Friends are sick, family members are sick, and apparently everyone on facebook is sick. Maybe it's because the school season has started and kids are crammed into colonies of concentrated spaces, all breathing and germing over one another. Or maybe it's the fluctuating weather. Whatever the case, unless you are superhuman, you may need some tips to battle the transition from summer to fall to winter (via food of course).
As I write this I am bundled up in bed leaning against a mountain of pillows with Larrouse Wine as my desk. I have failed miserably on the sickness front, and to compensate I spent all day sleeping, accumulating my weight in food books at the library (can you tell I like Anthony Bourdain?), and making a mess of flavors.
When approaching fall, sickness, or both, it is absolutely necessary you take a groggy morning hour at the produce section of your grocery store or farmer's market for soup and stew ingredients. Make sure to stock lots of fresh winter vegetables. This is the time of year you'll hit a goldmine, literally: acorn squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and all other produce donning a gold-orange hue are everywhere. Take advantage.
Pamper. This is very important. Fall and winter are flu and cold season, so consider your new found winter narcissism a future investment. Drink lots of tea, spend an extra 20 minutes in bed, make yourself a big fat breakfast of slow cooked oatmeal, yogurt, and berries and eat it in your bathrobe, do yoga if you're yoga inclined, bundle up and go for a long, crisp walk or jog (take your dog), take a bath, and eat chocolate. Eat dinner too, but dessert is important.
Winter can coax you into bundling up and staying in to watch movies, read books, or rot your brain on tumblr night after night, which is fine, but not all the time. Force yourself to get out and get some fresh air. Make an effort to meet up with friends, see a show, or just run out to get coffee in your sweatpants, knit sweater, and "I'm still in my pajamas" hair.
Move slowly. Eat slowly. De-stress. There's a reason why winter is so freaking cold: to slow you down and force you to relax and savor your moments. You've just had all sorts of summer adventures but it's time to start relaxing and learning to work with the coming season instead of fighting it.
So chill out. But stay warm.
Now that you know what to do with the discomfort of waking up in a tundra (maybe not that cold...) for the next 5-6 months, let me share my latest winter warming masterpiece.
Wine Soaked Eggplant with Heirloom Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Pesto
1-2 c dry white wine
1/2 - 1 c olive oil
1/3 c diced yellow onion
1 tsp garlic
2-3 heirloom tomatoes, sliced
-Slice the eggplant into rounds no thicker than 1/4 in.
-In a large baking dish or bowl combine approximately 2 parts olive oil to 1 part wine. You can determine the measurements of those ingredients from the size of your eggplant. Then add the onions and garlic.
-Preheat the oven to 415º F and soak the eggplants in the mixture for about 10-15 minutes on each side
-Remove the eggplant from the mixture and place on a baking pan, then spoon some liquid and the remaining chunks of onion and scatter them in the pan with the eggplants
-Bake for 10-14 minutes, then remove pan and flip the slices (add more liquid if they begin to dry out). Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the eggplants are soft and cooked throughout.
-When the eggplant is done cooking, arrange the ingredients in this order: eggplant, goat cheese, pesto, tomato. Continue the pattern until you feel like the tower can no longer stand up.