Saturday, July 21, 2012

roasted summer vegetables with italian sausage and fried haloumi. or on loss and life

So I don't see my parents nearly enough. We don't see eye to eye, we are entirely different creatures it seems. City vs. country, Baby boomer vs X gen, morning person vs. night owl, food-obsessed vs. food-repressed, what have you.

I feel things deeply. So much so it is does sometimes interrupt my daily life. I miss childhood. I miss family vacations. I miss being part of a family unit, a family unit that includes my parents. I miss thinking my mother is the smartest person in the world.

My parents stopped by for dinner tonight. I originally thought they would just be passing by after an afternoon wedding shower, and would be full of appetizers and only briefly here. Then they were hungry and I had an hour to cook. And I threw something together, and it was great. I've never cooked sausages before. I'VE NEVER COOKED SAUSAGES BEFORE. That sounds ridiculous, but it's true. As a "post-recovering-vegetarian" the world of meat is something I have barely explored. Last time I was visiting them I picked up some lovely housemade sausages from the butchers down the street. Today when I got home from work, thinking it would be just me, I looked at the contents of my fridge and thought...zucchini, pepper, onion, corn, green beans, swiss chard???? Zucchini, pepper, onion, corn, green beans, swiss chard. Maybe a saute? I have some lovely tomatoes. Organic baby romas. Hmmmm I could roast that. But no parm? OH! I have Haloumi! Even better. Then I called to check in on their ETA and it was later than expected and they were HUNGRY. So - add in sweet italian sausage. Still many options on how to cook this.

Well - I roasted the tomatoes, zucch, pepper, red onion, garlic (at 450). Threw in the green beans in the last 10 mins. Browned the sausage for about 10-15 mins, then added in some water and the juices from the veg. Cooked another 15-20 mins? Basting with the delicious juices.

Fry the haloumi, then sprinkle on thyme, and a squeeze of lemon. Toss the cooling veg into the sausage pan at the end. And it turned out fabulous. That "sauce" was only lacking in bread to mop it up. Next time I would definitely add some fresh chopped basil, or fennel seeds during roasting, just to tie into the sausage.

I also made some super cute mini sour cherry and rhubarb crisps. Oh and I did all this in just over an hour. With no idea of when the actual serving time would be. But it all worked out.

Then we ate. And caught up.

Then my mother said "Come sit next to me on the couch, I have some bad news." And she showed me a card she got in the mail. ME c/o her address. It was a card (a stock card, with a stock printed letter), letting us know my grandmother had died. 2 weeks ago. With "no service planned, perhaps something in a year or so, for immediate family only". for immediate family only. The same thing my aunt said to me on the phone when my grandfather died two years ago. To clarify, this is my fathers side of the family. He died when I was 2. I was fairly close with them as a child, seeing them at holidays, spending a few days here and there with them in the summers. I have nice memories of my grandmother. I would go stay with them for a week in the summers. We would play board games (Scotland Yard), play/work in her gardens, go see a movie. I would wander the trails and hills near their Bluffside home with my half sister and similarly-aged relatives. She was, as they said, "A soft-spoken, kind, gentle and patient woman." But in the last decade or so we haven't really talked. This has been at points an issue of contention between my mother and I, who feels it is my responsibility to keep in touch with them. But I feel that I have tried (probably not as hard as I should have). I have written them letters (not many its true, but a few), letting them know I want to reconnect, learn more about my father, be in their lives more. With no response. Sometimes they sent a random christmas card with minimal greeting. The last time I saw them (or any of that side of the family, including my half sister) was maybe 6 years ago. I suppose part of me "lost" them awhile ago, let it go. And part of me is ok with it. But there's a part that mourns for lost opportunities, the way that time can erode bonds, the way that life sometimes separates us more than it brings us together. Sometimes.

I know this is a very messy, very personal post. I wanted to write how I felt, how I feel. To get it out but also to remember it. I don't feel like uploading pictures right now. I'll try to edit asap.

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