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Showing posts from January, 2010

Cookbook #5: The Greens Cookbook

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Adapted from Cookbook #5:  The Greens Cookbook (1987)

Recipe:  Potatoes and Chanterelles Baked in Cream

I am surprised to be turning to this cookbook so soon after cooking from Fields of Greens, its sequel.  I had plans for the carnitas from another cookbook (don't worry, I will be making those soon enough, my sweet carnivore friends).  But then my husband went mushroom hunting this weekend.  We have a friend who is quite the mycologist, and it has been pouring down rain here for the past week--prime mushroom sprouting weather.  So much so,  hunting for mushrooms seems a misnomer.  Tripping over them seems more like it.  On Saturday, the skies cleared long enough for them to forage for dinner while I gleefully remained inside our house.  I am enamored with the idea of tumbling down 45-degree declines of recently-rained-on hillsides, but really only in theory, not in practice.  They returned, albeit a bit sodden and muddy, with pounds of chanterelles and black trumpets.

Thus, I wa…

Cookbook #4: Cheese Board: Collective Works

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Adapted from Cookbook #4:  Cheese Board:  Collective Works (2003)

Recipe: Four-Cheese, Three-Onion, Four-Herb Pizza

Four cheeses?   I needed four cheeses to make one pizza?  When you're the Cheese Board, the answer is yes.

Four cheeses: four gospels, four noble truths, four horsemen of the apocalypse,  four chambers to mammalian heart, the fantastic four ... And so, to follow in this illustrious suit of four, I give you four reasons why this was a good recipe for me to make:

1.  I don't make pizza. My husband does.  For his thirtieth birthday in 2003, he and I were envisioning our ideal kitchen, so I gathered together an immoral amount with the kitchen-themed presents, including a pizza stone.  Since then, he has been delegated head pizza chef, so this is another one of those recipes I would never make but would foist upon him.  When I pull this cookbook off the shelf, I go straight to the scones pages (which are relatively easy to find as they are currently the buttermilk-sp…

Cookbook #3: Fields of Greens

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Adapted from Cookbook #3:  Fields of Greens (1993)

Recipe: Potato, Fennel, and Leek Gratin

From 1992 until 2000, I was a vegetarian.  In that time period, I bought a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, as you will see in the next few months.  A darling housemate of mine in graduate school very kindly donated her Greens Cookbook to me as I struggled to teach myself how to cook (this cookbook will come onto the scene when chanterelles show their heads and we have a little more cash to purchase them).  Anyway,  I have since acquired the next cookbook from that little restaurant located in Fort Mason.  Oh, how I love these two cookbooks (sigh, the mushroom lasagna....).  However, you do need to set aside some time for the recipes.  They are not quick ones.  Neither are they of the humorless vegetarian-bean-sprouts-wheat-germ variety.  But I am not kidding when I say that these are of the set-aside-two-hours variety.  But, lord, how wonderful the recipes are.

Greens was founded in 1979 by the San…

Cookbook #2: Jacques Pépin's Table

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Adapted from Cookbook #2: Jacques Pépin's Table: The Complete Today's Gourmet (1995)

Recipe: Chicken Legs with Wine and Yams

Jacques Pépin: one of the first celebrity chefs. His name is synonymous with French cooking made light, French cooking with a health-conscious bent. I know that Pépin was not always like this. His earlier--and more traditionally French--cookbooks used as much butter as Julia Child's did, and often he did so with the heroic Ms. Child on public television. But Pépin began to champion those now-hackneyed-but-then-revolutionary health-conscious aphorisms of cooking in the 80s and 90s: if you eat mindfully with good and fresh ingredients and if you master technique before all else, you don't have to cook "low-fat" or "healthy" meals--they will just be so. (Alice Waters, don't worry, I have plenty of your cookbooks, too.  Just you wait.).

This is all preamble to say, we had yams.

Sweet potatoes, yams, tubers: call them wh…

Cookbook #1: Joy of Cooking

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Adapted from Cookbook #1: The Joy of Cooking (my edition is 1997, originally published 1931)

Recipe: Greek Salad

I thought I would begin the year with the old workhorse. A friend of mine remarked, "You can't start with that cookbook. Everything in it is canned or boxed." Lucky for me 210 was in the salads section.

I think the only thing that makes this Greek is the fact that it has olives, anchovies, and feta on it. Nonetheless, the lemon dressing was good and the salad was yummy in the midst of winter. I did leave the red onions off because, well, I don't like them.

Joy of Cooking is one of those books that gets passed down, generation after generation. It's one of those cookbooks with a history. So many of us have dog-eared pages, gravy spills, and marginalia with ways to cut fat or add flavor. It's one of those cookbooks that remind us all the cooking is not about adding ingredients together but about something much larger: from confession to communi…