I'd lost the will to cook.
Not to eat, mind you…. That never goes away.
Nor to drink…. So much wine; so little time.
I'd simply lost the will to cook.
It would appear that I have gotten into a rut.
I'm no longer content merely to put a decent meal on the table.
It has to be creative. Colorful. A feast for the eyes as well as the palate…. Plus it needs to be fun.
Nothing was inspiring me.
I was overwhelmed by the garden and underwhelmed by ideas.
Until today, that is.
Today, that Fairy Godmother, otherwise known as Amazon.com, came to the rescue with, not one but two, inspiring books.
It's not a secret that I like cook books. I have several hundred of them.
But what I really like are the big, 'coffee table' books that tell me about the country and region as well as the cuisine.
I started with an old Time-Life series: Foods of the World. Then I graduated to 'The Beautiful' series (as in France: the Beautiful). Then I found the Culinaria series.
I carried the first one back from the U.S. with me: Culinaria, Spain. I about broke my back hauling that 10lb tome through airport after airport. Couldn't put it in my suitcase…. way to heavy.
In the ensuing years I bought several more, but through Amazon, thus having them delivered; all hardcovers. The sheer weight of them in one place is awe-inspiring.
I haven't bought any for awhile – you know, the old 'I already have more than any sane person should have' bit.
But I needed to get out of my slump.
I compromised with myself.
I bought the paperback versions…. Which only weighs 4lbs. Yep, I weighed it.
If you look at my cook books you see a recurring theme: France, Italy, Spain in every series, with the occasional Portugal, Germany or Hungary thrown in for flavor…. And a few Chinese and Japanese.
Today I got Culinaria, Greece – which is absolutely gorgeous and I'm so excited I can hardly sit still.
I got the 'The food of Morocco, A food lover's journey'; also a paperback, also weighing in at 4lbs and absolutely gorgeous.
And my introduction to an entire new series.
I do believe mon mari is going to have to build me another book shelf…. It's light work; he can start tomorrow.
Best of all – I'm inspired. I can't wait to start cooking – again!
In the meantime, I did another pasta for Presto Pasta Nights.
I'm hosting this week and you have until midnight tonight (your time – whereever that is) to get your entries in. Rules are simple: link to me; link to Presto Pasta Nights;
send the info to: thyme2.kate (at) gmail (dot) com with a copy to:
ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com). Check the Presto Pasta Nights site
for complete details.
Pasta with Grilled Chicken and Tapenade
1 1/4 cup pasta, bite-size, penne, rigatoni
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
Marinade for chicken
1 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp oregano
6oz (180gr) green beans
8oz (250gr) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes
3 tbs basil leaves
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded cheese
3 – 4 tbs tapenade, black or green to taste
1 tbs olive oil
Cook pasta according to package directions. Note cooking time and add beans to water during last 4 minutes.
For chicken: Mix vinegar, Worcestershire, oil and oregano. Pour over chicken and allow to marinate for 10 – 15 minutes. Cook on barbecue grill or in a nonstick skillet, 12 – 15 minutes, turning once.
For the rest: Top and tail beans. Cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces. Add to boiling pasta water during last 4 minutes of pasta cooking time.
Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Tear basil leaves if large. Put tomatoes, chickpeas, tapenade and olive oil in large bowl, mix gently.
To finish: When pasta / beans are done, drain and rinse with cool water. Add to bowl and toss gently with tongs to combine. When chicken is done, remove, slice and add to pasta. Sprinkle with basil leaves, cheese and serve.
week of August 20 we have Grilled Salmon with Tomato Tarragon Sauce, Barley and Chard Gratin, Caprese Risotto, Grilled Burgers, Chili Pork Chops, Pasta with Avocado and Greek Olives…..
Thyme for Cooking
is a Weekly Menu Planning Service focusing on healthy, seasonal foods.
now and try it free for a week! The menu, complete recipes
with meal preparation instructions,
and shopping list is available each Thursday. (Reverse
seasons available for Australia, and others in the Southern Hemisphere).
Don't need 7
complete dinners? Try the Main Course Menu Mailer option: 6 new main
courses every week.
And send me your pastas!