At the beginning of this project, I bought myself a new stack of cookbooks for inspiration. It’s a bit of a stereotype, having a bookcase full of cookbooks and never cooking, but I wasn’t too far from the opposite. Aside from a few duds I’d picked up here and there over the years, I’d been getting along my entire cooking career on three cookbooks: Molly Katzen’s Still Life With Menu, which was the first cookbook I ever owned and which opened up my entire world, and Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything and the Vegetarian HTCE, which are my staples. I also have (and love) the Tassajara Bread Book and Dorie Greenspan’s incredible book Baking: From My Home To Yours. But, much loved as those resources are, they don’t get dinner on the table.
I’m not a “just throw things together, perfectly” cook. I’m more of a baker–I have a good eye for a recipe, which I then follow exactly. So, the fact that I hadn’t bought a cookbook since probably 2008 meant that things were getting a little stale. I’ve been working my way through the stack, more reading than cooking for a while. I’ve tried a few things with great success. Heidi Swansen’s WIld Rice Casserole from Supernatural Everyday will stay in the repertoire for a while, as will her summer zucchini pasta.
Sunday night was the kind of thing that changes a person, culinarily. Seriously, I made I think the best thing I’ve ever made. Suddenly I realized how very boring my regular cooking is (I adore Mark Bittman, but the very nature of an “Everything” cookbook means the recipes are fairly basic), and that I was capable of making awesome things.
I made this.
Changes: sautéed Swiss Chard instead of steamed spinach, our regular cane sugar instead of caster, and I didn’t put a lid on the fish (or use as much). Otherwise, as-is.