“Everyone has a story, the air is full of stories.” Isabelle Allende
Do you realize January 2017 has packed its bag, left the house and won’t return? Already two days into February, it’s Groundhog Day. Punxutawney Phil saw his shadow. Looking ahead, (or, not,) Super Bowl Sunday, the Oscars and Presidents’ week-end are in the line-up. Oops, Valentine’s Day. Forget that at your peril.Like most of you, this Life of mine has never seen lazy days. Whatever time I have, I fill up 100%. If you’re honest, don’t we all?
Just as when it snows in the Rockies, the rains have lightened the hearts of Central Coast residents. California still is water-deprived but there’s been relief. And, Mother Nature, responding to the slightest of care, is blooming and going green.
Last year, during my four months in Cali, I got a sense of this remarkable state. Thankful for the opportunity with a car that was willing, I traveled its length and breadth. If I qualify as a lifetime learner, that 7,500 mile journey was a graduate seminar.
This year, because of self-imposed deadlines for writing projects, I decided to wander in my own backyard. I was reminded by those daily adventures that everyone has a story. Granted, not all are cliffhangers but each carries a whiff of charm, mystery or ya-gotta-hear-this.
The key, for me, at least, is to slow down, look and listen. Two of those traits I’ve never mastered successfully! This winter I am blessed with the luxury of Time which, for me, is a gift, something to embrace and not squander. January was squander-free, every day filled with a gem or two for the memory bank.
It’s Cook-the-Book Fridays and this week’s recipe is french deliciousness, Coq au Vin. One of Julia Child’s signature dishes and included in her 1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she often made it on her PBS cooking show. I served this braised stew with a baguette and Sweet and Sour Roasted Napa Cabbage Wedges (recipe below.)
SWEET and SOUR ROASTED NAPA CABBAGE WEDGES adapted from Cooking Light magazine.
Yield: Serves 4
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 head napa (Chinese) cabbage, cut lengthwise into quarters
1. Place a large roasting pan in oven. Preheat oven and pan to 450°.
2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Coat cut sides of cabbage with cooking spray. Place cabbage, cut sides down, on preheated pan. Bake 6 minutes. Turn cabbage onto other cut side; bake an additional 6 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Heat broiler to high. Brush cabbage liberally but evenly with honey mixture. Broil 3-5 minutes, until browned and caramelized.
COOK-the-BOOK-FRIDAYS is an international cooking group making its way virtually through David Lebovitz’s MY PARIS KITCHEN. See our group’s efforts here.