Sunday, May 31, 2015

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan [book review]

Our May book for the Kitchen Reader was Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. It's hilarious. Here's a sampling of the delights.

Cheese and Gratitude

"There's an old Weight Watchers saying, 'Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.' I for one can think of a thousand things that taste better than thin feels. Many of them are two-word phrases that end with cheese (Cheddar cheese, blue cheese, grilled cheese)."

"In America we have gone way beyond sustenance. Eating is an activity. 'Why don't we get lunch, and then we'll grab some pizza.' Most Americans eat constantly. And when we're not eating, we're chewing gum. We are literally practicing eating. We chew gum with a swagger and purpose that says, 'Yeah, I got a big meal coming up. I'm training for Thanksgiving.'"

"My wife likes to pause before the meals with our [five] kids and say grace. While I think this is a great opportunity for our children to learn to appreciate the gifts God has given them, I view grace as kind of 'On your mark, get set...' and the 'Amen' and the 'Go!'. I am pretty sure that's the way God intended it."

Beef with Parley Pesto and Sauteed Vegetables

People are always asking me how I eat complete meals with no carbohydrates. First, I answer by pointing out that vegetables are carbohydrates, and actually I only avoid starchy carbs such as pasta, bread, and grains. Secondly, I make meals like this: full of veg and filling, too, thanks to the protein and fats.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Parsley and Walnut Pesto

Earlier this week I wrote about how hard I find it to use up those little packs of herbs when I buy them. I usually purchse them for one specific recipe and somehow forget to use the rest. One solution is to make herbs into a salad with goat's cheese.

Well, I realised something obvious. Another solution would be to use up the whole pack the first time I open it. I could use that parsley spring on the one specific recipe and at the same time, whizz up some parsley pesto.

Making pesto is as easy as throwing items into a food processor. It tastes incredible over meat, fish, (veggie) pasta, and as a dip for veggies. It's like spring in a jar!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ratio by MIchael Ruhlman [book review]

Our April Kitchen Reader book is Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking by Michael Ruhlman. In it, he explains how many classic dishes can be described using a simple ratio. For example, bread doughs for loaves, pasta, pies, biscuits, and cookies have similar ratios of flour, water, and eggs or fat. How much of each in the ratio determines what kind of item you are making.

Besides doughs, Rulhman describes the ratios for batters (which make different cakes, muffins, and fritters), stocks, roux, meat mixtures (sausages, for example), fat-based sauces (such as mayonnaise and hollandaise), and custards. I am a grain-free cook, so I skipped over all the baked goods, but for those who make breads and cakes, I imagine this is the most useful part of the book. It's also extensive and detailed. This is a little ironic, since Ruhlman is trying to champion the idea that once you know the basic ratios you are freed from recipes and complications.


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