Galette goodness

I love Deborah Madison’s cookbooks. She was the founding chef at Greens Restaurant (where I’ve been fortunate enough to eat once–and wow, it was really good), and since she left there and moved to New Mexico she’s written several terrific cookbooks. My favorite is Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which won pretty much all the cookbook awards the year it was published and is not unlike a meatless version of The Joy of Cooking.

It’s my take-just-one-cookbook-to-a-desert-island cookbook and the first one I open when I have no idea what to make for dinner. I’m slowly working my way through all the recipes in it (writing the date next to each one I prepare), as Julie Powell did with Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, an experience she wrote about in Julie and Julia. (if you want to read about it for free and can access the New York Times online archives, go here.) Unlike Powell, however, I’m not trying to get through all of the recipes in one year. Nor will I be cooking cow brains.

One of the best things I’ve learned from Madison is the galette, which is sort of free-form pie crust. (You make a pie-like dough, cutting in cold butter and adding ice-cold water until it all holds together, then rolling it out. Then you lay the dough on the back of a cookie sheet pan, put your topping in the middle, then fold over the edges and brush them with egg.) The first recipe I made from her book, as a birthday dinner for my friend and landlord, Dolores, when I was doing my fieldwork in Oregon, was a mushroom galette. It can be sweet or savory and can hold pretty much any filling you want. The other day I looked around my kitchen, saw an abundance of local fresh tomatoes and red peppers (thank you, farmers’ market!), and tried a variation of Madison’s Tomato and Red Pepper Tart.

p8266632dinner.jpgI used a galette dough instead of her yeasted tart dough (which sounds yummy, but I just didn’t have time for it), used dried basil instead of fresh (which I didn’t have), and omitted all of the chopped olives (have I mentioned that I’m militantly anti-olive?) and anise seeds (have I mentioned that Jan is militantly anti-anise?). Alongside was a salad of baby spinach, arugula, and cucumbers, tossed with a simple Italian dressing and served with salad claws (one of the Greatest Inventions Ever) made of myrtlewood from the south Oregon coast. Now that I think about it, I came full circle, in a way, with this meal.

7 Responses to “Galette goodness”

  1. Imperatrixon 06 Sep 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I’ll have to check Madison’s book out (we ate at Greens twice when we lived in CA; you’re right — it’s amazing!). Our favorite is Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. It’s out of print now, so we pick up new-to-us copies at used book stores (it’s the only cookbook that we use so much it has broken apart!)

    Lemlin’s done some other books (Quick Veg. Pleas.; Simple Veg. Pleas.) but her first one is the best, by far!

  2. Sonyaon 06 Sep 2007 at 9:57 pm

    I can’t stand olives or anise. Also hate hate capers.

    Boy that sounds good, peppers, tomatoes basil.
    I will have to check out that book.

  3. Bethon 07 Sep 2007 at 7:16 am

    The cookbook sounds great. I can’t stand anise, but the dinner sounds grand. I should walk by your house more often just for the permeating (is that a word?) aroma!

  4. Secret Pal 11on 07 Sep 2007 at 9:07 am

    I have looked at her books, and the Lemlin one. My favorite is
    The New Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition , Laurel Robertson, et. al.

  5. Marshaon 07 Sep 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Imperatrix: I hadn’t heard of Lemlin’s book before. Thanks for the suggestion–I will definitely check it out.

    Sonya and Beth: I can’t stand black licorice (when we go to the Netherlands, we see it everywhere–and covered in salt, even! ew!) but I do like anise. Go figure.

    SP11: We have a twenty-year-old copy of The New Laurel’s Kitchen. It’s a dog-eared, food-stained book that we turn to often.

  6. Frankon 11 Sep 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Yes, it sounds wonderful. Thanks again for the biscuits and gravy recipe. We haven’t had a chance to try it yet (or can locate the right kind of veggie sausage). I wonder if olives and anise would work as a substitute? :P

  7. Marshaon 11 Sep 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Frank, you are a Very Bad Person. (Heh.) Look in the natural/hippie section of big supermarkets where you are, if you can’t find the stuff in a standalone natural/hippie store.