When I cook I like things simple. Simple in that I don't like the choke ingredients. My mom likes to make casseroles, I think because her mom used to make them all the time or something and they just seem like a natural choice to her. I hate casseroles, I really do. I just can't stand dishes that are primarily cheese and cream of something soup. Gross. Things like that just seem so false, so disgustingly masked that I just can't stand them. By masked I mean that casseroles have all the natural flavors drowned out of them. Like green bean casserole, for example. Can you even taste the green beans in that stuff? Isn't it canned green beans? Canned green beans are an ugly vegetable if you ask me, all limp and army green, I don't know why anyone would want to eat such a depressing looking sodium-soaked excuse for "food." And then rob them of whatever flavor you may think they may have by coating them in cheese and creamy blah, I can't go on or I might be sick. Didn't I start by writing about how I cook anyway? Because I like things to seem natural and I think they are most beautiful that way. Like I hate how people will cover sweet potatoes in brown sugar and maple syrup and marshmallows and things of that nature. It's really quite a travesty. Sweet potatoes, one of my absolute favorite foods, are best when all you add is some salt, maybe a little cinnamon or citrus juice but even that's pushing it. A little salt brings out the flavor of sweet potatoes that make them so rich and so unique in comparison to other potatoes. Adding various forms of sugar turns them into cheap candy.
All this motivates my choice of recipes when I actually decide to cook. I like things that are primarily vegetables, because I think vegetables are the most neglected food group and therefore have the most potential. Vegetables are rustic, again one of my favorite food qualities, and so rich in color (at least for the most part). Best of all they feel clean. Vegetables don't seem to feel like a punishment to your stomach, unless you smother them with cheese, creamy soup, and french fried onions, vegetables make you feel good about what you're eating. I also like things with spices. I think spices enhance the natural flavor of food, whereas sweeteners help you to pretend you're eating something else. I don't want to choke down food by trying to make it something else, I want to find the way to prepare it that makes it the best possible version of itself it can be. It's two in the morning and I'm straying far too much...
All of this leads up to a recipe I came across on, as usual, smittenkitchen.com. Moroccan stew. YES! Pretty much straight vegetables, so right up my ally, and the main spice is one of my favorites, cumin. This is one of those recipes that I absolutely flip out over but nobody else really gets too excited about. Screw everybody else, I made Moroccan stew and loved it.
It's basically butternut squash (one of my absolute favorites!), red skin potatoes, garbanzo beans (also, huge fan), olives... tomatoes... um... onion... that might be it... cooked and poured over couscous. Again, it's on smittenkitchen.com if you decide to give it a try, but I would recommend a little more cumin and maybe some red pepper flakes if you like a bit of heat ;) And I know the pictures aren't that great... oh well, have to work on that I guess.