This post is not so much about German or American cooking, but about cooking in general and the joy of finding new recipes and techniques. It’s part of a new section of this blog that I am starting, to embrace the wonderful food blogging community and give my readers a glimpse of what I find interesting going on in the blogosphere.
I spend a lot of time reading other blogs online. Probably too much time. But with my job only keeping me busy for about fifteen hours a week (not counting lesson planning), I have the time. My sisters make fun of me for not appreciating the “sweet life” I have, but I have to say: it gets old quickly. My parents, and my time at Smith College, have trained me to embrace being busy and multi-tasking. This is the first time in a very long time that I have not been busy, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
So, I try to keep myself busy by reading a bunch, including food blogs. I have quite a few favorites (see the blog roll in the navigation bar, which lists all the blogs I read regularly) and I enjoy reading their stories and recipes. I realized one day that I hadn’t ever actually tried a recipe from the one blog that got me into the blogging world, Clotilde’s “Chocolate & Zucchini.” How can this be, you ask? Well, I’ve always gobbled up her beautiful pictures, her sweet, down-to-earth, and incredibly good English prose (she’s actually French!), and when I first started reading her a year and a half ago, I didn’t have a kitchen in which to try out her recipes. So, earlier this year (it sounds like a long time ago, but this was only about two months ago!) I felt that after waiting much too long, it was time to try her recipe. I gave her absorption pasta a go and let me tell you: if her recipe for absorption pasta is anything to go off of, I have been truly missing out!
This pasta is incredibly easy, incredibly flexible (great for improvising to create fancy dishes or to just empty out the contents of your fridge), incredibly delicious and (the best part) perfect for a person living and eating on her own. It’s not so much a dish as it is a technique (think rice risotto but for pasta and you’re getting the idea). Like Clotilde, I tend to use water instead of broth for a liquid, but I add a bay leaf and some spices (usually a mix of coriander, cumin, and nutmeg). Sometimes I make it spicy and add a bit of crushed hot peppers. I love throwing a dash of cream and a handful of grated parmesan in just before serving, which mixes with the starch and makes for a wonderfully creamy, flavorful pasta. As for other ingredients, the pasta is as flexible as risotto: I’ve only made a vegetarian version using on occasion zucchini, broccoli, and/or red peppers. I’m sure it would be excellent with salmon or chicken, perhaps even thin strips of beef, cooked with some tasty spices and stirred in just before serving. In any case, it’s perfect to give your improvisational cooking techniques free range. I have yet to eat a version of this that has gone bad, and believe me, I have had this dish more times than I can count since I discovered it.
Now, for the the next project: David Lebovitz’s mixed nuts.