1.11.2013

Let's all take a moment to appreciate the Scottish approach to oatmeal

I'm having an absurdly difficult time focusing this morning, so let's just jump right in to Cookbook #3: Good Food Fast, Malcolm Hillier, 1995. Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Recipe: Moroccan Chicken.

This brown and beige pile is slightly more exotic than the others, because of cardamom.
The layout of this cookbook is interesting. It's physically divided into thirds, so that you can line up any combination of appetizer, main course, and dessert in one view. Those three categories are then further organized by how long they (theoretically) take to prepare: 10, 20, or 30 minutes. So, for example, you could whip up some Thai Coconut Soup, Lamb Noisettes with Herb Crust, and a Melon Tarte Tatin in a total of one hour.


Or rather, you could do that if the time designations, like BASICALLY ALL PREP TIME ESTIMATES EVERYWHERE, were not a giant flaming lie. I have learned to ignore these notations on most recipes, but when the entire premise of the book hinges on how quickly these things come together, I feel compelled to point out that yes the Moroccan Chicken took about 20 minutes to cook after I had spent 45 minutes prepping all the ingredients. So, let's eliminate "Fast" from the equation, leaving us with Good Food.

OR DOES IT? (Sometimes I wish for sound cues on this thing so hard.) There was nothing particularly bad about the recipe I made, but it didn't exactly whisk me away to Marrakesh. I feel like I have had a similar combination of ingredients with a higher flavor return before, although I am not motivated enough to research that for you.

If you will indulge me in a touch of culinary stereotyping, I suspect that the toned-down flavor may be at least partially the result of the Britishness of this collection, as the people of that fine island seem to have evolved a palate so delicate as to not require the use of salt or spices. Which is fine, and probably money-saving, but my tongue is a bit duller and I should have just tripled all of the seasonings. On the other had, the great benefit of a British-penned cookbook is discovering delicacies such as Gromack, a Scottish dessert composed entirely of oats, heavy cream, honey, and whiskey.

Verdict: I feel like I didn't really give this one a fair shake, since I didn't use it for three courses as intended, so maybe I'll return to it. I'd also like to get my hands on some Gromack, although I'm confused as to why it's classified as a dessert and not a breakfast. It's basically what I had for breakfast this morning, just all mixed in one bowl.

Cookbook #4: Appetite for Reduction, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, 2011. Provenance: I bought this one! Previous recipes on this blog: Braised Cabbage with Seitan, Ethiopian Millet with Mushroom Tibs, Brussels Sprouts-Potato Hash, Red Lentil and Root Vegetable Dal, Curried Cabbage and Peas, Caldo Verde, Pasta de Los Angeles, Cozy Collards with Tempeh. Moskowitz, of Post Punk Kitchen, is a pretty big name in the meatless world, probably best known for her Veganomicon.

Recipe: Goddess Ni├žoise. At first I thought I had made a mistake, picking a "veganized" recipe of a salad, when the only real step required is "leave out the tuna." But she fills in the fish gap with a mushy combination of chickpeas, capers, and a miso-based dressing that is surprisingly satisfying. (Note: I do NOT always accept this chickpeas-for-tuna swap so readily.)

That'll do, fake tuna.
Obviously I like this book, as I have used it many times. Recommended for: really anyone looking for interesting ways to use vegetables. I am constantly de-veganizing these recipes and still find them useful.

Whew! With all that work in the kitchen and archives and whatnot I sort of forgot to take any pictures of the girls this week. Hey Anna quick! Look sharp!

Skeptical of this strategy.
Okay, you too Ivy!

Oh, Ivy is (sometimes) walking now. You probably thought that happened at some point in the last six months  and I just didn't bother mentioning it, but no. Now.