Do you ever lose the will to cook?
Not to eat, but to cook?
It happens to me, occasionally…. with the change of seasons.
I think the problem is that the seasons never quite manage to change fast enough to suit me.
I'm perfectly content with winter and winter cooking until that first warm, spring-like day.
Then I want to stow my tagine and soup pots and get out the barbecue grill and smoker.
Never mind that said first spring-like day is followed by weeks of cold, damp, windy rain. I've had my taste of spring and I want it.
I'll freely admit the same thing happens in the fall.
I'm happily grilling and smoking and making salads when the first cool night happens. We light a fire in the stove and summer cooking is over. Even if the temperature soars once again my taste has turned to soups and stews.
It's all mon mari's fault, of course.
He's conditioned me over the years.
He loves to cook outdoors and he's in charge of summer cooking.
I still make the marinades and the sauces and the salads and the pastas…. But he actually does the cooking of the meats and potatoes and vegetables on one of his many outdoor grills.
Summer cooking is not about the work involved in preparing the meal or even (at least not completely) the method of cooking; it's about the flavors and types of foods…. and being outside on a warm evening.
We eat completely, totally, different foods in summer than in winter. I would no more consider eating chili or roast chicken in August than I would eating a salad or barbecued chicken in January.
So I find myself in cooking limbo.
It's warm, the grill comes out of the barn; it gets cold, the grill goes back in the barn. It's a warm sunny moring, I thaw something for the grill; rain comes in and I have to cook inside.
So I find myself cooking interesting combinations….. Like Lemon Meatball Salad.
Or I find myself doing something I rarely do anymore….
Cooking something that is extremely simple.
At which point I wonder why I don't do it more often…. Has writing a food blog somehow caused me to eschew the simple in favor of the complicated?
In honor of simple food….
1 pork tenderloin
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp smoky paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar
Cut pork into 1" (2.5cm) thick slices. Heat oil in a large skillet until sizzling. Add paprika, cumin, and swirl to coat bottom. Add pork fry, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Add vinegar and swirl to distribute. Turn pork once or twice to coat in pan drippings, remove and serve.
Serve with some simple potatoes:
2 medium potatoes, 10oz (300gr)
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1 medium onion
3 tsp olive oil
Peel and chop onion. Sauté in 2 tsp oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat until just transparent. Chop pepper, add to onion and continue to sauté until just starting to brown. Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces.
Remove onions & peppers from pan, add potatoes and remaining 1 tsp oil. Sauté potatoes until light brown and cooked through (taste one), about 15 minutes. Return onions and peppers to pan and continue to sauté another 5 minutes. Salt & pepper if desired, and serve.
Simple can be good….