In the Kitchen

Best cookbook yet!

I’m making my 2009 resolution list, crossing off ideas, writing others in permanent marker and dreaming about the future. While my dream home varies from beach-front to mountain-top, the one constant is a nice kitchen with a giant garden to keep it well-fed. I never expected to love cooking and entertaining as much as I do, but if there were ever a chance to become a professional baker, I’d jump. You can imagine how thrilled I was to receive Alice Water’s “The Art of Simple Food” for Christmas.

Learning new things. Thanks Alice!

My mama, she is a smart cookie. I was on Twitter the other day raving about how much I loved this book when another person commented that if I liked Alice, I should check out her right-hand man, David Tunis. He recently wrote a cookbook called “A Platter of Figs.” Without a moment of guilt for spending yet another $30 on myself during the holidays, I scooped this book up this weekend and have been reading it ever since.

Did you know you can steam fish?

Tunis’ story is funny, honest and simple — like his cooking. He makes mouth-watering meals from basic foods and sticks to seasonal and local eating. He and his partner split their time — 6 months in the Bay area working with Alice Waters at Chez Pannise and 6 months in their European home, where they prepare fabulous meals for friends. Sounds like a dream!

Extras for the halibut dinner

I’ve only cooked one thing so far from either — steamed halibut. I didn’t know how to cook halibut (fish is new to my kitchen), so I pulled out the cookbook and took Alice’s advice. Ten minutes steamed and I had a piece of fish so flaky and tender, it melted. It was wonderful.

Dinner for one

I am looking forward to fewer giant community dinners in 2009 and more intimate meals with a few friends at a time. “A Platter of Figs” is catered to feeding 8 people a three-course meal. This sounds just about right. Tunis is also a fan of using meats not typical in American kitchens, namely rabbit and duck. It is going to take the right group of friends to want to come over for this sort of menu, but I think I’ll be able to round up a few. I intend also to make Ms. Waters and Mr. Tunis great friends of mine in the new year.

And that resolution list will be posted by the end of the week. I’m still editing and dreaming.


11 Replies to “In the Kitchen”

  1. A while back I tried rabbit at a restaurant as part of a planned meal. In the midwest rabbit isn’t often on the menu but the way they prepared it in a ragu was perfect. It was moist and very delicious served with pasta and I highly reccomend it!

    I’m looking forward to reading more about The Waters and Tunis recipes. I saw a great PBS special on Waters some time ago and found it very inspiring!

  2. Both of these books are fab! I love Alice so very much.

    I’m also a fan of steaming. I love putting everything in a little foil packet and having dinner ready. A fave is whatever fish with veggies of your choice with a little curry of your choice and coconut milk. Divine!

    Not sure you saw my twitter about a pet, but I have a great friend who runs a rescue shelter in Chandler. If you’re interested, please let me know. It’s a fab no-kill shelter and Jenny’s a whiz about fitting the right dog into your lifestyle.

    Happy New Year!

  3. I made a list last night. It all sounds so stupid, maybe I should try again. By the way, I thought you just read people’s twitter pages, not had one. Does this mean I should give in and join too?

  4. I got this cookbook for my birthday this year and I love it! It is so useful! I hate cookbooks with recipes filled with ingredients I never have. Most of the recipes in her book are made with ingredients I almost always have on hand.

  5. Kelli, don’t be a professional baker. Keep that for yourself and your friends. After doing it for a living for so long, I’ve decided to go back to school for a masters in something totally different. I can’t wait until I have the time and inclination to bake something for my family without them having to say “Who’s that for?”

  6. I’ve been enjoying a new Rachael Ray cookbook (my first). It is just perfect for the amount of time I want to spend in the kitchen on most days and yet very special (unusual and tasty) all at the same time.

    I’ve had several odd pieces of protein and game animals in my day, and at this point in my life I’m happy to let someone else cook them, but I look forward to you sharing some recipes that are worth trying at home. 🙂

    It is a struggle for us to find people who are willing to try something beyond meat and potatoes sometimes. They just don’t know what they are missing!

  7. Love halibut and steamed! Ah! You soon will be the gourmet hostess with the mostest! Lovely books. I have been a long time fan of Alice Waters and her amazing restaurant. Thanks for turning me on to Tunis. I was not aware of his book. Happy New Year!

  8. These 2 books sound fantastic! I will check them out. Happy cooking in 2009!
    BTW, I made pizza last night and thought of you. Have you tried the recipe I sent you? I thin it could make for a fun community meal–even if it’s intimate! Each person could “make their own” pizza if you make individual sized pizza rounds. 🙂

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