Anyone who knows me, knows how crazy I am about Jacques Pepin. Always have been. I have tons of his cookbooks and I become glued to the TV whenever he’s on. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn his latest series would address “fast food”. Though many of his books have recipes that take very little time to make, no one seems to believe it.
For years I have cooked quick dinner at home and never resorted to Hamburger Helper. Whenever I told friends that I cooked dinner after a day of work they would always say the same thing “how do you find the time?” not believing it possible to whip up a terrific meal in 30-40 minutes.
In the past few years there have been a plethora of “cook it quick” chefs and cookbooks and even TV shows. But mostly the food has been, well, not quite as appealing as it could be. I won’t mention any names, but some of these chefs resort to using some pretty disgusting packaged foods. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using dry pasta, canned tomatoes, or a jar of jam, but Velveeta? I don’t think so.
For all those people who never believed I could pull off a great meal in very little time, I give you exhibit A, Jacques Pepin’s Fast Food My Way. The book is designed as a companion to the TV series and it will teach you the tricks and techniques to making meals quickly.
Pepin is really a master of technique, and while watching him you can’t help but pick up a few tricks. The one that surprised me recently was how he sliced the root end off a clove of garlic, gave it a slight whack, and off came the skins with no hassle.
So why get the book? Because reading the book will help you add even more new techniques to your arsenal. For example he gives a recipe for slow-cooked tuna steaks, that cook up easily in the oven at very low heat. This same technique can be used for other fish as well such as halibut, and there is a slight variation for cooking salmon.
I recommend this book as a way to get into an easy style of cooking. Even if you don’t follow any of the recipes to the letter, you might just be convinced be convinced, finally, that cooking great satisfying doesn’t have to take all day.