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Cooking with Recipes

Aaaaaaand: I’m back! The school year is successfully underway and I finally have more time for other things, like all of you wonderful people.

Have you noticed lately how online food publications want us to be cooking without recipes? Strangely implying that somehow it is better for us home cooks. Becoming free of recipes is some aspirational state that we should all dream of living in someday. It drives me crazy. Most chefs and expert home cooks I know rely on recipes, whether they are memorized or on paper. It is how we get the food to taste the same each time. Maybe it is mostly semantics and what the editors mean is that they want us to be better at improvising. But if that is the case then I am confused by their experience of the internet. You only have to read the comments of any food blog to understand that most people seem pretty comfortable improvising (I was out of chicken stock so I used maple syrup!). Anyway, most of the time immediately following their claim that they are going to teach us how to cook without recipes, there is literally a recipe. So I guess they can’t get away from them either.

This chicken larb(ish) non-recipe is a great example [1]. Not only does it give us all of the instructions, it gives us very specific measurements. And yet claims to not be a recipe. What is happening? (gaslighting!)

I thought you might like it if I converted their non-recipe to a recipe for you. Because I fucking love recipes and I want a lot more of them. Also because this is so totally delicious, and the result of so little effort, that you’ll want to make it all of the time.

Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (adapted from a non-recipe on the Bon Appetit site [1])

Toss the red onion and rice vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, garlic, scallions, and chiles and season with some salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and starting to brown. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and hot sauce and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed, a couple of minutes. Serve the larb stuffed into a lettuce leaf with all of the accompaniments and a squeeze of lime juice. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4? (I think it probably realistically serves 3 people)

But that isn’t the only thing I have been making in recent weeks. I am also pretty into the Chicken Tettrazzini recipe [2] the Times published a few weeks ago. My main suggestions here are to use penne and to chop the mushrooms after soaking them. Otherwise, this recipe is golden and something I plan on making regularly all winter.

I’ve also been really into adding some cooked brown rice to my omelettes to make them more of a meal. You get sort of a cross between a rice cake and a frittata. Good stuff.

And if you want to think more about recipes, check out my friend Helen’s Tiny Letter [3]. She has good thoughts. And makes good soup.

Back in the swing of it, baby! More soon.

And yes, it is too much to ask of me to have any photos right now. Baby steps!

This is such a bloggy post! Sorry? xoxo, Tim