"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".

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pesto, Colcannon, and Next-Gen Blogging!

Next-Gen Blogging? Quoi?

Yes. What that means is that my son, O'Malley, has decided to pick up the pen and dive into the world of cook-through blogging.

This may not come as a surprise to you (thinking, probably, genetics + environment), but it certainly does come as a surprise to me since I remember all too well about a decade + of my child refusing to eat practically everything that I cooked. I can't tell you how maddening it is to plan, shop and prepare a meal, only to have it rejected out of hand because it contains SQUASH. (missed that memo, apparently!) Or don't I know that he hates STEW?

Yes, it's a wonder I'm not bald. From pulling my hair out.

So about half a year ago it was with no small amount of amazement that I went to pick O'Malley up at his dad's so we could go to karate class...and found him making spring rolls. And then not too long after he informed me he was cooking dinner for his girlfriend's family...and he made pho. And then he called me on the phone to ask my advice about baking hamenatashen.

Do you notice all of these cooking adventures are taking place in places other than my house? Yes, I did too, and I protested vigorously (but MOM, he said, we already have a gourmet chef at your house!). But that night he invited his girlfriend over for dinner and in less than three hours produced not only a beautiful Chinese soup but dessert as well (Cherries in Snow)--recipes he just pulled off Epicurious and executed without thinking twice.

The next weekend (at my insistence) he cooked again, and this time from The Gourmet Cookbook, and tackled Pot au Feu.

It was right about in here somewhere that he started talking about wanting to do his own cook-through blog, and the book he wanted to do was one that he's already been cooking out of--Sundays at Moosewood.

This book has a lot of meaning for me because I consider it to be the book that really started me on the road to having the potential for being a chef.


Well, I was a vegetarian for 12 years, and had really explored what was on the shelves at the time for vegetarian cooking--which was pretty much locked up by Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood restaurant folks unless you wanted to access older tomes and go for the brown rice-stuffed zucchini boats and dense hockey puck-whole wheat bread of seventies vegetarian cooking.

So, The Moosewood Cookbook. And shortly thereafter, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. They were my companions and teachers, and when Sundays at Moosewood came out I cooked through that book just as ardently...and in the process learned about vegetarian cooking from every corner of the globe. It's because of that book that I know what injera is--and dashi--and I still think that the best trifle recipe EVER can be found in the British Isles section. I discovered rice noodles and ghee, and it's also because of that book that I confidently strode into the kitchen of a restaurant in Bar Harbor and told the chef (who was seeking help) that I would be just the person to assist him in his quest to put Japanese food on the table.

Now keep in mind all of this cooking went on before O'Malley was even born, and by the time he was a toddler experimenting with eating food I was on to other books--Fields of Green, for example, learning how amazing seared mushrooms are in a grilled cheese sandwich. And finally I gave the book away to a friend who wanted to cook vegetarian--it's filled with my notes--with nary a pang.

And yet, here it is again. O'Malley's dad bought a new copy at some point, and O'Malley has found it.

This will be fun for me. I can't wait for when he gets to the trifle. And you'll be able to find his blog here. Won't you stop by and welcome him to the ranks?


Pesto! Colcannon! Italy and Ireland, since we're talking about round-the-world cooking today!

Actually, I asked O'Malley to make the pesto because I wanted to harvest the basil on the deck--and he jumped on it. This is a basic pesto recipe from the Sauces and Salsas section of the book, and it's nothing new--your standard basil, pine nuts, parm, garlic and olive oil blend. I thought it seemed a little loose but it will certainly be a luscious topping for the fish I'll be getting this week from the fish share.

The colcannon happened because I was searching for a cold-weather way to use cabbage--seems too chilly now for coleslaw. Boiled dinner seemed too BIG--stuffed cabbage rolls seemed too FUSSY--and colcannon seemed just right.

What is colcannon, you might ask? Basically, it's mashed potatoes + cabbage. And it's super easy--just boil you some peeled russets, and in another pot simmer 4 cups of chopped cabbage with a cup of milk and a stick (yes, a stick!) of butter. When they're both done, put them together and mash in a happy marriage.

My big surprise (and vexation) with this dish was discovering anew that even the tiniest cabbage contains far more cabbage than one would think. Seriously--the cabbage I used was about the size of a large grapefruit--let's say a pomelo. Four cups there, right? Even quartered and cored, it looks like it's gonna be four cups.

Start chopping, and baby, it's like clowns coming out of a clown car. My tiny cabbage gave me TEN CUPS of chopped cabbage. Forget the loaves and the fishes--I'll bet Jesus was making coleslaw.

Why is this vexatious? Because I'm trying to get RID of this stuff! And now I have more! Now what?!?

1 comment:

Jessica said...

That is incredibly cool! A second generation cookthrough blogger!

Maybe my children will do that one day--I don't have children but I'm imagining that I won't even be done with TJOTJOC twenty years from now, so it could happen :)