A mix of cookbook and memoir, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life, begins in the days immediately after the closure of Gourmet where Reichl had been working as editor-in-chief for a decade. And while the shut down came as a complete surprise, Reichl had to keep herself together for the book tour she was on - promoting a Gourmet cookbook!
Her own writings and thoughts are paired with the dishes she cooked in the days, weeks, and months to come. Cooking - and the food that came from that - offered comfort and perspective. An opportunity to reflect as well as an opportunity to look forward.
With the changing of each season, new ingredients and produce were something to experiment with and enjoy! A fall Butternut Squash Soup, a Pomegranate Sunrise Fizz to start a winter day, Rhubarb Sundaes to celebrate the onset of spring, and a Savory Sweet Pasta with capers and cauliflower for an easy summer weeknight meal. These dishes are just a taste of what you'll encounter in My Kitchen Year.
Recipes are written in a loose and somewhat conversation manner, allowing for the reader's own adjustments and preferences. Ingredients are broken into staples (a list of which Reichl includes at the beginning of the book) and "shopping list," or the items you might not have on hand.
The book is perfect for Reichl's fans and for anyone who loves the simple act of cooking. The act of creating a meal for themselves and their loved ones. In other words, anyone who enjoys the comfort a good meal can offer.
Thanks to the publisher I get to share one of those recipes with you today, a perfect fall recipe celebrating a perfect fall ingredient: apple crisp.
Shopping List: 5 heirloom apples, 1 lemon, 3/4 stick butter
Staples: flour, brown sugar, salt.
Peel a few different kinds of apples, enjoying the way they shrug reluctantly out of their skins. Core, slice and layer the apples into a buttered pie plate or baking dish and toss them with the juice of one lemon.
Mix 2/3 cups of flour with 2/3 cups of brown sugar, and add a dash of salt and a grating of fresh cinnamon. Using two knives - or just your fingers, cut in most of a stick of sweet butter and pat it over the top. The cooking time is forgiving; you can put your crisp into a 375 oven and pretty much forget it for 45 minutes to an hour. The juices should be bubbling a bit at the edges, the top should be crisp, golden and fragrant. Served warm, with a pitcher of cream, it makes you grateful for fall.
My Kitchen Year is out now from Random House.