A Bowl of Possibilities
What is it like to develop recipes for magazines and cookbooks? Here's a look.
"I'm a very early riser—5:00 a.m. I make a pot of coffee, have a moment of quiet reflection, then head out for a predawn run—usually 8 miles or so.
Home again, make lunch for kids, send them off to school and then have breakfast. Usually yogurt with fruit and granola.
Fruit & Granola
Fruit & Granola
I'm addicted to Instagram—I have to put my phone on another floor as avoidance therapy.
Then I pick up ingredients for recipe development and start cooking, writing, and photographing.
I clear my physical and mental space to make room to work. My preference is a note pad for writing recipes. Printed recipes are fine, but sometimes they hem me in and don't leave room for tangents.
Starting a Crust
What I love about the development process is the ability to create methods that reflect a true distillation in the kitchen. By that, I mean elegance of efficiency—there is no wasted movement, no wasted ingredient, no wasted effort.
I look at an ingredient and see an infinite number of things to do with it. I think it falls somewhere on the autism spectrum like card counting or calculating the square root of Pi.
If things make physical, tactile sense to me, I know my readers will appreciate it as well. They may not necessarily be aware of it, but they will appreciate it.
I've been told I'm pretty good with dough so pastry is a big favorite of mine, especially in summer when fruit is crazy delicious and cheap.
Recipe inspiration is purely self-gratifying. If I want to eat it, I want to cook it. I indulge in cravings fairly often.
I'm also inspired by equipment. I found a beautiful and unusual cupcake tin which I am champing at the bit to get to. I see hand pies in my future.
This galette is a free-form stone fruit galette.
At the Oven
The galette uses peaches, nectarines, and plums and is dead simple. Sometimes the most simple things are the most challenging and the most impressive. That knowledge comes with age and experience and it results in the "elegance of efficiency" I mentioned earlier.
Newcomers will throw ingredient after ingredient, step after step, sub recipe after sub recipe into a dish and then wonder why there's nothing distinct about it. I know I certainly was there once.
Maybe I over-identify with my readers, but I don't want to ask anyone to do something I wouldn't want to do myself.
What's frustrating/tedious/boring about the development process is having to create recipes for publications to fit an editorial conceit. It's tough trying to make something make sense when you don't believe the premise.
Then head up to my office (on the 4th floor) to write text. Sometimes I'll develop a recipe that gets served at dinner and then write copy the next day.
My family hates when I shoot dinner before they can dig in. I try and turn off after dinner. Occasionally I'll do some maintenance work on my website or blog. I'm working on a book proposal right now, and having a pretty tough time settling in. Once the recipes start, I'll be right as rain."
—Grace Parisi, Brooklyn, 2013
Stone Fruit Galette
[Ed note: The recipe for the galette can be found here.]