For a city that prides itself on being on the equator (almost), Quito is surprisingly chilly. I spent eight days there, and only once did I walk around in a t-shirt. For ten minutes, before I got cold and put my cardigan back on. Sure, I was cooped up in an office building for six of the eight days, but no airco was necessary and I had a perfect view of the grey skies and rain that are, apparently, Quito in March. Not quite the antidote to the Parisian “spring” that I had been hoping for. So when I got back home and found the thermometer stuck around three degrees, I did the only sensible thing: I made a meal to pretend it was high summer.
I slipped two large bell peppers under a hot grill to soften and blister. While they were cooking, I slathered cream cheese with fresh dill on slices of grainy bread and topped them with sun-roast tomatoes from a jar. I munched my way through the sandwiches happily, looking forward to real tomato season. And then. Then I took the soft peppers from the oven, gave them a short break in a plastic-covered bowl and slipped them out of their charred skins. I tore them into strips, then poured over a small stream of sherry vinegar and two of olive oil, added some minced garlic and two handfuls of capers. People, this was good. The soft and silky peppers tangled around my tongue, the vinegar hit my nose in a most summery way and the garlic lifted my mood into full-on grinning on the couch mode.
Then I wrapped myself in a blanket because even gorgeous peppers don’t really move the thermometer. But you know what? If people on the equator can stand year-round drizzle with a smile, I can certainly switch on the oven next time I want that summer feeling.