can be difficult. It can even be daunting. When you come
home from a hard day of wrangling penguins, the last thing
you want to do is put together a meal with 27 different
reach into the larder (does anyone even have a larder
anymore? Whenís the last time you saw the word
"larder"?) and pull out a handful of ingredients.
No more than five. And you make a meal, or at least a dish.
not be as complexly flavored as the one with 27 ingredients,
but on the other hand, there is less to go wrong, too. Itís
clean. Efficient. Simple.
from such simplicity can come bold flavors. I made a pot
roast out of five ingredients, and it is so roundly
delectable that I am calling it Five-Ingredient Bourguignon.
may be stretching the point, but only a little. I began with
a hunk of meat (top or bottom round; I used top) and I
braised it until tender in red wine with onions and thyme.
key is to cook the meat at a low simmer for a long time
(mine took a little under two hours). This not only makes
what is typically a tough piece of meat deliciously tender,
but it also gives a chance for the acidity in the wine to
mellow out as the alcohol cooks away.
a breeze to make, and the result is a hearty roast, just
right for a cold winterís night.
side dish to stand up to the beef ó or an excellent
vegetarian main course ó you might want to consider White
Beans With Rosemary and Garlic.
this is a dish of white beans that has been flavored with
rosemary and garlic, plus olive oil and salt. But the recipe
comes from Alice Waters, who revolutionized American cooking
with her world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse, so you know
it is going to be extra good.
it is. Beans, garlic and rosemary combine to bring out an
almost unworldly earthiness in each other; it is a truly
great grouping of flavors. Watersí recipe calls for
soaking beans overnight and then simmering them for a couple
of hours, but I took the easy way out and used beans from a
superb. Iím sure her way is better, but this was superb.
was Teriyaki Chicken With Bok Choy, a dish that embarrasses
me a little because it breaks an unwritten law. I generally
try not to cook with premade or processed ingredients (the
"Semi-Homemade" way) such as teriyaki sauce. And
yet, here is a recipe calling for chicken thighs marinated
in bottled teriyaki sauce and garlic, and it was wonderful.
could it not be? The people who make bottled teriyaki sauce
know what they are doing. It adds just the right sweet-spicy
notes to chicken that play beautifully off the mildly bitter
taste of the bok choy. Serve it on rice and you have a
satisfying, easy meal.
faster and easier, though, is Crispy-Coated Lemon-Pepper
Salmon. The secret to this is lemon-pepper-flavored panko
bread crumbs which, admittedly, is also sort of
they add a snap of lemon and a hint of black pepper to
salmon, which goes perfectly with them. And the panko bread
crumbs add a bit of texture to it, though maybe not the
crunch the name implies.
only other ingredients needed are buttermilk and melted
butter, both of which help the bread crumbs adhere to the
fish. It all takes the salmon, which is already great, and
makes it better.
my favorite go-to dinners is sausage, peppers and onions, so
I made it, as well. There is just something magical about
the way Italian sausage blends with sautťed onion and the
natural sweetness of a mild pepper.
make it, I usually eat it with no embellishments because it
needs none. But itís even better when it is sandwiched
between two pieces of good crusty bread. I put mine in the
middle of a baguette, which brought a new level to an
already incredible meal.
all of this could only be topped with dessert. Something
simple (simplicity is key). Something elegant. Something
fact, something exactly like Vanilla Pots de Creme, which is
to say a light vanilla custard. Itís just a gentle
combination of milk ó you donít even have to use cream
ó sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Cook until itís
thickened, then cook some more in a water bath to regulate
so good, so creamy on your tongue, youíll find yourself
wondering: How can something this amazing be made from only
pounds beef, chuck roast, top round or bottom round
onion, in lengthwise slices
teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Generously season beef on all sides with salt. Place meat in
Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with the wine, onion
Bring to a boil, cover, lower temperature and cook at a low
simmer, turning occasionally, until meat is cooked through,
about 1 3/4 to 2 hours.
serving: 725 calories; 46 g fat; 18 g saturated fat; 189 mg
cholesterol; 49 g protein; 5 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; no
fiber; 995 mg sodium, 41 mg calcium. Nutrition analysis used
beef, chuck roast, with no fat trimmed.
