Happy Monday everyone! I am in the throws of a busy week preparing for my food premiere party, so will be posting pretty early this week…so stay tuned. I am overcome with a sense of gratitude, nostalgia, excitement, and butterflies all in one. I get the honor of having my 82-year-old grandmother as a front row guest to see the fruits of the deposit she put in my life for passionate cooking, and I must say I am a little beside myself :). So glad she is still alive to see it. Let me get off my soapbox for a minute as just the thought of that conjures up tears. I told my husband I will probably be crying AND eating at my party…the latter most definitely (Lol!)
Today I want to talk about the simplicity of a memorable meal, and convey to you that a memorable meal does not have to be expensive or complicated to be fabulous. I heard one of my favorite chefs, Ina Garten, talking about how that universally people like simple, no frill meals, and they prove to always be winners whether you are cooking at home for your family or hosting guests. I want to build on that thought and say that whatever simple dish you decide to prepare, always strive to make it the best it could be. Roasting a chicken? Make it the BEST, most tender, juicy, flavorful chicken one has ever sunk their teeth in. I know for me, I spend a lot of my private time researching beforehand on what makes a dish “sing.” I don’t want just a good meal, I want “the best” meal I could possibly make. The answer could be in either the cooking technique, the quality of the bird, or the seasonings you use. Don’t be afraid to try several recipes or techniques until you find the “one” that you can put your signature stamp on. There are 4 things I always consider when making a simple dish fabulous:
1. Universal Appeal. Does it look tempting, and does the recipe speak to you and others. I am BIG on presentation! (My husband will tell you). It has to appeal to my eyes first, look good on the plate, and if not, back to the drawing board…(by the way, white plates ALWAYS make food pop, but more on that in a future post).
2. Taste/Texture. Does it meet the end result standards of flavor, crispiness, tenderness, moistness, etc. that you are going for? This takes trial and error and research to find that perfect balance. That is why I LOVE watching cooking channel shows so I can watch how the pros do it!
3. Affordability. Can I use a few ingredients, are they readily available, and is it relatively inexpensive to make.
4. Yield. Will it yield me the best food experience, become my “go-to” recipe, and quite simply will it yield leftovers the next day 🙂 I always get my family to rate a meal at mealtime so that I get feedback on whether or not to repeat it in the future, or what would they tweak differently.
Right now, a succulent roast chicken on a bed of roasted root vegetables with a side of buttermilk mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and a nice glass of iced tea sounds fabulous. And to think that I can get a nice, all natural, antibiotic-free, fresh whole chicken at Earth Fare for less than $2 a pound makes the idea of tonight’s comfort meal seem even more enticing 😉