I have a confession. I feel like I’ve been cheating on Ina. It’s gone on for some time now, having the occasional dalliance with the Smitten Kitchen and Yotam Ottolenghi, but I’ve found something serious this summer. Melissa Clark, of New York Times Cooking fame, published Dinner: Changing the Game earlier this year. When I first read the title, I thought, sure, they all say they’re “changing the game,” but is there really anything new under the Sun? But of course I bought it anyway, because I buy cookbooks compulsively, and anything that comes from the New York Times folks is probably worth at least a recipe or two. In the made-up words of our former president, I misunderestimated this book. Everything has been fantastic. I’ve made a lot of her chicken dishes, which are surprisingly new and fresh – who knew you could do inventive things with boneless, skinless chicken thighs? A lot of the recipes remind me of Yotam Ottolenghi’s food, but sometimes with more of a Greek twist. She loves anchovies, which I know will turn a lot of you off, but the way she uses them for a dash of flavor (and kind of smooshed into a paste) makes it more of a purer version of Worcestershire sauce, for flavor. I really like how she uses them, and it’s surprising how often they turn up in her recipes. So far, we haven’t been disappointed by anything in this cookbook. Go get you one.
What else have we been doing, besides cooking through another cookbook? We survived the end of the school year, and all of the attendant award ceremonies, final projects, and special celebrations. We spent Memorial Day Weekend with my brother in Dallas, and ate everything we could get our hands on. I went to Charlottesville, Virginia, for a work trip, and loved breathing the mountain air and breaking away for a few hours to meet up with some of the good folks at Mockingbird Ministries. Speaking of Mockingbird, I haven’t been great about updating here, but I’ve written more there, and I’ve generally enjoyed hanging out in that little corner of Christianity.
But back to cooking! And back to Ina. Not even Melissa Clark can keep me away from the siren song of the Barefoot Contessa forever. We have a few events coming up next week, some calling for vegetarian fare, and this is the first spring/summer that we’ve had Cooking for Jeffrey so there are a lot of new recipes to try. I sat down with Cooking for Jeffrey earlier this evening, and I now have a five-page grocery list.