In the category of random shout-outs: This past weekend I had some friends over for dinner and decided to try out some recipes from A Platter of Figs. There are no leftovers. I took no pictures. But that’s not the point.
The point is: David Tanis, I salute you. My friends now have totally overblown perceptions of my culinary abilities. They pretty much think I’m a genius, and that I’m constantly going around behind their backs, secretly cooking awesome meals for myself and some other group of secret friends. The truth? Unlike the blogorific Sarah, whose casual assessment of her slightly involved weeknight creations betrays a Total Kitchen Mastery, I tend to cycle through a fairly limited repertoire. It might go something like this: Rice and beans. Pasta (with whatever I can scrounge). Omelet. Takeout. (Okay, I probably have takeout twice a week. But who’s counting.)
To reiterate, if it isn’t clear from my rice and beans rundown: My skills, they are basic.
But armed with David’s cookbook, I was somehow able to fool my friends into thinking I really knew what I was doing.
Cherry Tomato Crostini with Ricotta
Roasted Salmon with Herbed Cucumber Salad
(Though it wasn’t in The Book, I also threw in some boiled new potatoes with olive oil and chives; in my opinion, you can never have enough starch.)
The Difficulty Meter
So easy! I drizzled the salmon with olive oil and chucked it in the oven. I chopped up cucumbers and herbs and dressed them with olive oil and lemon. The only slightly labor-intensive element was the prepping of the crostini—but so worth it. I already knew that crumbles were great desserts for cooks who can’t even handle chocolate chip cookies. But the berries really took it to the next level.
The Critical Reception
“This is officially our favorite place to come for dinner.”“I can’t stop eating the crostini.” “I didn’t know you were, like, a chef.” And, “Who finished the crumble?”
Their enthusiasm was such that, to tell the truth, I kind of felt like a fraud. I kept having to say, “I swear, it’s not me, it’s the cookbook.” They were almost angry with me for being so good, like I had been pretending to be one of them all along, when in fact, I was something much, much better.
Full disclosure: The salmon was not wild, nor was anything organic. I know that’s a betrayal of one of the book’s central tenets, and I hope David Tanis will forgive me. But wild salmon for six people would have cost over $60… I don’t like my friends that much!