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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Late Summer's Feast

This summer has flown too quickly, been hotter than usual, and busier than I like it, truth be told. This week we all pretty much melted down from just too much and I set a serious intention to do the last week of summer (before school begins) the way I really wanted to whole summer to be. The experience of this week made me wonder if I could have captured more of this feeling all summer, had I put my mind to it, but c`est la vie.


To rest and revive, we stayed home as much as possible, celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary as a family threesome, played more, rested more, and today, I'm finally feeling more grounded and in my own skin, and I believe my other 2 family members feel the same.


Sunday evening, after a glorious afternoon working and playing in the yard in fall-ish weather, Helena and I cooked up the loveliest of meals.


I have this deck of soup cards:
Moosewood Restaurant Soups and Stews Deck: 50 Recipes for Simple and Satisfying Meals [CD-MOOSEWOOD RESTAURANT S -OS]





 The Moosewood Restaurant Soups and Stews Deck a gift from my dear friend and inspiring cook, Nicole. I have to admit, I haven't used it much yet, mostly because my menu planning has been pretty loose and these recipes have a lot of ingredients, some which aren't normal staples for us.


But Helena loves this little deck of cards, I mean, it's fun, who wouldn't! So Sunday morning, when I was asking for requests or suggestions for dinner, Helena pulled out the deck and selected the Grecian Isle Stew (I found it online at this link).




We made some substitutions...we didn't have eggplant. My mom's garden usually supplies us with plenty, but this year wasn't a good eggplant year, so instead we used an 18" zucchini, which I threw in with the potatoes. We also lacked kalamata olives (I used black), and capers, which I left out altogether. Still, it was really lovely, and Helena, who usually doesn't like many vegetables or anything with lots of items mixed in, loved this stew! I like that it used a lot of the fresh things we're still getting around here, but was warming and felt solid even though it was a vegetarian meal with a lot of protein.


She also created her own salad dressing, as follows:


Helena's Hickory Nut Vinaigrette

3 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
5 hickory nuts, ground 
Salt & Pepper to taste

The dressing is delicious, and featured the hickory nuts we gather from the yard of our previous home last fall. I've been staring at the for awhile, seeking inspiration, and she found it!

And the easier homemade bread ever. Link here or book here.



We had the best of times creating this meal, and I'm noticing how much more invested in eating and trying things Helena is when she helps create them. I'm utterly grateful for the peacefulness and connectedness of this last week. 


And now, onward to autumn.... school starts tomorrow!