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Apr 30, 2007 06:49 PM

Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Fall 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 Fall menu items here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Wow! It's a bit lonely here on the fall menu thread!

    Chilled red pepper soup with sumac, basil and lemon yogurt (p 209-210)

    1/2 cup evoo
    1 small sprig rosemary
    1 chile de arbol, crumbled
    2 cups diced onions
    1 3/4 lb red pepper (about 7 large ones, she says), cut into rough 1 inch pieces
    2 tsp ground sumac
    1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
    Salt, pepper

    1 cup whole milk yogurt
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2 tbsp sliced opal basil

    Quick approximation of the instructions:
    Heat Dutch oven on high heat for two minutes.
    Add olive oil, rosemary, chile. Cook for 1 minute or so.
    Add onions, thyme, 1 tsp salt, ground black pepper.
    Reduce heat to med-high, cook, stirring often until onion is soft/ translucent (took me 8 minutes, recipe says about 10)*
    Raise heat to high. Add peppers, 1 tsp sumac, sugar, 1 tsp salt, more pepper.
    Saute for 5 minutes, stir often.
    Add 8 cups water (I used 6, more on this below**), bring to boil, turn heat down to low, simmer 30 minutes.
    Strain soup over a large bowl. Puree half the peppers and 1/2 cup of the liquid. Add more liquid as necessary to get the soup the consistency of heavy cream. Puree the other half.
    Taste, adjust seasonings, chill.

    Mix the greek yogurt, lemon, salt.

    Serve cold soup with a dollop of lemon yogurt, opal basil, and some sumac.

    * This is the point at which I fell in love with this recipe--the smell at this point was fantastic, and I loved the way in which the chile del arbol bled into the oil
    **I don't see the need for so much water. I now have lovely flavored peppery, herby broth in my fridge and have no idea what to do with it, but can't bear to get rid of it. I'd love any ideas.

    Overall, this was a lovely soup--rich, creamy (despite the lack of cream), spicy, smoky/ sumac-y. The heat was pretty intense on night one, when we were eating it sorta lukewarm (no patience). Cold leftovers were a bit more mellow and balanced, and still complex and rich.

    Served with the cilantro rice: which made for a great, flavorful, tangy accompaniment.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rose water

      Rose water, that looks gorgeous.

      Well, I'll be joining you on this thread soon - Now I have to make that soup!

      1. re: rose water

        Used up the leftover liquid to make risotto in the end. I had about 2 1/2 cups of peppery, herbed broth left over from making this soup, and added water to make up the difference. The flavor was great, and we really enjoyed it.

      2. Pan-Roasted Rib Eye "Marchand de Vins" with Watercress and Grossi's Potatoes, p. 261

        Compared to some of the other recipes, this had less prep (especially if you bake the potatoes ahead of time), and made a great dinner tonight.

        Earlier I had roasted whole unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes with crushed garlic, EVOO, thyme sprigs, and a bay leaf, covered in tinfoil, for about an hour. This smelled so good while in the oven that I wanted to eat them the minute I took them out. When cool, peel, and slice into wedges. To finish, they are cooked in a hot pan with toasted bread crumbs, thyme, olive oil, and butter until everything is crispy.

        For the steak, I used filet instead of rib-eye and salted them the night before a la Zuni. These are seared in a hot cast-iron pan with butter. While they are resting, you make an easy red wine and shallot pan sauce finished with more butter (yep, there's a lot of olive oil and butter in this menu). The last component is a simple salad of watercress (I used mache) tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and S&P.

