There are experiences that move you. There are moments when you know. There are times when you take a leap and jump into the wide unknown beyond, certain you will be forever changed. On a particularly sodden and blustery day in the late winter of 2008, I knew. I was flying through the streets towards home from school on my bike, soaking wet, and mad at the never-ending Oregon rain. I slammed into our house, made straight for the fireplace where my roommate was curled up reading, threw down my bag, and proclaimed, “I am going to Ireland.”
And I did. Twice. Confidently. Decisively. Never-faltering in my belief that I just needed to be there. Experiencing.
Often, in the tiny spaces in between all the moments that make up each day, I catch myself. I look back at a fragment of time when the whole world was laid out and I knew my course. I knew how to make what I wanted happen, and the making it so came effortlessly.
There are only a handful of moments that I have experienced the kind of certainty I felt then. All the other days, I will myself to know which direction, which passion, which experience. Which one is the one?
I often feel that our lives are meant to be permanately hazy in the living. Some days are fogged in. Other days the sun comes out, there is a clear way forward, and it becomes spring again in our souls.
I am beginning to accept this nature of things; I am beginning too, to accept myself in the unknowing. After all, in both certainty and indecision, there is much beauty, and that, I think, should be lingered upon and celebrated.
Recipe Updated: 3/2023 This simple pureed vegetable soup is a comfort I seek in the harried moments when I crave simplicity. It is one of the meals I ate repeatedly in Ireland. It is ever on the menu at both small, quick cafes or pubs, and nicer restaurants, always served with a slice or two of brown bread. It fills and warms you up, and can contain whatever sorts of vegetables you have on hand. This recipe makes a large batch, enough for 5-7 servings. meals. small handful of dried porcini mushrooms small handful of parsley, roughly chopped 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 3/4 cup gluten-free quick oats 2 Tbs. olive oil 3 medium leeks, white and light parts, sliced 1 medium onion, chopped 1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced 2 celery stalks, diced 2 tsp. tamari salt and pepper, to taste 6 cups of water 1 clove garlic, minced 1 pound yellow potatoes, diced 2 medium turnips, peeled and diced 2 cups green cabbage, diced 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- Grind the porcini mushrooms in a spice grinder. Measure out 2 teaspoons of the resulting powder. Save the rest for another batch of soup.
- Toast the oats in a small pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and they become golden. Transfer them to a bowl to cool.
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add leeks, onion, carrots, celery, 1/3 cup water, tamari, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook this mixture, stirring it occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the onion and celery have softened a bit. You may need to add a little water in this process.
- Stir in the ground mushrooms and oats. Add the water, herbs, and garlic. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, turnips, and cabbage. Return the mixture to a simmer and cook an additional 20 minutes, or until the potatoes and turnips are soft.
- Stir in the vinegar and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, and let cool slightly.
- If you’d like a completely smooth and creamy soup, puree it in a blender, working in batches. Or puree half and leave the other half chunky.
- This is delicious, but necessary, with a good hearty bread.
- Notes: Other Irish Recipes that might be included in your St. Patrick’s Day Festivities include Brown Soda Bread, Shepherd’s Pie, or Hearty Winter Curry Pie. Sláinte!