Amazing First Date with Bittman
|Salmon with Cilantro-Basil Chutney, Golden Beet Salad with Fennel and Wild Rice with Curried Walnuts|
My first impression was surprise at how thick they were - about 1,000 pages each! Holy crap this guy has lots of material. I was a slight bit disappointed to find that none of these pages wasted any space on photographs. And I can tell you after tonight, there could be some pretty friggin' sexy photos of these recipes.
Knowing I planned to make salmon for dinner, and probably some simple chard, or maybe fennel (no major projects), I checked both new books for recipes. I realized that they are less recipes, but more about simple techniques for different foods and a handful of suggested flavor variations. Kind of like my college textbook Better Homes Illustrated Cookbook, but much more in-depth.
So I ended up choosing to make four recipes from How To Cook Everything. Tonight. Four. What was I thinking? A whole lotta effort for one girl to eat and clean up alone. But no, it was sooo worth it, because I was on a date, a first date, with my new Bittman book. And let me tell you... it's love.
|Wild Rice with Curried Walnuts|
|Golden Beet Salad with Fennel|
As the rice cooked, I put together the Raw Beet Salad with Fennel. I grated some small, local, golden beets. Then there's shaved fennel, shallots, lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bittman's recipe calls for Taragon and Parsley, but I was in an Eastern mood, so I used cilantro and Thai basil. What a pretty yellow salad to balance out some thick rice and juicy salmon. The fennel stands out the most - you'd never know there were beets in there, unless you use red. I hate cooking with raw red beets because the juice always ends up on my ceiling somehow. Don't ask.
|Cilantro-Thai Basil Chutney|
|Perfect Pan-Cooked Salmon Fillet|
Finally, I followed Bittman's directions for Pan-Cooked Salmon. I avoid grilling, baking, broiling or frying salmon because the smell drives me insane for days. But he made it sound so simple and fast, I gave it a try. It was the best damn salmon I've ever cooked. Golden crust on top, flaking and cooked medium at the center. I may have acclimated to the smell for the night, but I have a feeling it reeks in here. Oh well!
|Salmon with Cilantro-Thai Basil Chutney|