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Feed my cookbook jones...

Feed my cookbook jones...
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  • Post #31 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:03 am
    Post #31 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:03 am Post #31 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:03 am
    Giovanna wrote:A book that I have give mulitple copies of as presents, a book that I would like to see get a lot more love, is Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.


    Giovanna wrote:I used to get a box from Angelic Organics, and this book was a huge help in managing that bounty. [Altho I never did find a way to make kolhrabi tasty.] This book will fill a variety of uses on your shelf.


    I'll have to keep this in mind. All summer and throughout the fall, I was stumbling at times to figure out what to do with certain vegetables from my A.O. box. What I should have realized was that none of my cookbooks adequately focused on vegetables -- all types.
  • Post #32 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:18 pm
    Post #32 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:18 pm Post #32 - November 2nd, 2006, 12:18 pm
    The first place I turn for vegetable inspiration is a well worn copy of the Victory Garden Cookbook. The original one with a young Marian Morash on the cover. I think it's out of print but used copies can be found at all the usual sources.

    Who else devotes an entire chapter to salsify?

    Diannie
  • Post #33 - November 2nd, 2006, 3:37 pm
    Post #33 - November 2nd, 2006, 3:37 pm Post #33 - November 2nd, 2006, 3:37 pm
    Mike G wrote:

    I heard him on the radio, looked forward to buying the book, looked at it at a store... and went ennh. Don't exactly remember why now but it didn't enthuse me when I looked at some of the dishes. What have you made that you liked?


    The question for me with regards to the Lewis/Peacock book, is what have I not made and liked?

    Being someone who has more cookbooks than any one person should own (I try to justify the deductions, my husband's not buying it), there are only a handful of books that remain on my kitchen shelf and this is one of them.

    Recipes that I particularly commend from this book are:

    Tomato Aspic
    Chicken & Rice
    Country Captain
    Chicken Baked with Delicate Herbs & Bread Crumbs
    Thyme Smothered Chicken
    Thyme Scented Loin of Pork with Muscadine Grapes & Port
    Lamb Shanks with Green Tomatoes
    Blackberry Cobbler
    Shrimp Past
    "Very Good" Chocolate Cake
    MAG
    www.monogrammeevents.com

    "I've never met a pork product I didn't like."
  • Post #34 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    Post #34 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:40 pm Post #34 - November 2nd, 2006, 11:40 pm
    I used to cook from cookbooks fairly often, however in recent years I tend to seek out recipes online for inspiration. That said, back when I leaned heavily on books, those I pulled from my shelf most frequently were Madhur Jaffrey's An Invitation to Indian Cooking, Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking (how I miss reading her columns, they were a joy forever), and Paula Wolfert's Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.

    I still love reading cookbooks, though I don't cook from them as often anymore. A few years ago I started looking for old cookbooks, especially from the late 20s and 30s. Those books seem to capture a time as well as any novel, for me. The best cookbooks, new or old, do that I believe. Favorites include Jane Grigson's English Food, Elizabeth David's Is There a Nutmeg in the House? and two crumbling treasures: Mrs Beeton's Cookery Book and the Rumford Complete Cookbook.
  • Post #35 - November 3rd, 2006, 1:22 am
    Post #35 - November 3rd, 2006, 1:22 am Post #35 - November 3rd, 2006, 1:22 am
    Favorites include Jane Grigson's English Food, Elizabeth David's Is There a Nutmeg in the House?


    I adore both of those women. I first learned of Elizabeth David in 1977 when I was in London, I bought her book, Spices, Salts and Aromatics in the English Kitchen. A few years ago a biography of Elizabeth David was published. I have yet to read it unfortunately.

    I learned of Jane Grigson while in South Africa in 1978. I found her books along with more of Elizabeth David's. My initial purchases were her Mushroom and Charcuterie books. There is only one book of Jane's I have not yet acquired.

