I’m back to cooking the books.
I’ve been cooking throughout my blogging hiatus, but changes in my personal and professional life drove changes in the way I cook, too: more fudging of the recipe, less time shopping for expensive ingredients; more time on Pinterest in search of one meal with ingredients that all four of us will eat.
And for my own satisfaction I’ve gone back to Cook the Book Fridays. Formerly known as Tuesdays with Dorie, I’ve rejoined the group determined to cook every recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s new book, Everyday Dorie.
January’s recipe was Potato Chowder Lots of Ways. It’s a quick, rustic soup filled with leeks, onion, shallot and garlic to warm your belly on Chicago’s first snowy day of the year. Dorie offers three variations at the end of the recipe, and I chose the winter one; This meant that I substituted sweet potatoes for white potatoes, simmering them in vegetable broth alongside the vegetables that I had previously cooked in bacon grease.
I served with is a simple beer bread – a recipe I love because you melt a stick of butter and pour half in the loaf pan before you put in the butter, and then top the batter with the other half of the butter. It’s perfect.
With that flavor palette, my meal had potential for greatness, but I felt it fell flat. Of the adults who tasted it, one said “it’s definitely rustic” while the other went with “It looks nice. It’s warm.” He mistook the sweet potatoes for carrots. And then he licked two bowls clean.
I’m still trying to figure out what he thinks. But I’m head chef around here, and I say it will not be part of our regular rotation.