Here it is, Sunday, and I have no Martha meal hanging over my head. I can cook whatever I want! I can go to the store in my neighborhood and see what looks good or what is on sale and cook that. I am FREEEEEE!
Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me throughout the project, and read my cranky posts. Your encouragement helped me keep going when it would have been easier to quit. I immensely enjoyed the project, even though I didn’t enjoy a lot of the food. I hadn’t written anything for pleasure in a very long time, so that part was fun. I did not enjoy all the time, money and food we wasted, however, running all over town hunting down speciality ingredients, only to end up with leftovers uneaten in the frig.
Standouts in Spring were the: lemon mousse; currant scones; catfish po’boys; bananas with caramel sauce; arugula and avocado salad; fontina flatbread; spoonbread; pasta with mint pesto; pan-roasted chicken pieces.
Summer: tomato/basil/white bean salad; Mexican corn cakes and refried beans; spicy shrimp and noodles in coconut broth; blackberry shortbread squares; tuna in tomato-basil sauce; chicken kabobs.
Fall: roasted pork with sage and garlic; spiced lamb chops; sautéed okra and tomatoes; apple-cranberry crumble; quail with figs and pine nuts; roasted parsnip and chorizo bites; celery root puree.
Winter: crispy ham sandwiches; tart apple bistro salad; citrus-soy sweet potatoes; sesame-spinach rolls; artichokes on toast; hoisin chicken; spicy cucumber scallion pickles; citrus-cashew salad; cauliflower gratin; chicken in tarragon sauce; curried vegetable pot pies; rosemary yorkshire puddings; Italian sausages with red onion gravy.
That may look like plenty, but when you consider that the cookbook has more than 200 recipes, that is actually about 16%. When you take into account that some things were spectacularly bad, like the oily Swedish meal, the caramel pudding, the soapy kiwi in jasmine syrup, haricot vert with tapenade, the horribly bitter salads and the shaved asparagus tart, I just can’t recommend the cookbook overall, as there are much better ones out there.
Things learned, not to be confused with ‘life lessons’:
1. I like kumquats
2. Cooking clams and mussels need not be intimidating.
3. I don’t want dessert most of the time, especially the ones in this cookbook
4. I kind of miss the old people creamy desserts. Or, rather, writing about them.
5. Martha needs Seasonal Produce Identification lessons
So, what is next? At this point, I can’t commit, for mental health reasons, to cooking my way through another book. For now, I plan to pick from my stack of recipes I have been waiting to try, or my other cookbooks. I promise to make some things that may be a challenge or terrible.
I hope you continue to read, and if there is anything you would like to see me cook and review, let me know!