I think I've told you I've got this "new" (to me) Mark Bittman cookbook where it's all seasonal recipes and the recipes are all short, quick, and there's no exact measurements . . . just clear, general instructions to play fast and loose with. Sunday I tried out his version of cassoulet (mostly because it involves white beans, which I'm into, and called for sausage, which I had on hand) and played it fast and loose with his fast and loose recipe.
I definitely had worries that I played it to sloppy with this recipe. I sliced the carrots and celery instead of chopping them up because I didn't read the recipe closely enough, so I worried they'd never get soft. And I had a sweet sausage lying around instead of a smoked sausage, so I tossed that in but started worrying about the flavors I'd have going on. And it seemed pretty liquid-less when I started, and if I was supposed to simmer it? So I poured in maybe too much water. And I only had a tiny bit of thyme, etc. etc.
But you know what? It turned out good. Maybe it even turned out great? Eating it I sensed a need for just a little more something . . . so I tossed in some super-stale old bread and boom! Perfect. Well, almost perfect. It didn't seem salty enough as I was cooking it, so I added a bit. Actually, a lot. Next time, I'm going to be more careful with the salt. But at least there will be a next time.