It has always frustrated me to spend an hour cooking only to have the meal over in 20 minutes, thus I have become obsessed with small plates and courses. We have small bowls in 2 or three sizes, which work great for veggies and small soups, square plates of 4” and 6” sizes for salads and mains. The eye appeal immediately adds a bit of class to even the most simple of fares.
Small dinnerware invites small portions, health advantages aside it is more enjoyable to sample multiple tastes in sequence; the midweek meal is transformed into a special event without a lot of effort.
If you are cooking alone, then a glass of wine, good music, and a good meal is well earned pampering after a long day. If you have a friend or spouse to join you there is no better way to unwind and connect.
A simple menu: Tenderloin, Ramekin Mash, and salad with blue cheese crumbles, balsamic and olive oil- takes about 30 – 40 minutes to cook.
This side dish is a cross between garlic mash and herbed Yorkshire pudding. It goes well with steak or prime rib, the juices only add to the flavor. The best part is how easy it is.
Spray ramekins or small tart pans with oil. Boil a medium Yukon Gold potato, mash with butter, milk and lots of garlic. Make a batter with flour, egg, milk, salt, and herbs, most any would work, as to how much, well when it comes to herbs if you have to ask you just don’t get it, some is the appropriate measure. The batter should be the consistency of pancake batter.
Place a small amount of a batter in the bottom of each pan (a tablespoon or two). On top of the batter place a small pile of garlic mashed potatoes (I am convinced that most any combination of root vegetables and or squash would only enhance the flavor). Then pour a bit more of the batter around the mash. It is ready for the oven.
Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven until golden brown, should take 15-20 minutes. (If you have extras, save for a lunch, re-heat, then melt grated cheddar cheese under the broiler.)
Serve with an easy drinking red wine. Eat the salad after the main as the French might do. If you are feeling decadent some dark chocolate with a Tori Mor Port rounds the evening out well.
Food and cooking is one of the great blessings we have, the secret is to make it fun, share it with someone you love, and take your time.