I am positively giddy when fresh local vegetables and fruit start showing up in the produce isles and, even better, at our farmer’s markets in town. Asparagus, rhubarb, new potatoes, broccoli, and so much more to come! And yet, sometimes I get the bounty home and I’m not sure what to do with it. Sometimes I even buy too much and feel a bit stuck. Then in comes this lovely book by Tamar Adler that wraps up philosophy, cooking, memoir, and confidence-builder all in one package.
An Everlasting Meal: cooking with grace and economy teaches you how to understand and use your ingredients rather than only giving you a recipe to follow (although she does include a few classic recipes). Adler encourages you to use what you have at home and use up every bit of it, saving even those scraps for soups and stock. Her love of food, good ingredients, and simple cooking come through on every page. She sees amazing possibility in even a pot of boiling water.
- Eat more vegetables by roasting them. Get those vegetables home, roughly chop, drizzle with olive oil, season and roast them at 400 degrees for 30+ minutes in the oven. They have so much flavor from roasting and you can eat them right away or cook with them the rest of the week.
- Revisit your salad. It doesn’t have to be cold. It doesn’t even have to have lettuce. But if it is a lettuce salad think of this: dress and season the ingredients rather than the salad as a whole. This way it won’t just taste like salad dressing.
- Keep simplicity and good ingredients in mind. “People have always found ways to eat and live well, whether on boiling water or bread or beans, and that some of our best eating hasn’t been our most foreign or expensive or elaborate, but quite plain and quite familiar. And knowing that is probably the best way to cook, and certainly the best way to live.”
- Fill a big pot half full of water and put it on to boil. Then, and only then, look around and find ingredients in your kitchen and pantry (and garden) to throw in the pot. Surprise yourself with different combinations.
- Do you ask yourself “Is this done?” Of course! And while the fork test is good, the absolute best way to know if your vegetables or pasta are done is by tasting them. Tamar’s advice says that if you’re reaching in for another bite then you know it’s done.
These tips are just a fragment of her wisdom and I encourage you to find this book and read it! I was inspired from the very beginning and have been roasting vegetables weekly now with delicious results. In fact, I am in love with roasted carrots. Try them today!
What have you been inspired by in the kitchen lately?