Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I'm Reading Today

Now that most kids are back to school, my morning run to the market is full of parents loading their carts.  School lunches, afternoon snacks, and family dinner...I hope today's installment of "What I'm Reading Today" will give you a few new ideas to inspire your home cooking.

Soup is definitely in the air.  I ran into a friend yesterday and we both agreed, looking at the morning fog, it was time to make more soup.  My favorite these days is still this Curried Cauliflower Soup but in today's Los Angeles Times another simple pureed soup caught my eye: Leek, Apple, and Thyme.  A classic combination for fall, this is a study in perfect balance of flavor.  Leeks, tasting of mild onion, sweet early apples, and the citrus flavors of fresh thyme...simmer them together for 45 minutes (throwing in a potato to get that silky smooth consistency) and you've got soup.  This is the type of dish I make in double or triple batches as it freezes beautifully.  I'd even send it to school in the thermos.  This version is topped with some crispy frizzled leeks but I think I'd like mine with a little Gruyere crouton.

When my schedule gets really crazy I often turn to "breakfast for dinner": eggs, pancakes, frittatas, a Dutch Baby, or crepes.  I always have eggs and milk in my fridge so these are the easy standbys.  However, seeing Mark Bittman's Southwestern Potatoes in today's New York Times I may just have another fall back.  I've always got a few potatoes, canned beans, and cheddar at home.  And these days corn is still dirt cheap and mighty sweet, so a few ears are in my market basket each week.  What I love about his recipe is the lesson in patience.  Bad fried potatoes are soft and mushy.  When they're cooked well, they have a crispy, crunchy exterior with tender potato on the inside.  They're hard to find at restaurants because I think many breakfast cooks don't have the time it takes to do them right.  Bittman talks about letting the potatoes cook undisturbed, waiting at least 10 minutes before giving them a flip.  This gives them a chance to really crisp up, making this entire dish that much better.  His crunchy potatoes are topped with black beans, corn, jalapeno, and cilantro.  I'd gild the lily with a poached egg and call that breakfast, lunch, or dinner any day.

(from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster)

One of my all time favorite cookbooks if Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster.  If you're lucky enough to live in Durham, North Carolina maybe you've been to her Foster's Market.  If not, you can live vicariously through her stunning cookbooks.  I was thrilled today to see this recipe for Fried Green Tomato and Red Tomato Salad With Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette nestled amongst a handful of other great tomato recipes in today's Philadephia Inquirer.  This is a perfect vegetarian main course, filling and bursting with flavor.  If it makes your mouth water like it does mine, check out the book.  You'll love it.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking

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