Git Yer Cook On

I am slowly amassing a nice collection of cook books. The funny thing is, I haven't cooked anything out of several of them. I believe I have a myriad of excuses as to why this phenomenon has occurred, but mainly it is due to the fact that I am not a recipe cook. I tend to just make things up as I go and fall back on knowledge already accrued through reading and experience.

The cool thing is, a lot of the cookbooks contain new knowledge for me. As I am addicted to learning, it only makes sense that I would eventually turn to these materials at hand to continue in my quest for greater culinary understanding. Plus, a lot of the recipes are down-right amazing.

So, my plan is to focus on one book per month. They run the gamut, as far as cuisine and methodology. For January, befitting the weather and my winter mood, I will be braising. I adore braising and all its slow-cooked, savory possibilities. For those who don't know, cooking with braising begins with browning in fat, then simmering in a small amount of liquid in a closed vessel at a low temperature for a long time. This method of cooking does wonders for the tougher bits, coaxing big flavor at a patient and peaceful simmer. I will be utilizing my autographed copy of Molly Stevens All About Braising, a book I purchased at the cooking school after working one of her amazing classes. On the menu for this month: goan chicken, duck rag├╣ with pasta, beef rendang, red-cooked pork belly with bok choy, just to name a few. This book will be more an undertaking of comfort for me than anything; I braise quite often and am fairly comfortable with the process. I need to start somewhere, though, and there are so many recipes in this lovely book that are just begging to be tried, and eaten.

Over the next several months I will be exploring the precise worlds of Thomas Keller and Eric Ripert, the mold-breaking realm of David Chang, eccentric offal of Fergus Henderson, and others. I hope to post periodically about my amazing successes(may they be many), spectacular failures (may they be few), and what I've hopefully learned. In the meantime, Le Creuset and Staub are calling my name.


Dennis L Hitzeman said...

I've always seen cookbooks as kind of like the same thing as an artist visiting an art gallery. It's interesting to see what others have done and to learn some new techniques along the way, but for the true artist and the true cook, the only path is originality.

JGrubbII said...

Yes, the techniques are essential. for it's hard to paint if you don't know how to hold a brush or mix your colors. I find with cooking that learning the techniques bolsters my confidence, leading to my own versions of things.