I am happy to report that nobody sustained any injuries during Chris’s meal from My Paris Kitchen. No bleeding, no accidental finger slicing, no probably-should-have-gone-to-the-emergency-room-but-choosing-to-drink-wine-instead. Phew.
For his two recipes, Chris chose to make the Smoky barbecue-style pork (pg 190) with Herbed fresh pasta (pg 230) on the side. I just asked him why he chose those two recipes, and he said that we’d been cooking a lot of chicken or beef lately, so the pork sounded like something different and nice to add into the rotation.
In other news, I also asked Chris why he didn’t choose either of the recipes that were mentioned in the introduction paragraph to the barbecue pork, and he looked at me blankly and replied “There were suggested sides?” Which resulted in a long, hilarious conversation about how he will read all of the specs of a fictional spaceship, but when it comes to recipes, he will start reading where the numbered instructions start, and ignore everything else.
Granted, David Lebowitz is a bit more verbose on his recipe introductions than any of the other cookbooks we’ve read so far, but he’s a food blogger, and I think it is part of the contractual requirements for food bloggers to write at least 1,000 word preambles to their recipes, or they’ll officially be drummed out of the food blogging union. I’m only guessing.
Anyway. All that being said, Chris actually reads through all of the instructions for the recipes, where as I am more likely to get lost in the introduction and then space out and skim over the instructions. Which, again, is why Chris is a much more thoughtful cook than I am.
On to the actual cooking bits: Chris found the recipe to be clear, straightforward and more than adequately spiced for our tastes. He started the pork a few hours before we worked on the pasta, and the house filled with amazing scents. I was dying to try it hours before it was ready, and yeah, when I was helping Chris shred the pork I was definitely sneaking bites.
Personally, I loved that the pork had harissa in it, although he does suggest swapping in Tabasco or Asian Chile paste if you can’t find harissa. We are fortunate enough to live in a place where even our crappiest grocery store has at least one kind of harissa, although I think that we used Trader Joe’s, which is probably relatively widely available. Harissa is available on Amazon, amazingly enough, and I have frequently used this brand, which I used to find in my local grocery store in Astoria (NY). It’s spicy af. Beware.
It’s not surprising that Lebowitz used harissa in his barbecue recipe though, as I imagine it is readily available in Paris, given the French connections (i.e. colonialism) in North Africa, where it’s from. It makes an excellent addition to barbecue though, and I may be using that trick again in the future.
As I’ve had the most experience making fresh pasta (one of the wild hairs I’ve mentioned in other posts resulted in me buying a pasta machine (I got this one, and I love that the Italians call it “Wellness”) and cranking out tons of fresh pasta. This also resulted in a massive party, which was two years ago on the Ides of March, and we made a ton of Roman food for it, which was…amazing. The children declared themselves to be of the pasta tribe, and I had to fight them off from helping me with the machine.
The Herbed Fresh Pasta was pretty easy to make, and quite flavorful, however, if you are using a pasta machine, I will caution everyone to VERY FINELY chop the herbs. The larger bits of herbs would get caught between the rollers and created some tears in the dough.
Also, if you are going to make fresh pasta, I highly, HIGHLY recommend using Tipo 00 (doppio zero) flour, (I use this one) as it is much more finely ground than all-purpose flour, and silkier, resulting in much better pasta dough. I will eventually write about some of my pasta cookbooks (I have…rather a lot, stemming from my aforementioned pasta phase), and read all of them cover to cover. In that post, I’ll cover some of the science behind pasta making.
Here’s the final meal, with pasta:
We were starving. And forgot greens.
Conclusion: All of the meals were amazing from this book, the instructions were clear, and we will be making more things from it. But, I mean, David Lebowitz. His stuff is amazing.