I really need to call Mom and Dad (hi guys). It's been an extraordinarily turbulent week--naturally, usually I only don't call when I'm busy, for good or bad--and not very pleasant, but I think things are okay in essence, with a specific roadmap for getting thoroughly okay.
Life is complicated. Let's go shopping.
I'm finding I've been cooking, of all things. Last week in Santa Barbara I did a couple of soup-type things, using canned soups as a base, and I lightly sauteed some vegetables (including fresh zucchini from Linda's garden [Linda's my boss, and I was housesitting again]) with a little olive oil, then added some sausage, and it was good. When I came back I made a similar thing for me and Mona, but I added onions, which made a huge difference. Tonight Mona's having a female thing at her place, so I decided I was going to make soup. My strategy in cooking has been to not get too complicated: I don't know if I'm a bad cook, as such, but it's easy for me to get bogged down in putting too much incompatible stuff in. So I barely season things, if at all, and let the flavors work themselves out in the cooking. Rachel pointed out that this works because of high-quality ingredients; and in fact, in Santa Barbara I had fresh garden zucchini with excellent chicken sausage, and the stuff in the soup was all either from Planet Organics, or from the farmer's market this morning.
Three smallish leeks, chopped, vaguely simmered (sauteed? left to fry?) in the stockpot with some no-chicken broth, add a half a white onion, let sit for a while to mellow out the flavors and soften up the texture. Three stalks of celery, more broth as needed. Then a whole bunch of broth and some cut-up little red potatoes, and start it all simmering to cook them. Add seasoning: two bay leaves, some garlic salt, and a bunch of Cavender's Greek Seasoning, which is sort of based on pepper and oregano but has a bunch of other stuff blended in nice proportions. Stir occasionally, see if it smells nice...right at the end add three chopped carrots (mushy carrots are bad, so they're sort of just getting blanched). Let it go for a few more minutes, and it's ready whenever the potatoes are cooked and you think it's ready.
That was it. The end result is delicious and really filling, and the potatoes make a really nice counterpoint to the...vegetable-ness, I guess, of the chopped leeks and onion and celery. The celery turned out to be key, I think, and since Mona and a few other people I eat with don't like celery, I hadn't had celery in soup for a long time and had forgotten that I liked it so much.