on the countertop all week. (One green, one yellow.) Because you know it’s exciting, but also kind of boring. Other people lull themselves to sleep thinking about George Clooney and his Italian villa; I ponder summer squash.
Yes, squidgy chocolate cake is the obvious choice, but not the wisest, as evidenced by the swift disappearance of three last weekend. My solutions so far: a curry, and a pot of soup. Some grated raw for the freezer. Still another left, because baking with a child-sized zucchini is a little like clowns coming out of a Volkswagon.
Also? I made a lovely pot of chicken stock this afternoon. When I went to strain it I forgot to put a container underneath, and poured it down the sink, the bones neatly left behind in the colander.
This soup is as simple as it gets. It doesn’t call for cream, but if you have some in the fridge and no reason not to add a glug or two, do it.
Creamy Zucchini Garlic Soup
a drizzle of olive or canola oil
a big dab of butter
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 big garlic cloves, sliced
1 large or 2 medium zucchini, about 1 1/2 pounds, chopped
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
Salt and pepper
In a medium pot, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes, until it starts to soften.
Add the stock, bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes, until the zucchini is very soft. Puree with a hand-held immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender (careful if it’s hot!) and season to taste with salt and pepper. (If you like, add a good glug of cream.)