Shabbat will be coming in at 8:13 pm here in the upper latitudes of our nation, and at 6 pm I'm still in the throes of cooking for our crowd. Tonight, we welcome a family new to the Northwest, with their extended members who are visiting the region for a "simcha," the young son's First Communion.
The aunt and uncle of the honored youngster are good friends, and Jews. And so we can have a "mizumen," the group of three adult men that allows us to thank God after the meal as a "group." That the eight Catholics at the table will be experiencing their first traditional Jewish Shabbat meal is a source of happiness for me. After all, they, too, hold by the Commandment that mandates this day of togetherness, elevation, and casting off work-week worries.
Tomorrow we host a table of our closest friends, including our rabbi and wife, and neighbors who in their careers share with us a desire to communicate messages more significant than the usual media tripe.
As vegetarians, we won't be serving any tripe, (though I think if it's from a kosher cow, we could eat it). Fish is the staple of our Sabbath meals. I've got some nice local salmon broiled in fresh lime sauce, and some thick tuna steaks I've marinated and will soon sear. I've got honey'd parsley potatoes, a cauliflower soup; I've braided my fresh challah, and it's risen into long loaves puffy and ripe for the oven. But I've got to deal with those vegetables.
Which occasions this post. Several clumps of fresh broccoli, a tight white head of cauliflower, some green sticks of zucchini and a package of portobellos. I go to my cookbooks. I've collected two shelves of tomes that feature vegetables. But I'm tired of my usual steaming and stir-fry. I read my new-agey food mentors...What to do?
And the word emerges. There are few terms with a nicer sound than "roast." The round, long O that finishes with a crisp "st." Roast. I need to slice florets and chunks and leave the baby Bellows, sprinkle with oil, s+p (as my new Twitter Cookbook recipes say) garlic and Parmesan. Place all on a cookie sheet at, say 375 til the edges are lightly brown. Rohhst. mmmmm.