Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Beauty of Simplicity...

I like to keep it simple. I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day. For special occasions yes. I actually enjoy cooking but on an everyday... I want in and out and good !

My roommate Sallie is always shocked at how quickly I cook, or that I can actually clean up before I sit down to a still warm, really good meal. My cooking is getting better though my father says otherwise.

Anyway, I’ve been in the kitchen more because I love to cook but I want to cook better. So I buy beautiful cookbooks! Go to a bookstore and flip through the pages. Find food that looks good to you and that’s the one you get, provided of course you even want to cook. But I do suggest you befriend your kitchen. Open a bottle of wine and try something different like I did for Thanksgiving.

My niece Briana came down from college to hang out with Aunt Candace for a few days over the holidays. She’s attending University of the Pacific. Yep, we’re kinda proud. I asked her for her ‘must-have’ food because Aunt Candace was not doing the whole Thanksgiving dinner thing. She needed yams and sweet tea. Our compromise was sweet potato pie and sweet tea. After that, it just had to be good and it had to be simple.

I found a recipe for chicken that sounded and looked really good in the December issue of Food & Wine (page 106, take a look at it when you’re in the grocery store tomorrow. It may become your dinner). It’s crazy how simple it is. And the fact that it’s a one-pot dish, oh yeah, even better.

Chicken Baked on a Bed of Bread and Swiss Chard – You’ve got chicken, greens, and bread. I’m happy! What else do you need, macaroni and cheese? I got you. Briana made it and she did a good job. There was finger smacking and everything. We did good Bri!

This is a relatively healthy meal. All your fat comes from the mac & cheese but we’re not eating the whole pan here. I know it’s the holidays but let’s enjoy not engorge. It’s a long season and an even longer winter. We don’t move as much and we typically eat heavier, richer foods. My mom’s baked potato soup sounds good on 40 degree nights. Yeah, yeah I know some of you are wearing toe warmers right now because it’s 8 degrees outside. I live in Southern California and I’m grateful not to have to shovel a path to my car. But 40 degrees is 40 degrees and that’s cold to me but, back to the point.

We’re in that extended, celebratory part of the year where the ovens are on full blast baking cakes and pies, the doorbells are ringing with people holding gifts of chocolate and wine, and soon it will be time to toast 2011 with champagne. Enjoy your friends and family but enjoy yourself just a bit more by realizing you don’t have to pack on the fat in order to survive the winter. We may not move as much when it’s cold but we’re not bears hibernating for six months either. Your happy holidays shouldn't equate to pounds of regret later. Eat, drink and be merry but take it easy my friends.

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