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Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Spring 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 Spring 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.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Hi everybody. This is my first time participating in this cookbook club, and it looks like I picked a great month to start! The first recipe I tried was the endive salad with meyer lemon, fava beans and oil cured olives. Wow, it was fantastic. The creamy sauce created a wonderful contrast to the bitter endive. Take Suzanne's advice and eat it with your fingers!

    7 Replies
    1. re: kennedy

      The swiss chard tart with aged goat cheese is fabulous! Because it's just 2 of us, we can't do the entire menus, but the tart was great with a salad and fruit for dessert.

      As far as modifications, I used regular whole milk ricotta from the grocery store and drained it well, and made homemade creme fraiche. Splurged on the goat cheese.

      1. re: zataar

        Continuing on with Menu 1, last night I made the hawaiian snapper with green rice and cucumbers in creme fraiche. It came together very nicely and I would highly recommend this entire menu.

        I was a little worried when I started because my fish monger did not have hawaiin snapper so I had to substitute red snapper. He assured me it was even better but it looked so flat when I bought the fillets I wasn't sure it would cook for the same time.

        Once I put the fish in the hot pan it plumped right up and looked surprisingly like the picture on page 38! The fish was very flavorful, even without the sauce, but the lemon and drizzle of olive oil were key.

        We also really enjoyed the rice, though I must warn you it was far more work than I anticipated, so leave enough time when you plan to do this menu.

        The creme fraiche was somewhat blander than I was expecting. Next time I am going to try to substitute yogurt and see it that creates a better balance.

        1. re: zataar

          I keep wanting to make some of the puff pastry tarts in her book, but I'm wondering why she says to assemble them in the morning and then bake later? She doesn't specifically say "this can be assembled ahead of time" and I'm wondering if there is any reason why it needs to be? Or can I just go ahead and follow the instructions and stick it in the oven? TIA

          1. re: MMRuth

            She calls for real puff pastry in her recipes so the pastry may need to chill a bit after the tart is prepared. Shouldn't take more than an hour. Other than that, I can't imagine a reason why it couldn't be baked sooner.

            1. re: JudiAU

              Thanks - I found two packets of Dufour pastry dough in my freezer and really want to make some of these - I was aware of the "rechilling" - glad to know I don't need to do all day. Since I work at home mostly, this would be a good midafternoon break to put it together, then cook at dinner time.

            2. re: MMRuth

              SWISS CHARD TART

              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.

              As MMRuth notes above, 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, etc. I have done this often… even made them the day before, to save time for a larger party… and it works beautifully. 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.

              1. re: Tom P

                Great tip about not overloading the tart, I am making a note in the margin of my book!

        2. Last night I made the the endive salad with meyer lemon, fava beans and oil cured olives, as an appetizer to a roasted duck dinner. Fabulous - a bit time consuming - blanching and peeling the fava beans, trying to slice Meyer lemons paper thin with varying results, pitting and slicing the olives, but all well worth it. The dressing is beautiful - I have some left over and am thinking about using it as a sauce for some poached salmon this evening. The dish is light, but with a wonderful contrast of flavors.

          1. Just after I first got the book and was looking for recipes that did not need advance planning, I made the Orrecchiette carbonara with english peas and pea shoots.

            I couldn't find any fresh peas, so used frozen, and no pea shoots to be found, so I omitted those. I did have some beautiful fresh eggs, and had coincindentally just bought some applewood-smoked bacon. The dish was delicious - and I liked the addition of peas and thyme to the traditional idea of carbonara. I found her "note" about adding the eggs rather confusing - about them being "warmed just enough to thicken them so they coat the pasta". At the time, I thought that she meant that I was supposed to warm the eggs first, but on typing out that phrase, I think she means that by adding the eggs to the pasta in such a way that that happens. But, all's well that ends well - a wonderful and quick Friday night supper in the country.

            7 Replies
            1. re: MMRuth

              Now I'm REALLY glad I'm making this dish this week! Looks delicious.

              1. re: Rubee

                Enjoy! I forgot to mention that I'd never had orchiette before and loved the shape - really "caught" all of of the delicious sauce.

              2. re: MMRuth

                Orecchiette Carbonara with English Peas and Pea Shoots, p.80.

                I made this tonight (chopping, grating cheese, and prepping everything earlier in the day). You're right MMRuth, I loved how the ears caught the sauce, especially the ones with chunks of pancetta or bacon in them! I used thick-cut applewood smoked bacon and ventreche from D'Artagnan, frozen baby peas, and bought a bag of pea shoots in Chinatown. They looked bigger/older than the picture at the beginning of the Spring section, so I used the tips. Carbonara is usually rich, but the greens really 'lightened' this and made it a pretty spring dish. I halved the recipe and thought it should have been saucier, but that's probably because I only had large eggs instead of extra-large. I also really liked the combination of both pancetta and bacon, of course.

                1. re: Rubee

                  I think I did have xtra large eggs, but don't recall it being particularly saucy - thanks for the pics of your ingredients - my pea shoots - the snow peas ones - had v. thin stems and much smaller leaves - almost like very delicate cress - the kind people use in tea sandwiches.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    I think the ones you had are true pea shoots/sprouts.

                    The ones I've used are a misnomer I think. In addition to pea shoots, I've heard them called pea tendrils and pea pod stems. It's confusing so I thought this was interesting:


                    Mine looked like this:

                    1. re: Rubee

                      Yes - mine look like the ones in the first link ....

                2. re: MMRuth

                  Orecchiette Carbonara with English Peas and Pea Shoots – p. 80

                  I couldn’t resist a beautiful bundle of fresh, locally grown pea shoots on a visit to a gourmet grocery yesterday and was equally delighted to find this recipe to put them to good use. We love Carbonara and this version sounded magnificent. We thoroughly enjoyed this dish and will likely add peas to our Carbonara going forward as they compliment the flavours and textures of this classic dish perfectly. Like MMRuth and Rubee, we also loved the Orecchiette for its ability to cup the peas and the sauce. I’m getting hungry again just typing this!!

                  As MMRuth notes, the instructions around incorporating the eggs are a bit confusing. When making Carbonara I always bring my eggs to room temperature. In this case I followed my usual technique and simply removed the pan w the Orecchiette and bacon from the heat and incorporated the egg mixture. At that point the sauce was still a bit loose so I put the pan back on the burner on med-low heat for about 30 seconds until it thickened properly. By the time I brought the pan over to plate, the sauce was quite thick so I stirred in a little pasta water to loosen.

                  I particularly liked the idea of adding egg yolks to bring extra richness to the sauce and we all liked the freshness and crunch that the pea shoots brought to the dish, not to mention their vibrant colour. This is a special version of Carbonara and our friends said they preferred it to the typical preparation. I should note that I also added a little Aleppo pepper which was lovely in this dish.

                3. For a Sunday lunch in the country - initially just for the two of us but some friends dropped by - I made the Dungeness Crab Salad with Avocado, Beets, Creme Fraiche, and Lime. I was inspired to make it because I'd bought a tin jumbo lump crab meat at Costco, and so used that instead of Dungeness Crab - which I really don't think I've seen here in NYC in the fish markets, though I'm sure it must be available. Fortunately the avocados I bought were good - no black spots. The only real "plan" ahead item is roasting the beets, and I did them the day before while cooking something else. I made a composed salad in a large bowl, and then served it from there. No photo sadly, but there's a wonderful contrast of colors and flavors - I think that is one of the (many) strengths of her recipes. Another dish that I would make again.

