Schedules reign superior, don’t they? My days start with an alarm and alarms and scheduling reminders don’t quit until it’s time for bed. There’s plenty of well-meaning advice that in order to maximize the potentials of your life, you ought to block your habits and appointments in neat little time increments. Even color code them! Maximum fun!
As superficially beneficial as all of those practices are, I still find myself pining after days without hours. Days without fluorescent lights screaming down at my head. Maybe days piped with violets and ranunculus? I find days without hours, without schedules, and without color-coded time blocks to be the keys to opening days of relaxation. The sort of relaxation that corsets made of minute-minders don’t allow.
So on nights where I feel like I need a bit of a reality check, (hours are a construct of your imagination) I turn my back on my cutesy little coo-coo clock and sink into some meditative cooking – garnished with a cup or two of wine. There’s something sublime about chopping onions (even if they’re out to make you sob). Something ethereal about the scent of broth swimming around your living room. And I take pride, in ridiculous quantities, in the smell of freshly sprouted home-cooked suppers. It’s as if I’ve created a thicket where the outside world and its laws of consumerism don’t pierce any personal bubbles. A timeless little escape.
So, without further ado, here’s a recipe for a supper that is as much apart from the rules of its kin as my evening are from the rules of father time.
- Pie Crust
1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour – I like to scoop the flour gently into the measuring cup and sweep the back of the knife over the top, letting the excess fall back into the container. Scoop and sweep!
4 tbsp of butter – the included cheese will make up for the small amount of fat here
1/4 cup ice water + 1 or 2 tbs more
1/2 cup grated parmesan – Parmesan can sometimes be a pain to grate. If you find yours is crumbling, try setting it in the freezer for a few minutes so that it can firm up.
pinch of salt
1 tbsp white vinegar
- Vegetable Medley
3 large red beets, washed and quartered
2 large golden beets, washed and quartered
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3 small heads of broccoli, destemmed
5 or so carrots, cut into finger length pieces – (I think the wild baby carrots are fantastic in this recipe)
An indiscriminate amount of olive oil
Several Pinches of salt (to taste)
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves detached
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
2 tsp of honey
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper
- Sauteed Mushrooms
1 1/3 cup Morel Mushrooms, stems and caps separated – this will allow them to cook faster
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 sprig of thyme, leaves removed
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and prepare ingredients.
Pie Crust – adapted from Katie McDermott’s The Art of Pie
a. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cheese.
b. Take your butter and cut it into the dough with the tips of your fingers. If, at any point, you feel that your dough is starting to feel a bit melty, go ahead and pop the bowl into the fridge to let the fats solidify. Continue to cut the butter into the dough until it is in pieces the size of walnuts or smaller.
c. Add the vinegar to your dough and mix until combined.
d. A little bit at a time, add your ice water. You want the dough to just come together – wet enough to just for a ball and not fall apart. Depending on how dry it is on any given day, this may be more or less than what the recipe calls for.
e. Shape your dough into a disk about 5 inches wide and 1 1/2 inches deep and wrap it in plastic wrap.
d. Store it in the fridge while you continue on with the vegetables.
Roast your Vegetables
a. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
b. Arrange all of your lovely vegetables on the paper. You want the beets to still have their skins intact (this will give them a nice texture) but cut off the blunt end where they were once attached to their stems. You might also want to cut off the long skinny nose of the beet. (I tend not to but I like the crunchiness of them after they’ve been roasted).
c. Within the crowds of vegetables, bury the garlic.
d. Generously drizzle your veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
e. Bake your vegetables until fork tender, about 50 minutes.
Sautee the Mushrooms – this one’s easy peesy!
a. Over medium heat, melt your butter in a saucepan.
b. Settle the caps and stems into the melted butter and sautee until fragrant and tender, about 10 minutes.
a. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, sautee your onions in a few glugs of olive oil. It’ll take about 5 minutes for them to become translucent and tender.
b. Add your garlic – but only let them cook momentarily, until fragrant. 2-3 minutes
c. Cover the onion-garlic party with your vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
d. Add the cornstarch and whisk constantly until thickened.
e. Once thickened, remove from heat and add your salt, pepper, vinegar, and honey. Stir and don’t forget to taste it! yum! Feel free to add more salt or pepper!
Bake the Crust
a. Remove your crust from the fridge and set it onto a flour-dusted surface.
b. With a rolling pin (or something else cylindrically shaped – I’ve used wine bottles before!) roll your crust into a rectangularly-similar shape about 1/4 inch thick. Geometric precision is not required, so try not to stress over it too much.
c. Using your cylinder to balance your crust, lay it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 25 minutes. When it is done it will be golden and cracker textured. Pull it into peices or drop it so that it shatters and your ‘pot pie’ is ready to be assembled!
Assemble and eat! Yay!