Yard Fresh Pt. 29

January 2nd, 2014

I had a big party for my 37th and this kimchi jjigae is one of the things I cooked for it. Really, really tasty.

It’s been a crazy fall and winter with the launch of the Toro Bravo cookbook, our book tour, local events and media and everything else in my life. I really couldn’t be happier these days. 2013 was a big, beautiful year for me — following a very rough 2012 — in fact it was one of the best of my life, if not the best. There’s a term that I learned recently that pretty much sums that up — post-traumatic growth.

Despite the wild ride and burning the candle on both ends I still managed to cook and eat a lot of good food at home and at friends’ and family’s homes and I’m including some of those things here. I hope that you’ve enjoyed a great closing of 2013 and start to 2014 too — food-wise and beyond. Food is one of the great pleasures of life if you let it be — especially if you treasure it and share that magic with those in your life. The love you have is the love you give. Cook something delicious for someone that you love today. Cheers to 2014!

I also made a huge batch of kimchi bacon fried rice for the party. Breakfast the next day...

Citrusy golden beet salad for my friend Michelle's birthday.

Jacques Pepin's delicious Provencal beef stew -- Beef Daube Arlesienne -- loaded with nicoise olives, capers and tomatoes.

Super yummy garlic cheese grits, bacon and eggs breakfast.

Garlic cheese grits, kimchi, bacon and eggs.

Future Toro Bravo limoncello from the book.

I used the juice of those lemons for lemon curd and lemon syrup from Linda's Ziedrich's book.

Aaaaand Grand Central's lemon bars that a friend said were the best he'd ever had. Really tasty.

Toro's crepes with berry syrup and maple yogurt sauce.

Eggs wtih salami, olives, cheese and homemade hot sauce.

Christmas family food tradition -- olives stuffed with cream cheese and roasted almonds.

Toro's Jerez Negroni in the book. Cheers to 2014!

Yard Fresh Pt. 28
Yard Fresh Pt. 27
Yard Fresh Pt. 26
Yard Fresh Pt. 25
Yard Fresh Pt. 24
Yard Fresh Pt. 23
Yard Fresh Pt. 22
Yard Fresh Pt. 21
Yard Fresh Pt. 20
Yard Fresh Pt. 19
Yard Fresh Pt. 18
Yard Fresh Pt. 17
Yard Fresh Pt. 16
Yard Fresh Pt. 15
Yard Fresh Pt. 14
Yard Fresh Pt. 13
Yard Fresh Pt. 12
Yard Fresh Pt. 11
Yard Fresh Pt. 10
Yard Fresh Pt. 9
Yard Fresh Pt. 8
Yard Fresh Pt. 7
Yard Fresh Pt. 6
Yard Fresh Pt. 5
Yard Fresh Pt. 4
Yard Fresh Pt. 3
Yard Fresh Pt. 2
Yard Fresh Pt. 1

Essential Pepin

April 8th, 2013

Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin is a great comprehensive cookbook for the home cook.

This is an enormous cookbook as it should be since Jacques Pepin has aimed to cook down and encapsulate his entire career with it. I’ve been a fan of Pepin’s for years. I first got to know him as many did — through his televised PBS cooking series with Julia Child — Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I love how at ease they are with one another. Jacques prefers black pepper, Julia prefers white and they bicker about it on camera. You get their character and humor unlike a lot of today’s highly groomed food television folks. I also really enjoyed reading Pepin’s The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. If you’re looking for an engaging read that takes you through the learning and becoming of a chef read it. It’s such a good book.

I’d been talking about how I wanted Essential Pepin, which came out in fall 2011, for awhile and then one day out of the blue my ex-boyfriend’s mom sent it to me in the mail. Love her. Here are some of the things that I’ve cooked from it…

The first dish I made from Essential Pepin is the chicken diable and it turned out great -- pan seared chicken with a red wine vinegary tomato sauce. Served it with sauteed sprouts, hazelnuts and white rice.

I often give scraps and trimmings to my dog but I made cracklings out of some of the skin since there was so much. Yum.

Really good breakfast the next morning with the leftovers.

I cooked up a big batch of Pepin's kidney bean and beef chili and got a lot of use out of it mixed with rice and coconut milk for dinner and sauteed up with eggs here for breakfast.

Pepin's not so pretty but very tasty lentil bulgur soup.

Essential Pepin
by Jacques Pepin
Pub. date October, 2011
704 pages
$40, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt