Sunday, January 24, 2010

A jump on a day

Anyone who knows me will attest that the fervor that is running rampant throughout the New York metro area due to the Jets impending position in the Super Bowl (right, they are still in the game?! ) is completely lost on me. There is a sporting event(s) that does draw my attention. I am a bit of a tennis fiend. The past week from the other side of the globe the Australian Open has been taking place. The unfortunate aspect is that the live play happens in the wee hours of the day, and as I fall off to sleep I know I am going to miss a match. The taped rebroadcast is tough for me to get into – inevitably I see a score on-line and it ruins it for me.

I had a calm, uneventful Saturday night getting to sleep at a reasonable time expecting to wake with the winter sunrise. Well, no. My REM cycle was disturbed by the out calls of the line’s person and the partisan jeers of the crowd in an all too realistic dream. So, at 4am I found myself putting up a pot of coffee and sat down to be part of Super Sunday. Tennis is definitely not a chili cook-off and kegger kind of sporting event.

By 9am the day’s play had concluded, and I was wired from more than a typical day’s quantity of java. By 10.30am I had been to the gym for a frantic workout, showered and ready. My boyfriend was still under the comforter enjoying the luxury of a recuperative sleep on what promises to be a dreary day.

I started to plot dinner. I knew we had some errands that where going to have to be run at some point, so I either had to plan for a quick stir-fry or, something that would take a nice long cook allowing time to dash out and avoid a domestic because I was unavailable to participate in our household duties.

I had started to defrost yellow Tommy tomatoes that I had put up last September, the night before with an original though of a coconut-tomato curry. But as I pondered the entire night’s menu and the hours still ahead of me a slowed roasted pork shoulder began to call. Now, I usually like to marinate this dish for a minimum of 24 hours, and regardless of how early it was that much time I did not have. Though, stashed within the recesses of the freezer is a green garlic pesto that was stowed away in the early summer as well as some cannelloni beans and okra.

Down the drain went the coconut-tomato curry idea, and in its place garlic crusted pork shoulder to be accompanied by tomato, bean and vegetable stew along with spinach with pink grapefruit salad. Perhaps, tonight I should set my DVR and avoid the sports column of the paper for tomorrow.

Vegetable Stew – yields 6 to 8 servings
1-tablespoon olive oil
1-large onion – diced
3-garlic cloves – chopped
1/4-pound crimini mushrooms – cut in quarters
4-celery stalks – chopped
1-teaspoon lemon zest
1/2-cup cooked cannelloni beans
1/2-cup okra – cut in thirds
3-1/2 cups pureed tomato
1-chayote squash – cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 small turnip – peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1-small zucchini – cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a 3-quart saucepan add the oil, onion, garlic and mushrooms, celery, and cook over a medium heat until the onions are very soft. Mix in the lemon zest, beans, okra and tomato puree. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Season the stew with some salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes.

Then add in the chayote, turnip and zucchini and cook the stew for an additional 15 minutes. Correct seasoning and serve.


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