        As all the recipes I've done from this book thus far, we really enjoyed this. Every item complemented each other nicely - the classic red wine sauce with juicy steak and its great crust from a hot iron pan, the acidity and freshness of the salad, and the crispy, decadent potatoes. If you're a fan of the crispy edges of roasted potatoes, this one is for you - especially with the buttery bread crumbs that stay crunchy. The potatoes absorb so much flavor from roasting in the oven with the herbs and garlic. In fact, I'll use this technique again, maybe just serving them roughly mashed with their peels and the garlicky olive oil they're baked in.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          I made this dish last night - Rubee has described it so thoroughly that I won't go into too much detail. I didn't use my cast iron pan as it has still not recovered from the tarte tatin use, but used my Swiss Diamond pan instead for the steak - amazing "crust" on the ribeye and her timing was perfect for medium rare. We both loved the potatoes, though I missed the step about scraping and turning them constantly for the last 8 minutes and also let them get a bit too brown, I think. Also, I used Panko instead of fresh bread crumbs, since that is what I had on hand. I skipped the watercress, as I also made the roasted pear salad, but I can see how it would be a nice complement to the richness of the meal.

        2. Yes, why is everyone shying from fall?? Some of the best recipes in the book are from Fall. A few I love:

          PASTEL VASCO

          Trust me, you must make this. It is the best dessert I have ever made and one of the best I have ever eaten. I have now made it four times, and at Holiday Gatherings such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, with 20 around the table and it has been demanded it is not a ‘must’. It is so much more than it appears in the picture.

          First, when you make it, the berry compote in the cake bursts all over. It is not as ‘clean’ looking as in the picture in the book but it is stunning to see. And the taste… if you do it right with compote on the side, ‘frying the bread in butter’ at the end and pouring cream all over it… honest, this is to die for.


          This is also an incredible salad. The squash is a pain in the $#% to cut, but once cut, the salad is relatively easy to prepare and the combination of tastes is truly delightful. If you have a Whole Foods near you, you can easily get all the ingredients.


          This is every bit as disgustingly good as it sounds.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Tom P

            TomP--Ah-ha, somebody did make the pastel vasco! This is the recipe that is really calling out to me. Do you think the fruit compote could be made with a different fruit? Say, perhaps, blueberries? Any advice appreciated...

            1. re: Smokey

              I LOVED the pastel vasco - report forthcoming. It really lives up to Tom P's description , and beyond.

              Just tonight, my husband said, can you make this with blueberries? So, I'm going to try it this weekend (and he even suggested chocolate). The actual pound cake is fantastic on its own too.

              1. re: Smokey

                I say give it a try! I do love the bite the blackberries give it. But I bet blueberries would work fine. And I have to admit... when I make the compote, I do a batch with just blackberries for inside the cake, and then have added strawberries and/or blueberries to the remaining compote that you warm, then spoon over the cake with the cream, which I drizzle all over the cake, compote and plate to serve.

              2. re: Tom P

                Potato-Bacon Gratin (page 272)

                There are three other reports on this page of the Potato-Bacon Gratin, but I figured I’d add mine to Tom P’s since his was the first.

                Tom P says: “. . . every bit as disgustingly good as it sounds.” MMRuth says: “. . . really a splendid dish, but . . . potatoes, cream, bacon - how can you go wrong.” Conspicuousconsumption says: “Wow! I thought nothing could be more rich than Potato Gratin!” Not much more for me to say other than “ditto.”

                MMRuth (who details the procedure below) notes that she could have unmolded hers (she made half a recipe in a terrine mold with hand-cut potatoes). I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Perhaps mine had more cream in it. Also, I used a mandoline so my potatoes were probably even a bit thinner than the 1/16th of an inch called for. Mine wasn’t the least soupy, just not so firm as to be unmoldable.

                Made this as a side dish for my grandson who adores potatoes and bacon and has lost 10 pounds in his first five weeks of college (so much for the freshman fifteen!). He started drooling the second the casserole hit the table and didn’t stop raving until he’d finished his second helping.

              3. Once again, I was mulling skipping out this Cookbook of the month… I had my finals due, we were traveling… It just seemed that May was just escaping me… But then… it all seemed to fall into place…

                On our trip to Vegas in the beginning of the month, I actually scored a copy of the book for ½ off!! Then as I flipped through it, the recipe that most caught my eye, I realized I had most of the ingredients already on hand! And with a holiday weekend coming upon us… I decided to make Spiced Pork Stew with Polenta, Roasted Root Vegetables with Gremolata

                But first… *Start Rant* As with the Zuni Café, these recipes were ALL about technique. She gets PAINFULLY detailed on how to do it and when… At one point I was pretty upset at how ‘strict’ she was… thinking if she had to wash by hand all the dishes she calls for prep (like I do!) she wouldn’t be so picky about using “Two sautee pans” to do one vegetable dish… Nevertheless I am glad to I had two days to cook this… although It did come under the nose… *End Rant*

                So I started day one with making the Roasted Root Vegetables with Gremolata. I had never had a Gremolata, a mixture of Lemon Zest, Garlic and Parsley, but it intrigued me. I started with the zest getting it as close to just lemon essence as possible. …


                Then chopped it all up… the smell of the mixture was intoxicating!


                I chopped up the Veggies… a Combo of Carrots, Parsnips and Turnips (Three of my favorite things!).


                And then instead of doing them in TWO sautee pan… I used one big Le Crueset. I Caramelized them up, tossed in the gremolata and voila!!!


                Although I was saving them for the big night… I still had to take one bite! They looked so good!

                Next up was the Polenta. I had never made Polenta before! Even though we always keep a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Polenta! But we use it to put on the Pizza Stone when we make Pizzas.


                Unlike the rest of the recipes, I gave in and followed all her directions to the letter…. Stir, stir, stir for almost two hours…


                And in the end I had lovely corn jello. Then went to start on my last bit of pre-prep…

                Part of the reason I was attracted to this recipe was because it called for Pork Shoulder… one of my favorite cuts of meat…although unlike other parts of meat, to work with it, it does seem like you are hacking into a human shoulder…


                After cubing up the meat, I then made the RUB. Which was a wonderful mixture of cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cayenne, smashed garlic, oregano leaves and thyme.


                Tossed, wrapped up and then called it a night… Everything was indeed falling into place...


                The following day, we decided to go for a LONG bike ride. And somewhere along mile 8, my parents, brother, and grandmother got invited for dinner to have Spiced Pork Stew with Polenta, Roasted Root Vegetables with Gremolata. How quickly it all seemed to fall apart... I worried about the timing... would Grandma even LIKE polenta... Yeesh.... We peddled quickly back home.

                This is when P. took over because the stress of the parents and grandma visiting and the stress of doing the recipe ‘just so’ would have driven me over the edge… Luckily P. LOVES recipes that are “just so” and so he relished in the technique, detail and dirty dishes…

                I entertained the family… he slaved away and put on the timer for 3 hours…

                The problem was... at about an hour and a half cooking time it was supposed to be dinner time… And as much as I hated to it… I cut it the cooking time short… and pulled it all out of the oven…


                The aroma of it all was just amazing… so much, the spices, the pork, the veggies. Everyone at the table was looking forward to it…and so… we began to plate…


                Luckily, the pork was indeed fork tender. The flavor was wonderful. Although I can imagine that cooked the full time, it would have beyond melty and even more flavorful. But the final verdict came in when I asked Grandma how she liked it…

                She gave this far away look and told a story of the time she was invited to a very special dinner by some Italian clergy (She was involved in all sorts of social justice movements with the church) and how they served her Polenta for the first and only time. She said, she always hoped to have it again…. And was so happy that I had made this for her. I almost cried with joy, making my grandma so happy was the biggest badge of honor I could ever have both as a granddaughter and a cook.

                And so, Thank you Suzanne and hounds for picking such a great book. Even though I didn’t do it ‘just so’… it still all indeed fall into place...


                8 Replies
                1. re: Dommy

                  Oh Dommy! That's a beautiful dish, and a beautiful story.

                  1. re: Rubee

                    Indeed, Dommy! Good to know you're a sap like me! ;-) Isn't it so much fun to make our grandmas happy?

                  2. re: Dommy

                    Dommy, thanks for taking the time to write this up; it warmed my heart. Even though I've only made a few dishes out of the book, Goin's flavor combinations are very distinct and bold. I haven't found her to be as nitpicky as Rodgers in the Zuni book, but then again, I've only chosen the less complicated recipes.