    It is not a surprise these women were friends.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #36 - November 3rd, 2006, 11:36 am
    Post #36 - November 3rd, 2006, 11:36 am Post #36 - November 3rd, 2006, 11:36 am
    It's not a cookbook per se, but I think Culinary Artistry by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page is a great kitchen reference. While there are some recipes in the book, it's really more of a guide on flavors and putting foods together. This book was recommended highly by my garde manger instructor and I've found it to be a great source of inspiration when I'm stuck for ideas.
  • Post #37 - November 5th, 2006, 1:21 am
    Post #37 - November 5th, 2006, 1:21 am Post #37 - November 5th, 2006, 1:21 am
    I edited my earlier post to include/correct the names of the books (+ happy easter)

    Missing in that list is another treasure (a grab before I run out the burning building treasure , like the Delfs) - Howard Mitcham's Creole Gumbo and all that Jazz. A2Fay and I thank the day we picked this one up* . I see it's 10 bucks at Amazon but I'd happily pay ten times or more. Recipes include Crawfish Bisque in the Crawfish chapter. Other chapters range from Soups and Stews to Oysters and even one on Frogs, Turtles and Alligator (the last we haven't explored)

    *(most of our books are used - many from the Printer's Row and Brandeis book fairs)
  • Post #38 - November 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    Post #38 - November 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm Post #38 - November 6th, 2006, 12:18 pm
    omnivore wrote:I used to cook from cookbooks fairly often, however in recent years I tend to seek out recipes online for inspiration.


    Omnivore, what online recipe sites do you like? There's a thread over here that works the topic a little, and I enjoyed some of the new ones I was exposed to here, but there's SO MUCH out there I'd love to know what you like.

    Giovanna
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #39 - November 6th, 2006, 1:44 pm
    Post #39 - November 6th, 2006, 1:44 pm Post #39 - November 6th, 2006, 1:44 pm
    I've used most of the sites you list in the thread you linked at one time or another. Typically, I have one or two ingredients I'm interested in using, so I just type it into google, e.g. lamb recipe, and see what comes up. 99% of the time I wind up using a recipe posted on epicurious. I'll email the recipe to myself, so I now have a large folder with links to various sites I like. Here's a short list.

    http://friendsofmorocco.org/Food/recipes.htm
    http://www.elise.com/recipes/
    http://www.curryfrenzy.com/
    http://www.toomanychefs.com/
    http://www.food-nepal.com/support/recipeIndex/index.htm
    http://www.jamaicans.com/cooking/index.shtml
  • Post #40 - November 6th, 2006, 2:14 pm
    Post #40 - November 6th, 2006, 2:14 pm Post #40 - November 6th, 2006, 2:14 pm
    MAG wrote:Mike G wrote:

    I heard him on the radio, looked forward to buying the book, looked at it at a store... and went ennh. Don't exactly remember why now but it didn't enthuse me when I looked at some of the dishes. What have you made that you liked?


    The question for me with regards to the Lewis/Peacock book, is what have I not made and liked?

    Being someone who has more cookbooks than any one person should own (I try to justify the deductions, my husband's not buying it), there are only a handful of books that remain on my kitchen shelf and this is one of them.

    Recipes that I particularly commend from this book are:

    Tomato Aspic
    Chicken & Rice
    Country Captain
    Chicken Baked with Delicate Herbs & Bread Crumbs
    Thyme Smothered Chicken
    Thyme Scented Loin of Pork with Muscadine Grapes & Port
    Lamb Shanks with Green Tomatoes
    Blackberry Cobbler
    Shrimp Past
    "Very Good" Chocolate Cake


    sorry, I missed the discussion(if a couple posts can be called such) on the above book...

    I basically agree w/ the above listed recipes tho' I haven't attempted the lamb shanks or the loin/muscadine grape/port concoction.

    I can understand how a quick perusal might leave one underwhelmed. Things I like about it: the voice of Lewis and her factotum, Peacock...the resonances between their different geographical takes on Southern cookery, the photography, the general sense of welcome and hospitality infusing the pages...

