The Cookbook of the Month Program ™? Why it is still very much alive. I can understand the confusion since I not only didn’t do a post announcing the chosen book for the month of June, I also didn’t do a post highlighting a single recipe. The astute among you may also note that the banner above still says “June’s Cookbook,” despite the fact that at 8:00 tomorrow morning we will be a full third into July. These signs of neglect could lead one to conclude that the program had been mothballed. It has not.
For the uninitiated, under the rules of The Cookbook of the Month Program ™ a cookbook is chosen at the beginning (or so) of each month and we commit to making ten recipes from the book by the end of the month. It keeps us in the kitchen and trying new things. All healthy goals. For June we chose Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food.
As has been pointed out by another in Slate, The book puts forth the image of hyper busy *** Chef Gordon Ramsay arriving home from a
busy day of managing a multinational restaurant empire, consulting with food distributors, filming one screamfest after another, and writing cook books arriving home to cook a nice meal for the fam. It’s all show of course. From his book Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen: “At home, Tana cooks in the downstairs kitchen or we get takeaway, or we grill something simple.”
Which ten recipes did we make? When have we ever reached the goal of making ten recipes? We made six-ish. Sue us.
I say “ish” because the first one, “Blueberry & Pomegranite Fizz” (page 245) is so stupidly easy – blueberries, superfine sugar, pomegranite, and Champagne – that I’m almost embarrassed to count it. Almost is the key word. It counts. We fizzed up and combined garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, white wine, capers, creme fraiche, and more wine because the recipe didn’t call for enough to make a sauce for “Veal Piccata” (page 74). For sides we made “Artichokes in herb & lemon dressing” (page 50) made with garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, chives, and flatleaf and “Minted melon, feta & fennel salad” (page 65) which is just what it says it is with a lemon vinaigrette. Add a nice Burgundy and six people grow very satisfied.
We were so happy about our veal meal that we went back to the book for the very next meal. There was a lot of very nice Burgundy so the next meal was lunch – “Pappardelle, smoked trout & tomatoes,” (page 124). Shortly after that we made “Tandoori spiced halibut with cucumber” (page 169) and my life changed. Slightly. I know that I really like Tandoori spiced halibut with cucumber whereas before it was up in the air.
For reasons I can’t explain, we stopped there. The halibut happened around the June 10. We were operating at a pace before unknown to The Cookbook of the Month Program ™. Perhaps it was to much; a jar to the natural sequence. The candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast, etc.
All in all this is a good cookbook. The recipes are straightforward and not beyond the abilities of the average person. It avoids the twin dangers of talking down to the reader or talking over the reader’s head. I’ll be coming back to this book for, if nothing else, “Poached duck egg with anchovy fingers” (page 94).