Category Archives: Veg Box Chronicles

Simpaug Farms CSA: Week Four

Oh, squash. You are an excellent part of summer.

We’ve reached the midpoint of July – the moment when I routinely trip over the fine line between “this life is manageable madness,” and “OMG its all too much.”

In our house, July is the busiest and most stressful month of the year, made more so by the summer slow down (e.g. “What do you mean your summer business hours are 9-3 on Tuesday and Thursday?”). Lots of things are more difficult, and feeding us is the last thing I want to think about. Which makes me so thankful for the CSA.

I walked into the Fairfield Farmer’s Market yesterday morning and Max handed me a gorgeous box just full of vegetables. All I had to do was plan to eat them.

What’s In The Week Four Share:

Vegetables

  • Kale – one 12-ounce bunch
  • Peas, almost large enough to shell – 10 ounces
  • Cauliflower, white and purple – 12 ounces
  • Salad Greens – one 8-ounce bag
  • A variety of Cucumbers – 17 ounces
  • Red Cabbage – one 30-ounce head
  • Spring Onions, red – 2.5 ounces
  • A variety of Squashes – 51 ounces
  • Fennel Bulbs and Fronds – 12 ounces
  • Peppers – 3 ounces

Other

  • Eggs – one dozen

I was so grateful that everything in this week’s share was familiar to me from past weeks and my non-CSA diet – I had already recorded the storage techniques. Moreover, with one exception, upon seeing each item I knew exactly what to do with it.

What To Make With This Week’s Share

Confession: We didn’t cook much last week, so had quite a lot of vegetables left over. We haven’t lost a single item to rot or waste, and I’m hoping to continue that streak! But this week’s plan includes a lot of “extras”.

Squash Chips

Two of the summer squash became squash chips. We sliced them 1/8-inch thick with the mandolin rather than 1/4-inch; they crisped beautifully, but stuck to the sheet pan. Next time I’ll try 3/8-inch. Clay has requested a little heat in the seasoning blend, so next time I’ll skip the cheese and use a Moroccan spice blend, and see how we like it.

Sunday lunch: squash chips are an excellent replacement for potato chips.

Squash Latkes

In the summer of 2012, I made fabulous yellow-squash “fritters” stuffed with goat cheese and herbs. Everyone who tasted them likened them to latkes rather than fritters, so that’s what I call them.

I can’t find the recipe, so I’m winging it: mixing flour, salt, egg, fresh herbs and squash to make a thick batter/thin dough; forming it into balls around a bit of crumbled goat cheese; fry in oil. I shredded the rest of my yellow squashes for this purpose yesterday – they’re currently draining in the fridge.

Scallop Squash stuffed with Rice and Greens

I had intended to make risotto with greens last week, but we ran out of time so took the easy way out: Clay pressure-cooked the kale and chard to tenderness and made fluffy, seasoned rice on the stove, then combined them with bits of steak and chicken for a terrific quick dinner.

We’ll seed and bake the scallop and pattypan squashes, scoop out and purée the flesh, combine it with this week’s kale (pressure-cooked like last week) and more rice, stuff the squash with the mixture, and bake again to crisp the top and warm it all through. (We’re having friends over for dinner on Friday, so I expect this will be a make-it-together dish.)

Summer “Gazpacho”

I enjoy cold soup, but prefer the flavor of cooked vegetables to raw ones. True gazpacho fans are reeling in horror, I’m sure, but to each her own. Yesterday we grilled a delicato squash, the peppers, and a handful of red onions; tonight we’ll chop and mix them with tomatoes, roasted garlic, and a mess of herbs and spices, then blend it all together and chill for 24 hours. It will serve as a very light supper for tomorrow night, since we’ll arrive home near midnight.

My Favorite Dill Pickles

Yesterday I turned the cucumbers from this week and last week into garlic dill pickles – our haul turned into two pint and five half-pint jars, so we’re set for summer hostess gifts.

I love that our friends request my pickles as gifts!

Lunchtime Crudités

Clay has been digging on raw vegetables with hummus for lunch – it’s simple eat-on-the-train-or-classroom fare. I chopped the peas, non-pickling cucumbers, and cauliflower for him – along with carrots and cherry tomatoes. Lunch, managed.

Purple cauliflower! It’s so much more vibrant than anything I’ve seen in a shop.

