Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's for Dinner?

In another lifetime I thought cooking was a way to show off, a way to impress my gentlemen callers, or done on very special occasions such as Thanksgiving or a birthday. I only had a few recipes up my sleeve, full with flavor, drenched in butter and always a glass of wine to accompany. And they did the trick, they were impressive, but oh my goodness they were so labor intensive and the dishes afterwards took me at least three days to do.

Walter is not yet impressed with my culinary tricks nor do I think his growing heart could withstand the amount of butter I once used, and I know for sure the wine pairing is off the table for a few more years. So cooking has become more like a comedy of errors that miraculously comes out edible. While cooking meals I hear Padma from Top Chef saying "alright chef you have 15 minutes, time starts now". There is crying, on both my and Walter's part sometimes. But, somehow, someway well-balanced meals always seem to get onto the table.

What exactly constitutes a well balanced meal? How do I make it quickly? On (Tasty) Tuesdays I will attempt to share my little tricks. Granted I am not a chef nor a nutritionist and I only have the internet, a couple cookbooks and my own experience to draw from. Here is my rule of thumb:

  • Organic when you can (but always buy the dirty dozen organic), 
  • The meal must be at least 80% whole food--what do I mean by whole food? 
    • I must be able to imagine it growing
    • More than one ingredient  and the food is not whole
    • What has been done to the food since its been harvested? ie, refined, bleached, injected, chemically treated--you'd be surprised.
    • Is this part of a food or the whole entity
  • does the plate look colorful--the more colorful the more well rounded the nutrients will be.

The whole food bit throws a wretch into things because it means you cook a lot. But I make enough for seconds (which is either dinner another night or lunch for a few days), cook in batches and freeze so I can use it at a later time, and use the microwave when I can (gasp! I resisted the microwave for so long and then Walter really began to eat and I have reluctantly became a convert).

So what's for lunch?
Grapes halved, left over bow-tie pasta and black beans, steamed baby carrots (see how to below), with nice glass water of course. Very colorful and the only food group left out is dairy and lunch is ready in less than 5 min!

Steamed Baby Carrots
This is one of the reasons I am a microwave convert
Grab a handful of baby carrots put them in microwaveable dish;
put about two tablespoons of water in the bowl;
Cover with dish towel or paper towel;
Microwave the carrots for about 4 min, or until nice and soft;

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh, the food pairings sound delish. I sooooo agree on eating the dirty dozen organic - but I know what you mean, unless you're filthy rich, buying all organic all of the time just isn't realistic. Nice blog - I like it!