This is my first official post of the party. (Let the games begin...)
When I saw the tweet about this little party I was intrigued. Would they choose me? How many people would sign up? Would it be fun? I filled out the form and waited ... and I was pretty happy to be chosen. I'm such a cookbook junkie.
Getting my paws on a new cookbook and "meeting" other food bloggers in the process sounded like great fun.
So the cookbook arrived and I I've been browsing it and trying to channel Emeril in the kitchen. But I'm not really a "bam" sort of gal. "Poof!" is more my style.
It was hard to decide what to cook first - I mean, this is the first post that sets the tone for my whole series, right? But in the end, I needed to be pragmatic. I could have chosen the recipe I most wanted to eat. I could have chosen the recipe that was the fastest to make. I could have chosen the cheapest one.
Instead, I choose a recipe based on my aversion to grocery shopping on the weekend.
Actually, I think that's a pretty good test of any cookbook: are there recipes I can make with what I have on hand? If not, can I get what I need without going to a specialty store? I've seen some beautiful books with luscious photos that require ingredients that would be next to impossible to find locally.
It's nice to dream about that stuff, but when I want to put dinner on the table, it's better when I can get the ingredients without waiting for the FedEx guy to arrive.
So I browsed through Emeril's new book until I found something I could make without playing weekend shopping cart bumper cars at the grocery store. Yes, I'm spoiled. I do my grocery shopping during the week.
Okay, I cheated just a little bit on my "no shopping" rule. I bought some things at the farmer's market for this recipe. But I was planning on going there anyway, so it's not like I was making a special trip. The farmer's market is a weekly ritual, so it's almost like grabbing stuff from my pantry.
I chose a recipe for a barley risotto. Okay, risotto is usually rice, but if Emeril wants to make a barley risotto, I think we can cut him some slack. And I like barley. But I always forget about it. Beef barley soup, sure. But other than that, it doesn't get nearly enough love.
As far as the rest of the ingredients, I happened to have parsley in the refrigerator, and the the other herb - sage - was in my garden. Perfect!
Emeril's barley risotto uses mushrooms and winter squash. The mushrooms add a meaty texture (and I love mushrooms).
And of course, mushrooms pair brilliantly with barley. When I made it, the squash melted into nothing and made the "sauce" creamy. I have no idea if that was supposed to happen, but it did.
Meanwhile, the herbs added at the end provided some freshness to the dish. Sage... so perfect with squash. This was an amazing fall dish, great as a starter, a side dish, or even an entree for the non-meat eaters.
Topped with a shower of grated parmiggiano and a garnish of some extra parsley, it was a pretty thing.
So, what, you want a recipe? Sorry, but there are a limited number of recipes we can post in this party. And it makes sense. With 20 bloggers, we could end up publishing the whole darned cookbook online.
Don't worry, though, there are a few recipes we're allowed to publish, and I have at least one in mind, Of course, there are 19 other bloggers participating - look over to the sidebar and the right and you'll see the whole list. Go visit some of them.
For my part in this party, I've been given a copy of the cookbook, a jar of Emeril's Essence and some serving bowls made by Zak! I'll also have a book and serving bowls to give away (stay tuned for that). Bloggers who complete the 3-week party will receive some additional books by Emeril as well as a small cash reimbursement. One blogger will be chosen to receive a 6-quart Emeril-branded crockpot made by T-Fal.
For more information on Morrow's cooking blog, see The Secret Ingredient. Want to pre-order the book? Clicky-clicky right here.