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Simplicity

February 16, 2010

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words about last nights meal. It was definitely one of my most successful ones, and I’m glad everyone liked it so much! Please let me know how it turns out if you make it yourself 🙂

Earlier today I read a post from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen. Deb’s recipes are delectable, not only through the love and care put into the combining of ingredients, but every picture has a “yum!”, every story makes you feel like you are sitting in her kitchen while she is cooking up a storm. It really is a must-visit site!

Her post today was Spaghetti with cheese and black pepper. Intrigued by this simple dish, I read further, and stumbled upon something eye opening: She spoke about how, when she is out at restaurants, she will order the simplest thing on the menu. A renound chef should be able to make the simplest of ingredients into a masterpiece.  As I sat and looked at my meal plan for the week I thought to myself “why does this have to be so complicated?”

The wonderful thing about Z’s Valentine’s Day dinner was that it was simple. Seasoned meat, seasoned potatoes; the perfect combination. While my meals have been good, I have been trying to come up with new inventive recipes, and sometimes there is just an overwhelming bouquet of flavors and textures. And sometimes it takes hours. I sat and thought about the meal I have always said would be my last requested meal before I die: red wine, stinky cheese, french pate, olives, crusty bread. Maybe some cured meats and a sliced avocado. A platter of simplicity that can be combined in any way I choose, but each element may be too special to eat in any manner but alone.  So, I threw away my meal plan for the night, and just looked at what I had in the fridge.

I came up with my own version of flat bread pizzas, using Trader’ Joes Brown Rice Tortillas.

Trader Joe’s makes wonderful gluten free products (well, wonderful everything, actually!) and these also hit the spot. Honestly, I have tried them before for wraps, and were used for Z’s burritos he made the other week, but for that usage they just don’t make the cut. They break very easily when they are folded; I even tried heating them in the microwave, but they are so dense and thick that I would much rather have made a salad. For pizza, however, these are perfect! They are thick and strong enough to hold a load of toppings, plus they crisp very nicely when put under a broiler for a few minutes. Just like a super flat bread pizza! I think they would make awesome quesadillas as well!

Z threw together some home made pizza sauce, since I don’t much like the jarred stuff and this meal was about using simple ingredients to make something amazing.

Z’s Pizza Sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

1.5 can refills of water

Garlic, paprika, basil, and a pinch of cumin

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan, and season to taste. This really is an amazing way to make pizza sauce the way you like it!

I then looked at all of the fresh vegetables we have, mostly from our trip to Haymarket, and wanted to bring out the best they each had to offer. I sauteed some mushrooms, an onion, and 3 sliced cloves of garlic in some olive oil. I thinly sliced our gigantic zucchini. I crumbled our locally bought goat cheese. I hardly added anything to any of these ingredients, it is amazing what a pinch of salt can do to bring out the flavors in a tomato, or what jazz a grind of pepper can add to zucchini. Simple, simple, simple.

We decorated our pizzas and broiled them for less than 5 minutes, until the edges of the tortilla were crispy.

I was nervous about serving this for dinner; it seemed more of an appetizer to me than an entree. Z was also skeptical (to say the least…no pepperoni!?!). But one bite into that thin crispy shell, with the homemade marinara and vegetables cooked as they were meant to be cooked — it really was tasty! I found myself enjoying all of the flavors separately, then together. It was simple, but downright good. I ate two of these with a glass of Cabernet.

Z of course, being the guy that he is, had to spice up his pizza a bit:

With some sliced turkey and a ton of Frank’s Red Hot! He did admit, though, that it was actually really good. It was the crispiness of the tortilla, I think, that got him. Plus it is fun to decorate your own pizza 🙂 I was pleased that he enjoyed it as much as I did!

This just goes to show that simple things can go far. I definitely want to focus on bringing out the ingredients in future meals that I make.

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Did anyone make pancakes today? Is anyone giving up anything for Lent? I am not religious, but might have a few tricks and trials up my sleeve 🙂

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2010 9:41 am

    I’ve found myself making simpler meals lately. Not just out of convenience, but I enjoy tasting the full flavors of the veggies and whatever else is on the plate. Why mess it up with a ton of sauce, spice, cheese, etc…I’ll have to try the spaghetti you mentioned.

  2. February 17, 2010 11:00 am

    I love Smitten Kitchen!

    I agree that simplest meals are sometimes the best. I tend to order the more complicated meals at restaurants, just because I figure I should order something that I wouldn’t usually make at home…but, the simplicity “masterpiece” argument is a good one!

  3. Cellina permalink
    April 6, 2010 10:05 am

    I’ve also used these for wraps and have screamed a few curse words in the kitchen over their susceptibility to completely break apart. I never even thought of using them as pizza crusts! What a great idea, especially for my yeast-free self. Thanks for the post!

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