What I have been reading Wednesday...The Home Cook

     I love food and I love books and reading, so cookbooks bring two of my favorite pastimes together.  To me cookbooks represent possibilities and creativity, a source of inspiration.   I have probably more cookbooks than I will ever be able to cook through in a lifetime, but I love all my cookbooks.

     One of my newer additions to the cookbook collection is The Home Cook, by Alex Guarnaschelli.  I love this cookbook, one of my new favorites.   All of us already know Ms Guarnaschelli (or you should), from Chopped or Iron Chef America.  I love her food philosophy, she has such a sensibility to all of her cooking.  Normally I get a bit skeptical of some of these cookbooks, so many have ingredients that are never kept on hand, or recipes that are beyond impractical, or just plain not affordable.

     This cookbook is exactly what it promises "recipes to know by heart".  Every recipe is ingredients that are accessible (and affordable) for anyone, and recipes that just make sense.  This actually would be a cookbook that I would actually cook through instead of just selecting one or two recipes and then going back on the shelf to collect dust
     This is a collection of really amazing everyday recipes.  The food that you really should instinctively be able to cook, and the food that you instinctively crave.  Its the food that you want to eat on those cozy nights in when you just want to enjoy a relaxing night at home.  I have made many of  the recipes in the cookbook, but as silly as it sounds one of the recipes that I make the most is her Fried Thyme Vinaigrette.  Such a simple, so simple recipe, but so good!  Its a recipe once you use it once you will find a myriad of other uses it.  Such has definitely been the case for me.

Fried Thyme Vinaigrette


1/2 cup Canola Oil
16 Springs Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
 small shallot grated
Juice of one orange
Juice of two lemons


1.)  Fry the thyme: Heat the canola oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  When it gets warm, add the thyme springs.  They should bubble and froth slightly.  Allow the thyme to cook until the green color pales slightly and the leaves become crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the sprigs carefully from the oil and put them on a kitchen towel to drain.  Season the sprigs with the salt.

2) Make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, and orange and lemon juices.  Flake the thyme leaves off the stems into the vinaigrette.  Taste for seasoning.

     So how do I use this recipe?  I use it on everything.   Once I tried it the first time I kept thinking of so many other ways to use it.  I have used it to baste chicken or flank steak, potatoes, parsnips or asparagus.  Recently I used it on shrimp and scallops I grilled and it was exceptional.  This recipe has definitely become a staple in my kitchen, once you try it, you too will find yourself making it again and again.  

    Overall verdict, it a great cookbook.  One that has so many recipes for food you want to eat, presented in a way for everyone to be able to cook it.
Definitely gets a five fork rating on this cookbook, try out the recipes and let me know what you think!


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