    I might be biased in that it's my only general Southern cookbook...for all my culinary endeavors I'd somehow never even heard of Edna Lewis until this past year. The story of their relationship(caretaker/mentor, cross-generational/cultural friendship) is heartwarming. And, of course Lewis's preeminence as doyenne of the hippy-dippy, dashiki-wearing, "slow foods," down-to-the-nitty-gritty Southern foods philosophy.

    You will have seen these recipes elsewhere, probably. Many are simply iterations on a handful of staples.

    Finding out about Edna Lewis also dovetailed with my recent investigations in the cuisines of the subcontinent. So, again, there's a note being struck, for me, personally, that another might not hear.

    I also think it'd make a great cookbook for a beginner...or, anyone interested in the foods their grandparents enjoyed if they grew up even quasi-rural in the South and parts of the Midwest. I still eat these foods when visiting the s/o's relatives in way-downstate, IL.

    I see this particular book as a gateway to reading Edna Lewis's seminal cookbooks once I get around to it...I anticipate those being even richer in folklore, culture, and her particular philosophy of the hearth.
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #41 - November 10th, 2006, 4:09 pm
    Post #41 - November 10th, 2006, 4:09 pm Post #41 - November 10th, 2006, 4:09 pm
    Well, now that I have procured a bunch of cookbooks, maybe I should post a few things I have made. It all started for lunch today with Chicken Breast Braised with Hard Cider & Parsnips from All About Braising by Molly Stevens.

    I used 4 oz of my homemade maple-cured smoked bacon and some Woodchuck Amber Hard Cider. I can say that I wish I had more options for hard cider as I would have liked something a bit more dry than sweet, but the store I went to had a limited selection But that is such a small complaint as the dish was incredible!

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    Jamie
  • Post #42 - November 10th, 2006, 4:11 pm
    Post #42 - November 10th, 2006, 4:11 pm Post #42 - November 10th, 2006, 4:11 pm
    Thanks for bringing this thread "full-circle", Jamie.

    That dish looks great. I just got this book as a gift and that will be high on my list of recipes to try.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #43 - November 10th, 2006, 11:47 pm
    Post #43 - November 10th, 2006, 11:47 pm Post #43 - November 10th, 2006, 11:47 pm
    Well for dinner this eve I went with Layered Pasilla-Tortilla Casserole with Black Beans and Thick Crema from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.

    It may not look like it, but it is a decent amount of work, as both the black beans and pasilla started dried. It is a layered dish, of the pasilla salsa, mashed beans with browned onion, corn tortillas, Mexican crema, and chihuahua cheese. It turns out like a pudding... A delicious cheesy pudding :)

    Jamie

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    Last edited by Jamieson22 on November 11th, 2006, 1:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #44 - November 11th, 2006, 12:42 am
    Post #44 - November 11th, 2006, 12:42 am Post #44 - November 11th, 2006, 12:42 am
    A couple of years ago, I had the lovely opportunity of editing a cookbook that became a real favorite -- The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac. Maria, who is Ecuadorian, traveled all over South America collecting the recipes for the book. Of course, one very fun aspect of working with Maria was getting to try so many of the recipes. The foreward was done by Charlie Trotter, and the book has one several awards.

    I particularly like all the seviches and tamales, but there is a lot to love in this substantial collection. So I'd recommend The South American Table.
  • Post #45 - November 11th, 2006, 2:36 pm
    Post #45 - November 11th, 2006, 2:36 pm Post #45 - November 11th, 2006, 2:36 pm
    Well, this morning for breakfast we made Rustic Red-Sauced Eggs on Corn Tortillas from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.

    This isn't really anything you need a recipe for as it is a pretty simple salsa of roasted garlic and jalapeno, and a can of tomatoes, whirred in a food processor then brought to a simmer, served with fried eggs on toasted tortillas. I am just not sure I would have thought of making it had I not flipped through the cookbook and marked the page.

