Serendipity can change a nasty wintery day—in OCTOBER, no less!—into an incredibly civilized and warm afternoon, one for the memory books for its sheer comfort and camaraderie. So much so that I could almost forget the bad omen of snow in DC in early fall: I am still mourning summer and have yet to accept autumn.
Luckily, I have highly talented friends who can adapt to prevailing conditions (we are all international disaster responders, after all). Given the forecast, we skipped the planned road trip to Maryland and opted for a cooking day in. Our Plan B, originally to simply make sweet rolls, turned into a candle-lit luncheon featuring a rich, boursin-laden zucchini velouté soup with a side of whole wheat herb rolls… all on the fly, from scratch and so casual that I almost was so distracted by the result that I lost sight of the cold and darkness that lies ahead—but also knew there was hope.
Our French friend, Sophie, arrived with a sack of cheeses, zucchini, parsley and garlic. (Really, who does not need a French friend?) In no time, she had whipped up a quintessential velouté de courgettes au boursin: a quick soup, garlickly and creamy (with no cream), thickened with plenty of boursin cheese. It tasted and smelled green, like summer, with enough thickness and garlic to ward off winter. And vampires.
As Sophie was chopping squash, we pulled together herb rolls—whole wheat, upon request, riffing on a KitchenAid recipe—laden with a super-fresh Slovenian herb blend (marjoram, thyme, rosemary and wild oregano) that, slathered with the Amish salted butter I recently brought home from our West Virginia sojourn, added richness and balance to our very healthy main dish.
As we leisurely ate, we watched the afternoon and thick snowflakes wane, warmed and comforted by the three major food groups—soup, bread and wine—and the knowledge that we could ward off the winter with food and friends.