Can You Boil Water?

The greatest dishes are very simple. Auguste Escoffier, French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. 

Yesterday I quoted Alice Waters, a famous, leading-edge U.S. chef. Today, I want to share with you her two favorite recipes. An advocate of fresh and local, her first favorite recipe is: “Go get some perfectly ripe figs in August, put them on a plate, and eat them.” Her other favorite is: “Go cut some mint from the garden, boil water, pour it over the mint. Wait. And then drink.” No kidding. These quotes are from her book Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook. 

You can do this—or some version of this. On Marco Island, where I live, our Farmer’s Market just opened selling fresh, locally grown, organic fruits, vegetables, and much more. I’ve written about it before because I love fresh food. The famous French chef, Alain Ducasse, says 85% of cooking is shopping. Waters says, “Find what’s ripe and beautiful and alive and in season.” Don’t think you can cook? Start with boiling some water—you’ve got this!

Affirmation: I can cook.

Coaching questions/requests: If cooking intimidates you, start with something simple. Slice up some veggies (fennel is my new favorite, carrots, or colored peppers), put on a little olive oil, salt and pepper, a piece of fresh fish and roast about 20 minutes. A beautiful, gourmet meal. What will you make for dinner? Start with something fresh.

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Mom’s Cooking

The smell of slow cooking spread around the house and impart a unique warmth matched only by the flavor of the food. Yotam Ottolenghi, chef restaurant owner, food writer

I’m hosting my cooking group for lunch today. As a member of Smoking Pots (makes you smile…right?), I’m responsible for one project per year. With Mother’s Day around the corner and my head steeped in motherloss via this blog and a book, I decided to have folks bring a favorite dish their mom or grandmother made along with the story and recipe.

I made pressed chicken, a chicken and plain gelatin concoction that tastes better than it sounds and is beautiful. Once inverted, it has a design of lemon slices, pimento and green olive slices on the bottom (top). I vaguely remember my mom making it for her bridge club and years ago I used to make it for summer lunches. It was fun to recreate.

Affirmation: My cooking spreads love.

Coaching questions: What do you remember of your mother’s cooking? What was your favorite dish as a child? How have you created memories for your family?