By Ann | January 10, 2012
Lucky girl that I am, I received quite a haul of new cookbooks for Christmas. Here’s what I’m cooking from these days:
Since I live in a cave (apparently) I’d never even heard of Nancy Silverton’s chic pizzeria, Mozza, until I was in Southern California last month and read this Los Angeles Times review of the new Orange Country branch. I immediately tried to book a table but rave LA Times review + holiday season + short notice = no luck. Happily, my dad employed the age-old philosophy — “Give your daughter a pizza and you feed her for a day, give her the Mozza cookbook and you feed her for a lifetime” — and I found a copy under the tree. The book’s pizza dough recipe is tailored to the home cook, including two pages of step-by-step tutelage that I hope to try one day (after gathering the required patience and equipment). For now, I’m sticking with the pastas. I’ve already made the cacio e pepe — linguine with Pecorino cheese and black pepper — which was satisfying but a little too oily (this recipe seems more promising). Next up: short pasta with guanciale, tomato and spicy pickled peppers. I also have my eye on the braised short ribs with horseradish gremolata and polenta — perfect winter comfort food.
Because I’m a hypochondriac, I tend to eat several vegetarian or vegan meals a week. A girl can only eat so much tofu stir-fry, however, so when I read about this natural foods cookbook here, I immediately started dropping Christmas hints (thanks to my husband, for listening to me!). Super Natural Every Day is full of unfussy, fast, wholesome and satisfying recipes that seem perfect for weeknight cooking. Though my first foray was a little disappointing — I made the black pepper tempeh with cauliflower, garlic, ginger, and cane sugar (turns out I don’t like tempeh — too pasty) — I’m excited to experiment with the lunch and snack recipes. Things I want to try: Spinach chop (with hard-boiled eggs, garlic, almonds, and harissa), little quinoa cakes, chickpea wraps (whole wheat lavash, celery, dill, mustard), white beans and cabbage, potatoes and parmesan.
On the other end of the healthiness spectrum is this collection of recipes from Martin Ginsburg, the late husband of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which was produced as a tribute to him by the other spouses of the Supreme Court. The recipes are mostly French (or Frenchified), made luscious with heaps of butter and cream. I hope to try the potato gratin and dark chocolate mousse — but not in the same meal. My favorite part of the book, however, are the remembrances about the cook himself, who seemed like an open-hearted, warm, intelligent and generous person. For example, here’s a quote from his son: “My father loved to repeat my sister’s line about the division of labor in our family: ‘Mommy does the thinking and Daddy does the cooking.'” The book is available at the Supreme Court Historical Society website; you can also read an article about it here.
Did you receive any cookbooks for the holidays? I’d love to hear!