A Meal In a Bowl

Picasso had his blue period, O’Keeffe her percussionist period, and I had my meal in a bowl period. This probably came out of the fact that I excel at making soup but usually want something more substantial to eat. Whenever I eat soup, I am hungry an hour later.

I made a lot of dishes in this way, but I did not write down a recipe for any one of them! That’s just typical for me. I look at cooking like a working musician might look at playing out on a Friday night. You just can’t record every solo you play. Besides, the fun is in the playing and creating.

I eat a lot of greens, especially kale and swiss chard. In this meal, I sauteed carrots, onions, garlic and red bell peppers, adding in tomato wedges at the end. While that was going I had two other ingredients cooking. Strips of kale and a few bay leaves were cooked in a minimal amount of water until tender. Wedges of Yukon Gold potatoes were roasted in the oven. When the kale was done, it was added into the sauteed ingredients, along with scallops and a big splash of dry white wine. This was covered and simmered until the scallops were cooked. Before it was served, the roasted potatoes were mixed in. That added a nice roasted note and a little crunchy texture.

I remember this dish. I had an overstock of carrots and tomatoes to use up.

First I browned the potato wedges in olive oil and put them on the side. In same oil, I slow cooked the onion strips and sliced carrots. This caramelized the sugar in each and brought out their sweetness. There were a few slivers of garlic thrown in there too.

To finish it up, I added tomato wedges and gave them a minute or two of saute time with the carrots and onions. Then the potatoes were added back in along with a few sprigs of thyme, parsley and a little fresh chicken stock to moisten. After it simmered for five minutes and was gently stirred several times, the lid came off and on the table it went.

This I made for a Saturday lunch. I had leftover sticks of golden beets and sticks of boiled potatoes to use up. In olive oil, strips of onions, red bell peppers and carrots were sauteed with a touch of garlic. This time, the saute stage was not as slow as before. I just wanted to develop and incorporate the garlic flavor while cooking the other vegetables but leaving them on the firm side. I threw in a Roma tomato cut into wedges and gave that a few minutes of saute. There may have been a whole leaf or two of fresh basil in the mix.

Finally, I added the beets and potatoes to get them up to serving temperature and so as not to mix the flavors of the other vegetables with them. I wanted three separate flavors to be tasted: the light flavors of both the boiled beets and boiled potatoes and the richness of the sauteed vegetables. It adds complexity as your mouth finds each individual flavor with every bite. The different textures and firmness of the three adds interest as well.

A warm piece of pita bread was used as a garnish and as a fourth flavor/texture element.

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