Lunch w/a Stranger

by danggoodfood


Who ever knew that a smile could go such a long way…

I once laughed and giggled all the time.  I got to a point in my life when suddenly my brows furrowed and wrinkled up-centered…my warped forehead showing signs of worry, woes and distractions.  I call it concentration…don’t get it so twisted now,  there is a time when you should smile and there is a time to think.  One can’t always be smiling, what is often a sign of annoyance is also a sign of thought.

But, certainly a smile can go a long way…

I was walking with my friend Andrew and as we crossed the street I caught eyes with a stranger and we exchanged smiles.  “Do you know her?”  No, I said.   We talked about smiles from strangers, the creepy ones versus the friendly ones, and jokingly made parodies of such cases from various passersby..

Upon my stroll home, I noticed two radiant young girls walking- almost skipping pass when I noticed their bright and beaming smiles like rays of light.  I smiled proudly at them as to acknowledge their happy innocence as they briskly passed by.   The air that day was clean, the streets lined with healthy and active trees with the fallen leaves of Autumn resting at their feet.  “EXCUSE ME!”  I heard, then again-next came the rush of footsteps and a tap on my shoulder...it went something like this…”Here you go…this if for you…’we’d like you to have this“- was along the lines of what they had said.   They handed me a red rose carefully wrapped in a well moistened napkin and placed in a plastic sandwich bag.

I looked to see their mother and grandmother waiting for the two girls to run back.  Of course in a state of shock, awe and surprise I gave them each a hug.  “Why me?” I asked, “Because you smiled at us.”  was their reply.   I asked them if they liked jam- Yes was the answer.  I motioned for their mother and grandmother to come over and offered them to come into my house for some homemade soup, bread, cookies and of course fresh homemade jam.  It was such a celebratory moment, how serendipitous that they had decided to go eat at a restaurant around the corner from me, one that they had never been to before.

11/11/11 – was a significant day for the family, it was the girl’s favorite number.  They were in the city to celebrate and commemorate not only the date but also Veterans day.  It was certainly a girls day out if I had ever seen one.  They also told me they were on a mission, actually an adventure, to do things that they had never done before, possibly 11 things: One of them being, give a rose to a stranger.   I detoured them from their lunch destination in hopes of just borrowing a few minutes in their day so that I could show my appreciation.  Instead we spent a good amount of time together in the kitchen getting to know one another.   So the four of them followed me to my little apartment and into my little kitchen, where we snacked on chocolate chip biscuits w/ sea salt, potato & zucchini soup w/ bacon, flatbread w/ Za’atar and Olive Oil, and peppermint tea w/ honey.

We shared stories mostly of love- how their mother met their father (who sounds like the nicest man!), all 4 ladies; grandmother, mother, and 2 daughters were so kind and loving,  they gushed about their father!  I shared my story of how I met Daniel and we laughed, giggled, and nibbled.  I was so warmed by this moment, this moment of total sincerity.  I still couldn’t believe that I had 4 such amazing and angelic faces at my table.

We parted with hearty hugs, an exchange of information, our names on paper and a connection that satiated our appetite for human interaction.  Also with a gift of a fresh jar of plum and yuzu jam.

Dear serendipity,

I had fallen in love again.

Thank you Lee, Tia, Kari and Jean  for giving such an achingly special moment-a moment that hopefully for them was something I would always want to remember.  Happy 11/11/11, this post is dedicated to the Jonsson Family who made my day!!!!

I have yet to test this batch of recipes, these are mostly rough estimates but that’s why there are readers out there.  Maybe Tia and Kari can test these recipes out for me!

Potato and Zuccini Soup w/ Bacon.
 
1/2 C. Diced Bacon
1 large Yellow Onion – Diced
1 C. Green tops of Green Onions chopped. (I used this because I hate to throw away the tops of my green onions and because it adds great flavor)
2 Cloves Garlic – Chopped
2 Sprigs Marjoram- removed from stem
1 C. Yogurt
3 C. Potato            (*I used Ruby Crescents which are waxier and are like fingerlings only larger – but other potatoes can totally work!)
2 C. Grated Zuccini
1 C. Grated Carrot
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
*Optional* 1 tsp. Chipotle pepper or Cayenne
 
Start by adding a bit of olive oil to your pan of choice. add your bacon and turn on heat to medium-high.  Render bacon for about 5-6 minutes.  Turn down to medium heat -Add your onions, garlic, marjoram, 1 tsp. salt and cook till translucent – about 6-10 minutes.  
Add potatoes, coat with onions and garlic and bacon mixture.   Add yogurt and coat.   Add now carrot, and zuccini all at once.  Combine together then add water.  A enough water so that there is a good 2 inches above your vegetables.   Simmer till tender – Season to taste.  Blend by machine for a creamier more velvety texture, or mash by using a masher for a more rustic and hearty soup.    Garnish w/ Chives and a dollop of yogurt. 
 
 
Chocolate Chip and Sea Salt Biscuits.
 
1.5 sticks butter
1 C. Confectioners Sugar
1/2 C. Regular or Course Sugar
1 T. Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
3/4 C. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/8 C. Flour
*Optional* Course Sea Salt to Garnish
 
Using paddle attachment for your mixer -cream butter and sugars on speed 6 till well incorporated or airy and soft- add cocoa powder -then add egg and vanilla set aside, mix till incorporated.   In separate bowl combine Flour, baking soda, Salt and chocolate chips.    Add dries to your butter mixture and mix for another 3 minutes.   Using tablespoon  measure  dollops on parchment and bake at 350 for 5 minutes check and rotate cook for another 3-4.
With this batch I also rolled and froze a log and re-baked it the next day, what yielded was a more uniform cookie and when baked a little longer came our crisper and more biscuit like. 
 
Enjoy ❤ and test.
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