Sunday, January 28, 2007
Me and Deborah Madison
Well the good news is that my cooking mojo came back, thank goodness! Don't know if it was the two weeks of eating out, or the car breaking down, or like um, the planets, man... but who cares! Yesterday I had an unexpected day off, so I loaded up at the grocery store and proceeded to spend a good part of the afternoon chopping, slicing, dicing and stirring, making the sink overflow with dishes and the kitchen smell intoxicatingly good.
Our tour guide for Saturday was Deborah Madison. I had decided it was time to use the barley and dried shitake mushrooms I had in my cupboard, so I used her recipe for a mushroom and barley pilaf (substituting the shitakes for the porcinis that the recipe called for). I don't know if it was supposed to, but it turned out very much like risotto. This is the second time I've cooked with dried mushrooms recently, and they lend such a depth of flavor - very rich and earthy. I've said it before and I'm saying it again; just go get her cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - it's a great reference guide and full of interesting and flavorful recipes!
Next, we moved on to a recipe from her book which I started yesterday and will finish today - it's a butternut squash soup with coconut milk, lemongrass and galangal. It calls for making a veggie stock from scratch which includes sauteeing the veggies first in clarified butter along with cardamom pods, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks and cloves - and oh my god, not only did this scent make me practically swoon - it was a lovely sight to behold in my Le Creuset pot!
And lastly... we moved on to do our best to kick some aoili ass. Regular readers of this blog are well aware that I have a track record of being an aoili ruiner. Finally, I was gonnna get it right, following Deborah Madison's instructions.
But first I had to ruin one more batch.
And then Miss NoNo pointed out that using a food processer isn't the best way... so then I started over and I whisked and I whisked and I whisked till my skinny little Olive Oil arms couldn't take it anymore, and then I whisked some more, and it seemed to go on endlessly like this but sooner or later (much later!), my bowl was full of creamy, velvety homemade mayo scented with roasted garlic and lemon juice, and I emerged triumphant, exhausted and too tired to eat much of anything, but happy and satisfied nonetheless.