A Recipe for Success!

6 Feb

A lot of people tell me they would cook more often if cooking was “easier” or “faster.” I have a revelation for you: Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. The meals I cook the most often don’t come from a recipe, or involve a bajillion steps. Most of the food I cook has three simple elements:

1. Fatty lubrication (aka olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, or butter).

2. Something oniony (aka an onion, some garlic, or a leek).

3. Salt and pepper.

No joke, ya’ll. That’s it. Cook your fave veggies in the above elements and I promise it’ll be delicious. Wanna get adventurous? Cook some sort of grain like quinoa or rice (or couscous! or pasta!) and put your delicious veggie concoction on top! Add your favorite protein source (like veggie sausage or beans) to give it some extra oomph.

The type of fat you use will really dictate the taste of the dish- I usually use olive oil because I LOVE the taste, but try experimenting with butter (for a more French taste!) or a little sesame oil (for a more Asian feel). Salt and pepper are my favorite spices, but I suggest adding salt to taste AFTER you finish cooking a dish to avoid over-salting. The onion-y thing you add depends on your personal tastes- I like using red onion for their color and flavor, but I use leeks in place of onions when they’re in season. I also tend to double the amount of garlic any recipe calls for. Cuz let’s get real: garlic is bomb. Just remember that garlic cooks faster then onion- so add it towards the end of the pan-cooking process to avoid burning it.

If you want to saute things like potatoes or carrots instead of oven-roasting them, I’d recommend parboiling them (bringing water to a boil, then putting the veggies in the boiling water for a few minutes before draining them in a colander) before cooking them in the pan- it really speeds up the cooking process!

Don’t believe my magical recipe for success? Try one of the combos below, and tell me it doesn’t work.

Onion and Veggie Sausage Scramble: This is one of my favorite breakfasts. Chop a half an onion and throw it into a pan on medium-low heat along with some olive oil and veggie sausage crumbles (I like the “Go-Lean” brand that’s available at most grocery stores). Saute the onion and sausage until the onion is translucent and the sausage is beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Whisk together an egg (or two) with some salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the onion and sausage and cook to your desired consistency, making sure to stir constantly to keep the egg from over-cooking in any one spot. Patience is a virtue when cooking eggs- it’s best to keep the heat low and let it cook slowly then to risk burning it all to the pan on  higher heat.

Roasted Root Vegetables: Cut up enough potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato (or any combination thereof) to feed you any anyone else joining you. Chop an onion and/or throw in a few garlic cloves. If you’re so inclined, chop up some veggie sausage and throw it in the mix, too. Put them all in a bowl and add enough olive oil to coat all the veggies. Add some salt and pepper and toss! Throw the veggies down on a cookie sheet and throw them in a 400 degree oven for 20-40 minutes, or until the veggies are as brown and squishy as you’d like them to be! To get fancy, try adding a little rosemary and thyme.

Sauteed Kale, Leek and Veggie Sausage: Chop up your fave veggie sausage (I LOVE the Potato-Apple  “Field Roast” veggie sausage available at Rainbow). Wash and de-stem a bunch of kale (or two if you wanna make enough for leftovers/more than two people). Chop the kale stems. Wash and chop a leek (only the white and light green parts) and throw the leek and kale stems and veggie sausage into a skillet (on medium-low heat) together with some olive oil or butter. Cook until the leeks are soft and fragrant and the veggie sausage is browned. Tear the kale leaves into bite sized pieces and add them to the skillet until they’re soft, but still a nice bright green. Season with salt and pepper!

The possibilities are endless! Try something out! Post your discoveries here in the comments!

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