From My Library: Vol. 2

It’s been a great but busy and exhausting week. Where to begin? What to recommend? My head is full of information and things to say, but I don’t have that much time to say them well.

I’ve been studying up on eggs quite a bit since it’s the next lesson in The Kitchn’s Cooking School. It’s become one of my favorite things to study and experiment with. And Jacques Pépin is becoming one of my favorite food personalities. So I just want to share a few things I stumbled upon while researching egg cookery.

Something to keep in mind when learning to cook, developing a recipe, or being creative in the kitchen in general:
“After you’ve done it once, you know what it smells like, you know what it tastes like. The second time you do it, you take a faster look at the recipe. By the third time, you start improving it: you want more tomato in there, you want more liquid, you want this, you want that. And a year later, you’ve done it 15 times, it has become your recipe. You’ve put enough of an imprint on it so that it becomes yours. And I think that’s the way it should work.”
—Jacques Pépin to Gabrielle Hamilton in a clip from PBS docu-series The Mind of a Chef

 When you drool over fancy kitchen tools you can’t afford or feel inadequate about your kitchen:
“My hands.”
—Jacques Pépin when asked what his favorite kitchen tool is at a Google Talk in 2012

This really hits home especially after I had burned my hands with jalapeno peppers the week before. When your hands are in pain, it’s just hard to focus on your cooking. I don’t have a hand mixer, an ice-cream maker, or even a food processor, but I’ve made mayonnaise, ice-cream, and pesto right here in my kitchen. It’s more labor-intensive, sure, and there’s a limit to what I can do. And of course, I eventually want to invest in a good food processor and stand mixer. But sometimes it’s surprising how much we can do with so little.

Things to keep in mind when making quiche or anything for the first time
I made my first crustless quiche yesterday—my first quiche in fact—in my first pie dish. Again, I didn’t do enough research before making it, and it ended up soggy. You can read more about it here. I found this Bon Appétit article after my little failure, and I recommend every quiche virgin and enthusiast to read it before their first or next attempt.

My boyfriend also gave me sage advice: buy a smaller pie dish before you know what you’re doing. My sister jokingly said the same thing when we were browsing the kitchenware section in the mall a couple of weeks ago and I picked up a big loaf pan and told her that I wanted to buy one of these to make banana bread soon. She picked up a teeny-tiny metal one and said, “Start with this just in case you screw up. Then you can just give the food to the cats.” I don’t know where the cat part came from, or which cats she was referring to exactly, but yes, her suggestion (the first part) makes perfect sense.