Simplicity can come in a bowl.
There are days when it takes all the energy I have to convince myself to drag my feet down the icy sidewalk, wind whipping at my face and chapped lips, hunching my shoulders up to try to keep my scarf in place as I walk home after a long day at work. By the time I make it through the two subway lines, over the hill and up the stairs, the last thing I want to do is stand on my feet for 2 hours to cook dinner, and I am craving something simple.
Shauna of Gluten Free Girl got me thinking about leeks after her post and ever since, leeks have been on my mind. I picked some up at the market and decided to cook them the other day. Nothing pretentious here, I wanted to make a meal that did not require much thought or care when cooking, because sometimes when I get home I just want to shut off the world and forget it exists. This dish is the perfect remedy for nights like that.
Potatoes – chopped quickly and tossed into boiling water. Done. Bacon – sizzling quietly in the skillet. Done. Now I sit down and lean back, and closing my eyes I clear my mind to conjure up the most calming image I can conceive – nothing. Yes, pure black and shapeless nothing, accented only by the constant sizzling and bubbling from the stove of the bacon and potatoes happily cooking away, which is just enough distraction to invoke a trance-like state of calm. I focus on the sound of the kitchen, slow my breathing, and think about nothing for 15 minutes. In 15 minutes I can change my entire state of being. This can be a good thing. But 15 minutes of nothing – really nothing, not even that little voice in your head that loves to nag you about your upcoming responsibilities, is harder than you think. It means not checking your email. Not logging into twitter, and not turning on the TV. It takes some practice to do nothing. But once you figure it out, clearing the mind of literally everything can be one of the most refreshing events of a busy day.
The smell of the bacon wafting up my nose reminds me I am cooking dinner. I, now a bit more recharged, get up and walk over to my quaint oven-less (for the moment, this will be corrected shortly) two-burner kitchen. I lift out the bacon, strain the potatoes, and throw everything together into the skillet with some leeks, garlic, and a little spinach tossed in at the end. A quick sauté in the bacon fat, and only a few short minutes later I have the perfect effortless dinner. A simple bowl of delicious food, for those days when sophisticated just seems a little too much effort, and what I really want is simply, food.
Potato bowls are very flexible recipes. Check out Lauren’s of Celiac Teen for a totally different but also tasty looking bowl.
This dish is greatly aided when your husband gets home before you and remembers to chill the wine. At David Lebovitz’s suggestion, we sought out a bottle of Sancerre wine. 15 CHF later, I was convinced this was the perfect marriage to my potato bowl. If you find it, I highly recommend it. Just perfect.
2 potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
2 slices bacon
3 leeks, white and light green part chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
a few handfuls fresh spinach
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the potatoes until tender enough to easily pass a fork through them.
2. On med-low heat, fry the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Set bacon on a paper towel or napkin to soak up the excess grease. This will make the bacon a bit crispier. Leave the bacon fat in the skillet. Once the strips are cooled, crumble up the bacon.
3. Once the potatoes are done, sauté them in the bacon fat with garlic and leeks until the potatoes start to brown. At this point add in the spinach and continue to fry it all together until the spinach is just wilted. Add salt and pepper as necessary. Serve in a bowl, crumble the bacon on top, and enjoy.