Hmmm. My blogging efforts are becoming ever fewer. That’s okay. I do miss it, but my life is quite full at the moment. I did manage, however, to escape most of my life last week by hightailing it to Oklahoma for some R & R. It was decadent. I slept in late, watched great movies (Enchanted April, anyone?), organized decorating articles, ate delightful food, and enjoyed my mother-in-law’s company all weeklong. Ahhhh. I left my laptop at home just to make sure I would really take a break. It worked. I came home refreshed and inspired, though the drive back nearly killed me. I spent two whole days recovering. It stinks to be a wimp.
Providentially, one of my first discoveries upon being laid up in bed after my return was a fabulous-sounding cookbook. As you know, the duplex we’re moving to in — Heaven help me — less than two weeks (you think I should start packing?) features a tiny kitchen with about 3 feet of usable counter space.
That does scare me a bit, but I’ve been trying to think about the situation more positively. What if it’s just the motivation I need to simplify my cooking? Sure, I’ve really enjoyed preparing elaborate meals in my current kitchen, but I find my focus drifting elsewhere these days. In past years, I relished spending hours over the stove and grill. Now, however, I want to free up more time for other pursuits, like art classes, creative writing, and dancing. So I’ve been plotting. Instead of meals consisting of meat, a starch for hubby, and three different kinds of vegetables (all prepared separately), I’m thinking meat, a starch for hubby, and a lot of one kind of vegetable. Seems obvious, right? As long as I don’t cook the same veggie at every meal, we should do just fine. I’m also hunting for healthy one-pot meals that need only a salad on the side.
Enter Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Healthy Approach to Dutch Oven Cooking. This book promises a lot: “crisp vegetables, tender meats, incredible flavor, ONE pot, and ready in less than thirty minutes.” Could it possibly be true? The cookbook author, Elizabeth Yarnell, thinks she’s invented a totally new cooking method that involves layering, never mixing, every component of a meal in an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven and cooking in in the oven at high heat for 30 to 45 minutes. She says most meals prep in 20 minutes or less. And they’re healthy. Not a “cream of” soup in sight — just whole grains, fresh seasonal veggies, healthy meats and fats, and lots of flavor. She also claims that you won’t need to offer even a salad on the side because the recipes include enough veggies. I’m a bit more skeptical of this last claim. Still, even if I have to make a salad to go with a meal (oh, the horror!), if this technique works, it just might save my life in that small kitchen. I’ll need to tweak the recipes to incorporate soaking grains and avoid gluten, of course, but I’m pretty psyched to try this method. I ordered the book from Amazon last night and since I wanted their free shipping, I also nabbed All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking, which came highly recommended from Kimi of The Nourishing Gourmet blog. (I’ve tried two of the recipes that Kimi has shared from the book. You can find my review of Braised 7 Hour Leg of Lamb here.)
And now — now I’m going to go pick up some free boxes. Because I really need to start packing. Really need to.