Dinner last night was brought to us by; the sun, soil and rain that nourished the fresh vegetables we ate, the pig whose life was given up for our table, coal from the earth, and the wisdom of millennia from one part of India, where tumeric, mint, garlic, cilantro, onions and ginger combine for a fabulous, unique flavor. The recipe I used was from a book loaned to me by a good friend, who also shares spices, advice and help as needed, as I take baby steps into the immense world of Indian cuisine. The menu? Pork chops on the grill, paneer tandoori, nan and a green salad.
Cooking at this time of year is such a pleasure. We are still enjoying the wealth of vegetables and herbs that come straight from the back yard to the kitchen. I needed green peppers for dinner, I grabbed the one remaining pepper on the vine outside the door, and the specimen with the same color, from the grocery store, inside my fridge. A side by side comparison revealed that we usually settle for utter misery, if we buy our produce this way. The garden pepper was firm, smelled heavenly, and sang with a crispness as I sliced it. There was an actual, joyful noise that came from it. The other one? I'll save the ink, and not bore you.
The tomatoes were from a friend. It has been a bumper year for tomatoes for some people, I am so lucky to have two friends, willing to share, among those expert gardeners. My garden's other contribution was the mint, which grows even where I don't want it to grow, which means it is always fresh. I can grow chives and basil too. Maybe I should focus on herbs next year and trade them for tomatoes. The kids have been eating them still warm from the garden; sliced and salted, at all times of the day. They want me to buy vitamin C, why again?
Tonight is football night. Only Cate will miss seeing Duncan play, as she has a double kung fu class. We started planning dinner for tonight two days ago, to avoid a repeat of last Friday's post-game "snack" of fast food taco-thingies, fries and sodas. We will have spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce and meatballs from an old family recipe. T. will be home early and wants to make the meatballs. The only thing to cook when we get home later, will be the pasta. I am giving this up grudgingly, as this is my own specialty. As usual, though, once he learns a dish, T. makes it with such love and attention, that he exceeds my version of it every time. I will drive kung fu car pool and get us all to the game on time.