                  As a lunch main course for four people, there was just enough - maybe could have had a little more - probably the perfect amount for an appetizer for six. I used a pound of crabmeat rather than the 3/4 lb called for.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Made this today for a ladies lunch for two. Also used the Costco lump crap. Discovered after I cut into it that my avocado was past (waaay past) it's prime, so ditched it. Instead, I mounded watercress in the center of a chilled platter; scattered the roasted, seasoned beets around the watercress; piled the lumb crab tossed with the vinaigrette of shallots, jalapenos, lime juice, and olive oil on top of the watercress; and topped that with some creme fraiche, an additional sprinkling of the vinaigrette, and a few turns on the pepper mill.

                    Really sorry I didn't take a photo (new friend and I was inhibited) because friend, a decorator, kept going on and on about how beautiful the presentation was. And I couldn't have been happier with how all the flavors worked together. Perfect luncheon for a hot, humid, day--even if today was overcast and drizzly.

                  2. I think that my favorite dish so far is the Boeuf a la Nicoise: Braised Beef Stew with Red Wine, Tomato, Olives, and Buttered Noodles - p. 63.

                    I was unable to find boneless beef short ribs, and so boned them myself. I think I bought 3 lbs - since I was just cooking for two of us. The recipe calls for marinating overnight - mine ended up with a bit of a tortuous path - marinated overnight, then ended up having to take it home from the country due to impending storm, I froze the meat, brought it back to the country the next weekend, put in the refrigerator, and then brought it to room temperature the day I was going to cook it! Did not seem to suffer any ill effects from this. I also ended up braising it on the stove top, as the place where we were staying didn't have an appropriately sized pot that could go in the oven. I made sure to cover tightly with foil and then put the lid on. I've wondered here, and in some other recipes, about her use of balsamic vinegar. The only kind I have at home is an aged balsamic, and I can't imagined using 1/4 cup of it for a stew. My friend had a cheap bottle of so-called balsamic vinegar - the kind I'd never use, so I used a little bit of it and topped it up with sherry vinegar. Another point is that she calls for reserving the garlic and orange zest used in the marinade - I'd used a vegetable peeler to remove the zest, and then chopped it up - which of course made it a pain to "reserve" though I did pick through it. Next time I might try just using larger pieces of zest. However, the dish had the most wonderful orange flavor - really interesting, not overwhelming, but would just "hit you" at the right time in certain bites. I couldn't find any fresh paparadelle, but bought some horribly over priced Cipriani dried pasta ($5 for 1/2 pound - thought I was buying a whole pound, based on the size of the box!). I liked the fact that you toss the pasta with the braising juices. I'm getting hungry for this just writing about it! A real winner - for those spring days where there is still a chill in the air - and certainly a great winter stew with a lot of fresh flavors.

                    Edit - I also liked the addition of the baby spinach at the end - means that you really have a balanced one dish meal. The fennel was also an interesting ingredient that would not have occurred to me for a beef stew.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: MMRuth

                      Hi MMRuth:

                      She mentions somewhere in the book not to use the aged vinegars - that she uses those only as condiments (she recommends cooking with the regular balsamic vinegar from Modena).

                      Wow - you've been cooking up a storm! I can't wait to try my first recipe.

                      1. re: Rubee

                        Ah - thanks - it had crossed my mind that she might have discussed that somewhere but didn't look it up. Some of this cooking was actually back in April, but I hadn't gotten around to posting until now!

                      2. re: MMRuth

                        I love this dish as well. I actually leave the bones on the ribs. I love them that way and I think it adds even more flavor. By the time it is cooked, some of the meat comes off the bone. You can just remove the bare bones, if you like. I love to serve it rustic style with the bones in the bowl, even if they are meatless. This truly is a great dish and, yes, the spinach at the end is a must.

                        1. re: Tom P

                          Darn, I didn't realize the spinach was a must.

                          We made the Boeuf a la nicoise tonight for a wine tasting evening. I really think that this is one of my favorite recipes from this book, along with the chicken Paillards and the persimmon arugula pomegranate salad. We forgot to do the tomatoes, and we didn't have fresh San Marzanos, so we roasted some of our heirloom garden tomatoes instead, we split them in half, salted and peppered them, drizzled with olive oil ad fresh oregano, and roasted them in a pan for 30 minutes at 400 degrees farenheit. We also couldn't find good spinach today, so we skipped the spinach. We substituted Kalamata olives for the nicoise olives.

                          This recipe is made for wine! It was absolutely delicious with the Leon Barral Faugeres "Le Jadis" 2005, and Vieux Telegraphe "La Crau" Chateaunneuf-du-Pape 1997. The recipe made two wonderful wines completely transcendent. I will definitely be making this dish again, as it really showcases wine perfectly. I love the saltiness of the olives, the tang of the orange zest, the sweetness of the roast tomatoes and buttery lusciousness of the noodles. What a marvelous dish.

                          1. re: moh

                            I think I've used arugula instead of spinach sometimes. So glad you liked the dish - reminds me to make it this fall as well.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MMRuth, thank you for that suggestion! I bet arugula would be wonderful in this dish, it would add a lovely peppery note that goes well with citrus. It would be fun to try this with the arugula and a nice spicy peppery Syrah. I also think the green would add a very beautiful touch of colour to the dish, just as the tomatoes do.

                        2. re: MMRuth

                          I'm thinking of making this for a dinner party at the weekend. We've talked before about how short ribs are not routinely sold in the UK. Could I substitute any kind of stewing beef, do you think - I'm thinking that shin would be good for this recipe. Thanks.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            How funny - I just replied to your post on the GT board. I'm pretty sure you could use stew meat - I usually use what we call chuck.


                            Edit: For some reason I thought you were thinking about making the braised short ribs. I have indeed made this dish with stew meat, and it's very good.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I used chuck in the end, which was what the butcher recommended. He said there was no point in boning out the short ribs.

                              Anyway, I thought this stew was sensational with a real depth of flavour. Perfect for a cold winter's evening. The orange zest (actually I used clemetine because my oranges were a bit old and tired) really made it sing.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                I just made this again over the weekend and we still love it! I had found a great deal on boneless shortribs at Costco, and the meat was very tender. Glad you enjoyed it too.

