Testing Recipes – Linguine with Spinach, Olives and Goat Cheese
So if I’m going to be teaching cooking classes, I have to make sure I’m using top-notch recipes, right? And if I need to use top-notch recipes, then I have to make sure that these recipes are in fact top-notch, right? And if I’m going to be writing a cookbook, then I REALLY have to make sure these recipes are the top of the top-notch, right?
OK, time to start inventing in the kitchen!
Note: That’s not me…
So how exactly do I test all these recipes to make sure they’re really that good?… Well, the answer may surprise you.
As far as using recipes in classes are concerned, many times those are recipes that I have either made once, or have just come up with. Once you’re able to write recipes from scratch, you have a good mind set of what works and what doesn’t. So writing a recipe in my style using the ingredients and techniques that I want to highlight in my class really isn’t that hard. And if I have any doubts as to measurement ratios or cooking times/temperatures, I usually consult one of my many cookbooks I have laying around just to make sure I’m on target.
Now I’m not saying that the recipes are perfect every time, but they are always pretty darn good, and definitely of the quality necessary for one of my classes. If my students are going to shell out good money for a class, they’re going to get good recipes. Simple as that.
The word you’re looking for is “Yum”.
Case in point, I recently taught a class on game meats at Open Kitchen called, “It’s How you Play the Game.” (Cute, huh?…) Anyway, the recipes for this class were all ones I made up from my past cooking experiences. None of the recipes had ever been “tested” per se, but they were all based on things I had cooked many times before. The menu was:
- Venison Loin Steaks with Cranberry-Rosemary Reduction
- Roasted Pheasant Stuffed with Apple Onion and Thyme
- Braised Rabbit Ragu on Papparadelle
Yes, they were every bit as good as they sound. The results were really quite great, and when the class was done, there were only a few minor modifications to the recipes that I thought needed to happen. (And of course I shared those changes with my students as well.) Simply put, one run through the menu, and I have three “tried and true” recipes ready to go!
But that’s not all. See, since I’m writing a cookbook as well, I want to make sure these recipes are not only great, but that students who read the recipes can make them as well based on how I’ve written them. And thus my students are sometimes testing my cookbook recipes as well. If I notice any directions that people can’t seem to follow, then I know I need to fix the wording on that part of the recipe.
Of course this is not to say that I don’t regularly test out recipes on my friends and family. I mean come on, if you’re going to have a chef in your family, you’d better be getting some good food out of the deal.
But all this talk of trying out recipes has left me with another idea. I want to try out a recipe, and I’d love to see if you all would give it a shot, and see how it’s working for me! So I’m including a recipe here, and I’d love for you to make it at home on your own time.
Make it, tell me how it worked out, anything you thought needed improvement or clarification, and then put your results in the comment section. You get a free recipe, I get free recipe testers! It’s win-win, and I’d love to know both if this recipe works, and if you all are willing to do this for me!
|Linguine with Spinach, Olives and Goat Cheese
1 lb linguine
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 Tbsp capers – drained and rinsed
1 cup sliced black olives
½-1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz baby spinach leaves
3 oz crumbled goat cheese
As needed freshly grated Parmesan
-In large pot of boiling salted water, add spaghetti and begin cooking.
I call this recipe “Pasta alla Swan” as my girlfriend, Susan (whose nickname is “Swan”), was the inspiration behind it. As a result, I think I look with eyes that are too romantically clouded when trying to think rationally about this recipe. So give it a shot people! Please make it, and of course, tell me all about it.
How many times do you get to be a contributing editor to a cookbook anyway?…
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