Cooking Avec Eric
I am not typically your follow a recipe word for word kind of girl, but when you come across a cookbook written by one of the world’s best chefs, you can’t help but want to flip through all the pages, and even attempt to mimic his/her culinary cuisines.
The Book? Avec Eric, written by the infamous chef, Eric Ripert, who has four stars in the New York Times, is the chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, and has been a judge on Food Network’s Top Chef. Now, that’s some culinary expertise right there.
For a summer lunch, I flipped through Eric’s book for inspiration. After going through it cover to cover, I finally had a menu planned: Eric’s Caribbean Fried Rice and Green Papaya Salad (which I ended up serving with my own curried chicken and spinach salads)--so good, you just wait.
Before we start, I’m gunna let you in on a few rules that I live by when following a recipe in a cookbook:
One: don’t be scared to put your own spin on things - have fun with flavors.
Two: don’t be a freak about measuring everything out with cups & spoons; rather, focus on the taste of your dish
Three: don’t be afraid to get your cookbook dirty - we’re hardcore chefs, right?
GREEN PAPAYA SALAD
Ingredients: 1 large green papaya (peeled & julienned), 1 small carrot (peeled & julienned), 2 scallions thinly sliced, 1/4 cup mint leaves (julienned), 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (julienned), 1/4 cup lime juice, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon miring or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
To make: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat. Let the salad marinate for 10 minutes in the refrigerator before serving.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup basmati rice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced ginger, 3 tablespoons sliced scallions, 1 jalapeño (seeds removed & diced), 1/4 cup diced banana, 1/2 cup diced apple, 1/4 cup golden raisins, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1/4 diced pitted peeled mango, pinch of cayenne pepper, salt & pepper.
To make: Rinse and drain the basmati rice and place in a small saucepan with 2 1/2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Over high heat, bring the rice to a bowl and then lower the heat to medium and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. After most of the water has been absorbed place a tight fitting lid on the pan, remove from the heat, and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Spread the rice out on a sheet pan and cool.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick pan over high heat and then add in the scallions, jalapeño, and ginger. Add in 2 1/2 cups of the chilled cooked rice, apple, banana, mango, raisins, and almonds. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper.
Two easy recipes that make for a fab lunch, not to mention, leave you feeling accomplished for conquering this master chefs’ cuisine.