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I thought I’d share an aspect of my “approach” to daily meals.

Friends were coming for dinner; there would be seven of us.  I roasted a chicken with lemons and garlic and paprika and fennel seeds and this wonderful Palestinian za’atar.  I baked a squash, made brown rice (which I had duly soaked), a black-eyed pea salad with parsley and garlic and olive oil and scrap apple vinegar, and steamed kale with similar.  A sliced avocado decorated the platter that held the chicken. There was some leftover lemony tahini sauce, and I did make a kind of gravy / sauce, with the carmelized bits from the bottom of the roasting pan, and some ancient sweet wine from the bottom of a bottle.

After supper, the bones of the chicken simmered in the extra bean water, with some various scraps of carrot and leek and parsley stem, the seeds and pulp from the squash, and the roasted lemons complete with rind (I like a little bitter, and the acidic nature helps the bones release their minerals).

In the photo above are the leftovers, which I added in the morning to that broth, which I’d strained, reserving the kale for the last minute.  I chopped a carrot for sweetness, shredded half a swede/ rutabaga because it was there, chopped some celery by habit, squeezed in some tomato puree/ paste for the pleasure of squeezing a tube and and for the colour, and served with black pepper and parmesan at the end.

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Soup: I make it constantly, usually with leftovers as a main ingredient, exploring inspirations from world cuisines, basing broths on meat stocks or vegetarian stocks and often fermented brines.  I have herbs from the summer preserved in salt, and a lacto-fermented “bouillon” (posts to follow) that I can call upon for oomph.  Then grains, legumes (red lentils an obvious favourite), root vegetables, greens, ginger, spices — sometimes finishing with miso or fermented veg in one form or another, usually sauerkraut.  Fresh herbs if they happen to be there.  It’s not so much rules as a sense of freedom.  Which is a reason I don’t like recipes or the idea of “the best” this or the best that, and ask you to trust your own impulses.   Use what is on-hand as your inspiration, though of course you can plan what to have on-hand.  Food made with love will be received with love– generally.

This one was quite minestrone-esque, and amazing to me because basically it was a pretty direct transformation of the meal the night before, with a few hearty brighteners.

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