INTRODUCTION (to the book)
Comes the day when you have your own apartment and your own life, and there you are standing in the kitchen wondering what on earth to eat besides tuna-noodle casserole. Half-remembered recipes swirl through your head, alternating with images of that sensational meal you had on your last dinner date. Should you try to improvise, thus duplicating your dreams? Don't - unless you've got a flawless palate and a lot of culinary experience.
I once tried duplicating chicken Tetrazzini from memory on the theory that it is impossible to louse up anything made with chicken, mushrooms, and spaghetti held together by a wine based cream sauce. I loused it up by inventively substituting red wine for white. The entire dish immediately turned a ghastly shade of maroon, and that ended that dinner. For my relatives, no less.
This book is written for the single girl with limited time, limited money, and limited experience in the kitchen. The recipes that follow are all simple to prepare, tasty, and non-junky, by which I mean those terrible combinations of stale bread, milk and grated cheese that provide nourishment for pennies. They do, but they're inedible.
Nor do these recipes take hours of cooking, or demand the skill in sauce-making, or require outre equipment deemed necessary by gourmet cookbooks.
They will, however, give you some fundamental notions of techniques, tastes, and combinations of foods for a base from which to tackle some of the more advanced complications of cuisine.
Gazpacho: An absolutely delicious fresh summer soup. You must have a blender for this one, though.
3c cored, coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes
1.5c peeled, coarsely chopped cucumber
1 green pepper, cored, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
5 TB olive or corn oil
1/4c wine vinegar
2 slices untrimmed fresh bread, cubed
salt to taste
Put everything into the container of an electric blender and blend at high speed until thoroughly pureed. Pour mixture through a strainer into a mixing bowl, pressing with the flat of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids in the sieve. taste the soup for seasoning and add more salt and vinegar if it seems a little flat. Chill thoroughly for a few hours before serving. Serves four.