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4. Saturday in the kitchen

In the beginning
In the beginning

Always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need.

~ Julia Child

Guidelines
Guidelines

It is day 4 of my 55-Day Be Well Challenge.  One of the important aspects of this challenge is food.  Healthful, nutritious, delicious food doesn’t come easy.  You might think it does, especially when you consider eating whole foods rather than processed, packaged foods.  How hard can it be to eat something “whole?”

The start of a rainbow colored salad.
The start of a rainbow colored salad.

I’ve always thought “whole” is a misnomer when it comes to food.  Oh, I understand the idea behind the name.  If you Google “whole foods,” the definition that comes back is:

noun.  food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances

Yay, whole foods!  The problem is, I don’t eat them whole (as in “an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece”), and very often I have to process them in some way before I eat them.

Autumn's bounty
Autumn’s bounty

To make my life easier, I have gone back to a practice that I abandoned a few months ago.  Spending almost an entire day in the kitchen prepping and/or cooking for the week ahead.

Almost every good vegan/vegetarian meal starts with garlic and onions.  It must be a law or something.
Almost every good vegan/vegetarian meal starts with garlic and onions. It must be a law or something.

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy.  And cooking done with care is an act of love.

~ Craig Claiborne

Today's kitchen supervisor.  She doesn't do any actual work, but she will chime in with an opinion if you ask her what to put in the soup.
Today’s kitchen supervisor. Izzy doesn’t do any actual work, but she will chime in with an opinion if you ask her what to put in the soup.

Today I made all sorts of things, from soup to salad, in an effort to use the the veggies from this week’s CSA share.  The “rainbow” salad has red leaf lettuce, Napa cabbage, radishes, baby turnips, red cabbage, celery, and peppers (red, green, and yellow from the last harvest from our garden).  I’ll add the last of our garden tomatoes before we eat it.

A robin in a cherry tree.
A robin in a cherry tree.

I made veggie stock, and a hot & sour mushroom soup (hence, the Julia Child quote I started this post with — I always need a bigger pot for soup!).  Then I took a break to walk outside and enjoy this beautiful day.  I’ll be going back to the kitchen soon to experiment with a sweet potato and sage-butter casserole that I hope will be a delicious Thanksgiving dish.  I am so tired of the “sweet” part of sweet potatoes (and winter squashes) that I am desperately trying other things to make them more savory.

Bella on the bench by the vegetable garden.
Bella on the bench by the vegetable garden.

M has been busy in the kitchen, too.  He’s out there now making a sweet potato pie.  (You would not believe how many sweet potatoes we’ve gotten from the CSA!)  Later we’ll work together to create a pizza, this week’s “cheat.”  We’ve been throwing around the idea of making a Greek style pizza using feta cheese (it’s a strong cheese so you don’t need much), fresh tomatoes, watercress (another part of the latest CSA share), and roasted red peppers.  We’ll be eating salad with the pizza.  The soup is for another night.

Bird in a rainbow tree (sweet gum).
Bird in a rainbow tree (sweet gum).

It seems to me that our basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.  So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one.

~ M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

I hear M is finished, and the pie is baking so it’s once again my turn in the kitchen.  Thank you for visiting today.  Stick around a while if you’d like a piece of that pie.  Sunset isn’t too far off, either.  It’s at 4:46 PM.  Let’s go out to the dock.  It’s not too cold today (currently 45°F), and the wind isn’t too bad, but you will need a warm coat.  A hat wouldn’t hurt, either.

The Mockingbird in the cemetery.
The Mockingbird in the cemetery.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Today’s joys:  Cooking with M, and cooking with love; fresh vegetables, locally grown; the aromas coming out of the kitchen right now; spotting the Northern Harrier (hawk) while out on my walk; Izzy and Bella.

Mileage for this leg of the journey (this week):  16.46
Goal for next week: 18 miles

Author:

Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

27 thoughts on “4. Saturday in the kitchen

  1. We are getting some snow, which was rain earlier in the day. An excellent day for soup, which would be in the slow cooker if I had thought about it last night. Since I didn’t, it’ll cook in the Dutch oven, and I’m cooking black beans in the slow cooker. They will get vacuum packed and frozen for future use.

