Thursday, June 9, 2011


Looking through the cookbook section at the local bookstore, I noticed a trend towards cookbooks that are media personality driven. Then my eye caught a glimpse of something interesting. One book stood out from the crowd, and I was eager to buy it and bring it home to our kitchen.
This found treasure is At Elizabeth David's Table.

James and I were given a book by Elizabeth David about 15 years ago and spent some time with it, but since a move we can no longer find it. Still packed away in a box somewhere is my guess.
Elizabeth David was preparing and savoring real food in France and Italy when people I knew had meals often containing canned peas, canned soup, white bread and orange- colored American cheese slices. The worst
for me was when the hallmark of Sunday dinner the mashed potato was replaced with the boxed "instant" version.
It was the likes of Elizabeth David followed by James Beard and Julia Child that began to change how we shop for food, cook & dine.

Farmer's Markets have made it possible to purchase marvelous ingredients all season long including fresh eggs, greens, artisanal cheeses, and farm raised meats.
In our own garden we have eight large raised beds where we grow a wide variety of vegetables. We find ourselves growing larger quantities of herbs as our use of them in the kitchen increases. Cutting herbs for the omelette I found that a charming and fragrant bouquet was in my hand, it is now in a vase on the kitchen counter. Flowers from our gardens also fill vases throughout the house and often are subjects for paintings.
These are the things that fill our lives and bring us joy. We are fortunate to be able to step out the back door to gather herbs from the kitchen garden. A handful of fresh tarragon or a few leaves of basil to add to a sauce or a salad creates an immediate connection to what we grow in the garden and what we cook in our kitchen. Time spend in the garden and kitchen is time well spend.
We do not follow the "it's too much work" mantra when it comes to garden or kitchen!

Last evening as I read Elizabeth David's essay on omelettes I knew what
tomorrow's lunch would be.
James had brought home fresh eggs from the Farmer's Market and growing in the herb garden are chives, tarragon, parsley, chervil and thyme.
An omelette is a prized lunch here and now with a few new ideas provided by Ms. David, it will be heavenly. The simplicity of an omelette requires the finest ingredients and attention to detail.
Starting, as she suggests, with a warm ( not hot) pan, and stirring the eggs rather than beating them. Our 3 or 4 egg omelette is readied for the pan.
The flavor of the egg should be the star. We choose to add a moderate amount of finely chopped chives, parsley and tarragon to the center before folding the omelette, letting it cook a bit more than carefully plating it.
Elizabeth David tops the omelette with a knob of butter. Perfect. Added flavor and lovely sheen.
A sprinkle of herbs on top give clue to the additions.
Absolutely simple.
Absolutely devine.

If this were dinner we would have a salad of lightly dressed mixed greens and certainly a glass of wine.

Our herb & vegetable garden will add a bounty of ingredients to our summer kitchen and beyond.

The book referred to:
At Elizabeth David's Table
Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom

( preface by Ruth Reichl)
Harper Collins Books

James is at week 11 is this odyssey of 52 weeks 52 paintings.
Check out this week's post Sant' Anna Pears
An inspirational trip to Tuscany to see the frescos at Abbazia Monte Oliveto Maggiore
and Sant' Anna in Camprena.

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