While Chef is in Florida, I’m in charge of my own dinners. This means, of course, that I’ve been eating nothing but salads topped with a grilled protein. Though, he did leave me with The Making of a Cook by Madeleine Kamman — whom he’s cooked with — to keep me busy while he’s chilling in the same hotel as Dennis Rodman. (That doesn’t say much about the hotel they were given; Rodman is probably so broke these days he can’t afford to color his hair.)
This is one of those cookbooks that reads like a book, which I love. And Kamman gives you the history of most recipes as well as the science behind ingredients reacting the way they do. It’s a great source of information and inspiration.
I decided to follow her recipe for vinaigrette because it sounds easy:
In explaining the ingredients, Kamman says, “A dressing made with olive oil tastes better when the acid ingredient is lemon or lime juice.” It’s like she knew I’m out of vinegar & can’t hobble to the store to get more with a broken foot!
I followed her measurements exactly: 1/3 cup acid (lemon juice), 2/3 cup oil (olive), and 1 egg. So far, so good. It looked like vinaigrette.
The next part is where I lost her. She writes, “Combine the seasonings of your dressing to your heart’s content.”
How am I supposed to know what seasonings make my heart happy? Help me out here, woman! While she offers tips, like steeping dried herbs in the vinegar and adding fresh ones into the already-mixed dressing, she doesn’t suggest which herbs to use or how much.
I’ve seen Chef whip together vinaigrette in seconds, so I figured it can’t be that hard. I scoured the fridge and found what looked like fresh herbs. Luckily, a quick Google search gave me this herb-for-dummies chart to help me identify them:
According to this, we had cilantro, parsley, dill, and basil. Sounds good to me. Following her advice, I added a bunch of the finely chopped herbs to my acid, oil and egg mixture. It looked beautiful!
It tasted terrible. I added salt and pepper, which helped a bit, but it needed something else. The book offered me no “how to save a bland vinaigrette” tips, so I just covered it and put it in the fridge for Chef to fix when he comes back home.
I’m sure I could have done it myself with another Google search, but I’ve been spoiled with one-on-one cooking lessons from Chef. The time we spend cooking and eating together has been the best part of my day — and life — for the past year. So, you can see why I gave up on my vinaigrette; cooking without him is as sad as getting instruction from the internet.
P.S. Chef took the job in Florida. I don’t have any specific details, just that WE’RE MOVING! Hurry up and heal foot; I need to start working on my beach body.