Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Taming of the Stew

I'm hoping it's only due to the damp, cool weather that has persisted throughout the month, but the farmers' market appears to be winding down much more quickly than I had hoped. In my visit this morning, I discovered a little over half of the usual vendors in place along with a very small crowd of customers.

That, of course, didn't stop me from enjoying myself fully and finding lots of good food, starting with a large order of whole grains from the grist mill folks. I picked up two 5-pound bags of whole wheat flour, 2 bags of oats, 2 of cornmeal, 2 of corn grits, plus a bag of corn flour and one of spelt flour (to try something new). Though they may not be back to the market this year, I at least have their phone number should I need to call them midwinter and order more.

After dropping those bags off at home, I made a second round at the market, finding:

--a good-sized pumpkin, some red onions, and more Fairy Tale eggplant at the Gentleman Farmer's stand
--green beans, parsley, garlic, Dutch apple jam, and reduced sugar blackberry-elderberry jam (for my Dear Papa) from the Cheerful Lady
--more Prima apples from the Orchardist
--dried shiitake mushrooms from the mushroom farm
--a last batch of tomatoes from the Tomato Farmer's Wife

All in all, it was a nice mix of vegetables to keep for winter and some to use this week. And since I'm currently trying to clean out the cupboards, I decided to use a few items in a batch of curried vegetable stew.

On a damp, dreary day, nothing satisfies quite like a pot of rich, chunky, savory stew, especially when I can use it as an excuse to clean out the last of some vegetables (like last week's edamame and some older potatoes and onions). It's the sort of dish that doesn't even need a recipe: just sauté onions and garlic, add spices, toss in vegetables (like carrots and celery and potatoes) and beans (like lentils), add broth, and let it simmer a bit before adding anything else (like tomato puree, parsley, edamame, brown rice, and more spices). On low heat, it can simmer away quite happily for a few hours while I go about my other chores or plans for the day, and when I come back to it, dinner is served:

Such an easy way to enjoy my vegetables and clean up the kitchen all at once!


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