When I was a little girl, and just as obsessed with watching cooking shows as I still am, my favorite TV chef had to have been Jamie Oliver. He cooked so comfortably and fluidly. His way of choosing and using ingredients was so intuitive and just made sense. But I haven’t caught him on the Food Network for some years now—probably because of all those game shows and food competitions that have taken over… patooey! But just recently I came across his TED talk on the idea of a “food revolution.” It’s a common theme, this idea of a food revolution, that’s been popping up in the media in the past few years and I’m all about it. I’m not one for trends and fads, food related or otherwise, and this shouldn’t be treated like one either. We really do need a wake up call with the way we view what goes into our bodies, what we are actually feeding our families. It’s a good thing. Martha style!
Jamie is all about changing the way we approach food as a society, which includes teaching our youth what to look for in ingredients and how to cook basic, but really delicious and nutritious meals that they can always have in their recipe repertoire and build from. The idea is that if we share these recipes with our friends and family, and they share them with their friends and family, and so on and so forth, we can make quick but substantial changes to the way we all eat and live.
So last Saturday morning after I woke up, I got all pumped for my Saturday morning
cartoons cooking shows, and went to see what was on. I checked the TV guide menu and randomly saw “Jamie’s 15-minute meals” on CBS so I tuned in and am so happy I did because what he made on that episode was inspiration for a beautiful Sunday dinner for us at home. And delicious leftovers for a couple days too! The garlic was perfect—left in the peel during the cooking process to keep from burning, it became so sweetly roasted.
I can’t for the life of me find his recipe online anywhere, but I ended up toying with it quite a bit, mostly because I do that to almost every recipe I come by. And also, I was just really feeling my purple asparagus that day. I’ve been loving asparagus more than ever lately and there were a ton of beautiful stalks of it at the farmer’s market, so I decided to make an asparagus pasta instead of the green bean pesto pasta Jamie made. I added a touch of olive oil, cream, and lemon to give it a bit of richness. Unlike our buddy Jamie, I went with thyme instead of rosemary and caraway seeds to season my chicken because I think thyme and chicken are a heavenly match in a recipe like this, and in many an occasion really. The thyme in the chicken also complements the fresh lemon in the pasta so well. Also—as if I needed more of a reason—my herb garden has been growing out of control and the thyme needed to be tamed, badly. So, thanks to Jamie for inspiring little me and big me and for pushing the food revolution into people’s lives in his own awesome ways. One more thing—it took me about 30 minutes, from start to finish, to cook this dish. I think that’s a bit more realistic than 15 minutes for a meal like this. TV likes to warp speed like that.
- 1 package (or 1 lb) chicken tenders, patted dry
- a handful of thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for chicken, 1 tbsp for pan)
- 1 head of garlic, cloves separated but unpeeled
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved
- 2 red fresno peppers, rinsed and slit in half partway
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 package linguine pasta
- 1 med-large asparagus bunch, rinsed, stumps removed, and cut into thirds
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- grated parmesan to taste
- salt and pepper to taste