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Those boneless ribs at Costco are fabulous. I also love the boneless pork ribs. This dish is one of my all-time faves, although I love the short ribs with horseradish cream, chard and mashed spuds the best of all.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    I'd never noticed them there before - about $15 for a little more than 4 pounds. I used half of them and froze the other half, which made the dish v. economical.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Braised beef stew with red wine,tomato, olives and buttered noodles P. 65

                              This is a fabulous recipe; my guest raved about it and I loved it too.
                              Followed the recipe for the most part with a few changes here and there.
                              Due to lack of time, did not season the meat a day ahead, but simply put the ingredients in at the later step.
                              Also, did not bother to strip the thyme but just put the sprigs in whole and removed the 'sticks' at the end.
                              I also used bone-in (rather than boneless) short ribs and it worked out well, as the meat was falling-off-the-bone tender.
                              I made the full amount of everything - except the butter. Since I was only cooking for 2, there was just no way on God's green earth I was going to add 6 Tablespoons of butter to the sauce at the end. So I buttered the Pappardelle (enough for 2 people) with about a Tablespoon and used another half Tablespoon to thicken the sauce. It was more than enough for both of us and we both thought the stew was delicious. Surely the sauce would have been even more delectably silken with the full amount of butter, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
                              I did not really taste the orange zest and I'm sure it's because I skipped the season-a-day-ahead step - which next time I will do.
                              The leftovers just got better and better - this dish really tastes better the next day.
                              Will make this again in the very cold weather.

                            2. Looks like I'm the first to report on a spring dessert. Not having the book, I'm assuming that the meyer lemon tart w/ a layer of chocolate fits into this season.

                              Here's the online recipe I used:

                              I made this dessert to cap off mother's day dinner, and overall it was quite good. I already had a ball of pate brisee in the freezer that I wanted to use up, so I didn't actually try Goin's sucree method. The brisee was a fine platform for the curd filling; however, I wonder if it having less sugar than the sucree made me not like the chocolate layer so much. It tasted too bitter to me, and I realized that I'm not crazy about the lemon-chocolate combo so I'd omit the thin chocolate layer next time. I like the "surprise" layer since it's a little different so I might replace w/ strawberry or raspberry jam next time or just stick w/ the classic all lemon.

                              The lemon curd itself was fantastic and came together beautifully. I've never made lemon curd before and had no problem w/ Goin's technique. The only glitch was that the Leite's recipe doesn't say when to add the whole eggs, but I assumed it was w/ the egg yolks after comparing to some other recipes. Can someone who has the book confirm this?

                              It looked like it was going to be too much curd for the shell, but the amount was perfect. Since I make it a regular habit to taste and adjust along the way (thanks to Judy Rodgers), I added a little superfine sugar when the curd was still warm to balance the lemon tartness. I also didn't add maybe 2 TB of butter at the end since I didn't think it needed it.

                              Served w/ whipped cream as suggested, and we also had some fresh strawberries to nibble on alongside. I would def. make this again, although like I said, I'll omit the chocolate next time. I also will make her pate sucree since I'm sure it's better than a brisee for this. The recipe says it serves 6 but in my world it serves more like 10.

                              Here's a rushed, end of the night photo of the tart:

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                Never mind about that omission on Leite's. I emailed them when I posted this and they've already corrected it.

                              2. Smashed Cannellini Bean Crostini w/ feta salsa verde:

                                I made this as a starter to mother's day dinner. Not having the cookbook, I think the above recipe is from SS and I'm guessing in the spring section. My version works best for spring anyway since I used a combo of fava and garbanzo beans instead of the cannellini. I also wanted to make this a little more substantial, so I added shrimp (halved lengthwise after cooking) sauteed in some oil and lightly seasoned w/ smoked paprika.

                                Here's a photo:

                                Overall, this recipe was delicious! All my adult guests raved about this and found them very addictive. Sauteing the rosemary and chile brought life to the bean mixture. I liked the fava-garbanzo combo. The feta salsa was a great condiment that could be used in many ways, although I didn't use all the oil called for and had to omit anchovy since my FIL can't eat them.

                                My shrimp addition was pretty tasty, although it made the crostini a little clunky to handle. I was worried my in-laws wouldn't be crazy about mostly beans, but next time I'll leave the shrimp out or chop them into chunks after cooking and mix in w/ the beans. I will def. add this to my crostini repertoire!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                  Gorgeous enticing picture as always. I love the idea of the shrimp!

                                  In the book, she serves the feta salsa verde with grilled rosemary lamb skewers and lima bean puree, which looks great too, and there is another variation of the fava bean puree with feta and oil-cured olives with crostini.

                                2. Wild Striped Bass with farro, black rice, green garlic and tangerine (p. 59).

                                  This was great - even with the substitutions of shallots and oranges instead of green garlic and tangerine, and I sent my husband out for bass and pea shoots, and the sweet guy returned with Chilean sea bass and mache ; )

                                  Farro and Black Rice with Green Garlic and Pea Shoots (p. 60).

                                  This was the first step. Since the farro and rice are cooked ahead of time and cooled, I did that this afternoon. Good thing too, as they took longer than the recipe mentions. She says to simmer the rice in water on low heat for about 40 minutes (with onion, a chile de arbol, bay leaf, a wine), and the farro in water for about 30 minutes (with onion, bay leaf, thyme, and wine). Both ended up taking quite a bit longer. I'm not sure how long, I just did it to taste, but did end up turning the heat up. I also had to drain the rice instead of stirring and evaporating the liquid. I did notice that the directions on the box of Venere Nero (Italian black rice) says to boil for 40 minutes, while those on the farro said soak for 6-8 hours and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Anyways, once cooked and cooled spread out on cookie sheets, the hard part was done.

                                  Bass with Farro and Black Rice

                                  Four hours ahead, she recommends to season the fish - I used the zest of one orange and chopped parsley and thyme. I took it out of the refrigerator while I was reheating the rice and farro, and starting the sauce. When ready to serve tonight for dinner, the rice/farro took less than 10 minutes. I sauteed shallots and a sliced chile de arbol in olive oil, then added the farro for 5 minutes, and then the rice for a couple more. At this point, I put it in the oven (in a Le Creuset) to keep warm while I cooked the fish and sauce.

                                  The fish was easy enough. Season with S&P and cook skin-side down in a hot pan until crispy, then flip and cook until until just done. When the fish was done, I took the farro out of the oven, added a couple handfuls of mache, (lamb's lettuce), and stirred until wilted. For the sauce, I reduced about 1-1/4 cup of fresh OJ by half, and then whisked in butter and S&P and added orange segments just before serving. I finished by plating the farro/rice, topping it with a piece of fish, and spoonfuls of the orange beurre blanc. I absolutely loved the texture of the farro/rice, and what a nice base it will make for all sorts of dishes. I made the full amount, but only served half of it for dinner. The rest will make a great salad I'm sure.

                                  Really a delicious blend of flavors. I will definitely make this again. A great dish for company as it's easy to put together if you cook the farro and rice a day ahead, and makes a nice presentation. Another winner from this book.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    Rubee, that looks incredible! I've never had farro before, and I'm not sure if I know what black rice the recipe calls for. Where can one generally find these ingredients? Is the black rice sold at Asian markets?

                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                      I think you'd love farro - it has a unique chewy nutty texture. I first cooked with it last summer when I made a delicious farro salad with broccoli rabe and cherries (a recipe from chefs Frasca and Lydon in the Boston Globe). I've also loved it made as a risotto by a local chef named Michael Scelfo. I'm pretty sure they have it at Whole Foods. I also did a little research, and there's "semi-pearled" farro, which cooks quicker. I used Anson Mills organic farro.

                                      I couldn't find it just now, but I I think I read that Goin says you can use non-glutinous Chinese Forbidden Rice, though try 'searching out' Vernere Nero which is a recent cross between Chinese black rice and an Italian variety. I ended up ordering both the Anson Mills farro and the black Italian rice from Piedmont, along with some other hard-to-find ingredients for her recipes (orange blossom honey, flageolets, etc.) from Surfa.


