Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Cookbook A Week

A friend at the WeLL came up with this idea and I thought I'd play along. Do you have shelf-upon-shelf of cookbooks? Do you have so many that you wonder if you'll ever try something from one of them? Do you forget about that standby full of recipes you *love*? I last count I have 75 or so, and while I can't guarantee I'll keep up with the 1 per week, I'll make a real effort to get through 1 every two weeks. It still could take years. But to help me out, you have to play along.

The Challenge? From a starting point on your shelf, say the left hand side, proceed in order from one book to the next. Choose and cook one recipe from that particular book. Post the book and the results here.

I'll start. My first cookbook (middle shelf, far right side) is Simple to Spectacular by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. One of my favorites! The authors take basic dishes (like gazpacho or short ribs) and give you five recipes for each -- from very simple (say, Grilled Shrimp with Thyme and Lemon) to really special (Thai-style Grilled Shrimp on Lemongrass Skewers). Perfect for varying levels of skill. I've made so many wonderful dishes from this cookbook -- from the easiest variation to the hardest and many in between. In classic JG style, this book is a heavy on the Asian influences with a hefty dose of French technique (including crepes and rabbit.)

My Recipe Choice? OK, this sounds weird but I'm helping a friend learn to cook and my basic choice for her is chicken breasts in foil packets. This cookbook has a series of chicken-in-foil recipes from simple (with rosemary and olive oil) progressing through chicken breasts in foil with tomato, olives and parmesan, to mushrooms, shallots and sherry (oh, so good), Thai-style (with coconut, lotus root or jicama, mango, and nam pla) to the spectacular (with foie gras and porcini.) We're making dinner next week and I'll teach her the tomato, olives and parm recipe, but I'll pick up some foie gras and porcini for a treat, too!

I'll report back when we're finished. And announce my next book on the shelf! In the meantime, what's your book and recipe?

1 comment:

George said...

I love the Cookbook a Week scheme! The only trouble is that every time I read the topic on the Well I add another handful of cookbooks to my Amazon wishlist. I just know this is going to lead to the purchase of yet more cookbooks and so I will never finish this Sisyphean task.