What with one thing and another I have missed a couple of rounds of Cook the Books Club - I don't enjoy Annie Proulx's books so I skipped That Old Ace In The Hole, and I read Sustenance and Desire but didn't find it at all motivating to cook. Ruth Reichl's Comfort Me With Apples got me back in the saddle.
Funny, warm, occasionally devastating and moving, it's part of Reichl's memoir, charting her rise from Berkley co-op restaurant cook and commune dweller to respected restaurant critic. It's an impressive accomplishment in a memoir: at times she manages to portray herself as unlikeable but it doesn't come across as false modesty.
Unusually for one of the Cook the Books Club challenges, I had no trouble at all deciding what to cook. Among the many delicious-sounding meals she describes, Alice Waters' famous garlic dinners stand out.
The mention of garlic soup reminded me of the delicious, pungently wine-flavoured garlic soup we'd had in Switzerland, back in 2007 when I was but a baby blogger. I've tried a couple of different versions but I've never quite nailed the combination of fresh-tasting but cooked garlic and dry wine that I remember.
This time I tried a version from one of my favourite defunct food blogs, FX Cuisine. Such a great blog but no activity since 2009. Anyway, in his version you roast the garlic with quite a lot of oil, then use that garlic and oil to make a roux before adding stock to make the soup. He also adds noodles to it. I used some dry white wine as well as the chicken stock, and used sourdough olive bread croutes (nothing says "San Francisco" to me like sourdough!) smothered with gruyere cheese to make it substantial enough to be a meal.
It was completely delicious, but still nothing like the one we had in Wengen.
I'm also sending this over to Deb for Souper (Soup, salad and sammie) Sunday.