one other thing that makes me irrationally happy… making food that just works…  i’m not sure i could duplicate the recipe if i needed to, but last night, this was delicious…

 based, very loosely, on a panzanella (italian bread salad), i added a whole garden full of fall veggies in lieu of the purist tomato/cucumber/basil combo.  i cubed and pan-fried some butternut squash and eggplant, then briefly roasted some onion half-moons… broiled some bell pepper strips and diced tomato, and tossed everything together in a bowl with a torn-up loaf of sourdough from my local artisan bakery – then drizzled with a wee bit of balsamic vinegar.  and then topped with toasted, slivered almonds.  somehow, the bright tanginess of the peppers and tomatoes, the sweet heft of the onions, and the mellow nuttiness of the squash and eggplant (accented by the smoky crunch of the almonds) worked perfectly against the  sour softness of the bread.  and the vinegar just sort of took all the flavors to eleven, so to speak! 

 i can brag about this without shame because it was a nearly accidental combination.  these were simply all the vegetables that were still in my produce drawer after a happy visit to the farmer’s market last week.   i took the resultant salad to my church small group potluck, where the hostess had, coincidentally, fixed a roast pork tenderloin for the main dish – which was absoulutely the perfect flavor and texture for the salad to support!  oh, we feasted.  three cheers for food-serendipity. (c: