I was house hunting last week, and the funniest thing happened. The saleswoman, who was really charming and enthusiastic, assumed that I would want a big kitchen because of my interest in nutrition. (Clearly, she is not a regular reader of this column!) She seemed shocked that I cook "fast food."
I find this misconception, that good nutrition requires a major time investment, to be a roadblock for many people who would like to eat healthfully.
So I told her how to replicate the 10-minute dinner I'd made the night before:
Clean and devein six jumbo shrimp.
Sautee shrimp, along with a chopped garlic clove, in 2 teaspoons olive oil, until just cooked through.
Add 1 cup of chicken broth, two plum tomatoes cut in chunks, a teaspoon of pine nuts, and a few fresh herbs from the garden (oregano, thyme, basil or some combination, or, if you don't have fresh, a pinch of dried herbs will do).
Top with a handful or two of freshangel hair pasta.
Stir together, cover and simmer three to five minutes.
Most of the broth will be absorbed.
Drain off any excess.
Toss the mixture with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper.
Serve with raw carrot sticks and a slice of Italian bread with just a smidgen of butter or margarine.
For dessert: have a fresh pear and a spice cookie.
The night I made this dinner happened to be a chilly one, so I lit thefirst fire of the season, put on a George Winston CD, poured a glass of wine, relaxed and enjoyed.
Years ago, someone told me that "gourmet" simply means "well-prepared" not "takes a long time." Fortunately, gourmet can mean "loaded with good nutrition" too -- if you play your cards right.
In this particular case, it could also mean "requires just one pot, not a gigantic kitchen."
Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center in Baltimore and director of Eating Together in Baltimore.