The Nimble Cook
New Strategies for Great Meals That Make the Most of Your Ingredients
Wednesday, May 8, 7pm
Ronna Welsh has been a professional cook for over 20 years. She has worked as an executive chef, pastry chef, consulting chef, and recipe developer for Saveur, Whole Living Magazine, Bon Appetit Magazine, Time Out New York, Martha Stewart Living, The Food TV Network, and many others. As the owner and founder of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, Ronna teaches people how to transform their kitchens into a creative, interactive space from which excellent food flows effortlessly. She also teaches her students how to become more confident cooks, who are both spontaneous and nimble; resourceful and efficient.
With her first book, The Nimble Cook, Ronna Welsh will take cooks from “there’s nothing to eat” to spectacular dishes, by showing how to adopt a flexible approach to meal planning and preparation. Instead of shopping for a rigid weekly menu, a nimble cook shops for ingredients, and thinks of them as springboards to many dishes, some unplanned.
The Nimble Cook gives readers strategies to make the most of their ingredients—whether it be the produce that’s in season at a local farmer’s market, or pantry items that have been collecting dust. Ronna Welsh empowers home cooks with ways to utilize foods so that they don’t go to waste and helps transform mundane ingredients into inspired meals. She teaches readers how to visualize ingredients for their fullest potential—an important shift that puts ingredients, not recipes first. This perspective change leads to not only using more of these ingredients, but also the parts of them that might normally be throw away. As Ronna writes, “A scrap is just food you haven’t figured out how to use.”
By introducing Starting Points, or ingredients at their most “ready,” Ronna Welsh teachers readers how to become nimble cooks. This could be a sliced onion layered into a sandwich or a caramelized onion ready to become a luxurious onion jam. The jam, prepped at leisure can give rise to any number of dishes: a decadent but Fast French Onion Soup; a Gruyère and Onion Jam Sandwich with Mustard; or Seared Brussels Sprouts sweetened with the jam.
The Nimble Cook is organized by ingredient (Aromatics • Leaves • Heads and Bulbs • Apples, Oranges, and Lemons • Fish and Shellfish • Poultry • Meat, etc.) and within those categories, loosely by season. Each chapter gives both basic and original ways to prep and store the ingredient, followed by a variety of recipes that build on those starting points. The result: liberation, improvisation, less waste, and many more inventive meals. Full-color illustrations with flow charts show the expansive possibilities of ingredients, while others detail individual dishes.
In The Nimble Cook you’ll learn how to:
- Make stock, vinegar, snacks and drinks from ingredients you might otherwise throw away
- Turn any ingredient into a pasta sauce
- Make risotto from scratch in two minutes
- Use all condiments in your fridge
- Freeze pantry items in portions so you can create different meals
- Make delicious pickles out of lemons, stems, beans, and rinds
- Store ingredients for longer life of convenient use (forming ground meat into patties, cutting lettuce into wedges, mixing herbs into butters)
- Redefine what makes a meal
- Create a lasting, truly sustainable way to cook
- Let ingredients—not recipes—inspire your meals
- Cut down on food waste by utilizing ingredients for their fullest potential
In this sweeping masterwork of more than 400 recipes and beautiful illustrations, Ronna Welsh shows you how to be the kind of cook you want to be.