Chowhound has an interesting piece this week on a subject dear to my heart. I recall making a complicated meat sauce, boiling noodles and basically spending four hours to turn out a lasagne for my husband and I. I asked how he liked it and he said it was “OK.” Now I make the ten-minute version and he likes it just fine. After the four-hour lasagne, I made chicken breasts sauteed and finished with lemon and capers and the result? “Wow! That’s the best chicken I’ve ever had!”
The most time consuming meals I’ve ever made include a cassoulet I made for my family over 20 years ago (now they have a kit with the appropriate sausage, duck, duck fat et al) and an entire side of salmon covered with scallop mousse and topped with 1/2 rounds of zucchini to look like scales. Plus deep-fried parsley as a garnish. That was for graduation from cooking school for my family, godparents and my cousins.
I now buy mainly local ingredients, the best I can find, and don’t mess with them. Local organic butter, good olive oil, local produce. Pop things into the oven or onto a hot grill and they’re delicious. We just bought an inexpensive patio grill so plan to use it even with snow on the ground! Simple things like grilled radicchio (tossed with salt and pepper and a little olive oil) taste fantastic when browned a bit on the grill.
We mainly use healthy ingredients, OK too much beef but that’s Jim’s preference, not mine. I’d have more fish if he weren’t allergic to anything that swims. We splurge on occasion and have scalloped potatoes with half-and-half, or buy a pint of chocolate ice cream (I add milk and a banana and make a milkshake for breakfast).
The holidays will be interesting this year. Jim can’t take any time off from Sunday until Christmas so we won’t get to Thanksgiving at Nanny’s, my first in eight years to miss and the first Jim will miss in his entire life. I may actually have to cook a turkey! We’re talking leftover soup and sandwiches for two weeks! I’ll need to work on that menu and figure out if I can get him to like Brussels sprouts. Cheers! Dee