It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
I’ve always followed the food trends—what’s in, what’s out? They can be as trendy and entertaining as fashion. As the new year, new food articles come out, sometimes I laugh and sometimes I grit my teeth. We’re inundated with how to be healthy and hip.
Apparently in 2020:
Eating blue food is in. (Blueberries have always been “in” for me.)
Awareness that how we eat affects global warming is up. (A necessity, not a trend.)
Impossible Burgers lead the food industry parade of new food. Everybody’s excited about a burger made of plants with meat-like qualities. (But—are they really made of plants?)
Wouldn’t it be great to take the stress out of going into the kitchen? Make cooking NOT this complicated thing in our lives, especially when there are so many demands on our time?
We’re all being bombarded by a LOT of information, about the planet, the politics, your kids, your dogs… life happens fast, but we have to keep ourselves nourished. We need to find a simple way.
I look back at my first cookbook and think gosh, could I have made this recipe more complicated? With a laundry list of spices, including ⅛ teaspoon of cardamom? Like I couldn’t live without that? I say this as the author of 5 cookbooks and someone who’s helped chefs in restaurant kitchens, home cooks, community cooks… the whole spectrum.
I’m putting it out there, the challenge I’ve set myself that I think will help many of us. What if it could just be simpler?
Best bets for simple cooking:
Slow cooker/Instapot. What if I could use a slow pot or instapot and be able to do things in half the time and come up with something healthy and yummy? You may think you don’t need one more kitchen gadget, but this one is a game-changer.
Batch cooking. What if I made batch cooking a weekly routine? I do. :) I’m a big batch cooker. It’s SO simple. I get everything I need and prep it all out in advance, wash and chop the vegetables, ready to go. My simple solution in the winter is sheet pan cooking. Chicken or fish over colorful vegetables. I throw everything—already prepped—on the sheet pan, stick it in the oven and I’m in like flint.
Soups, broths & sauces. Made and frozen. This weekend I’m going to be cooking because I’ve exhausted my December freezer inventory. I cooked ahead, knowing I wouldn’t feel like cooking after the holidays and I was right. Now it’s time to stock up for February.
Being creative with leftovers. Don’t waste that gorgeous food! Throw leftovers over quinoa or rice. Wrap them in a tortilla. Add a 2-minute salad or sauerkraut to add some culinary spark.
My husband Gregg and I go to the Russian River every January after the holidays and just chill. We sample fancy food and wine. When we came home after this trip, I made a simple vegetable curry. Gregg exclaimed appreciatively, “Ah! There’s just something about simple food…”
Making a simple curry is all about having my spices in stock along with fresh vegetables and a can of coconut milk.
Here’s my simple short riff on a curry:
Heat a pot with olive oil, or ghee.
Saute onions and chopped ginger with a pinch of salt.
Add carrots and sweet potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks, with 1 teaspoon of yellow curry powder, ½ teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon and deglaze the pan with ¼ cup Magic Mineral Broth or water.
Add 1 can of coconut milk and let everything simmer for about 10 minutes, until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender.
Add some chickpeas and broccoli (do not overcook!). Simmer for 1 minute more.
Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime, and serve over basmati rice (I had put a cinnamon stick in the pot when I cooked the rice).
Cook’s Note: You can add chicken but if so my advice is pan-sear your chicken first and add it to the curry at the very last minute so it doesn’t overcook. The same with tofu—pan sear, seasoning with some curry powder, take it out of the pan then put back in at the end.
What I want to know is: what would make your life simpler in the kitchen?
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