Tuesday, March 11, 2014

28. Mole with red quinoa

I usually like a variety of colors, but I found myself making mole sauce with pork, with red quinoa on the side. It worked fine. I had a salad too, for some greenery.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

27. Balanced Meal

The balanced meal will have

1 protein source / main course.
1 starchy thing
1 vegetable
1 other flavor element, sauce, or side dish

Those elements will be present, but they will also balance each other in flavors, colors, textures.

So to multi-task for quick result:

corn tortillas can be warmed instantly in just a little bit of oil in a pan
smaller potatoes can bake with no effort, more quickly than large Idaho ones
thin sliced vegetables will cook very fast / salad can be eaten raw /spinach cooks very quickly in sauté pan
carrots can be roasted, do not need elaborate peeling for that
an egg is fast as protein, or leftover meats can be used, fish and shrimp cook fast
an onion can be a flavor element; it can bake in oven too, or be sautéed rapidly
olives or cheese can be extra flavor element or course, before or after dinner

I can make these 4-part meals in 15-30 minutes, usually. Less for a breakfast.

An example, yesterday: breakfast was leftover pork loin chopped and sautéed with onions and red peppers, cayenne and cumin, served with corn tortillas, one fried egg, salsa from the fridge. If had had some fruit it would have been perfect.

26. Minimal Salad

A minimal salad will have:

one other vegetable, like artichoke hearts
one other savory item, like olives or cheese

Minimal dressing will have

one acidic element, citrus or vinegar
one other flavor, mustard or herb

Of course, a truly minimal salad could be greens, olive oil, and vinegar! Nothing more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


By minimal I mean:

*Ingredients above all else. Technique is to make sure everything is seasoned correctly and cooked to proper done-ness.

*A minimum of pre-processed or canned foods.

*Things that can put in the oven and cook for a given amount of time, or salads that can be compiled simply.

*Minimal instructions. A recipe is just a list of ingredients. Quantities are rarely fixed.

*A single chef's knife does almost all the work.

*Emphasis in on achieving balance between flavors, colors, textures, nutritional values.

*Lack of pretention.

25. The Perfect Salad

My perfect salad now has the following ingredients:

baby spinach
roasted red peppers (not from a jar!)
grilled asparagus

Dressed with

olive oil
balsamic vinegar

About half the salad is spinach, and the other half the other vegetables.

This salad could evolve in several directions. It could become Greek salad by the addition of red onions and feta, with Greek olives and without the asparagus.

Other greens could take the place of the spinach. Poblanos can replace or suplements the roasted bell peppers. I do like cooked vegetables in my salads, though.

Friday, February 21, 2014

24. Pork Loin

One of the easiest possible dishes is a pork loin. Season by rubbing some salt, pepper, and other spices on it, stick it in the appropriate pan in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, and serve with an appropriate sauce, like the blueberry limoncello gastrique. You shouldn't even need a knife to cut it: if it is not overcooked, it will be extremely tender. It should have the slightest pink tinge to it, no more.

Monday, February 17, 2014

23. Blueberry limoncello balsamic gastrique

I got some limoncello for Valentine's day. I sauteed some blueberries in a little bit of it, with some balsamic vinegar, then added red wine vinegar until it wasn't too sweet. I had it over some of the leftover pork tenderloin, accompanied by seashell pasta carbonara.