                                      A little bit more about black rice:

                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        Thanks for the info and links, Rubee! I'm going to check a couple of Italian specialty markets in San Jose and may consider ordering from Surfas if I can't find those products. Both grains sound tasty and healthful.

                                  2. Sweet Cherry Compote

                                    Made this today to go with the Hazelnut cake (Winter) - didn't have the sweetest cherries, and I don't thing they were bing cherries, but delicious all the same. Was able to buy a tiny bottle of grappa, so used that. Quick and easy to make.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      Just ate some of these cherries (made in the morning) this evening with cake and some vanilla ice cream - delicious, and the cherries certainly improved over time ....

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        I made the Roman Cherry Tart (which uses the Sweet Cherry Compote) and it was delicious. The crust is very almondy. SO said it was one of the best desserts I've ever made. Didn't make the almond ice cream, though I'm sure that would have taken it to a whole other level.

                                      2. Fava Bean Puree with oil-cured olives, french feta, and garlic toasts, p. 68

                                        Wow. I love fava beans, but this took them to new heights. As with her other recipes, a bit labor intensive, but well worth it. I shelled, blanched and peeled the favas this morning, and then put the dish together this evening while the Chicken Thigh dish was in the oven. One nit I have is that she calls for crumbling the chile de arbol (which, by the way, I've not been able to find, and just use a regular dried red chile) in the oil before you add the favas, and then to "discard" the chile when you remove the favas from the oil. Well, I'm not about to pick out a bunch of flecks of crumbled chiles, so (a) my fava bean puree, although wonderfully tasty, was a bit spicier than I think was necessary and (b) next time I'll just break a piece of chile in half, so that I can remove it more easily.

                                        Since my oven was in use, I grilled slices of day old puglia loaf on the stove top - on the oiled grill pan, weighed down by my cast iron pan.

                                        This would be a great hors d'oeuvre, and I'll definitely make again - as long as the fava beans are around, or next spring again.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          Food and Wine has a variation with fresh limas that is very similiar and can be made later in the year. I believe it is topped with pecornio instead. I like it even better than the the fresh fava version....

                                          1. re: JudiAU

                                            Another alternative when favas are not in season is a recipe I have for "Fava Bean Salata" (aka fava puree) from a Greek cookbook that I love which calls for canned butter beans. While I adore Suzanne Goin's recipe with the fresh fava beans (see my post below) for off-season, this recipe is great. I've posted it before. Here's the link:


                                            1. re: DanaB

                                              "One nit I have is that she calls for crumbling the chile de arbol (which, by the way, I've not been able to find, and just use a regular dried red chile) in the oil before you add the favas, and then to "discard" the chile when you remove the favas from the oil.'" - MMRuth

                                              Here in LA (not far from Lucques) chile de arbor are sold in large cellophane prepackages bags underneath the bins in the produce section. They impart a great smoky flavor and just the right amount of heat. They are also very inexpensive.

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Also (though I think they're more easily found now than in 2007), I've always bought mine from Penzey's.


                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                  I just saw favas at the farmer's market this morning for the first time. Had to rush out but this recipe will be the first that I make. I never can decide if I like the fava variation or her version for the lima beans published at Food and Wine.

                                                  I did have the unique honor of serving this to Alice Waters at a school garden event a few years ago. And she had seconds. =)

                                        2. Coconut Flan with Apricots and Beames de Venise, p. 103

                                          This was so good. Okay, I've only made four dishes, but I officially love this book and predict that I will also love everything I cook from it. CarbLover, I think you need to buy this ; )

                                          This recipe was once again a winner, and another one from this book to go into my roster of company-worthy dishes since it looks so nice and the prep can be done ahead of time.

                                          The flan is made with condensed milk, eggs, sugar, and evaporated milk which made it silky and creamy. I used sweetened shredded coconut instead of unsweetened, and sauterne instead of the beames de venise (sweet white wine). My first time making flan, and even though I made a mess trying to coat the ramekins evenly before the caramel darkened or hardened too much, the end result is very forgiving. The coconut 'rises' to the top when baking so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom when you turn it out. (BTW - I had to google and the tip to clean hardened caramel is to fill the pan with hot water and heat it up until the remaining caramel dissolves).

                                          The apricot sauce was a great addition. Reduce orange juice, dessert wine, and sugar with honey (I used orange-blossom as she suggests), a cinnamon stick, whole cloves, and a vanilla bean. Add halved apricots (I used apriums), simmer for a couple of minutes, and then let cool in the pan.

                                          Even with all the sweet ingredients, I was suprised that the combination of these two were so delicately balanced, not too sweet at all. I would definitely make this again. Great dessert to prep ahead, but once again, a beautiful presentation.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Rubee

                                            I love everything I've made from this book. I feel so connected to Suzanne culinarily that reading all your posts made ME feel good! It's heartening to see home cooks attempting and being successful with such challenging recipes... It really IS worth it!!!!!

                                            The melted leeks from the Deviled Chicken Thighs recipe just keeps on giving. I've used it repeatedly for a background for spring fish dishes. Whether it's on the "list" or not, do give them a try.

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              You were so right when you raved about this book! Yep - forget the list. I've already decided I want to try every recipe in this book. ; ) I'm inspired to cook everything that everybody reports on, in addition to those I have picked out. I just told my brother I'm making the pork, chorizo, and applewood-smoked bacon burgers, and the succotash salad for his Memorial Day cookout, but now I want to bring the fava puree, and the tomato salad DanaB made, and the hazelnut cake, and the ...

                                              Any favorite recipes you'd recommend?

                                            2. re: Rubee

                                              Ok, your and everyone else's posts and photos are convincing me that I may need to buy this book. That flan looks spectacular!! Positively mouthwatering. The funny thing is that I was in my bookshop today and flipped through the book to get a sense of the layout and the gestalt of the book. The photo of the flan made me stop in my tracks; I just stared at it for a minute in pure longing. Yours is equally captivating...

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                Of all the books in the "Cookbook of the Month" we've done, the two I want to buy are Arabesque and this one. After this week, cooking from this book, it got my friends wanting to buy it, too. (See my report, below).

                                            3. I also made the "Fava Bean Puree with Oil-Cured Olives, French Feta and Garlic Toasts" this weekend. We made this and also the "Tomato Salad with Burrata, Torn Croutons and Basil," which I will post about on the summer thread, and a third dish, not from this book, of roasted cauliflower, as part of a light supper while watching the Sopranos tonight :-)

                                              Boy, is the fava bean puree a good recipe! Although everything about this recipe is pretty labor intensive, the effort is worth it. (Plus, I had some extra hands to shuck and peel the fava beans while I worked on the rest of the recipe. ;-) The fava bean puree itself turned out earthy, nutty, bright and delicious -- a great use for the beans. The topping of feta and olives (which are mixed with some lemon juice and parsley) is a perfect compliment! So far I am really enjoying the recipes in this book.

                                              Here are some photos of the fava bean puree, both plated and in the serving bowl.

