My parents were down visiting for five days, and while they were here, I cooked a meal that I found entirely satisfactory.  It was French inspired, and designed around what was available, and the time/schedule that showing your parents around the various touristy sights requires.

The ingredients were gathered at the truly exceptional farmer’s market we have here on Saturdays.  I didn’t have to settle for anything, everything I got was just beautiful.  Heck, I got most of the ingredients especially because they were so beautiful. 

The dish that didn’t turn out quite as nicely as I’d hoped was based on a bœuf bourguignon.  I started off in the morning by browning a pound of shiitake mushrooms in some butter with a few small onions onions while searing a lean rump roast in the same pan.  When the meat was the right color, I put it into a crock pot.  At this point I would have deglazed the pan with a bottle of wine and reduced it down, but I was unable to locate one on short notice (who knew that Bible-belt Texas would have more liberal blue laws than uber-Democrat New York?) so I used beef broth to accomplish this.   While the broth was reducing, I dissolved a tomato in it.  Into the crock-pot it all went, along with a couple cloves of garlic.

When we came home about five hours later, I started the side dishes.

Utterly beautiful white potatoes were served simply boiled.

I had some “baby” carrots that were so gorgeous that I couldn’t bring myself to peel them.  Just washed them, then tossed them into the crock pot, along with a goodly amount of thyme.

The farmers market yielded some very interesting, pretty squash (globular zucchini, pat-a-pan, crookneck) so I decided to stew them.  In a large, shallow pan I dissolved three tomatoes into some boiling chicken stock, and reduced it by half.  I covered the surface with some herbes de Provence that a friend was nice enough to bring back from France.  Then in went the diced squash, on went a lid, and five minutes later, everything was ready.

The squash really was the star of the meal.  The only problem is that I know it’s not going to reheat into anything pleasant.   So I got some chickpeas and I’ll try making a rattaganoush.  Baba gatouille?

I’m actually a pretty decent cook.  The problem is that I have trouble cooking something beyond sustenance food unless I have a reason, either someone to cook for, or a special ingredient that I don’t want to waste.