Av: Mourning and Comfort

Av corn soup

Av corn soup

I’m a bit late in posting for the month of Av which includes the day of mourning, Tisha b’Av, and Tu b’Av, often called the Jewish Valentines Day. The dichotomous holidays take us through a range of emotions from sadness and sorrow moving towards comfort and joy, as we start to prepare for the high holidays. In fact the month is often called Menachem Av, which means comforter or consoler. Literally, as we move through the day of Tisha b’Av, we gradually move to a more hopeful emotional state and towards one of more comfort. We go from sitting on the floor, as is customary with mourners to sitting in chairs. Emotionally, despite the pain of Tisha b’Av, we also have hope. In Judaism, because of our history we always carry narrative of pain and sorrow but are never defeated by it and always look for redemption in even the darkest places. We are steadfast in our optimism.

Ingredients from Farmer John

Ingredients from Farmer John

Traditionally the final meal for the Tisha b’Av fast, one would eat an egg and bread dipped in ashes. Using the month’s themes of comfort and nourishment, I wanted to create a recipe the conveys them. I am visiting family in Chicago where fresh summer corn is readily available and delicious. I used the ingredients from the Angelic Organics CSA box, run by the famous Farmer John. I sprinkled a tiny bit of corn husk ash on each bowl of soup, as a reminder of the ash eaten before Tisha b’Av. The recipe is adapted from one I found on the Minimalist Baker.

Av Corn Soup

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil + extra to drizzle
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
5 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed from cob. Save a tiny bit of husk from one for ash
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp corn husk ash
salt and pepper

Corn husk ash

Corn husk ash

Preparation
1. Saute garlic and onion in 1 tbsp olive oil over low to medium heat, 3-5 minutes until translucent.
2. Add corn kernels and saute 3-4 minutes.
3. Add broth and milk.
4. Cover and bring to a boil and then simmer, about 7 minutes.
5. Take 3/4 of the soup and put in a blender (do not fill all the way up or you will have a hot mess. literally). Puree until smooth.
6. Add puree to chunky soup mixture and simmer together about 7-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool.
7. To serve: place in bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and a tiny pinch of ash. Serve cold or at room temperature.

B’tayavon!

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