It was quite an amazing week! It started with a visit with Michael & Donna Ruhlman, along with their generous gift of a copy of Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient.
The Table of Contents alone scrambled my brain! Wow–check this out!:
Whole/Cooked in the Shell
Whole/Cooked out of the Shell
Whole/Cooked out of Shell/Blended
The Dough-Batter Continuum
Separated but Used Together
Michael Ruhlman makes you think about ingredients in a way you never have before.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out any of his books yet, and you’re interested in learning more about how he embarked on his journey in search of a way to marry his love of cooking and writing, try The Making of a Chef, about the extraordinarily stressful experience of training at the Culinary Institute of America. If you simply want to drool over food, get ahold of a copy of The French Laundry Cookbook to start. Way back then, I never dreamed what would come next. I am looking forward to using Egg over and over and over, with our ready supply of gorgeous eggs from out back in the coop.
While Donna snapped photos, Michael asked how often I post and nodded with interest when I said “Every Sunday.” But that nod morphed into a broad grin when I added “…and I post a recipe every Wednesday.” Recipes are clearly what make his world go ‘round!
To my delight, he turned my very simple white bean recipe into “Roxanne’s Magic Bean Stew” and then posted it here, on his blog. Loyal readers contributed a great many comments, including a number about making the recipe more flavorful with extra ingredients, and I agree that all of those would add something special. A drizzle of olive oil on the finished product, a generous sprinkling of parsley, even red pepper flakes. All good, and I even tried a couple this week. But don’t let them sway you from the main point, which is that real, nutritious food can be made with extreme simplicity. How simple? Check the original recipe here. In my mind that’s about as simple as it gets.
The simpler the food, the more you appreciate the flavor of the individual ingredients. Here’s another example of simplicity: Yesterday I composed a salad of red leaf lettuce, avocado, mango and tomato. The exquisite and perfectly ripe champagne mango was a gift received several evenings ago from an equally exquisite friend. A drizzle of olive oil, a shake of kosher salt. This morning I ate the leftovers for breakfast. Even simpler? I would have eaten the mango. Or the avocado.
I’ve got a tray of fresh figs on the counter, and am looking forward to eating a couple this morning. With or without a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. So simple, and so good.