early fall [tomato & sourdough soup]

Without the back-to-school rush in September, there was less of a definite seasonal shift in my head. A little less excitement, less novelty, less homework, less sense of impending doom. A freeing feeling for the most part, but occasionally one that I let stress me out when thoughts of future plans (or lack thereof) get the best of me.

Of course, classes or not, the learning never ends. Working for a political party during this (loooong) election has been quite the education, and I’ve been happy to try and absorb as much as I can. [Using this moment to awkwardly & briefly segue on to my soapbox: Canadians, please vote! If you need more info, check Elections Canada.]

Trying to follow all the politicking and the global events could certainly fill a semester (or a full degree…), and sometimes I find it hard to wrap my head around everything. Comparatively, my frustrations seem less important when I look around the world; perspective, perspective, perspective.

In a bit of an effort to try to keep up/for some entertaining “educational” material, here are a few things that have been keeping my brain busy in the last little while –maybe you’ll find them interesting, too:

Everything Is Yours, Everything Is Not Yours
A stunning essay by Clemantine Wamariya. I read it for the first time several months ago, and I still find myself thinking about it …putting things in perspective and then some.

Shopping For Votes An interesting read with a lesson in the history of marketing in politics. You’d probably recognize things you’re seeing in this election now…

This Changes Everything The brilliant Naomi Klein’s on climate change vs. capitalism. Looking forward to seeing the movie, too!

We Should All Be Feminists Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk got some star power boost when Beyoncé sampled it, but her thesis stands alone. I was already a fan of Adichie’s talk but I’ll admit, it was the book’s bright cover that got my attention. A good read or listen.

What’s keeping your brain buzzing these days?

And finally, a recipe. Another favourite from one of Ottolenghi’s great cookbooks. This one uses up the last of the garden’s tomato bounty for a simple, comforting soup. Hello fall.

Tomato & sourdough soup
serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 large onion, chopped (1⅔ cups/250 g in total)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 cups/750 ml vegetable stock
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped (4 cups/650 g in total — kate’s note: little ripe tomatoes work, too! just make sure to end up with a total of 4 cups)
one 14-oz/400 g can chopped Italian tomatoes
1 tbsp superfine sugar
1 slice sourdough bread (1½ oz/40 g in total)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro, plus extra to finish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Sauté for a bout 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onion is translucent. Add the cumin and garlic and fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, both types of tomato, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of black pepper.

Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, adding the bread, torn into chunks, halfway through the cooking. Finally, add the cilantro and then blitz, using a blender, in a few pulses so that the thomatoes break down but are still a little coarse and chunky. The soup should be quite thick; add a little water if it is too thick at this point. Serve, drizzled with oil and scattered with fresh cilantro.

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