I've been wanting to make a quiche for awhile, and I've also been salivating over the lovely first cookbook from Chocolate & Zucchini
, a food blog originally in English though now with a French version, which is by a French woman... I hadn't even made any of the recipes from the site, but many of them sounded really good, and I hesitated about buying the cookbook for a long time. Well, as it turns out, my school's Science and Engineering Library has a copy, so here I am!
Anyway, I made the broccoli and apple quiche. It's tasty, in an unexpected way - sour apples (granny smith) and savory things are a really good mix. The only problems were that I used a nonstick metal pan instead of a ceramic dish, so I had to cook it a bit longer and it didn't brown as much as the photo in the book, and that my crust leaked custard (milk/cream/egg, as is typical).
As for the aforementioned cookbook ideas, I have two. The first is based on the same concept as Like Water for Chocolate, which I had to read in high school - I loved the idea (a story illustrated with recipes) and disliked the book itself. And then too, I wasn't as into cooking as I am now - I viewed it mainly as a chore and an occasional source of brownies, pies, cookies, and lemon bars, not as a potential creative outlet. Anyway, I would want to write a cookbook of that type, but more recipes, and short stories or poems featuring the dish, not a novel.
The other came from the thought that something must be done about the lack of decent Mexican and other Latin American food and U.S. regional food in many parts of the world. I've been able to find out about many French cookbooks that focus on U.S. food, some of them even regional stuff, but the question is whether or not any of them are both good and comprehensive. I found one that said it contained 300 recipes, but based on the cover I suspect it had a focus on the kind of food that passes for mainstream (as opposed to ethnic or regional). I mean, muffins, pancakes, cupcakes etc. are great and all, but what about bagels? Pan dulce? Flautas? and a zillion other things. I'd have to do more research though.
Anyway at this point a cookbook is a pie in the sky kind of idea for me - I don't think my recipe-making and modifying skills are up to it yet. I mean, I have maybe two original recipes - multigrain vegan banana muffins and guacamole soup - to my name, and a number of modifications - my (wholegrain vegan) pancake recipe, my variation on (vegan) cornbread, and my versions of cuban black beans, tomato sauce, lentil soup, etc. Fortunately, I've gotten to the point where not only can I follow a recipe and have it turn out well, but I can also sometimes rescue a dish that's gone a bit weird on me.
I think, though, that cooking is like any complex skillset - you just keep going, keep observing, read what interests you about it.
As for the language study, I've been reading and I'm on Skype and Lang-8
. I've learned a lot of new words and phrases, and I've been fooling more and more French people into thinking I was one of them (maybe I should see how long I can keep it up sometime) but my grammar issues persist and sometimes I just can't get the words out right. Grrrr. This is mostly French I'm talking about here.