I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I love this cookbook. I already have the next 20 weeks lined up with recipes I want to try. I think it might be a good plan to only cook from it once per week, because she doesn’t skimp on fats, meat, or cheese in many these recipes. Since we stick to a pretty vegetarian/borderline vegan diet, these dishes are a treat!
So far I’ve made panade, which is a lovely bread casserole that uses a, um, plentiful amount of olive oil and has layers of caramelized onions, chard, and gruyere cheese. It’s a delicious way to use up bread that’s on the verge of going stale, and the leftovers are extra tasty when panfried with a further smidge of olive oil.
I also appreciate Judy Rodgers’ method of caramelizing onions–usually I use the Cooks Illustrated method of caramelizing them in the oven, but her stovetop method was 1) easy and 2) resulted in no charred onions, which I’ve had happen with the oven method.
The second recipe I tried was braised lentils, which uses an approach similar to risotto–allowing a small amount of liquid to be absorbed before adding more–but with lentils instead of rice. I could only find larger, green lentils at our grocery store. The recipe actually calls for Beluga lentils, smaller black ones which I can’t remember having seen before. They also called for a healthy amount of olive oil and were better the day after I made them. I think they’d also be better with smaller lentils, as she says in the book.
This weekend is going to be full of friends and food. Anna will be in the Poconos on a ski trip, and as fellow non-skiers we are going to get to spend some chill-in-the-lodge time with her. I can’t wait! Our dear friends Sammy and Elaine are also visiting us this weekend (yay, yay, and yay!!), and we’re hoping to share all the places we’ve found to enjoy around here–Canteen 900, the Boden, Lord & Taylor, and Banana Republic outlets, our Italian market, la puccia (it’s like a calzone, but better)…or we might just sleep in and chill. Either way, it’ll be grand.