    Mine was served with a $2 "tampiquena" steak I grabbed at the market, cooked in a cast iron skillet, the fiancée’s served with black beans I had made yesterday. Both with crumbled queso fresco on top.

    I'd say it is a great, simple recipe, and would definitely have been happy if I was served this at a brunch spot.

    Jamie

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  • Post #46 - November 11th, 2006, 9:16 pm
    Post #46 - November 11th, 2006, 9:16 pm Post #46 - November 11th, 2006, 9:16 pm
    PIGMON wrote:A longtime favorite for me has always been Patricia Wells' Bistro Cooking. Virtually all the recipes are things that can easily be made after a hard day's work and still have the ability to elevate the usual midweek dining experience.

    These are French recipes from Wells' favorite bistros throughout France.


    PIGMON,

    Based on your post, I acquired this book and have been perusing it all week. Today we ate a few of the dishes I cooked from it. Wow! This book has gone to the top of my "must try" pile. This kind of food - simple, robust, deeply-satisfying - has such an appeal for me these days. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #47 - November 12th, 2006, 8:26 pm
    Post #47 - November 12th, 2006, 8:26 pm Post #47 - November 12th, 2006, 8:26 pm
    Today was a nice day for soup, wasn't it?

    We made Simple Potato with Leek Soup from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. For a base we used some of the frozen vegetable stock we made last week from the same cookbook. We also used 4 leeks (instead of 2) and 5 potatoes (instead of 3). Once done it was pureed and finished with about 3/4 cup of heavy cream.

    I do say it could have used a stronger leek flavor, but other than that it hit the spot.

    Jamie


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  • Post #48 - November 12th, 2006, 9:22 pm
    Post #48 - November 12th, 2006, 9:22 pm Post #48 - November 12th, 2006, 9:22 pm
    Confession - I have a bit of a cookbook addiction. I probably have 500-600 at this point. However, there are only 5 or so that I find myself regularly cooking from (much to the annoyance of my husband! "Why do you need 500 if you're only going to use 5, blah, blah. blah..."). Anyway, The one book that has NEVER let me down is "Twelve Months of Monastery Salads - 200 Divine Recipes For All Seasons." I love how it's recipes are arranged by month based on seasonal ingredients. Even though most of them are very simple, they work. The flavors are balanced - the seasoning perfect. I'm planning on serving a favorite - the Clementine, Apple and Spinach Salad on page 226 for Thanksgiving this year. In the summer I use it for entree salads and the rest of the year primarily for starters and sides. If you are looking for salad recipes - check it out.
  • Post #49 - November 12th, 2006, 9:53 pm
    Post #49 - November 12th, 2006, 9:53 pm Post #49 - November 12th, 2006, 9:53 pm
    LynnB wrote:I probably have 500-600 at this point. However, there are only 5 or so that I find myself regularly cooking from


    Care to share the other 4?
  • Post #50 - November 12th, 2006, 10:41 pm
    Post #50 - November 12th, 2006, 10:41 pm Post #50 - November 12th, 2006, 10:41 pm
    Sure... and largely for the same reasons that I expressed regarding the salad book - the recipes not only sound good/look good - they work. Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeannine Lemlin. Great, easy work-night meals. Joie Warner's Take a Tin of Tuna - again, easy and delicious. Last week I made the Pita Pockets stuffed with Curried Tuna Salad and husband said it was the best tuna salad he'd ever had. The Tuna Nicoise Sandwich is also excellent. Great Cookies by Carol Walter - my stand-by for cookie recipes. I made the apple pie bars a couple of weeks ago and got raves from husband and co-workers. I've tried about 15 of the recipes and only been dissapointed once. Lastly, for entertaining, Nathalie Dupree's Comfortable Entertaining. She's kind of cheesy (no offence Nathalie,) but I've had a lot of success with this book. In particular, the brunch menu - Orange & Banana Salad w/ Yogurt Dressing, Melon w/ Slivers of Prosciutto, and Spinach and Mushroom Strata. The strata is excellent and I love being able to prep it the night before and just throw it in the oven an hour before my guests arrive. It's from this book that I get my Thanksgiving Dressing recipe - a slightly modified (by me,) version of her Grandma Stoll's Moist Dressing.
    Honorable mention would go to the Union Square Cafe's first book - as far as restaurant cookbooks go, I've found it to be very user-friendly.
  • Post #51 - November 13th, 2006, 1:21 am
    Post #51 - November 13th, 2006, 1:21 am Post #51 - November 13th, 2006, 1:21 am
    HI,

