Twas a rainy Wednesday morning and I loved it! So there I was in the mini-van waiting for the kids to take them to school, as I was enjoying the blaring sound of the car stereo: the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ hit single Snow. Perfect music to go with the weather. Ok fine, it was not snowing, it was just raining but I love it anyways, and I love the music, so it was all good… for me it was still perfect music for the moment.
I get excited when it rains here in San Diego because it seldom happens. My husband says that if that’s the case, we should move to Seattle. I guess he wants to see me in a happy mood for most times of the year. But San Diego‘s weather is almost perfect and it can’t get any better… but with the rains right now I'm just loving the change in the weather.
So after I took the kids to school, I grabbed my red raincoat and I stepped outside not afraid to get wet. And like a little girl, I just wanted to splash in the puddle with my boots…and I walked and sang in the rain!
I walked to the Del Mar Highlands Town Center, our neighborhood shopping arcade. I love the area, it kinda gives you a feeling of Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow, only with a modern twist… and it’s just a 15 minute walk from where I live. We have a tall Christmas tree (it’s not like the tree at the Rockefeller Center in NYC) but it’s still tall enough to say that Christmas is here. Climb the stairs and you have a good selection of places to eat with an al fresco dining setting… it’s just simply lovely! Our favorite place to eat for breakfast is Champagne Bakery and Bistro… I love their crepes! Then I went to a store called Papyrus: I love to take inspirations from there. I don’t buy their cards, oh no, I make my own. Of course there’s Barnes and Noble, where I love to skim the pages of cookbooks and my favorite magazines… Hahaha yes I do sound like I’m el cheapo, right? Next stop is Bath and Body Works, where I love to smell and try every scent of their hand soaps and lotions… there are boutiques and jewelry shops, very tony! And oh our Mcdonalds is not your usual Mcdonalds, with its modern/eccelectic interiors, along with serving Panini, soups and several gourmet selections. I just felt like suddenly, I began to appreciate all the things around me that I usually take for granted. It’s one hallmark moment, that I wish I could permanently capture. That’s how much I loved the moment.
I spent most of my time people watching, and this time of the year is the best time to do that. I see people rushing frantically down the wet pavement. I see ladies all made up and clad in designer outfits. I felt amused because they don’t seem to impress me anymore, I was just there feeling content, as I sipped my hot cocoa…wearing my red raincoat.
In the few stores I stepped foot in, I saw people scavenging for gifts, trying to cross them off their lists. I saw kids bored in their strollers trying to get mom’s attention, but their moms were oblivious as they were busy scouting for anything with red tags. But what caught my attention was an old man trying to reach for a musical stuffed toy on a shelf. I reached for it and gave it to him, and with his fragile old frame, he asked me what I thought about the toy. I said it’s beautiful, and he said, ”it’s for my great grandson… not grandson, it’s MY great grandson… he emphatically pointed out, “I’m a lucky old man ain’t I? That I lived long enough to see my great grandchildren and it gives me profound joy!” I wanted to hug him, or wished he was related to me… and I wanted to take him home because I was afraid that with the rain, he might slip, or afraid that with the rain and knowing how people drive crazily, he might get into an accident. Cut it out Malou! Probably, he’s just like me, who wants to be out there in the rain… I greeted him "Merry Christmas"...I smiled and left him.
It was such a lovely morning walk… and when I went home, all wet, chilly and cold, I craved for a creamy rich soup. Oh what a morning.. a lovely morning indeed. I wanted to sing: "listen to the rhythm of the pouring rain"… ok enough… here’s the recipe for the creamy potato shrimp soup!
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 pcs. Potatoes with peel, diced
4 cups broth (chicken or shrimp bouillon dispersed in water)
1 cup milk or cream
butter -garlic croutons
1 stick butter
1 medium egg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Microwave the potatoes for about 4 minutes. Then mash together with butter and the cracked egg. Don't mash it too well, you may want to leave some lumps so as to give the soup some texture. Set aside.
In a stock pot over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in butter. Add mashed potatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Add a handful of croutons. Turn heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until potatoes get mushy and croutons are soft.
Remove from heat and add milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper. You may now add the cooked shrimp. Leave it for a few minutes to warm up. Garnish with croutons and toasted garlic. You may also add cheddar cheese if you choose to.