Life is filled with disappointments so it shouldn’t be any surprise that the bumpy road from snow and ice should take a long time to get to fruits and flowers. So far 2011 has been one day of the crocus to two of the nor’easter or similar downer. And yet I feel as if I should correct myself. Out this back window and up the hill beyond the upper garden terrace where the blood root will soon be in bloom; I see the rich brown decaying leaves sitting on richer looking soil, the green of juniper and pine, the mounds of white snowdrops, robins looking for treats in a backyard cafeteria. From where I sit with my lap top I see the chickens, all bustling womanhood, (don’t they ever miss the children that have never been born?)I see all those things that immediately achieve the status of omens. It will happen; spring will be here before I know it. It makes me cheerful to think of it.
The snow probably won’t start until late afternoon, when I have got back from the Shakespeare class with Pat where we may begin Alls Well That Ends Well today, but I’m not too thrilled with Act I Scene I and I think I know why. There are too many puns.These puns cause me to focus on some irrelevant aspect of the story and I can’t get a grip on the premise of the play which I should be looking for.
In fact I have already decided to reward myself by getting a beef stew in the pot for dinner. Shakespeare might think that’s a good thing, too. Be warned, I am about to do a classical thing with the stew. I’ll dice a slice of bacon, (only one for health’s sake) and while that’s sizzling in a refined way, I’ll prepare the meat by drying it and dredging it in flour. Aside: when you dredge something it just means you get a food covered over by rolling it in flour and then rubbing it in. When the bacon os crispy remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and begin to brown he pieces of meat. Remember to add just enough meat to the pot for each to brown by itself. Brown all sides and remove them to a waiting bowl. Continue doing this till he meat is all brown. Put it all back in the pan, add one diced onion, 1/2 diced carrot, 1 diced celery stalk, turn the heat to high for a couple of minutes, stirring the meat and vegetable until the vegetables look transparent and the pot has started to smoke. Put in a cup of red wine, thus deglazing the pot as the pan sizzles and you stir mean and vegetables firmly but patiently thus scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Now add a cup of chicken stock, a branch of sage, a bay leaf or two, two cloves and a half-inch piece of ginger. Add mushrooms, carrots, other root vegetables you may have on hand. Do not add green vegetables until the last ten minutes or so of cooking. But I like the green veggies as a side dish, alone or with a green salad. When the meat is tender turn of the pot if you are not ready to serve. You can reheat later. Remove the sage branch, the piece of ginger, and the bay leaf. Serve on noodles, or whole grains. As they say follow your bliss on this part.I”m doing bulgar tonight.
Obviously this vacation from spring offers opportunity for other enjoyable activties. It’s almost good enough to say to nature, Thanks for a day well spent.
It makes me cheerful just to think of it.