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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tried and True recipes

I decided to make a seafood soup yesterday. I wanted one with a tomato base, so I dug through my Time Life cookbooks to find a suitable recipe.
I found one, and typically, just scanned the list of ingredients, saw I had everything and decided to go ahead.
That’s when I ran into trouble. But it’s also the start of an epiphany for me. You see, I ‘know’ things, but sometimes I really have to learn them again to truly ‘know’ thing.
I started by sautéing onions and garlic. While they are caramelizing gently in olive oil, I needed to assemble the stock. A can of tomatoes, two tablespoons of fresh basil, two cups of red wine...
What? Two cups? Are they nuts? Even if I had two cups of red wine, I wouldn’t be putting that much into a soup recipe I’d never tried before.
Oops, I tell a lie. I do have two cups of red wine. Years ago, my husband took a tour of Dieppe, France, while still in the military. As a souvenir, he brought home a bottle of a Grand Cru de Bordeaux, for which he paid a hefty sum. We decided to age in the basement, and it’s been there ever since. So I do have two cups of red wine, but of a Grand Cru de Bordeaux wasn’t going into this soup. But, I did have about two tablespoons of red wine on my counter, something I kept to deglaze my next fabulous pot roast should that ever come. So into my soup it went.
The next thing on the list is one whole lemon, thinly sliced. Well, I did have a quarter of one that my daughter had for her Perrier water. But lemon? In a soup? Going on faith, here, after all, this is a Time Life cookbook, I thinly sliced it and tossed it in.
I took a sniff. Phew! It smelled like a university dorm after a win at homecoming. Talk about awful. After dumping the seafood and onions in, I slapped on the lid and let it simmer. Surely, the Time Life chefs made a mistake here, but I would try it. It’d have to simmer for a while, anyway, if we were to eat that lemon. I mean, wouldn’t it take a few hours to soften lemon rind?
Not wanting to lift the lid again, I let it go for the full two hours. Then, I finally screwed up my courage...
It smelled wonderful! Amazing! The alcohol had long since burned off, leaving whatever gets left behind when wine is simmered, and the lemon and garlic had mellowed into something smooth and delicious. I took a taste and found it a flavorful blend of sweet and tart and rich and satisfying. I loved it!
The Time Life guys do know what they were doing. And you know something else? God knows what he’s doing, too. He can mix people in the strangest combinations, either in a marriage or a small group or a church body. He can put oddball characteristics together in one person and in His time, the result is amazing.
We just have to trust Him, like I trusted those chefs. Then we have to set the lid on our judgements, keep the heat just right, and not rush the results.
My husband and I enjoyed that soup very much, and if I remember this lesson, I’ll enjoy all the people I have in my life, in my small group, and in my church. God knows the end results. His are tried and true recipes.


Missy Tippens said...

Great post, Barbara! It's funny the lessons we can learn about God in everyday things like cooking. :)


Barbara Phinney said...

So true, Missy! And it's even nicer when the soup turns out good! :)

CherylStJohn said...

I'd love to have the recipe!

Barbara Phinney said...

Do you want the original one, with 2 cups of wine? LOL! I can imagine the whiff you'd get when you first put the broth together!
I'll try to post the recipe this week.
Thanks for dropping by!