Cooking is a labor of love. It’s about feeding people, bringing friends and family together and celebrating life. On a typical weekday night, life doesn’t allow the time for a 5-course meal, complete with sides. Generally a quick skillet dish or sauté will do. On the rare occasion, maybe a quick braise or homemade soup. During the week I live for speedy dishes and quick fixes. After a long day of work, I want to cook, eat and be in my pajamas in front of the TV as quickly as possible, before bedtime calls and a new day begins. But when I have time, on weekends or holidays, I like to take my time. Make a sauce from fresh tomatoes, not canned, take the extra time to whip some butter or churn some ice cream. The thing that makes a meal truly special, truly memorable is always in the details.
As promised, day 1 of recipes from Saturday Night’s dinner party.When cooking for a group, especially with courses involved, I follow the KISS methodology–keep it simple “silly”. Anything that can be prepared in advance and then set out with no prep work is ideal. Same with the main dishes. Baked dishes, roasts, braises are perfect. Sautes, pan fry = too much work!
Some days you just have too much food. You’re CSA share was too big, you went a little crazy at the farmer’s market (guilty) or you’ve just been eating out a lot. So here you are on the verge of wasted food–the best time to get creative!
“Everything but the Kitchen Sink” is what I’ve decided to call my last minute, thrown together, don’t want to waste food meals. They tend to happen a lot. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the best planner when it comes to food. I’m easily drawn to beauty, especially beautiful food, and sometimes I might buy a little (a lot) too much with no idea how to use it.
Tonight’s meal? A take on Sausage and Peppers and then some. I buy sweet Italian sausage without casings from Lewis Waite Farm. Over time, I’ve learned it’s best for both parties. I save time not having to take the casing off, like I usually end up doing, and they save time not having to case it. I had a few peppers and some spring onions that I sliced. With that I threw in some summer squash leftover from last night and some kale and squash from my last Tribeca CSA share. Add a little left over gravy (red sauce) from the fridge, cook it all together in my handy dandy Dutch Oven and serve over rice. Voila! Perfect weekend dinner.