wine, garlic, and candlelight — a hearty cook’s recipe base

I recommend three ingredients for every dinner recipe: a cup o’ wine for the cook, fresh chopped garlic, and cooking by candlelight.

Optional: background music. Not optional: TV.

It seemed only a few days ago I bought makings for stew, yet now the potatoes were growing eyes. Tonight was the night to make that stew, and I only know how to make it by heart.

Here’s the recipe, per the stew I make tonight. You determine ingredient quantities via your cravings, and the amount of stew you need.

First, to marinate. I marinated tempeh for a vegetarian stew. You may marinate your non-meat or meat of choice.

Marinade: I chose a California Gewürztraminer white wine to marinate the diced tempeh. Added a crushed garlic clove. I could have started the marinating last night. Ah, well. This still allowed time for marinating while I washed the organic vegetables and recalled the recipe steps in my mind.

Next, music. I put music on from Pandora (.com), that offered “radio station” themes. My select themes included “John Coltrane,” “Charlie Parker,” “Chet Baker,” “Frederic Chopin,” “Blondie,” and “Bono” artists themesnd combined a playing “Shuffle” among my est” . Another time I might select only instrumental themes.

Now to cut the vegetables. I chose organic potatoes, carrots and yams. I put them in a pot and added enough filtered water to  cover them. Crushed a clove of garlic and added it. Poured in a little Gewurztraminer, and turned on the heat. Later to add organic peas.

Turned off the kitchen light, used the stove light.

Now the candle. Lit a beeswax pillar candle to soften the atmosphere. Could have done this from the get-go. Yet now was suitable. But of course, I placed the candle where it would be undisturbed by my activities and had plenty open air above.

Now the wine. Poured myself a glass of Bordeaux red.

How rude I thought, to the stew, to not share its wine. Not that I wouldn’t do the same for a guest. I’d pour a guest a white wine, if that’s what they preferred, while I chose a red. However the stew was part of this meal, and it would behoove me to pour myself a little of what I was pouring into it.

I’m not declaring it’s possible to offend a stew, or a stroganoff for that matter. I am urging that the select wine for the cook be shared with the entree, or vice versa. Since I started with Gewürztraminer in the marinade, Gewürztraminer ’twas.

If you’re not a wine person, perhaps you’ll share beer or Bourbon with the dish at hand. Coffee? Tea? Perhaps. Can’t hurt to pour a sip or more into the dish. Let it bubble in and steam.

A contented cook who shares contentedness in the cooking process, creates a synergy. The result makes a delicious dish.

Now, if you’ll pardon me. I’m going to take a sip of Gewürztraminer and toast to the stew, finish making the stew via candlelight and music. When I’m satisfied that the stew is finished, I’ll savor a bowlful with apple slices on the side.

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