09 August, 2011

could scarcely fill a cup

My friends and family in Texas are suffering from drought and heat that is far worse than any summer I can remember and is setting all kinds of records. Meanwhile, I'm dreading the coming of winter. Already. And it's only August. I have never ever wanted summer to drag out as long as possible, but I definitely do now. 

I have also really enjoyed finding ways to adapt to the warmer weather.  It's been fun to make smoothies and drink really cold ice water or tea. My cat also has a new love for ice cubes. He comes running every time he hears the freezer door open. I like the sound of the fan whirring beside my bed at night, and the feel of cold water at the end of a lukewarm shower, and avoiding turning the stove on, and farmers markets, and waking up early when the sun has already risen and it stays out late, too. I'm really soaking up the sun and warmth and just being outside as much as possible.

I want to share these thoughts with you because I wrote so much of the previous seasons here in Chicago: the vibrant colors of autumn, the joy of snow in the winter, the unending gray, the glorious blooming bursting forth of spring. The cycling of seasons has inspired so much art and poetry, I believe, because it is a great metaphor for life. Actually, I suppose because it is life. No metaphor about it. We live and die, things end and begin, we move from one stage to the next and we change but somehow are still the same being with the same core. I recently had a lecture on aging and the elderly that presented approaching death in such a beautiful light. Here is a quote that was shared by Fredrick Buechner: “What is lost is nothing to what is found. And all the death there ever was set next to life, could scarcely fill a cup!” Of course, death can be a terrifying thing to think about. It can also be lovely and exciting, but we need some things to remind us of that - family and friends, feeling loved and loving, mostly faith. Also the changing of seasons.

I do have a recipe to share with you as well. It's one that I make pretty often and am even willing to use the stove top when it's hot outside for this one. It's simple and delicious. This is one I think you'll enjoy any time of year. I can't really give you amounts because anything works, just adjust it for how much you think you will eat/how much you want leftovers.

Mushrooms and Greens with an Egg on Top:
olive oil
mushrooms, sliced
greens like kale, beet, collard, etc. roughly chopped or torn
red wine
salt and pepper
cheese - Parmesan or Swiss
bread (optional)

Begin by heating the olive oil (not too hot - if it smokes you're converting those good fats into bad fats) and adding the mushrooms to the pan.

Toss occasionally, put the lid on if they're getting drier than you like. When they start to get dark around the edges add a splash of red wine to de-glaze the pan.

Add in your greens and toss.

Put the lid on so they basically just steam from the moisture left on the greens from washing. (You did wash them, right?)

Remove the lid, salt and pepper to taste, let them cook longer if they need to dry out at all. I like my mushrooms to be a bit crispy and my greens just on the edge of over-cooked.

In the meantime, fry an egg or two. Or poach them.

Serve with grated Parmesan or torn Swiss cheese on top, salt and pepper to taste. It's also good served on top of a slice of bread, especially if you have some extra moisture or really runny yolks to make the bread a bit mushy.

post script: and on an almost totally unrelated note, I just fell in love with this.

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