Monday, August 31, 2009

Day Two: Five Books Every House Needs

The big yellow Gourmet Cookbook is my second book choice. It's the best of 60 years of Gourmet magazine, as edited by Ruth Reichl. After years of devouring the magazine, I've become disenchanted with Gourmet in the past few years. To me, it seems dark and broody - not broody in the British biological-clock sense, but broody in the Edgar Allen Poe sense. The cookbook, however, is a masterpiece. Stumped for menus for the week? Flip through the pages of this big (1,000+ pages) book and you're sure to find something that's appealing.

It's filled with old classics like Chicken Kiev and new choices like Thai Sticky Rice with Toasted Coconut and Fried Shallots, plus cook's notes, tips and techniques, and interesting background details (for instance, did you know Tripe is bleached to make it more appealing?). You could cook for a lifetime with only this cookbook.

In my copy, one of the bookmarks is always in the salads section, vinaigrette pages. Here's one of our staples from page 171:

Lime Molasses Vinaigrette (great on mixed greens or chicken and/or rice)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco (we use Texas Pete instead)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground allspice

Whisk together lime juice, molasses, Tabasco, and salt in a bowl. Combine oil, scallion, cumin, and allspice in a small skillet and heat over moderate heat, stirring until sizzling. Add to lime mixture in a slow stream, whisking until well blended. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yes, this dressing is a little more work than just whisking a basic vinaigrette, but it's worth it. And you'll likely have enough for a second meal. While we're on the topic of salad dressings, one of the most-used items in my kitchen is also in the photo - my Chef 'n Salad Dressing Emulsifier. It's less than $15 at Williams-Sonoma and is great for measuring, mixing, storing, and serving. Whenever you whisk up dressing, there's almost always extra (especially if you're cooking for one or two). This is the perfect way to store the leftover dressing and you can simply hold the jar until a warm tap for a minute to bring the refrigerated dressing to serving temperature, then use the built-in whisker to give it a quick blend.

That's it for Book Two - stay tuned for Book Three tomorrow. In the meantime, happy cooking!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails