Beef Stew and Green Beans with sesame seeds

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In case you were wondering, this is the stew I was cooking last night. It’s your basic brown the meat while cutting up the vegetables kind of stew. This time the vegetables were an onion, half an onion I found stashed in the fridge, six cloves of garlic, two carrots, two stalks of celery, a half  can of tomatoes also stashed in the fridge, and a ginormous rutabaga. The stew also received  a serious dose of thyme. In a couple hours, the meat was fork-tender, so I scattered the parsley on top and let it boil down the extra liquid.

Feeling energetic, I also simmered some green beans about eight minutes or so. While they cooled, I toasted two tablespoons of sesame seeds and added them to the beans with a bit of oil and vinegar to coat. These are good warm, but as I write this down, I can attest that they’re even better cold the next day.

Curiously enough, the day’s poem in the Writer’s Almanac was about rutabagas. Now, I love putting rutabagas in a stew. I think they have a subtle sweetness that soaks up and marries with the meat in the pot. So I had a bit of beef with the poet’s characterization of rutabagas tasting like a dirty gunny sack. It sounds so unappetizing, I was even less impressed with the final conceit about the roots’ reluctance to leave the earth. Someone just hasn’t eaten proper rutabagas.

So with that off my chest, I haven’t been so energetic in the kitchen today. All I cooked was the cranberry sauce. Just the basic recipe off the bag, plus the juice and the zest of a lime. And you know what I’ll be cooking tomorrow.