Egg Sandwiches

We hard boiled a half-dozen eggs and will slice them for sandwiches, with salad greens and a Dijon mustard dressing.

Cabbage and Fennel

We keep intending to make more slaw, but haven’t yet, so have multiple heads of cabbage at this point. I’m planning to shred all of it and toss with different herb and seasoning blends and dressings. That might happen on Wednesday, but it’s more likely a Saturday project – we’ll see.

As for the fennel, it’s the one item I don’t have a plan for. I’ve been using small pieces, julienned, in salads and as flavoring agents with meats and sauces, but a little goes a long way. Thankfully it stores well.

What’s your plan for this week?

Simpaug Farms CSA: Week Three

Onions on the deck in the early morning light.

While I usually try to keep Sunday’s free from obligations so that we can recharge at home, yesterday was most definitely busy. Clay worked in the morning and led a pair of meetings in the afternoon, while I spent many hours in the car; three friends whom I haven’t seen in 22, 10, and 2 years collaborated on a brilliantly moving song cycle, and I attended the American premiere performance. To say that it was a deeply moving experience is quite an understatement.

Anyway. Amid all that, Clay swung by the Farmer’s Market to see Max and collect this week’s share. Since our time for cataloguing was brief, we’re a bit light on the details; I’ll do my best to revise for volume later this week.

What’s In This Week’s Share: Week Three

Vegetables

  • Collard Greens – one bunch (Clay cooked and enjoyed last week’s bunch, and will share the experience in a post of his own.)
  • Kale – one bunch
  • Salad Greens – one bag
  • Swiss Chard – one bunch
  • Pattypan Squash – several fist-sized ones
  • Pickling Cucumbers – a large handful
  • Pointed Cabbage – one head
  • Spring Onions, red and white varieties – a large bunch
  • Summer Squash – a half-dozen small ones
  • White Scallop Squash – one lovely large one

Other

  • Eggs – one dozen

How to Store CSA Vegetables

Storage this week is so easy. The onions went into a jar of water (which now feels like a kitchen staple on our sideboard!). We wrapped all of the greens and put them in the high-humidity crisper drawer along with the cabbage, cucumbers, and squashes. Voila – finished!

What To Make With This Week’s Share

I am thrilled with this week’s share in particular, because there are some dishes that I’ve been wishing on that we now have the makings of!

Chopped Kale and Pomegranate Salad

While more of an autumn dish than a summer one, I love these flavors together. Clay is writing a musical featuring Hades and several mentions of pomegranates, so it’s making me hungry for sharp, sweet-tart bites. Nuts and seeds are fabulous in chopped salad, making it excellent for filling take-along lunches, and we have an abundance in the pantry.

Risotto with Chard and Mushrooms

I adore risotto, and have quite a good time with the constant stirring. I’ll cut our chard into long ribbons and combine it with porcini mushrooms for bursts of rich, summer flavor.

Sandwich Toppers

We enjoyed cabbage in delicate slaws over nachos and in burritos last week, so I’m looking forward to more of that on our sandwiches this week. Pastrami, havarti, a tomato spread, a bit of mayo, and a peppery slaw on Clay’s sort-of-sourdough bread sounds so good!

My Favorite Dill Pickles

The dill in my garden is exploding with seed pods, so I’ll turn those pickling cucumbers into garlic dill pickles as soon as I have 30 minutes in the kitchen!

Salad Supplement

The roasted vegetable and gnocchi salad we made on Saturday is wonderful, but could do with a bit of fresh crunch. We’ll tear up those salad greens and mix them into the next portion for extra color and freshness.

And the squash!

I’ll definitely make more squash chips. I’ll make another frittata, though I’d like to try adding a bit of acid to the dish – maybe roasting tomatoes alongside squash for the filling. The scallop squash is supposed to be fantastic when fried, and since we still have some chèvre from Lost Ruby Farm I’ll turn it into summery squash latkes. And I’d like to try stuffing the pattypans in the style of stuffed peppers (which could be an excellent way to repurpose any leftover risotto).

Who wants to join us for dinner?

Simpaug Farms CSA: Week Two

After just five minutes in our 95-degree kitchen, the lettuce was already starting to wilt; there’s just one photo this week.

