When I teach yoga after work, or take a class – which of late is almost every night of the week, we do not get home till 8 o clock or later. To be able to come home to dinner already made, is gift, a blessing, a revolution.
Anyone without a garage plugs in their car overnight in winter in Fairbanks. The energy-thrifty among us buy this lovely little mechanical timer which functions similarly to an egg timer (rather than a complex digital system) and is the conduit between plug and socket. This allows you to choose the hours the socket, and its electricity, is active. I recently came to the brilliant notion of using this with our crockpot. Long slow cooking is the name of the game of course, but not every vegetable stew needs upwards of 12 hours of cooking. 4 or 6 usually suffices. It is marvelous.
Today we came home to potato leek soup – the leeks courtesy of the CSA, the potatoes happened to be courtesy of our own garden, though we are overrun with potatoes from the CSA as well. A couple of long-frozen (a year or more of languishing in the freezer) pork chops had been marinating in the freezer and were quickly braised in cast iron. With red wine and an episode of a trashy historical tv series? Delightful Monday night.
Tomorrow, we have dal for dinner. The same crockpot holds more of this weekend's chicken stock, red lentils, brown rice, carrots and leeks. Seasoned with curry, garam masala, cumin, coriander and a hint of basil and oregano, I expect it to warm our bellies after class tomorrow night.
It takes a bit of discipline, thinking a day – or two – ahead this way. But the reward of arriving home to an evocative aroma and a warm filling meal, make the somewhat exhausted late-the-night-before stew prep so very very much worth it.