Friday, March 28, 2008

Meals don't have to be elaborate to be tasty!

I'm a big fan of getting people back into the kitchen and cooking rather than relying on fast-food or pre-made, packaged foods. This being said, it's important to point out that cooking does not have to consist of elaborate menus to be enjoyable. Half the fun is making it yourself and enjoying the company of people you are eating with.

For example, here is a photo of a very simple lunch I had in Savannah, GA. It is a cornmeal-crusted grouper filet on foccaccia bread with a side salad and wedge fries.... very simple, but yet still very vivid in my memory as one of my tasty meals there. Yeah, sure, I ate/sampled many dishes while I was there, and some quite complex, but my point is there is something to be said about rustic simplicity in a dish.

As home Chefs, you should embrace this culinary day & age we're in where the more rustic a dish is, the more gourmet it looks (usually). Gone are the days when we make home-made pizzas in a perfect circle, for example. I remember being a kid in the 70's, and if this was done it was considered a good thing and people would compliment with "wow, that looks just like store-bought or take-out pizza"! Now however, we want out pizza crusts to be misshapen and pie edges to be formed irregularly... it shows that it is undeniable home-made... and rustic!

This sandwich could be very easily copied at home and to make it even easier, just buy pre-made foccaccia if you want. Although, grouper is not a popular availability at our local fish counters, it could be done with almost any mild fish filet... cod, snapper, halibut... you choose. Mix cornmeal with some salt and pepper and dredge your filets through this mixture on both sides and then just pan-fry, deep-fry, or bake. A small amount of mayo or tartar would definitely compliment as well. Top with lettuce and tomato or serve the greens as a side salad and you're done!

This is just one small example of how simple cooking can be... the possibilities are endless. Cooking can be an addiction if we let it. Start with simple dishes and go from there. Take a cooking class to get inspired or have a cooking class in your home.

...and for those of you who are wondering "does he actually take photos of his meals at restaurants?" ...what can I say? I love food!!

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