The Way to Cook Simply

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Marinated Grilled Monkfish with Green Olive Tapenade, Rosemary and My Tomatoes.

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Roasted Winter Vegetable Gratinee

IMG_1884I love grilled fish any time of season. My grill is the cheapest Weber Smoky Joe. There are no bells or whistles, just you and the elements air (read wind) and fire. I marinated the monkfish briefly in olive and rosemary. I grilled the fish over real charcoal, not the Kingsford variety. When the fish was almost done, I transferred it to a small saute pan. I finished cooking the monk fish in this pan and added home made  green olive tapenade and the end of a jar of home made canned tomatoes. I got everything nice and warm to be where it should. That is, the fish is moist, tender and succulent and has absorbed the other flavors of the tapenade and tomato.

I like to make tapenade in small amounts by hand with a knife so all the components look a little chunky. You ought to be able to see and perhaps identtify the ingredients. Also, I use no anchovy in my tapenade.

This gratinee of five different Winter vegetables includes some of my favorites. They are carrot, brussels sprouts, parsnip, turnip and rutabaga. The beauty of this little side dish is that it is composed from left-overs and goes great with everything. For the record, in simple cooking no sugar is ever used to carmelise vegetables, especially onions. My point is that these items are already sweet enough. They are also good enough to enjoy by themselves. They also lend themselves to other methods of cooking or preparation. Other roots that I like eat in the Winter are beets and celery root, also known as celeriac.

Boiling is the simplest and least complicated way to cook these. All you have to do is make sure your boiling or blanching water tastes like the ocean. And don’t overcook either.

So this is supper. Having a set of oven-proof Pyrex dishes are really convenient. They are a great way to re-heat left-over potatoes, as one example. But the real beauty of simple cooking is that clean-up must be as simple as the prep and cooking time.

Simple cooking is largely based around a well-stocked pantry, eating mostly plant food, using good ingredients and treating them appropriately. It is not a diet or a lifestyle. It just is. Because we have to eat well, so that we can be strong. So that we can fight back. Basically, it is respect for good ingredients and where they came from.

Simplicity is the highest form of sophistication and will never go out of style.

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2 thoughts on “The Way to Cook Simply

  1. Rutabaga is hands down in my top 5 favorite vegetables. I never have luck adding them to other vegetables to roast since they are so hard. Should i start them first and add the rest later? Or is it better to par boil and add them with all the vegetables at once?

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  2. No need to parboil and do them all together. Do the sprouts separately and them later. I roasted the roots on top of the stove in a heavy pan. I got some color on the vegetables using a medium gas flame. I use gas for cooking. It is okay to add some water to create steam to make sure the roots are cooked, just enough to keep the pan moist. Also, I cut all the roots smaller than my pinkie finger nail so that they would cook fast. Adding salt to the pan draws the moisture or water content out of the vegetables so add only the least amount of water you need. Remember, they are roasted, not flooded.

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