Just Cook

The NYTimes launches a new website with this paeon to home cooking:

Cooking is patience. Cooking is trust. The low heat of the stove combined with the butter and the rendering fat of the chicken will slowly turn the skin golden brown and crisp, so that it releases easily from the pan. At which point you will turn the chicken over, carefully, and cook it some more. (Use the downtime to make rice and prepare your green beans.) Then, the smothering. When the chicken has cooked through, take it out of the pan and pour off all but a couple of tablespoons of the fat in the pan, and make a quick gravy.

It looks like they have some good vegetarian recipes as well. I might try this one:

The NYTimes also has a nice essay extolling the virtues of a sharp knife. Quoted here for truth:

A good sharp knife is a cook’s best friend. It will help you to work with precision, and quickly. A dull knife conspires against you and slows you down.

And here is another reason for keeping that knife sharp: It makes your food taste better (and look better, too).

…And if you are attuned to how the knife is performing, your cooking is bound to become more focused and mindful. That always improves the way food tastes, too.

Cheesy Lemon Rice

Jessica has instituted a new policy at the house where, each week, we have to try at least one brand new recipe. Although we both love cooking, it is too easy to fall into a cooking rut (to twist a metaphor). So we’ve been doing this for the last four weeks, and we’ve really lucked out with out recipes. So far, not a single clunker.
I’m going to try to keep a record here of all the new recipes we try.

Yesterday, I saw this video on the NYT page:

My dad was coming over for a visit and I wanted to try something new, so I decided to give this a shot. But, instead of pasta, I decided to use brown rice, kale and feta cheese. Also, in order to convince my kids to eat it, I called it cheesy lemon rice. I think caramelizing is an acquired skill. One that I definitely have yet to master. The video said that you shouldn’t move the lemons around too much or they won’t carmelize. What she didn’t mention was that doing this would mean that the bottom is much darker than the top. Jessica standing next to me was the one who told me that I was burning them. In the end, because they were so dark, I only used about a quarter of them in the rice, chopped up finely. The rest I served in a dish on the side. Jessica and I were the only ones to actually eat them, which was fine with me because, despite being “caramelized” into near blackness, they were amazing. Crispy and chewy and bursting with juice and flavor. I definitely will try this one again.

My dad had the idea of adding mashed butternut squash with sunflower and pumpkin seeds toasted with olive oil and tamari with garlic. Yum!

Jessica’s great contribution to the meal was Eggplant Pasta Salad which we served warm. She added kalamata olives and baby spinach to the recipe.

All in all, a great meal!!