Just beyond this point across The San Francisco Bay on a clear day you can see The Golden Gate Bridge in all it’s glory.
It is a chilly but sunny morning here in Western Massachusetts. Thoughts of beautiful pathways and flowing rivers were the first thing that came to mind as I lazily awoke to the crisp air this morning. These images were not of the local natural world but from past hikes in California. Muir Woods, Land’s End in San Francisco and The Bay Area are very much on my mind. That may have something to do with the fact that I am missing my youngest daughter, Hannah who lives currently in The Bay Area and possibly because I spent the day yesterday at a delightful wedding party of my dear friend’s son who also lives in The Bay Area. What ever the reason it is a nice way to wake!
With the crisp air I find myself searching for one of those comfy long cooking meals that you smell all afternoon while it simmers. So I am planning to make an heirloom mixed bean stew with barley and loads of vegetables for dinner. I love making stews and soups that cook for long periods of time so we get to smell the mixed foods and anticipate the flavors. And there is always plenty left over for another meal on another day.
My heirloom bean stew will be cooking this afternoon while I pack my kitchen for the upcoming demolition and remodel that starts the end of this month. I am anxiously excited about this project which has been in the planning stages for over 2 years. Once the kitchen is complete I imagine spending time cooking wonderful new foods, enjoying lively conversations with family and friends, and embarking on adventures far from my soon to be cozy kitchen.
Let me share the recipe so you too can explore one of those long cooked meals.
Heirloom Mixed Bean and Barley Stew
1 diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrot
½ cup each of any other vegetable you choose
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 cups vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley (washed and pre-soaked overnight)
1 ½ cups mixed heirloom beans (washed and pre-soaked overnight)
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
¼ tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp each of following herbs: basil, oregano and thyme
Sautee the vegetable in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add broth and remaining ingredients bring to boil then reduce and simmer for 1 ½ hours or until the beans and barley are tender.
These meals are like a big hug from an old friend or like when your heart just swells with joy at seeing someone you adore.
Ahhh… such a nice way to start the day!