It has been a very long time since I picked up a cookbook and learned something I did not know. I am a self taught cook, and am a little shy on technique. I tend to cook because I like to eat and if I am hungry,which I am a great deal of the time, I like to make things FAST. Learning a specific technique in the kitchen always seemed to take too much time and effort so I just kept cooking. I checked a book out of the library last week and not only enjoyed reading it, but I learned something. I learned some 'things'. Things like: If possible, you should season the meat you are going to cook with a day or so in advance with salt and pepper. The difference between stewing something, and braising something. A generous amount of salt and olive oil will make almost anything you cook taste amazing.
The book is called:
The Art of Simple Food-Notes,Lessons and Recipes from a delicious revolution by Alice Waters.
I liked the way the book was organized, as well as the way the techniques were explained. In addition, variations were given for nearly EVERY recipe. If you read this blog, you know I am BIG on variations!
One of the recipes I decided to try turned out beautifully and the P-Man and I ate the whole thing for supper the other night. He pronounced it: Absolutely Delicious...and demanded to know why I had never made it before! Cheeky Bugger...
Sort and rinse:
1 cup lentils
Cover with water by 3 inches and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until tender all the way through.(adding more water if necessary),about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Toss the lentils with:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( I used 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar)
Fresh-ground black pepper
let sit for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt and vinegar if needed. Add:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot(I used 3 tablespoons of finely diced red onion)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Stir to combine. If the lentils seem dry and are hard to stir, loosen them with a bit of the reserved cooking liquid.
Even though a warm lentil salad in spring might seem a little strange...the fresh snappy parsley and red onion gave it incredible flavour.
This really is a great book...cook or not...I highly recommend it.