    Culinary Historians hosts quite a number of cookbook authors. After each meeting we have a tasting of representative recipes from their book, which we follow precisely to the author's instructions. This often translates into quite a good dish and occasionally it can also be a so-so dish. Our cook used to inquire with the authors why a recipe came out different than expected. She no longer inquires because she almost always got a chilly reception from the author.

    I have always been under the impression recipes are tested not only by the author. They are tested independently by quite a range of cooks who offer feedback on how well the recipes work. However I find I am being a bit nieve on how well vetted recipes are for publication.

    Just last week, we had a prominent cookbook author who co-authored a cookbook on Baking with Julia Child. I am deliberately withholding this author's name, so please google or see Amazon.com for your answer. A group of us, including justjoan, made desserts from this book, which were almost across the board overcooked. The only explanation I can offer is her oven is off calibration on the cool side.

    I made a pecan-pumpkin pie with an almost all-butter crust. This crust required partial baking before adding the filling. In my experience, I never blind-baked a pie crust more than 12 minutes. In this cookbook, the instructions had you blind-bake with foil and pie weights for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove the foil and pie weights to cook for another 8 minutes. A lot of cakes are cooked in the same time this thin crust was 'partially' cooked.

    My first crust made the night before around midnight came out burnt. I got up at 6:30 AM to make the crust again, then filled it to continue cooking. This final cook began at 450 degrees for 15 minutes followed by another 30-40 minutes at 300 degrees. While the filling was perfect, the exposed crust was burnt to a crisp. I brought the pie as-is to the meeting, though I had the crust removed before serving.

    Did I buy the book? Yes, because fundamentally they are very interesting recipes. I lent the advance proof copy I received to a friend who loves the frostings and the cake dough she tasted was very delicious. The flaw is the timing and temperatures, which we intend to work around.

    I later engaged the author in a conversation about internet cooking sites. Without thinking, I commented how much I enjoy Epicurious.com because of the feedback from various people who have tried these recipes. There was a distinct chill in her voice when she commented, "Yes, the feedback is interesting unless it is your recipe they are discussing." This affirmed what our cook stated that author's don't particularly like this feedback.

    (I'd appreciate if those in the know not fill in the answer of the author's name. I'd rather she not google herself and find my comments)

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #52 - November 30th, 2006, 12:19 pm
    Post #52 - November 30th, 2006, 12:19 pm Post #52 - November 30th, 2006, 12:19 pm
    Well, Thanksgiving kinda threw a curve to my cooking from the new cookbooks theme, but got back to it last night with Boiled Beef from Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop.

    I had most of what was required for this recipe on hand, except I used chicken instead of beef (as that is what I had defrosted).

    I didn't like it. It had a very dead flavor and the Sichuan peppercorns were overwhelming. There were some liberties taken with the recipe, such as using a Black Bean Chili Garlic Paste instead of the called for Chili Paste that may have had some things to do with it. Also, the amount of corn starch used also made it into a very thick glop sort of thing. I need to re-read the recipe to see if there wasn't some miscommunication in the amounts.

    Buried under the pool of liquid is some stir fried celery and green onion. I think it would be better with something as a substitute for the celery, though I have never been a fan of it in Chinese cooking.