While building our new deck was the much-talked about home improvement project for this year (mentioned obliquely in the last few posts), the more extensive (and expensive) one was replacing our HVAC system. We ordered the units last month and scheduled delivery and installation for this week… but our current central air conditioning decided to leave the party a little early – in the middle of a heatwave, no less. We awoke to an overly warm house this morning, and realized the need to relocate our open-air food storage to a climate-controlled solution in the fridge – on CSA collection day, no less!

So, Clay had the opportunity to meet Max at the Fairfield Farmers Market while I got to work in the kitchen. Luckily we received the same weight of produce this week as last, but in somewhat denser packaging – squash takes up far less room in the fridge than baskets of greens!

What’s In This Week’s Share: Week Two

Vegetables

  • Cauliflower – 8 ounces
    Storage Instructions: Wrap loosely in paper towels inside a loosely sealed plastic bag and refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Collard Greens – 14 ounces
    Wrap the greens in a damp paper towel and store in a loose plastic bag in the crisper drawer for 3 to 4 days
  • Snap Peas – 16 ounces
    Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days.
  • Green Leaf Lettuce – 10 ounces
    Line a food storage container with paper towels; separate the leaves and place them in the container, wrap loosely with paper towels, and place in the crisper drawer – check daily to discard any spoiled leaves; will keep for a week
  • Squash – 56 ounces
    Refrigerate in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week
  • Pointed cabbage – 24 ounces
    Store in the crisper drawer for up to a week
  • Fennel – one 4-oz bulb
    Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 10 days
  • Scallions – 5.5 ounces
    Store in a quart-sized mason jar with the white bottoms submerged. Change the water daily, and they will continue to grow.

Other

  • Eggs – one dozen

What To Make With This Week’s Share

I’ve ordered the list of produce in order of perishability, so that governs how we’ll consume it… but first I have a terrible confession: I loathe collard greens. I know, I know! My parents spent much of the last week raving about the wonderful southern cooking they experienced in Alabama and Tennessee this spring, including the fabulous stewed greens. I can get behind so much of it but collards just make me gag, no matter how they are cooked. So either Clay will eat these on his own at a time when I’m not around, or we’ll gift the beautiful bouquet of them to a friend with better taste than I have, but I can’t offer any useful recipes for them. (If you have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments!)

As for the rest…

Baked Squash Rounds
Samantha of the Five Heart Home blog has a terrific recipe for baked parmesan squash rounds. Since I can make these in our toaster oven and avoid heating up the whole house with the oven, I’ll make a big batch of these with our gooseneck squash and zucchini. They’ll make a lovely, light variation on eggplant parmesan, alongside some grilled herbed-chicken sausages and our homemade marinara sauce.

(More) Frozen Stir Fry Mix
We had a phenomenal stir-fry with last week’s veggies, so will turn the cauliflower, snap peas, and scallions into another batch of frozen stir-fry veggies, along with some onions, carrots, and bell pepper from the market. (I made two batches of rice before it got too hot this morning, so that’s already waiting for Tuesday night’s supper.)

Pulled Pork and Coleslaw
Yesterday I wrote up my method for making pork tenderloin with chard and fennel – and it was so good, I’m desperate to make it again! Clay isn’t a fan of having the exact same dish repeatedly, so our pork this week comes in the form of pulled pork sandwiches – he’s adding the fennel bulb into the crockpot of barbecued pork shoulder, and will work both last week’s cabbage and this week’s into a slaw with purple, white, and orange carrots to serve on top. We’ll make a spicy mustard sauce for the bottom of the sandwich, too, so all of the best flavors – spicy, smoky, sweet, fresh, crunch – come through in every bite.

Grilled Fish with Green Salad
The fennel bulb we received this week has a few fronds attached, so I’ll save them to garnish a grilled fillet of white fish on Friday. Fennel, lemon, and pink peppercorns will be a great topper for whatever the best catch is – and we can serve it either alongside or over the top of a traditional salad. We have a few radishes still in good shape from last week, so will have them with bits of carrot, cucumber, and grape tomato over the leaf lettuce – probably in a mini chop form, for a pleasant mouthfeel alongside the tender fish.

Holiday Frittata
Since we both have Wednesday off for Independence Day, I’ll make a Frittata – Alton Brown has a terrific recipe for a crookneck squash variety. I’m a big fan of “hiding” leftovers in baked egg dishes, so I’m sure that any leftover bits of sausage or stir-fry veggies are likely to find their way onto our holiday brunch plates. (Leftover frittata travels well when wrapped securely, so we’ll be able to bring a little of the holiday to work on Thursday as a packed breakfast, too.)

