In spite of an intense predilection for restaurants with complicated menu offerings, most of my eating is done at home and most of it is achingly simple – quinoa pasta or fresh-cooked rice with vegetables. I often vary the way each vegetable is cooked to add flavor and texture, but sometimes I don’t have that much time or attention. But rather than have a bland, unsatisfying meal I can add one or more of the super easy frills below and just about anything improves.
- Roasted Garlic – Wonderful to have on hand. When you shop by an extra head or two to roast. Roast it while you unpack groceries and work around the house. Save in the fridge.
- Roasted Chickpeas – These make a great garnish, snack, or, if you lose control, a whole meal. Always make two batches. They will disappear.
- Caramelized Onions – Do this every night for a week. 1. Everything will taste yummy. 2. You will move past technique and develop a feel for the process. 3. Experiment with different fats and flavors (bacon fat, duck fat, EVOO + pan drippings, sugar v. no sugar, red v. white v. yellow onions). And don’t let anyone fool you. Proportions don’t matter you can do as few onions you want.
- Toasted Nuts orPepitas – You can buy toasted nuts and many flavors of toasted pepitas. Do it at home. It’s cheaper; you get the quantity you want when you want it; the nuts are still warm and have a great crunch when you put them in your salad or on your poached fish, etc. I use the dry skillet pine nuts technique I linked to w/ small quantities of any high oil nut (like walnuts). Just don’t try to eat them when they’re too hot!
- Poached Eggs – If you don’t like eggs, then never mind. If you do like eggs, you know the warm silken goodness of a fresh poached egg is incomparable. They are not just for breakfast or Eggs Benedict. They are a wonderful, protein rich addition to a bed of sautéed spinach with fried garlic, a fresh veggie stir-fry, a steak!, etc. The poached egg is all the more delicious when you nail the technique and have the perfect wobbly oblong without too many streamers of egg white.
Treat yourself well. Eat something delicious.