                                              1. I did menu 4 and being a complete nar, I thought it was a four course meal--talk about lots of prep. Although, the menues are for 6, there were only 3 of us.
                                                Fava bean puree--I loved this dish, as did my guests. The feta and olives are great with the puree. My only caviat is that I would double the amount of favas and I thought it a little oily. There is in all her recipes a lot of prep and you have to be fairly a knowledgeabe and experienced cook.

                                                Crab salad--I think this was one of my favourite dishes. She is very inspired in the combinations of ingredients. I thought the texture and taste profile very inventive. I was doubtful about the creme fraiche, but with the unctuous sweetness of the avocado, salty sweetness of the crab and beets and vinagrette, it was just perfect. Of course, here in Ontario we do not often get dungeness crab, and quite honestly, I thought cooking and shelling crabs was just too much prep with all the other work I had done. So I bought the really expensive crab claw meat at my wonderful fish monger. Yummy.

                                                Chicken: I did not make this, although it was prepped and ready to go. Again, mucho prep work, especially in my teeney, tiny kitchen. My guests and I were quite full at this point and we did not think we could do the dish justice. I put the breasts in the freezer and will make them at a later date. I'll report on the results, although it may not be fair with the stop in the middle technique. Any suggestions here would be appreciated.
                                                I did make the parmesan pudding and heated it up as Goin suggests the next day. It is like a parmesan cheese souffle--very good. The techinique is as for a souffle--white sauce incorporated into a custard and baked. You really have to be an experienced cook for this recipe, but it is worth the work. I might serve it with a salad as a lunch entree.

                                                Lemon Cheese Cake with lemon cream and blueberry compote. Totally declicious, although again a lot of work. The lemon cream is to die for and combined with the bllueberries a killer. The addition of dried blueberries is inspired.

                                                I will cook from this book again but probably not the whole menu at one meal. I like the sound of many of the recipes.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: faijay

                                                  All sounds delicious - I do think I read that the meals are meant to be 3 courses - i.e., you choose from one of the second and third recipes .... I'll check on that chicken dish - I've not tried it.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    I really like a lot of her techniques. With the chicken you marinate overnight and it has saffron (I love that stuff) thyme and oil. It is served with sugar snap peas, spring onions (I prepared wild leeks (ramps) instead) and pea sprouts. So with the parmesan souffle thing it should be quite a knock out chicken dish.

                                                    1. re: faijay

                                                      I agree that her "marinating overnight" or "for at least 4 hours" really adds a lot of flavor to the dishes ... something to think about when using other recipes.

                                                      1. re: faijay

                                                        I made the Saffron Chicken recipe last night. Preparation was actually fairly simple, although you do have to marinate the chicken ahead of time. Flavors were great...really spring"y" and fresh. I planned the parmesan custard, but substituted polenta with parmesan since my brother dropped in unexpectedly and was starving. The polenta and saffron chicken were a nice combination, although a bit yellow.

                                                        I will definitely make this recipe again and recomend it as a dinner party entree -- especially if you are cooking for not-very adventurous eaters but want something a bit different.

                                                        1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                                          I was just going through the book and looked at this recipe. Now I'm definitely going to have to try it - maybe this weekend.

                                                  2. Vanilla ice cream (p. 113)
                                                    Dangerously loving my new ice cream maker, and a fan of super rich vanilla, I made SG's vanilla ice cream -- cooked custard w/ whole vanilla bean (from Penzey's) and 4 egg yolks. I like it a little sweeter so I used 3/4 instead of her 1/2 c sugar.
                                                    Everything was going along swimmingly -- cooking the cream/milk w/ the vanilla bean, letting it sit and infuse (love those vanilla specks!). I returned the egg/cream mixture to the stove and cooked as directed, and everything seemed honkey dorey but then. .. what's this? It curdled!
                                                    I plunged on, processed in ice cream maker, froze and this a.m. I took a taste and it seems to be fine. Well, much more than fine -- decadently rich and vanilly and delicious.

                                                    1. Romesco, p. 44.

                                                      This is my first time making this Spanish sauce, but definitely not my last. It's a great condiment to have in the fridge as it tastes good on everything.

                                                      I doubled the recipe so I would have some for the chorizo burgers (on the Summer thread), and for the romesco potatoes I'm going to make later this week.

                                                      Softened ancho chilies are ground with toasted almonds and hazelnuts, fried bread cubes, tomatoes, garlic, and parsley. The only change I would make next time is to reduce the olive oil. She says that it's normal for the romesco to "'break' or separate into solids and oils". Immediately after I processed it, I ended up with a congealed mass swimming in a pool of brick-colored oil. It later emulsified more after it cooled and I stirred it, but still seemed a bit oily.

                                                      Otherwise, it was delicious, and another winner. There was so much flavor and texture from the ingredients. When I served this with the chorizo burgers, my uncle loved it so much he was dolloping it on his steak, and my aunt actually took the leftover sauce home.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        I definitely want to try this recipe. I'm glad I saw your picture though. After reading the recipe, this is NOT how I pictured this dish.

                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                          Romesco Potatoes, p. 43

                                                          I forgot to take a pic from the Spanish-themed dinner earlier in the week (and I think this was one of the more popular dishes). The pic below are the leftover potatoes I served as a side dish to dinner tonight with a tapas pork dish from "Forever Summer" and a simple salad from this month's book "A Taste of Country Cooking".

                                                          Yukon gold potatoes are baked covered with olive oil, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Then simply crumble them when cool, fry until crispy, and add roasted garlic, romesco, and chopped parsley. This romesco sauce is like gold to have in the refrigerator. It's so good on everything.



                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            I've made romesco twice -- the first time with the perfectly mediocre paprika I had sitting around the house, the second time with the much nicer San Angel smoked "pimenton" that I had gone crazy for.
                                                            You can imagine the difference, which was huge. The first time I didn't see what all the fuss was about. I should have known better but I didn't, so I hope someone learns from my mistake and makes awesome romesco the first time. Rubbing the skins off of hazelnuts with a dishtowel has got to get top results the FIRST time! : )

                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                              Interesting - that actually makes sense that it would traditionally be made from pimenton. I guess Goin's twist on it is using the Ancho chiles.

                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                Doesn't it call for both the anchos and the paprika? It's been awhile, but they do add different things to the mix. Now I'm wondering if I'm confusing Goin and Zuni versions...

                                                                EDIT: here's the earlier discussion of Zuni romesco
                                                                : )

                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                  Just checked, in case my memory was faulty - it doesn't - I'll have to try the Zuni one!

                                                        2. Curried English Pea Soup with Creme Fraiche - one of the easier recipes! I used frozen peas because I just didn't feel like shelling peas today. Has a very light curry flavor, as well as mint and a little creme fraiche swirled in at the end. The soup is meant to be served warm, but given the temperature here, I made it ahead of time and chilled it - very rich, yet refreshing. I squeezed in the lemon juice just before serving. One thing that I did notice when blending the soup is that I did not use up all of the broth (in which the other ingredients are cooked) so I've saved it to use for something else.

                                                          Tonight's menu: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40749...

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            Forgot to mention that I cut back a little on the butter - used 4T instead of 6T - her recipes generally are very liberal with the fat, and while I don't generally object to that I'm trying to be a little more conscience of how much I use - didn't discern any negative impact on the dish.

