I miss home. San Francisco. I miss her misty arms, her susurrus, her stony hues stretched like a tarpaulin across the city. Grays and blues and wisps of aubergine. I long for the dirty streets, slick with indigent grimes. I miss the way she drags the evening lights through the fog kicking and biting until they’re subdued, fuzzy, helpless. I miss the buzz of the electric busses as they groan up peaks and dive down plummeting steeps, the sidewalks in solemn disrepair. Her briny perfume. Yes. I miss her voice, her equanimity, the pans and handles queued with cat piss trees. I long to see her homes stretched like colored pearls along the precipitous hills. One, two, three smothered in aureate necklaces without apology because she is the Grande Dame. God damn. There will never be a city that I could ever worship the way I do my dear, sweet, city anchored tenuously at the edge of the murky bight, turbid with tainted fish and noxious residues.
Los Angeles has zero romance. There is not a stain of the stuff to be found. No, no. I’m not talking about amative romance. There’s too much of that going on down here, and not much else. I’m talking about the kind of romance that quiets that spot behind your solar plexus. The sort that makes you close your eyes and thank the Big Bang for spawning a galaxy that would give suck to an organism poetic enough to make a magnificent city like San Francisco.
Sometimes one must leave something so loved in order to find that thing lost. You know. Los Angeles is my Myanmar.
I realize that as long as I am at my spiritual retreat of Myan-geles I must create a sphere of romance on my own, because this city is unwilling to. Maybe she just can’t. San Francisco is her heartbeat. Los Angeles is a wanting beast. But as all savages must, I do understand that the contrast of her longing has caused the most arcane aspects of my spirit to effloresce. I am grateful to her for that.
Thelonious monk, incense, amber lights and of course, food. This recipe is dedicated to my friend Dina who faithfully sends emails championing my posts, except for the pork. This one’s for you Dina.
VEGETARIAN Cauliflower Soup!
Here’s your larder:
A head of cauliflower, pretty much an entire bunch of celery, about 4 large garlic cloves, a leek, a bundle of chives, and of course, our friend Olive Oil.
Start by slicing up about 5 ribs of celery, along with your leek and garlic. Get ‘em into the pot with a good splash of our friend, and bring it up until it starts to snap. You want to sweat all this, so, turn it down as soon as it starts to get sassy, or you'll end up sauteing it. This is a blonde soup. That means you want to keep your mirepoix pristine. Oh yes, be sure to salt this layer. Bien sur.
Meanwhile, break your cauliflower head into small florets. And the thick white center stalk? Use it. There’s a ton of flavor in there, not to mention all those happy cancer fightin’ chemicals I’m always talking about.
While that’s softening all nice and white, dice your celery, about seven or eight ribs, yeah? Nice. Neat. Square. Now get those little cubes into a pan and sweat those too. Be sure to season. K?
When they’re good and soft, set aside.
When your allium-celery mixture is properly tendered, get your florets and stalks of cauliflower into the pot and cover with water. Simmer this until the cauli is tender.
Meanwhile, mince your chives. Mmm. More allium. This is just a heart happy, cancer fighting group tonight.
When your cauli is tender, give it all a good whir with your submersible. Notice that I added a good bit of Olive Oil here.
By the way, you should have a submersible by now. They are far more convenient than carting out that fatty blender, and safer too. Blending hot soup can be detrimental. Have you ever seen a pitcher of it explode in someone’s face? Just terrible.
OK. Your soup is whirred. Check the seasoning (salt), and adjust. Get your sweaty celery cubes and chives into the pot.
Et, voila! Vegetarian cauliflower-celery soup for Miss Dina. P.S., I also do this without the additional celery cubes added at the end, for a nice, smooth veloute. And tis just as delightful, I swear.
Mangia bene, vivi felice!