November 7, 2012
I have come to realize something about myself, and it is this: my favorite part of soup is bread.
Take this tomato soup, for instance. Usually I just have a bowl of it with a grilled cheese sandwich like any red-blooded American who grew up on Campbell’s and Kraft, but the other day I decided that it would be infinitely better if I were to skew the sandwich-to-soup ratio a bit and do it French onion style. I filled a ramekin half-full with tomato soup, added some toasted baguette slices, sprinkled on some cheese, and broiled the sucker.
Parts of the bread get saturated with the soup and parts of it stay crispy, while the cheese melts and oozes into the crevices. There’s enough topping to get a bite of cheese bread with each spoonful of bright red soup, which is just how it should be.
August 7, 2012
As some of you may know, I’ve been reading An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by the incredibly inspirational Tamar Adler. You may know because I cannot. Stop. Talking about it. If I know you in real life, I’ve probably told you to pick up this book. Maybe twice. It’s not only because the writing is so eloquent and personal — which it is. It’s because Adler has summed up the essence of what it is to cook, and to do it in a way that makes it feel as if everyone were born to make food, which, of course, we are.
Which is why I’ve decided to start a new intermittent series here that I’m calling Back to Basics. These aren’t recipes; they are more like guidelines, techniques. Things you can do with the last bit of this-or-that so it ends up contributing to something delicious instead of ending up in the trash, and things you can do when you first get a batch of food home so that it’s more likely to end up in your belly in the first place. Simple fundamentals to make cooking feel more like alchemy than chemistry.
That isn’t to say that I’m going to stop giving you the usual recipes, too — after all, if you’re craving peach pie, you can’t make it out of the odds and ends of your fridge without having to go out and get some peaches. But food bloggers and people can’t and don’t live on those glossily photographed dishes alone.
“No, the point is not to do everything perfectly. The point is to be able to make great food with what you have.”
And so, we come to broth.
July 2, 2012
There are times when I don’t love living in Paris. For example: when it is July and it is pouring outside.
Europe is having an unusually cold and wet year, but now, in early summer, it seems it can’t make up its mind whether it wants to behave or not. Sometimes I wake up to rain pitter-pattering on my windows, sometimes to bright, hot sun burning my retinas because we forgot to pull the shades down the previous night. More often than not, I have to carry an umbrella in case of thunderstorms but end up sweating under my jacket, getting my face sunburnt at the Tuileries.
There are things I can do to help mitigate the strangeness of days that aren’t mid-70s and warm for weeks on end. One of them, as it turns out, is this soup. It’s like a California summer in a bowl. Creamy, tangy, sweet, and bright green.
June 29, 2012
Ramen. You know you have some around “just for emergencies.”
I love ramen noodles. But let’s face it, that powdered broth stuff is gross. So why not use veggies in your fridge and sauces in your pantry to make something marginally more healthy and way more tasty? Why didn’t I think of this in college?