zucchini apple and mint pesto soup
There is a person whose profession invokes ripples of fear through the bodies of people everywhere, young and old alike. A person who sends out evil reminders of their presence in your life. A person who tries to trick you with so-called “friendly” chatter and strawberry-flavored foam. You know who I’m talking about.
For me, it’s not just the fear of being in that chair and hearing the clink clink of metal tools on that precarious little rolling table. No, it’s the judgement. It’s opening my mouth wide and letting someone peer with scrutinizing eyes and a semi-masked face. It’s having that person ask you if you floss and then having them challenge your answer with a series of rapid-fire questions. “How often?” “Do you floss up and down or side to side?” “What brand?!” And then they send you away with a sample pack of floss, adding further proof to the fact that they never believed you in the first place.
Now, they serve a purpose, to be sure. And when you happen to be suffering from a painful toothache, submitting temporarily to their torture is necessary to alleviate the pain long-term. I am not so unreasonable. But that doesn’t mean I like it.
You can imagine my disappointment when a certain one of my wisdom teeth decided it just had to be heard. Sure, there had been pain before. But it came and went like an unwanted visitor and never spent the night. So I tolerated it. For three years. Finally, it had had enough. That wisdom tooth wanted some recognition! Thus began the constant, nauseating pain. Something had to be done. And fantasize as I might, it wasn’t going to be done by me.
Enter the dentist.
Truth be told he is a lovely man. Has a quiet practice in the city. Even speaks a bit of English! And while there was a gentle remark about the fact that my wisdom teeth are full grown and I had to have noticed that, he was quite complimentary. He made an appointment for the “extraction” and gave me a prescription for some pain killers. Gracias, señor dentista!
The morning of the pulling, we went to get a quick x-ray of my mouth. 12 dollars and 5 minutes later, I had my x-ray in hand and was headed to the appointment. (And yes, I totally took it out and examined it first. It’s not like it was sealed! Besides, I felt all doctorly, holding it up and pointing out that we were clearly going to have a problem with the lower right molar.)
The doctor concurred with my assessment. Unfortunately that meant there would be only three teeth being pulled in this sitting. I would need to come back. Again.
To see the dentist.
The procedure itself went quite well. And by quite well, I mean horrifying and nightmarish. (But that’s to be expected.) Despite the language barrier, we managed to make ourselves understood. I wasn’t overly alarmed, for instance, when he told me, rather matter-of-factly, “I will poke you many times” while gripping the dreaded needle.
As he began, I fixed my eyes intently on his with a look that said simply, “Please don’t kill me.” His eyes looked back at mine levelly and seemed to say, “Is that seriously as wide as you can open your mouth?”
My husband told me, as we were walking to the bus and I clutched a bag of ice to my cheek, that all he could hear was me wincing, whimpering, and then laughing. “Sherioushly?” I asked. “Yesh.” he mocked.
I suppose it’s true. I was well aware of how ridiculously, over the top anxious I had been, but I couldn’t help it! I even kept pulling in one of my legs, with my knee in the air, without noticing. (Was this to brace for the discomfort? To kick the dentist in his side?) I would only realize when he said, quite simply, “Stop that.” Woops, sorry doc. Then the laughter. HA HA HA I AM A CRAZY PERSON! It was the first time I felt sympathy for the dentist.
He gave us some guidelines of what to eat and what not to eat, and said he’ll take that rebellious fourth tooth out next month. But he did mention he would need another co-worker to help him. (I’m guessing to restrain me?) After all I’d put him through, I figured the least I could do was comply with his dietary suggestions.
And so, this vegetarian puréed soup came into my life.
1 very large zucchini, peeled seeded and cubed (6 cups)
1 green apple, peeled cored and chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tbs almond slices
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
4 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon zest
3 cups vegetable stock
salt, to taste
To make the mint pesto, simply combine mint leaves, almond slices, parmesan, and olive oil in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
In a roasting pan, combine zucchini and apple, and drizzle over 3 tablespoons of the mint pesto. (Reserve the rest.) Combine well, and season with a touch of salt.
Heat oven at 200°C (395°F). Roast zucchini apple mixture for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden and tender.
Bring vegetable stock to a boil and combine with the roasted goodness. Blend until smooth. Season with more salt, if desired. Spoon into bowls and stir in some of the reserved mint pesto.
Carefully slurping purée so as not to irritate my wounds may not sound like a great time. But you know what? It was delicious. And I have the dentist to
blame thank for it.