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Mrs. Sundberg's Recipe Collection - 12 tried-and-true--one for each month of the year--featuring an introduction and tips from Mrs. Sundberg herself

So much for the glory of falling

January 26, 2010

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I spent the evening on the couch, giving my body a bit of a break from the elements. Not that I've spent much time outside lately; I haven't. There hasn't been enough snow lately to warrant shoveling. A broom will do the trick, really, and I've had enough to do inside to keep me busy. I did run out to the garage late Friday to get my purse which I'd forgotten in the car, and wouldn't you know I put one foot down on the back steps and that was that. Airborne.

They say the journey is the destination. If that's true, then Friday night my body had two: the fall itself, and the meeting of ice-covered rock and my hind end. Destination #1 was glorious, really, and if it hadn't been for #2, I may have kept going, all the way to the municipal park. Maybe even all the way to Canada. But no. There's gravity, and there's weight, and though I did manage to sail over all four ice-covered steps, I was unable to remain airborne.

There's something about falling that begs for a moment of silence. You hit the ground and, if you're in public, you take that moment, establish you're still breathing and everything's in working order, and you're up and back at it as if nothing happened. But if you have the luxury, as I did, of being alone, with no one around to see you, I recommend lying there awhile. It's a sobering time, where you reconnect with your body one joint at a time, and appreciate, for once, the padding you do have. And you stare up into the sky and feel how small you are and how vast is the universe, and you're reminded, once again, your days are numbered and you really ought to enjoy each and every blessed one of them.

It was a painful enough wipeout that I actually looked forward to the large and purple hematoma that would, inevitably, rise up and out of my left hip. Something I could show people here and there and elicit ooh's and aah's and a few "You really oughta take it easy's." A bruise large and colorful enough to get someone else to do the vacuuming for a week or two. No such luck. My bruises are small and two-toned, and the best I could manage was a grunt or two the day after when I got up from the couch. Which generally happens anyway. So much for the glory of falling.

Venison with Juniper Berries
If you're a lover of venison and spices and wine, here's something satisfying for
a cold night in February. Serve it up with potatoes and bread and something chocolate for dessert.

2 1/4 pounds venison, (thigh is ideal), boned and cubed
A carrot, diced
An onion, diced
A rib of celery, diced
A bay leaf
An 8-inch sprig of rosemary
A piece of stick cinnamon
Several peppercorns
2-3 cloves
8 juniper berries, crushed in a mortar (or the bottom of a water glass)
A bottle of dry red wine
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup unsalted butter
A shot of grappa or brandy
Salt to taste

Bone and cube the venison and put it in a large bowl with the diced vegetables, herbs, and spices; pour the wine over it all and marinate it for at least several hours or a day or two if you can, turning the pieces occasionally. When it's time to cook the meat, heat the oil and butter in a pot. Remove the meat from the marinade using a slotted spoon (reserve the marinade) and brown it over a brisk flame, salting it a bit. Add the grappa and continue to cook until it has evaporated. Next, stir in the marinade, reduce the flame, and simmer, covered, for at least 2 hours. When it's time to serve the meat, transfer the pieces from the sauce to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and the pan drippings and vegetables through a strainer (or blend them, but remember to remove the bay leaf and the rosemary), spoon the sauce over the meat, and serve.

You can substitute a good cut of beef for the venison and it'll turn out just fine.

Enjoy!

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