April 26, 2017

When you’re attending an Austin culinary arts school, you learn to produce a wide range of complex recipes with consistently delicious results. However, you don’t always need a ton of ingredients, advanced skills or professional equipment to prepare a quality dish. Many chefs today have embraced minimalism, looking for straightforward, elegant ways to leave diners satisfied.

With fewer supplies to purchase or steps to complete, you can turn out items faster while accentuating fresh, wholesome flavors. Try a simpler approach to some of your favorite dishes and you may find new inspiration for your cooking. Here are three ideas to get you started:

1. A veggie-packed frittata

“Frittatas are the definition of a no-fuss entree.”

Frittatas are the definition of a no-fuss entree, combining simple ingredients, like eggs and vegetables, and a short prep time. Writing for the New York Times, Mark Bittman offered a variation on this low-maintenance classic that emphasizes the veggies. His version calls for two or three eggs per three to four cups of assorted produce like spinach, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli, onions and peppers.

Lightly beat the eggs with milk, salt and pepper. Throw in your preferred vegetables and cook in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for about five minutes. Then, move the skillet into an oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 18 minutes, or until the eggs set.

2. Make moussaka easy

There are countless versions of moussaka, a Mediterranean dish based in potato or eggplant and often featuring ground meat. The Stone Soup suggested a stripped-down take that keeps your shopping list conveniently short. Start by slicing eggplant into half-inch pieces and place on a baking sheet with olive oil and salt.

Roast the eggplant in an oven at 400 degrees for about half an hour, turning once. At the same time, brown ground beef on the stovetop. Pour in tomato passata and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with meat, add a layer of eggplant and then another of meat. Combine grated Parmesan and sour cream, spreading on top. Place the dish in the oven for 15 minutes, watching for the top to brown.

A chocolate chip cookie recipe is easy and allows you to add your own fun touches.A chocolate chip cookie recipe is easy and allows you to add your own fun touches.

3. Delicious cookies without a hassle

When you want to craft an irresistible dessert without hours of preparation, chocolate chip cookies are always a good choice. The Kitchn provided directions that also include toasted almonds for added flavor and texture. Start by getting the nuts ready, placing them in a skillet over medium heat for two or three minutes.

Melt butter in the skillet on a low heat. Combine the butter with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat in an egg before adding flour, baking powder and baking soda.

If the dough is warm, stick it in the refrigerator to cool off before proceeding to avoid melting the chocolate chips. Then, chop the almonds and stir into the dough along with semisweet chocolate chips. Roll balls of dough and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving about two inches between them. Bake for up to 10 minutes or until the cookies become golden brown.

Culinary academy students learn to make a huge variety of dishes from different traditions. However, as numerous chefs have realized, sometimes it’s better to keep things simple. By exploring the minimalism trend you can discover how to use basic methods to turn a small number of ingredients into an exceptional meal.

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