My first endeavour cooking through a few recipes of Michael Smith’s The Best of Chef at Home has gone swimmingly. I love this book. The recipes are tasty and I adore the ‘freestyle’ options where Chef Smith gives you ideas on how to change up a recipe.

My first recipe, Country Inn Granola from page 7 was good. Not great. That’s my fault though. It got a little burnt. For the most part it was salvageable and even edible. But as hubby said ‘You might not want to serve this to any guests’. My bad. I did find the recipe in the book was huge – and needs to be cut in half for the home cook, lest you be eating granola for a month straight. Even a little over done, I enjoy this recipe. I don’t see it being something I would make for myself often (especially when there are such great options for buying awesome local gourmet granola), but when I do I’ll watch it a little closer in the oven. 

Next was the Cream of Mushroom Soup from page 28. I LOVED this soup. By far the best mushroom soup I’ve ever made. Decadent and creamy and oh so flavourful. The flavour profile reminded me of mushroom risotto… and I love risotto. It was so easy and let me just say that left overs were actually argued over. Which with soup is pretty uncommon since hubby generally doesn’t like soup in his lunch in case of leakage. He made an exception for this one. I made half the recipe in the book – which was more than enough for our family for dinner. Next time however I would make the whole thing, only to have more left overs. I also used half and half instead of heavy cream with no complaints.

That brings me to the Baked Ham on page 105. This was a recipe where you could choose your own poaching liquid and herb. I decided to use a strawberry flavoured wine that a friend had left at our house after a party (not great for drinking but fine for cooking!), home made strawberry jam and rosemary. The combo was amazing – not too sweet but just right with the ham. I did find that there wasn’t enough liquid left after poaching to make both a glaze and a sauce. I decided to go with glaze, but next time I would just add more liquid so I could do both.

Well Chef Smith you are 3 for 3 – let’s see what the next batch of recipes will bring! This time I’m cooking:

Polenta – page 199
Fire Grilled Steak with Steakhouse Butter – page 70
Asian Greens with Three Sesames – page 205