When I moved to Brooklyn almost an year and half ago, I only thought about the space, mental and physical, I was gaining in leaving behind Manhattan. For a large part of the year, especially, the not-warm months, I either worked from home or was away from NYC altogether. So, I did not have to worry much about commuting time.
Since the beginning of this year that has changed as I commute into the city everyday. Believe you me, that commute adds up! I write off nearly two hours each day and in this cold, that feels more like four! Not only does the whole Winter thing hamper productivity by just being cold and snivel-y, the longer the commute the extra the toll on your body.
I come back home absolutely wiped out each evening. Which means, I rarely have time to even think about dinner much less spend hours making it. Yet, I want to engage with my food and not rush through the motions. Most days, I still manage to cook fresh meals; meals that are nourishing and interesting.
I have discovered that the trick is to keep it simple. Few ingredients. Best quality I can afford. Seasonal, as much as possible. Slow cookers. Quick sautés. A few roasts. All, so I spend less time in making the meal and more time relishing it.
I saw a movie last weekend when I was on a relaxation bender. Chef. There was a pasta in it that tugged at all my strings. I wanted it. So, I made a version of it. Because it was the epitome of simplicity and everything that was perfect solution to my moans above. Garlic, pile of chopped cilantro, pasta, lots of good olive oil and a dash of chili flakes for kick. Oh la la! Just four ingredients and there is magic happening before your eyes.
What I love about such a dish is that everything is usually always around in your pantry. If you don't have the exact ingredients, it is really easy to substitute with what you do have. No cilantro? Throw in parsley or a bunch of basil. No spagetti? Throw in whatever pasta you have or even better make your own with some flour, water and oil and, maybe, an egg, although I would not be particular.
If you don't have garlic, however, I really have to call you out. You must remedy this lapse of judgement asap and make sure you are never out of garlic! It is the unsung hero of many a great dish. Cooking without garlic is like watching a silent movie, all action no memory.
In short, this one is a keeper. An everyday dish that you will rarely tire of eating just on its own.
And, when you start with something that simple and good, it is so easy to make it simply extraordinary by finishing with a clean fried farm egg. Salt and nothing else! That's what I have for you today. A simple, but, take my word for it, very special plate! :)
And, if you think that is not enough perfection, may I recommend a side of rosemary roasted beets? It is almost painfully glorious and could not be easier to throw together. Four simple ingredients, salt, beets, rosemary and olive oil, have never better come together to create sublime! Also, you can toss an egg atop to make it a more wholesome dish.
It may sound like this post was a crafty ode to eggs after all. But, really it is all how the pantry is your knight in shining armor; how it can magically turn a bitter, blistery winter day into a cocoon of warmth! Happy Weekend! :)
Everyday Garlic Pasta
1 lb spaghetti (gluten free or normal)
2 cloves of garlic sliced thin
4 T chopped cilantro (or parsley), chopped fine.
pinch of chilli flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs + sea salt for seasoning
salt for the pasta water
Bring a pot of water to boil. Season with salt and a drizzle of olive oil and cook the pasta until al dente.
Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pan, place the garlic slices in cold oil.
Turn on the heat to medium and let the garlic cook and infuse the oil on low.
When the pasta is almost ready, sprinkle in the chili flakes.
Drain the cooked pasta completely and add to the hot oil and toss to coat and leave for a couple of minutes.
Remove from heat and add half the chopped cilantro and toss.
Serve onto plates and sprinkle remaining cilantro on top. Top with fried egg and serve
Rosemary Roasted Beets
2 good sized beets
1 long sprig of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel the beets and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Arrange on a large parchment paper, drizzle olive oil and sea salt.
Place the sprig of rosemary on top and fold over the parchment to create a pocket.
Bake for 20 minutes, until soft and glazed. Serve immediately.