Friday, August 24, 2007
Do you RTFR? I used to. I would run through every word of a recipe, then reread it twice to really get in under my skin, create a shopping list and mentally time the dish so I’d know exactly when it would be ready. I’d prep ingredients and place them in little bowls along a spotless mise. We never ate dinner at 10 p.m.
Okay, fine–perhaps I am looking back at my earlier cooking endeavors through a thick pane of rose-colored glasses, because my husband over there actually remembers the umpteen thousand times that he’s had to run back to the store because I forgot we were out of flour or olive oil, and his business analyst mind, it is more time efficient for the sous-chef to step out of the kitchen. He knows my mise is a mess, but he’d never sell me out. He also is all-too-aware that “I’m going to cook tonight!” means “better buy some fruit and maybe a baguette at the store to hold me over until at least 9 p.m.”
Continued after the jump »
Monday, September 11, 2006
I find it funny now — what with my obvious fascination with stirring up soups aplenty — that a couple years ago I didn’t care for them at all. Everything about the taste of vegetables boiled in flavored water until their structures compromised made my stomach turn and to this day, even the liveliest minestrone invokes a bad memory of flavor-sapped herbs and formless noodles. Even those that came close to passing muster were so laden with salt, I’d find myself aching for a glass of water after a bowl of something that was supposed to be soothing.
I think the turning point came with the Cuisinart Immersion Blender gift from our wedding registry. Nobody better describes my affection for it than Julie Powell: “Have I mentioned to you that I love love love my handy-dandy cuisinart wand? I love it the way other women love their vibrators.”
In one minute flat, it converts everything in the pot into a velvety consommé, bridging the disparity between ingredients (“No! I don’t want to hang out with the icky squash!” whines the orange-fleshed potato) like a mother insisting her children play nicely together. No more alarming boiled vegetable flavor, no more awkward, thin spaces between ingredients, with each spoonful the same as the last, I find these soups contemplative; a calm brought on by the knowledge that every spoonful will taste the same as the one before.
The pistou, which I was as skeptical of as I had been of the lettuce pesto, really brightened up the fall flavor and color with some spring, kind of like eating an orange soup on an 80-degree September day.
Continued after the jump »