(All pictures taken in our kitchen...) - I've turned into one of those "frequent grocery shoppers". I'd rather stop by the store three to four times a week than do the mammoth once a month "back your truck up Publix" excursion some people favor.
I prefer what I call "target" or "mission-oriented" shopping; I enjoy the process of gathering food and then immediately taking it into the kitchen and preparing it for supper. I'll even go to more than one store to get exactly what I want. Rebekah says I shop like a European.
That may well be. I'd much rather say "I feel like pork chops tonight" and then head to the store than find myself backed into a corner with a bag of something that's been frozen for three weeks and we feel obligated to eat because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I just happen to keep most of my food at Sweet Bay, and Publix, and Albertson's until it's time to cook.
So yesterday afternoon I thought, "Hmm, what we could really use is fresh - really fresh - veggies and then I'll build the meal from there...". The baby carrots in the produce department looked excellent, the beans were crisp and inviting, a bag of pearl onions caught my eye, and there was a special on mushrooms.
Then it was on to the meat counter. I was intending to locate a nice juicy steak, but a then a couple of big, fat lamb-chops caught my eye. The butcher cut me some fresh ones and I headed back to produce for a bag of sweet potatoes and picked up some crescent rolls from the bakery before heading home to cook.
I've always enjoyed cooking, and now we have the new kitchen, the hour of preparation for dinner has become one of the more enjoyable of the day. When I plan things right I don't have to rush, and if Rebekah gets home early she can sit in the easy chair and we can talk while I slice, dice, saute, sip and simmer.
So yesterday I put a little olive oil (Tuscan) in the cast iron skillet, cut and crushed some garlic, and sliced a few small onions to release their aroma into the oil as it heated up. Then I added the lamb chops, some sage, and a handful of mushrooms, sauteing the whole mix before putting the skillet down in the convection oven to finish the process - in the company of the sweet potatoes - while I lightly cooked the baby carrots and the green beans.
Such fun around the stove top goes well with a glass of Pino, especially if you're going to splash a little in with the lamb chops before they go in the oven.
Simple things: cooking good, fresh, food at home; enjoying relaxed conversation with Rebekah; feeling the fall air stream in through the wide-open windows; breaking bread together; fresh-brewed iced-tea with a hint of mint; thankful for what we do have, not fretting about what we don't.
Life doesn't have to be complicated to be a real rush. In fact, I'd be willing to say that it's more often delightful and restorative when much of the unnecessary complexity is put to rest. Not much analysis today, though, I'm simply going to enjoy one more amazingly redemptive fall day.
Blessings and love - DEREK