Friday, April 1, 2011

Reviews and a Recipe

I just finished reading one of the best food-related books I have ever read.
I still hold The New York Times Cookbook high up on a pedestal, but it may come crashing down from it's gilded perch after I try some of the recipes and ideas from The Flavor Thesaurus, by brilliant author Niki Segnit. Niki presents food and it's flavors as an artist would her paints, color-wheel style. The individual colors are replaced by flavors-and it's a fascinating fresh perspective. She breaks down every imaginable flavor of food-using terms like woody, citrussy, earthy, and briny, among others, to describe how everything tastes. Then she goes ten steps further and suggests what seems like thousands of possible flavor combinations within her 'flavor wheel'. Nothing is exempt or forgotten-she devotes an entire section, for instance, to Anise, and how it pairs with all kinds of foods, many of which I would never have thought of or considered.

Segnit also offers some unusual stories and anecdotes on meals and preparation.The recipes, if you can call them that, are actually little gem-like stories of how she found or experienced food combinations, and tales of discoveries of impeccable joining of flavors. This woman knows hot to eat, and she's not afraid to say it.

The author presents a whole new way of looking at sustenance altogether-possibilities abound whether you are a meat-lover, vegan, vegetarian, have gluten concerns, are frugal or lavish, or just want to satisfy your appetite with something other than your regular rotation of meals. Well worth the read. I liked reading chapters before going grocery shopping. It got my mind whirling.

I have also fallen in love...with ceramic knives. I first spied them on the Simply Ming cooking show-he was slicing ahi tuna into paper thin slices or something-and I vowed some day I would try them. Ceramic made all kinds of prep tasks look effortless. My husband Bill recently found a small selection at, of all places, Harbor Freight, (known for it's selection of contractor-type tools) so he surprised me with a treat. They were ridiculously inexpensive, and very nice. I think the mid-sized one cost him about ten bucks.

 My new ceramic lovelies!

Slicing through a raw potato was like cutting room-temperature butter. They are incredibly sharp! Cutting veggies the other night, I had one of those 'oh that was close' moments. I somehow managed to just ever-so-lightly nick my open palm, quite by accident. Sometimes I get in my own way, it seems! At first I thought, I'm fine, just got the surface. Not! Further inspection proved a tiny, precision cut that indeed did qualify for a band-aid. These beauties can be very unforgiving with careless use, so I found.

Nontheless, I anticipate many years of faithful service from these svelte little knives. 

Today's food idea, then. Oddly enough, it does not require ultra-sharp knives, but it is fun to make on a cold day anyways. Since it's kinda gloomy out today, an homage to my Grandpa, Giacomo, who lived in the reigon of Italy called Tornimparte, L'Aquila. I believe the province or county, as we'd call it, was Abruzzo. Here is a reigonal dish that will warm your tummy. 

Scripelle M'Busse
Whisk the following together:
4 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup milk
½ cup flour (wheat flour yelds interesting results)
handful of fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, thyme or basil)
salt & pepper to taste
Fry 2 tbsp. batter at a time, forming small crepes. Fry until lightly browned on both sides and egg is set. Remove crepe from the skillet and fill with grated pecorino cheese, roll tightly, and place in a greased baking dish. Pour some dribbles chicken broth over, just enough to dampen, but certainly not flood your pan or dish. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle more cheese on top and serve. Makes enough to fill a 9 X 9 baking pan. These are delightful with Italian sausage on the side. 

Eat well, have fun, and love lots!

1 comment:

  1. yum! I need to check that book out too I am always looking for new things to make