Well, folks, this is it. I’m packing up my suitcase to head to Australia for 12 days–a journey I plan to document on the blog as I go (we’ll see how I do!)–and Craig is asking me to make a big pot of something to leave him in the fridge so he can have food to eat when I’m not here. I feel very wife-from-Babe. Coincidentally, friends at a Halloween party recently asked me to write a post on this very subject: things you can make on Sunday night that allow you to eat well on Monday and Tuesday. So here, now, is a list of dishes that meet that very criteria; most will taste better the longer they refrigerate. Also: you can store these dishes in the cooking vessels you cooked them in and put them right back on the stove to heat them up. You can also double the recipes and eat for even longer. (As for what I’m making Craig tonight, it’s Gina DePalma’s lentil soup from my cookbook, as documented by Deb here.)
The first post of 2013 has to be a winner–that’s a rule–and so it’s a huge relief to share with you a dish that I made for dinner the other night that’s such a winner, it portends very good things for the year to come.
I’m at the point now where I can read a recipe and I’ll know, pretty quickly, if it’ll be something that I’ll like or not. There has to be an X-factor, something sexy about it that intrigues me, that makes me go “Heavens to Betsy! What a good idea.” This Lebanese Chickpea Stew, which I found on BonAppetit.com, had that “Heavens to Betsy” quality I look for.
Certain recipes are so complicated, so expensive, and so high-stakes that they become, for adventurous home cooks, the equivalent of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or sailing a boat around the world.
Bouillabaisse is that sort of recipe. Originating from Marseille (in France), bouillabaisse–at least, the authentic kind–asks you to make your own fish stock (with fish bones that you have to collect from a fish purveyor), to use that stock to flavor bread for a rouille (an emulsion of garlic, egg yolks, the soaked bread and a roasted red pepper and tomato), to marinate fish in a mixture of white wine, Pernod and saffron, to form a soup base with chopped leeks, onions, tomatoes and white wine, and finally to cook the marinated fish (which, if you buy it fresh, will be expensive) in the soup (made with the stock) along with mussels and clams just enough so nothing overcooks. Yes: that’s a lot of work but then the results speak for themselves. When I made this last week, our dinner guests swooned over their bowls of bouillabaisse–there were actual groans of pleasure at the table–and I’d easily list it as one of my greatest culinary triumphs. Here’s how the whole odyssey began.