    Boiled Beef is one of my favorite dishes at Lao Sze Chuan, and unfortunately this wasn't in the same league, though that may be my fault more than the recipe.

    I also need to rearrange the serving bowl in my buffet so I don't keep grabbing this same one ;)
    Jamie


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  • Post #53 - November 30th, 2006, 1:17 pm
    Post #53 - November 30th, 2006, 1:17 pm Post #53 - November 30th, 2006, 1:17 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:Well, Thanksgiving kinda threw a curve to my cooking from the new cookbooks theme, but got back to it last night with Boiled Beef from Land of Plenty: A Treasury of Authentic Sichuan Cooking by Fuchsia Dunlop.

    I had most of what was required for this recipe on hand, except I used chicken instead of beef (as that is what I had defrosted).

    I didn't like it. It had a very dead flavor and the Sichuan peppercorns were overwhelming. There were some liberties taken with the recipe, such as using a Black Bean Chili Garlic Paste instead of the called for Chili Paste that may have had some things to do with it. Also, the amount of corn starch used also made it into a very thick glop sort of thing. I need to re-read the recipe to see if there wasn't some miscommunication in the amounts.

    Buried under the pool of liquid is some stir fried celery and green onion. I think it would be better with something as a substitute for the celery, though I have never been a fan of it in Chinese cooking.

    Boiled Beef is one of my favorite dishes at Lao Sze Chuan, and unfortunately this wasn't in the same league, though that may be my fault more than the recipe.

    I also need to rearrange the serving bowl in my buffet so I don't keep grabbing this same one ;)
    Jamie


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    I wouldn't be surprised if your substitution of chile pastes is at the heart of the matter. There's a plethora of pastes and fermented condiments from which to choose and they all have specific purposes and resonances when combined with one another. I remember taking the time to finally track down the, as far as I know, proper chile/bean pastes for ma po dou fu and, upon tasting them individually out of the jars, experiencing a revelatory moment; !that's the flavor I love so much in ma po!
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #54 - December 2nd, 2006, 11:26 am
    Post #54 - December 2nd, 2006, 11:26 am Post #54 - December 2nd, 2006, 11:26 am
    So, on Thursday I made a big batch of split pea-soup using what was in the fridge (onion and carrot, no celery or potato). I simply used water as the base, but included the package of ends and such from the Buckboard Bacon (cured and smoked pork shoulder, which turns out like a country ham/Canadian bacon sort of hybrid) I had made ages ago that were vac-sealed in the freezer.

    Having Friday off, and a gigantic pot of leftover soup, I decided I wanted to bake some bread. So I pulled out The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated and realized that white Sandwich Bread was all I could make in one quick shot. I think this was the first time I have made bread from scratch since Home Economics class at good old Barrington High School, 1.5 decades ago or so. Never claimed to be much of a baker, but I'd like to change that. And this was certainly a good start. It called for 3 Tbsp of honey, which in the end gave it some great flavor. It also had a nice dense texture, but also remained very tender and soft. Sure this won't impress any of the baking experts here but I sure was proud of it :)

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    So, as my first meal of the day was split pea soup, I figured a good use of the rest of the bread would be French toast. I pulled the recipe from the New Best Recipe, mainly because it was different than what I would just whip up, as it included flour and melted butter, and I am not normally a French toast fan. On top of the vanilla it calls for I added some cinnamon, which I would consider a standard feature of French toast. No photo but it had to be the best French toast I have ever had, and the fiancée agreed.

    Jamie
  • Post #55 - December 3rd, 2006, 3:16 pm
    Post #55 - December 3rd, 2006, 3:16 pm Post #55 - December 3rd, 2006, 3:16 pm
    Yesterday I decided to make two Italian dishes, one being Tomato Sauce with Sautéed Vegetables and Olive Oil from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan and the other was Spinach Gnocchi from How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman.

