Monday, March 22, 2010

Casual Cooking by, Michael Chiarello's - Lucca-Style Roasted Olives and Asparagus with Leeks and Pancetta

Michael Chiarello's Casual CookingThis week I decided to go with Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking cookbook.  I was really trying to find a book that looked like it had a bit more variety and had a homey feeling about it.  Michael Chiarello describes at the beginning of each recipe his personal connection to the dish.  Most people would probably say who cares.  But for me it's important that the Chef/Cook love the food they are cooking and that they are closely connected to the dishes. 

What I'm starting to realize after months of doing this blog is that no matter how simple a dish is to make, you really need to put the love in.  Which means to me, when you go out to buy your ingredients, you choose them by smelling, feeling and respecting what you are purchasing.  Great ingredients a good recipe and love will give you a great meal.

So to go back to the Weeknight William and Sonoma cookbook, the recipes were okay, but I could tell there wasn't anyone behind the book who really loved and designed each recipe with care.

Back to Casual Cooking.  I tried the Lucca-Style Roasted Olives and the Asparagus with Leeks and Pancetta.  Both recipes were really good.  I had a strong sensitivity to the orange rind.  The smell was a bit much, but the taste was excellent.  I will certainly try this recipe again, but I'm going to use lemon next time.  I love the smell of lemon Hmmmmmm.  Now the Asparagus dish was great, crisp and flavorful. I would really recommend this side dish with chicken even though we had pasta. 

Looking though the book has me really excited.  I'm looking forward to some of the mouth-watering meals that keep staring back in the glossy photos.  My fingers are crossed since my mother is coming to visit for a few days and she's the hardest judge of them all.  If she cleans her plate then we've got a winner.

The Cookbook Addict