Tuesday, January 13, 2004

I didn't cook anything last night (I know, I know), so I decided instead to answer some reader mail. Julie from Long Beach (love your airport, by the way) wants to know which recipes I recommend from A New Way To Cook.

Because, like Julie, I first had A New Way To Cook for quite a while before I knew what to do with it (recipes I have not yet tried and may never try include a million ingredient macaroni and cheese and stovetop smoked fish. Considering my luck jerryrigging a steamer, a makeshift smoker is not the project for me.), I am happy to fill in the world as to where to start.

Start with the buttermilk mashed potatoes. You won't be sorry. Most of that first section, the vegetables section, is a big winner. The parsnip fries are fabulous and that same technique is brilliant for sweet potatoes. The roasted root vegetables, the steam-sauteed veggies, the pan fried onions? All must tries.

The orzo risotto and the saffron variation, the polenta (particularly with the olive and mozzarella) and the mozzarella rice are all winners. I love, love, love the curry crusted shrimp, but I usually use scallops instead. The ginger curry rice is the perfect partner for that, too. The baby back ribs seem crazy but they are delicious. Her foolproof rice is exactly that. Fish with green curry sauce is very simple and very, very good.

Her pizza dough isn't anything unique, but it's a can't miss recipe. I use the sponge variation and the second slow rise. Her buttermilk rosemary biscuits, though. You MUST try those. And her pastry crust is amazing. I warn you, you will make it and then force people to try some and then guess how much butter is in it. It will drive your friends crazy but also amaze them, because there is hardly any butter in it and it tastes insane.

Stay away from the balsamic dressing. Just turn the page and don't look back. Do try her Russian dressing, if you like russian dressing with your corned beef sandwiches. Also try the charred onion salsa- it's great over fish or even just with Triscuits as a snack. Or on a burger, but I usually go with her "fried" onions for that.

I know there's more, but that should get you started.