Saturday, July 28, 2012
Weekend Cooking - How to Eat Weekends!
This post was written as part of Weekend Cooking over at BethFishReads.com. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to head over to Beth Fish Reads, grab the button, and link up anytime over the weekend. (The button is on your right...)
I am so glad that I picked up this book! It is so fun... I don't know quite how to describe it, but it is almost like a really good magazine full of little articles and sidebars and fun facts - and recipes too, of course. But, having said that, it is much more than a magazine because it is a sumptuous hardcover book with photos that Anthony Bourdain would call hard-core, Triple X food porn!
For example, there is a centerfold(!) type photo that spans two pages and shows the feast they call "A Home Style Vietnamese Sunday Lunch." There are a cucumber and melon salad; little dishes of this and that scattered around; and a platter of Vietnamese Green Mango Salad with Grilled Pork in the Center.
Another example feature is "An Italian Renaissance Supper." I reeeeaally want to make this! As with other cuisines featured in this lush book, the authors dive in and tell us how to outfit an Italian Pantry and Kitchen, and how to build a library of Italian cookbooks.
One of the recipes is for "Renaissance Lasagne!" There are sub-recipes (is that a word?) for Hand-Rolled Egg Pasta and Baroque Ragu. There is a sidebar about wine. And, there is a history lesson called, "The Islam Connection," about how that culture contributed to this recipe and how all this information came down to us through a diary kept of what was served "in the court of the Este dukes in Ferrara." AND, there is a separate "Building a Library" sidebar that goes with the history lesson.
The very first menu featured in the book is called, "A Mexican Comida." And, the very first recipe is, "Tomatillo Salsa with Fresh Cheese from El Cardenal." This is the recipe I made today.
1 medium garlic clove
4 sprigs fresh cilantro
1/2 lb. fresh tomatillos
1 tablespoon onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 to 2 fresh serrano chiles
8 ounces Queso Fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), feta, farmer, or firm goat cheese, cut into 1/2-inch x 2-inch sticks
1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the garlic, cilantro, tomatillos, onion, sugar and chiles to a very fine mince, until well combined but not entirely liquid. The salsa should have a slightly thickened texture to stand up to the cheese. Add salt to taste.
2. Pour the salsa into a serving bowl. Tuck some of the cheese sticks into it and have the rest on a plate. Set out in the middle of the table and have everyone dip away.
I am sharing photos of the ingredients, but not the "after" photo because, while the salsa was excellent, the Queso Fresco (I got authentic cheese) was crumbly and did not hold together well enough to look pretty. I really plan to make this again and to use chips.
That minor criticism aside, this is such a fun book! I enjoyed reading it and looking at the pictures.