                                                          2. For our main course this evening we had the Wild Salmon Salad with Beets, Potatoes, Eggs and Mustard Vinaigrette. I found some beautiful sockeye, Copper River salmon at the market, as well as three different colors of beets, so I was good to go, I used v. small red potatoes, and instead of dandelion greens, I used snow pea shoots - a nod to the Curried Pea Soup we started with. Roasted the potatoes and beets, made the vinaigrette and the herb mixture for the salmon, boiled the eggs, then took a break. A bit later, went ahead and cooked the salmon - interesting technique - at 250, on a rack on a baking sheet, with a shallow pan of water for about 25 minutes. Incredibly tender. I followed her instructions for boiling the eggs (9 minutes of low simmer after coming to the boil) and they were the best "hard" boiled eggs I've ever made.

                                                            My presentation doesn't quite have the same lovely insouciance of the picture in the book, but I love the different beets etc. - the tiny red ones practically look like strawberries.

                                                            Tonight's menu:


                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              Same issue with the fat here - other than in the vinaigrette, I used a little less olive oil than she recommends in the preparation of each component.

                                                              1. could someone direct me to the recipe for the Endive salad with meyer lemon and olives? I thought i saw it somewhere on this board but can't find it now...

                                                                thanks in advance

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: berbere

                                                                  A couple of people made it (below), but I don't remember seeing a recipe link for it.


                                                                  Edit: Oops, sorry just realized that the reports are on this thread! I tried googling for a recipe, but no luck so far....

                                                                2. Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Strawberries (page 82) was a hit dessert this weekend. We're getting the fresh local berries right now, so it's strawberry desserts every weekend while they're available. The creme fraiche makes for a tangier custard than traditional panna cotta and, as Goin asserts, is a delightful foil for the fresh, sweet berries.

                                                                  Stuck with the recipe, except that I macerated the strawberries for about 1 1/2 hours to let some juices develop. Goin instructs to slice and sugar them 10 minutes before serving.

                                                                  Preparation is no more complicated or time-consuming than any other panna cotta I've made. Meaning it's quick and simple to do.

                                                                  1. 1970s Mom's Double Chocolate Bundt Cake (pg. 112)

                                                                    This was pretty good. I'm not sure if I would repeat it given how many chocolate cakes/bundt cakes/lb cake recipes there are out there. But, I really liked the addition of the creme fraiche instead of sour cream.

                                                                    I decided to bring this cake to a bbq. Goin does state that this cake is a sinker and trust me, she's right. The cake was so funny looking that I went out and bought salami and cheese as an appetizer so this way, if the cake did stink, I still had some good eats with me.

                                                                    Note to self - *NEVER* start baking before the first cup of coffee.

                                                                    The recipe called for 1/3 cup of cocoa to be dissolved in 3/4 cup of water. I know I messed this up. I think I used more of both because I grabbed the wrong measuring cup and I didn't look that closely at the water proportion. Consquently, my cake was richer and more chocolatey than usual (not that this was a bad thing).

                                                                    Also, the recipe called for 7 oz of chocolate. I had 6 oz. 5 oz was to be melted into the cake, the last oz was to be sprinkled on top (later the bottom) of the cake. These bits were great and I wish I had more. It was nice, taking bites of cake and hitting a chocolate chunk.

                                                                    Lastly, with the sifted flour, I added healthy shakes of cayenne pepper. I think that pepper brings out the chocolate flavor so I usually add this in to my cakes.

                                                                    It's a bit of a tricky cake because the toothpick test can't be used. But, the cake looked really nice when it came out of the oven. After it cooled slightly, it dropped a lot. And it dropped unevenly. It is so NOT a pretty cake but the taste does make up for its looks. It does need vanilla ice cream or whipped cream to offset the richness. I served this with store bought vanilla ice cream and it did the trick.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                      It was delicious. I loved the cayenne addition also. I think you should make it again ; )

                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                        Yes, I agree, you should make it again! Maybe on... uh... August 24th! ;-)

                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                          1970s Mom's Double Chocolate Bundt Cake (pg. 112)

                                                                          This is the first recipe from this book that wasn't a success for me. I was not as happy with this cake as bettlebug, Rubee, and Katie Nell were. I made this recipe exactly as written except I substituted Cup for Cup gluten free flour from William Sonoma. The cake was actually very involved to make, with lots and lots of pans dirtied along the way. The end result turned out to be nothing special, too moist inside, badly sunken, and not terribly flavorful. I am not sure if it is because I undercooked it or because I used the cup for cup, but I probably won't try it again since it was so much work.

                                                                      2. Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Strawberries, p. 82

                                                                        I loved the addition of creme fraiche. It added a nice tang to this creamy panna cotta that went so well with the fresh strawberries. One of her easier recipes too - heat heavy cream and sugar, add to a milk/gelatin mixture, and then whisk in creme fraiche (for locals, I used the fantastic creme fraiche by one of my favorite farmer's market vendors - Silvery Moon Creamery at Smiling Hill Farm in Maine). Pour into oiled ramekins and then chill for a few hours. To serve, garnish with sliced strawberries tossed with a bit of sugar.


                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Rubee

                                                                          Creme Fraiche Panna Cotta with Strawberries (page 82)

                                                                          Made this for a small dinner party last night thinking it would be a nice, light dessert. Not really, because of all that heavy cream. But it sure was good. Even though I oiled the ramekins, I had difficulty unmolding the panna cotta, so put it in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Must have left it in too long since I ended up with panna cotta cream around the edges. Made no nevermind. Everyone gobbled it up, except for the teenager for whom it was too “creamy.” But then, he doesn’t really like whipped cream. Go figure.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            shaking my head trying to imagine anything being "too creamy." Kids today.

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              This is from the dinner that is otherwise all "with Eric"?
                                                                              That dessert would please me at any age!

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                Yes, exactly blue room. My dinner "with Eric" started with Salmon Rillette served with White-Wine Citrus Spritzers with Aperol and the main was Bouillabaisse. Reports if/when it wins.

                                                                          2. Sauteed Alaskan Black Cod with Endive and Hazelnuts, p. 78

                                                                            I made this the weekend before last (served the summer gnocchi recipe as an appetizer). Quick and easy and another winner from Goin. I really liked the combination of the hazelnuts and endive. I couldn't find blanched hazelnuts, so I roasted them, rubbed off the peel as best I could, and roasted a little longer!

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                              Wow! This sounds great. I'll have to look it up. It's hard to find Black Cod around here in the SF Bay Area. Nothing else has that silky texture that I used to hate and now wonder how I was ever so dumb! It'd probably be pretty good with another fish, tho.

                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                I happened to find it at a fish market and had some vague recollection that this recipe existed, so I got lucky! I agree about the texture - lovely.

                                                                            2. Halibut with Fingerlings, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon and Savory Creme Fraiche, p. 86

                                                                              I made this last night after an aborted attempt on Saturday (fish was bad - always smell fish when you buy it!). Late morning, I seasoned the filets, made the creme fraiche (no savory, so used her suggestion of using thyme, rosemary, and mint, which I mashed into a paste in the mortar) and the Meyer lemon salsa. I'm glad I made both ahead - the flavor really got infused into the creme fraiche, and the salsa "set up" a bit in the fridge - I thought it was a bit soupy when I made it. I also cooked and smashed the potatoes ahead of time, and then put it all together at the end. I did end up cooking the fava beans in water for about 2 minutes, and then peeling them, and to my relief, they were not over cooked when added to the potatoes etc.

