Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Simple Meal

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. Well, not the simplest; in my world that would be cereal, or even a clif bar and a piece of fruit (which is in fact a staple breakfast of my early morning birding). So I guess I don't mean simple in the 'hard day at work, tired, just want to eat something, watch a little tv and go to bed' sense. I just mean a quick, nutritious meal prepared with a minimum of fuss. To tell the truth, many friends of mine, even fellow epicures, would look at what I fixed myself tonight and think that I'm out of mind to go to so much effort just for myself, and on a school night (so to speak, I have never gotten out of the habit of calling any evening when I have to go to work the next morning a 'school night'). But really, it took all of a half an hour, was delicious, and provided me with a well-rounded meal and a pleasant sense of accomplishment from the relaxing, creative energies invoked.

I had a couple of chicken legs defrosted, and had been considering a couple different recipes, a repeat of a chicken with za'taar from the new Ana Sortun cookbook Spice or a braised chicken with olives and saffron from Signor Batali's Molto Italiano. But I was tired, and it had been an irritating, if not particularly long, day, and I wanted quick and easy. So I put some rice in the rice cooker with a dollop of butter and a few pinches of spice from a turkish melange and turned on the broiler. I seasoned the chicken legs with salt, pepper and drizzled with a little olive oil and threw them under the flames. Checking the refrigerator, I found a few lonely pieces of leftover vegetables destined for the rubbish bin (mushrooms, a poblano chile and a couple stalks of broccoli) and cut them up, seasoned just like the chicken and threw them in the oven to roast while the chicken broiled below.

Once eveything was out the the oven and the chicken was liberally doused with my favorite hot sauce (actually, I have many favorites, but the best are made only from cayenne peppers, vinegar and salt) I had a meal fit for a king, or better still, perfectly fit for me and the quiet evening ahead. The chicken was well-charred but still juicy and flavorful (god bless thighs and drumsticks), the vegetables were smoky and piquant and the rice gave me a pleasant, starchy contentment. A half-glass of a light, minerally but juicy rose (don't ask me the grape, but it's not just for summer picnics anymore) made the meal as good as any I've had in a long time. And best of all, cold chicken leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

1 comment:

Meghan said...

Hmmm, I like simple meals too. This morning it was chapati/tortillas, beans, eggs and rice, with a little salsa (imported from bangkok). Yum! We like our food, that's for sure! What's next on the menu?