Meal of The Week

CHEF JOHN SPEAKS

Version 2

PANDEMIC BASICS

MY PANDEMIC FRIENDS SEEM TO FALL INTO TWO CATEGORIES:  THOSE WHO ARE COOKING MORE MEALS THAN THEY EVER HAVE IN THEIR LIFETIME AND THOSE WHO ARE NOT COOKING AT ALL.  THIS COLUMN IS DIRECTED TO THE SECOND GROUP.  

RATHER THAN SPENDING YOUR ENTIRE NEST EGG ON TAKEOUT, DID YOU EVER CONSIDER DEVOTING SOME TIME TO COOKING?  I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT TORNADOES ROSSINI OR CAILLES À LA SARCOPHAGE, BUT SIMPLE THINGS LIKE ROAST CHICKEN, PAN-COOKED STEAK OR PASTA.  THESE DO NOT REQUIRE YOU MASTER DAUNTING TECHNIQUES.  NOR BUY EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT NOR USE LOTS OF POTS AND PANS.  I’VE BEEN ROASTING CHICKENS FOR YEARS IN A CAST IRON PAN.  LAST NIGHT I MADE SKIRT STEAKS IN THAT SAME TRUSTY CAST IRON SKILLET.  PASTA, BOILED IN PLENTY OF SALTED WATER AND TOSSED WITH BUTTER AND PARMESAN MAKES A SATISFYING MEAL.  MY FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING IS LEMON JUICE, SALT AND PEPPER, GOOD OLIVE OIL AND A TOUCH OF GARLIC.  AND ONCE YOU’VE MASTERED A BASIC TECHNIQUE LIKE PAN GRILLING A STEAK, YOU CAN PAN COOK LAMB CHOPS, PORK TENDERLOINS OR CHICKEN PIECES.  AFTER PAN COOKING YOUR PROTEIN, TAKE IT OUT AND MAKE A SIMPLE SAUCE IN THE SAME PAN WITH SOME CHOPPED ONIONS, SHALLOTS OR GARLIC, A SPLASH OF WINE AND A COUPLE OF TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER.  IF YOU’VE GOT FRESH HERBS, ADD THEM AT THE END.  VOILA!  THAT’S IT.  

OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, I’M GOING TO POST SOME OF THESE BASIC RECIPES.  TRY ONE.  WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?  

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