My friendship with Jennifer Perillo wouldn’t be entirely predictable. She has this inherent elegant quality. She’s a woman who always looks like she has a team of people who are dressing her, professionally lighting her, and styling her. As unfair as that is, to boot, she is also a mighty, mighty sorceress in the kitchen. This woman’s “simple” meals would be my highest culinary accomplishments.
But that’s cool you needn’t hate her because she’s also very, very rad.
Jennifer’s cookbook “Homemade with Love” was just published and let me just laugh along with you when you’re snorting about the fact that I’m going to tell you about me cooking from it. But non-believers (Mom, Dad, all the rest of my family) let me just tell you:
I did it. I cooked from a cookbook. Food. I made food not the heat-up kind. The kind of food that my homie Jennifer Perillo makes so stop laughing. But the good news is I’m not going to even try to do those awesome food shots where the product is lit up gorgeously and everything is in its place. Nope. We Nelson Calls will not press pause where there’s food concerned, and I would likely be lynched by two toddlers if I held them back from their grub.
However, I will tell you this: Roan, my 9-year-old son, made Orange-Scented Waffles. All by himself. He’s totally kitchen-curious, partly because that room is somewhat of a mystery in our house. What is it used for? Why do people go in there? Does it do something other than house glasses and take-out menus? But he went in, spent some time, and came out with a plate of waffles. They indeed were Orange-Scented. And easily the most delicious breakfast food I’ve ever eaten. Get this book, turn to page 50, and whip these up some morning. Especially if you have guests. The way my house smelled? Amazing. And if my Roan can do it then so can you.
I was trying to go less ambitious. Tacos – everyone loves tacos and who could actually screw them up? So there’s a recipe for “Twice as Nice Tacos”, which use the leftovers from a roasted chicken recipe. Apparently first I need to create some leftovers. Not that hard usually, as my dishes aren’t exactly clamored over. But I’ve never roasted a chicken, and truthfully wasn’t feeling all that confident about it. I’m scared of cooking meat. I always believe I’m about to poison my family. Still, roast I did.
Again, with the house that smells good. So that’s how people do it! They cook!
And the simple recipe, called “A Simple Roast Chicken” was a revelation. I had no idea that I could make something so very very very easy, that was so very very very delicious. The tacos were not going to happen because there was no left over chicken. It was essentially inhaled by every boy who lives here. Yeh yeh yeh and me. And no one was poisoned (thanks to the instructions about thermometers and chicken thighs.)
Big recommend: buy this book. I know it’s tempting to always get a recipe online (which, by the way Jennifer has an awesome blog. Not just recipes, but stories as well.) but having a real book, that you can flip through, is a satisfying thing. The pictures are gorgeous and dark in the vein of the olden Gourmet Magazine days. There are personal stories that preface some of the dishes. And mostly, my friend Jennifer Perillo has put this thing together with much, much love.