Cooking with Pepper Paltrow

I’ve been eating really well lately. Y’all know I love cooking anyway, but things have been even better in the kitchen in the months since CW and I moved in together. We alternate cooking dinner on week nights and we’ve both been inspired to try new recipes in addition to honing our old standbys. I thought I’d share a couple of the dishes I’ve tried in the past couple of weeks.

And… now is the time to confess that I have been cooking out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good. Yes, she of GOOP. She of the infamous $20,000 wood-burning pizza oven installed in her yard. Sigh. I would not have thought to even look at her cookbook if Liz and Jonniker hadn’t raved about how great the recipes were. They were very convincing.

I saw the book on Amazon for a really good price and thought I had nothing to lose by trying it — nothing, that is, except my too-cool-for-GOOP points.  Well, cool points aside, I will say that the three recipes I’ve tried have all turned out really well. The only flaw in any of them was a mistake I made (more on that later). They’re all relatively simple and seem to be pretty healthy. The cookbook has some meat recipes (mostly poultry and fish), but of course I’m sticking to the vegetarian ones — most of which are vegan, but I added eggs to one.

I won’t post the exact recipes here because I think that’s generally considered wrong (copyright, yada yada), but if anyone wants to make any of these dishes, either check out the book or maybe drop me a line and I can share via email.

Beet Fennel Apple Soup

Beet Fennel Apple Soup

My first time cooking with fennel! This was relatively simple and easy to make and it tasted and looked great. How about that fabulous pink color?! The topping is a yogurt-horseradish mixture which really makes the soup.

The recipe has you add everything raw, cook it in the stock, and then purée. Next time I’ll roast the beets and garlic first — and maybe the fennel too? — for a little more depth.

Roasted Beet & Egg Chop Salad

Protein-Packed Chop Salad

We ate this on the same night as the beet soup. The beets in the salad “really tied the room together,” as The Dude would say. The salad also contains arugula, romaine, tomato, garbanzo beans, hardboiled eggs, and a creamy parsley dressing. Jonna raved about the salad dressings in the cookbook and this did not disappoint.

Egg-related side-note: I found directions for perfect hardboiled eggs in Mark ‘s How to Cook Everything iPhone app. Recommended.

Dinner in the Making

Risotto with Peas and Spinach

I made this tonight and decided to add a fried egg on top for more protein. It was easy enough to make, even though risotto is one of those dishes that seems intimidating. The only obstacle is the constant stirring — it was tough to try to manage the eggs in the skillet and the roasted delicata squash in the oven while also stirring the risotto. I had to call in a second pair of hands to assist. If risotto were the only thing on the menu, it would have been manageable enough for one cook.

Risotto with Peas & Spinach
(apologies for this horrible photo — the lighting was bad, but the ugly looking egg is all my fault)

My one mistake here was that I forgot to add the lemon zest toward the end of the cooking process — too busy worrying about the other elements and the stirring and the hey hey — and then it was too late. The risotto was really delicious and creamy and rich, and I think I would have liked it just a bit better had the lemon zest brightened it up a little bit for balance. Next time I’ll remember!

So Gwyneth’s cookbook gets a thumb’s up from me, in spite of her general smugness. She’s got some tasty recipes in there.

In other food developments, I’ve been making a lot of Thai curry with tofu, which has gotten rave reviews from both CW and my two BFFs who were visiting this past weekend. I just wrote up a recipe for Claire and she made it successfully at home, so I’ll share that here soon — I just don’t have any photos of it, so I’ll have to wait until I make it again and snap some pics.

CW has been making some fabulous things, too. My recent favorites were scalloped potatoes and this awesome dish that included sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes over crusty French bread with a poached egg on top. Perfect poached eggs on his first attempt. Life is so unfair!

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