Simple Basics

Tomatoes and Peppers Summer 2011

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Not every day needs to be filled with a crazy, wild, or time-consuming menu and as I begin today with my weekly menu plans I am reminded that I just loved two or three successful simple things from last week.

The Italian spinach from the NY Times Cook Book, Risotto a La Suisse from the same book, and a simple perfect soft-boiled egg that I have perfected to my taste, thanks to Canal House Cooking’s brief tutorial…I know there have to be million sources for boiled eggs of all stages of doneness, but I took a peek at the little chart and voilà my perfect (6 minute) egg…

Italian Spinach – serves 6
adapted from NY Times Cookbook

2 pounds spinach, washed and trimmed (baby spinach leave whole leaves, large curly spinach leaves, coarsely shredded.

1 fat shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
A sprinkle of ground red pepper flakes
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Blanch the spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds, rinse with cold water if making ahead.  Drain spinach well, place into a baking dish.  Melt butter and olive oil, briefly sauté shallot and garlic, spoon over spinach, season with salt and pepper, ground red pepper flakes, top with parmesan, brown quickly under a broiler for a few minutes

Risotto a La Suisse – Rich and buttery – 6 servings

2 shallots or 1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups strong chicken stock or beef broth ( prefer the chicken stock)
Salt and pepper
1 cup raw rice
3- 4 ounces grated Gruyère cheese

Sauté the shallots or onions in butter until golden, add the wine, stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, add rice continue to boil stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Cover and reduce heat to low, cook until rice is tender, about 10 or15 minutes. Remove pan from heat, fold in cheese, cover and let stand for, four minutes, stir thoroughly and serve at once.


Six Minute egg…Boil water, add eggs, gently boil for 6 minutes, yes I used a timer.  Rinse under cold water, peel and serve with salt and pepper…bacon salt is not bad either!

My perfect 6 minute Egg