The last two nights remind me why I spent all that time last summer putting food away. Even though I believe that Sunday’s require the smell of something braising, that warm scent of something bubbling gently filling the house, this Sunday was so gorgeous that I went outside all day long. By dinnertime, I was hungry, but not particularly interested in something meaty. So I rummaged around in the freezer until I found a couple of stuffed cabbage rolls I put away last summer.
I went on a saffron-rice-and-leftovers kick last summer; in particular, a saffron-rice-and-leftovers wrapped in cabbage leaves kick. I did a bunch of them, froze them in individual portions, knowing that there would come an evening like last night, where I didn’t particularly want to cook, but I also didn’t want to eat something crappy.
So, out of the freezer, into a baking dish with a little homemade tomato sauce, some cheese, and into the toaster oven. Forty minutes later, I had a nice plate of hot, homemade food.
Tonight, kind of the same story, although substitute killer day at work for lovely afternoon in the backyard (can one do that without breaking the space-time continuum?). At any rate, again, wasn’t that interested in a big dinner, so I put some pasta on — I made a little artichoke spread this weekend (drained canned artichokes, garlic, parsley, aleppo pepper, olive oil, vinegar all in the Cuisinart). I had an open jar of pickled oyster mushrooms in the fridge. So — linguine in the pot, rinse and chop the mushrooms, and once the pasta is cooked — toss the mushrooms, a couple of big tablespoons of artichoke spread, and some feta cheese — and look! you have dinner.
This is what I like about taking the time to put food by during the summer when I have fabulous ingredients and the sun shines all the time and I feel creative. Because winter will come — whether it’s actual winter, or just that wintertime of the soul, those evenings when you just can’t deal. Do you want a crummy frozen pizza? Do you want mac and cheese from a box (sometimes, yeah). Or do you want something nice that you made, with fabulous ingredients, on a sunny afternoon when you had the energy. I think there’s something about the energy that went into putting things by that pays off when, like tonight, you’re having a low moment. It comes back to you. The energy pays itself back. You were a little blue. But now you’re not, because you ate something lovely, and the little flame of hope is fed deep down inside your soul.