Monday, January 17, 2011

Thoughts on a Cold Winter's Night

The dead of winter is not a great time to hit a dry spell in original recipe creations. There are no strange vegetables coming into the CSA or farmers' market. You are stuck with meat and roots and frozen veggies for inspiration. We have a fun, new, winter farmers' market in Somerville, which is just another reason I adore my town. The first two weeks there have been lines 20 to 30 minutes long for the root veggie stands. They had the best sweet potatoes I have ever eaten the first week; the second, if they had them, they were hidden, and I wasn't going to wait half an hour to find out for sure.

So, besides attempting to perfect my ginger-lemongrass cocktail and digging into my old favorite cookbooks for comfort food, I have not done much delving into the Brand New Creation arena. And I'm okay with that. I like following my nose or some other recipe; it's a nice change.

I will say, however, that should you want one sentence that sums up my feelings on cooking, it is this: add more garlic, more cilantro, more black pepper. You will be glad.


maamypatom said...

Not the cilantro for me, but certainly the garlic and the pepper. I think when many recipes crossed the atlantic the cookbook authors must have toned down the garlic to what they thought New Englanders could handle. Now that we have awoken our taste buds more than our parents had, we can throw a few more cloves in. I always do! But please not a return to the "always put all of the herbs on the shelf" approach that was common in the 70's. I like the way recent recipes often feature only one or two herbs.

Julia said...

Being such "seasoned" and great cooks, I would like to learn what your library of favorite cookbooks includes?

Renée Scott said...

My favorites are "The New Basics" by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Dinners", and "The Joy of Cooking" (the latter I use more for side dishes and reference, but it is hands down my favorite cookbook). I also save cooking magazines and go back to the appropriate season in old issues and redo favorites. Dave has a great soup book called "Twelve Months of Monastery Soup" and every recipe is really good.


maamypatom said...

hey! I just was given 12 Months of Monastery Cooking, and cooked my first soup from it--a wonderful take on split pea!

Keja Valens said...

When I want to find a great new recipe to follow, I open Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Cookbook; my forever standby for reference for just about anything is the Joy of Cooking; sometimes for ethnic food it's good to really get certain details right or to find out some of the less standard dishes--I rely on Marcella Hazan for Italian and Fuscia Dunlap for Szechuan. I also am quite deeply in love with the recipes in Martha Stewart's magazines--Martha Stewart Living for the fancier stuff and Everyday Food for, well, the everyday.