Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Last night I made stuffed shells from Crazy for Casseroles. I cooked up some shells, and then stuffed them with a ricotta- mozzarella- egg- spinach- herb blend, and then put them in a casserole with marinara sauce above and below them. And a healthy layer of mozzarrella on top. I didn't use nearly as much as James Villas recommended, and it was still extra cheesy. And delicious. If you even vaguely like casseroles, you have to get this book. Even if you don't really like casseroles due to the canned soup issue- he makes a lot of them with a veloute or other homemade and sodium and preservative free sauce. If, like me, you are crazy for casseroles, well- this book is made for you.

I also started prep on tomorrow night's chicken. It's the Winter Roast Chicken from last week's NYT, adapted from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook. Pretty liberally adapted, since their roast chicken has none of these crazy spices, but the salt early philosophy remains the same. This winter roast chicken also needs to sit- uncovered- on the top shelf of our fridge for 48 hours. Jeff is concerned about the safety of this, but I have faith that the NYT won't kill us. At least, I hope they won't.

I got this yesterday, from the BOMC. This is actually a step forward in stanching my cookbook addiction, since I can now close my BOMC membership. And I shan't return- one book club for me at a time, please. The book is mostly reprints of Minimalist columns- columns I've clipped, recipes I've cooked, many over and over- but it is nice to have them all bound prettily. And a lot of those I missed seem delicious. The carbonara with zucchini was one of the first things I ever cooked after college graduation. The recipe for stirfry with chicken and nuts was taped to the inside of a kitchen cupboard in my very first apartment. I tore out the egg drop/straciatella column and have thought about making it for the past 5 years. Perhaps now I finally will.

The Minimalist was one of my first formal cooking teachers, and I still look forward to his column each week. Mark Bittman, I salute you.