What happens when a famous French chef offers up a recipe for chili? Here’s what happens: the birthday girl that you make it for (in this case, Diana) writes you an e-mail the next day that says, “Best chili I’ve ever had, hands down.”
Notice I’m not the one saying that. It’s not because I don’t agree, it’s that I’ve already done a post called The Best Chili of Your Life. That chili came from Michael Symon, a man who was born to make chili. This recipe comes from Daniel Boulud, a man who was born to serve foie gras-stuffed truffles at his Michelin-starred restaurant Daniel. Symon’s chili is all explosive flavor; Boulud’s chili has deep, layered flavor, flavor that doesn’t hit you over the head but sort of blooms in your mouth.
Jicama, when you buy it, looks and feels like a small planet. It’s big, it’s round, it’s hard. I almost put it back and thought about using something else as a first course for my friend Diana’s birthday dinner (during which I served a Smoky Beef Chili; that’s the next post) but the Jicama Mango salad I chose from a Rick Bayless cookbook was too perfect a choice to reject because of a big, scary jicama. So I brought the jicama home and turned to Twitter for advice.
Waking up on the weekend, one doesn’t want to get dressed. One wants to throw on a pair of shorts, veg out on the couch, listen to music and possibly read the newspaper. One–and I’m pretty much talking about myself here–definitely doesn’t want to go to the grocery store to buy breakfast ingredients. So what to do when there aren’t enough breakfast ingredients to make a normal breakfast? You make breakfast anyway.
This post is a bit of a cheat because it’s really a combination of two posts that already exist on my blog: How To Cook Perfect Fish At Home and The Best Broccoli of Your Life. The only innovation is that I served these two things together on the same plate and instead of using cod, like I did in that Perfect Fish post, I used really good salmon (Scottish salmon, if you must know) and did away with the Parmesan on the broccoli because I don’t like cheese and fish together. Oh and one more thing…
Our landlords recently told us that they’re selling our apartment and so, despite how much we like it here, we’re going to have to pack up and move on July 1st. I’m already spending way too much time on Westsiderentals.com (the big rental site out here) and a site called Padmapper (which puts Craigslist listings on a map) trying to find our next place. One thing I’ll miss about our current place, besides its proximity to a grocery store (Gelson’s) and a gourmet market (The Oaks) is Counterpoint, the used book store on our street. I’ve found many cookbook gems there, like The Mandy Patinkin Family Cookbook (which I didn’t buy) and The Cooking of Southwest France (which I did).
There’s something thrilling about inventing a recipe. And though I’m not 100% sure that I invented this (it may very well have existed, somewhere, before me) let’s pretend that I am to this recipe what Isaac Newton is to gravity. No apple fell on my head, but garlic toasted in my head as I tried to figure out something new and different to do with couscous. Here’s how it all works.
You know how people say “pretty please with a cherry on top?” but the visual you get, from that request, is of an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce and whipped cream? From now on, I want you to think about salad. Because cherries taste really good in salad. No, not cherries from a jar, I’m talking about cherries that show up, in season (like: now) at the farmer’s market. Look at the cherries in the picture above (which I procured from the West Hollywood farmer’s market) and tell me you’re not craving cherries. Well, crave them in salad.