A couple weeks ago, on a bright October day, I made this dish for a friend who was coming to dinner. I’d had pumpkin risotto at lunch that week at Merci, a café with creative cuisine across the street from me, and found it so delightful I wanted to try my hand at it. Now, in this dreary season, it’s good to have dishes like this to turn to for solace. Pumpkin risotto is comfort food at its best, and escaping into the kitchen is, for me, a kind of zen.
Risotto au potiron et au thym / Pumpkin risotto with thyme
As if things weren’t bad enough, this morning we learn of the passing of Leonard Cohen, a poet who touched so many of our lives with grace. But this is supposed to be a cooking column, so I’ll stick to that for the moment. Two things:
First, this week I was given a cookbook I’d like to tell you about. It’s called Simplissime: Le Livre de cuisine le + facile du monde (translation: Ultrasimple: The World’s Easiest Cookbook). Written by J.-F. Mallet, apparently famous in France although I’d never heard of him, it features easy recipes similar to those on this site — in fact, there is considerable overlap (eggplant gratin, saffron risotto, spaghetti with small clams, etc.). What is wonderful is indeed the simplicity. Recipes are laid out over two pages, with photos of the ingredients and very brief instructions on the left-hand side, and a photo of the finished product on the right-hand side. If you’re looking for holiday gift ideas — or simply want to get something nice for yourself — this is a winner (providing you can read French).
Second, I learned this week that The Everyday French Chef has been included on France Magazine’s new list of the best French food blogs. To be in a group that also includes some of my favorite food sites — Chocolate and Zucchini, David Lebovitz, Manger, Patricia Wells — is truly an honor, for which I am very grateful.
Now then. Returning to Leonard Cohen, I’d like to leave you with a quote from one of his best-known songs — poetry of humility and wisdom. As he says, in what could be an epitaph for himself, ‘a blaze of light in every word.’
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.