I heart Jamie Oliver. I’ve been a fan since his early days as the young, upstart “Naked Chef.” At first I just thought he was adorable, zipping around on his moped while wearing his dorky little helmet and messenger bag and flashing the camera a cheeky grin.
But I grew to love his approach to food. He’s passionate about tasty, healthy, home-cooked meals for people of all ages and skill levels. He emphasizes turning to fresh, seasonal, locally grown ingredients instead of just opening a can or popping something pre-packaged into the microwave.
The premise behind “Meals in Minutes” is simple: These are meals you can quickly throw together for your busy family. I don’t know that all the recipes lend themselves equally well to this concept, but it’s worth a shot.
Most, if not every meal, includes a main dish, a salad and/or vegetable side and a dessert or beverage. Oliver offers methodical, step-by-step instructions in getting everything ready at once. The accompanying photos are gorgeous and worthy of a book in their own right.
I’ve already tried several of the recipes in the book, and I had no problem adapting them to suit my vegetarian diet. The salads are simple and delicious, especially the tomato salad and the arugula salad.
The dan dan noodles, which I added tofu to and ate as a main dish, are spicy, yummy goodness, perfect for a dreary day. And the wonky summer pasta is to die for. Its ingredients: An egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice, fresh basil and lasagna noodles. (I used fettuccine.) So basic, but such a palate pleaser.
I hope to revisit “Meals in Minutes” this summer, when locally grown produce is bountiful. Until then, you can find me in the kitchen. Or the cookbook section of the library.