It’s been a terrific and tumultuous few months here, what with our move and some serious home improvement projects that accompanied, and so I’m glad to be writing to you now from my new desk, on a beautiful afternoon, with a strong cup of coffee at the ready.
One subject that has come up for me a lot lately is choice, the overwhelming array of options. While trying to make our new home liveable I spent many moments scratching my chin in the aisles of Home Depot. Not only the vast array of options for me as a consumer left me beat, but how best to use my time, or how to make smart decisions based on the past, present and future. Anyhow, I know you all feel daunted by options too; it reaches far and wide. We are too spoiled of a people and it leaves us, I think, dumb, dumb-founded, naive. I’m always trying to figure out how best to get away from all the pressure of possibilities and multi-tasking that sort of fill the day, but it is hard. And I certainly want to look out for Riley when it comes to it too, and to make sure that she has my full attention when she needs it. But it is hard.
Why labor on the subject? It got me thinking about food and eating. Yes, we are spectacularly privileged when it comes to food options and accessibility. But beyond that I was thinking of those moments when I can’t decide what to make for supper, and then it occurs to me…what’s in season now? Ah, relief. This is simple, what is at the local market and what is at its prime? Letting nature do the dictating can bring such relief and satisfaction. Can’t decide what to put on the table tonight? How about stir-fried eggplant with ginger over a grilled chicken breast? Braised carrots with pan-fried fish or root vegetable and beef stew? These all belong in the season. So, if you’re just feeling generally daunted (as I seem to feel more and more) remember that eating well and deliciously can be an important ritual and healthful habit for the body and mind, and shouldn’t be a stressful thing to pull together when you know what’s growing now.
Here’s a list of what’s in season now:
radishes, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, carrots, potatoes, apples, pears, onions, brussel sprouts, parsnips, turnips, winter squash
1 1/2 lb carrots, scrubbed and peeled; 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper, 2 teaspoons sugar or honey, few thyme or mint sprigs, 2 tablespoons parsley
Slice the carrots into rounds. Heat the butter in a wide skillet. Add the carrots, pinch of salt and pepper, the sugar and herb. Add water to come just to the top of the carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and simmer until the carrots are tender, 10-20 minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the heat, and reduce the liquid until it’s syrupy. Continue cooking the carrots until they begin to brown. Check the seasonings and toss with the parsley.