And that should serve us for week two!

I hope to write up a few more recipes this week – I made a to-die-for lemon tart for my mom’s birthday on Friday, and last week’s veggies lasagna worked beautifully with all of that fresh kale. I’d also love to hear what other CSA members are making with their shares. Leave a comment and let me know what you’re making this week!

How To Make Pork Tenderloin with Braised Chard and Roasted Fennel

As promised, a recipe from last week’s CSA meal-plan:

We built a deck last week. To be more accurate, my parents built a deck while we schlepped stuff around and dug holes for footings and garden beds. The point being, we expended enormous amounts of physical energy in activities outside our norm, and were pretty hungry while having zero energy for cooking.  As a solution, one of the easiest dishes I know how to make: roasted pork tenderloin. It’s tender and succulent, and difficult to overcook if you watch it carefully.

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, with a cast iron skillet inside.
  2. Prep your vegetables: I chose carrots and fennel cut into three-quarter-inch pieces, tossed with olive oil, sea salt, and fresh black pepper.
  3. Prep your tenderloin:
    1. Rinse it off, pat it dry, and trim away any silverskin.
    2. Slash it deeply in a few places and stuff the slashes full of minced garlic scapes.
    3. Drizzle the pork with a bit of olive oil, then massage a mixture of salt, pepper, and sweet Hungarian paprika into the meat.
  4. Pull the hot skillet from the oven; nestle the pork and veg into the pan, and pop it back in the oven for twenty-five minutes or until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees*.
  5. At the twenty-five minute mark, remove the pork to a carving board: tent it with foil and let it rest for ten minutes while the vegetables continue cooking, then slice it.

* Full disclosure: Clay swears by the instant-read meat thermometers, but I always determine doneness by color and texture. 160 is a little too shimmery and pale pink for my taste, so I generally end up slicing the pork, laying it over the top of the veg, and tossing it back into the oven for a few minutes to be really “done”.

During the twenty-five minute roasting time, prep the chard.

  1. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. I dislike the stems so compost them, but you could chop them into small pieces and cook them, as well.
  2. Prepare a seasoning mix of salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and sliced scallions.
  3. Prepare braising liquid – a one-cup measure of chicken stock** and wine.

** I didn’t realize until most of the way through prep that my stock was frozen solid, so I strained off a bit of broth from leftover wonton soup and mixed it with an equal measure of pinot noir. It worked a treat.

Set a skillet over medium heat on the stove, and melt some bacon drippings in it. (If you don’t keep bacon drippings in your fridge, butter or olive oil will suffice but the final dish will be less flavorful.) Toss the chard and seasonings in the melted drippings; allow the leaves to wilt slightly. Add the braising liquid, lower the heat, lid the pan, and let it be for three to five minutes, until the greens are fully wilted. Remove the greens to a warm dish, then reduce the remaining liquid until it’s the consistency of a sauce; drizzle over the wilted greens.

Serve slices of pork over a small bed of wilted greens, alongside carrots and fennel. It’s an aromatic and filling plate, for sure – so much so that all four servings were eaten and the dishes were washed before I thought to take a photograph. Next time…

CSA Notes
We used all of the fennel and all of the chard from last week’s box in this dish, along with 1/5 of the garlic scapes and 1/2 of the scallions. The volume fed four adults with hearty dinner portions and no leftovers.

 

 

 

Simpaug Farms CSA: Week One

Three-quarters of today’s haul. 

It’s my favorite day of the summer: open season at our CSA! Earlier this morning I collected the contents of our crate – three cloth sacks full of gorgeous greens, with dirt still on the radishes – and then spent the afternoon cleaning and trimming and drying and storing all of it. Because I’m a crazy person, and that’s what the first day of the season is all about.

My plan is to catalog what we receive each week, and to note our plans for cooking, eating, and preserving it. So, let’s get started.

