My adorable little sister got home from the hospital yesterday. She is eight months pregnant...and was suddenly having gallstone attacks, along with pancreatitis and an overtaxed liver. It's a pretty dicey scenario. A little miracle on Monday allowed her to avoid surgery and return home. Now the doctors are trying just to keep the symptoms at bay and put off surgery until after the baby comes...in September.
She told me she was craving my Gazpacho* (which truly is divine...it’s from Michael's Restaurant in Beverly Hills) so I whipped up a batch and drove it to her house, an hour away. While we were there it occurred to me that I could take her kids back home with me, and give her an extra day of rest. She didn’t argue. (She never does. She’s totally fun-loving and easy-going.)
So, after a 30-minute lesson on how the kids’ carseats work, we were headed for home. With seven kids. I had a total Sound of Music moment: “Seven children?” “You do like children, Maria?” “Well, (gasp) yes, but, uh--SEVEN?!” Then I heard all their giggles tumbling over from the back seat like wind chimes and realized I finally (for a day, anyway) had the big family I had always envisioned. I reveled in it.
I woke up this morning with a start, remembering that I had seven children to entertain for the day. Summoning my inner Julie Andrews, I dismissed my usual morning demeanor (somewhere between grumpy and zombie) and staggered downstairs to fix everyone breakfast with a smile. Luisa's pancakes were the perfect answer. They were fast and delicious.
I braced myself for lots of whining and fighting and little people needing constant entertainment. But there wasn’t any of that. Magically, the older girls doted on the younger ones, the boys played together perfectly, and everybody had a great game of hide-and-seek in our acre of yard. It was painless. And fun. Even at mealtimes.
Actually, I think I was blessed. So that my sister could be blessed with some rest. I was so grateful I could lift her burdens for a day. When I delivered her kids this evening she had a radiant glow about her. That alone made everything worth it.
6 cups tomato juice
1 red tomato, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1 yellow tomato, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 medium Maui onion, finely diced
1/2 each red and yellow bell peppers, finely diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and finely chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 lime, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Extra cilantro for garnish
In a large mixing bowl combine the tomato juice with all the vegetables, the lime juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Cover and chill for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into chilled serving bowls. Spoon a dollop of sour cream onto each bowlful and top with a sprig of cilantro.