                    Um, did you really cook that polenta for 2 hrs. or was that an exaggeration?

                    1. re: Carb Lover

                      From start to finish... Pretty much... a bit over an hour and half...

                      Boil Water...

                      add polenta and let absorb for 20 minutes...

                      Then for an hour cook and stir for an hour adding water every 20 minutes.

                      I didn't stir continously for the hour. I did other things with the recipe such as toast the spices and make the pork rub. But I did stir a LOT everytime I passed the pot and thankfully nothing stuck! But I knew I had to set a timer go off for every 20 minutes or else I would loose tract of time...


                      1. re: Dommy

                        I made the spiced pork stew (p. 281).
                        The rub, after toasting the spices, was fantastically full-flavored and made for very tasty pork. Occasionally I've made a simple Mexican-style stewed pork, but this is off the charts in pork yumminess.

                        I had country style ribs w/ some bones in 'em. Toasted and mortared and pestled the spices, and rubbed into "ribs" (aren't these really cuts of the shoulder, or butt??), seeing later that they should be cubed, which I did afterwards. Since it was Sunday, I didn't have overnight to let rub sit on pork (oops!), but cooked after about 4 hours.

                        I did pretty much everything as Goin dictates except subbed celery for fennel since I didn't have fresh fennel on hand and it calls for very little; a splash of chicken stock and white wine vinegar instead of white wine to deglaze pan, all (homemade) chicken stock since I had no veal, and ix-nayed the cilantro. I was not in the mood to use fresh thyme for the rub, so I used dried, and then for the braise, threw in a handful of thyme sprigs (which is easy -- all you're left w/ are the stems to pull out later.
                        I used the Molly Stevens method of parchment paper on top of meat while it braised in oven for 2-1/2 hours. The pulling out of the oven and separating meat, sauce and veggies was perplexing -- I know I ended up throwing out some meat. Then I caramalized meat at high temp, put liquid in refrigerator to scoop off fat today when I made the caramalized root vegetables.
                        I am skeptical of in effect sauteeing rutabega -- which I will sub for turnips. I have carrots, parsnips, rutabega and celeriac. I'm thinking I might roast in oven. Thoughts?

                        1. re: NYchowcook

                          Hi NYC... We made this stew last night using a 4 lb. pork shoulder and absolutely loved it. The large amount of spices made this taste terrific. We used all the requsite ingredients including the fresh fennel but I couldn't detect that anisey flavor at all in the finished dish. No veal stock here so it was just the wine and a nice chicken stock.

                          Regarding the "roasted" veggetables: I prepped tiny turnips. parsnips, carrots and a large rutabaga...but I roasted them in the oven. They were delicious and no two skillets to clean. The Gremolata was a good accompaniment.. We didn't make the polenta, though - DH thought it was too much food as it is, and we'll have leftovers for Soup Tuesday adding more broth and mashing the veggies.

                          1. re: Gio

                            I made this recipe last weekend and it was fantastic. I would make the roasted veggies with the gremolata again as a side for anything. It was quick, easy and really beautiful.
                            The fennel flavor in the leftover stew the following day was much stronger than on day one, and I didn't like it as much, but that's just personal taste. My son heated the leftover stew and wrapped it in a tortilla for a killer burrito.

                      2. Pastel Vasco with Blackberry Compote and Poured Cream, p. 217

                        The flavor in this poundcake is just fantastic, and then frying the slices in butter and the addition of warmed compote and cream just puts it over the top.

                        First the compote is made by making a caramel with sugar, water, and vanilla bean. Some blackberries are cooked, and others are left fresh, and added to make the compote, which also includes brandy (I used cognac). Yum.

