Sometimes dinner comes together quickly, effortlessly and deliciously simple in its ingredients. It can be surprising how paring down the amount of herbs or extraneous additions can really make the flavors shine out. They are really tasted.
Last night, for example, I tossed a skinny, spindly bunch of asparagus in a bit of olive oil and salt and roasted them for about 20 minutes. While the oil sizzled and their tips crisped in the oven, I boiled three medium sweet potatoes, then drained (reserving the water to add in later) and mashed with a little soy milk, the cooking water, olive oil and salt. I also sautéed garlic, chickpeas and a handful of baby spinach and seasoned with a dash of herbs du provence. There was a glorious, walnutty, apple-filled salad to finish off.
Lately I’ve loved just simply roasting vegetables, or pairing some wilted greens with white beans and garlic and olive oil. I’ve avoided starchy pastas –- they have their place, of course, but not in the past few weeks -– and pre-packaged dinners. I’ve been going to the source, and working from there. I have fallen in love, again, with the taste of fresh vegetables, cooked in ways that show off their wonders.
Summer is just around the corner, bringing with it all the best things I can think of: blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, zucchini. The markets will be laden and dripping with seasonal produce, and I bite my fingers, telling myself to be patient.
This weekend the days lengthen. I will soak up as much sunshine as possible.
Chickpeas with Garlic and Spinach
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1 tsp. herbs du provence
Salt and pepper
Sauté the garlic in olive oil until fairly soft. Add the chickpeas and turn heat down to low; simmer, adding more oil if necessary, until flavors start to blend. Add spinach and stir, then cover and simmer for about 3 minutes until spinach is wilted and chickpeas are soft. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste.