April 24, 2008

Playing in the Kitchen

I've been reading How to Eat Supper from the NPR series The Splendid Table.  One chapter begins "we all have nights when we hit the kitchen at 8 p.m."  Uhm, really?  That would be most week nights for Alex and I.  Maybe its more like 7:30, but still... I guess that explains why our dinners are so heavy on the stir fry, meat tossed on the grill and/or a green salad.  And the rotisserie chicken.  My Lord but do we eat the rotisserie chicken.  (I'm actually not nearly as disgruntled about this since Alex came up with the marvelous trick of crisping it up on the grill.)  Mind you, we definitely aren't living on take out and still do quite a bit of cooking.  As my sister has commented on more than one occasion, we eat well.  Its just usually pretty quick and dirty on weeknights.

That said, the stars have aligned to have me home nice and early three times this week.  So, I've had an opportunity to cook a more leisurely dinner.  My cooking style is to read a recipe and then deviate liberally from there.  And I don't actually measure.  (Unless I'm baking, and then I measure zealously.)  So with that caveat, this book has been the inspiration for several dishes this week.  It has taught me the most amazing trick for cooking frozen shrimp so that they actually have flavor.  And tonight I was wondering what to do with green beans that really needed to be cooked - when I found the perfect recipe in the book.  I didn't actually follow the recipe, but you know...

Anyway, if you enjoy cooking, I'm recommending the book.  I've discovered great recipes, learned useful tricks and found it to actually be an interesting read.  There's a good bit of narrative in the book, actually.  (Is it narrative in this type of book?  They're not exactly telling a story.  Well, you know what I mean.)

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