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  2. Great encouragement for me to try to get some good healthy habits going here in China. That sweet potato and sage butter casserole sounds delicious; I’d prefer to take the sweet out of sweet potatoes as well. Inspirational. 😊

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  3. The food sounds delicious and very appropriate for the weather. I think you’ve given me the budge I needed to go stay a pot of soup that I can enjoy for a couple of days!

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  4. I love the quote – isn’t it just spot on! In my pre-Siddy days, not so long ago really, I too spent one day a week preparing my major foods for the week. Soup, bean casseroles, kefers, roasting and pureeing pumpkin for it’s hundred and one uses ….. Preparing all the nuts and seeds and sea vegetables for the ubiquitous salad sprinkle. Nowadays it gets done on the run, often last thing because I have just remembered as I was preparing for bed. I need to get back into the one day a week and be much better prepared!

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    1. Pumpkin! It does indeed have (at least!) one hundred and one uses, Pauline, but like the sweet potatoes, we’ve had an abundance of the stuff this year. I swear I’m going to start turning orange soon from all the winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin. lol!

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  5. You can never have too many sweet potatoes!! Actually, I like to make a pot of soup with a high quality protein (turkey veggie is my go-to) and have a sweet potato as my starch. It’s also portable for me to reheat in the microwave at work (both the soup and the potato).

    Nancy

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  6. Sounds like delicious food. And I believe you are very right, whole food is healthy food, but it’s hard to not eat processed food at all, ins’t it… Gorgeous photos both from the kitchen and outside.

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  7. Interesting the different items in your CSA. Ours seems to be mainly winter squashes and root veggies. Not that I’m complaining, but I miss the greens. Salad stuff is mostly history until next spring. I think we only have about a month to go for the CSA baskets until next spring. They’ll be missed, but there’s still stuff in the freezer.

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    1. We have a lot of those, too, Gunta. I think the greens are still available because they use what they call tunnels (they look like little tunnels) to keep the lettuces and other greens safe from the cold. I have stuff in the freezer, too. It’s nice to pull out a small bit of summer in the middle of winter. 🙂

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  8. Wonderful image of you both busy and creative in the kitchen. I love that quote from MK Fisher, and hadn’t seen it before, so thanks for sharing. Food security and love are wonderful counters against the insecurity of constant change….which is of course life itself 🙂

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  9. You are so organised, Robin! I loved sharing your thoughts whilst cooking, and time with your little beauties, Izzy and Bella, and M’s sweet potato pie sounds delicious! Your photos are beautiful, as always, too. 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much, Joanne. 🙂 I’m really not that organized, but with all the food coming in from our CSA, I have to do something or we’ll end up throwing things away. It’s helped me to become better organized, and it makes the week go smoother if I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every day.

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  10. Izzy and Bella- what gorgeous creatures! Just love Izzy’s green eyes 😉 I’m sure they enjoy watching the birds as much as you enjoy photographing them.
    I agree with you on the onions and garlic. I use them in almost everything but the morning oatmeal! If you ever get near to a Trader Joes, they now have a wonderful pre-prepared mirepoix in their veggie case which I keep on hand. Makes the beginning of the process much faster and easier- it doesn’t contain garlic, but that is easy enough to crush and add once everything else is in the pot. They also make a superb pumpkin ravioli- good with a rosemary and mushroom sauce thrown together in olive oil and butter while the ravioli boil. Hope you and M are well- WG

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    1. Thank you, WG. 🙂 Izzy’s eyes are not really green. More of a golden-greenish color. The lighting, reflections, and some enhancement by Photoshop made them look that amazing shade of green.

      We stop by Whole Foods and/or TJ’s when we’re traveling. Annapolis has one of each if we have to use the big bridge to get where we’re going. TJ’s has some great, already prepped stuff. I think we might even have some of those pumpkin ravioli in the freezer.

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  11. The mockingbird photo is lovely. I spend a time each afternoon cooking. Although I am no kitchen genius, I enjoy making our supper, something good and basic. And always with onions! Jane

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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