A few weeks ago, I posted a photo asking which cookbook I should try my hand at cooking cover to cover. Although many said Buvette would be the tastiest, I lean toward simple food more than extravagant food and figured I should take a cue from the Queen of Simple Cooking, Alice Waters, and cook through The Art of Simple Food.
There are LOTS of recipes in this book, but more than that, there are techniques and stories of how to make something your own. Being a rule follower, bake by the book kind of cook, this was something that I needed to hear.
Sometimes you just have to throw a pinch of salt here or a few grinds of pepper there and know that it’ll turn out just fine. Don’t have dried cherries? That’s fine. Use dried cranberries! No feta cheese? Try soft goat cheese for a whole new flavor and texture.
These are the lessons I’ve learned from Alice so far. She’s taught me how to be a better cook - not just how to follow directions.
My first recipe from her book was Brussels sprouts. I love her method, and while I didn’t adjust it at all, Alice gave me the confidence to change it if I so desired.
Here’s to lessons from chefs that carry over far beyond the kitchen counter.
Simple Brussels Sprouts (from The Art of Simple Food)
you’ll need:1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed1 tablespoon olive oil 2 slices bacon, diced 1 small onion, diced2 sprigs thyme or rosemarysalt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Quarter the sprouts and cook in salted water until tender. Drain well.
In a medium heavy pan, heat live oil and bacon. Cook bacon until done, but not crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Add the onion and thyme (or rosemary) to the pan with the bacon fat and cook until soft.
Season with salt and pepper, and, turning the heat to medium high, add the Brussels sprouts and cook until warmed throughout and beginning to brown. Add bacon, toss and check for seasonings. Serve warm.
Also: Happy Tunesday!