Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday Beef Stew
I have a problem.
I'm a seasonal produce junkie.
I could very well end on Intervention, yelling at Candy that I wanted Jeff, pleading for one more LeCreuset dutch oven before the flight to Texas, and longingly staring out of a mini-van window at the sunset while thinking about the last time I roasted tomatoes or blanched a bunch a kale for the winter.
But by the time the leaves fall and trick-or-treaters carve their pumpkins, I'm done with lettuces, tomatoes, and summer squash, though.
Give me root vegetables and hearty stews, Honeycrisp apples and pears, and lots Butternut squash.
Candy: "'Being over tomatoes' isn't dealing with an addiction. What's next parsnips?"
Me: "Right????!!!??? Parsnips are sooooooooooo good. Just give me one more to chop for Jool's Favorite Stew, one of Jamie Oliver's favorite recipes.
Candy: We can't do that, Amanda...
Due to poor planning on my behalf, I missed my sister-in-law's birthday celebration because I have five sections of papers--over 125 papers total--to grade over the weekend. Needless to say, I was depressed. To get out of the funk, I called my good friend and Spatula co-star Sarah for a pick-me-up. Per our style, she suggested a cooking afternoon after a morning of grading on Saturday. Perfect. Done.
We cooked and talked our hearts out. It felt good. It reminded me that breaks are important. That friends and family nourish us as much as food. That being a seasonal junkie is perfectly acceptable in some circles.
No wonder she's my cooking partner. We speak a language through food that says so much more. What a blessing.
It was cold today. And rainy. And dreary. And inside the house was the best place to be.
It was perfect.
First thing in the morning I graded. I pushed through all the syntax issues to finish in time for a little yoga and noontime tea. After lunch I started Jool's Favourite Beef Stew. I diced the butternut squash, cut the Niman Ranch chuck roast in one inch cubes and dusted it in GF flour, and scrubbed clean the taters-precious.
All the while listening to Taylor Swift, Eisley, Tori Amos, Liz Phair, Aimee Mann, and many other fine woman musicians.
I was in a zone, enveloped in the art of making something, centered in between complete knowledge and being completely mindless. What do you call it? Felt experience. I Found Flow. I Felt.
It's all the same.
But what wasn't the same was the beef stew. A recipe I have made countless times blossomed to life. Was it because I felt different? Was it because I finally figured out how to regulate my oven's temperature? Was it because I was making it for my love after a long fall weekend of outdoormanship?
It was because I used carrots I harvest from a crop I planted this summer, I bought the potatoes and butternut squash for an awesome local farmer, and the sage came from my good friend Sarah.
Local is where it's at.
The only thing missing is local beef. Just wish I had more time to get to Luginbill Farms.
Candy: Really, would Jeff do a better job than me?
Me: Probably. He's mustache is compelling. A real deal breaker for getting help.
Candy: Will you go?
Me: It depends. Does Texas have local produce?
Candy: What if I tell you you'd be going to a place where there's a strong local foods movement?
Me: Sign me up.