It's been more than a year and I'm still working through this inspirational collection of seasonal recipes. Frankly, I'm appalled it's taking me so long when everything I make turns out lovely.
Jamie Oliver, my cooking icon, uses veggies as the centerpiece in the majority of the recipes grouped here and every passthrough I find something droolworthy. One of my favorite recipes, the Asparagus and Potato Tart, has made numerous dinner appearances, despite the pitfalls of creating a filo crust. Grrr, filo. Although many recipes have meat in them, it's usually either something that's simple to leave out or something I'm inspired to make with a meat substitute. The Italian Ham and Spinach Tart, for example, I'll be making this week and leaving the ham off. Easy peasy.
All the recipes I've tried have been successes. Many have earned repeated rounds on the menu, like Sweet Pear and Apple Salad with Endive, Superb Squash Soup, Creamy Asparagus Soup, Fresh Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Oozy Cheese Sauce, Rhubarb and Sticky Ginger Crumble, Mothership Tomato Salad and more. Top two recipes on my 'to make' list: Baked Cauliflower & Broccoli Cannelloni, Incredible Smashed Peas & Fava Beans on Toast. Note to self: plant fava beans.
I admit, I'm a sucker for Oliver's excitement over good-quality, fresh produce. Why shouldn't I be? He's absolutely right. Jamie's abstract directions (a 'good handful of parsley') may worry a more methodical cook, but I find them an opening, a verbal head-nod to improvisation and creativity. I find Oliver's recipes and his hands-on approach to home cookery continually inspiring, making this book one of the first I reach for in a pinch.
Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
Hardcover, Hyperion, 09/2008