Today I needed to get a dress pressed on my lunch break…for a wedding on Sunday. Just pressed. Many hand gestures and botched-Thai phrases later and I left my office with the dress. Still a wrinkled mess.
Four years of this has, I hope, gifted me with patience. Most days I find it more funny than frustrating – the absurdity of an American girl trying to get her pink dress ironed when she doesn’t know the Thai word for “iron”. I no longer expect that everything will get done in my timing. And that’s for the best. In a city where it’s possible to sit in traffic for hours to move a couple kilometers there are many reminders that my schedule is insignificant.
And while I’ll readily admit that my schedule at home is also now secondary to two adorable yet demanding people, there’s a lot less chaos here than outside our four walls. I’d like to say that we’re slowing down and embracing some quiet moments at home with the holidays on the horizon, but the truth is we’re ramping up for so much in the next few weeks: our first Thanksgiving as a family of four, Frank’s graduation from business school, four weeks in Spain (jamón! Rioja! boots! scarves!), and a whole lot of holiday fun with our extended family.
All this is my roundabout way of telling you that I’ve found that the best complement to chaotic days is quiet nights. Sleepy babies and dinner with Frank. And all the better with something simple and homey to eat. We loved this soup with crusty bread to chase away the tail end of a cold. It’s sort of a glorified chicken noodle soup with sweet butternut squash, herby sage, and orzo pasta bits that you’ll chase around the bottom of your bowl.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 sprigs fresh sage, finely chopped
- 2 cups water
- 8 cups chicken stock (see note)
- 1 cup orzo pasta (dry)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- To a large soup pot over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and butternut squash. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened but not brown. Add the fresh sage and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the water and simmer (adjust the heat, if needed, so that the water is gently boiling) until the squash is tender, 7-8 minutes.
- While the squash is cooking, bring another small pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo pasta just until tender. Drain and divide orzo between four serving bowls.
- When the squash is tender, add chicken stock and shredded chicken to the soup. Bring to a simmer and add salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle soup over orzo in prepared bowls. Serve immediately.
Between bowls of soup and Bangkok craziness we had a beach vacation! More on that coming soon, but Molly and Clara say that they loved lounging in bed with some good beach reads…