After two months, I suspect that my failure to consistently cook from and blog about Thai Street Food is my review of Thai Street Food. It is just too much of a strain.
|Melted on the stove during Thai cooking. Still works.|
|stir-fried minced beef|
|crispy roast pork and chinese broccoli|
I hope a day will come soon when I can (re?) dedicate myself to this exotic and beautiful volume, but December was busy and January is going to be completely nuts. I need a book that is easy and accessible that I will actually cook from and blog about.
That book is going to be Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. Curiously, Gabrielle Hamilton's negative review picqued my curiosity. Here's a passage in which Hamilton describes the lack (in her view) of appealing dishes in Around My French Table:
I did not want to make, for example, her guacamole with tomatoes and bell peppers any more than I would want to make a pissaladiere out of a Rick Bayless cook book. I did not want to make sweet and spicy cocktail nuts, or tzatziki, or gravlax or dieter's tartine or cola-and-jam spareribs or pork roast with mangoes and lychees. I hope it is self-evident why I didn't.
In fact, it is not self-evident. Not to me, anyway. I do agree that this book includes an odd mash-up of recipes and I take her point about turning to Greenspan for a guacamole recipe. But what is wrong with sweet and spicy cocktail nuts? They sound like something I could get very fat on. Pork roast with mangoes and lychees? Weird, but perhaps delicious. In any case, interesting. I'm going for it.
I have already made from the book:
sardine rillettes -- spectacular
Marie Helene's apple cake -- superb
gougeres -- good.
And the other night I made those cola-and-jam spareribs, which sounded delicious to me. They were certainly easy. You just paint them with some orange juice and jam, baste with a can of Coke and let them roast for a few hours. It was so very relaxing to pop ribs in the oven and know that dinner was making itself as I worked at my desk throughout the late afternoon. We ate all the ribs that night and there were none left over for lunch the next day. I would not make them again because I suspect there is a better rib recipe out there, probably in a Texas Junior League cookbook. But Dorie's was perfectly respectable.
On another subject, I have fallen into a deep, dark pit called The Passage by Justin Cronin. We started listening to this 37-hour vampire saga on CD during our vacation, but while my family has lost interest, I've become a mad fan. I listen to it while I'm driving, cooking, folding laundry, washing dishes, eating lunch. It has character, metaphor, power writing, moral philosophy, metaphysics, dreams, creation myths, blood sucking freaks, epic battles, propulsive narrative drive. It's like Lost, The Road, The Lord of the Rings, and Shirley Jackson's Lottery all rolled into one. RECOMMEND!