A few things conspired to push me away from kitchen-blogging:
1) I was in the midst of one steamy-windowed canning session after another
2) The light began to ebb out of early evenings (see above) causing all photos to have either a weird fuzzy yellow glow or be sort of washed-out and grayish.
3) I made several extremely-un-photogenic meals. Bread puddings, and casseroles in general, are not blogworthy foods.
But. The light isn't going to get better until, April, say, and meanwhile its autumn, hands-down my favorite time to cook. There's squashes and swarthy root vegetables to contend with, thready carrots and voluptuous onions and the heralded return of soup season. Thus, I bring you the above, a most excellent autumn meal.
The "main course," a roasted portobello cap with black beans and a sprinkling of blue cheese, tastes far more delicious that you would think. The textural contrast between the moist, earthy mushroom and the nutty beans is almost enough on its own. Add cheese and it's otherworldly. This has become one of Patrick's and my special occasion dinners, one to look forward to all week long. If you don't like blue cheese, feta would make a fine substitute.
Black-bean stuffed Portobellos with Blue cheese
6 hefty portobello caps, stems removed
2 cups black beans (preferably home-cooked, though beans from a can will work in a pinch)
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange your portobellos gill-side-up on a cookie sheet. Fill each with a generous spoonful of beans, and an equally generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake as close to the top of your oven as you can for about 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are adequately cooked and the cheese is slightly melty. If desired, you can finish them under the broiler for a minute, to imbue the cheese with a nice toasty color.
Anything and Everything Roast Vegetables
Assorted vegetables, suitable for roasting:
Whole garlic cloves
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut things into similarly-sized chunks: peel beets and the like beforehand; cut the onions into wedges; halve the brussels sprouts; divide the cauliflower into florets. The vegetables in the top group are firmer and need to roast for 45 minutes. Mix them together with a tablespoon of olive oil and a half-tablespoon of balsamic vinegar per pound of vegetables. Spread them out on a cookie sheet or roasting pan, salt and pepper liberally, and let them roast.
After about twenty minutes, you can add any other, softer vegetables you desire. Toss them with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, too.
When the vegetables are all soft enough to eat, pull them out of the oven and try to keep your husband from grabbing them right off the tray.