15 May 2006

IN PRAISE OF: Simplicity

Usually Monday nights are fairly mundane dinner nights at our house. Nothing fancy. In fact, sometimes it's leftovers from the big Sunday dinner we're sure to have concocted. But tonight I had a hankering for something bigger. Maybe it's because I didn't cook all weekend (unfortunately, that meant I did have to do dishes!), or perhaps it's linked to the crappy day I had at work, but whatever the case, tonight's dinner is pork roast, Yes, pork roast on a Monday evening, when my wife will be home after 7:30, the ironing needs to be done, and the dog's dying for a long walk.

Why not.

Nuke the frozen roast for ten minutes on low, and preheat oven, while noshing on "hint of lime" nacho chips (far too addictive). Drizzle the roast in a little lime juice, add some dried coriander and black pepper, throw in the oven. Slice a couple of potatoes, drizzle in olive oil, sea salt and pepper, throw on a cookie sheet, plunk in oven. Go take the dog for a nice long walk, and come back for a post-Pilates feast.

So while I was walking the dog, I thought about how for all the fussy cooking and creating that I love to do...for all the hours and hours and hours spent on any given Saturday afternoon preparing a dinner to share with friends or family...I still love to fall back on the tried and true simple dishes.

While it can be fun to butterfly a porkchop and stuff it with brie and sour cherries, there's also something wonderful about just slathering one in barbeque sauce to grill it and eat it in a saucy ten minutes.

An hommage, if you will, to the simply delicious combinations of life:

- Thick beef steaks grilled to perfection with just salt and pepper

- Shrimp skewers on the BBQ, with just a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper

- Scallops sauteed in a touch of white wine and black pepper

- Sliced potatoes cooked with onion and olive oil, in foil, on the barbeque

- Carrots, sliced and slow simmered in a bit of butter and honey for half an hour

- Asparagus, steamed or grilled or fried or sauteed with just a touch of butter

- Strawberries and milk with a sprinkle of white sugar on top

- Pan-fried bananas with butter and cinnamon, on pancake mornings, or over vanilla ice cream for dessert

Which really just shows that while a well-stocked fridge and pantry can yield impressive concoctions, sometimes you just need a simple dash of salt and pepper in order to whip up something amazing.

Why mess with a good thing, after all?

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