Heirloom Tomatoes & Chicken Sausage with Vibrant Baby Sweet Peppers, Garlic & Italian Herbs. Paulette’s Culinary Palette


Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.

There we have Trader Joe’s Chicken Sausage with Sweet Peppers and some heirloom baby tomatoes and some tiny sweet peppers in orange, yellow, and red.

I saw them when I went shopping and picture them all together “doing a dance on a plate for me.”

That’s pretty much how I cook anymore. I just look at the ingredients and imagine in my head how I put it together. I would compare it to the way an artist combines beautiful colors to make paintings.

Much in the same way when you’re cooking, your food is your color palette- except you’re dealing with flavors.

Expand your flavor palette by trying new fruits and vegetables and new cheeses, as these new new flavors can spice up your dishes and your world.

I love learning about new cultures from other countries and what they eat, and branching out to “foreign flavor territories.”

It makes life more interesting, when you make a few new friends along the way too.

Food is not only just sustenance but it’s an art. Food is an art form where you can take induvidual flavors and combine them and transcend them into the equivalent of heaven for your taste buds.

When you go grocery shopping look at the ways that you can take the best, freshest produce and combine them in all kinds of wonderful ways to get a desired effect: think of the food’s texture, color, sweetness or sourness.

All these things play into the cooking creative process. That’s probably what fascinated me so much since I was a kid that 9 years old. I had more fun reading cookbooks, learning and cooking or playing the piano than most anything else.

I carried a pink cookbook bag around dreaming of dinners I would give when I grew up.

I used to follow recipes more straight when I was married, but I used to make exceptions and adapt recipes to suit my own tastes. That’s what I want my readers to do here. Look at the basic framework of the recipes, and then be able to make substitutions on your own.

It’s just me here at my place, me, myself, and I so I didn’t feel like getting the broiler pan out and dusting it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or anything like that. Microwave with my friend that made this dish come to life and very short time.

To make this all I did was take a microwave safe Italian Pottery bowl and I put arranged all the vegetables artfully after cutting the tops off the peppers, and then I added some salt free Italian seasoning and some really good quality garlic powder- although you could use roasted garlic, or minced fresh here, in this and it would be very good. I sprayed a tiny bit of canola oil spray but you can brush on some canola oil or extra virgin olive oil. All would be really good with this.

I microwaved it (heating the Sausage-as the Trader Joe variety was fully cooked, which had no casing on it, so with a fork i pricked the sausage all over so it wouldn’t explode. That wouldn’t make any of us happy would it?

I microwaved it all, checking it after two minutes.

You can microwave it for more if you want, or you can take the sausage off the dish and then microwave the peppers longer to make them more tender, but I like to cook my vegetables so they still have texture and don’t taste like mush.

And that was my dinner with a piece of high-fiber bread and ice water with lemon. I was pretty happy.

So simple things like this can streamline your life, and don’t let anybody tell you different.

Just because they don’t use microwaves a heck of a lot- or so they say they don’t, doesn’t mean you can’t.
Nothing’s wrong with them. I tell you in the restaurants that restaurants do use microwaves from time to time as an emergency fix when they can’t get the food out fast enough to the tables hot. I’ve been photographing the food in kitchens when the dishes a come off the grill and I’ve seen how fast it goes out to the customer, and some of them sit under hot lamps for a long time before it ever hit the table. None of the restaurants I work with here do that, but they do it.

Restaurants wouldn’t make any money if they threw it out every time it got tested or lukewarm, so course that use microwaves.

And why should you care if the naysayers anyway who are “anti-microwave”, like it like makes you less of a person or something?

If something works use it, don’t be ashamed of it. After being married to a rocket scientist for 15 years and having a dad’s who sold microwaves when I was a kid…they have a place in everyone’s kitchen.

If you could watch inside the kitchens of restaurants and if you had a hidden camera in the kitchen, you better believe a lot more of them are using the microwave. The microwave helps to get the food hot at the last minute.

You simply just cook it all at once in the same dish with the microwave. That’s the beauty of the microwave you can do things like that.

My friend Nancy Bagget on Facebook who has won numerous IACP awards with all her wonderful cookbooks, asked everybody do they use the microwave. She asked people if they were ashamed to say they used the microwave. I say heck no!

My dad sold the things and I got to see every possible way you could demonstrate all the things it did well when I was growing up. I learned all the different tricks on how you can cook with a microwave and what things it doesn’t do well-liked brown. Leave browning to your convection oven or standard conventional oven.

There’s a lot of things it does well, and you can do like a lot of cookbook authors do- which is employ “combination cooking”, where they cook part of the dish in the microwave and then they do the bowning part in a standard oven or convection oven.

Here in the high desert, with its blazing hot summers, the microwave looks pretty darn good.

For busy people like me who really don’t feel like doing a bunch of dishes or you’re not cooking for a whole lot of people; the microwave works fantastic as well as the slow cooker in connection oven.

Written by Paulette Motzko
April 9th, 2016
2:17 p.m.
Images Photograph by Paulette Motzko, PLM Studios, Las Vegas, Nevada

Written by Paulette L Motzko, April 9th, 2016 11:53 a.m.