Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuna and Ginger Burgers (Gwyneth Paltrow)

Confession: I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's Cookbook.
Second Confession: I LOVE IT.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how much I either love or hate Paltrow, because, honestly, it's neither. I bought the cookbook because I got the chance to thumb through it at a friend's house and I did so without any judgement or preconceptions. I forgot instantly that it was written by an Oscar winning actress and blogger and mom and rock star wife. I also don't mean that I like the book in spite of her - that's not true either.

I just think it's a great book. It's not built around some kitsch idea like "cook for a day, eat for a month" or "17.43 minute meals!" It's clearly a labor of love, beautifully presented by someone who knows and loves food. It's a lifetime of favorite recipes painstaking curated from family vacations, parties, friends, relatives, holiday traditions and Cape Cod clam shacks.

People mock the book saying she is a name dropper or an elitist snob, but I think, were any of us to sit down and write our book - our collection of recipes from the people and places that have left their indelible wine stains and tomato sauce splatters on us- it might not look much different.

Sure, Paltrow talks about Jamie Oliver giving her a cooking lesson, or having dinner with the Spielbergs and Stella McCartney, or relishes the memory of some exquisite meal in Umbria. But if I replace those examples with the time my grandfather taught me to make coq au vin or the most perfect fish with melt away shoe string potatoes that I will never forget from that teeny restaurant in Normandy, France, I know she is not intending to be ridiculous and showy.

She just loves food. And food people remember everything. We cant help it. Because food isn't really about food. It is about people, laughter, wine, travel, love, family, and comfort. But mostly love.

And, P.S. those tuna burgers? The ones you see right there on a bed of peppery arugula, caramelized shallots and soy-sesame mayonnaise on a toasted wheat bun? Yeah, they knocked my socks off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet my new best friend!

My husband had to buy tools this weekend which I tagged along for under the condition that he then accompany me to the grocery store. Which he did almost willingly! Anyway, bad planning on his part because while he debated over a $18 ball pein hammer purchase, I found this:

Come to my house, please!
This little baby is the Kenmore Elite 21 cu. ft. French-Door Counter-Depth Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator. Phew! That's a mouth-full. The reason this is so thrilling to me, is that my kitchen is a square, and my old fridge stuck out into six precious inches of space. It was also a side-by-side, which means I could fit nothing of any size in the freezer, and I could only see the first six precious inches of shelf space when I opened the fridge. This mean that I threw away four containers of sour cream today and found out that I'm the proud owner of three pounds of unsalted butter (I knew I had already bought some!).

Anyway, we got it 20% off, additional 10% off that and then an additional 5% for opening a Sears card. I know, I know. I hate store cards too. But it was worth it for what we saved on this baby.

Anyway, I absolutely adore my new fridge. All of my food fit into it perfectly with room to spare - especially after I threw away a small fortune in dead herbs and dairy products that I found in the back of the old one.

Speaking of my old one: don't worry, I didn't have it hauled away to the dump, or put it on Craigslist. It will be enjoying a second life at my house, thanks to my husband's ingenuity.

It will soon be: A Kegerator! I hope it looks like this one: