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Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Winter Menus

May 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the section on the Winter menu items here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

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  1. Tonight I made the torchio with cauliflower, cavolo nero, currants and pine nuts from menu 26. I ran into a few problems but overall the dish came out great.

    My first problem was enitrely my fault. I used a very spicy chili, which made the dish entirely too hot. Next time I will omit the chili from this recipe as it seemed to have a wonderful flavor without it.

    The other thing worth mentioning is that there is a lot of advanc prep opportunities available for this dish and I would encourage you to do everything you can ahead of time, as the last minute prep alone is subtantial. That said, this is a great rustic pasta dish. I made it with three different colored cauliflowers which really added to the presentation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kennedy

      The thing the caveat about the advance prep is true for many things in this book. Often a short looking recipes turn out to have many steps that could have been done earlier. I don't mind too much but I'm learning to do ahead.

      I could not find this recipe online so I'll have to wait to get the book from the library again. I'm not sure I like the currant/pine nut combo in general, but it sounds good in this context.

      I love her use of a small minced chile arbol pepper in many things. Usually it is just a hint of heat.

    2. Made the Halibut a la Nicoise yesterday, with a few modifications.

      Used grilled blackfish instead of halibut. It's local to the Northeast and we eat a lot of it when they're running. Marinated fish in olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. We grilled it Saturday for dinner, with extra held for the Nicoise dish on Sunday. Served room temp over the vegetables.

      Started the weekend with plenty of fresh spinach, but there was none left yesterday, and there was too much gardening to do, so no time for a grocery run. I don't think the dish suffered at all from its absence.

      Recipe called to cook tomatos in 6 Tablespoons of butter. I used extra virgin olive oil instead, and less than 6 Ts. The recipe seemed to me to be about bright, clean flavors and healthy eating; just couldn't wrap my mind around introducing butter to an essentially Mediterranean dish. A personal thing.

      A pretty basic Nicoise, but I liked some of the non-basic things she had going. The warm vegetables were a nice, unexpected touch. Particularly liked the lightly cooked tomatoes with anchovies and lemon juice as a sort of sauce to put on top of the fish. The fresh thyme and basil added a welcome herb note. A beautiful presentation that we all agreed was a keeper.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Old Spice

        Tonight I made the caramelized bread pudding with chocolate and cinnamon from Menu 30. All I can say is make this as soon as you can, it was perfection. The bittersweet chocolate is key as it undercuts the richness of the dish. I made it for a group of friends tonight, and I will be making a second batch tomorrow for my family. I did not add the granulated sugar on top as I don't have a torch but I can't imagine it could be any better. What's more, it was easy to prepare.

        1. re: kennedy

          Ooh, I was eyeing that last night! Thanks for the report. I will be making that soon, and will report back when I do. If you make another batch today, and put it under the broiler, I'd love to know how that turns out (don't have a torch either).

      2. Blood Orange, Dates, Parmesan, and Almonds (p. 343).

        Well, two salads (the Green Goddess and Romaine on the summer thread), and two winners. I think I'm going to really love this book.

        Even though it's not blood orange season, I picked up a couple to make this salad since I had some dates leftover from Arabesque. This is one of those simple salads, like those in the Zuni Cafe book, where the combination of quality ingredients really shine. It's simple and gorgeous. I halved the recipe since E decided he wanted quesadillas tonight, and it was the perfect amount for me to have a light dinner. For prep, I toasted raw almonds, sliced some reggiano, sliced pitted dates in half, and sliced blood oranges into pinwheels. Then I simply layered these ingredients with baby arugula, drizzled with EVOO, sprinkled with fleur de sel, and finished with a squeeze of blood orange juice (I used the uneven ends of the oranges). All the ingredients are key and complemented each other. I can only imagine how much better this would be with blood oranges in peak season, Deglet Noor dates, and artisanal almond oil as she suggests. I know I'll be making this again. It will be a perfect starter for guests since it's very easy but looks impressive on the plate.

        1. Hazelnut-Brown Butter Cake (with sauteed pears)

          I made this yesterday afternoon - at first I thought the recipe was quite similar to the Almond Financier cake I made last weekend, but here you beat the egg whites until stiff, and don't refrigerate the dough before baking (thank goodness given my timing at that point). The cake has a wonderful hazelnutty flavor and is a bit denser that the other one, but also has a bit of a meringue flavor on the crispy edge/top. It reminded me a bit of the kind of torte you might have in "Mittel Europa" with some jam in between layers etc. I served it with sliced macerated plums and a little vanilla ice cream. I made a sweet cherry compote this morning from the spring menus and plan to have it with a slice of cake tonight. Also was delicious with my coffee this morning! My husband preferred the other cake, but - given my love for hazelnuts - I think I prefer this one. Will post photos in a bit - the battery on my camera needs to be recharged.

          3 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              Ah, MMRuth. Between you and Kennedy, you're making it very hard for me to not to try every dessert in this book.

              1. re: Rubee

                Fortunately, I'm not tempted by the custard ones - and there are a lot of those, though I may try that semi freddo. I've just decided that if I'm going to eat dessert - usually HD ice cream - I might as well make something and try something different!

          1. Deviled Thighs with Braised Leeks.

            I'm finally getting the hang of cooking at Goin's pace. Bought the ingredients Saturday morning and braised the leeks a day ahead as instructed, and marinated the chicken. Early Sunday afternoon I prepared the bread crumbs (I used panko), the mustard coating mixture, and browned the chicken thighs. I found that it did not take as long as she said to get the nice and nutty brown. She says to place the browned thighs on the leeks, but then you are supposed to coat them in the mustard, so if you are doing this all at once, just put them in the bowl with the coating - no need to place them on the leeks first as far I as can tell!

            Then, home after a movie and quickly coated the thighs, breaded them, and then stuck them in the oven. In the meanwhile I finished up my prep for the fava bean puree, which we ate while waiting for the chicken to be done. As with all the Goin recipes, my husband's first words after his first bite were "this is amazing". I'm realizing that part of the brilliance of her recipes is the incredible layering of flavors, but the end product is something that still looks like good "home cooking". Photos of various stages below.

            Edit - I cut this recipe in half for the two of us with no problems, and some leftovers.

            26 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              These look great. This is one of the dishes on my list (when I get my act together). Were those bone in thighs?

              1. re: beetlebug

                Yes - bone in. Had to go to a second market to get them - my "regular" one couldn't/wouldn't sell me them.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  When I made this recipe, I just cleaned the leeks and put them in the pan raw, figuring the leeks would have plenty of time to cook while the chicken roasted. After 50 minutes of being continually basted in chicken fat and juices (and all the delicious seasonings), they were perfectly tender and unctuous... I can't even imagine what they were like after an extra cooking step...

                  1. re: daveena

                    I am confused -- do I braise the leeks BEFORE putting the chicken on them and then cook them again with the chicken, or only once the chicken is on them? I think that the recipe for the leeks is a recipe whether or not you make the chicken. Can anyone who has made this confirm this? I'm confused...

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Yes, you braise them first, then cook them again with the chicken.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Thanks. I had them in the oven and then I took them out. Back in they go!!!

                        1. re: roxlet

                          However, in daveena's post just above this last set of entries, she says she put the leeks raw into the pot with the chicken and they came out perfectly. Sooo....

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            Well, we just got this book (I gave it to my husband for his birthday -- clever me) and recommendation a=of mmruth I think, and this is my first attempt from the book. I think it would be best to braise the leeks only once -- after the chicken is put on top. I think that they were TOO well-done, and would have benefited with less cooking. Both my husband and son thought that there was too much bread crumb on the chicken, but otherwise the taste was quite good. At the 11th hour, my husband decided that we needed a starch with this and he made a kind of hash brown potatoes that actually worked out quite well with this. I wanted to love this more than I did, but with the over-done leeks and the over breadcrumbed chicken I can only give it a 6 out of 10. I would need to make it again and to alter the cooking of the leeks and the amount of bread crumb topping to decide whether it is a one-time fling or if it goes into the repertory...

              2. re: MMRuth

                These were great. I also halved the recipe with no problems. I do find it interesting that Goin had the extra step of putting the brown thighs on the leeks, then putting the thighs in the mustard sauce. Thanks to MMRuth, I just dumped the thighs right into the mustard sauce. I also used panko bread crumbs with these and they were nice and crunchy. I served these with Jame's broccoli with burrata (pg. 306)

                  1. re: beetlebug

                    OK, so after lusting after this recipe for months, I made it this weekend. For me it was a marriage of the most savory and satisfying flavors. I only finished eating it 4 hours ago and I am already looking forward to having the leftovers tomorrow. The problem is my husband, who hates chicken thighs. He is a no fat, no skin, no way guy. I thought I could slide these past him and because of their exquisite taste, he would be forgiving of their very nature - dark meat and skin. He ended up pulling the skin (and the lovely, delicious crumb topping) off. Could I make these without skin or would it compromise the recipe too much? I would never uses breasts as he recommended but perhaps skinless thighs would be OK for him. I would prepare mine as directed, skin, fat and all. Any thoughts?

                    1. re: greenstate

                      Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon, p. 326

                      Hi greenstate,

                      I made this for the first time tonight with boneless, skinless breasts since that's all I had, and we thought it came out great.

                      I skipped the browning and didn't add any chicken stock as there was plenty of braising liquid still with the leeks. I baked them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 375, and 5 minutes to brown the crumbs at 475. I served this with "Green Garlic Champ" (though used Mexican green onions), p. 51.

                      1. re: Rubee

                        Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon, p. 326

                        I made this dish last weekend for lunch. I used boneless skinless thighs, as this is what I had and used panko for bread crumbs. Rest of the recipe I followed as is.
                        Looks like I am the only one here, but I and my husband, we just din't like the dish. I don't know why, since everybody else seem to love it so much. Maybe because my mustard was not so fresh, afterall this recipe calls for quite a lot of mustard.
                        I have to say that I loved the leeks in it and putting them in the oven twice helps them to become so tender. But the chicken part was blah for me.

                        BTW Rubee, you din't say if you liked the dish or not.

                        1. re: cpw

                          As I mentioned, we thought it came out great. I too love leeks and thought cooking them twice made them really flavorful and tender, and liked the flavors - vermouth (I used Noilly Pratt), tarragon, butter, and shallots - in the Dijon mustard coating. I also liked how the bread crumbs in the braising liquid thickened the sauce.

                          Oops! Just noticed that I typed I used boneless breasts, but I actually used boneless thighs.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            I just noticed, you did say that it came out great.

                            I can't figure out why we din't like it. I guess everybody's palette is different.

                          2. re: cpw

                            I agree that the chicken was a little underwhelming considering the prep-work, and the amount of bread crumbs was excessive and seemed to dry out the thighs. But I admit to doing two things:
                            1. I marinated the thighs only 3 hours and not overnight--I had heard that marination beyond 30 mins does not add much and too much soak time can begin to break down the protein.
                            2. I did not retain the braising liquid from the leeks before cooking them with the chicken, but I did add extra stock after deglazing the pan used to brown the thighs.

                        2. re: greenstate

                          I have to say that I finally made these the last night and they were fabulous! I'm cooking my way through the Goin book slowly and it's so helpful to have these old COTM posts. I used boneless skinless thighs and they were fabulous. I have a chicken skin fearing boyfriend at home and he loved them as well.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      Has anyone tried this with chicken breasts instead of the thighs? My family does not like dark meat.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard – p. 326

                        This is a dish that reminded me why I love to cook. I loved the rhythm of this recipe, how all the separate parts came together. So while I sautéed, browned, braised and baked I kept hoping that we’d love this dish because it was such a pleasure to prepare.

                        Well guess what, we did love this. We really, really loved it! This is one of the recipes that will stand out for me this year. Something different for us. The ridiculous sweetness of the caramelized, braised then thrice-cooked leeks. The uber-tender, juicy chicken with its crunchy-tangy Dijon herb crust. Everything worked. Individually, each component was outstanding. Combined, the chicken and leeks were perfection. Pure pleasure.

                        We may have loved this more than most and perhaps the stars were just aligned tonight. Maybe we were just hungrier. Whatever the case, I’ll make this again. And again.

                        I prepared the recipe as set out in the book with the following adaptations:

                        - I just tossed the browned chicken in the Dijon mixture - thanks MMRuth!
                        - I stirred the fresh breadcrumbs into the pan w the browned butter vs pouring the butter atop the crumbs in a bowl.
                        - I didn’t have tarragon so I went with thyme throughout

                        I wasn’t around for the first, or second time this book was a COTM but I’m falling in love with it nonetheless and I’m so grateful for those who have cooked from this book before me. Thank-you for your reviews, tips and enthusiasm…it’s infectious!

                        ETA: This is a recipe that I'd highly recommend folks read through really well before getting started. There are a lot of steps and time can be saved by doing things concurrently or, in advance. Aside from MMRuth's observation above I'd just point out that the author has you remove the chx from the fridge 30 mins prior to preparing it to bring it to room temp. If you're making the leeks the same day, you can let the chicken sit out while you work on your leeks.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Thanks for this review. I've marked this recipe as one to come back to when I have a bit more time for cooking. I've only started using this book recently (thanks to your COWC thread) but I have to say I love it, though the recipes are time consuming.

                          1. re: Westminstress

                            I'd love to hear what you think Westminstress. It really was a special dish for us.

                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                            It's an amazing dish, one that made her famous. I love, love, love it. And the leeks are great to just eat on their own, I often make the leeks alone as a side dish for Christmas, easter, Thanksgiving, etc. So glad you enjoyed it.

                            1. re: Tom P

                              I had no idea this was the dish that made her famous Tom but I can certainly understand why. Oh those leeks!!

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                One of, yes! /the short ribs did as well :)

                          3. re: MMRuth

                            Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard p. 326

                            Excellent flavors in this! It took a lot of fussing, but lots could be done ahead. There are some confusing instructions too, so read first, then proceed. My Mr. loved it, went back for seconds, and I'm impressed and happy too. I wish only that the leeks wouldn't get so greasy (being cooked under the chicken) so I'll figure out a fix for that next time. I made a half recipe for the two of us, plenty for tomorrow. A+ recipe!

                            1. re: blue room

                              I didn't feel like braising the leeks, so I threw them in raw under the chicken, and they still came out flavorful and rich with chicken fat. I can only imagine how greasy they would have been if braised in olive oil first!

                          4. Cured pork chops with sweet potatoes, bacon, and romesco (Menu 27, pg 318-319). Every component was fantastic, but they're so rich, that they can only all be served together if portions are very small.

                            The pork - definitely one of my favorite pork recipes of all time. Super juicy and flavorful - I actually pan-fried them, but will try grilling next time.

                            The sweet potatoes - on their own, they are my newest Thanksgiving staple. I used turbinado sugar instead of regular brown sugar and added rosemary and cayenne pepper. I also eliminated the bacon and spinach, and halved the butter (to 1 stick!) Note - I think the type of sweet potato is pretty important - the first time I made it, I used Jewel sweet potatoes (she specifies Jewel and Garnet), and I nearly swooned (btw, I have historically hated sweet potatoes, so it tells you something about my trust in Suzanne Goin that I even made this in the first place). The second time, I used another variety (can't remember which), and it wasn't as good. With Jewel, the exterior caramelized beautifully, and the inside was fairly dry and fluffy.

                            The romesco - oh, the romesco. Sigh. So great. Great on regular potatoes, great in scrambled eggs, great tossed with angel hair pasta, great straight out of the Tupperware. Just great.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: daveena

                              I made this dish based on your report, and everyone loved it. I've made it twice since, with raves each time. Like you, I halved the butter (what was Suzanne thinking?). I also halved the sugar, and tossed the spinach with the hot bacon to wilt it a little. I served everything composed on a huge platter and the colors were wonderful together. For the romesco, I substituted marcona almonds, then added extra salt, and lemon juice, halved the olive oil, thinned it with a bit of water, and it rocked! Easily the best romesco I've ever had, and I've never had a bad one. Thanks for alerting me to this recipe.

                            2. Cinnamon ice cream (p. 363)

                              Okay, I'm plucking and instead of the roasted apples, I made my standby apple bundt cake (Michal Bauer of SF Chronicle, "Secrets of Success cookbook" -- odd name, but great recipes!) for a dinner party tonight to serve w/ SG's cinnamon ice cream.

                              I like her technique of making a custard infused w/ cinnamon sticks (I used Mexican since that was what was on hand) and 3/4 c sugar instead of SG's 1/2. Then you chill the custard for two hours -- I chilled overnight and churned in the a.m. before work.

                              Chilled, the custard had the look of cake dough with a thick layer on top, but I processed and froze and it turned out great (I had to test it natch before serving to my guests! -- just one more scoop). Then I decided to make SG's vanilla ice cream as well (reported in Spring menu)

                              You might not need this cookbook for the ice cream recipes, but her technique is solid and results even for ice cream are (super rich and) divine!

                              1. YOUNG ONION TART

                                As noted on the Spring list, I’ve made every one of the tarts in the book, and begun making variations on them all, I love them so much. Once you get the hang of them, these are quite easy. I always make a large batch of the ricotta base, so I can make a series of them over a week. One thing I learned that is quite important: don’t overload them. When I first started making them, I loaded them up with ingredients… you can’t have too much great topping right? (The same for the ricotta base.) Sure they tasted fine, but the pastry was a bit soggy and drooped when you picked up a piece. If you do a lighter coating of the mixture and a healthy amount of topping without overloading the tart, it truly tastes better. Also, let it sit when it comes out of the oven for about 5 minutes before cutting it. This also helps the pastry be crisp.

                                This onion tart is my favorite of them all. I make it with Pancetta, rather than AppleWood Smoked Bacon. No one ever complains. And if you don’t have young onions, just use a combo of red onions and the sweetest white onions you can find. So good.

                                As noted on the Spring blog, there is a comment in the book about preparing it in the morning. I think she just does this to indicate if you have a busy day, you can make it in the morning when you might have time and then the tart is ready to go when you get home from work. I have done this often… even made them the day before, to save time for a larger party… and it works terrific. I actually have two in the freezer right now. I wondered how they would do frozen. So the last time I made them, I put two up. I will let you know if they work well.

                                BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS

                                This is her signature dish (which apparently drives her crazy) and deservedly so.

                                BRAISED LEEKS

                                For a dish that sounds and looks so simple – and that is so easy to prepare – the outcome is such a surprise. These leeks are so rich and tasty and flavorful. They have become a staple for me, with or without the chicken thighs.

                                FLAGEOLET GRATIN

                                If you can get your hands on some of these beans (Whole Foods carries them) MAKE THIS DISH. It is wonderful, and not difficult at all. I often make a large pot, freezing them. And you can do them in individual gratin dishes if you like. As with most dishes such as this, it only gets better with age, so maker it a day or two in advance, or enjoy as leftovers the days after you make it.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Tom P

                                  Thank you for this wealth of info!

                                  I bought flageolets to make the gratin, and haven't gotten around to it. Now I definitely will. And the young onion tart is on my list for this weekend, so I really appreciate your tips (and I still plan on making the pastel vasco, the bacon-potato gratin - especially after your comment! - the red pepper soup with sumac, the tomato and burrata salad, the rice soubise, Rob's Famous Coleslaw, the leeks, the short ribs, orecchiette carbonara, olive oil cake, ice cream, churros...)

                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    Rubee, you rock! Your posts on this book have been so wonderful. Please let us know how everything turns out. (It's hard to know where to stop!) I promise the Pastel Vasco is so worth it. And I am very curious to know how the churros turn out if someone tries them. I am lucky enough to live in LA so I have been to Lucques quite a few times; I had the churros y chocolate 4 times before they went off the menu and they were incredible, yet I have never tried them at home.

                                    1. re: Tom P

                                      "(It's hard to know where to stop!)"

                                      Yep, definitely!

                                      I will be sure to report on the churros since it will be my first time making them. Ha - maybe I'll have to do some practice runs before I take a picture. I have to buy a star tip (oddly - I found that I have a pastry bag from years ago that I don't even remember buying, but no tips).

                                  2. re: Tom P

                                    Tom -- and others who have made the tarts -- quick question for you. Would these work for a potluck where you are cooking it ahead and then bringing it to another home? I've been mindful of your comments not to overload the puff pastry with too much topping to prevent it from becoming soggy. Do you foresee problems bringing these elsewhere?

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      I've only made the Young Onion Tart once (and was one of those who overloaded it *even* after I'd read all the warnings not to), but I'd want to serve it within a few minutes of its coming out of the oven. You can prepare it in the morning, but I think it would be shown to it's best advantage if you could bake it once you arrived at your party.

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        That makes sense. I was having trouble picturing how it would not get kind of soggy if you let it sit.


                                  3. Chicken Paillards with Parmesan Breadcrumbs, Escarole, Capers, and Parsley, p. 310.

                                    This was really good - I thought it would just be a tasty variation of a dish I make often since it's one of E's favorite, veal or chicken Milanese. However, my husband took one bite and said "oh my goodness, is this good". In fact, he even said later, "don't lose this recipe". So, again, this was a winner. Instead of the escarole, I served it with Potato Puree (p. 303).

                                    Goin refers to this as "chicken Parmesan meets chicken Milanese meets fried chicken". Chicken breast is pounded thin, and dredged in flour, eggs, and fresh bread crumbs mixed with parmesan and parsley, and then sauteed in olive oil and butter until crispy. The delicious sauce is made with browned butter, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. I also added garlic since I had already sliced it, not realizing it was part of the escarole recipe. I can see why she says this is a "true crowd-pleaser". This recipe with its golden, crispy, tender chicken and flavorful lemony sauce is a keeper.

                                    16 Replies
                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      Oh boy, does that look good! I went through my first pass of the book and have bookmarked recipes of interest, including this one. Goin is very fond of browned butter! Since I'm so bad at following recipes exactly, I may use panko instead of breadcrumbs though.

                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        I used Panko when I made the deviled chicken thighs - delicious!

                                        And Rubee - that looks fantastic - It's a quarter to 10 here and I've not had dinner yet - husband stuck on tarmac at Kennedy for three hours coming in from Egypt - but I just ordered us some sushi for when he gets home! You've inspired me to pull out Lucques and pick something to cook for tomorrow night!

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          I did use panko for the second batch since I hadn't taken enough bread crumbs out of the freezer. Didn't compare them, however, as they are planned for sandwiches today. : )

                                          Can't wait to see what you guys are making. I'm going to be cooking from Sunday Suppers throughout this month too, along with "Taste of Country Cooking". Going through Edna Lewis' book, it's a bit limiting for someone usually cooking for two, and a city dweller.

                                          Recipe link for paillards (sans parsley and with panko):

                                      2. re: Rubee


                                        Chicken Paillard Sandwiches on toasted brioche with mayo, romesco, and yellow tomatoes. I warmed up the chicken briefly in the oven, and it was still moist. It was so good and made a great lunch. Now I wish I had made more. Oh well, next time.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          I made these a few weeks ago and really liked them. Not much to add above other than I halved the recipe. Well, a bit less than half. I used two boneless skinless breasts v. the 6 that the recipe called for. Even half of a breast was more than enough for a serving. I used extra fine bread crumbs (fresh but made by Iggy's bakery) instead of panko. I did find that even halving the recipe, I had *a lot* of leftover parmesian breadcrumbs which I had to toss since I had already dipped the raw chicken in it. I also found that I needed two large eggs for the breading process. The extra bread crumbs did peeve me because I hate throwing food away, but live and learn.

                                          BTW, these breasts tasted really good cold too. The next day I was starving and ripped a piece of to gnosh on as I prepared dinner.

                                          1. re: Rubee

                                            Chicken Paillards with parmesan breadcrumbs, escarole, capers and parsley (p. 310)

                                            I had some chicken breast left over from my Zuni Chicken stock, and so I decided to give these a try for lunch. Absolutely delicious, and very easy to make, although I can see why people have been commenting about little bowls everywhere. I burnt my paillards a little bit, as my cooktop runs a bit hot, and I took her instructions to start the chicken at high heat seriously. I was trying to be less timid with high heat, as I love the carmelization and browning that occurs. I can see I'll have to back off a bit. But despite the slight burn, this recipe was a huge hit, and we'll definitely be making this again. The sauce is very easy and flavourful, and I'll be using this technique for other other proteins like fish. I also had some leftover breadcrumbs etc., and I had a piece of chicken liver that I didn't use in the stock, so I breaded the chicken liver and fried that up as well, serving it with the breast. Very yummy!! Even hubbie liked it, and he doesn't usually like liver.

                                            1. re: moh

                                              So we made the chicken paillards again, this time for a group of 10 people. I still really love this recipe, but I would comment that while it is pretty easy to make for 2 people, it is much more of a production making it for 10. Even though we prepped everything ahead of time, it took a long time to fry the paillards, and then of course we had to try to keep them warm while we prepared everything else. To complicate matters, we cooked one breast without any breading because one person was gluten-intolerant, and one breast without the parmesan because one person didn't like cheese. We cooked those special breasts first, and of course we burnt the pan because you need to have a minimum amount in the pan to keep the oil from burning... SO then we had to clean off the pan before starting the rest of the chicken. Lesson learnt: do not cook paillards for large groups! Hubbie says next time we are making stew. But I have to say. this recipe was a huge hit with the gang. Really delicious. And this time we managed not to burn the paillards, just the pan.

                                              We also served the pomegranate/persimmon/arugula salad, also a hit, although we had a close call, as it turns out one of our friends is allergic to hazelnuts. He grabs a persimmon, eats it, then asks, so what is in this salad? When I mentioned hazelnuts, he then mentioned his rather severe allergy. Fortunately, he reacts only when he eats whole nuts, he was fine after the bite of persimmon.

                                              Boy, I bet none of you want to come over to our place for dinner now!

                                              I'm thinking that if hubbie ever lets me prepare this for large groups again, I would probably cook the paillards ahead of time, and then just warm them up in the oven or in the pan. Maybe cook them until they are almost done, then brown them in the pan at the last minute. That would be a lot easier, as it doesn't take much to cook the escarole and the brown butter sauce. I bet I'll be able to convince him to serve this again! He also really likes these things.

                                              1. re: moh

                                                I was trying to rethink that whole process, moh, and wondered if the paillards could be baked instead of cooked on top of the stove....a la oven baked Southern fried chicken. Not really the same but worth investigating, I think.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Gio, baking the paillards would be a whole lot easier, although I must say I love the crispy crust made by frying. Would you use the same breading and flour and egg wash? Or would you modify this breading somehow? I am not so familiar with oven-baked Southern Fried chicken technique.

                                                  1. re: moh

                                                    I love the crispy crust too and was amazed at how juicy the chicken was, even the leftover piece I used the next day at lunch. As for baking the paillards, I'd keep the flour and egg but change to crushed Panko just to see if that would aid the crisping up.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Thanks Gio! That panko stuff is pretty useful and yummy! I think some experimentation is in order, perhaps the next time I prepare a batch of Zuni chicken stock and need a use for the breast meat.

                                                    2. re: moh

                                                      Gio, I also think that paillards, being not only breasts, but thinnish, would dry out very quickly in the oven.

                                              2. re: Rubee

                                                We made the Paillards last night and absolutely Loved it! So very tasty. G also wants to make this again... ASAP, he said. I followed the recipe exactly, and had all the ingredients at hand. It really is very easy.... was going to use Panko but opted for homemade baguette breadcrumbs instead. The escarole was perfect.... served a simple baked potato with the chicken and greens.....

                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                  finally got around to making the Paillards with Parmesan Breadcrumbs. I cheated and used panko, and I skipped the escarole and just served the chicken and butter sauce with roasted brussels sprouts. I liked this, but my husband and daughter LOVED it. I was surprised by how tender the chicken stayed, I'm not normally a big fan of white meat except in stir fry type things. And this seemed a lot simpler (possibly because of subbing real breadcrumbs for panko) than some of the other recipes in this book. Took photos but am still trying to figure out my new computer so ... maybe some other time I can download them.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Think I'm finally becoming one with my new computer. It's like having to start dating all over again. Anyway, will now try to attach a picture of the paillards.

                                                2. Potato Puree, p. 303.

                                                  How can you go wrong with potatoes, heavy cream, milk, and butter? I also liked that the potatoes could be cooked and cooled ahead of time, and then later finished in a pan. The recipe calls for both russet and Yukon Gold, simmered whole and unpeeled, and then peeled and put through a ricer when cool. Heat them over medium heat, add butter, and then warmed cream and milk. I really should invest in a tamis (a fine sieve) as without it, this was less a puree than a tasty version of creamy mashed poatoes. Nice side dish to the chicken paillards above, though with these two recipes, there was a lot of butter (not that that's a bad thing in this household!).

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    I made these last night to go with the short ribs. I think somone else - roxlet? - posted about making them on another thread, and said she used a couple of tablespoons of butter instead of the two sticks, and that they were still very good. I decided to use one stick rather than two, and these were fantastic. I used my ricer, and was surprised at how creamy they were even without using a tamis. She says you can make them ahead of time, refrigerate and reheat over medium low heat, adding a little more cream if needed, so I did that.

                                                    Our 12 year old guest was getting hungry while I was putting everything together at the last minute, so I gave him a spoon and asked him to see if the potatoes were hot yet. He tasted, and said "They are not hot, but they are the best mashed potatoes I've ever had." So, he was given the job of stirring the potatoes until they were hot, and I suspect that spoon went back into the potatoes several more times, but I was too busy to notice.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      No, I've never made the mashed from Goin -- but now I may have to!

                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                        Yes - I realized later it was someone else - enjoy though!

                                                  2. Young Onion Tart; with Cantal, Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon, and Herb Salad, p. 297

                                                    Oh so good. And I'm a sucker for anything involving puff pastry. Even with all my changes, this was delicious.

                                                    I thought I had Dufour's, but I didn't. so I used Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, along with Gruyere, thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, and a combination of sweet white onion and red onion as Tom P suggested. I love that this can be put together ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and baked when you're ready. A ricotta mixture with egg and creme fraiche is the first layer. I didn't have creme fraiche so I used Mexican crema, which made the mixture a bit thinner and harder to spread, but didn't seem to affect the end result. Simply top this with the sauteed onions, cooked bacon, and and thyme. Chill. I did this for about half an hour. I baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, and paid attention to Tom P's tip to make sure the bottom was cooked nice and crisp, and let it cool for about 5 minutes so that the slices would hold without being droopy. I skipped the herb salad, but topped it with chopped parsley. Another keeper. The only problem is, it was so good, I actually went back for THIRDS.

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                      Your photos and reports are killing me! That looks wonderful. You seem to make all the recipes on my "to make" list. I've made a couple of more dishes from the book but am not current on reporting. To clarify, did you use cantal cheese or was the ricotta, egg, creme fraiche mixture a suggested substitute?

                                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                                        Oops - sorry, I wasn't clear. I used Gruyere for the cantal, and for the ricotta/egg yolk/creme fraiche mixture which is spread on the puff pastry, I subbed crema for the creme fraiche. So the layers are: puff pastry, the ricotta, thinly sliced cheese, and bacon/onion thyme mixture.

                                                        Spending the weekend with my friends at my gf's house, so I'm bringing the chorizo burgers, and making two more recipes tomorrow - "Rob's Famous Coleslaw", and the pastel vasco with blackberries. Sunday is dinner with some 'Hounds on a CH's boat and I'm making the tomato and burrata salad. Then, I better get cracking on Edna Lewis ; )

                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                          You are a cooking goddess, and I can't wait for your upcoming reports. The tart sounds like Goin's delicious take on tarte alsace.

                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            I can't wait to see what you think about the Pastel Vaco

                                                            1. re: Tom P

                                                              Me too! I made the compote last night - that alone is so delicious, and it made my kitchen smell like vanilla. I emailed the girls (there will be four of us) your quote of "best dessert ever". Thanks for the enthusiastic rec...will of course report back.

                                                        2. re: Rubee

                                                          Just made this the other night using Trader Joes puff pastry. I rolled it a teensy bit because the sheets seem very small. Next time (and there will be a next time) I'll 1 1/2 times the recipe and use both pastry sheets. I also used gruyere, the apple-smoked bacon and red and sweet white onions. Used home-made creme fraiche (which never really thickened up properly, but tasted great...know why?). I did use the salad except for the chervil, which the supermarket doesn't usually have, but probably not the entire amount - eyeballed smaller quantities. And I scattered it onto the cooked tart, rather than garnishing individual pieces.

                                                          This was really very good.

                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            Thinking of making this for a dinner party this Monday. I'm assuming from the various reports that it's finger food to be served with cocktails as opposed to an appetizer served with knife and fork. Correct? Can it go either way? What did you guys do?

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Hi JoanN,

                                                              I did serve it as finger food - cutting them into squares which we picked up and ate.

                                                          2. James' Broccoli with Burrata, Pine Nuts and Warm Anchovy Vinaigrette (pg. 306)

                                                            This was a relatively quick recipe and delicious, even with my modifications. I served these with the devilled chicken thighs.

                                                            I decided to make the full portion of this dish since I am a huge greens eater. I used broccolini and fresh cow mozzarella since I didn't have any burrata on hand.

                                                            Essentially, toast the breadcrumbs and pine nuts (separately) until both are browned. Combine the two so that they are nutty crumbs. Blanch the greens, drain and cool. Heat olive oil and butter in a small pan and add chopped anchovies, minced chile de arbol, garlic and thyme. Lastly saute the sauce and toss it with S&P, lemon juice and the greens. Now layer the dressed greens with the bread crumbs and cheese.

                                                            I did find that a lb of cheese and 1 1/4 nutty bread crumbs were too much for the dish. I ended up using half of each. I used some of the leftover bread crumbs to make the zuni fried eggs


                                                            Lastly, if you have leftovers and are going to re-heat, don't forget to take the cheese slices out. It became a gooey mess. Tasty but messy.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. Sauteed Halibut with Argula, Roasted Beets, and Horseradish Creme Fraiche (pg. 366)

                                                              This was really good and in the grand scheme of recipes in this book, really easy to assemble. A lot of the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time so when the guests arrive, all you have to do is to saute the fish. I served this with the lentils (pg. 331).

                                                              It's funny how this recipe is listed under the "winter" menus. Part of the reason I chose this recipe is because I could use 2 things from my CSA box, the arugula and the beets. It made a lovely summer meal.

                                                              Beets - roast the beets and slice them into chunks. Combine shallots, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. This is the vinegar for the beets. I had red and white beets. Goin suggested dressing the beets separately so that the colors don't bleed together. I found that this was an unnecessary step (I did it though) because when I combined the beets with the arugula, the white beets turned pink.

                                                              Horseradish creme fraiche - combine CF and horseradish together. Then add a bit of cream. I used more horseradish then called for and still found that it wasn't enough. The horseradish flavor didn't come through the stronger flavor of the CF and cream. I have some of this leftover and will probably turn it into a salad dressing.

                                                              Plate the arugula and beets and drizzle a bit of the CF sauce on top.

                                                              Picture of place sans fish:


                                                              I had preseasoned the halibut with lemon zest, parsley and thyme. Then the fish is lightly sauteed in a bit of olive oil. I forgot to season the fish with salt and pepper prior to cooking but it didn't matter. The fish was very delicate and complemented the beet salad beautifully. And, the accompanying lentils were wonderful.


                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                I made this last night as well, also with the lentils, and have nothing much to add other than it was delicious. I adore roasted beetroot and halibut (blimey it's expensive though - £15 for three largish fillets) and I thought the combination was inspired. Loved the horseradish cream, although I really need to buy another jar of grated horseradish, as mine has lost a lot of its kick. I see beetlebug had the same issue though, so maybe you just need to use a lot more horseradish than the tablespoon she suggests. The instructions she gave for the fish meant it was cooked to perfection.

                                                                A beautiful dish.

                                                              2. Beluga Lentils (pg. 331)

                                                                These were absolutely delicious. So creamy and rich, but not in a bad way.

                                                                Instead of beluga lentils, I used green french puy lentils. The recipe is also incredibly easy and quick. Actually, the whole dinner was fairly easy and I found myself wandering around the kitchen looking for something to do.

                                                                Saute chopped onions, thyme, whole chile de arbol, salt and pepper. Add the lentils and saute some more. Quickly add 1/4 cup of wine and 6 cups of water. Bring this to a boil, lower the heat and then simmer for 30 minutes.

                                                                Strain the lentils over a bowl. Add olive oil, 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid, salt and pepper and three sprigs of basil to the lentils. Voila, it's finished.

                                                                The cooking liquid is also very tasty. I put it into the freezer and will probably use it for soup in the winter.

                                                                It's not the prettiest of all dishes, not the personality definitely shines through.


                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                  That all looks great Beetlebug. I had bought beluga lentils to make this, but then decided to wait. You've inspired me to make your whole meal in the next couple of weeks!

                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                    Like beetlebug, I also made the lentils to accompany the halibut. They were delicious, but unnecessary, I think, as I'd also made a starter (the roasted pear salad) and a dessert (the tarte au fromage).

                                                                    I used puy lentils as well. I've never seen or heard of beluga lentils, but will keep an eye out for them.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl


                                                                      Although I'd heard of beluga lentils, I didn't know what they looked or tasted like. Online research revealed that they're similar to puy lentils. I read that to be keep their shape, are firm and non-melting into a mass. Is this correct? Do you think the dish would be a successful if I used "regular" lentils?

                                                                      I just bought a large piece of gorgeous ling cod at the premier local fishmonger. It always makes me chuckle to see the descriptions of fish expand and become ever more specific. It used to be "ling cod", then "fresh ling cod", then "fresh, wild ling cod", then "fresh, wild, line-caught ling cod". I figure that pretty soon we'll see "fresh, wild, ling cod line-caught by Charles F. Morrison at 11:32 a.m. 6 miles off the coast of Mendocino. Mr. Morrison immediately rushed back to port at Fort Bragg, handed his catch to Speedy Delivery Guys, who rushed it to the Fort Bragg airport to be helicoptered to Monterey Fish Market."

                                                                      We now have labels that say "frozen at sea", and "product of Ecuador", etc. I think that informational pamphlets will soon be slipped into the bag along with the fish.

                                                                      And don't get me started on the types and sizes of shrimp!

                                                                    2. re: beetlebug

                                                                      Beluga Lentils (pg. 331)

                                                                      I made the lentils a few weeks ago. As mentioned below in the brisket thread, E doesn't like lentils so I made horseradish mashed potatoes to serve with the brisket, but the next day made the beluga lentils for weekday lunches for myself. I agree with Beetlebug, they were delicious. I served them with the leftover brisket, as part of vegetarian lunches, and in a salad tossed with feta.

                                                                      Pics - with basil per recipe, and a veg lunch tossed with cilantro and served with roasted cauliflower and calabacitas:

                                                                    3. Flageolet Gratin, p.339

                                                                      I LOVED this. Who would have known that dried beans and onions would result in this luscious dish. Oh, I guess Suzanne Goin did.

                                                                      I prepped some of the components ahead as the steps aren't difficult, but time consuming. Yesterday I cooked the beans. Dried flageolets (which I ordered from Surfas) are simmered for about an hour and a half in water with olive oil, chile de arbol, onion, thyme, and bay leaf (I left out the fennel) in an oval Le Creuset. I was skeptical of the tip to cover the beans with a paper towel to keep them under the surface, but her tip worked just as she said (I used two folded paper towels), and they didn't disintegrate. Today I caramelized white onions/half a leftover red onion and fresh thyme, which took about 40 minutes. Finally, to bake, layer the onions in a gratin dish, then the beans, and top with fresh bread crumbs tossed with melted butter and chopped parsley and thyme. She says to bake for an hour and a half at 425; I took it out after an hour. I served it with two easy dishes from this month's Edna Lewis book - the sage pork and glazed carrots. This wonderful flavorful gratin was another winner. I'm glad I made the full recipe - I'm looking forward to the leftovers.




                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                        (I'm linking this to another topic, so reloading pics)

                                                                      2. Torchio with Cauliflower, Cavolo Nero, Currants and Pine Nuts (pg. 308)

                                                                        I have extremely mixed feelings about this recipe. It was tasty but extremely labor intensive. It needed no less than 4 different pots. The ambivalence is that I'm not quite sure it was worth it. I think, the separate parts were tastier than the overall combination.

                                                                        I chose this recipe because I had a huge bunch of kale from my CSA. I also had a huge bunch of chard. When I began the prep, I prepped the chard and decided to continue. I should have grabbed the kale as well since one lb of chard shrinks to practically nothing. My preference is for more greens than called for.

                                                                        The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of the currant pine nut relish (pg. 58). I made half the relish. This was delicious. Heat olive oil, rosemary and chile de arbol. Add onion and salt and stew the onions until they are tender. Remove the onions, add balsamic vinegar and reduce. Add the vinegar to the onion bowl. Meanwhile, plump up the currants in water and toast the pine nuts. Toss the onions with the pine nuts, currants and parsley.


                                                                        Goin states that 2 large pots should have boiling water. One pot is for the pasta and cauliflower, the other is to blanch the greens.

                                                                        After the greens are blanched, Goin states that you should take a large pot or dutch oven. You don't have to use a large pot. A medium is just fine. As you can see from my stewed greens, it is swimming in the pot. Anyway, add olive oil, rosemary and chile to arbol until it sizzles. Add sliced onions and garlic and cook this for about 5 minutes. Then add the greens, some more olive oil and salt. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Set aside and you are supposed to remove the rosemary and the crumbled chile. There was no way I was going to pick through the greens, onions and garlic to get the red out.


                                                                        Blanch the cauliflower in the pasta water and brown the breadcrumbs in the oven. After the cauliflower is tender, remove and add the pasta (I used orichette).

                                                                        Heat a large saute pan and add olive oil, onion, chile and thyme. Saute and add diced anchovies and stir until the fish dissolves. Turn up the heat and throw in the cauliflower, garlic, salt and pepper. Add MORE olive oil and saute the cauliflower until it carmelizes. Add the stewed greens and stir well.

                                                                        After the pasta is cooked, reserve a cup of cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet with the veggies and stir until the pasta is coated and partially sticking to the pan. Add a bit of the pasta water and stir some more. Lastly, add the currant pine nut relish and stir again. Add the toasted bread crumbs.

                                                                        re: the bread crumbs, I toasted the full amount (1.5 cups). This was too much and when I tossed the pasta with the crumbs, I ended up only using half. As I stated earlier, each of the parts were delicious. Pasta with cauliflower, stewed veggies, relish. The bread crumbs were a bit too much. I think it would have tasted better with either 1/2 - 3/4 cups of bread crumbs or even none at all.

                                                                        I also think there is a more efficient way to approach this dish. I found myself annoyed about the order she has you put together the recipe.

                                                                        1. Toast the pine nuts and bread crumbs.

                                                                        2. Blanch the greens and then the cauliflower (this way, you have everything prepped and just have to saute all the components). OR blanch the greens and then re-use the pot for the cauliflower and then pasta in the same water depending on your schedule.

                                                                        3. Assemble the relish.

                                                                        4. Stew the greens using a smaller pot, even if you are using two bunches.

                                                                        5. Everything else is the same except use less breadcrumbs for the final assembly.


                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                          The relish is really nice with the pasta itself. Every few bites, I would get a hit of the currants or pine nuts. Just an interesting taste and texture experience.

                                                                          Sorry for the long post. I got tired reading it.

                                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                                            I didn't get tired! Thanks for a lovely, detailed post. I agree with you entirely that 1) her recipes are super labor intensive, and 2) often the individual components are better than the combined end product.

                                                                            I've made the mushroom pasta from that book a number of times, and the mushrooms are deeply flavored, aromatic, and then get completely diluted out by the pasta and pasta water.

                                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                                              I enjoyed reading this too and haven't tried this recipe. I agree with you that the order in which she has you do things sometimes doesn't make sense, so I've taken to going through the whole recipe and making up my own order! Pork Burgers tonight again though - can't wait!

                                                                          2. Australian Barramundi with Winter Vegetables Bagna Cauda and Toasted Breadcrumbs

                                                                            This is a slightly different take on bagna cauda. Instead of dipping the vegetables into the sauce fondue style, you pre-cook the vegetables, toss them with the olive oil/butter/anchovy/garlic/chile mixture and use that as a bed for the fish.

                                                                            I followed the recipe pretty much as written. She says you can use whatever vegetables you’re in the mood for, so I used potatoes, cauliflower, baby carrots, and broccoli. After the vegetables have been cooked individually, they’re sautéed all together in the bagna cauda and then tossed with Treviso and Belgian endive (I just used the Treviso). The fish is seasoned with lemon zest, thyme, and parsley early in the day, sautéed in some of the bagna cauda oil, and nestled among the lettuce and vegetables. You spoon a bit more bagna cauda over all and sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs over the top.

                                                                            The fish with the bagna cauda was just outstanding. It’s not exactly a low-fat meal with all that butter and olive oil, but I just loved the fish with the bagna cauda and breadcrumbs. I’ll definitely be doing that again. I was less thrilled with the vegetables and think I’ll pass on that part of the recipe in the future. The vegetables just didn’t have enough flavor for the amount of work involved. I’d just as soon serve the fish with roasted veggies. And I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the vegetables were tossed with Treviso and endive. It sure looked pretty, but it just seemed odd to me, like mixing your salad and your veggies.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              That looks great, JoanN! I have the book and that recipe is now on my radar thanks to you. Coincidentally, I just read about barramundi today and am very curious to try it now. I like the idea of simple roasted veggies if I don't feel like fussing w/ her veggie recipe.

                                                                            2. Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio and Parmesan

                                                                              I made this more or less as written with Kabocha squash I picked up in Chinatown. I used packaged stock (have quarts of homemade in the freezer, but hording if for Thanksgiving) and Grana Padano instead of Parmesan (because at $3 less a pound I nearly always use Grana Padano instead of Parmesan) and skipped the parsley because what I thought I had in the fridge was dead and gone.

                                                                              This was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! It was sweet, in the way that the very freshest Jersey corn is sweet. It was nutty from the roasted squash. It had the subtlest hint of crunch from the radicchio. It was rich and creamy and al dente just as the best risotto should be. It would never have occurred to me to put something like radicchio in a risotto, but it was a brilliant touch, for the texture as well as the color. I’m not sure I would have been able to figure out where that crunch came from if I hadn’t made it myself.

                                                                              I made half the recipe for two of us and my BF was really upset there wasn’t more of it. And I’m really upset because BF has to go back home to London soon and what excuse will I have to keep cooking from this book? It took me so long to get started and I have such a long way to go.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                That looks incredible...and incredibly delicious! You are cooking up a storm w/ this book and I appreciate the inspiration.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  Wow! That looks fantastic. Good thing I'm in Boston, or I'd show up at your doorstop and beg you to cook for me ; )

                                                                                2. Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup with Crème Fraîche and Candied Pumpkin Seeds

                                                                                  This was my first course for Thanksgiving dinner. I’d had such a huge success with her Kabocha Squash Risotto and had just enough squash left over so I made this about a week ago and stuck it in the freezer. I followed directions pretty much to the letter, using homemade chicken stock but eliminating the crème fraîche figuring the dinner was rich enough. My got-to for T’giving dinner has for years been butternut squash soup with roasted garlic and croutons. Although this recipe was a good deal more complicated (yet not at all difficult) my guests simply raved about it. My brother even had seconds (which he *never* does on Thanksgiving—not for the first course at least) and even asked for the recipe (which he’s never done before either). And my mother asked if she could please take home all the leftovers. The pumpkin-seed garnish, which I also made days ahead of time, added a just-perfect slightly sweet/slightly spicy crunch. I think I’ve got a new go-to for the holiday—by unanimous request.

                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    i love this recipe! i've made it with butternut and it tastes great.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      I made this for Thanksgiving too, and also loved it. I subbed celery for fennel to maintain the right texture, but there was still a pronounced fennel-y flavor from the anise seeds. The candied pumpkin seeds were awesome, and were easily my mom's favorite part of the entire meal. I also liked that it was easy to make in advance and reheat on Thanksgiving day (which I had a hard time figuring out overall).

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        loved this soup
                                                                                        good one to make when you're doing other stuff around the house since the roasting etc takes significant inactive time . . .
                                                                                        loved the candied seeds crunch -- wanted them to have spice heat tho

                                                                                        butternut instead of kabocha, and no dairy.
                                                                                        Added a squeeze of lemon . . .

                                                                                        1. re: pitu

                                                                                          I haven't made the soup yet, but made the candied pumpkin seeds in larger quantities for holiday and Thanksgiving hostess gifts. We added some dried cranberries to them and put in plastic bags for a snack. The candied seeds are great and will definitely be trying them on the soup.

                                                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                                                          I made this soup for Thanksgiving this year along with the candied pumpkin seeds and absolutely loved it! The squash and fennel made a great combination. This was the first time I've made a soup with so much sherry and I liked the flavor it imparted. The pumpkin seeds were a great accent - crunchy sweet and spicy - and were so easy that I'd make them again for other things. And the colors were just lovely for thanksgiving - a perfect holiday dish. I made the soup a day ahead and had it the day it was made, for thanksgiving, and finished up the last of it today for lunch. Although it obviously makes sense to do ahead for a big feast, I liked the soup and garnish best on the day that they were made.

                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                            I was surprised to see that I first made this soup in '07. It's been my first course for T'Giving ever since. This year there was an entirely new cast of characters at my table so they'd never had it before. It was fun to listen to the raves all over again. And Kabocha squash is so much easier to find now than it was then. I used to have to go to Chinatown to get it and now my local greenmarket carries it.

                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                            Kabocha squash and fennel soup with crème fraiche and candied pumpkin seeds p. 323

                                                                                            Thanks to Westminstress for reminding me to re-post my review here. Joan tried to alert me to my error last year but I must have become distracted and forgotten to move it!! Finally...better late than never I guess:

                                                                                            I love squash and was delighted to find this recipe on a recent EYB search. This soup was simply spectacular; I can’t wait to serve it at my next dinner party. The pumpkin seeds were so tasty; I’ll likely make them and serve them up as snacks, even when we’re not having this soup.

                                                                                            Squash and fennel bulbs are roasted then added to onions, toasted fennel seeds herbs and chiles de arbol that have been sautéing in butter. Sherry is then added (see what I mean, how can you go wrong w this recipe!!); reduced then chicken stock is added. Once this has all simmered away nicely, it’s pureed, in batches until silky in texture.

                                                                                            For the pumpkin seeds, first you toast cumin seeds until they’re fragrant and slightly browned. They’re set aside and butter is added to the pan along w the pumpkin seeds, sugar, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne and the cumin seeds. Toss the lovely lot to coat w the butter & sugar then remove and add in the honey and salt. These are spread on a plate to cool and eventually make their way to top the soup, on a dollop of crème fraiche.

                                                                                            My squash-loving golden retriever was unable to contain himself, anxiously anticipating this soup at every stage of the process!! Two spoons up from the humans and two paws up from you know who!!

                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              Thanks, this reminds me to post about a couple of small alterations to the recipe that I made. I skipped the creme fraiche garnish and thought the soup was rich enough without it. I used water for my cooking liquid (this is listed as an option in the recipe ingredients) and didn't wish I had used stock instead. She recommends this elaborate procedure in which you drain the soup and purée the solids in batches, adding liquid 1/2 cup at a time. Life is too short. I ladled out excess liquid and whizzed the whole thing with my immersion blender. May not have been as velvety smooth as goins' soup but nobody complained about the texture! I had about two cups of delicious excess liquid which I stowed away in the freezer. I plan to dilute it with water and use it as the base for a butternut squash risotto.

                                                                                          3. I'd like to make the bagna cauda, but I want to know what Treviso is. Is this the same as radicchio?

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. "Persimmon with Pomegranate Salad" with arugula and hazelnuts

                                                                                              Made this yesterday, sans persimmons, and with bottled pomegranate juice, instead of fresh, though I did find seeds. I ended up using orange supremes instead, and it was a truly wonderful salad. I particularly liked the tossing of the chopped roasted hazelnuts with salt and hazelnut oil - they were tasty on a little vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert, as well! The usual perfect Goin salad - great combination of colors, textures and flavors. I can see how the persimmons would add an additional "mouth feel" though.

                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth


                                                                                                Today, all my posts seem to be "do you think I could use ..... instead of ....?" I have several pomegranates, but no persimmons. Will sub oranges and clementines. Have walnut oil only. I think this would still be pretty great if I tossed the roasted hazelnuts with the wal. oil.

                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                  Sorry - just saw this, and I think your substitutions sound lovely. I just had some pomelo, and that might be good too some time.

                                                                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                  Persimmon and pomegranate salad with arugula and hazelnuts (p.315)

                                                                                                  This is a wonderful salad! The bright colours, the textural elements, the balanced flavours, this salad works so well, and is so refreshing, I would highly recommend this recipe to anybody. I will be making this again and again.

                                                                                                  I couldn’t find blanched hazelnuts, so we roasted the hazelnuts and then one of my many minions rolled the hazelnut skins off, a very tedious project. I was very fortunate to have many minions that evening as a bunch of us had gathered to cook a huge Christmas Eve meal together! Thank goodness, as many hands really do make for little work. These were then chopped and tossed with hazelnut oil and salt.

                                                                                                  I was a little intimidated by the instructions for squeezing fresh pomegranate juice, but it was a lot less messy and easier than I thought it would be. We massaged the outside of the pomegranate to loosen up the juices, then stabbed a hole in the side, twisting the knife blade in the fruit. Then a minion with strong hands was able to squeeze 4 tablespoons of juice from a single pomegranate. Then we followed the rest of the recipe, making the vinaigrette and tossing the other ingredients as instructed.

                                                                                                  I think the hazelnuts and hazelnut oil are a brilliant touch. The flavour they add is subtle, but the nuttiness is a lovely foil for the flamboyant pomegranate and the crunchy persimmon. The peppery arugula gives a savoury foundation to the sweetness of the fruit. Although it would be very easy to exchange for different ingredients to vary this salad, I really like this recipe in its original form. Why tinker with perfection?

                                                                                                  We did not pair a wine with this salad, I tend to find it hard to match wine with vinaigrettes. But here is the rest of the menu:

                                                                                                  Beausoleil oysters with lemon, accompanied by Pic Chablis 1re Cru 1990.
                                                                                                  Persimmon, pomegranate salad with arugula and hazelnuts
                                                                                                  Seared scallops on a bed of wild mushrooms roasted with wine and garlic, with a glace de canard and sweet wine reduction, accompanied by Meursault “En la barre” Francois Jobard 1995
                                                                                                  Oxtails braised in red wine (report in Zuni Cookbook thread) accompanied by E. Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne 1991
                                                                                                  Vacherin Mont d’Or, Selles-sur-Cher, and 5 year old Cheddar with Domaine Rolet Arbois Vin Jaune 1996
                                                                                                  Cookies and Macarons

                                                                                                  A very merry Christmas was had by all!

                                                                                                  1. re: moh

                                                                                                    Oh, my! moh. That dinner sounds spectacular. You had some very lucky guests.

                                                                                                    For the future, here's an easy way to skin hazelnuts: For 1/2 cup of nuts, bring 1-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and the nuts, and boil for 3 minutes. (The water turns black. It's really weird.) Test a nut by trying to skin it under cold water and boil a bit longer if it doesn't slip off easily. Rinse the nuts under cold running water and toast them in a 350F oven for about 20 minutes.

                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      JoanN, it was a collective effort! It was a bunch of people who love to eat and cook and drink wine.

                                                                                                      Thanks very much for this tip! I have so much trouble getting the skin off with this other technique. I can't wait to try your technique!

                                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                                        JoanN, thanks for this tip! i tried it tonight, and it worked very well to remove the skins. The water did indeed turn black as you said. Much better results than my roasting and rolling the nuts in towels.

                                                                                                        1. re: moh

                                                                                                          Even before trying it, I bow before Joan N! I've NEVER been able to successfully remove all the skin from hazelnuts by the heating in the oven and rolling in towels. Thanks a million.

                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                            If you're going to do any bowing, please do it before Rose Levy Berenbaum. I't a tip I picked up from one of her books.

                                                                                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                    Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts (page 315)

                                                                                                    Made this as directed, including juicing the pomegranates, for Thanksgiving dinner. So pretty; so festive. And the dressing was just outstanding. I kept having to taste it over and over again. Just to make sure, you know? I should have just poured it into a glass and drunk it. Could be the start of a new Thanksgiving tradition.

                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      Thanks for the reminder about this dish Joan, it indeed sounds suitably festive and delicious!

                                                                                                  3. Herb roasted rack of lamb (page 338)

                                                                                                    I was inspired to buy this book by you lot and I'm so glad I did!

                                                                                                    I bought a lovely rack of lamb at a farmer's shop in Shropshire at the weekend and cooked it last night according to Goin's method. It was very easy - I didn't marinate the lamb in the herbs beforehand because I didn't have time, but just added extra instead (thyme and rosemary from the garden). The lamb was seared in a hot pan with the herbs and garlic, and then whacked in a moderate oven for 20 minutes. It was perfectly cooked, pink and juicy.

                                                                                                    I didn't make any of the accompaniments as it was a week night, but it made a lovely dinner with some English asparagus, roasted tomatoes and a crunchy potato gratin from Sally Schneider's New Way to Cook. It took a bit longer than usual (Mr GG was practically chewing his own leg for half an hour before dinner was served), but totally worth it, especially as the lamb was such good quality.

                                                                                                    1. Fried Potatoes, pg 350
                                                                                                      Made these for the first time over a year ago and have been meaning to make them again ever since. Crusty, creamy with a hit of chiles and herbs. We don't cook a ton of potatoes any more but last night I splurged.
                                                                                                      This is a super simple no-fuss recipe, with great results.
                                                                                                      I added a couple Arbol chiles to the roasting pan. Didn't take off all the skin from the Yukons this time, as I didn't want to lose the herbs and salt that were coating them.
                                                                                                      Browned them up nicely after halving the roasted taters and they were a nice foil to the brussels sprouts with bacon from the Fall section, alongside some delicious Rex Sole with eggs I scored from Swan in SF.
                                                                                                      Took some nice photos and once i figure out how to upload them I'll post them here.

                                                                                                      1. Beets and Tangerines with Mint and Orange-Flower Water, p. 334

                                                                                                        What a lovely salad. I used about 4 medium beets and three tangerines for the two of us, and made half a batch of the dressing. The tangerine juice in the dish, along with the shallots, made this dish for me. Couldn't really discern the orange-flower water, and I think the dish would be just as delicious without it. My mint leaves were pretty small, so the mint was just a nice little added touch.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                          This salad is wonderful and have made it several times. I disagree about the orange flower water. I found that it made the dish! It looks beautiful on the plate, too. I made a punch to compliment the salad with tangerine vodka, fresh tangerine juice, champagne, sprite, and a few drops of orange flower water. I put it in a bowl with orange and lime slices and big white flowers and it was gorgeous. HINT: This may be obvious to you all, but the first time I made this salad, I made the mistake of roasting the yellow and red beets together. The red beet juice stains the beautiful yellow beets and makes them spotted.

                                                                                                          Also, it is way more time consuming than I thought, but worth the wait.

                                                                                                        2. Braises beef short ribs with potato puree, swiss chard and horseradish cream, p. 301

                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970... - this got reported on a fall thread, so I'm linking to it but posting here.

                                                                                                          As others have said, this is simply an amazing dish. I've been making the short ribs from the Balthazar cookbook for years, and love them, but my husband and I agreed that these were better. I had planned to make them for Sunday night for guests, but around 11:30 am yesterday things changed on our way home from the store, and they came over last night instead. So, rush home and, after quickly reading over the various recipes, I turned on the oven, and tossed the pearl onions with olive oil, thyme & salt in a baking pan. I then tossed the short ribs with cracked pepper (ground in mini food processor) and thyme, and figured out the longest I could leave them before starting to cook, since I couldn't now leave them overnight. I just covered the bowl with saran wrap and let them sit out for about three hours. Onions into the heated oven for about 20 minutes while my husband made his lunch and I continued to develop my plan of attack. Made the dessert, then at a little before three started browning the ribs. She calls for browning and then making the sauce in one pan, then adding it to a braising pan with the ribs, but I thought that was unnecessary, so I browned in my dutch oven, three ribs at a time. Covered w/ splatter guard and cut up vegetables, opened wine, etc. while browning. It took about 15 minutes or so to brown both sets of ribs.

                                                                                                          I removed the ribs to a platter, added the aromatics, cooked a bit, added wine, and let reduce - probably not quite by half. I had planned to go buy some port, but didn't have time, so just used all Malbec, and I used a little bit of red wine vinegar and some of my very aged balsamic. Then added a combination of beef stock and diluted veal demi glace, covered, brought to a boil, added ribs, put in oven. Realized that I'd forgotten to "tuck in" the parsley sprigs, removed from oven, tucked in, returned to oven. Realized that I'd forgotten to put the layer of tin foil, removed from oven, put tin foil on top, put lid back on, returned to oven. Sighed - almost there - took a quick break and reviewed the state of things. Made horseradish sauce - horseradish & creme fraiche, refrigerated.

                                                                                                          Checked the ribs after about 2.5 hours, rather than 3, since I was in a time crunch, and they were incredibly tender. Removed from oven, let sit for 10 minutes, removed ribs onto a baking sheet (note that, despite the photos, few if any of the bones stayed attached to the meet), and put into 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Strained sauce, and reduced a bit. Removed ribs from oven, covered with foil to keep warm. At some point during this whole process, I peeled the pearl onions, which was much easier than I thought it would be. Tore up the swiss chard (didn't bother to remove ribs first, just tore off the leaves) - husband kept insisting that two bunches were too much, so only did one. He was wrong - next time will do both bunches. So, right before serving, I cooked the chard, and turned off the heat and covered it while I threw the salad together. Put chard/onions into serving bowl, added ribs, ladled in sauce. Decided it would be better served in bowls than plates. Put horseradish sauce in serving dish, and put everything on the table, including the potato puree which I reported on above.

                                                                                                          Well - don't really have words for it - just lots of oohing and aahing. The horseradish cream is a wonderful note to the dish, but it would still be excellent without it. Not great photo I'm afraid.

                                                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                            You can never have too much Swiss Chard.

                                                                                                            So, seriously... the pearl onions weren't tough to deal with? I always feel like such a baby when I buy the frozen, peeled ones. Especially when I saw this beautiful container in TJ's the other day with a colorful variety of fresh pearl onions. But I don't have a lot of patience when it comes to such things.

                                                                                                            Given I live in LA, I can thankfully say I've had this dish about 8 times over the last 10 years at her restaurant. I order them every once in a while, even though I have had them and the menu changes, because they are SO good. The one time I tried them at home, while they did not quite match up, I still loved them. You've inspired me to do them this month again!

                                                                                                            Oh, and you are spot on about serving this in bowls!

                                                                                                            1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                              There was a thread about things in the kitchen that you just refuse to do, and peeling pearl onions was one of mine. However, for Goin, I was willing to give it a go again. During some down time while preparing the meal, I just stood there and squeezed them out. I found it helped to remove the little root end with my very clean thumbnail, then tear a little bit of the outer layer and squeeze. You do lose a couple of layers to get to the moist onions.

                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                Ok, I am going to try them. I have a dinner party next week.. I was thinking of Coq Au Vin but now I am going to make these again, with the fresh pearl onions. I have the chance to do it a day or so before, to let the flavors meld, as she suggests. I'll keep you posted.

                                                                                                                1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                                  Have you made the Beef Nicoise from the Spring section - it is a fantastic stew - the first time I made it I bought short ribs and removed the meat, but since then I've just used stew meat. Making it for tomorrow night.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                    Yes! I love that stew. I eventually melded that recipe with a Cooks Illustrated one for my own version, but it is very similar to Goin's. I love the olives, the spinach and the noodles... and the tomatoes. I've tended to use short ribs on the bone for beef stew ever since. So glad you enjoyed it, too.

                                                                                                            2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                              I made the braised beef short ribs for Satuarday lunch, along with mashed potatoes. I followed the directions as is, but with few changes. I did not have pearl onions on hand so used extra red onions (my math was, one medium onion for one dozen onion, which worked out okay as it was not too oniony). I also realized last minute that my parsley was unusable, so I omitted that too. Another change: I braised for 2 hours in the oven as I was too hungry and when I pulled the meat out of the oven, it looked quite tender. But after pulling it out of the liquid and putting it back in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, it dried little more than I would have liked. So next time I think I should braise for 3 hours or atleat 2.5 as MMRuth did.
                                                                                                              Overall a lovely dish, especially the sauce which is very complex. (I have to say though that Alice Water's short ribs are at par to this recipe. AW's is a simpler recipe and has tomatoes in the braise which I prefer. Husband prefers this one).

                                                                                                              And since I had doubled the recipe, I enjoyed the left overs on Sunday, everything reheated beautifully and I am also going to have it for lunch today. Let's see if microwave at work does the dish justice.

                                                                                                              1. re: cpw

                                                                                                                I wish I had leftovers! I don't think I have a pot large enough to make a double batch in though. How big was the pot you used?

                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                  I often use a 7 Qt Le Creuset and always do a huge batch so I can freeze some (it freezes beautifully). But another thing I use that works great is an old roasting pan I have:


                                                                                                                  That pan is cheap and works beautifully for the stew.

                                                                                                                  Has anyone tried the plastic wrap thing she says works? The one time I did it, wrap then foil, the wrap seemed to melt onto the food.

                                                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                    I put my ribs in the braise in upright position (bones sticking out), so they did not use that much space. I put them in a 5 qt pan and there was enough room left to add a few more ribs if I wanted (I had 15 count).

                                                                                                                    I had doubled the liquids also, but there was no room for that so I left it out and it is still sitting my fridge.

                                                                                                                    BTW, the mashed potatoes and the ribs along with the sauce heated up nicely in the microwave and I enjoyed my lunch very much at work yesterday.

                                                                                                                    1. re: cpw

                                                                                                                      How much did your short ribs weigh, do you think? I had six that were almost six pounds, and they were very long - maybe even a foot in some cases, and barely fit horizontally in my LC (6.5 quart?). There's no way I could have stood these up and put the lid on. Thanks for the additional information!

                                                                                                                      1. re: cpw

                                                                                                                        I just put my ribs in the oven and am fascinated by this discussion about doubling the recipe.

                                                                                                                        I bought 6 ribs. The total weight was 4-1/4 pounds. They were about 9 inches long. Even in my 7 qt Le Creuset I had to stand them on end (with bones up), not flat as she says to, to fit them in. There's no way they would have fit in my 5 qt. And there's no way I could have fit twice as many ribs in the 7qt. Not sure how well you can see what's going on here, but believe me, without buying that roaster that Tom P has, I don't think doubling the recipe is going to be an option for me.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          Yes, I'm still puzzling about that too. I was able to put my six ribs flat in two layers, and the liquid was almost up to the top of the dutch oven (it's a number 26). I just bought ribs to make them again, but they are the other cut, so we'll see how that goes. Certainly easier to fit in the dutch oven, I'm guessing, and I have just over five pounds this time.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                            I had the butcher cut the ribs into (1/4 lb) pieces, I think. I was serving for 75 people and needed to make them last. They were probably 3-4 inches long and stood on end perfectly. I braised them in aluminum roasting pans from the grocery store. I called the restaurant for advice on serving so many people with this recipe and they gave me a few helpful hints (that's what I call an interactive cookbook! How nice, right?)

                                                                                                                            They told me to braise the shortribs ALMOST covered in the liquid. Separate the ribs from the braising liquid (reserve the liquid) and store overnight in the fridge. Let the ribs sit at room temp for about an hour and then cover HALFWAY with the liquid (skimmed of the fat) to reheat. I would definitely recommend starting this the day before so that you can complete this step. They were much better the second day! They were so brown from braising so long that I skipped the browning step altogether and they were beautiful and fell off the bone. They sat in a chafing dish and were still great!

                                                                                                                            I already posted this info somewhere else on the blog, so sorry if it is a repeat.

                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            Sorry for the late reply. I just got back from a long vacation to Ohio, and had somehow missed your post before I left.

                                                                                                                            So I measured my pan, and the diameter is 15 inches and the sides are raised to 3.25 inches. It is one of Lodge’s cast iron pans. It does not say the quart size (my bad for mentioning earlier to MMRuth that it is 5 quart). I think it has to be larger than 5 qt as it has large surface area. The large surface area would also explain the fact that it can hold so many ribs.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cpw

                                                                                                                              Wow! That's a big cast iron skillet. My largest one is 10 inches across the bottom, 11-1/2 inches across the top. I guess that without some fancy finagling a double recipe isn't in my future.

                                                                                                                      2. re: cpw

                                                                                                                        cpw: Did you make the horseradish cream? I feel that it lifts this dish way above all others. I have streamlined the recipe several times in different ways by not pre-roasting the onions or using regular onions instead of pearl, not marinating ribs overnight, using no port as I didn't have any (used extra red wine), used part white and part red when I didn't have enough red, etc. It has always been delicious. I have also used part yoghurt and part sour cream instead of creme fraiche, and once ALL low fat yoghurt.

                                                                                                                        I have never subbed for the swiss chard, though. I think the combo of ingredients in this dish is genius!

                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                          I did not make the horseradish cream and regret not making it. You guessed it, I did not have creme fraiche at hand (went grocery shopping without a list). Thanks for the suggestion of subbing the creme fraiche with yogurt or sour cream. If I knew before, I could have made it as I atleast had horseradish at home.

                                                                                                                          This is the first time I used port wine in the ribs and I think it adds a lot of depth to the dish, sauce especially. Then again if I did not have it, I would have used more red also.

                                                                                                                          I'll take your suggestion and add swiss chard to the meal next time (I know I would love it and I should stop caring that my husband would'nt eat it)

                                                                                                                      3. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                        Finally got my books! I decided short ribs would be a perfect Sunday evening meal. This recipe really makes the whole house smell very wonderful. The braising liquid/sauce is astoundingly delicious, good thing, because that is a lot of wine/port/broth that is needed. I did substitute the veal broth with a combination of beef broth, fond de gibiers made with various game meats and poultry, and some water, as one guest did not eat veal. I am planning to use the leftover sauce to make some Zuni Cookbook Eggs baked in Restes - very convenient!

                                                                                                                        I like the last browning step for the short ribs, as I have had some other recipes where the shortribs were pale-looking and less appetizing to look at. The final browning really adds a beautiful deep brown colour to the ribs.

                                                                                                                        As for the pearl onions, I agree with MMRuth that they were much easier to peel than I thought they would be. But I was disappointed to have to remove the skins, as they had developed a lovely caramelized exterior. I removed as little of the skin as I could, and when I tried some of the onions with some of the dried skin on it, I found I didn't mind the slightly papery quality of the outer layers, as the caramelization was so tasty.

                                                                                                                        The potato puree scared both my hubbie and I, and we could not bring ourselves to add the full complement of fat that Goin calls for (and goodness knows, we are huge fans of fat...) We used all the heavy cream, but we only (!) used one stick of butter instead of two. No regrets! The puree was still one of the smoothest richest creamiest potato puree I have had outside of France. But I am concerned about how much fat must have been in some of those French potato purees...

                                                                                                                        As for the horseradish cream, I found I had to add way more than 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish to get the level of flavour I desired. I used at least 3 tablespoons of horseradish. Perhaps I had a low-potency horseradish. The thing that impressed me was that the horseradish cream did not overpower the wines we had chosen to drink with out meal. Horseradish is a well-known wine killer, but the cream really tempers this ingredient and makes it much more wine friendly. I think it helped that we also chose fairly big red wines that could stand up to the flavour. We served Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 1999 and Rockford Barossa Valley Basket Shiraz 1997. Both wines had mellowed a bit with age, but still had enough forward fruit to stand up to the challenge of the horseradish cream. This meal screams out for red wine.

                                                                                                                        Overall, a very delicious meal, one that reminds you that cold weather isn't all bad.

                                                                                                                        The picture is a bit dark, but nevertheless...

                                                                                                                        1. re: moh

                                                                                                                          Great picture!
                                                                                                                          That is the biggest thing I missed with my meal - wine!! Shame on myself for not keeping us well stocked.
                                                                                                                          I used just around 1/2 stick of butter in the mashed potatoes and they were still very good.

                                                                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                                                                            I know what you mean about removing the nice carmelization on the onions, but the dried onion skins did nothing for me. So glad you enjoyed this meal as well.

                                                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                            My turn and in a word, YUM. I made a half portion and I had slight recipe changes (no celery, no parsley, frozen pearl onions and dried thyme.) And, this was a relatively maintenance free recipe. But, even the half portion was enough to give us each a dinner and lunches the next day. Probably because I had to use boneless short ribs (butcher gave C the wrong cut).

                                                                                                                            This was a great meaty, hearty, snowstormy kind of meal. I used a bunch and a half of chard and also made the potato puree. Pure comfort food.

                                                                                                                            The hard thing was smelling this, cooking in the oven. That was a long 3 hours of waiting especially because the house already smelled so great from the browning.

                                                                                                                            As for the horseradish cream, I used significantly more horseradish than called for and it complemented the meat beautifully.

                                                                                                                            A great winter meal.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                              My turn for the short ribs- of course, fabulous! Not much to add, except I found out (by accident) that the braising temperature on these is very forgiving! I had cut and pasted the recipe into Word, and I wasn't going to make the swiss chard and pearl onions, etc. with them, and so I had deleted the middle part of the recipe. I think it might be the pearl onions are roasted at 425, and then in the middle she has you turn down the oven for the ribs... well, I had deleted that part, so I had the ribs at 425 for an hour and a half! I don't even know why I didn't question this until an hour and a half in, but all of a sudden, I thought, "425 is really high for a long braise!" Oops! So, I turned it down at that point, and braised for another hour, and they turned out tender and moist- no problems at all! I had two side dishes that I had been dying to make, so I made those instead of her accompaniments, so I made Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin w/ Horseradish Crumbs and Roasted Sweet Potato Spears with Bacon Vinaigrette (both from Epicurious). All dishes were winners last night!

                                                                                                                            2. Grilled Halibut with Herb Salad and Meyer Lemon-Green Olive Salsa (page 316)

                                                                                                                              I bought a beautiful swordfish steak at the farmers market yesterday with no idea what I might do with it. Flipping through both Zuni and Lucques, I realized I had on hand many of the ingredients for this. Not all, but enough that I thought it worth posting.

                                                                                                                              Except for cutting the recipe in half (and the amount of oil even further) and using a nameless pitted, brine-cured olive instead of unavailable lucques olives, I made the salsa recipe as directed. You combine diced shallots, champagne vinegar, and a pinch of fleur de sel and let it sit for a bit. Then add Meyer lemons cut into 1/8-inch dice, a bit of honey, chopped olives, parsley, EVOO, and S&P. I was afraid the olives might be a bit overwhelming, but they weren’t at all. And that small amount of honey in the salsa is just a brilliant addition. The salsa was outstanding. I can’t imagine it not being an excellent accompaniment to almost any white-fleshed fish.

                                                                                                                              The halibut is grilled. I broiled swordfish. Recipe calls for a marinade of Meyer lemon zest, thyme, and parsley and a marinating time of 4 hours to overnight. I marinated it as directed for about six hours. What can I say? It was great swordfish.

                                                                                                                              The salad is arugula, fennel, and lots of fresh herbs. I had fennel, baby spinach, and just a few fresh herbs. At least I dressed it as directed, although again, I cut back somewhat on the oil. I’m sure hers is better. Mine was damned good. If I hadn’t read the recipe I wouldn’t have known this wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

                                                                                                                              All in all, very satisfying and delicious. So much so I may even try it as written one day. But I’ll definitely be making that salsa again as an accompaniment for fish whenever Meyer lemons are available, especially now when (for Manhattan) they’re surprisingly inexpensive.

                                                                                                                              33 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                How do Meyer lemons differ from regular lemons? We don't have them over here, but I was wondering if the lemons I bought from the Iranian shop might be a good subsitute. They are fragrant rather than sharp, ifyswim.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                  Here's a Wiki link that explains it in some detail:


                                                                                                                                  They're much sweeter than regular lemons; so much so, they can be eaten out of hand if one chooses.

                                                                                                                                  They're abundant in California, but until a few years ago they were still quite a rarity on the East Coast. I had a friend who used to make an annual business trip to California while Meyer lemons were in season and she'd bring back dozens of them and pass a few out to her friends as though they were precious gems. We can now get them quite easily, and prices here keep going down. So it's a real treat for us to be able to use them with abandon.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for that JoanN. The Iranian lemons I bought can be peeled and eaten as well, so sounds like I can probably use those.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      Where did you find them? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                        At Fairway. Last week they were $6.99 for 2 pounds. This morning they were $4.99. They have them loose, but the 2-pound plastic clam-shell containers are a much better buy. There were about 13 lemons per container.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                          They're also great as preserved lemons. I have some waiting in the fridge right now. Wonderful in fish soups as well as Mediterranean recipes.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                            I still have some preserved Meyer lemons left over from last season. I seem to make them faster than I use them up. Other than recipes that specifically call for them, I tend to forget about them. Do you just cut them up and toss them into any dish into which you might add a squirt of lemon?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                              What recipe did you use to preserve them? I think I need to get on this Meyer lemon bandwagon before I leave for the holidays.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                I followed the directions for Preserved Lemons on page 303 of "The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen."

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                  I used the Seven Day Preserved Lemon recipe from Paula Wolfert's World of Food, but when I checked Slow Med, I found that the same recipe appears there as well. Since I keep them in the fridge, they continue to transform themselves as time goes by.

                                                                                                                                                  Joan N, did you use the 7 day or the full treatment recipe?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                    I did the full treatment. In fact, what's in the fridge now is what's left from the very last of the Meyer lemons I bought last year. When might that have been? Last March, perhaps.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    This one has me salivating (and it seems relatively simple to make, which is a plus), but I'm kicking myself because I have a feeling finding Meyer lemons around here will be impossible. I'm going to call Whole foods right now ... (so you've sold the recipe well).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                      Winter Menu Grilled Halibut with herb salad and meyer lemon-green olive salsa (pp. 316-317) tonight. I subbed several ingredients, but, with one exception, it didn't seem to matter.

                                                                                                                                      I used grilled Ling Cod that I got from a great local fish market instead of halibut. The only sour note, actually a bland note, was that the olives I used were from a very bland batch. These olives have been a big hit at the Berkeley Bowl for the past year. I always have to ask them to restock the tray because they're so popular. They are blueish green. For some reason, the last batch I bought is virtually tasteless. I used them in the salsa and then could detect no olive flavor whatsoever. I ate one and found that it was blander than bland. Since I didn't have any other olives or inclination to drive out into the rainstorm to buy olives, I added some garlic and a bit more salt. The salsa was very good and we both liked the chopped up lemons. I will try it with some non-dud olives soon.

                                                                                                                                      I also made the herb salad, but again didn't have some ingredients. I had no fresh tarragon or chervil. I subbed fresh basil which we got in the last CSA box. It was quite good, but would have probably been better with the other herbs.

                                                                                                                                      For a starch I made the Farro with Parsley and Butter, p. 225. Friends who came for lunch on Saturday brought us some wonderful farro in a cloth bag from Italy. This is a very simple and delicious recipe. At first I thought it weird that one sauteed the onion, thyme, cinnamon stick, chiles and bay leaf with the faro to toast it a bit, and then added water (8 cups). It cooks pretty quickly, about a half hour (it took a little longer than that for mine), then you pour off the liquid, mix in some butter and chopped parsley and black pepper and serve. It needed a bit of salt, but was mostly crunchy and delicious.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      Major excitement in my world ... I found Meyer lemons today at Trader Joes. Went first to WFs, totally out of them, no word on getting them back. Dejectedly ran another errand to TJs and bingo - there they were! So I'm on for making this dish on Friday night. There is absolutely no chance of getting the lucques olives, so will just go with the nicest green ones I can find.


                                                                                                                                      I'm planning on making the cranberry-walnut clafouti for dessert ... do you think the fish and salad will be enough, knowing there will be dessert? Or maybe I should pick up a baguette too?

                                                                                                                                      How far in advance do you think I could make the salsa? This is my husband's first day back from almost a week away, and I'd like to be able to spend most of my time focusing on him instead of cooking, so any tips on do-ahead stuff would be great.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        Congratulations on the find!

                                                                                                                                        I had the fish and salad as a complete meal and was more than satisfied, although my piece of fish was larger than what one would usually consider a single portion. Uncooked it was something just under half a pound.

                                                                                                                                        I made the recipe Sunday night and had some leftover salsa (Some; not much. It was so good, I just kept adding more and more to the fish.). Yesterday I picked up a small piece of halibut to have with the leftover salsa. It was still pretty terrific two days later, but not as good as it was fresh. Since the salsa takes 10 minutes tops (really), I’d do it no sooner than early the day of rather than a day before.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                          Thanks so much Joan. I had a feeling it would be plenty of food, but just wanted to be sure. Husband is coming back from Italy (pity for him, isn't it?) so I want it to be sort of light and different from what he will have had there. Did you halve the salsa recipe too? I couldn't quite tell from your post. I lucked into enough lemons that I can do the full if you think I should (2 and a half eaters). I'll save the salsa work until a little before cooking based on your advice. Thanks again.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            Yes, I halved the salsa recipe. I didn't, but I could easily have, eaten all of it. Unless there's something else for which you're saving the Meyer lemons, I'd say make the whole recipe. It's really not that much. And if you do have any left over, I'm sure you'll find a good use for it.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                        My turn on the Grilled Halibut with Herb Salad and Meyer Lemon-Green Olive Salsa. Wonderful. A really impressive meal, we agreed that we'd be thrilled to be served this in any high end restaurant. I used halibut steaks instead of fillets (all I could find), and used watercress instead of arugula (she recommends either). The only herb I couldn't find for the salad was the chervil. The salad is absolutely wonderful and just brimming with fresh flavors. I'd make it again in a heartbeat if I had some tip on how to make cleaning herbs and then getting them dried, pulling off tarragon leaves, etc. less onerous. I washed (but didn't cut) my herbs early in the day and wrapped them in paper towels, but they were *still* damp by dinner time.

                                                                                                                                        The salsa is everything JoanN said. Cutting the meyer lemons made me question my knife's current sharpness quality, or else my cutting skills. Seemed to take forever. Still, nothing at all difficult about this recipe, and the flavors are all wonderful.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                          It looks marvelous, LLM! Yeah, making perfect dice of the Meyer lemons is a bit fiddly. But so worth it, don't you think? Did you make the full amount of salsa or just half?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            Thanks to you, I made the whole amount. I can't imagine that amount being enough for 6 people! We had some left, but not much. The salsa was wonderful - and you were so right - that funny little bit of honey in there really pulls it together.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                              I found Meyer Lemons here in New Bern - so excited. Now to see if I can find some good fish.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                That should be a snap! I think you'll be really happy with this.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                  I am feeling left out. No chance of a Meyer lemon here. Can you post me some? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                    I think you should go ahead and try it with your Iranian lemons. The recipe is easy to make and doesn't contain expensive ingredients, so the loss would be minimal if it didn't work out for you. But I'd be willing to bet it would. You said the flesh is rather sweet, right? And as long as the rind isn't overly pucker-inducing, I'm guessing the Iranian lemons might be a more than adequate substitute for the Meyers. Really, not much to lose by giving a try and potentially much to gain.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      JoanN, do you think this might work with blood oranges or some other semi-tart orange? Or Grapefruit? No meyers or iranian lemons easily found here... although there may be one source...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moh

                                                                                                                                                        I can't quite imagine a semi-tart orange (and not all that sure I'd like orange with my fish anyway), but I think grapefruit might well work. As I said to greedygirl, there's no great outlay of either time or expense so those without access to Meyer lemons could try a couple of different substitutes and see if one of them works.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                      Totally agree with JoanN. If you think the lemons you're getting are sweet (and they sound like they're pretty darned similar to the Meyers) and that the rind won't be too puckery, then go for it.

                                                                                                                                                      I'm thinking I'm going to make the salad again to go with the Zuni panade. I don't have *all* the herbs still, but I'm guessing it will still be delicious.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        It might be good with pomelos - my latest favorite thing. Miserable fish at Food Lion today, so will try Harris Teeter in the a.m. Hard to believe we're 60 minutes from the ocean.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                          Ugh! Is there no local purveyor (sp?)? It's just crazy down here sometimes, how hard it is to get things that should be falling at our feet.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                            Last night I needed half a lemon for a recipe and on a whim I bit into the other half....It Was Sweet! And delicious! There was no indication that the lemon was a Meyer.... but this is not the first time this has happened. I'm wondering if the growers are hybridizing for sweeter lemons. So perhaps any lemon would do and adding a pinch of ...say.... brown sugar? Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              My mom has a Meyer lemon tree, so I get pounds of them in season; when they're not in season, I use a regular Eureka lemon with a squeeze of orange - that makes a great substitute for lemon curd, etc. but not for preserved lemons.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                            MMR: Sheesh, I love pomelos! I can eat a whole one by myself easily.

                                                                                                                                                            A funny thing happened at the Seattle airport when we visited there a couple of years ago. Two Asian women were discussing pomelos and one said in a very authoritative tone: "You can't get a good pomelo that costs less than $5!"

                                                                                                                                                            I, who had been buying and devouring pomelos costing much less, shrank with shame that I'd been buying defective pomelos.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                              Don't listen to her, oakjoan! She's just posturing. I've eaten lots of cheap, wonderful Pomelos!

                                                                                                                                            2. Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Flageolet Gratin, Roasted Radicchio, and Tapenade (page 338)

                                                                                                                                              This was a huge disappointment, top to bottom. I cannot remember the last time I made (or even ate) a meal this mediocre. Thank goodness this was an entirely solitary endeavor. I’d have been mortified if I’d invited anyone to share it.

                                                                                                                                              I had nothing to do on Christmas, I had a rack of lamb in the freezer, and I’d had my eye on this recipe since I first got the book. Seemed like a perfect thing to do on a day I planned to do nothing else.

                                                                                                                                              I followed all recipes as directed (except in some instances I cut the recipe in half or in thirds), even going so far as to use all the fats (olive oil, butter) called for.

                                                                                                                                              First, the Flageolet. Rubee, what did I do wrong? I know you loved this. Mine was a disaster. I made the full recipe because I didn’t trust halving it. The beans are supposed to be tender after an hour and a half on the stovetop. Mine were still al dente. I kept adding water and ended up cooking them for 2½ hours. They still weren’t what I’d call tender, but they cook another hour and a half in the oven and I thought they’d soften up. Wrong. The flavors were terrific, but the whole dish was dry and the beans still didn’t seem as soft as I thought they ought to be. I put the leftovers in the freezer. Anybody have any suggestions what I might do with them? I’m thinking maybe if I add some (a lot?) of chicken stock and cook them some more they’ll be edible? Or maybe I’ll just put them in a soup. I hate to just toss them, as I did the Radicchio. I just can’t understand how two people following the same directions with the same ingredients got two such totally different results. I must have done something wrong, but I can’t figure out what.

                                                                                                                                              The Radicchio (also made full recipe) are cut up, tossed with some good stuff, and roasted. I had hoped they might be something like Rodgers’s Worlds Best Cabbage. Nope. Nothing like. Not pretty. Not tasty. This went right into the trash. Couldn’t figure out anything that would make them palatable.

                                                                                                                                              The Tapenade was really good (hail! hail!). I ended up making half the recipe because by the time I’d pitted a scant half a cup of Nicoise olives I’d had it. Never doing that again if I can’t find pitted Nicoise. But even though the Tapenade was good, I didn’t care for it as an accompaniment to the lamb. Just didn’t find the flavors compatible.

                                                                                                                                              The lamb? The recipe calls for 3 racks; I made one. (Damn good thing, too.) It was okay. But I liked the recipe in “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen” much (much!) better. It’s interesting that they’re really not all that dissimilar. Similar flavorings, quite similar instructions. Two major points of difference: Goin says medium-rare is 120F. It wasn’t; it was rare. That was okay by me, but it wasn’t what she said it would be. Wolfert says rare is 130F, and I have a note in that book that I cooked it to 133F. THAT was medium rare. Also, Wolfert deglazes the pan in which the rack was browned; Goin doesn’t. I recall that pan sauce being very good indeed. (Note to greedygirl: My lamb was a supermarket special, not the good stuff that you used. Maybe I’d have liked it better with really good lamb, but the lamb I used for the Wolfert recipe was also a supermarket special and that was great.)

                                                                                                                                              Oh, well. Just one meal. But it was quite a bit of work for such dismal results. And especially disappointing since others have had great success with two of these recipes. Let me tell you, I really *loathed* doing the dishes tonight.

                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                That is sad - so much work. I'm wondering now if I did make the lamb, but not any of the things that go with it. Your lamb does look beautiful though. Did you ever make the Hopkinson lamb recipe with the hummus "cream" and eggplant? It was excellent.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                                  No, never tried the Hopkinson. And as I go to mark my book to remind me that it was a recommended recipe, I see there must be a dozen stickies in that book marking recipes I still want to try. Aaaargh! Too many recipes, too little time.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                    I know what you mean - his book was one of the ones I brought with me to my mother's, and saw a number of things that I still want to try.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      and I picked it up again just before Christmas since I'd recommended my husband buy it for his sister. Now I'm reading Second Helping (thanks Santa!) and finding lots of new stuff I need to try. Top of my list for the first book is those potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                      Sorry about your lamb dinner. That is one of the things that scares me a little about this book - to put so much time into something, you really need to *know* that it is going to be fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                        Even "knowing" doesn't necessarily ensure success. The Flageolet Gratin got raves from at least two (three?) other posters. I've decided my flageolet were stale. (Because it couldn't possibly have been *my* fault, could it? :->) I've read they go stale more quickly than other dried beans. I paid quite a bit for them at Citarella, a usually reliable source. Just gotta chalk it up to sh*t happens and move on. It was only a meal.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                          Highly admire your attitude. Wish I could have the same when these things happen.

                                                                                                                                                          and yes, surely, SURELY, it was the fault of the beans.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, that's so disappointing!

                                                                                                                                                    I agree - I think it was the beans themselves that made your attempt at the gratin a disaster. I remember the flageolet gratin being almost velvety and with lots of flavor from the caramelized onions, with the beans being nice and tender.

                                                                                                                                                  3. Jessica's Meyer Lemon Tarte, p. 313

                                                                                                                                                    I decided to make this for our Christmas meal, after actually finding Meyer lemons in New Bern, NC. I made the pate brisee (recipe from another section of the book) first thing in the morning, and then did refrigerate it for a bit before rolling it out and placing it in the tarte pan - and then chilling it for an hour. I blind baked the crust, but didn't have pie weights or beans, so used rice. Unfortunately, I cut the parchment paper the size of the bottom, and when I went to remove it half way through baking as instructed, some rice inevitably stayed on top of the crust. So, thinking that since the thing had baked for 15 minutes it must be kind of hard, I tried to invert the crust to shake out the rice. In that process, almost one half of the crust "folded over" and broke off on the sides. So, I put it back in the pan, picked out the rice by hand, and stuck it back in the oven for the rest of the time (see first photo). After it cooled a bit, I microwaved chocolate - burning the first batch since I never melt chocolate this way - and then spread it on the bottom of the crust and refrigerated it.

                                                                                                                                                    On to the curd - squeezed about 6-7 Meyer lemons to get the cup of juice needed, and made the curd. It took quite a while for it to start setting up, but when it did, it was clear that it had. Removed from heat and stirred in the butter gradually. I let it cool a bit, but not completely before pouring it into the shell and putting it into the fridge to chill until dinner time. Goin says you lose some of the sheen if you wait to pour until it is completely cooled.

                                                                                                                                                    Anyway - it was fabulous, and I think my favorite dessert from her book so far (I do love that hazelnut cake though). I served it with a little whipped cream, making sure to cut it away from the "MMRuth fault" in the middle of the thing! I would definitely make this again, or even just make the curd to put on top of things.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. I can't believe I'm the first one to post about this recipe, but a search didn't turn up any hits for 'avocado'. So, Schaner Farm's Avocado and Citrus Salad with Green Olives, p. 364:

                                                                                                                                                      Loved it! I had frisee from the garden, so I went looking for a recipe to use it and found this one. My citrus were a combination of navel orange, ruby grapefruit, and blood orange. I didn't have any watercress. I guess I could have added arugula or nasturtium leaves for that peppery bite, but I didn't, and it was fine. I used a can of Roland anchovy stuffed green olives for the green olives. I adore those olives, and they're so convenient too. I'm sure Luques or Picholine, her suggestions, would be great too, but these guys worked, at least for my taste buds.

                                                                                                                                                      The citrus and frisee make a perfectly nice salad, but the avocado and olives really take it to another level. I spread it on a platter per her instructions, and it was gorgeous. Definitely a company salad. The frisee is a hearty green, so I assembled the salad shortly before guests arrived, rather than waiting to the very last minute, so it was ready and waiting on the table, looking very decorative.

                                                                                                                                                      Other minor changes that didn't seem to have adverse effects: I used some grapefruit juice in the vinaigrette, since it wasn't a very bitter grapefruit. I used white wine instead of red wine vinegar. I forgot and mixed the zest into the vinaigrette ingredients right away instead of waiting and adding it with the olive oil. I dipped the avocado slices in the citrus juice (before making the vinaigrette with it), in hopes of keeping them from browning, and didn't season them separately with S & P. (I added pepper to the citrus & vinaigrette instead).

                                                                                                                                                      1. I had a small dinner party last night and the entire menu was Lucques Winter. I’m too lazy to separate this out into individual follow-up posts so I’m lumping it all together on one long one.

                                                                                                                                                        Menu was Young Onion Tart, Kabocha Squash Soup, Braised Beef Ribs with accompaniments, and the Meyer Lemon Tart.

                                                                                                                                                        First, let me say this was a very unbalanced meal. Way too rich. I should have known it in the planning, but having made only the soup before, I didn’t realize just how very heavy some of these dishes were.

                                                                                                                                                        The Onion Tart: Despite warnings from both the author and previous posters, I overdid the toppings and ended up with a slightly soggy crust that required a plate and fork (when I was hoping for finger food). It’s hard to know, though, what’s “too much” until you’ve tried it once. I followed directions (but skipped the herbed salad part) and used her quantities so just assumed (I know; there’s an “ass” in assume.) those proportions would be correct. I realized after the fact that she gives no indication of the size of the unfolded puff pastry. I used Dufour. Different brands of puff pastry are probably different dimensions and can therefore handle more or less topping. I wish she’d given some indication of the final size of the tart in order to be able better to judge amounts. Now that I know what to look for, I’ll cut back a bit. I make pissaladiere farily often, but will now interchange that with this recipe. My pissaladiere is a killer (if I do say so myself), and so is this. Guests kept commenting over and over how good it was. Yup. No argument.

                                                                                                                                                        The Kabocha Squash Soup: This was leftover from Thanksgiving (freezes perfectly), served in coffee cups, with the candied pumpkin seeds—also leftover, and I was surprised at how well they had held up. Not as crunchy as a month ago, but good still. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite soups.

                                                                                                                                                        The Short Ribs: Yikes, this turned out to be expensive. $40 worth of ribs, $15 worth of port, $7 worth of red wine. But, as everyone has said, simply outstanding. Thanks, MMRuth, for the tip about serving it in a bowl. Definitely the way to go. One of my guests, who doesn’t usually eat greens, couldn’t believe how much he liked the chard. Another called the horseradish sauce “exquisite.” (I used 2 tablespoons, even with a freshly opened bottle of horseradish.) They weren’t quite literally moaning over it all, but almost. What, by the way, has everyone done with the leftover sauce? I’m going to have more than I can possibly use up on leftovers (damned few, anyway) and would like to find a way that shows it off to it’s best advantage.

                                                                                                                                                        The Pureed Potatoes: I’m practically never happy with my mashed potatoes so avoid making them. But I’ve finally found my recipe. Loved these. Loved (loved!) that they can be done ahead and reheated with no loss in texture. I put them through a food mill, a somewhat messy process if I were trying to do it at the last minute. The recipe did make an awful lot though, didn’t it? My four guests were really tucking in, but I still have at least half left over. I may just cut the recipe by a third, or even in half, next time.

                                                                                                                                                        The Meyer Lemon Tart: I’ve made the Meyer Lemon Tart from Kate Zuckerman’s book, “The Sweet Life,” a few times and was eager to see how this would compare. I had some of Kate's curd left in the freezer so was able to do a side-by-side taste test. Kate’s curd is not as intensely lemony as Goin’s. It’s lighter in both color and texture—almost fluffy. And I like it better. I also think it’s a better curd for other uses, such as simply spreading on scones or mixing with whipped cream for something like strawberry shortcake. I liked Goin’s pate sucree, especially her method. I nearly always use a pastry blender for making pie and tart crusts but tried it in the KA with the dough hook as she directs and was surprised at how well it worked. I was afraid the dough might get overworked, but it didn’t at all. And it was fairly easy to roll and line the tart pan. (Kate uses a sweet tart crust, which is wonderful, but a pain to roll out and get in the pan.) I liked the way the layer of chocolate sealed the bottom crust helping to keep it nice and crisp, but didn’t think the chocolate added much to the tart itself. Finally, Kate decorates the tart with candied zest, a lovely touch (and great way to use all that rind that might otherwise go to waste). Don’t get me wrong. I thought this was a very good tart. But next time I’ll see if Kate’s curd will work with Goin’s crust and if the bottom can stay crisp without the layer of chocolate.

                                                                                                                                                        It doesn’t really belong as a part of this report, but while I have your attention . . . . :-> Before dinner cocktail was a splash of Frangelico and a splash of Crème de Cassis in a flute filled with a nice Spanish cava. A light and delicious combination, and very pretty for the holiday season.

                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                            Great report JN. Interesting report on the lemon tart with chocolate. I was wondering how that'd taste...now we know it barely does. I recently made and posted about a Nigella Seville Orange Tart which also uses lemons and zest from the oranges. Spectacular. I noticed that Goin doesn't include zest at all, candied or plain. The addition of zest is one of the best things about a lemon curd tart IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                            I toyed with the idea of buying short ribs today and ultimately decided against. First, they were deboned and I always love the bones. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that the bones give flavor and richness to a dish. Second, they were prohibitively expensive. I hate to pay lots of money for cuts that used to be really cheap. Last week I passed over beef ribs and chose lamb shanks instead. Were your short ribs deboned?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                              Not sure I understand what you mean by "now we know it barely does." Despite not having any zest in the curd (which Kate's curd does have), it was quite intensely lemony. I liked it. I just liked the texture of Kate's better.

                                                                                                                                                              My ribs had bones, and I totally agree with you the bones add a great deal to the dish. I actually went to three markets to shop for the ribs and ended up buying the most expensive ones because they were clearly more meaty and less fatty than the less expensive ones. I also need to remind myself that I do nearly all of my shopping in mid-Manhattan where I'm paying a premium for just about everything.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                              I actually made risotto last week with the leftover sauce from my own short ribs. I made the risotto as usual but instead of chicken broth, used the sauce from the ribs and at the end, added some shredded meat, with a little butter and parmesan. Oh my. It was incredible.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                                                                                What a great idea! My leftover sauce is quite gelatinous and will have to be thinned for risotto, but I can practically taste it as I type. And I have just about a half of a rib left so that, too, would be perfect. Thanks, Tom P!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                  Go for it and let me know what you think! If you have beef broth left over from the ribs, you could use that - or chicken stock - to thin it.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                Great report, Joan! I too made the ribs finally. There was an article in a recent Cook's Illustrated about boneless vs bone-in ribs where they claimed that boneless was nearly as good, especially if you made up for it by adding a little unflavored gelatin at the end to give the broth that silky mouthfeel. Since I was cooking for a large group, I decided to go with boneless, which I got at Costco for an astonishingly reasonable price ($3.99/lb, I think it was).

                                                                                                                                                                I failed to plan ahead and didn't have a port I was willing to cook with, so used a sweet Marsala instead. I imagine the port would have tasted richer, but this was certainly tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                My biggest change was that I didn't have enough chard but I have tons of kale in the garden. So I harvested a big batch (Russian Red), boiled it until tender, which also took away some of the stronger flavors, and spread it on the platter. (I skipped the sauteing step, since the kale was already cooked and I didn't think we needed more oil in the meal.) The kale worked beautifully and everyone loved it (to the amazement of some, I think). They kept forgetting and referring to it as spinach, which it did taste like.

                                                                                                                                                                I roasted and peeled the damn pearl onions in advance, then forgot about them! We ate them with the leftovers, and while they were tasty, I'm not convinced they're worth the hassle. (DH came in the kitchen while I was peeling them and was somewhat aghast at the tediousness of the task. He doesn't think they're worth it!)

                                                                                                                                                                And in the end, I skipped the gelatin bit anyhow and just boiled down the juices to concentrate them a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                                                  Glad to hear it was good with the Marsala. I gave it passing thought (also didn’t want to use the good port on hand), but found a recommended half-bottle and, especially for a recipe this renowned,I like to try it as written the first time around if I can.

                                                                                                                                                                  I didn’t find peeling the onions as onerous as I thought I might. I snipped both ends with my ever-trusty Joyce Chen kitchen shears and they slipped right out. I may have lost a layer of onion, but hey . . . small price to pay for making a tedious job much easier. And I did like them. A lot. But then, I like onions in just about any form.

                                                                                                                                                                  I’d kill for a Costco in Manhattan but it ain’t gonna happen. Even if there was one, my freezer’s too small to take full advantage of it. One of the very few things I don’t like about apartment living in the city.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                    I was surprised at how easy peeling the roasted onions were compared to ones that you boil - I just nipped of the root end with my thumb, and squeezed out the onion.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      Re: Costco

                                                                                                                                                                      Although many items at Costco are gigantic (12 cans of chicken broth packed together, 2 huge bottles of olive oil, etc.), the meat department has some things that are not all that huge. I think the short ribs could be separated into two smaller packages for those with smaller freezers. I was eying those short ribs last week when I spent $405,959.00 on a 5 rib roast at Costco for Christmas dinner. I'll get them next time.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Australian Barramundi with Winter Vegetables Bagna Cauda and Toasted Breadcrumbs, pg. 335

                                                                                                                                                                  I subbed Alaskan halibut instead of barramundi. It was good, and the lemon zest, thyme, and parsley was yummy.

                                                                                                                                                                  Bagna cauda was also good. I didn't like so much of the radicchio and endive, but my BF liked it (better than the fish.) He is into radicchio, though, so I will probably omit next time. But I did like all of the vegetables that got boiled.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                    I agree completely. See my report above.


                                                                                                                                                                    I thought the treviso/endive entirely expendable and wouldn't bother with it again. What vegetables did you use?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                      I used the veggies in the recipe except for cauliflower, so there was fennel, radish, carrot, and broccoli. And I learned I don't really like fennel.

                                                                                                                                                                      This really forced me to cook the veggies correctly (mine usually turn out kind of crunchy.)

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Torchio with Cauliflower, Cavolo Nero, Currants, and Pine Nuts (pg 308)

                                                                                                                                                                    I found this recipe's instructions to be overly complicated. As I did it, I realized a lot of things didn't need to be done in so many steps. (Do we really need 1 cup of chopped onions and 1 cup of sliced onions?) You could have combined a lot of them. I also thought the cooking times were way too long.

                                                                                                                                                                    As for the pine nut-currant relish, it would be easier to toast the pine nuts, soak the currants, reduce your vinegar, and do the rest of the steps (rosemary/chile/onions) when they are called for with the cavolo nero or cauliflower.

                                                                                                                                                                    Also, I do not recommend the extra frying step to the pasta. She says to pull it out when al dente, and then fry it a little. Well, I just got overcooked pasta

                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, it was ok. Not great. (I did have to leave out the anchovies, due to a vegetarian.) One of her recipes which I just find to be way overwrought.

                                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                      This is a great post. I bet doing it your suggested way (although adding in the *to me* all important anchovies) would make life simpler and still be really good. Thanks for letting us know.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                        I think the easiest way to do this is to set up your mise en place for both the pasta and the currant-pine nut relish. (I noticed no difference between sliced onion and diced onion, so pick whichever you want, or do both.) Ingredients that are in both recipes, put them together in the same bowl.

                                                                                                                                                                        Whenever an ingredient is called for in the recipe for the torchio, add ALL of it (instead of the amount that she calls for.) The exception is to add the oil/salt/pepper when she calls for it. (1/2 C and 2 T when cooking the cavolo nero, and add 1/2 cup when the cauliflower goes in; add a little S&P for both cavolo nero and cauliflower.) While you are cooking the cavolo nero, toast pine nuts, soak currants, and reduce vinegar. Toast breadcrumbs. Blanch the cauliflower.

                                                                                                                                                                        After 15-20 minutes of cooking cavolo nero on low, add 1/2 C oil, anchovy, and thyme. Break up anchovy with spoon. Then add cauliflower on medium heat. After 8-10 minutes (or the cauliflower is caramelized,) add vinegar, currants, and pine nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                        When pasta is al dente, drain and add to veggies. Mix, and taste for salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                          I like the crispy edges of fried pasta...you just need to pull it out of the water a little sooner.

                                                                                                                                                                          Excellent detail of process tho -- I slim down the processes too, but never break it down in useful-to-someone-else specificity...THX!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                            Made the short ribs with horseradish cream and swiss chard again last night (4th time? 5th time?). Again it was verrrrry good.

                                                                                                                                                                            I was a bit worried as I chintzed on the wine, buying Fresno State (college) 2005 Syrah for $4 at TJs along with some cheapo Port. No problem. Turned out great. It was worth the almost $20 I paid for the short ribs. I still find it difficult to keep from being bitter about all the meat cuts that used to be really cheap because they were "weird", like lamb shanks, breast of veal and short ribs. Especially since they all have so many bones which make up most of their weight. Ahhh, stop yer grousin'!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                              I had made the short ribs again too for Christmas lunch. I listened to your advice and went all the way with horseradish cream and swiss chard. You were right, it is a great combo!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                That's actually pretty reasonable in my area for short ribs - they are usually about nine dollars a pound where I am, though I've found them on sale for quite a bit less. So, no more grousing!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Braised Beef Brisket with Beluga Lentils, Horseradish Cream, and Salsa Verde (page 329)

                                                                                                                                                                        I’ve made and eaten a lot of brisket in my life and this recipe was by far the best (although indeed the most complicated and time-consuming) I’ve ever had. And boy! Did it make killer sandwiches the next day.

                                                                                                                                                                        The recipe calls for a 6-pound brisket. I bought only five. And good thing too, since it just barely fit in my 7.25-quart Le Creuset. Goin says 6 pounds feeds six, but that’s almost silly, isn’t it? My 5 pounds quite satisfactorily could have served 8 if not 10.

                                                                                                                                                                        You rub the brisket with thyme, crumbled bay leaves, lots of smashed garlic, chiles, and cracked pepper and let it sit overnight. Next day you brown it, which I thought would be more of a pain than it actually was since, as Goin says, it’s too large to fit in almost any skillet and you have to brown half of it at a time while the other half hangs over the edge of the pan. You sauté big chunks of onion, carrots, and celery in the browning skillet, add them to the Dutch oven with the brisket, cover with dark beer and beef stock and braise in the oven for 6 hours. After it’s cooled down a bit, you remove the brisket to the fridge until it’s cold enough to slice easily (easily, perhaps; but not very neatly), strain the braising liquid, pour the sauce over the sliced meat, and let it mellow for a day or two in the fridge. (Her instructions on this last part weren’t nearly as clear as they might have been, but it’s easy enough to figure out.)

                                                                                                                                                                        On the day of serving you reheat the brisket in the sauce in the oven for 20 minutes, arrange it on a platter onto which you’ve spooned the lentils, drizzle with braising juices and Salsa Verde (marjoram, mint, parsley, garlic & anchovy pounded to a paste in a mortar and stirred into olive oil), and serve with the remaining Salsa Verde and Horseradish Cream (the same one used for the Short Ribs) on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                        I used du Puy instead of Beluga Lentils. They’re seasoned with onion, thyme, a bit of chile de arbol, red wine, and basil and, if you follow her recipe, quite a bit of olive oil. I did follow the recipe and the lentils were very good, but I’m sure they’d be equally as good if you cut back somewhat on the oil.

                                                                                                                                                                        She suggests serving the brisket and lentils with Sautéed Rapini with Garlic and Chile (page 331) and I did. Broccoli rape is one of my favorite vegetables and I make it fairly often, but this recipe, too, was better than any I’ve made and—although it also has a helluva lot of oil if made as directed—will be my go-to recipe from here on in. The broccoli is parboiled and set aside to cool. You stir-fry sliced garlic and shallots along with thyme, thinly slice chile de arbol, and S&P, toss in the broccoli, stir-fry a bit longer, add more oil, stir-fry another couple of minutes, and taste for seasoning. This really isn’t all that different from the way I usually make it except for the addition of the sliced shallots, which were really wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                        For dessert I made the Toasted Pain d’Epice with Kumquat Marmalade Butter (page 332, and part of the same menu). This is a spiced honey cake that you bake in a loaf pan. When cool, you cut half-inch slices, butter both sides, toast in cast-iron skillets (you need two skillets to toast five or six slices at the same time), serve slathered with Kumquat Marmalade Butter and strewn with some of the reserved candied kumquats that had not been incorporated into the butter. Fyi, even with all that slathering, the recipe makes waaaay too much Marmalade Butter. That recipe could easily be cut in half and you’d still have too much. And although I baked the pain for the longer amount of time called for and it seemed firm to the touch as it was supposed to be, on slicing it I realized the center of the pain had collapsed a bit and was undercooked where it had. Not really a problem (don’t even think my guests noticed), but next time I’d give it another 5 minutes at least.

                                                                                                                                                                        I wasn’t sure about this as I was putting it together because it’s not really a traditional sweet dessert. In fact, it would be damned good for breakfast or tea as well, with or without the Marmalade Butter. My guests adored it, though. Short side story: this dinner party was to celebrate my friend’s 14-year-old having gotten into one of the top high schools in Manhattan. He’d been schmoozing with me in the kitchen while I was toasting the cake and putting it all together. As the adults were still sitting around the table with their coffee, the 14-year-old snuck back into the kitchen and made himself another piece, buttering, toasting, slathering, strewing. It looked, if anything, even better than mine. I was quite charmed.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          Braised Beef Brisket with Beluga Lentils, Horseradish Cream, and Salsa Verde (page 329)

                                                                                                                                                                          The brisket is so good, we're having it two nights in a row. Not much to add to JoanN's comprehensive report. I did the brisket over three days - marinated Sunday overnight, braised it Monday, and had it for dinner Tuesday/last night (and tonight). I like her technique of making it ahead and carving cold, then reheating in the braising liquid. I chilled it overnight Monday, so Tuesday it was easy to carve into slices. Then the slices are put into a a roasting pan, braising juices added to just cover, and they're heated up for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. The slices get a little crispy but stay tender and moist soaking up the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                          For the two of us, I used a 3-pound brisket and halved the dry marinade ingredients. For the braising liquid, I used two small onions, two carrots, and one celery stalk, with a little less than the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, one bottle of dark beer, and 3 cups of homemade beef stock.

                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't make lentils since E doesn't like them (but I have beluga lentils and so I'm going to make them tomorrow for myself to have with the leftover brisket). Instead, I made rich mashed potatoes with lots of sour cream and horseradish instead of the Horseradish Cream, skipped the Salsa Verde, and served with a side of baby spinach instead of her suggestion of rapini, but with the same technique of sauteing with evoo (homemade lemon-infused), garlic, thyme, and chili de arbol. Great dinner. I just love this book, everything is always fabulous. In fact, E's brother and sister are visiting in a couple of weeks, and he's asked that I make this again when they're here.

                                                                                                                                                                          Ready to braise, and plated:

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Menu 25:
                                                                                                                                                                          Young Onion Tart with Cantal, Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon, and Herb Salad, p. 297
                                                                                                                                                                          Braised Beef Short Ribs with Potato Puree, Swiss chard, and Horseradish Cream, p301

                                                                                                                                                                          I made this last night for a CH dinner for 6, including ArizonaGirl and Aquablue and their husbands. We started with the tart as one of the appetizers. As described above, I've made this before, and I used the same substitutions - sweet white and red onions, gruyere, and apple-wood smoked bacon, and garnished with chopped parsley instead of the herb salad. I love that this can be prepped earlier in the day and popped into the oven about a half an hour before guests arrive. It was a hit - AZGirl took one bite, paused, and then said "This is SO good". I really should make this more often. The other appetizer was a delicious vegetable antipasto brought by Aquablue with radicchio, fresh baby zucchini and whole baby carrots, endive, asparagus, artichokes and bocconcini in an herb vinaigrette. I should have taken a pic.

                                                                                                                                                                          I read through all the above reports for the short ribs, including tips such as allowing plenty of time to start it days ahead to marinate overnight, using the full two bunches of swiss chard, and to be sure to make the horseradish cream. My husband declared them "the best short ribs I've ever had", and mentioned how they weren't "soggy" like some he's had. I think that is one of the keys to this recipe - the nice sear before braising, and then crisping them in the oven at 400 degrees before serving. I used homemade beef stock , tawny port, and cabernet for the braising liquid. I made it a day before so I could chill overnight and remove the fat. The day of, I warmed them on the stovetop before putting the ribs in the oven. I also had a lot of leftover liquid, so added that to the braising liquid in the pot and reduced it while the ribs were crisping in the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                          I served the ribs on a platter on top of the greens, a bowl of potato puree, along with a dish of the horseradish cream, and a gravy boat of reduced braising liquid. I agree with the reports above - loved the combination with the buttery potato puree (I used the full amount of butter) and swiss chard with pearl onions. AZGirl said she usually doesn't like potatoes, but ended up having seconds. AquaBlue brought loaves of delicious 5-Minute Artisan bread to round out the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                          Dessert was ArizonaGirl's delicious lemon tart made from fresh lemons from her tree, along with glasses of moscato d'asti. Another great time with new CH friends, and count us in on the fan club for Goin's braised short ribs.

                                                                                                                                                                          I spent some time looking for the short rib cuts Goin recommends, but went with English-style short ribs from Whole Foods ($6.50/lb). Unfortunately, some of the pieces weren't as meaty as the others and I ended up supplementing with smaller, but thick chunks from Basha's ($3.50/lb) which turned out nice and tender with very little fat. Next time I won't be so focused on the cut or size, and just make sure they're thick and meaty.

                                                                                                                                                                          (excuse the poor pics - took them fast since I had guests)

                                                                                                                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                            Hi, long time lurker and 1st time poster here. I have had this cookbook for a long time but haven't made very many things out of it. I have really been enjoying reading about everyone's experiences and it's inspired me to use the cookbook more. I am making this exact menu (bacon onion tart and short ribs) for a dinner party tomorrow and wondered if anyone has tried the Cook's Illustrated tip (roasting the short ribs in a 450 oven for about 45 minutes, referenced in other Chow threads on short ribs, instead of searing in oil on the stovetop) specifically for Goin's short ribs? My inclination is to use CI's method for that first step and follow Goin for the rest, but in the book and in an interview I read she really stresses the importance of getting a good, strong sear. I don't want to compromise the $60 worth of short ribs I bought but also don't relish the idea of cleaning grease spatters off my stove, counters and self with all the other prep I need to do. Any thoughts are appreciated! Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: eugenia22

                                                                                                                                                                              I've never tried the CI way. But, everything I've made from Goins has been fabulous. Her directions are really accurate.

                                                                                                                                                                              I hear you about the splatter in browning. The clean up used to drive me insane. Then I bought a splatter guard to use while browning and that helped a lot. I'm pretty sure I used the same pot to put all the goods in for the braise, this way all the delicious browned stuff gave everything a marvelous flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                              Also, when I browned the shortribs, I did it in my dutch oven. Since the sides were higher, there was less splatter.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: eugenia22

                                                                                                                                                                                Welcome to the board!

                                                                                                                                                                                I did it the same way BB did - seared the ribs in a Le Creuset dutch oven. It does cut down on the splatter. I also would follow Goin's tips - everything always turns out so delicious and exactly how she describes. Also, I did the first part of the recipe the day before. The day of the dinner party, I removed the solidifed fat, warmed up the ribs in the pot on the stove, and before serving removed the ribs to a sheet pan for finishing in the oven It makes the whole recipe easier, with minimal mess the day of.

                                                                                                                                                                                Either way, be sure to report back! I'd love to hear what you thought, and what method you decided to use. Love the onion tart too. It's one of my favorite recipes from the book, and great for a dinner party since you prepare it ahead of time. Be sure not to pile the topping on so it doesn't get soggy. Last time I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry, rolled it out just a little, and used all the bacon and onion mixture, but had some of the ricotta topping left over.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks to you both for the great advice! Everything went well. Here's the rundown of the meal:

                                                                                                                                                                                  Started with olives and almonds on the table the way they apparently do at Lucques. Couldn't find any Lucques olives, but got some lovely large Cerignola ones, and made these almonds - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives... - with a pinch of pimenton. Super easy and a good combination with the olives.

                                                                                                                                                                                  For the bacon and onion tart, I didn't make the herb salad, but just sprinkled with parley, and used a lovely, nutty sheep's milk cheese instead of Comte (which I originally planned to use, but it smelled a little like feet to me at the cheese counter). The only minor quibble I had with the tart is that when I baked it, the bacon fat rendered more and left a little pool of grease on the top of the tart, like there is on pizza sometimes. I just patted it lightly with a paper towel, but it was still a bit greasier than I would've liked. I think I should've let the cooked bacon sit on paper towels before putting it on the tart and I could've also let the onion mixture drain a bit, as there was quite a bit of bacon fat in it. The taste was delicious though.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As recommended, I seared the ribs in my Dutch oven with a splatter guard, which worked well. I was cooking for 6 and had initially bought 6 pounds of lovely, meaty short ribs cut across the bone (as Goin recommends) from my terribly expensive gourmet butcher. Later I panicked that this wouldn't be enough and supplemented with about 3 pounds of cheap (less than half the price) but much less meaty ribs from my local Korean market (these were the other cut - English?). The ribs fit perfectly into 2 pans - a 13" braising pan with a lid and a 9x13 casserole dish which I covered with a double layer of foil. I made the braising liquid in the Dutch oven and then poured it over the ribs in the 2 separate pans. Both cuts were delicious, but the pricey flanken ones were definitely better - meatier and more tender, with a better flavor, and they also looked prettier.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't have a food mill or ricer, let alone a tamis, so I used a hand masher for the potatoes and ended up with a rustic (i.e., chunky) mash, not a puree. The flavor was great, but I can see that the puree would definitely be more elegant. The chard was the perfect complement, and the horseradish cream gave a terrific tang. I made 1.5 times the recipe for the ribs and chard but did not change the amount of potatoes, and I think this was the perfect amount for 6 people.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I wanted to finish with something cool and citrusy, so made a key lime pie from the Tate's Bake Shop cookbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                  From these recipes at least, I can see that Goin's recipes require a lot of advance planning and patience, but the actual "cooking" was not difficult at all because her instructions are so clear. In fact the big pain of the night was the key lime pie - the key limes I had were tiny (largest were the size of a ping pong ball, and most were just slightly larger than cherries), so I ended up zesting and juicing dozens of those suckers to come up with the correct amounts of zest and juice, while trying to avoid zesting my fingers.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think for the most part Lucques will remain "company food" for me, but for a dinner party I would make any of these dishes again in a heartbeat and look forward to trying others in the book as well. I love the thought that is apparent in these recipes. There is nothing superfluous; every single ingredient plays a role and works in harmony with the others. I tend to make a lot of substitutions in my everyday cooking and not buy many specialized ingredients that are just for one dish, but I think that at least for the first time making any of Goin's recipes, I would try to make them as written, to get her full effect. I also love that I was able to actually do this - I am new to home cooking (started about 1-1/2 years ago) and making this dinner just a year ago would have been unthinkable for me. Feels like a big accomplishment!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: eugenia22

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wonderful review. Thanks for all the feedback and advice. That ricotta bacon tart is in our future.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: karykat

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, sounds like a wonderful meal. I've still not made any tarts from the book and really want to. Maybe I'll make one for an appetizer on Easter Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: eugenia22

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the great review, it sounds like your dinner party was a delicious success!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I know what you mean about those tiny key limes. The last time I made a dessert calling for a large quantity, I lost patience and ended up using about 2/3 key lime juice, and used regular limes for the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree about the Goin recipes. They always turn out exactly as she describes. I like them for dinner guests too, because most of the components can be prepped earlier in the day or the night before, and the presentation is always company-worthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                        eugenia: I made the ribs a couple of months ago and your post made me want to make them again soon. It's true that the chard and horseradish make this dish into something really great. We usually think of chard as something we have to eat because it's good for us. Here it shines because its tartness balances the richness of the rest of the dish. the horseradish sauce does the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Now, I'm embarrassed to ask this, but I don't know the difference between key limes and regular limes...except for the cherry-sizeedness of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                                                                                                          Key limes are really tart, mouth puckeringly tart. They are great for desserts because of the sweet-tart contrast, but a real hassle. I think they are worth using, but in the future would think about 1/2 key lime and 1/2 regular lime for convenience as Rubee mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: eugenia22

                                                                                                                                                                                        Whoops, coming in really late on this one. Love the report Eugenia22!

                                                                                                                                                                                        I would comment about Comte cheese, despite the odor of the cheese, I would encourage you to give it a try. Comte cheese may be one of my favorite cheeses. It is a glorious cheese for straight eating, but is remarkably versatile and flavourful in recipes as well. It is one of my favorite cheeses to include in mac cheese, as it adds some really wonderful flavour to a cheese sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Winter Squash Risotto with Radicchio and Parmesan

                                                                                                                                                                                  Gracious me, one of the best recipes in the book that I've tried. Risotto is risotto, and I found the instructions to be less onerous than some of her recipes. The measurements are all spot on. I did it again, more casually and omitting the chile and thyme, and it did not turn out as well as the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                                  She calls for adding the radicchio when you take it off the heat and let it rest, but I prefer it to be added half way through, or the last 5 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jaykayen

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I agree, it's a great recipe. Not sure I agree with you though about adding the radicchio early. I followed the recipe as written ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970... ) and thought the crunch of the radicchio was part of the charm. What kind of squash did you use? I've only tried it with kabocha. Did you by any chance use butternut?

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Flageolet Gratin p. 339

                                                                                                                                                                                    I've posted on this before but given I made it yet again and loved it, I had to post again. I made these to serve along side some lamb chops from Marzella Hazen and then we followed them with the cornmeal shortcakes (see the thread for summer). These are very easy, quite healthy (yeah, yeah, a little butter in the breadcrumbs, it's natural :) and extremely tasty. I love to make a huge double batch on the weekend and then just eat off them during the week.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I often use individual gratin dishes when I make them, to serve that way, for each person. That can work well for freezing or serving later in the week. They carry to work well, also.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. The Caramelized Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Cinnamon was a disappointment. I had high hopes for it, especially after the wonderful spiced pork stew we had for dinner. Not sure what I did wrong (overbaked it?), but the custard was curdled, even though I baked it in the water bath and for less than the recommended time. Maybe I needed a sweeter chocolate, but the whole thing just wasn't sweet enough for me.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                        I made the bread pudding, and had the same problems!

                                                                                                                                                                                        The recipe is completely messed up, and she writes that the bread pudding is so good, she served it in spite of the Mafia!

                                                                                                                                                                                        Seems like she made adjustments for the NYT recipe, which cuts the temperature from 350 to 325, and the time from 1.25 hrs to 40-60 minutes, and doubles the sugar to 2/3 cup


                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Sautéed Rapini with Garlic and Chile – p. 331

                                                                                                                                                                                        I came here fully expecting to see a review from Gio for this dish but alas, I was wrong. Up-thread, Rubee did make it however the review is within a review of another dish so I thought I’d create a well-deserved spot for this recipe and provide a link to Rubee’s post where you find all the great info on how this comes together:


                                                                                                                                                                                        I loved this dish. mr bc is a bitter green hater and he managed a “like” for this so it just goes to show you what a healthy dose of evoo can do to entice someone!! As Rubee mentions, there’s a fair bit of oil in this dish…1/2 cup to 1.5lbs of rapini. That said, I envisioned this recipe as an antipasti-type dish and as the author points out, the “sauce” makes for good dipping w a “crusty hunk of bread”. We served this hot, right out of the pan, alongside porchetta and mashed potatoes. I think it would be sensational at room temp as well. I especially liked the thinly sliced chile de arbol. Yum! Gio…I know you’ll enjoy this one!! ; - )

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                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                          I, too, buried a review of this dish with the review for the braised brisket ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970... ) and was pleased to see you give it a stand-alone not least because I was interested to see when I first made it. As I said nearly four years ago, I adore broccoli rabe, and this has indeed become my go-to recipe for that dish. I've tried making the dish with less oil and, as she says in the headnote, the flavors just don't meld properly without it. I've taken to following her instructions to use tongs to remove the rape from the pan which does leave a lot of the oil behind. That, of course, is for serving it as a side dish. Mopping up the sauce right out of the pan sounds decadent--and seriously good.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm surprised I haven't made this recipe before now, BC. Rappe is on my shopping list this week so I'll probably give it a go on Sunday. Thanks for your review.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Chestnut Stuffing, p. 371

                                                                                                                                                                                            I made a double recipe of this stuffing for Thanksgiving. My husband said it was the best stuffing he's ever had! I had to make a veg and non-veg version of the stuffing, so I tweaked the recipe a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                            So, let's see. Bread is hand-torn, liberally doused with olive oil, and toasted in the oven. Fennel seeds are toasted and ground. Meanwhile, saute pancetta in olive oil, add chile and rosemary spring, add chopped onion and fennel, fresh thyme and the ground fennel seed. Saute until just starting to caramelize, then stir in lemon zest and mix everything in with the bread. Deglaze the skillet with wine, reduce it, then add chicken stock and heat to a simmer. Pour the wine/stock mixture over the bread. Then saute chestnuts in butter and add this to the bread mixture too. Season, then stir in a beaten egg and chopped fresh parsley. Bake covered for 40 minutes, then dot with butter and cook an additional 20 minutes to brown. Whew!

                                                                                                                                                                                            To accommodate vegetarian guests, I made a vegetable stock to use in place of chicken stock and I skipped the pancetta at first. After the bread, chestnuts and veg were mixed I added the wine/stock mix (using less stock than called for) and divided the stuffing into separate mixing bowls. I then deglazed the chestnut skillet with homemade turkey stock and added the liquid to the non-veg stuffing. I wiped out the skillet, sauteed the pancetta, deglazed with a bit more turkey stock, and and added this too to the non-veg stuffing. The veg version seemed a bit boring without the pancetta so I added some chopped apple, which was a really nice addition. Both versions of the stuffing were great with the edge going to the pancetta version. I made the stuffing a day ahead (it took hours!), baked it through the first stage, and then refrigerated it. On T-Day, while the turkey rested, I reheated the stuffing covered, then when it was warm I moved onto the browning step.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This stuffing was a true labor of love, but it was so delicious and so well-received that I will probably make it again next year. Fans of this book can well imagine what it tastes like, as the flavor profile is very familiar from many of Ms. Goin's other recipes. I would not attempt this recipe on the actual day though. It is far too complicated! I was exhausted when I was done! Luckily I don't think it suffered from being made ahead.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sounds spectacular. Will be looking for a new stuffing for next year and will have to remember to look up your report since I would never try to make stuffing, this one or any other, on the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                In case you are wondering about quantities, I doubled the recipe to serve 5 adults and 2 toddlers. I sent some leftovers home with my guests and ours were gone by Saturday. If I had made the recipe as written, we would have eaten it all with none leftover. And none of us are the type to take huge servings and only my husband had seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                That sounds absolutely wonderful, Westminstress! I have the book so I ought to take a look at the recipe for Christmas. You didn't say but did you use pre-roasted chestnuts? Or did you cook and peel them. For this Thanksgiving I used Trader Joe's peeled, pre-roasted French chestnuts for a Bradley Ogden braised Brussels dish. They are such a time saver, and pretty tasty too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, i absolutely used pre-roasted, packaged chestnuts. And I think I read somewhere that Suzanne Goin does too! I used the snack-bag packaged ones they sell at my natural foods store. They are grown in china which makes me a bit nervous but hey, it is once a year, and they are so much less expensive than the ones packaged in glass jars. I needed 4 cups of chestnuts and roasting and peeling them would have been a massive undertaking. The taste of the packaged ones was good. They are a little bit wet straight out of the bag, but once sauteed and cooked in the stuffing you don't notice that at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, and based on previous experiences with this book, I did cut back on the fat a little throughout the recipe, using a bit less than specified when drizzling, sauteeing and dotting. The final result was still very rich, and I wouldn't hesitate to do that again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great report, thank you! I have cooked many, many recipes from this wonderful book and have always wondered about the stuffing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    BTW, I never make stuffing the day of. Much better if made the day before and sits, prepping, over night!

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Okay. I cant wait another month to make this. It sounds so good that im going to try making it next week and have it with a roast capon. You had me at "My husband said it was the best stuffing he's ever had!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GOJIRA

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Good luck! Let us know how you like it ....