When I joined the ranks of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed law grads across the country, I had several expectations. I would, of course, be relentless in my job search. I would have time to work out several days a week, maybe even start a yoga routine. I would have time to test all the thousands of recipe ideas I wanted to test. I would be able to finally paint the bathroom, which had been stripped of its wallpaper well over two years ago (and which Gennaro once affectionately referrred to as “the crackhouse”). Once the bathroom was tackled, I could get started with the bedroom. And where would I start? The stain-ridden, wallpapered ceilings (yes, I said wallpapered ceilings…not to mention closets, shelves…)? The rest of the walls? The floor-to-ceiling wooden shades that are badly in need of a paint job themselves? Oh, and I could finish all my wedding thank-you notes. I could even volunteer somewhere — perhaps some pro bono work on the side?
In my mind, I was on course to becoming the most productive unemployed person that ever lived. But as you may have suspected, reality has robbed me of such lofty ambitions. The job search has yielded less-than-stellar prospects (is it possible to spend 4 hours a day searching every job site imaginable only to find maybe one entry-level attorney position?). The recipe-testing came with seemingly incessant kitchen cleaning and food shopping, which, of course, cut into my workout time. The thank-you notes are still not done. The bedroom? Hah, please…The bathroom was only just tackled last weekend. And there’s Woodley. He needs two long walks a day. Then there’s the weekly allergy shots (which I have been getting for 4 years now and somehow manage to continue on a weekly schedule. grrrrr), the daily errands and chores, the new health insurance, the joining of the bank accounts…all the little things I had somehow overlooked a few months back.
And no, I haven’t started volunteering anywhere, either. So when I found myself looking forward to a much needed vacation down to Miami to visit a friend this weekend, I couldn’t help but feel a bit ashamed. Do I really need a vacation from my “vacation”? And with that, I was also a bit distraught to realize that almost a week had passed since I made anything worth posting here. It’s been more like passable efforts, at best.
This all led me to my photo archives, where I found this carrot-tahini soup, and remembered how much I had enjoyed it months ago. So why was it never shared? Well, maybe it’s just me, but I sort of felt like I would be a fraud if I posted it — a recipe I copied almost exactly from one in the New York Times. Not that I wouldn’t, of course, give credit. And not that I don’t usually find inspiration from another recipe. And it’s not like sites I love — like Smitten Kitchen, for example — remake other people’s recipes all the time. But with this one, I didnt’ even try to change much of anything. And I had no step-by-step pictures like Smitten Kitchen, no compelling story for what this dish meant to me. Nothing new, really. Just a soup that I enjoyed. A lot.
But isn’t there a place for this kind of sharing? A place for an endorsement of a great, naturally vegan and gluten-free meal? A place for a little “I substituted this and took out that and it was still very good”? Well, for this soup at least, I’ll make this place a place for all that. And by next week, hopefully I’ll have some good, original recipes perfected. Who knows, maybe I’ll even finish my thank-you notes. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
I made everything from the original recipe in the New York Times the same except: 1) I used a small, yellow onion instead of leeks, 2) I used cumin in place of the turmeric, and 3) I used raw tahini. I topped the soup with cilantro and some scallions and served it alongside some toasted, homemade focaccia, which I used in place of the pita chips.