I can feel the end. I can taste it. It’s so close, I think it’s already here. My days feel like I am coasting downhill, gaining momentum. The finish line is in sight, and I know I will get there. The fear of “Will I make it?” has transformed into “I’m going to make it!”. There is a calm surrounding me that feels equally reassuring and unnerving all at the same time.
WHAT I COOKED
Shrimp & Grits, Cook Like a Pro
Sausage & Mushroom Strudels, Cook Like a Pro
Smokey Eggplant Dip with Yogurt & Mint, Cook Like a Pro
Spiced Lamb-Stuffed Eggplants, Cook Like a Pro
Asparagus & Proscuitto Bundles, Make It Ahead
Vanilla Brioche Bread Pudding, Cook Like a Pro
Potato Galette, Cook Like a Pro
Chipotle Parmesan Sweet Corn, Cook Like a Pro
Smoked Salmon Tartines, Cook Like a Pro
Gravlax Sauce, Cook Like a Pro
Shakshuka with Feta, Cook Like a Pro
Tri Berry Muffins, At Home
Banana Crunch Muffins, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
WHAT I LEARNED
SHRIMP AND GRITS.
I wrongly assumed that this would be a difficult, involved recipe. Oddly enough, it turned out to be a wonderful weeknight dinner option. The shrimp shells are used to make a quick stock, which sounds difficult, but really isn’t. And because the grits have to cook for 45 minutes, the time is well spent extracting all the flavor from the shells. The stock comes together to make a quick sauce in which the shrimp cook, and the whole dish is filled with spectacular flavor. In the end, it went from grocery bag to dinner plate in under an hour, and my entire family loved it.
SPICED LAMB-STUFFED EGGPLANT.
This was one of my favorites so far from the new cookbook, Cook Like A Pro. The flavor is very interesting, with cinnamon and oregano mixed into the lamb meat sauce. Then it gets baked inside roasted hollowed out eggplants for a gorgeous presentation. It does take some time, but we all agreed it was worth it.
VANILLA BRIOCHE BREAD PUDDING.
To quote Elizabeth, “There isn’t a restaurant in town that is making a dessert as delicious and special as this one.” High praise! The texture of the brioche is critical to this dish, yielding a tender bite and a delicate eggy crumb. The custard is spot on, full of vanilla and creamy goodness. The best part of the whole dish is the drizzle of melted ice cream that goes on each serving. It’s the flavor of creme anglaise without the hassle. Genius, Ina. Genius.