"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tomato Gratin with Parmesan Crumbs & Salt and Pepper Grissini

One of my small side jobs is cooking and delivering lunch and dinner for an elderly gent every other day. This has been an interesting job (it's temporary, alas--) because he's just one person, and my challenge to myself has been to take an ingredient (carrots, tomatoes, potatoes etc.) and make it as many different ways as possible so he doesn't feel like he's getting the same meal over and over. The other challenge is to find recipes that don't take extraordinary amounts of time, since I get paid a flat rate for each meal.

The Gourmet Cookbook has been incredibly valuable in this department. For each vegetable you can possibly name, they offer at least one if not more possibilities (and if you're cooking potatoes, you're in luck--a whopping 17 recipes for them, with 6 mashed potato variations to boot.)

This is how I came to Tomato Gratin with Parmesan Crumbs. The only cooking you have to do is saute a little garlic, then mix it with bread crumbs, grated parm, salt and pepper. Sprinkle that over sliced tomatoes and basil, throw in a 500 oven for 15 minutes, and you've got a nice little side dish that goes especially well with fish.

This beautiful photo is not mine, I got it from Eating Well.


The Breads and Crackers chapter is filled with some interesting stuff--talk about a huge subject that must have been hard to narrow down. It's one of the smaller chapters, though, with only a couple of recipes for each subcategory but they go the distance--biscuits, sweetbreads, scones, yeasted breads, rolls, doughnuts, crackers, breadsticks.

I decided to try Salt and Pepper Grissini for a small luncheon at work, and one of the diners used to live in the South--where, she had once told me, the women would vie over who could make the longest, thinnest, crispiest breadsticks.

I think these could be contenders. They are VERY easy to make (just whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt in a bowl and add buttermilk and melted butter)--the only fiddly part is rolling little pieces into the long, thin dough logs. But take heart, if you were a playdough champion in pre-school this will be relative easy for you.

It was at this point where I wondered where the pepper came in, since it wasn't in the dough, then I went back and read more carefully--you brush the breadsticks with egg white and then you sprinkle with kosher salt and a lot of black pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 oven and you've got a great accompaniment to soup and salad. And this IS my beautiful photo--you can tell because of all the junk on the counter in the background.

1 comment:

Georgia (Milo & Nutella) said...

Wish I had read the blog yesterday. The Tomato Gratin with Parmesan Crumbs could have gone well with our Teriyaki Salmon (from The Salmon Cookbook). We ate the fish with roasted red potatoes served with olive oil and dill (which I dried). A very good combination!