October 11th, 2013
At Pacific, we’ve never been shy about our love of simple foods. We’ve always believed nature’s handiwork needs little refinement. (She does after all, have a way with food!) We really love recipes that celebrate the taste of real ingredients, rather than those that mask natural flavors. For this reason, we’re big fans of Chef Alice Waters. Her cookbook, The Art of Simple Food, is based on the philosophy that good cooking has less to do with recipes and techniques, than it does with gathering good, local ingredients and cooking with heart. (Hear, hear!)
Waters takes an old school approach to cooking, offering explanations of “why” you do certain things in a recipe, along with basic tips and techniques. Her cookbook also gives you ideas for stocking your pantry, modifying recipes for the seasons, and for cooking with ease and confidence.
The Art of Simple Food is an invitation to veteran cooks and newbies alike, to join her in a food fight. A “Delicious Revolution”, as she calls it, is based on some simple tenets that we find pretty powerful.
Eat locally and sustainably. Know where your food comes from and buy from reliable sources.
Eat seasonally. Shop for produce that is in season, both for peak taste, and to get your body in sync with the seasons.
Shop at farmers’ markets. Have you hugged your local farmer?
Plant a garden. Nothing tastes better than something you’ve grown yourself.
Conserve, compost and recycle. No waste is good waste.
Cook simply, engaging all your senses. Plan uncomplicated meals and enjoy the sensory journey.
Cook together. Get the whole family involved and help kids understand the value of good food.
Eat together. Establish a regular time to nourish and communicate.
Remember food is precious. There’s value in the cost of preserving the environment, as well as the people who grew your food. Never take it for granted!
Hats off, Chef Waters. We couldn’t have said it any better.
In celebration of simple foods, why not try this seasonal minestrone? Visit your farmer’s market then enlist the help of your family sous chefs. There’s no better way to enjoy the simple tastes of fall together.
Fall Minestrone with Kale and Butternut Squash
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food
1 cup dried Cannellini Beans (Soaked overnight in 4 cups of water.)
or 2 cans 16 oz cans Cannellini Beans
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic gloves, coarsely chopped
5 thyme sprigs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 leek, finely chopped
2 finely chopped celery stalks
1 can of fresh tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 bunch of kale, stemmed, washed and chopped
1/2 butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese to taste
Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook for 15 minutes until tender. Add garlic, thyme rosemary and sage and cook for 5 minutes more. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add leeks and celery. Cook 5 minutes longer and add tomatoes and kale and cook for 5 minutes. Add last two cups of broth and add squash and cook for 15 minutes. Add beans and cook until all vegetables are tender, another 10-15 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan. Serve with warm focaccia bread.
Let things taste of what they are.- Alice Waters