Over two years ago I started paying more attention to cooking. Not recipes, but cooking. The way ingredients go together. The way flavors combine. Techniques for controlling heat and moisture. It's been an excellent ride, and here is where many might expect me to say that it's a ride now over.
I often think about the value of cooking. What it's brought into my life and how the knowledge and experience have benefitted my family and me. Right now the greatest value is fast, simple meals that are delicious and a lot healthier than grabbing some McDonald's value meals or nuking a Lean Cuisine. None of that crap belongs in our bodies, but we often justify eating it for the sake of convenience. "I just don't have time!"
Bull shit. Check it out:
- Avail yourself of some chorizo (the dish will work as well with ground beef), a green pepper, some black beans, an onion, queso fresco (or some other cheese you really like), salt and pepper.
- Heat a pan to medium-high.
- Poke a hole in the casing and squeeze out the chorizo in chunks into the pan.
- Dice half that onion and toss it with the chorizo.
- Brown it, crumble it (the chorizo, not the onion. Crumble, I mean. The onion will brown, too).
- While it's heating, slice the green pepper in half and scoop out the seeds and stuff.
- Preheat that oven to 300 degrees.
- It's going to take some time for the oven to heat, so why not add the beans to your sausage mix and give it a stir.
- Let it heat through.
- Put the pepper halves on a baking sheet, spoon the chorizo mix into the halves and bake in that oven for about 20 minutes.
- When it comes out, sprinkle with queso fresco and a little hot sauce.
The whole process takes about 30 minutes, provides a reasonably healthy lunch, and you get to listen to your own music the entire time. What's not to like?