Bonne Femme Rocks!

I’ve had The Bonne Femme Cookbook checked out from the library for a few weeks, and my own copy arrived from the bookstore just this morning 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s a lovely book, and I anticipate using it a lot. I’ve already tried out her Silky and Light Potato Soup recipe, and although I’ve made many similar recipes over the years, I think that her version is one of the very best. And now that I’m not worried about getting a bit of “cooking wear” on the book, I’ll be trying out many more. Not that there’s a dearth of French cookbooks in this house LOL – but her recipes look to be well written and clearly defined.

And yes, I share your reluctance to take the word of anyone who hasn’t actually used a cookbook that they’re recommending, although I do welcome comments about the lay-out and the types of topics covered in the book, of course. And there’s always the proviso that while I have …

Some Cool Cheese Oriented Recipes

Michael Romano, chef at Union Square Cafe in New York, makes a popular dish that is ordered as an appetizer or side dish. Romano’s dish, Creamy Polenta with Mascarpone, stars the traditional Italian cornmeal pudding with mascarpone cheese, embellished with toasted walnuts and Gorgonzola. Featured at both lunch and dinner, it sells for $4.50.

Mascarpone could be called the new-wave cheese of the 90s. It’s fantastic stuff, and really tastes great. Italian in origin, the fresh, buttery-rich unripened cheese with a texture of thickened cream was once available only as an imported item. Now it can be obtained from U.S. cheese makers. Mascarpone provides an excellent, simple accompaniment to fresh berries. The classic dessert Strawberries Romanoff Mascarpone, which dates to the 16th century, couples the cheese with strawberries, orange-flavored liqueur, sugar and kummel liqueur.

Finally, cheese paired with nuts and wine or liqueur serves as an after-dinner tidbit. For example, Smoky Jewels figs, dates or apricots stuffed with smoked Edam, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese and broiled)

Two Underrated (and often undercooked) Veggies

There are always two serious vegetables as the worst undercooked in the belief that color and texture are paramount: string beans and broccoli. String beans, which are more logically called green beans, since so few need stringing anymore, don’t have much taste when they’re boiled for a few minutes and drained just after they turn a bright grass green. This is the way I have always cooked them, thinking that when their color is at its most intense their flavor must be too. I’ve had to season them heavily with salt and pepper, and to add lemon juice and oil too. And it has been work to eat them.

I was recently given pause when a friend from North Carolina, enlightened in culinary matters, became dreamy while recounting the pressure-cooked green beans of her youth. I felt queasy as she enthused over their flavor and the ease of cutting through them with a fork, thinking instead how brown and musty they surely tasted. A lot of fatback