Sunday, March 27, 2011

A week of new dinners

Last Sunday I decided to go through a few cookbooks and cook things I have never cooked for the entire week. It was fun to branch out from the same old dinners we usually have and try something different. I think a good cook is not someone who can make the same few things over and over, but one who can take a risk and try some new recipes and be completely vulnerable. This week's dinners ended up coming from Tyler's Ultimate cookbook. On the menu was chicken paillard with figs and blue cheese which I altered to have apples and goat cheese because I don't think figs are in season and really don't care for blue cheese. We also had shrimp with white beans, bacon, sage, and tomatoes, and the ultimate spinach salad with bacon, black pepper, honey, and 6 minute eggs (which will be accompanying a pork tenderloin tonight) and 2 recipes not in his book: salmon with smashed potatoes and papardelle with sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and goat cheese in which I substitued fettucine since I couldn't find papardelle. This is a dish I abosultely love an didn't realize until the next day that I was missing truffle oil from the recipe. Hey, I'm on a budget here!

Anyway, I like cooking Tyler's recipes because he very much believes in using a few, simple ingredients in his dishes and I strategically chose recipes whose ingredients somewhat overlapped and looked for things I already had in the pantry. I think this is a technique I learned from my Mom at a young age. I would sit at the kitchen counter and do my homework while she was cooking dinner. She was the queen of making up her own recipes and adding twists on her favorite things based on what she had to work with.

I have probably 25 cookbooks, some only opened a few times, some with food stains and tattered pages that almost automatically open to the recipes in them I cook the most. My goal for the next few months is to try and cook at least one new recipe a week from that collection of cookbooks. It is a little scary to know that something I have put time and effort into might not taste as well as I'd hoped and probably will not look like the staged photo in the cookbookbut oh well. I always liked trying new things (if you haven't gotten the hit yet) so I think it will be fun. Here are some photos from the last week's dinners:

Chicken Paillard with apples and goat cheese
Shrimp with white beans and tomatoes

I will let you know how the next week's new dinner turn out as well as post some old favorites on here soon so stay tuned. Until next time,


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