What’s In This Week’s Share: Week One

Vegetables

  • Broccoli – 16 ounces
    Storage Instructions: Mist the unwashed heads, wrap loosely in paper towels, and refrigerate. Use within 2 to 3 days.
  • Snap Peas – 16 ounces
    Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days.
  • Spicy mixed salad greens – 8 ounces
    Store loosely in a plastic bag in the fridge; use within 5 days
  • Rainbow Chard – 8 ounces
    Store in an air-tight plastic bag with as much air removed as possible, for up to five days
  • Red Leaf Lettuce – 10 ounces
    Line a food storage container with paper towels; separate the leaves and place them in the container, wrap loosely with paper towels, and place in the crisper drawer – check daily to discard any spoiled leaves; will keep for a week
  • Squash – 32 ounces
    Refrigerate in a perforated plastic bag for up to a week
  • Pointed cabbage – 24 ounces
    Store in the crisper drawer for up to a week
  • Kale – 10 ounces
    Wrap in paper towels, store in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator
  • Fennel – one 3.5-oz bulb
    Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 10 days
  • French Radishes – 7 ounces
    Top and Tail the radishes, place them in a mason jar of cold water, and store them in the fridge. Change the water daily.
  • Scallions – 5.5 ounces
    Store in a quart-sized mason jar with the white bottoms submerged. Change the water daily, and they will continue to grow.
  • Garlic Scapes – 10
    I store them loose in the crisper drawer and trim the cut ends weekly; they keep for months

Other

  • Eggs – one dozen

What To Make With This Week’s Share

I’ve ordered the list of produce in order of perishability, so that governs how we’ll consume it.

Frozen Stir Fry Mix
This is a super-busy week for Clay, and my parents are in town for the week to work on a big house project. We won’t have a lot of time for big cooking projects, so I’m taking a short-cut and creating two family-sized packages of stir fry vegetables to freeze for easy weeknight dinners for July. They will include:

  • Broccoli
  • Snap Peas
  • Onions and Carrots from the pantry

When it’s time to make the stir-fry, we’ll add in a fresh bell pepper and all of our seasonings, and serve it over rice or noodles.

Chopped and ready for a Mandarin Chicken stir-fry

Salad
I bought a bag of the farm’s spicy mixed greens last week, and we made a splendid salad. We’ll repeat that pattern this week, with the

  • Spicy Mix
  • French Radishes (roasted with carrots then sliced into coins)
  • Yellow Squash (peeled into slender ribbons)
  • Green Pepper and Grape Tomatoes from the market

We’ll mix the fresh veggies with a big batch of creamy Green Goddess dressing made with our homemade yogurt, fresh lemon, and the GG salad mix from Penzey’s. It should yield four servings as a meal or eight as a side.

Radishes in a jar if fresh, cold water.

Pork Tenderloin with Braised Chard and Roasted Fennel
When I think about pork sausage I smell fennel and rich earthy greens, so we’ll create a whole meal around those flavors. We’ll use:

  • A pork tenderloin from the freezer
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Scallions
  • Fennel
  • Garlic Scapes

I’ll chop up one of the scapes and stuff it into deep slashes in the pork, to impart a lovely garlicky flavor during the roasting process. We’ll quarter the fennel bulb and roast it in the same pan with the pork, and braise the chard with a few of the scallions and another of the garlic scapes.

Fennel Bulbs remind me of woven carpets.

Vegetable Lasagna
I made a fabulous vegetable lasagna for Easter that I’d like to reprise – one-third of a box of lasagna noodles in a loaf pan makes a solid meal for four with leftovers. We’ll use:

  • Kale, chopped very finely
  • Scallions, chopped
  • One Garlic Scape, puréed
  • Two Zucchini, sliced into very thin coins
  • Shredded Chicken, Basil Pesto, Tomato Sauce, and a variety of cheeses from our freezer/fridge/pantry.

Coleslaw
Clay’s favorite summer condiment is coleslaw, so he’ll use ingredients from our pantry and a couple of carrots to turn the Pointed Cabbage into his favorite treat. (Then he’ll probably make pulled pork to go along with it.)

Breakfast BLTs
To power us all through a week of construction work at the house, I’m counting on bottomless pots of coffee and tea, and a hearty breakfast to start each day. We’ll make bacon and egg sandwiches on fresh bread, spread with a tomato pesto and topped with the red leaf lettuce for crunch.

And that should take us through the week. Stay tuned for how it goes!

How a CSA Serves Us

 

radishes

Simpaug Farms radishes – June 17, 2018

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written about how we’ve evolved in our cooking and shopping habits since combining our kitchens, and how we save money at the supermarket in order to have more to spend on delicious little splurges. But there’s one other major way that we both save money on food and splurge for the very best: our membership in a CSA.

