For my birthday, my sister sent me "The all-purpose cookbook", Joy of Cooking. This is actually my first bona fide cookbook and I have to say, it's about darn time. It reads much more like a dictionary than any cookbook I've ever owned and I love that (I’m into dictionaries). For instance, page 341 lists the definition/recipe for White Sauce I/Béchamel (the basic), White Sauce II/Heavy Béchamel (used in soufflés), White Sauce III/Binding Béchamel (for croquettes) and White Sauce IV/enriched Béchamel (for poached lean fish). First off, I didn’t realize the matriarchal position of the Béchamel, nor that there were so many variations, each with a specific purpose. It’s neat to see the slight alterations and additions to achieve a different flavor compliment and structure. On the next page I read a recipe for Champagne Sauce… I had never heard of this! At least I don’t think I have. I just love how this book reads… Here is the intro:
Not every householder has to worry about what to do with leftover champagne, but should this appalling dilemma be yours, there is no better way than this to solve it and make a light but rich sauce for fish or chicken."
Isn't that fun? As an aside, if you ever need some new baby names I suggest consulting Joy of Cooking for inspiration. Aurore, Indienne, Smitane, Soubise, Madiera... I'm not suggesting you name your daughter after a sauce containing strained or puréed onions, but can't you just picture an adorable little girl called Soubie?
Another interesting recipe which I had never heard before is Bananas in Blankets. I tried to find a picture of one of these babies on the trusty Internet but failed. Here is the recipe:
Bananas in Blankets. Prime as a breakfast dish or served with a meat course. Preheat broiler. Peel and cut into lengthwise halves: Firm ripe bananas. Place between the halves: Canned pineapple sticks. Wrap the bananas with: Slices of bacon. Broil in a pan, turning frequently until the bacon is crisp."
What is this? It seems easy enough, bacon wrapped anything is good and I enjoy a slice of Hawaiian pizza every now and then. I'm not sure I've ever seen canned pineapple sticks, but then again, I've never looked. What a little gem. I stayed up way too late browsing sauces, glazes and little girl names... Needless to say, the Joy is both palpable and palatable;)
p.s. that's late for me:)