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Archive for the ‘NYT Essential Cook Book’ Category

I made garlic soup for my NYT Essential Cook Book project. Soup is tasty and fabulous; we’re having another nasty cold snap, and soup is also warm. Mmm, soup.

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 large heads garlic (about 36 cloves), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 ounces vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into small pieces
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan or a small pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute; do not brown the garlic. Add the water and season with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the cooking liquid and reserve the garlic. Put the garlic and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid in a blender or food processor and blend to a fine puree.
  3. Put the remaining cooking liquid in a saucepan, add the puree, and bring to a boil. Add the vermicelli, stir, and cook for about 3 minutes; do not overcook.
  4. Meanwhile, blend the egg yolks and vinegar in a bowl.
  5. Turn off the heat under the saucepan. Drop in the egg whites and cover the pan. Do not stir–they will form a cloud-like mixture. When the whites are fully cooked, add the egg yolk mixture and stir very slowly. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

I made the recipe as above, but I omitted the vermicelli and had lovely crusty bread instead. I just don’t like tiny bits of pasts in my soup. There were a few issues: the soup didn’t taste garlicky enough for me, so next time I’ll cook the garlic longer, possibly even letting it get a little brown. My egg whites ended up being a big gross clump on the bottom of the pan instead of the cloud-like mixture promised–I ended up straining the soup a second time to get rid of them. Was the bottom of my pan too hot? Did I wait too long before the next step? And finally, the soup had way too much acid. I’ll use a lot less vinegar next time; for this to be edible, I added some parmesan to cut the acid. The next day I took the leftover soup to Jazi’s house. We added some cooked potatoes, and a pinch of sugar to cut the vinegar, and a touch more pepper. That made it pretty much perfect.

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I got this as a gift at Christmas. I’m not planning on doing a Julie/Julia type project, mostly because I am too lazy. (Isn’t honesty fun!)

But since I am taking next week off from work, I’ll make one thing from the book, and post about it here. I can’t decide what would be best: something I fail miserably at, because it’s more fun to read and write about culinary disasters, or something I know I can succeed at and thus build my confidence until the inevitable failure.

Any comments from the peanut gallery?

The real reason I wanted this book is because I’ve gotten lazy about cooking. Mr Lush is happy with the regular rotation of stuff I make, so why bother making something else? Besides, it’s easier to just make spaghetti carbonara AGAIN, rather than to try something new, because that takes planning and it might not taste good. So this is sort of a resolution, although I would not go so far as to call it that–that way lies failure. Rather, it’s me attempting to learn new dishes. Because while I am lazy, I’m perfectly capable of doing more: I like to bake, and that’s a lot fussier and more time-consuming than your average dinner recipe.

So. Onward and upward.

Publisher site

Source: personal copy

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