Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good eating on a blustery fall evening

Boeuf Bourguignon Before: The day's harvest included (clockwise from left) parsley and thyme for the bouquet garni and peppers for salad; Purple Haze and Nelson carrots, yellow and red onions; Austrian Crescent potatoes; small yellow onions for braising. 

Boeuf Bourguignon After: The main dish was accompanied by steamed Austrian Crescent potatoes, garden salad, a freshly-baked baguette and peaches and cream for dessert.

Several weeks back we enjoyed a visit from family from Illinois. The day they arrived was cold, windy and wet, and the resident chef made the perfect call by preparing Boeuf Bourguignon to welcome them for their weekend stay. He loosely followed Julia Child's recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" doing what good cooks naturally do, adapting the recipe to suit their own tastes and available ingredients. Child says in the cookbook, "as is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious dishes concocted by man ..." Amen to that.

It's cold and gray today and I'm remembering how delicious that meal was -- good food prepared with garden vegetables harvested only hours earlier, a simple table setting with tealights and small bouquets of sedum and parsley, plenty of red wine and good conversation. It doesn't get much better than that.

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