Last night, Will and I devoured a pot of chickpea and leek soup intended to serve 6 people. I found the recipe in Jamie Oliver’s book The Naked Chef. Published almost 15 years ago, the book offers a glimpse into the humble beginnings of one of today’s most successful and loved chefs. Several pages are dedicated to thanks, most notably to his then fiancée (now wife and mother of his four children), and to one of his early cooking tutors, Gennaro Contaldo, whom Jamie still features on many of his shows. While I don’t know him personally, I can’t help but feel there is a genuine kindness and earthiness about him, and I definitely appreciate his efforts to bring simple, healthy, home-cooked meals back into our lives, particularly us Americans (see Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution). All that aside, I have never chopped so many leeks in my life! I’m happy to report, though, that the meal was warming and oh-so satisfying (as you can tell from our 3 portions each).
I have also been exploring Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. The last two are so wonderful in their celebration of food in general. I can also appreciate both writers’ shared experience cooking in small kitchens, one in NYC and the other in Paris. I love that David Lebovitz dedicates a page to his quest to find the perfect farmhouse sink — deep and wide enough for even his baking trays. A picture of the sink loaded with dishes makes me feel somewhat better about my own escapades in the kitchen — the mess comes with the territory, and so does the backbreaking work of washing up after! I completely understand his desire for such a beautiful sink, given the amount of time he spends before it.
As if all these were not enough already to satisfy my literary cravings, I’m anxious to crack open Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. We picked it up at the market not too long ago, and I know she is a legend in the food world, so I am very excited and curious to see what the book is all about.
Before I finish here for today, I must share with you that I enjoyed a wonderful morning with my family last weekend as we were invited to bake sourdough bread with a local baker (and new friend). I am amazed at the technique, timing, and effort that goes into producing these beautiful artisan loaves. I hope to have the opportunity to bake alongside her again.
Enjoy your week!