                        The pound cake is so delicious with its flavors coming from the addition of dark rum, vanilla and almond extract, and fresh orange juice, and the layer of compote. Mine actually didn't cook right - whether it was because I used a dark non-stick pan or too large (I used the larger of two loaf pans I own). I had to take it out at 40 minutes instead of an hour, and it was a little burnt around the edges, while the very center was still a bit undercooked. Nothing that ruined it though! This was so good. E's been eating it for breakfast, and has been reminding me for 2 days now to make another one. He loves blueberries, so I'm going to try that, though he also suggested a chocolate swirl. This time I'll try it using my narrower/deeper loaf pan.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Rubee

                          Blackberry Compote, p. 218

                          1. re: Rubee

                            So glad you liked it. Mine always comes out looking a bit more, um, 'rustic', as the compote bubbles all out of it on the sides in places and crisps up. Probably because I can't resist putting in more compote than called for. I am going to make it 4th of July, I will try to remember to take a picture of it. My loaf pan is definitely thinner than yours, so I bet if you use your other loaf pan, the cooking time will work out.

                            1. re: Rubee

                              I've made a compote like that one to use over ice cream when I was out of hot fudge or caramel sauce and didn't have any cream in the house. Caramelizing sugar and adding thawed frozen fruit or fresh makes fantabulous sauce, over anything desserty, I imagine.

                              1. re: Rubee

                                Made this delicious dessert again - and yes, it was definitely the loaf pan I used that resulted in it cooking unevenly. This time I used my smaller pan (about 8-1/2 x 4-1/2), and baked for about 50 minutes. I served it as a dessert to a Spanish-themed dinner party, just sliced and topped with a scoop of honey ice cream.




                                1. re: Rubee

                                  Thanks for following up on that Rubee. one of the concerns I had about the recipe was that I have a slightly smaller than average loaf pan, so her simple description to use 'a loaf pan' had me worried mine would be the too small size it so often is.

                                  I've decided I'm going to wait for blackberries to come into season before I mess with it and try blueberries...

                                  1. re: Smokey

                                    My husband still wants me to make it with blueberries (or a chocolate swirl variation!), so if I do, I'll post. Though I'm trying to convince him baking a pound cake every week is not exactly good for us, or is it ; )

                                  2. re: Rubee

                                    I made this over Thanksgiving weekend and it was all that. I used blueberries and it tasted lovely.

                                    A few things - I did use a smaller loaf pan and it was too small. (I thought it was an 8.5 x 4.5 but I haven't measured it). Mine was finished at around 35 minutes and the top was a bit scorched. I also only used about half the egg wash because all I could picture was scrambled egg on top of the pound cake. Moreover, I ran out of room on top of the loaf pan.

                                    Regardless, it was delicious and I would definitely make it again. Oddly enough, I liked it better prior to the fry up but am glad I tried it that way too.

                                  3. re: Rubee

                                    Darnit. I'm trying to cut back on the sweets for the summer. But, this cake is tempting me beyond belief. Thank goodness it is going to be 1000 degrees this week.

                                    So, did you toast the slices prior to eating? Is this really a necessary step? It looks like the second time you made it, you didn't toast the slices.

                                    Also, did you find that 2 pints of fruit gave you too much compote? How much of the compote did you have leftover? Would halving the recipe yield enough for the filling of the cake?

                                    When I try this, I want to use blueberries too.

                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                      You MUST slice and toast the cake, and add the creme, at least the first time you make it. Good Lord, it is amazing.

                                      Though I only use blackberries for the cake, when I make the compote in the second step, I always add strawberries and blueberries and enjoy it that way. This is worth having some sweets for, even if you are cutting back.

                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        As Tom P says, of course it's fantastic fried in butter and served wth cream (which I did the first time). To save last minute fiddling for a dinner party this week, I didn't toast, and just served topped with a scoop of ice cream (didn't have time to hit the farmer's market so went with Haagen Dazs Hawaiian Lehua Honey & Sweet Cream). Delicious.

                                        I did have leftover compote and actually had frozen it, which is what I used for this second pound cake. It tasted fine though of course broke down a bit, which is why I didn't use it for drizzling.

                                        Two more desserts on the agenda from the book this month - I'm going to make the creme fraiche panna cotta with strawberries tomorrow, and then next will be the churros.