Keeping It Simple
Sometimes I just want something simple, easy and tasty.
I love to eat. Food is fascinating to me – all the flavors, colors, textures. The combinations seem to be endless.
Have you ever considered that chicken is chicken no matter where it is prepared? That pasta with a lovely tomato sauce can easily translate into pizza with a tomato sauce – and not forget the cheese. That the Sunday Roast, no matter what kind of roast, is the same in the UK, Canada, US and hundreds of other places. Dumplings…dropped onto gently simmering broth or steamed or pan seared or rolled out and cut.
The irony of food is that no matter how hard we try to gussy it up, at its base it is simple and straightforward.
I went out for lunch with friends recently and was treated to a lovely cheese gnocchi with grilled chicken in the most amazing cheese sauce/broth. Simple, easy, flavorful. Wonderful. The idea came from a soup recipe that evolved into a main dish that was no longer soup, but carried all the great ingredients to new levels.
With all the cookery shows and emphasis on dinner in a box delivered to your door, I think we might have inadvertently lost the idea that good simple food is what most people crave. Yes, we do enjoy the fancy meals, but not every day. We don’t always have time to prepare the amazing creations that those fancy meals call for.
I don’t mind left overs and I am not afraid of cooking forward. Which is why a lot of my cooking is geared toward make ahead meals. I like to cook a batch of chicken to use during the week or put aside in the freezer. Same with a roast or ground meats. I can try new recipes with part of the batch and put the rest aside for later use. Saves me time and allows me to experiment a bit.
But there are those times when all I really want is a lovely roast chicken and a pot of rice. Steam some veg on the side (usually broccoli or carrots) and I’m happy.
Summer lends itself to adding fresh tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots or turnips to the table. If you haven’t tried them in their raw state, I highly recommend it. The flavors and texture are different. It doesn’t hurt that it helps the battle with the waistline, too. Fresh vegetables and fruits are a lovely way to lighten a meal and add great flavor.
As you contemplate your menus and prepare your shopping lists, think about testing out some little things to see what you like. Add the new favorites to your list and see what you can add the next time. Above all, enjoy!