I tripped over a thought last night while eating dinner - dinner that Steve cooked and I inhaled after a work week of billowing stress - I'm removed from the food.
What I mean is, I ate my bowl of chili, crunched my nacho chips, drank my drink, put it down and said thanks.
But I didn't make the dinner. I didn't put any of the tastes and textures together. I haven't made dinner all week. I felt no synergy - no connection to the meal that was greater than the sum of the ingredients. I just consumed. I was removed from the love of it.
And it was unsatisfying. Eating by rote. And it bothered me to my core.
I felt disconnected from the earth.
So I fixed it. I was dissecting the fridge of leftovers this evening and found some smoked Mennonite sausage that needed to be used up.
I was drawn back to Jamie Oliver's book Jamie at Home - who else would know how to gussy up a sausage?
On a cool September night, after a gorgeous, intensely sunny day at the Brick Works farmer's market, this hit the spot.
Adapted from "Sweet cherry tomato and sausage bake", Jamie at Home, I've cut the recipe to serve two
6 small red potatoes, quartered, Jamie doesn't use potatoes at all
1 lb cherry tomatoes, I used a slightly larger version
sprigs of rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, I also used fresh sage
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-4 sausages, the full portion of the recipe calls for 12
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the potatoes in olive oil, and place on one side of a roasting pan. Put a sprig or two of the rosemary and thyme among the potatoes.
Toss the tomatoes in oil as well and place them on the other side of the roasting pan. Place the herbs, including the bay leaf, amongst them as well.
Sprinkle the garlic over all.
Place the sausages on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle everything with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper it all.
Bake in the oven for about 3o minutes. Turn the sausages to the other side and put back in oven for another 15-20 minutes. I made this with already cooked, leftover sausage and some caramelized onion which I threw in the pan as well for the last half hour. Check out how it's all doing and leave for another 10 minutes if you need to.
I plated the potatoes, topped it with a few of the roasted tomatoes, sliced up the sausage (which was leftover remember), and mixed in the caramelized onions. The sweetness of the roasted tomatoes is so beautiful, I almost teared up...and felt very much back on earth...
Now if you like, Jamie says you can take out the sausages once they're done (and the potatoes in this case) and put the roasting pan on top of the stove, cook down the tomato juices a little bit and thicken them. I didn't do that, but I'll bet it's fantastic.