IT'S TIME TO TAKE STOCK OF THE SEASON
I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time getting up in the
This happens every year about this time, as I am physically and
psychologically ready for daylight-saving time to be over several weeks before
I want back the hour I lost last spring. Now.
I want to wake up naturally, as I do most of the year, without an alarm,
and feel like I'm getting an early start to the day. But it's impossible when
the particular angle of light and the time announced on the clock don't match.
It all feels wrong, off kilter, askew and will until we turn back our clocks.
Alas, this year daylight-saving time lasts a week longer than last year,
ending on the first Sunday of November instead of the last Sunday of October.
Even so, preparations for winter are -- or should be -- under way,
including in our kitchens.
Driveways are full of firewood waiting to be stacked and every weekend, the
sound of chainsaws can be heard throughout west county.
My wood stove stands open and ready to be cleaned and there's a stack of
kindling by the back door. Driving through Monte Rio last weekend, I saw
circling plumes of smoke rising skyward amid the redwood trees.
There are still good tomatoes at the farmers market, but it is time to
think about the soups and stews that will warm us on cold nights and
nurture us through the inevitable colds and flu that will begin to spread all
If you've read this column for long, you'll know what I'm about to
recommend: Spend a day a two making stocks. Make it a family project and
you'll be surprised by the results. When it comes time to make dinner during a
storm or when a cold front has set in, everyone will share in the sense of
satisfaction that comes when you realize the pleasure of planning ahead.
It's helpful to have both chicken stock and beef stock on hand throughout
the cooler months. Vegetarians will want hearty vegetable stock.
Mushrooms give this stock good color and an earthy depth of flavor.
Makes 8 to 10 cups
3 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
1 head of celery, leaves discarded, stalks cut in half
5 medium red tomatoes
1 garlic bulb, halved (unpeeled)
1 pound mushrooms, preferably crimini, coarsely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
2 large leeks, white parts only, halved and thoroughly cleaned
3 carrots, in chunks
5 medium zucchini, in chunks
-- Kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
10 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs oregano
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the vegetables into a large roasting
pan and season with salt. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, add the
herbs and toss gently to coat everything with the oil.
Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30 minutes. Put the vegetables and pan