My brother-in-law made an interesting comment to me regarding our divergent cooking styles. It turns out, that because of this blog, he thought that I cooked from recipes whereas he cooks without them. In reality, I use recipes as guidelines, and much of what I have posted (except for breads and sweets) I have measured along the way so that I could post a “recipe”. So, for instance, I generally don’t use measurements for meatballs, or tomato sauce, or even frogs legs chicken (now that I know how to make that by heart!).
On the otherhand, because I have wanted to try new preparations, I have been using more recipes and ideas from magazines and cookbooks than I have in the past – like for the turkey burgers with tomato jam, and the Vietnamese Chicken Salad. I’ve definitely expanded my repetoire of meals because of trying new dishes. Which is a good thing, I think.
When I haven’t been trying out new recipes this summer, I have been cooking with ingredients that we have on hand, or with inspiration from the bounty of the summer months. I’ve been buying most of our food from the Farmer’s Market – everything is so fresh and bright at this time of year. Without the girls at home, S & I have been eating a lot more vegetables as a percentage of the food on our plates – a good thing. Most vegetables have been unadorned, save for a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper – if that.
Curiously, I tried to make fresh fava beans the other night. I haven’t ever made them before and I now know why. What a hassle! Not to say that it wasn’t worth it or that they weren’t delicious, but it is understandable why fresh fava beans are used more as a condement than as a side dish. I sauteed leeks, garlic, snap peas and the fava beans in olive oil and tossed them with some fettucini noodles. Then we grated fresh parmesan on top at the table. The combination was delicious, bus S correctly noted that maybe it would have been better had the vegetables been served along side the pasta since they didn’t really distribute well. Hard to explain, but all the vegetables sank to the bottom of the serving bowl.
And, a few nights ago, I made another pasta dish with arugula, garlic and lemon. It was pretty good, but I didn’t saute the arugula – I just let it wilt with the hot pasta and the hot, garlic infused oil. The arugula kept its bitterness and I’d hoped that it would have mellowed. I think I should have sauteed it – sometimes the bite gets cooked out a bit.
Tonight we have some friends over and will be trying some new ideas. I saw an article about trout, with some very beautiful pictures. I’ll post about those shortly!