Sunday, January 27, 2008

reinvention: iterating the mundane

Sundays are days for doing things a bit differently in the kitchen.  We generally have a little more time and a little less urgency, two sentiments that combine nicely, but at the same time we're also less inclined to try wacky new things on Sunday.  Instead we prefer to go back over the well-travelled roads of familiar recipes and tweak them, changing something here, adding something there. 

Why?  Just because.  

Tonight we made five changes to the Gratin Savoyard recipe I gave you back in November of last year:
  1. Replace the Comté cheese with Gruyere
  2. Replace the circularly-cut Yukon Golds with longitudinally-cut organic Idahos
  3. Replace the yellow onions with shallots
  4. Replace the "sturdy Rhone wine" with a cold "grocery store Chardonnay"
  5. Switch the oven to convection bake for the first 30 minutes and the last 10

We also took a chance on a plain-looking apple & pear eau-de-vie from Austria called Bauer's Obstler, which at $20 the liter wins big in the price-performance department.  

Not every iteration of the mundane works.  But these did.  I'm glad we don't take a cargo-cult approach to cooking, drinking, or living.  Sometimes you need to shake things up for no other reason than they haven't been shook up in a while.

On a semi-related note: I saw the debut episode of Jamie Oliver's new cooking show yesterday, and I'm counting the episodes until the gardener is revealed as Sam Elliott.  But seriously, the concept of doing a cooking show that depends on what you pick each day in your 18-acre potager is very interesting.  Until you find yourself counting the number of times Mr. Oliver uses the words "lovely" and "scrunch", and wincing every time he breaks out the dill.

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