Sharing your passions and interests with someone else who cares enough to partake in a few of them is pretty neat. Since getting married I’ve realized the importance of embracing things the other person is into, as a way of showing your love for them, and being able to do more things together. At first this was very one-way with Scott and I – he is so easy going it was pretty effortless on my part to get him to do anything that interested me. A few big things I brought to the table were camping, hiking, road trips, moving to new states, and eating veggies. But it is true that giving is far better than receiving. The moment I began to start embracing more of Scott’s interests my life got upgraded a ton. Not only was there a more balanced stoke between the two of us, but I got to make him crazy happy while having a BLAST. I got to start appreciating movies the way he does, go out to dinner a few more times a year (still don’t like that one, but trying), and the biggest, best ones? HOCKEY and ROCK CLIMBING. I don’t know what my life was like before watching hockey, and I don’t want to, I am hooked and he loves it (another bonus, he get’s so stoked when I watch it with him). Then comes rock climbing, or bouldering, which is what we have been doing the past two weekends. He grew up climbing and use to work at a rock gym but I never showed too much interest. The other weekend I suggested going and now we are both hooked and having the best time climbing together (and with new friends!). We are two different people getting melded together as a new “one” more and more each year and I cannot think of a greater way to spend my life. I’m oozing with thankfulness for this man (and soreness – climbing is hard).
One of the major things mentioned above that I brought to our relationship was definitely the eating of veggies. Seeing as Scott was living the fast food life prior to our nuptials, my greatest goal in the kitchen is to make veggie filled recipes he loves. This, my friends, is one of them! It involves fries so it can’t be too hard to win someone over with, right? Hello parsnips, move over potatoes (don’t freak out Scott, you’ll still get to eat loads of potatoes). The za’atar is amazing on these baked fries, which are perfect for dunking in this harissa tomato soup. THIS SOUP. Harissa has made everything it touches in my kitchen better, and since I’m still working through my homemade jar of this stuff it goes in everything. Now take some of the best tomatoes I have ever had, and you have this soup. MM Local seriously blows me away with every product of theirs I try. These jarred tomatoes are so fresh tasting and full of flavor. The perfect level of sweetness with a hint of basil. Now add some harissa, a few of their pickled onions, some garlic, coconut milk, and salt and pepper, and it’s not only the best tomato soup I’ve ever made – but its some seriously fancy ketchup for you to dunk those za’atar roasted parsnip fries in folks!
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Tid-bits: I link below to my homemade recipes for the za’atar and harissa, but if you have your own recipe or a store bought version on hand feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand. If you cannot get ahold of the pickled pearl onions, raw ones will work fine as well.
za’atar roasted parsnip fries
1 large, or 2 medium, parsnips
light drizzle of olive oil
1 tablespoon za’atar
pinch of salt
For the soup, simply puree the listed ingredients in a blender (or in a a bowl using an immersion blender) and heat in a saucepan on the stove. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few dashes of fresh black pepper.
For the parsnip fries, preheat the oven to 400F. Scrub your parsnips well under running water to remove any dirt. Cut off the top and bottom of the root and slice into quarters, and then into 1/2 inch sticks. Toss the sliced parsnip fries in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and then the za’atar. Lay flat on a parchment lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the fries and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes (or until browned and crispy). Remove from the oven and serve right away with the warmed harissa soup from above (great for dunking — think fancy ketchup).