The weather has turned cold and rainy, which means I tend to use my skillet less and my oven more. I find myself wanting heartier, more familiar dishes. One of my favorites? Roasted Roots.
The potatoes and beets, which I received weeks ago in my CSA share, suddenly appealed to me. I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but I have been thinking about working my way through Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.
According to her roasted vegetables lesson, she suggests a light coating of olive oil and salt, roast in the oven at 425F for 25-30 minutes. So I found a cookie sheet and pulled all the root vegetables out of my refrigerator and counter. I chose a random assortment of beets, radishes (yes, you can roast radishes!), turnips, potatoes and carrots. I chopped and laid them out on the cookie sheet so that I would have just enough for an even layer. I planned to just use olive oil and salt as seasoning, but when DH made the pan-fried pork chops he saw they didn’t have any flecks so he added some all purpose herb mix he found in the cupboard. Sigh. They were still delicious.
Speaking of pork chops, I had asked DH to pick some up from the meat store on his way home (he drives right by an awesome local butcher). I was going to try Alice Waters’ method of pan-frying them, but he decided to cook them himself. I don’t think I’m ever going to learn how to cook meat. He used his own rub and they were good, I admit. I asked him for tips on how to cook pork chops in case my readers wanted to know; he said “don’t overcook them.” Hmm, that’s not real helpful. Sorry about that.
Dinner was delicious, and didn’t take long to make, so I had time to catch up on my Google Reader. There I found an article in which the interviewee, Marcy Goldman, said the following:
I feel irritated by food bloggers because they adapt other people’s recipes. It would be demeaning to me to take someone else’s recipe. What if it took 5 to 10 years of distillation to produce that one amazing recipe, just for some blogger to dismantle it?
This made ME irritated. Really? 5 to 10 years? Recipes shouldn’t be adapted? Huh? Then why do the cookbooks that I use almost always include several adaptations? Does Alice Waters want to come after me with a baseball bat because I roasted radishes along with the turnips instead of sticking to her suggested list of root vegetables? (They were good, by the way).
Perhaps this is only applicable to baking, where there is more chemistry involved. But then I think of Mark Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. In the end I decide to chalk it up to a difference of approach. Ms. Goldman may approach cooking as science, as something to be perfected. However, for most home cooks, I feel that a more artful approach is warranted. What local ingredients do I have? What can I do with them? What recipe makes a good basis from which I can add my own artful touches? Those are the questions I answer for myself when looking at recipes. Because at the end of the day, I’m not trying to sell recipes or make the PERFECT meal. I’m just trying to feed myself and my family locally . . . mindfully . . . and simply.
This post shared at Simple Lives Thursday