                                                                              This dish really felt like spring - had lots of Irish green to it, a day early, and I felt fortunate to find Meyer lemons, favas and pea shoots all at the same time! The potatoes/favas/pea shoots are put on a platter, then you add some creme fraiche and some salsa, then the fish, then more creme fraiche and salsa. I was a bit worried about the mixing of the creme fraiche and the citrus salsa - but I shouldn't have been! Husband is happy to have his girlfriend (Goin) back.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                I did a lot of Suzanne Goin cooking this weekend too! This woman is a genius. However I feel I have consumed so much olive oil that my skin is slippery.
                                                                                The fava bean puree on the garlic toasts--ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. I used little shavings of ricotta salata instead of feta and worked really nicely.
                                                                                Also made her beet salad with fried chickpeas--NOTE--the juices that the chickpeas cook in make a FANTASTIC VEG STOCK (she uses, if I recall, chili, paprika, ceyenne, shallots or onion, garlic, and a cinnamon stick). I used the stock to make a black bean pumpkin chili and it tasted so so so good.
                                                                                Last weekend I made her beluga lentils (which were eye-rolling drizzled in a little truffle oil).
                                                                                By the way, I had some leftovers of the beluga lentils and used Heidi Swanson's recipe for Veg Lentil Burgers (ommitting the onion since Goin's lentils already had onion)--these burgers were INCREDIBLE--here is the recipe:

                                                                                1. re: abud

                                                                                  I can't wait to make that fava bean puree again.

                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                    I made the Corned Beef Recipe for Saint Patrick's Day with the Parsley Mustard sauce. The corned beef was a standard recipe aside from the crisping of the beef. The sauce made the dish-its made with whole grain mustard, parsle & herbs and really elevated this dish. What I love about Suzanne's recipes are that she always knows how to make dishes taste fresh and lively. I also made the gentleman's relish on toasts-is really an anchovy herb butter but gentleman's relish has a far more intriguing name. I didn't serve them with the watercress soup like in the book but I'm pretty sure it would have complemented it perfectly.

                                                                              2. Spring! I've also been doing quite a bit of cooking from this cookbook recently I have to say, it's become my all time favorite. This year I've discovered Meyer lemons, and the salsa and meyer lemon cream are fantastic. I've kept Meyer's in the fridge for the past several weeks just for these 2 recipes. Also try a pizza with mozzarella, goat cheese, very thinly sliced meyers, thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Really special. (now, where did I see that...was it the LA time food section, perhaps?)

                                                                                1. I made the black rice a few weeks ago (the recipe on the same page as the cherry compote). I used forbidden chinese black rice and the recipe seemed to call for a TON of water. Was it 10 cups? It took FOREVER for all the water to evaporate. Did anyone else have this issue? i think the recipe said after 40 minutes or so, when rice is almost done, stir continuously until water is gone and I had to cook for a good half hour at least past the 40 minute point. Maybe 40 mins longer. It tasted WONDERFUL in the end, but really did take a lot longer than I anticipated. And I think the rice was pretty much done before all the water was gone. I was worried it was going to turn into a mushy mess and it didn't. Still, the consistency was like a creamy risotto. Is this how it turned out for the rest of you?

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: abud

                                                                                    I had the same experience (I linked to my recipe report above w/pic). I think it took me about the same length of time, and I even turned up the heat a bit. I also ended up draining it instead of waiting for the water to evaporate since I didn't want it to get too soft. Later when I looked at the directions on my box of Vernere Nero, I noticed that it said to boil for 40 minutes, not simmer as Goin's directions said, and that's what I do when I cook it now. I agree, it does taste wonderful, and I've since become a big fan of black rice.

                                                                                    Bass with Farro and Black Rice

                                                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                                                      Rubee--what a coincidence that you responded today. I just this morning bought a big bag of mizuna at the farmer's market with the thought of trying this dish again. Thanks for your comments--sorry I missed them first time. I will boil this time.

                                                                                  2. Herb-Roasted Pork Loin with Haricots Verts, Spring Onions, and Mustard Breadcrumbs (from Menu 12, page 157)

                                                                                    Okay. So it’s not Spring. But I had a pork loin in the freezer that I wanted out of the freezer and after reading through more than half a dozen pork loin recipes from current and previous COTM selections, I decided (surprise! surprise!) to try this one. Made the recipes as written except it not being Spring I substituted scallions for the spring onions.

                                                                                    This was awfully good, but not quite as wonderful as I think it could be. There were a number of places I may have gone wrong. The photo in the book shows a very darkly caramelized loin. Mine never got anywhere near that dark. Perhaps it was just a bit too big for the sauté pan? It browned spottily rather than evenly. And when it came to the roasting part, she says to cook it until it reaches 120F, about and hour and a quarter. Well, mine was over 120F in less than twenty minutes!?! How could that be? I mean a loin is a loin, right? The meat was pink and juicy and very tasty—but it would have been even better if the outside had been a bit crusty. And I thought the mustard (used Maille Dijon Originale) was just a tad overwhelming. Didn’t allow all the wonderful herb flavors to come through as well as I think they should have.

                                                                                    The haricots verts with the scallions was terrific; can’t imagine it could be much better with spring onions. And the mustard breadcrumbs added a wonderful crunch. She’s soooo good on balancing textures.

                                                                                    Might try this again just because I’m stubborn and because good as it was, it wasn’t an epiphany as so many of her recipes have been and I suspect this could be.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Coming back to report that although the roast was a bit of a disappointment, the sandwiches the next day were so outstanding I can well imagine making this again just for the leftovers. I warmed thinly cut pork slices in the leftover juice, layered them on really good bread, sprinkled it with the leftover bread crumbs (I know. Bread crumbs on a sandwich? But they were so flavorful and so crunchy and it was just great.), and topped it with Zuni pickled onion slices. It didn't need any additional mustard or spread. Simply terrific.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        I have to say, this is STILL my very favorite cook book. And I have many!

                                                                                        1. re: Elycooks

                                                                                          For Thanksgiving, I made the tarte au fromage with lemon cream and blueberry compote (non-use of caps as in book), p 75. I really loved the tastes in this recipe. The combo of creamy ricotta tarte filling, puff pastry, lemon cream (lemon curd folded into whipped cream) and blueberry compote was a treat for the tastebuds. A bit of smooth, a bit of rich, a bit of tart and a bit of juicy sweet/sour blueberry compote.

                                                                                          I tasted the fresh blueberries at the market, but when I'd cooked them down, they didn't taste like much. I decided to add a few dried cranberries and raw cranberries to the compote. This worked well, although the blueberries provided little more than bulk in the sauce. They do pop in the mouth, though, since they keep their shape after cooking.

