Friday, October 22, 2004

The moldy eggplant blues

Yesterday, I actually got out of work early. An hour-and-a-half after I'd planned to leave, of course, but still a few minutes before 5. Darren and I took Rocky for a walk on the beach, where we ran into P. and Lucy, who was overjoyed to see us. (She expressed her great affection for Rocky by whacking her in the head with her giant paws.)

The dinner plan was to make some ratatouille, making use of a bunch of things from our farm share - eggplant, obviously, along with several peppers, an onion and a grocery-store zucchini. As you may have guessed from the title, things didn't go exactly as planned. Both eggplant were fuzzy with mold - odd, since we just got them last Friday, and farm veggies typically last so much longer than the grocery store variety, since they're much fresher.

Neither one of us was fond of the idea of a grocery store trip, so I started paging through cookbooks, looking for a way to use some of the odd assortment of veggies we had on hand - those peppers, some brussels sprouts, some rutabagas, a couple leeks and several winter squash. We didn't have any meat to use as a main dish, or I might have cooked up those brussels sprouts, which typically I hate - but these are very cute, still attached to their stalk, and I think I'm going to give them a try at some point. Anyway, nothing seemed to go together.

Until, that is, I came across a recipe I'd been saving for a while, for butternut squash risotto. Ingredients were simple - squash, broth, onion, fresh thyme and dried porcini mushrooms. Astoundingly, we had both of those last two items in the house, which made me very happy, and also made me wonder if perhaps I really am a yuppie, as my sister purports. We didn't have quite enough butternut squash, so we used a delicata in addition.

I love making risotto - when I have the time - since, while I stir it and slowly add the broth, I can sip a glass of wine and read a magazine article or two. Last night, while the risotto cooked, I also sorted the giant pile of mail that had accumulated over the course of the week. Opening mail - something I used to do daily - appears to have fallen prey to my new, crazy schedule; I root through the pile for anything interesting (I usually come up empty-handed), then leave the rest for the weekend.

Then, the risotto was done, we sprinkled it with sharp parmiggiano and ate it as we sat on the couch, with No Baseball Playing on the TV. Amazing.

Although... that reminds me. I don't know who won the Astros/Cardinals game last night and, thus, who the Sox will face in the World Series. In preparation for another week of nothing but Fox Sports, I'll head off now and find out who won. As innumerable people have already commented, if the Astros won we are going to be subject to many, many days of tortured analogies between Astros/Sox (Texas/Massachusetts) and Bush/Kerry. I can't even imagine how the ham-handed Tim McCarver will beat that dead horse, to mix a few metaphors.