For Crazy Curry's event "This Book Makes Me Cook", I was all set to go with Enid Blyton and her lovely "imaginary" goodies like Pop biscuits, Google Buns and Toffee shock in her best book series "The Magic Faraway Tree", complete with pies and treacle! I loved those books as a kid and I'll never grow out of them. But does it really want to make me cook? I realized that wasn't the case.
What or who really REALLY inspires me to get off the couch and into the kitchen is Michael Ruhlman, and his writing. If you haven't read any of his books, buy them - Now. They are superb and worth every penny - if you are a foodie and in any way interested in Cooking, Chefs and the Restaurant business.
I've always had a mild obsession with Thomas Keller. I read his "French Laundry Cookbook" (co-authored with Ruhlman), and couldn't put it down - it was pure food porn. He was and is the epitome of what chefs are all about - to me. I then managed to wrangle a reservation at the French Laundry! It was a 8 month wait but every single moment was worth it. Chef Keller is a miracle worker. Here's my post on my visit there.
During that wait of 8 months, I read Michael Ruhlman's The Soul of a Chef, The Reach of a Chef and The Making of a Chef! I loved every word he wrote. He writes about the industry, what inspires chefs and what makes a chef. And what stood with me when I went to the French Laundry for my exquisite lunch, was the little portion about the restaurant and Chef Keller in his book. If I had had a little more confidence in my cooking ability, I was so inspired by Ruhlman's books, I would've become a chef.
I cannot even attempt to make anything made my Chef Keller in my kitchen at home in India. And then I chanced upon Michael Ruhlman's Popovers in his latest blog post. And they were delicious, absolutely delicious. And its so so easy!
Popovers (adapted from Michael Ruhlman's blog)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
First whisk the egg pretty well. Add the flour, milk and salt and mix to combine. Its okay if there are a few lumps. Pour the batter into buttered (and be generous with the butter) ramekins, or popover moulds. I didn't have the moulds or the ramekins, so I used earthenware coffee mugs. Fill them halfway and pop into a preheated oven. Bake at 450 deg F for about 1/2 hour (depending on the oven).
I had enough batter for four mugs. I added shredded mozzarella to two of them (that was my only variance from Ruhlman's recipe). The other two I left as is.
They will rise and become slightly browned on top.
The cheese popovers were eaten before I could even photograph them! On the other two, I added a dollop of store-bought blackberry jam, and home made grape jam (I'll post the recipe soon).
You have got to try this. They were irresistible. Its a great substitute if you find you don't have bread or croissants at home. Or just because you want to make some!
This is my humble tribute to Chef Keller and Michael Ruhlman, who have inspired me through their food and their books. Thank you!