After years of resistance, my husband and I have finally booked our next trip oversees. A trip that has been long overdue. A trip, frequently considered but always postponed until the next year. A trip too emotional to imagine or to plan.
Vacation request forms have been submitted and approved; we are going back “home”!
For the past 15 years, every consideration for our next vacation would always start with an idea of visiting the homeland. But every year, it would get quickly dismissed by yet another excuse:
- We want the kids to see where their family comes from; let’s wait until they are old enough to appreciate
- There are so many places we have not seen yet; we’ll visit home after we’ve traveled enough
- Our friends are inviting us to go to Cuba, Costa Rica, Greece, Thailand; we can always go home next year
- We are so used to the conveniences of our life in California – how are we going to deal with a possible limited access to hot water
- My parents just came back from visiting my hometown and brought enough photos to take the edge off my nostalgia
- All of our childhood friends are now scattered around the world – we have nobody to go home to
- Everything has changed; we are not going to recognize anything
- Everything has stayed the same; there is nothing new to see
But, the real and honest reason why we have not actually gone back is because we’ve been pretty darn scared. What if it gets too emotional… or we feel nothing at all? What if we remember it all wrong and feel betrayed by our memories of the childhood? What if the country is smaller, darker, more run-down than we remember, and we are left feeling sad for the place we used to call home? Or what if it is better, brighter, more colorful and we regret leaving it in the first place?
What if, what if, what if…
“How about we postpone India and finally go back to Russia?” I asked my husband a few weeks ago, over Swiss Chard and Potatoes.
We are coming home! He emailed me the tickets confirmation the following day.
Swiss Chard and Potato Stew
Adapted from my friend grandma’s recipe
- 4 bunches rainbow chard, chopped into byte-size pieces
- 2 can stewed tomatoes
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large organic yukon gold potatoes, chopped into ½ inch cubes
- 6oz Asiago Cheese, grated (or more, depending on your preference)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 8 cups water (or enough to fill the soup pot)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup of cooked wheat berries (optional Cucee addition)
- ½ cup of cooked navy beans (optional Cucee addition)
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes
- Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. If the pieces are too large, cut them with kitchen scissors. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside
- In a large soup pot, bring water to boil. Salt it (apparently, this is a very important step)
- Add potatoes and chard, reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until done
- When done, pour out all but 1-2 cups of the cooking water. Add tomato sauce to chard and potatoes. (Wheat berries and beans are optional.) Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately. If too dry, add reserved water – the consistency should be of a stew not soup
I have recently visited a beautiful Lynmar winery in Sonoma and, even though I am not much of a Pinot girl, I fell in love with it’s wines. I think this medium-bodied 2008 Pinot should work really well with my friend grandma’s stew recipe