I love my Sunday rituals. I’m up early thanks to a chorus of whining dogs and a meowing cat; however, once their needs are taken care of I gather what I need – my coffee and newspaper — and make a beeline back to bed. I bookend the morning with an evening ritual, my own version of Chopped. I test myself by emptying my fridge, and making what I deem my Sunday Night Bowl of Comfort.
I love eating food out of a bowl. It’s easy to prop on my lap while eating on the sofa, as I often do, and of course, there’s the element of comfort. There’s something about lounging and having a bowl of something delicious right there; it’s that warm, soft blanket you like to wrap yourself in.
Going through my fridge, it’s pretty clear this meal is a preview of holiday leftover vegetables. Brussels sprouts and butternut squash splashed with olive oil, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of nutmeg. However, there is a surprising co-star, fresh figs; a bit too soft to last another day, but just right for the collective goodness well on its way to being dinner.
Building a meal in a bowl is subjective. My only “rule,” for the ideal comfort bowl is the need for a good base. Can you imagine a spoon plunging into a bowl with mashed potatoes topped with left over shredded rotisserie chicken? Or leftover pasta topped in a rainfall of cheese that perhaps should have been tossed a day earlier. Do you have some of that bagged salad mix leftover? Top it with a couple poached eggs that weep over the greens, and dive in. This particular dinner is encircling a pile of room-temperature rice noodles with assorted greens and slightly over-ripened avocado as well as croutons made of crusty bread.
Most people will just grab any bowl they have. Not me. I have the goldilocks approach to what bowl I use. The slightly wider bowl of Italian pottery, painted with whimsical animals works well when copious amounts of pasta are in play. The bright-yellow cabbage-leaf style looks great with meals based on salads, but it’s my Emile Henry bowls that are perfect. They’re wide yet shallow and fit ideally within my hands.
A meal in a bowl is inviting. It invites those with you to grab a utensil and eagerly ask for a bite. It may not present itself as beautifully as you want, but the taste is stunning because it makes you happy.
Sunday Bowl of Comfort
A comfort bowl is any meal you create that brings you comfort. I consider it my version of Chopped. I empty out my fridge and create a meal from what's there. You don't need to plan, but a little ingenuity and creativity is a plus.
- 12 oz Brussels Sprouts, cut into halves
- 14 oz Butternut Squash, cut into chunks
- 4 medium-large Fresh Figs, cut into quarters
- 1 tsp nutmeg, or more to taste
- Olive Oil to coat
- 2 cups assosrted greens
- 2 cups cooked rice noodles
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 3/4 cup croutons
Preheat the oven to 375*
In a large mixing bowl, add the brussels sprouts and squash and coat lightly with olive oil. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Spread everything on a rimmed baking sheet and begin roasting. 20 minutes into the roasting, scatter the fresh fig pieces and continue to roast until the brussels sprouts are nicely charred, the butternut squash is soft and tender, and the figs are soft and a bit caramelized. Remove from the oven and leave in the pan while prepare the bowls.
Layer the greens between each bowl and lay the rice noodles down the center of each. Add the avocado and crotons top of the greens and spoon the vegetables on the other side of the rice noodles and spoon a dressing of your choice over the top.