My friend Arantza’s motto in life – and in the kitchen – is “back to basics”. Sometimes this way of life is a must, like when you are cooking with limited ingredients or are on a strict budget, but at other times it’s just a good reminder that when it comes to regular, every-day, nutritious food, much ado will not always result in better food. Seeing my friend’s approach to food has been an inspirational reminder that while food is sustenance, nutrition, and key to our health, it does not always have to take center-stage and take over your life. Come and cook with us!
I can imagine how this might seem like quite a strong statement coming from a food blogger, but in some ways I am trying to understand why with all the encouragement we get from great food magazines, cooking shows, innovative restaurants and a gazillion online recipes available at our finger-tips, free-of-charge and at any time of the day, we haven’t turned all this inspiration into more home-cooked meals. Part of it must be the high expectations, the perfectionism and the high benchmark that these media set. But honestly, who has time to cook that perfectly looking, incredibly delicious and super-healthy meal every time they are in the kitchen? Sure, some are blessed to be super chefs equipped with extraordinary culinary talents, but the majority of us humans have to find another way to cook a healthy meal every day. What works for me – and my friend Arantza – is to find a few good, versatile recipes that you can adapt to what’s available. Learn how to cook a pot of whole grains, how to make a good vegetable soup, how to prepare a basic pasta sauce and how to roast some vegetables or a piece of meat in the oven. All these dishes – and many more on our blog – are very easy to make, don’t need much more than a few ingredients and are so versatile that you can turn them into any seasonal dish.
So if I have a wish for all of us this upcoming season, it is to keep things simple. Arantza shared with me a perfect recipe that works for this back-to-basics approach. It’s called Arroz a la Cubana and it’s so simple that you can (almost) prepare it with your eyes closed. The dish consists of a bowl of brown rice, topped with a good quality pasta sauce – with or without meat – and a perfectly poached egg. We didn’t get to prepare the caramelized bananas that go with the traditional dish but I will write about it soon.
In the meantime, we at Come and Cook with Us wish you all a great end of the summer; enjoy your families and allow yourself plenty of R&R to prepare for what’s ahead. We already have many great posts and recipes in the pipeline and can’t wait to share them with you. Happy summer!