                                                                                          The tarte is just a sheet of puff pastry which you score about 1/2 inch in from the edge so that it rises to make a bed for the ricotta filling when you pre-bake it. She has you bake the pastry sheet so that the bottom won't get soggy upon receiving the filling. You then remove part of the middle of the pastry to make room for the filling. The filling (ricotta, eggs, vanilla, cream, sugar and lemon zest) is spooned onto the partially baked pastry sheet and put back in the oven to bake for about a half hour. The sugar crystalizes on the border and looks lovely. After it has cooled, you cut into squares and garnish with the compote and a dollop of lemon cream. This was a big hit, and, since you use a frozen puff pastry sheet, it's not that much work...well, it's a bit of work, but nothing onerous.

                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                            I made this last night too and we loved it. Unfortunately, we were all a bit full from the Lucques starter and main course that I also made so I don't think we did it justice. One of my friends kept going back to hers and nearly finished it, which was heroic under the circumstances!

                                                                                            Anyway, I did have a few problems. The pastry shell and ricotta filling were pretty straightforward, but my lemon curd ended up lumpy and I had to seive it. I think I either cooked it on two high a heat or didn't stir constantly enough, because the eggs scrambled a bit. It didn't have a very pronounced lemon flavour either, perhaps because I used some Iranian lemons which were more fragrant than lemony (the lady in the shop said they're eaten as a fruit, like an orange, which would suggest they're not very sharp).

                                                                                            With the blueberry compote, you have to first make a caramel with water, sugar and vanilla bean. Mine just didn't seem to want to caramelise. I turned my back for one second and, inevitably, it went all at once and I burnt it! So I had to start again. The blueberries I bought didn't have a great flavour either - probably because they're not in season and had come all the way from Argentina!

                                                                                            Gorgeous dessert though. I heartily recommend it.

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              My blueberries weren't very tasty either, but my addition of some cranberries was a good idea as it gave some zing to the sauce....er, I mean, the compote.

                                                                                    2. Green Garlic Champ, p. 51

                                                                                      This was a great use for some leftover boiled potatoes. I served it as a side dish to Devil's Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon, p. 326

                                                                                      I used two sliced Mexican green onions and sauteed in butter with fresh thyme and s&p. I added four boiled Yukon gold potatoes, stirring and mashing until hot. I did this in a Le Creuset so covered and kept it warm while the chicken baked. When everything was ready, I heated it up and added some heavy cream. One of Goin's easier recipes, and a nice side dish.

                                                                                      1. brown scones p.51
                                                                                        (Part of the St Patricks Day menu, but I just wanted to make some scones...)

                                                                                        This is a straightforward delicious buttermilk scone recipe -- a little whole wheat flour (3/4c) with AP flour (2 1/4c), scant sugar, a bit of salt, a ton of baking powder (2T + 2 t), a little more than a stick of butter (9T) and a cup of buttermilk.

                                                                                        The instructions are given for use in a food processor, but even without one it was easy to put together (I'm patient about cutting butter into flour.) I folded in dried fruits and candied ginger into some of them, but they are lovely perfect buttery things just plain.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pitu

                                                                                          pitu: There's a wonderful bakery near me that makes ginger pear scones. The baker/owner is Australian and this may be a fave down there, but there's something about candied ginger in a scone that is just perfect. I'm going to have to try these soon. Thanks for reporting.

                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                            oakjoan, does your place use fresh or dried pear?
                                                                                            when nectarines/peaches come into season, I'm going to try some slivered fresh fruit in scones

                                                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                                                              Gee, I dunno...I'm pretty sure they have them year-round and so they probably use dried pear. They don't taste like canned pears.

                                                                                              To tell the truth, I wouldn't care if they were made with anchovy paste and rotten tomatoes if they had the candied ginger. Okay, okay, so I exaggerate.

                                                                                              The fresh fruit sounds wonderful. I've only made scones once but now you've got me interested.

                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                We prefer to call those tomatoes "sundried"

                                                                                            2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                              I love the idea of candied ginger scones - and I tend to be a scone purist. Someone posted on the Manhattan board about an ice cream sundae made with ginger ice cream and candied ginger. Sounded lovely to me - and maybe some ginger syrup from the English preserved ginger.

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                I haven't tried the Sunday Suppers scones, but I've been making these ginger scones for years and they're my all-time favorite. It's a recipe from Nancy Silverton at the La Brea Bakery and they're just stellar.


                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  oooo, lemon zest with the candied ginger - nice!
                                                                                                  the main difference would be buttermilk (Goins) v cream (La Brea)

                                                                                            3. re: pitu

                                                                                              I'm curious why they're called brown... just because of the whole wheat flour? When I first saw the name, I thought they were going to have browned butter in them, which in my head sounds fabulous with the pear and candied ginger combo!

                                                                                            4. Prosciutto and grilled asparagus with whole grain mustard, p85

                                                                                              Asparagus season is in full swing in England, and as I was in need of a simple and light starter, I thought I'd give this a go.

                                                                                              It couldn't be easier. Simply toss asparagus with olive oil and seasoning and grill (Goin says you can roast the asparagus as well, which is what I did). Drape prosciuttio de parma on your plates and top with the asparagus. Drizzle with a sauce made of creme fraiche and wholegrain mustard.

                                                                                              Loved this combination, which is a classic after all. What made the dish for me was the mustard creme fraiche which added a pleasantly tangy flavour accent to the dish. Really yummy and definitely more than the sum of its parts. Will make again - soon!

                                                                                              1. Vanilla semifreddo with rhubarb compote, p45

                                                                                                Another winner from this book. Desserts aren't my strong point, really, as I don't have a sweet tooth. This tasted like it came from a fancy restaurant - it really was gorgeous.

                                                                                                Prep is straightforward if a bit fiddly, mainly because you have to use your stand mixer for three separate steps, which means washing and drying it twice inbetweentimes! Basically you whip cream to stiff peaks and chill. Wash bowl. Then whisk together egg yolks, vaniila extract, sugar and vanilla bean seeds until the mixture is thick and light-coloured and has doubled in volume. Wash bowl again - grr. Then whip egg whites until frothy, add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the egg yolk mixture. Then gently fold in the egg whites and pour into a 9" cake pan which you've lined with cling film. Freeze for at least four hours, and preferably overnight.

                                                                                                For the rhubarb compote, make a syrup with more vanilla seeds, sugar and a little water. Cook until you have a deep golden brown caramel then add half your prepared rhubarb and a quarter cup of white wine. Do this carefully - it spatters a bit! Cook, stirring constantly, until jammy, then stir in the rest of the rhubarb and half a cup of water. Cook until the rhubarb is tender but not mushy - this took a few minutes. Then drain your rhubarb in a seive, reserving the liquid, which you heat in a pan until boiling, before adding cornstarch mixed with water to thicken. Cook until the liquid is shiny and thickened and then combine with the rhubarb. Chill before serving.

                                                                                                This was fantastic. The semifreddo came out perfectly - smooth and silky and bursting with vanilla flavour. The rhubarb compote was addictive. The technique of making a caramel first gave it an intensity of flavour which was startling. It looked really pretty on the plate, too - all creamy white and rosy pink. Although we were really full, two of my guests had second helpings of semifreddo. There's still some left - I reckon this would serve ten people easily.

                                                                                                Oh yeah, my friends think I should enter Masterchef. Flattering, but so not. Going. To. Happen.