Before I came down with the Great Attack of the TIFF Flu 2009 (named as such because the worst part coincided with the Toronto International Film Festival) a lot of our meals looked like some version of this one. They probably looked like this one throughout the flu debacle as well but 1. my memory is shot and 2. Davin did all of the cooking.
But getting back to my point, which is increasingly lost these days underneath a jumble of words and thoughts that refuse to string together (a lingering symptom of the TIFF Flu), we were eating like this because it was the end of the summer. And you know how the end of the summer is; all sorts of surprises are popping up in the garden, the fridge and counter-top bowls are overflowing with bits of this and that all poised to rot at any moment and a troop of fruit flies waiting on standby to get their big break. I had also just scored this little single-portion casserole dish/dutch oven on sale for half price, rekindling my love for the one-pot meal.
These meals are insanely easy to make and come with the added bonus of clearing out those little scraps of this and that, that linger in the fridge, too small to serve any other purpose. The meal depicted in the above photo was actually my lunch one weekday afternoon. I like this as a work-day lunch meal because it takes only a few minutes to prepare. I can then pop it in the oven, set the timer, go back to work, and resurface when lunch is done.
It’s the meal that practically makes itself!
Every dish is different depending on what’s on hand, but if you’re looking for some ideas, here’s how I make mine:
First, pre-heat the oven to about 350-400 F. Cut up the vegetables into manageable pieces, toss in a sprinkling of olive oil, add chopped herbs (thyme, parsley, oregano, and sage) from the rooftop garden, a pinch of grey sea salt (I have a weakness for fancy salts) and throw in some kind of protein to finish. Fresh, new potatoes are a good addition, too. I’ve been known to add a few capers, a squeeze of lemon, or oven-dried tomatoes. I add a single leaf of the rounded German ‘Berggarten’ sage from my community garden plot when I want to be fancy. I am not against adding a melting cheese in the last minute or a sprinkle of Parmesan to finish.