CSA is short for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a brilliant business model for small farms to support the communities that exist in the areas surrounding the farmland. There’s been risk involved with farming since the first farmer planted the first seed, but CSA removes some of the risks from farming by allowing the people who eat the food to purchase it before it’s grown. (I did say it was brilliant!)

Our local farm is Simpaug Farms in Suffield, Connecticut. Nestled on 250 acres – that’s a bit less than half of a square mile – the folks who run the farm use sustainable practices that preserve the land the generations to come, they produce fruits and vegetables free from synthetic pesticides, and they raise animals without hormones or antibiotics. They plant a broad array of fruits and vegetables that come into peak ripeness throughout the season, ensuring both variety and abundance for members.

We joined the Simpaug Farms CSA back in April, by filling out a form online and making a payment of $800. In return, starting on June 19 and running for the next 20 weeks, we will collect a crate of 10 to 14 different fruits and vegetables, and a carton of a dozen eggs. That works to roughly $35 per week for produce and $5 per week for eggs – all of it local, natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and chosen just for us at the peak of fresh deliciousness. (For comparison, at the grocery store yesterday we spent $26 for half that volume of fruits and vegetables from at least several hundred miles away, and $5.99 for a dozen similarly raised eggs.)

This is clearly a wonderful partnership for me and Clay, but it’s just as wonderful for the farm. I met Megan and Max, who run the business-side of Simpaug Farms, at the Fairfield Farmer’s Market this morning. Max’s answer to my question “So how does having the CSA help the farm?“ is excerpted below.

The biggest form of help from the CSA is being able to plan better. Today, which is just a day at the Farmer’s Market, started at 5am. We drove from the office in Ridgefield to the farm in Suffield, collected all of the produce from yesterday’s harvest, drove to Fairfield and set up the market, are working here to sell everything we can (and hoping we guessed right on what to bring), and later we’ll drive back to the farm to drop off anything we don’t sell so it can be put to use.

With the CSA, we know in advance how many people will collect their shares from each location, so know just how much to pack and deliver. But when CSA members purchase shares early in the season, we can plan just how much of a crop to plant because we can adjust for our market. Since the biggest costs in farming come early in the season with seeds and equipment, it’s really helpful to have the capital for that up front, too.

There are still shares available for the Simpaug Farms CSA, and the first pickups for the season start on June 19. Join us in supporting a fabulous small farm, and in eating well all season!

P.S. If you want to get to know a little more about the farm and the CSA, their pinterest boards are full of recipes and tips for preparing fresh summer vegetables, and their YouTube channel has some good videos, too.

Not Quite an Instant

Her parents gave us an Instant Pot for Christmas last year. We love it. We’ve never had such good yogurt as the stuff we make in it. It gives us great chili, and pulled pork, and chicken stock.

I’m not completely expert at using it. I haven’t yet got brown rice to come out as tender as it would from a saucepan, or chickpeas from the slow cooker. Maybe I’m rushing things–but if the whole idea of a pressure cooker is that it works faster than other cooking methods, then I think it really ought to be faster.

Our CSA share hasn’t been piling on the carrots and parsnips quite so much as it was for a while there, but we’ve still got quite a few, and some nice potatoes. And, with a bit of chill in the evening air of late, stew seemed like a good idea—and a perfect job for the Pot. I seared the beef, I chopped the veg, I added seasonings and wine, closed the lid and headed for rehearsal.

She didn’t have stew. She had, according to the text message she sent me, “cooked beef and veggies sitting in oily liquid—not broth, not gravy.”

And, unfortunately, the gravy separator had melted in a stovetop accident sometime during the holidays last year. (We don’t make gravy very often.) Ever-resourceful, she refrigerated the solids in one container, the liquid in another, and made mac and cheese for her dinner.

When we got home the next evening–a rare night home together!–I skimmed the solidified fat, made a roux, and used the broth to make a nice, hearty gravy. I warmed the meat and veg, added them to the gravy, topped the stew-at-last with some chopped celery leaves, and we had dinner in not quite an instant.

Some things happen in a flash. Some take a very long time. Sometimes it’s a little of both. We’d known each other for ten years before our first date.

Happy anniversary to us.