Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lazy Sunday: Winter Vegetable Stew and Wine

That now, on a Thursday, I am still ruminating on the beautiful events of Sunday afternoon and evening is certainly very illustrative of the import they represent in my life, as well as the tenuous and delusional relationship I currently have with the passing of time. Lately, I have been pondering back on how much I used to accomplish in a day, marveling at my productivity, and questioning, philosophically and physically, where have my hours gone, how did I spend them.

The past few months, I have been spending my Sunday afternoons predominantly in the company of my family, in the contemporary equivalent of gathering around the hearth: wandering the streets of Brooklyn with my sister, dog and sometimes baby in tow, talking and laughing, sharing a bottle of wine, cooking and dining, and bathing my baby niece, reading aloud to her, tucking her in at night. This Sunday, I prepared for an afternoon of stimulating the budding sensory systems of my infant niece by donning sparkling and patterned layers: underneath a sheer golden sweater was a basic black and cream striped tee shirt. The effect was complete with an over the shoulder, nonchalant placement of a large, also golden and shimmering silk scarf, which has tigers and animal prints stealthily hidden among almost imperceptible stripes. A difficult pattern to capture verbally, but, one that proved alluring and fascinating.

In my collection of, realistically, nearing one hundred earrings, there are very few, if any, that are understated and demure. Thankfully, my physical, not figurative, big head and larger, tall frame can support such grandiose accessories. Coral pink-orange, while not a shade I am compelled to wear in the winter; generally, black or navy will suffice for professional ware. Such a rut can foster a dull attitude, though, so I embrace these earrings wholeheartedly, for their vibrant colorful flair. I believe Winona enjoyed them.

This past Sunday, I read Dinner Time, the exciting pop-up classic by Jan Pienkowski, explaining in brutal, brief, and beautiful simplicity the biological truths of the predator-prey hierarchy. I am not sure Winona fully grasped the nuances of bestial behavior portrayed, but she certainly had lovely wide eyes with each turn of the page, each erection of folded colorful paper, evolving with the turn into a wild and fantastical creature.

My sister prepared a delicious and rustic French meal, inspired by the recipes of Jacques Pépin; naturally, a beaujolais was the choice to accompany our meal.

Our entrée was a slow-cooked and savory winter vegetable stew; carrots, cabbage, potatoes, celery, and parsnips mingled with chunks of salty, fresh ham. Gruyere cheese topped the dish.

To soak up the rich broth, homemade olive oil drench focaccia bread; this recipe is allegedly quite easy, perhaps even fool proof enough for me, but, that shall be ultimately determined once Elizabeth forwards the coveted recipe.