November soup

Growing up in New Jersey, I noticed that November was not people’s favorite month. Being an anthropomorphizing sort, I felt sorry for November and thought I’d make it my favorite. And it had a certain excitement. There was the smell of coming cold. Winds might howl and dry leaves wheel around in schoolyard corners. Too late for bright fall colors, it was at least too early for slush. Fresh cider was appearing, Thanksgiving was coming and Christmas still all promise. Today I made a perfect November soup – Mediterranean warmth for a cold gray day.

To make November eggplant soup:

2 eggplants, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can chick peas, drained, dried off
olive oil (about 6T)
salt, pepper
½ to 1 tsp cumin
lemon juice (optional)
1 qt vegetable or chicken broth
yogurt

Spread eggplant and onions on a baking tray, salt and sprinkle with 4 T olive oil. Bake at 400, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. About 20 minutes into this, add the drained chickpeas and another 2 T of olive oil. Stir. Stop when the eggplant is cooked but not blackened. Have fun smashing some of the eggplant with a wooden spoon. Add the vegetables to 1 quart of vegetable (or chicken) broth. Try not to have the pieces fall on the floor. Add salt and cumin to the pot and a bit of lemon juice if you like. Heat. You can mix some yogurt in the pot or in the bowl. Buon appetito!

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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