POTS DE CR»ME
(2-inch) piece vanilla bean
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Separate the eggs. In a
medium bowl, whisk the yolks just enough to break them up
(reserve the whites for another use). Set a strainer over a
different medium heat-proof bowl. Set a kettle of water on
the stove to boil.
Pour milk and sugar into a heavy-bottomed pot. Slice the
piece of vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds
from each side into the milk mixture. Add the pieces of bean
to the mixture, and heat the pot on medium heat, stirring
occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When the milk is hot,
whisk a little bit of it at a time into the egg yolks. When
you have added 1/4 of the milk to the yolks, pour the
mixture back into the hot milk.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the
mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon; if
you draw your finger across the coating on the spoon you
will be able to see the trail it made. Do not let the
mixture boil. Remove from the heat and quickly strain into
the heatproof bowl.
Pour the custard equally into 4 ramekins and set the
ramekins in a large baking pan. Place the pan in the oven
and fill the pan with the boiling water at least halfway to
the level of the custard, taking care not to spill water
into the custards. Cook until the sides are set but the
center of the custard is still loose and jiggly, about 30 to
45 minutes. Remove the baked custards from the water to
cool, then refrigerate.
serving: 186 calories; 9 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 198 mg
cholesterol; 10 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 16 g sugar; no
fiber; 124 mg sodium; 166 mg calcium. Nutrition analysis
used large eggs.
from "The Art of Simple Food," by Alice Waters
pepper, any color, cut into strips
onion, cut into lengthwise strips
Italian sausages, pork or turkey
hoagie rolls or 1 baguette
oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper
pieces, onion and sausage. Cover and cook, occasionally
turning the sausage and stirring the vegetables, until
sausage is cooked and vegetables are tender, about 15
minutes (or less, if using precooked sausage). If using pork
sausage, drain off excess oil. Serve each sausage in 1 roll
or 1/4 baguette, smothered in peppers and onions.
sandwich: 544 calories; 26 g fat; 8 g saturated fat; 40 mg
cholesterol; 23 g protein; 54 g carbohydrate; 8 g sugar; 3 g
fiber; 1317 mg sodium; 183 mg calcium. Nutrition analysis
used canola oil.
CHICKEN WITH BOK CHOY
clove garlic, chopped
cup plus 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
bone-in chicken thighs (21/2 pounds)
long-grain white rice
bunches baby bok choy, quartered
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with
aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine the garlic and 1/4
cup of the teriyaki sauce. Add the chicken and marinate for
Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the package
Roast the chicken on the prepared baking sheet, basting with
the remaining 1/3 cup of teriyaki sauce , until cooked
through, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the bok choy 10 minutes
before the chicken is done. Serve over rice.
serving: 538 calories; 45 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 199 mg
cholesterol; 45 g protein; 39 g carbohydrate; 12 g sugar; 5
g fiber; 2,233 mg sodium; 477 mg calcium
from "Dinner Made Simple," by the editors of Real
tablespoons butter, divided
cup lemon-pepper panko bread crumbs
1/2-pound) salmon fillet, cut into 4 serving pieces
Can also be grilled over medium heat, covered.
a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Mix with
the bread crumbs. Place buttermilk in a shallow dish. Dip
salmon in buttermilk and press crumb mixture evenly on top
of salmon pieces.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over
medium heat. Place salmon, skin-side down, on pan, cover,
and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 10 to
serving: 465 calories; 30 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 123 mg
cholesterol; 35 g protein; 11 g carbohydrate; 12 g sugar; 1
g fiber; 396 mg sodium; 74 mg calcium. Nutrition analysis
used salted butter & 2 percent fat buttermilk.
from Betty Crockerís "Fast From-Scratch Meals"
BEANS WITH ROSEMARY AND GARLIC
tablespoons olive oil
garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
white beans, rinsed and drained
heavy-bottomed saucepan or skillet, heat oil over medium
heat and add garlic and rosemary. Cook just until garlic is
soft, about 2 minutes. Add the beans, taste for salt and
adjust if needed. Let the dish sit for a few minutes before
serving to allow the flavors to marry.
serving: 415 calories; 10 g fat; 2 g saturated fat; no
cholesterol; 22 g protein; 62 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; 14
g fiber; 570 mg sodium, 159 mg calcium. Nutrition analysis
used 15.5-ounce canned beans.
from "The Art of Simple Food," by Alice Waters