Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gourmet meal doesn't take too much

I forget some times how easy it is to throw together a nice meal of restaurant quality. To me it seems the weather has not been cooperating with my cooking and kitchen fun at all this summer. For the last few weeks it has been incredibly hot, then it recently got beautiful. Sadly, however, life then got in the way. August 1st starts the busy period of my job or more to the point the main travel season. Each week I have been "out of the office" for the majority of days. This is a problem for three reasons. The first being if I am out of town then I have no kitchen in the hotel. Thus, no cooking. Two, when I finally get home I am exhausted and don't really feel like cooking or doing much of anything for a few days. Finally, and this may just be a weird thing for me, is that when I get in the habit of going out to eat for every meal it is hard to stop going out to eat. What I actually have to buy and prepare my own meal?

So to be completely honest with you, I haven't been cooking because it was too hot, then I wasn't home, and now I just am simply use to eating out all of the time (more truthfully I am lazy). Yesterday however, it was much cooler and somewhat rainy. And I was home much of last week so I was fully adjusted to regular life schedule. I could no longer use the above reasoning for my culinary neglect. I thought it was perfect time to reacquaint myself with the kitchen and the grocery store.

My first suggestion for a really good dinner is a bottle of wine. Pair this with a chuck of any type of cheese you enjoy and some type of artisan bread and you have a great start. I have also been known to stop right here and eat the cheese as a main course - highly recommended after a long, busy day.

Next, my favorite go-to meal is roasted chicken. If you don't have time for a whole chicken, quarters taste the same and take much less time. I gently lift up the skin from the meat and rub with fresh rosemary and minced garlic. A little salt, pepper and olive oil on the outside and you are good to go. If you are doing quarters you can sear the skin side in a oven safe skillet before transferring to oven. Heat about 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Finally pick a favorite green veggie, such as string beans or broccoli. I like to get fresh string beans. I trim the edges and throw them into a pot with about tsp of olive oil, juice of one lemon, two cloves of garlic cut in half, and about 2 tbsp of whole peppercorns. Cover with lid and turn on medium to medium low heat. Shake gently holding lid shut.

Its simple and easy as well as quite delicious. You even have time to enjoy the wine, cheese, and bread while you wait for the chicken to be done. Its the perfect meal.

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