    The sauce was served over some spaghetti for dinner yesterday and the gnocchi were frozen to be served today with a sage brown butter sauce.

    The sauce was interesting, being that it is 1/3 cup each of olive oil, onion, carrot, celery and then 2 cups tomato (I used canned plum). No other seasoning, spices or herbs, just salt. As I had 4 28 oz cans, I decided to make a big batch using all of them. The sauté of the veg looked more like a deep fry, and after simmering with the tomatoes for a while I decided to skim some oil off the top. Next time I will not use an even multiple of the oil, as it was a bit too much, and I am hardly oil adverse. The picture below is from the pot just pulled from my fridge, so it is cold. It is quite thick, and had a nice acid bite but a sweet tinge from the vegetables. Over all quite good and a bit different than the standard red sauce I am used to. It was served over pasta with a dollop of Caputo's ricotta on it, which melted it into more of a pink sauce.

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    After weighing my potatoes, I realized I had about 4 lbs. The recipe only called for 1 lb but I figured if I was going to make the effort I might as well do it right. So I prepped all 4 pounds, but decided to make 1/2 spinach and 1/2 plain. So I riced 2 lbs of the potatoes and figured I'd use the 10 oz of spinach for the double batch, even though it was only enough for one recipe. After making the spinach batch and realizing the finished product covered an entire half sheet pan and a dinner plate (reorganized TWICE so I could fit more) I figured I had enough. So, I ended up with 2lb 10oz of frozen spinach gnocchi. I had boiled a few to make sure they would hold together, and they were delicious: tender, fluffy and a nice spinach taste. Here is the finished (frozen) product in a gallon bag waiting for dinner this eve:

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    I also started a Rustic Italian Bread from The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated yesterday (well, started the sponge for it), that is now in the first of three rising stages.

    Well the bread may not have looked the prettiest, but it was incredible tasting. I think there may have been a bit too much water as it sort of flattened out a bit and the dough was quite wet/soft while handling. This was a rather big loaf as well, about 16" long. The outside had a nice light crunch and the inside was moist, dense and chewy.

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    The final meal was worth the effort. The gnocchi did fall a part a bit while cooking. I had even tested them the day before when fresh and they held up great. I think putting a full batch into a pot of water while frozen was the culprit. Next time I'll try cooking them in a few smaller batches. They were served with a Sage and Brown Butter sauce, with the fresh bread and some roasted cauliflower.

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    Jamie

    BTW: After working some bread and gnocchi on my granite counters, I realized that they kind of suck. When I "flour" the surface, it simply slides around in big clumps. Anyone have a good solution? I figured maybe a wooden cutting board but none of mine are big enough and not sure I'd have room to store something massive that wouldn't get used too often.
    Last edited by Jamieson22 on December 4th, 2006, 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #56 - December 3rd, 2006, 4:28 pm
    Post #56 - December 3rd, 2006, 4:28 pm Post #56 - December 3rd, 2006, 4:28 pm
    HI,

    Why not consider putting a silicone sheet as your workboard. In the link Mike G provided on the Other Food board on Christmas presents for people like us, there was a discussion of a silicone rolling pin. Very little flour was needed and nothing really stuck. Not so cheap though convenient to store.

    Alternatively you can get a pastry cloth to use as a working surface. If it gets dirty, then wash it in a mild solution in the laundry. They are also pretty cheap to buy and easy to store as well.

    Maple work board - a bit clumsy to store, though you will have it forever.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #57 - December 3rd, 2006, 5:02 pm
    Post #57 - December 3rd, 2006, 5:02 pm Post #57 - December 3rd, 2006, 5:02 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:After working some bread and gnocchi on my granite counters, I realized that they kind of suck. When I "flour" the surface, it simply slides around in big clumps. Anyone have a good solution? I figured maybe a wooden cutting board but none of mine are big enough and not sure I'd have room to store something massive that wouldn't get used too often.


