Responses aren't coming in as fast this time as with past submissions. Is this because agents are considering, or because it's summer vacation? Nevertheless, I'm enjoying the time.
Since my mind has been on south France lately, evoked by a pending vacation and the book I'm reading, I decided to prepare a vegetable dish I saw in a France magazine: zucchini and red bell peppers cooked in tomatoes, olive oil, shallot, garlic, and basil. Here in the San Fernando Valley we have a truly wonderful Latino market chain with great produce at great prices. Having grown up on a farm, I remember the look and feel of fresh-from-the-field produce; this market's produce is a match. 19.4 pounds of produce -- tomatoes, zucchini, red bell peppers, bananas, cantaloupe, two heads of red lettuce, and one head of garlic cost me $11.46. That's what I've often paid for just the lettuce and peppers (wilted and wrinkled, respectively) at a large unionized grocery chain, sold by a disinterested clerk earning union wage, who never made eye contact.
I put my own twist on the vegetable dish with a throw of sweet marsala, and served it with chicken thighs roasted in seasonings and a splash of white wine and balsamic vinegar. Wine: usually my feeling is "if it's not red, it's not wine"; however, this time I brought out a Chardonnay. Yes, I'm enjoying the wait.