Whether we like it or not, our lives are made up of seasons.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
Baby, Child, Teen, Young Adult, Adult, Senior.
Those seasons contain seasons within them. Take fall, for instance. September marks the end of tomato season, giving way to apple season. Squash flourish in October, the orange color of their insides reflecting the color of the outside world, the ever-changing leaves on the trees. The season is not stagnant. There are ebbs and flows within it, peaks and valleys. We may miss the tomatoes, but we have apples and pears and squash and beets to look forward to.
Each season in our lives has similarly functioning peaks and valleys. For example, young adults tend to move many different times. I moved from Columbus, Ohio to Boston for graduate school. I found love. I graduated. I obtained a job in my field. I lost love. I went back to the drawing board of life. I set new goals.
What do we know about seasons? A few things (at the very least):
- Each phase of a season is beautiful and necessary. The beginning brings joy. The end brings a despair that only lasts until the hope of a new season emerges—and it always does.
- If we try to bring back a season that has already passed, it does not taste as sweet. Eating tomatoes in December is not as pleasant as eating them in August. The fruit won’t be as fresh, flavorful, and bright.
We must enjoy each present season for what it brings to us. What can the joy teach us? What, conversely, can the sadness teach us?
Embrace the now—it is beautiful and necessary in a very particular way.
This past weekend, I embraced the tomato.
It is the beginning of September, and while tomato season is on the cusp of leaving us, they are still available in all their glory. Let’s have one last hurrah, shall we?
While caprese salads are my jam through and through, nothing celebrates fresh, sweet tomato flavor more than cold, smooth gazpacho.
This recipe comes from a summer when I worked in Spain. In my last three weeks there I stayed with my coworker’s family. Her husband was from Asturias, a region in northern Spain, and he was the most hospitable, heartwarming man. The kitchen was his domain, and he created new dishes every evening. When I first arrived at their house, he greeted me with a massive pan of paella. I knew I was in good hands.
Gazpacho was his kitchen staple. While I was used to very chunky renditions of this soup in the U.S., his version was a fresh garden of veg turned creamy.
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
- 9–10 medium heirloom tomatoes (or 3-4 large heirloom tomatoes)
- 2/3 cup chopped shallots
- 2/3 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/4 cup bread broken into pieces
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 11 ice cubes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1/4 cup cucumber, chopped (optional)
- Wash and chop the tomatoes, onion, and pepper. If you choose to add the garlic and cucumber, you can wash and chop those too.
- Add ingredients to a blender and blend for 2 minutes.
- Break apart about 1/4 cup of bread (2-3 small baguette slices). I suggest using a crustier bread. Stale, dry french bread is the best, but you can also use ciabatta. Add to the blender along with salt and pepper.
- Blend for 30 seconds.
- Turn on the blender and pour balsamic vinegar and olive oil while the gazpacho blends. This ensures the gazpacho is creamy! Blend for 30 seconds.
- Add the ice cubes to the blender right as you are about to serve the soup. Blend until ice is fully incorporated.
If the gazpacho is too grainy or seedy for you, you can pass the ingredients through a fine mesh strainer. This recipe serves about five people, so if your blender is not very large, you may need to make this recipe in batches. I’ll usually cut the recipe in half and make two batches in my blender.