Well, yes--sometimes I do have this. (Cue Tommy Shaw: "I've got too much...") As I write this, the election results are still pending, ballots are still being counted, and we're being asked to go against our American nature and be, of all things, patient. What to do, when we're tired of waiting? Well, sometimes I just start chopping.
My huge boxes of fruits, veggies, and herbs from my CSA (Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative) have stopped coming, as of this week, now that the summer season has ended. Thanks to their generosity, however, the veggie drawers in my fridge have still been overflowing from the bounty of the past few weeks. Sometimes our meals focus on just one veggie or two, but on other days I just pile up a huge variety, turn on some loud tunes, and get out the big knife.
One of our favorite fall veggie feasts is a supper of roasted vegetables. Roasting is so easy and so rewarding. I just turn on the oven to 400 degrees, rub a variety of chopped vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper, and get everything (including sprigs of fresh herbs and smashed garlic cloves) roasting in shallow layers. I check on them every ten minutes or so, stirring things up, and usually everything is done within about 30-40 minutes. We eat the veggies in large bowls, piled on top of buttered pasta.
This week, our roasted veggie night included an incredible array of colorful root vegetables, including Chioggia (candy cane-colored) beets, watermelon radishes, and sweet potatoes.
Our wine of choice with this roasted bounty was Allegro's 2019 Steel Chardonnay. This light and fruity wine (with no oak to clash with the veggies' natural roasted sweetness) was just right.
Tuesday night found me in the warm and welcoming home of my friend Tracie, social distancing but enjoying time together while the polls across the nation began to close. Part of what made being there so instantly wonderful was the smell of the stew on the stove: Bigos (Polish-style hunter's stew, complete with big hunks of carrot, potato, and bacon).
I was so inspired by Tracie's stew that yesterday afternoon, waiting, with--well, yeah--still too much thyme, etc., I decided to keep the stew train rolling, and I got to work making one of my own.
Chopping everything for my hearty Vegetable Stew took almost an hour, but I wasn't in any hurry. Round one of chopping included the onions, carrots, peppers, and celery. Round two was all the fresh herbs I could find, plus garlic. Then came the potatoes and cabbage. Once everything--including barley, red wine, and tomatoes--was together in the pot, there was still a good hour and a half until supper, plenty of time for the house to become scented with goodness and for me to make a fun batch of "Fluffy Cathead Biscuits" and get them in the oven.
We tried both Allegro's 2017 Merlot (some of which I had already stirred into the stew) and our 2019 Dry Rosé with dinner, and actually ended up preferring the Rosé. Again, the vegetables' inherent sweetness came through in the stew's flavor, and the fruity wine paired well.
While I undertook these culinary tasks, the world didn't change much. No presidents were announced; no world-views changed. But I did. Mindfulness of good food, of good work, is good for me, no matter how much I am asked to wait or worry. The warmth and scents of home cooking make our homes welcoming places. Food and wine bring us together, and will always bring us together, no matter what.