Thursday, September 14, 2006

Nobody Does It Better

No one has saved me more in the kitchen than that adorable cockney moppet, Mr. Oliver. I grew up sort of constantly being shooed out of the kitchen and with pseudo-gourmet chefs for a mother and sister, I felt very intimidated in the culinary arena. Jamie puts one at ease and makes cooking both simple and fun. He champions feeding kids better as well. Here are two of my favorites to prepare from his "cracking" recipes:

4 handfuls of French beans, stalk ends removed
2 to 3 heaped teaspoons of French mustard, to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
7 tablespoons extra virgin oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
optional: 1 tablespoon capers
1/2 clove of garlic, finely grated
Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the beans, put a lid on the pan and cook for at least 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the mustard and vinegar into a bowl and, while stirring, add the olive oil to make a good French dressing. Season carefully with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the finely chopped shallot, the capers if using, and the garlic.
Drain the the beans. While they are steaming hot, this is the perfect moment to dress them as they will take on more of the dressing than when cold. Serve as a salad in its own or as an accompaniment to a main meal.
I also enjoy preparing his FANTASTIC FISH PIE. Truly British and pukkah!

A reminder to those in the SF Bay Area: Flor Morales and I will appear at Book Passage tonight as part of a fundraiser for the Marin Literacy Program. Here are the details:
Andrea Richesin and Flor Morales will read from The May Queen
Event takes place in the gallery
Thurs., Sept. 14, 7:00 pm
Book Passage in Corte Madera


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