Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall....a misnomer in L.A.

We haven't exactly had fall weather here in Los Angeles. We experienced one of the most mild summers and by default, we've had a sizzling heat wave entering the "fall" season, however my palette is definitely yearning for some fall favorites.

I'm back on the cookbook hunt for cookbooks devoted to seasonality. I'm becoming more and more interested in cooking and eating seasonally, however it can be intimidating. I mean, where does one begin?? Sure, it's a good idea to start strolling through farmer's markets, but for some (including me), it can be slightly daunting. You will find hidden treasures, troves of hearty vegetables coming into season and you will find the last fruits of summer hanging on for dear life, but like many, one can easily become overwhelmed when it comes to preparing meals involving these beautiful ingredients.

That's where a book like Earth to Table comes into play. I recommend you curl up on your couch, accompanied by your favorite glass of wine, while perusing this well-loved cookbook. It's easy to see where and how inspirations rears its playful little head throughout this book. Seasonal cooking is about allowing the ingredients to shine, letting them take center stage and show off their best. Perhaps even allow them to take a solo or perform a classic monologue. Either way, seasonal cooking shouldn't be about racking your brain, but taking the time to step back and let the ingredients speak for themselves.

This braised short rib dish was no joke. Gently simmering in beef stock, a hearty red wine, herbs and mirepoix, these short ribs were singin' for MY supper. What's great about a dish like this is that while it takes time, it doesn't take alot of "active" time. In fact, while the short ribs were having a party in my Le Creuset dutch oven, I was busy preparing a side dish to accompany the short ribs. Trusting the authors behind Earth to Table, I made a parsnip and apple puree, which to the common eyeball looks like another mound of creamy mashed potatoes, but you would be surprised. It was a first for me and I was pleasantly surprised, the juicy apple made a handsome couple with the rooty tooty parsnip. Creamy, slightly sweet with a lil' tang, the puree complimented the braised short ribs without overpowering them.


  1. Braises are beautiful! Need I say more?! People think they don't have time for it, but as you said, it takes little "active" time.

  2. Ohhhhh, it's dinner time and this is making me hungry!! The book you recommend sounds great - going to see if I can find it at the library --- and am wondering what you recommend for wine?

    You mentioned curling up on the couch with one's favorite wine -- but I don't have a fave -- would love suggestions!!

    Teryll, I love the passion you have for food and beauty in food (and books about food) - it really comes through in your writing!!

  3. Jean - I plan to braise more and stress less!

    Karen - Thank you for the sweet compliment, I haven't been on my "a-game" lately when it comes to the blog, but I'm getting my mojo back! With braised short ribs, I'd definitely recommend a red - pinot noirs or burgundys go well with it! Tuscan wines are worth perusing too!

  4. Surely, you have Sunday Suppers at Luques and A Platter of Figs-two of my favorite cookbooks and both very seasonal.

  5. Yes to the Lucques book, Platter of Figs is on my wish list. :) So is his new one too.