Write Your, um, Our Own Cookbook


Blame it on Facebook. A few weeks ago, I posted this picture to this on my profile page. I was noodling around with the new iPhone app Instagr.am, to which I’m becoming pathologically addicted, and wanted to see if all this brouhaha over one-button photo publishing really worked. (Yes, it does, and, yes, David Lebovitz, Ree Drummond, and Deb Perelman, I’m still in the Dark Ages when it comes to mobile technology.)

These particularly sublime lovelies are gougeres–small cheese puffs, my version filled with prosciutto and herbs. They’re scheduled to appear in the glossy, full-color pages of my next book–a Leite’s Culinaria cookbook–of which I’m only in the proposal-writing stage. ‘Tis true, I’m one of those writers who takes a millennium to put together a book. All I can say is bless the hearts of those writers who can knock out one terrific tome after another.

Now, what I didn’t expect from my expérience sociale was the reaction of readers. Within seconds of posting, I started getting everything from requests for the recipe (can’t give it out just yet, folks) to some serious wrist slapping for not having started the proposal sooner.

And that got me thinking. While I have my idea of what I humbly believe to be a star-studded, headliner-only cross section of recipes, you might have a very different perspective. So I’d like to hear from you: What dishes do you want to have killer, to-die-for versions of–all placed in your hot little hands as soon as the book is published? Slam-dunk shrimp and grits? Never-fail Parmesan-crusted chicken breasts? Or brownies that will once and for all shut up your cantankerous braggart of a mother-in-law? Tell me. This is your chance to write your own cookbook by proxy. Who knows, your suggestions might just be one of more than 150 recipes to grace the pages of our very first (and we hope the first of many) LC cookbook.

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    1. All kinds of lassis and similar drinks – doogh, salt lassi, whatever they are called around the world! That would be wonderful, and jive very well with homemade yogurt – or did I read about that somewhere else?

  1. A lovely simple quinoa recipe (I love to cook the grain then sauté it with more veggies and flavors) and some experiments with teff, millet, and amaranth, as the gluten-free bubble is starting to make so many new flours available!  

    And a GREAT thick, full-of-ideas substitution section!  (You might guess I have allergies.. 🙂 ) But nothing has made me start being MORE interested in cooking than finding out I can eat very little “as-is”.  When you have eggs and rice and butter only… how many ways do YOU know how to cook it to keep it interesting?  I am a huge fan of your “we love to have one recipe “feed” another” attitude!

    I would love to see a small section on different cuisines as well…. eating gluten-free is fairly easy when you cook japanese foods; Italian foods can have GORGEOUS vegetarian options; Israeli foods–especially recipes that are changed to be Kosher for Passover–create a haven for yeast-free and dairy-free foods; and South America has some AMAZING corn recipes. Each part of the world focuses on different ingredients–I love how much that opens up options!  Once I started searching by location for recipes, I was able to find so many more recipes than just trying to type in “corn free.”  I never thought… “Well, where in the world is there no corn grown–cause I bet they have recipes!”

    And with the green movement so prevalent, and the economy the way it is, I’m seeing more and more homemade foods created in our own kitchens–making your own yogurt, capturing your own yeast starter, grinding your own flour- recipes right to the root and homeland- even down to a great recipe for a veggie rinse to get bugs and pesticides off.  Some “do-it-yourself” techniques would be FANTASTIC and economical.

    1. Nikki,  I’m so not into quinoa it’s not even funny. But then I said to myself, “Self, think of it as a grain, like rice, not anything crunchy granola-ish.” Then I started getting some ideas. But this is more Renee’s area, so she’ll have to give me a guiding hand.

      And I’m into the concept of DIY, so I hope to have lots of things to make for yourself–but not to the point of grinding your own flour or making non-pesticidal veggie rinses. That’s more lifestyle. Gotta stay focused on cooking!

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