Where Cooking Begins is also the first recent cookbook to connect the way we shop to the way we cook. Music’s modern approach—pick up your fresh ingredients a few times a week, and fill your pantry with staples bought online—will make you want to click on a burner and slide out a cutting board the minute you get home.
The no-fail techniques, textured recipes, and strategies in Where Cooking Begins will make you a great cook.
Fresh figs with manchego and wet walnuts
In a small skillet, toast the walnuts in the olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in honey until dissolved. Season with salt and lots (and lots) of pepper. Season with 1 teaspoon rice vinegar and taste again. It should be sweet and fatty and lip smack and peppery. Adjust as needed with more honey, oil, salt, pepper, and/ or vinegar, until you’re pleased.
Break the Manchego up into pieces that roughly mimic the size and shape of the walnuts. Tear figs in half and place on a large plate or platter. Season with salt and remaining 1 teaspoon vinegar. Tuck in pieces of cheese here and there, then spoon walnut mixture over.
The best thing that might happen is that you’d get the perfect piece of fig with a wet walnut tucked into it and a piece of cheese attached, and you’d eat it with your hands. Keep eating until that happens.