What’s Cooking? Creature Comforts!

As the nights get chilly and the season changes, we crave things that contribute to bodily comfort and ease – long-simmered foods, warm clothes, soft lighting, a comfy bed. Our home is, after all, a haven. We appreciate even more all the little accouterments that make our lives easier, cozier, and more enjoyable.

The Scandinavians have a name for this. It’s called “hygge”, and describes whatever gives a feeling of coziness, relaxation, conviviality, wellness, and contentment. This Marketplace Collection, Creature Comforts, is an eclectic selection of works by artists and makers that impart an enveloping feeling of warmth, ease and tradition as the temperature drops.

When autumn arrives and we start to close windows, rake the leaves and have the chimney cleaned, we also tend to reassess the contents of our homes and wardrobes. A comfortable chair, a handloomed scarf or sweater, a wood-fired ceramic coffee mug, an artful night-light, and even an atmospheric painting that brings the outdoors inside – all of these things contribute to that feeling of “hygge” that we want and need.

clockwise: Will Wilde; Hannah Regier; William McCarthy; Judith Cohen; Christy Knox; Mark Del Guidice

Keeping your head warm certainly leads to a feeling of wellbeing. Hannah Regier knits cozy hats from farmed and foraged natural dyes and locally sourced fiber to warm your head and heart. When you come indoors, pour yourself a cup of tea using Christy Knox’s earthy yet sophisticated ceramic tea set. Sip tea and center your gaze on William McCarthy’s transcendent landscape painting. Later, perhaps by the fireplace, piece together a challenging jigsaw puzzle from Will Wilde’s Zen Puzzles. Don’t like puzzles? Bookbinder Judith Cohen has journals and photo albums to keep you busy. Then climb into a handsome bed by Mark Del Guidice. If you have a favorite line of poetry or a saying, he can translate it into hieroglyphs and carve it into the headboard!

What else is cooking at Paradise City? They say if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute – it will change. We have tomato soup two ways for you – cold Gazpacho and hot Tomato Soup with Filled Pasta. Check the forecast before you decide.

Featured Artists

This Week’s Recipes

Two Tomato Soups for the Changing Season

When our garden is still producing, the weather has a hint of summer, and we tire of making salad and marinara sauce, gazpacho is perfect. It’s like harvest in a bowl, cold and refreshing. As the days shorten and grow cooler we move on to hot soup. This is a favorite lunch, simple and fast, but it tastes like it took hours to make. Add a salad, warm crusty bread, a glass of Chianti, and you have dinner!

Serves 4-6

2 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 4 large, very ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled (if the seeds are large, remove them) and chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups V-8 or tomato juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
A minced and seeded fresh hot chile pepper and/or tabasco sauce, to taste.
Salt and pepper to taste (cold soup takes more than you think!)

  1. Put all the vegetables in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not puréed.
  2. Pour into a big bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, juice, and seasonings and stir well. Taste for salt and add more tabasco if necessary.
  3. Refrigerate for at least four hours, until very well chilled. 
  4. Optional: top each bowl with cold shrimp and chopped avocado or guacamole.

Tomato Soup with Filled Pasta
Serves 4

3 cups good chicken stock
3 cups canned stewed tomatoes (or coarsely chopped and seasoned fresh tomatoes)
1 lb. large filled fresh pasta, like tortelloni, ravioli or agnolotti. It can be filled with cheese, spinach, mushrooms, or meat. If frozen, it’s not necessary to defrost before using.
2 tbsp. pesto
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. Bring stock and tomatoes to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Bring back to a slow boil and add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is done, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pesto. Taste for seasoning. Ladle into shallow bowls and sprinkle with parmesan.