Blue Jean Chef Meredith Laurence Teaches Us How to Be Comfortable in the Kitchen
Are you comfortable in the kitchen? Meredith Laurence believes we should be as comfortable in the kitchen as we are in our blue jeans. Makes sense to me…both my blue jeans and my kitchen are a little tight.
In her new cookbook, Comfortable in the Kitchen, Laurence offers a wealth of recipes from basic to elegant (that’s where the teaching comes in). Each chapter of the book provides basic recipes followed by four variations. It features recipes for every taste, even the pickiest.
I’ve never considered myself a picky eater for two reasons, 1) I eat a lot; and 2) I am willing to eat about 95% of the foods in my house. However, since I buy all the foods in my house, it makes sense that it's stuff I like (the other 5% are things I dislike intensely, but buy for FCEtier, who happens to be picking up the tab; they include awful stuff like coffee, pancake syrup, and Little Debbie Cakes.).
In reality, if I consider all of the edible foods on earth, I willingly eat, maybe, 1%. The 99% comprise foods I won’t eat (under any circumstances; i.e., green beans, zucchini, lamb, mussels, organ meats) and foods I don’t eat (they wouldn’t kill me, and if I were really hungry…i.e., potato salad, lima beans, chocolate). The problem with cookbooks is that I hate most of the ingredients.
Comfortable in the Kitchen is filled with foods that I wouldn’t eat, but the pictures are so appetizing: Smoky Tomato and Sausage Fusilli with Spinach and Black Olives, Pot Roast Leg of Lamb with Oranges and Honey (which looks outrageous—and that’s to someone who thinks eating lamb is one step away from cannibalism), Baked Salmon with Horseradish Crust, Sautéed Zucchini with Lemon and Mint, several versions of Chocolate Bark. Every one of them is to “ooh” and “aaah” over (instead of my usual “ewwwww” and “ugh”), and I will bet that people who eat salmon, or lamb, or sausage would thoroughly enjoy these dishes.
On the other hand (or “in the other pan”?), I love the Chicken Marsala recipe (a dish I stopped eating in restaurants because so many do it so poorly), the Pork Medallions with Piccata Sauce, and the Creamy Spinach Gratin are more than worth the little effort it takes to prepare them. There are quite a few delectable vegetable dishes, including Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Olive Oil and Thyme, Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic and Herbs (it takes 6 hours to prepare, but worth every second), and Grilled Eggplant with Romesco Sauce.Continued on the next page