In Episode 9, William and Patrick helped guard you from the plethora of “Green posers” out there in the world. In this episode they take you in a new direction…how to make the doldrums of winter months into “warm and cozy”!
WILLIAM: All this talk of past holiday parties and Green posers has gotten me a bit depressed, Patrick. I really need a boost this time of year, particularly with the weather being a bit cold and rainy recently!
PATRICK: Agent Neal, perk up! This is a great time of year! The New Year brings a fresh start, people take on new ways to improve their lives, businesses set themselves up for greatness with new plans and on top of it all, you have winter stew!
WILLIAM: Winter stew? What in the heck are you talking about?
PATRICK: What warms the cockles, brightens the dreary day and otherwise fills your tank like a hearty winter stew when it’s rainy and cold Agent Neal? Stew I say, STEW!
WILLIAM: You know, you’re right, Agent C. Thanks for the inspiration! Nothing like those “uber tubers” from the winter months to make a great stew! I just love the richness of organic carrots, spicy turnips, sensual golden beets and herbaceous parsnips! And who can forget the King of All Tubers: The Potato!
PATRICK: Yes, potatoes come in every size, shape, color and flavor it seems these days. You know what else comes in a multitude of tones, hues and shapes? Mushrooms.
Hey William, what is your favorite stew?
WILLIAM: I have a good one! But first, let’s set the stage. You know, we caterers always have to create an “experience” for people to enjoy. If not our families, then a couple hundred of our clients’ best friends or business associates.
PATRICK: Amen brother! I mean Agent! Amen!
WILLIAM: Stews are great for crowds. I remember the “staff meals” when I lived and worked in Switzerland. These were really a “family dinner” we shared just before the restaurant opened. The entire restaurant team of about 20 sat down to break bread together. The Chef’s mom had a great garden and he always shared what she occasionally brought by the restaurant with his employees. His family raised much of what they ate when they were growing up and I loved hearing the stories he would tell us about “living with” a garden. This was actually one of my first experiences with “home grown” and one that made a huge impression on me. In the fall and winter, it was usually some “uber tubers”!
PATRICK: I see a stew coming!
WILLIAM: Yep! When he made stew for us, he showed us, or shall I say “reinforced,” the importance of caramelization in cooking. In other words, while building his stew, he gently caramelized or browned the turnips, onions and some of the other veggies, which imparted a lovely almost sweet richness to the broth.
PATRICK: It sounds like caramelization of the natural starches or sugars in the raw veggies right?
PATRICK: In fact, we all recognize that when a veggie is plucked fresh from the soil shortly before cooking that all of the natural vitamins, healthy enzymes and of course the elements that make up veggies like starches and fibers are all at their peak. So naturally these elements are there for us to benefit from, if we know how tame them!
WILLIAM: Brown the meat, remove. Brown, the veggies, remove. De-glaze.
PATRICK: Sounds like a cooking class…
WILLIAM: It is really quite fun leaning how to build stew in the winter. I made one over the holidays with some great lean beef shoulder, some amazing golden beets, a few baby potatoes, some other “uber tubers” and of course some great red wine and whole cloves of garlic. It was dark and rich and full of chunky goodness.
PATRICK: Sounds amazing! Sounds like a party! Let’s get some good crusty bread to dip in the stew, maybe a salad to start—with some of those beet greens and some winter kale? Now all we need is a fantastic bottle of red and a few dozen friends to have a warm and cozy experience on a cold winter day!
WILLIAM: Thanks, Agent C.
PATRICK: I think you should share a stew recipe with our readers sometime in the future. I am sure they would love to brighten their days and warm up to what sounds like yummy goodness!
But William, here is the thing…We do live here in the South and spring for us is just around the corner, weddings are being planned now and soon thoughts will shift from stews to fresh budding flowers and gorgeous warm weather meals! Can you say “risotto with spring mushrooms”? Wedding season will be here before we know it!
Speaking of which, how is the planning going with your “Green-oriented” bride we spoke of recently?
WILLIAM: Which one? So many of my brides seem to request some elements of sustainability at their receptions these days. That, Agent C, is precisely why they come to Affairs to Remember!
PATRICK: I am looking forward to hearing more, Agent N.
To be continued…
Do you plant a winter garden? Share with our other readers in Comments section below your best tips for a bountiful harvest from a winter garden. What surprised you about winter gardening?
Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore how to make a wedding reception a Green special event!
This week’s 3Rs…
REVEALED: Fernbank Forest Guided Tour
REVERED: Teaching Your Kids to Garden
REVILED: Not Composting!