Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I'm trying to go through little used cookbooks and cull out the ones I don't really need. So this week I pulled out The Silver Palate Cookbook which I had bought and then set aside because I looked at the famous Chicken Marbella, thought to myself, "Prunes?" and never opened it again. (A snap and unfair judgment, I'm sure. I also irrationally think the whole book is determinedly "eighties.")

So this week's menus are all pulled from the Silver Palate and last night we had minted pea and spinach soup. This was probably a very unfair choice because a)I don't actually like soup all that much and b)I have an amazing and beloved pea soup recipe in my repertoire already. Plus I was making unfair judgments while cooking like, "A half a bunch of mint is supposed to yield one cup of leaves? How big were bunches of mint in the eighties?" (I have no idea how big a bunch of mint is now, I have an herb garden.) And then, "They want me to strain out the peas and spinach and process them separately in the food processor? Wouldn't it be easier to just put the whole mess in the blender? Just how enamored of their food processors were they in the eighties?" As it turns out, they had good reason to do that- then you can add some of the broth back in and some heavy cream and make yourself a very thick soup. A very thick, delicious soup, which you can then spoon up on hunks of bread. It's not like my other pea soup at all but it will make you want to have two pea soups in your repertoire. (And my 11 month old, who hates being spoon fed as much as he hates spinach-- he let me spoon feed him a whole bowlful.)

Tonight we had pork chops with black currant preserves (apparently they liked to waaay overcook their pork chops in the eighties- I checked mine less than halfway through the designated 20 minutes and they were done) along with a carrot and sweet potato puree (again with the food processor). The sauce masked the overdone chops well, at least, and the puree was great (although they used a lot of butter in the eighties- you can cut that butter amount down by quite a bit, and if I'm cutting out butter, a recipe has too much butter).


Nancy said...

I'm not sure I understand the problem with the eighties (Iran-Contra?, LA Law?) but at least try the Marbella. I have served it to many delighted friends and family over the years. Yes, even people with prune fears. It feeds multitudes, keeps forever, freezes well, low fat, etc.

PS I think people who write cookbooks understand that you will leave out the butter, cream, etc. when you want to.

Hannah said...

I will try the Marbella, then, because everything else we tried last week (braised short ribs! mashed potatoes with leeks!) was to die for. Even though I cut the butter from 2 tablespoons per serving to one tablespoon per serving.