Saturday, December 3, 2005

Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, Soup - Too Bad No One Gets to Eat a REAL Meal

I started to write my cookbook, Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories, as a journal of family favorite recipes that I would hand down to my daughters. Then family, friends and acquaintances thought that it would be a great hit and that I should actually publish it for a larger audience. It’s easy to SAY “You should write a cookbook”, it’s quite another thing to actually DO IT. I thought the process would take a few months. It’s a year now and I still finding new… challenges, yeah, challenges, that’s the word.

Here’s the latest in the saga. I’m now in the testing and photography phase. When Ruth Reichl was doing all the talk shows to promote The Gourmet Cookbook, she commented on all the fun “they” (her huge Gourmet team of testers) had eating foods that don’t necessarily go together but needed photos and testing. Well, my “testers” – me – often end up feeding my honey bizarre combinations …or the other extreme…have to order in because I’ve only made desserts or been editing all day and had no time or desire to cook anything. We haven’t eaten a “normal” meal – you know with possibly an appetizer, main course that consists of protein (meat, chicken, fish), a carb (potatoes, rice, grains, pasta) and vegetables (asparagus to zucchini) – or at least ones that really go well together, in ages. Sometimes we invite guinea pigs …er, I mean tasters (friends and family) over to share in the bounty. Oh, and have I mentioned, that no one can eat until I’ve taken a million pictures and made sure at least one works!! So naturally we usually eat food at room temperature – salad, no problem, but some dishes are not quite as tasty cold. Fortunately for me, everyone thinks of this as an adventure.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Chicken with Root Vegetables

The other afternoon I made a delicious chicken roasted with all kinds of root vegetables and mushrooms. The chicken is coated (over & under the skin) with a heavenly rub made of roasted garlic, fresh rosemary, a little butter and Dijon mustard. The vegetables get tossed with a heaping spoonful of the rub, some olive oil and chicken stock and cook along with the chicken. Adding small whole beets to the turnip, parsnip, carrot, potato, mushroom and red onion mix gave the rest of the veggies a gorgeous touch of red here and there in addition to the gold and orange I typically get. Anyway, by the time I had done with the cooking, my honey wasn’t feeling well and had already gone to bed. It was just me with enough food for at least 6 others and no one to share it with. Sooooo, after the photos, I sliced the chicken figuring we would use it for lunch or breakfast dishes over the weekend since my daughter Jo and her husband Ezra would be in town. (FYI – we had delicious chicken quesadillas with Boursin herb & garlic cheese and a chipotle mustard for lunch on Saturday). But what would I do with the unbelievably fabulous vegetables? We had plans to go out for dinner on Saturday and probably be too stuffed from all the overeating we would do all weekend to want supper. I hate freezing cooked vegetables. I find they always taste spongy.

What to do, what to do….epiphany!!!! Using my trusty blender (another favorite kitchen toy), I made a puree of the vegetables with some of the delectable cooking juices and some more chicken broth and….voila ….amazing soup. Interestingly, the few beets that added just a hint of color to the rest in the pan of roasted vegetables turned the soup a surprisingly bright pink…..

See what I mean. It really does add a surprise element when having some friends over. First because of the vibrant color and second, because of the roasted garlic and rosemary flavoring all those tasty veggies. ... And all because I needed a photo of the roasted chicken for my book. So, when all is said and done, in writing Every Kitchen Tells Its Stories, every day is an adventure..... and an opportunity to do something new rather than just make the same recipe 17 thousand times to make sure I got it right for the book. Stay tuned for more in my adventure.

For those of you who might be interested in helping me out, I'm looking for some testers to try out some of the recipes and provide me with feedback: was the recipe was easy to follow and what about the taste?; did the layout help you find the particular things you generally look for in a recipe - like time to prepare, variations, ...? I'm compiling a list, working on creating PDF files and a feedback form, so I'm not quite ready, but if you're willing, please email me .

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1 comment:

Owen said...

Ruth - I would be happy to talk about the experience of publishing a cookbook - you may or may not know about Digital Dish, the food blog compilation I set up a company for and published in April. (see

It is a very tough road to go down and I can give you some practical advice about producing the actual book.

It was also a lot of fun and I don't even really regret that I ended up losing several thousand dollars...