    Jamie,

    I make bread almost everyday on a granite counter. Two things that may help you:

    1) I use a shaker to apply the exact amount of flour I want where I want it. I don't throw a bunch of flour on the counter and then spread it out.

    2) For shaping dough when I don't want to dirty the counter, I use this $20 silicon mat which has two sides, a smooth side which I rarely use, and a textured side which is perfect for spreading out a thin layer of flour. Easy to clean and takes almost no space in the drawer:

    Image


    Image

    Bill/SFNM
  • Post #58 - December 3rd, 2006, 6:08 pm
    Post #58 - December 3rd, 2006, 6:08 pm Post #58 - December 3rd, 2006, 6:08 pm
    Bill & Cathy-

    Thanks for the advice. Looks like just what I need, especially when reading a positive review on Amazon that mentions "I also use it to keep my counter clean when I am kneading bread dough or making gnocchi".

    I'd have to say black granite is the worst thing ever to go in my kitchen, so this will at least help keep it clean (until somone touches it that is)...

    Jamie
  • Post #59 - December 4th, 2006, 4:55 pm
    Post #59 - December 4th, 2006, 4:55 pm Post #59 - December 4th, 2006, 4:55 pm
    Bill/SFNM wrote:PIGMON,

    Based on your post, I acquired this book and have been perusing it all week. Today we ate a few of the dishes I cooked from it. Wow! This book has gone to the top of my "must try" pile. This kind of food - simple, robust, deeply-satisfying - has such an appeal for me these days. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    Bill/SFNM


    My pleasure, Bill.

    Since it seems like you've been cooking with duck lately, I thought you should know that my absolute favorite recipe out of Wells' Bistro Cooking is the duck stew in Sauternes (Civet de Canard au Sauternes). I've made this dish several times over the years and for a mid-week meal, it's a real crowd pleaser.

    Sauternes and duck is a match made in heaven.


    Sorry for the late response! :)
  • Post #60 - December 4th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Post #60 - December 4th, 2006, 6:02 pm Post #60 - December 4th, 2006, 6:02 pm
    Christopher Gordon wrote:
    Jamieson22 wrote:I didn't like it. It had a very dead flavor and the Sichuan peppercorns were overwhelming. There were some liberties taken with the recipe, such as using a Black Bean Chili Garlic Paste instead of the called for Chili Paste that may have had some things to do with it.


    I wouldn't be surprised if your substitution of chile pastes is at the heart of the matter. There's a plethora of pastes and fermented condiments from which to choose and they all have specific purposes and resonances when combined with one another. I remember taking the time to finally track down the, as far as I know, proper chile/bean pastes for ma po dou fu and, upon tasting them individually out of the jars, experiencing a revelatory moment; !that's the flavor I love so much in ma po!


    Pardon this late response too, but the bean paste does make all the difference. I'm not sure about the boiled beef (I don't currently have the Dunlop book;) but for Ma Po tofu and other dishes from Delfs which I mentioned earlier, the chile bean paste (douban jian) is a critical element. CG, which brand do you use? I first tried the Lee Kum Kee (Chile Bean paste I think - it has douban jian also written on it) which is okay. LSC's Chef Tony mentioned I should look for one that is from Pixian (pronounced pee-she-yen approx.). I've tried a few (those that had Pixian in English on the label) and the added depth of flavor is tremendous. I settled on one that I liked best and before I left Chicago, I picked up five bottles at Chinatown Market. It's the one in the center - to the right of the brown earthen container. Most times the label on it is missing - (like the one at the back, on top) or oily and unreadable
    Image
    This one is a bit salty and not very hot, so I also add some dried red chiles when I fry the paste.
    That time I also picked up the one at the right (Xiang You Douban - fragrant oil douban) - it's a plastic pouch inside the cardboard tube that I haven't opened yet.

    Some rapidly stir fried celery with some soy, chili oil and touch of sesame oil at end, is quite tasty. Makes a good, crunchy quick side for weeknight meal.

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