A final taste of the season

The first snow of the 2012 winter has fallen. My international students have chattered about it all week, excited and elated as they are to see this wonder.  It was a warm, wet snow, so it stuck to my car and  the streets like  a thick layer of wet noodles, then was gone by 3 pm.  Now that the first snow of the year is out of the way, I can get on with accepting winter’s arrival. I dislike the not knowing, the apprehension, the when-will-it-hit-ness of it all that comes with the transition from fall to winter. But now that I know, know that I’ve been reminded once again of what South Dakota winters are like, I’m ok with the changing season. I’ll miss the fruits and the veggies, puttering around in my garden and outdoor exercise. But that will make it that much better when it comes back again.

To celebrate winter’s arrival (it’s not quite “winter,” I know), I cooked the last of the tomatoes from my garden tonight, with some left over rad wine, and then slathered the sauce over a chicken breast that had been hanging out in the fridge. Feeling like it needed something else, I cooked some rice to  unite the meal.  Ever since I made Brazilian beans and rice for my Brazilian students a few weeks ago I’ve been cooking rice the way they cook it in South America–browned with onion, garlic and oil, then cooked like normal.

The result is a chewier grain than the rice of China Express or a rice cooker, and perhaps a more flavorful one. I like steamed rice just fine, love it in fact, but the flavor and weight of this rice makes me feel warm and full in a way that steamed rice doesn’t.  And  with the woolly gray of a cold night wrapping around my windows, I’m all about feeling warm, from the inside out.

The  sauce had a nice woodsy flavor to it, thanks to the wine, but the sweet lightness of a vine-ripened tomato picked in the last days of October carried the flavor to a softer, sweeter level.  A few more tomatoes would have left me with a thicker sauce, but hey, I’m not complaining!


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