Sunday, August 17, 2008

Summer time

I'm back to cooking now that Olive is getting bigger and by turns more independent, then more clingy and back. Still, in late summer there are so many ingredients around for a quick meal that I just can't help but get in the kitchen. I've been cooking mostly from How to Eat Supper, which is a nearly perfect cookbook as evidenced by the food splatters on the cover and various pages of our copy. The Summer Tomato Tart is a fabulous dish to have in the repatoire. A puffed pastry base with cream, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, goat cheese and herbs scattered on top. It looks beautiful and lets the perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy tomato be the star, especially with good heirloom varieties. The authors suggest variations for each season all of which sound tempting. In fact, many of the recipes in this cookbook offer variations. I love variations because it offers several different meals after mastering just one recipe. I appreciate a book that knows how lazy I am and is willing to cater to that inclination.

The other book we've been cooking from a bit is Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day. It sounds like a goofy infomercial hook, but it's more or less true. You have to make dough for the week and that takes more than 5 minutes, though it is far from labor intensive, and then each day you will need to let the dough rise before cooking. So it's more like "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes of hands-on time a day" for those quibbling Amazon reviewers out there. The dough is wet, and a bit harder to work than traditional bread dough because of it (but since you leave out the kneading, you still come out ahead), but it does make wonderful bread. And it really is best made with all-purpose flour which means it is economical to boot.

Between the two books we've been putting together consistently tasty meals that are simple, relatively fast and save a lot of cash that eating out can drain from a budget rather quickly.

We now have a CSA share that we are starting to use which sends me to the index first looking for another way to cook eggplant, which Sage loves. I don't love it, but I continue to search for a preparation I do like that doesn't resort to drenching it in cheese. I would do that in a second, but I'm off dairy while Olive works through some intolerance. I still can't wrap my mind around the idea that she drinks milk all day long but can't take the tiny bit of cows milk she gets in my milk. Cruel world.

Anyway, it's off to work with me as of tomorrow, so my goal of making some Spanish dishes may be delayed while I continue to focus on food that all but throws itself into a pan.


Anonymous said...

Your posts have a nice sense of humor! The tomato tart and the bread both sound wonderful. I made an eggplant dip last week, if you want to check out the recipe on my blog. No melted cheese AND the eggplant taste is nicely complimented by roasted red peppers. :)

Kim said...

Thanks! Don't mind if I do try the eggplant dip. Short of drowning it in cheese, dips have to be a favorite way of mine to eat eggplant - can't believe I didn't think of that!