We have dear friends who have a lovely home in the NY countryside.
When they invite us up to spend the weekend, we have a blast on so many levels including making delicious meals together. We all have the same cooking methodology; use few and fresh ingredients and make them sing. Another special treat about their home is their vegetable garden. This is a treat and a carved out section of envy. It is the truest sense of farm to table eating. During our last visit we kept it super simple preparing items and eating as they came out of the kitchen. We pulled together a couple of light salads to nosh on during the day.
This is a post about the art of simplicity.
Arugula salad with beans, corn & cucumber
Watermelon & Feta
All those refreshing dishes were our day time lunching bites.
At night we again kept it simple: Roasting some fish, tossing a salad and warming beans & potato.
Oven Roasted Grouper
For the fish, we wanted to keep the fresh purity of these beautiful grouper fillets, so they were seasoned with the Magic 3 (salt, pepper, olive oil) and then added parsley, some sautéed onions and roasted tomatoes. (Remember the previous posts on roasted tomatoes and all the different uses... Well, here is one glorious way to use those candy-like jewels.) Roast at 350 for 12-20 depending on the thickness of the fish.
For the salad, use the freshest greens you can find. In our case, no car necessary. We were lucky that all that was required was a pair of scissors to snip some from their abundant, and I mean glorious, garden. If only JuanCarlos and I had this kind of green thumb. Ron gets two thumbs up for this magnificent 'living salad bowl'.
Garden Greens with Nectarine
I say, don't mess with perfection.
The garden fresh greens didn't need too much, so I only added some scallions and nectarines and dressed it with a light lemon, garlic vinaigrette. (Since we are heading out of nectarine season, they can be substituted with avocado, or apple. The idea for the salad is have a sweet element to it. Use whatever you like.)
Beans & Potatoes
For the bean/potato dish, another simple pairing of just a few items. Cut 2-3 potatoes into bite sized cubes and boil until just before tender. Drain and set aside. In a skillet, sauté garlic and shallot in oil. Add the potatoes and season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Add the small cannellini beans to warm through. And now here is yet another use for those roasted tomatoes. Wait for it... instead of using the tomatoes in this dish (which would certainly be a lovely addition) I used spoonfuls of the oil and juices that bubbled out while roasting. This creates another level of flavor that makes this dish warm and yum! Chop some fresh parsley to finish.
The meal was quite tasty without a lot of fuss. The best part; sharing good, nutritious food with people we love. I hope you, too, can carve out some time this weekend or next to take in nature's beauty and create a meal that brings you joy and stir up some love with the ones you love.
Here's leaving you with a little zen.