enough to be happy

by juno on September 13, 2013

baked appleOne of my favorite yoga teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater, says, “How you answer the question, ‘What is enough?’ will change your life.” In the more than a decade since those words passed from her lips to my ears, I’ve never stopped thinking about them. What is enough? Enough food, enough stuff, enough money, enough time. Enough social life, enough solitude. Enough time and space to pursue creative goals. Enough exercise. Enough calm focused moments with our children.

It’s not a trick question. When you answer it on any given day, don’t expect the Good Fairy to come down, as she does upon Little Bunny Foo Foo, and say, “Oh, you want too much money. Oh, you need to stop eating so much. Oh, you need to get out more.” It’s an ongoing meditation, a conversation I get to keep having with myself.

This might be enough: roasted tomato soup and baked apples on an autumn day. Eating these foods I feel rich. I feel nourished. I have all the time in the world.

For the soup, which honestly I made from the tomatoes that were about to rot on my counter, way too soft to do anything else with: chop the tomatoes into chunks, or halves if they’re small, and roast them in a medium oven with chopped garlic, chopped sweet onion, smoky Spanish paprika and a pinch of salt. Of course you can do whatever you want: instead of smoky paprika use fresh basil or other herbs or etc.—though the Spanish paprika is, as we say, more-ish. Roast them until your house smells so good that you feel restless and agitated, that your hair stands on end, that you suddenly have the energy for a thousand projects, that you would jump your husband if he walked in the front door. Let them cool a bit, if you can stand to, and then puree them in blender or food processor. Pour in a thin stream of some tasty olive oil—maybe a tablespoon or a few, depending how many tomatoes you’ve roasted—and keep running the blender for a minute or two so that it emulsifies—the soup will grow cloudier. Salt and pepper to taste. If you’re feeling decadent, add a little heavy cream to the soup or as garnish. Try to resist eating all of it before your family comes home. “What is enough…?”

For the apples: core them—I do a bunch at a time and eat the leftovers cold from the fridge—and set them in a greased glass baking dish. Fill the holes in each apple with what you like: raisins, walnuts or pecans, brown sugar or a drizzle of honey, cinnamon, a little pat of butter. Pour a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the dish and bake until soft in a medium oven—exact temperature is not so important, so throw these in on an empty rack when you’re baking something else. I like to bake them until they just start to explode. As you can imagine, these are lovely on their own, but unharmed by a little more of your daily heavy cream allotment, or crème fraiche, or Greek yogurt. All things in moderation is one answer to Judith’s question.

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