Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Today was not a good day. It wasn't exactly in the realm of Alexander and his terrible, horrible, no good very bad day. But it still was not a good one. It was one of those days where even though nothing went terribly wrong, nothing seemed to go quite right either. By the time my class ended this evening not even a trip to my favorite watering hole to torment my favorite aussie could help pick my spirits up.
In a taxi on the way home, my mind started to wander to the produce I had picked up this past weekend that I had yet to use. Waiting for me at home was a butternut squash, an ingredient i've been itching to use since the air has begun to take on that cool fall chill. I knew it wouldn't survive the weekend since I probably wouldn't be around to cook it then, and since I have both class and dinner plans tomorrow night there would be no cooking then either. I hated the thought of throwing it out but couldn't seem to find the time to do something creative with it. And then, as my cab swerved in and out of traffic going much too fast on the West Side Highway, inspiration struck! I could put together a Morroccon style stew with the butternut squash tonight, let it cook overnight and then have a gorgeous lunch to take to work tomorrow.
When I got in I immediately began breaking down the squash because I knew if I didn't start right away I wouldn't do it. I still had my work clothes on, a dress, tights and high heeled boots that were really beginning to hurt the balls of my feet but I pressed on. Within minutes I had the squash peeled, seeded and chopped into half inch cubes. I also diced a sweet potato I had in my produce basket as well as 3 carrots that needed to be cooked or tossed. All of this went into the cooker. I sauted an onion and a few cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil till just soft and added that to pretty orange mix. A little vegetable stock and some crushed tomatoes gave me a good bit of liquid (but not too much) and then cumin, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt and pepper for flavor. I covered it and set the timer for 8 hours. Tomorrow morning just as I'm getting out of the shower I'll add a can of chick peas and let it just heat through and pick up some of the flavorings.
Somewhere between the rhythm of the chopping and the sauteing and the seasoning, I realized that the tension had just melted away from my limbs. I didn't care about work or school. I wasn't stressing about family or friends. All I could think about was this beautiful orange bowl that was coming to life before my eyes. When the heat began to hit the cumin and the cinnamon the whole apartment took on this warm luscious feeling. I can't wait to wake up in the morning and see the finished product! But in the meantime, I'm going to enjoy falling asleep in this cocoon of warmth I've created. The cat seems a tad confused by all the activity, but I think even he's pleased with how good it smells in here.