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The Silver Palate Cookbook: To Begin a Great Evening

November 2007 Cookbook of the Month: The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins.

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  1. Dumb question...Just the SP or are you including the Good Times?

    1 Reply
    1. re: chef chicklet

      Not dumb at all, and you're not the first to ask. I've amended the copy on the master links thread in the hope that more people will see it over there.


    2. Cheese Straws, p. 8.

      I haven't made these in years, but don't know why not. They're easy, tasty, and store well. I thought they would be nice along with chefchicklet's FABULOUS spicy garbanzo soup (link below). Basically, roll puff pastry out, sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fold the dough over and roll out again, and sprinkle with more cheese. Cut into strips, twist, and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees. An oldie but goodie.

      ChefChicklet's Spicy and Creamy Garbanzo Bean Soup

      10 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        Do you think I can make these cheese straws with a prepared puff pastry?

        1. re: bxgirl

          Definitely - that's what I did (I didn't have Dufours, but used Pepperidge Farm).

          1. re: Rubee

            Thanks for the quick response. I think I'll try these for Thanksgiving.

            1. re: bxgirl

              You're welcome! I'm going to do them for Thanksgiving too. They're so easy, and the best part is you can make them earlier in the week. The Silver Palate authors says they will keep fresh for a week in an airtight container.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Good to know for sure! I was going to make them a couple of days ahead, now I'll do bake them the weekend before.

                  BTW, had your leftover soup for lunch last week - Just as DEEELICIOUS!

        2. re: Rubee

          Cheese Straws
          I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with these. I'm not the best baker, so it's probably me. I used Dufour puff pastry and followed the not at all difficult instructions, but found that they didn't puff and brown the way I had hoped (even leaving them in far longer than the 15-20 min called for). Oh well.

          1. re: onefineleo

            Cheese Straws

            I didn't like them either. I also used the Dufour puff pastry (maybe that's the X factor). Anyway, mine did puff and brown (albeit longer than the 20 called for minutes) but I found them oddly flavorless. I used more cheese then called for AND I sprinkled them with hungarian paprika to give it an extra oomph. The cheese straws needed a sprinkle of salt on them to bring out the flavor.

            All in all, disappointing.

            1. re: beetlebug

              Oh that's disappointing.

              Yes, I should have added that I sprinkled them with coarse sea salt. I may have used more cheese than the recipe called for too, I just eyeballed it. I did prefer Martha Stewart's version with the straws brushed with butter, and sprinkled with parmesan and parsley.


              1. re: beetlebug

                I had the same experience as you. They puffed and browned beautifully, but I thought they were lacking in flavor as well.

          2. Gougere, p. 10

            WOW! This is my first time making these little treats, and what a hit! Last night I whipped them up in no time, and I couldn't believe how adorable they looked *and* how delightful they taste! Their recipe calls for Parmesan or a Parm/Gruyere mix, but I only had Pecorino Romano, which I often sub for Parm, so I used that... mmmm! Excellent little snacks, and I immediately stashed these with my "unexpected guests pop over" quick dazzling recipes... These will certainly elicit this response: "Wow, how did she manage to whip up this magical delight at a moment's notice?!"

            I followed instructions precisely, and ended up with 18 delectable puffs. Mmmmm. Note how pretty they are in the picture -- very light and moist, too!

            15 Replies
            1. re: foxy fairy

              They look lovely - I've not used this recipe, but wanted to mention that they freeze beautifully, so you can always have some on hand for any impromptu visitors - just pop in the oven straight from the freezer. And now that you have mastered these, you can easily make cream puffs as well!

              1. re: foxy fairy

                And just about any cheese will do. Within reason. I like Guyere.

                1. re: clepro

                  And, you can stuff them using a pastry bag (was about to write "with a pastry bag", which would not be quite as tasty).

                  1. re: clepro

                    I was making gougere last weekend and realized I didn't have Gruyere, so I used Parmesan and lots of black pepper. Amazing flavor, big old "wow" factor and so easy. What I really love is that you can make them itty-bitty, two-bite sized or whatever pleases you at the moment.

                    1. re: Elizzie

                      All right, that's it. You've all convinced me to try making gougeres too!

                      MMRuth, I'll be sure not to make them "with" the bag - hmmm...extra minerals and fiber? heh. I assume you freeze them uncooked, is that right?

                      1. re: Rubee

                        I freeze them after baking. I nearly always have some in the freezer. They crisp up beautifully. And because they're essentially hollow, it takes no time to heat them up from frozen.

                  2. re: foxy fairy

                    These look so wonderful! I made this recipe years ago, I need to do it again, nice job!

                    1. re: foxy fairy

                      I had to make the gougeres too. I used half parmesan half gruyere. These are great. How would I heat them up after freezing? Pop them in the oven for awhile?

                      1. re: Linda513

                        I found the gougeres soooo easy to put together -- did you? On another gougere thread, hounds mentioned that with other recipes, it was really arduous (actually causing sore arms!) to beat each egg into the batter, but I didn't find that at all with this recipe. Did you, Linda?

                        1. re: foxy fairy

                          My arm was a little sore from stirring in the eggs. I had to switch arms a few times. Maybe you're just really strong!

                          But it was worth it - they are so good.

                          1. re: Linda513

                            ;) Yes, maybe my arms are in better shape than I thought! :) I'm just trying to recall with clarity... I don't remember it being an issue at all. We'll see this time - Thanksgiving Eve, gougeres!

                            1. re: foxy fairy

                              Gee whiz! The first time I ever made gougeres was from a recipe that came with the Cuisinart. This was about 20 years ago when Cuisinarts were new to the U.S. I hate to think what it'd do to my arms and wrists! Is there any reason that you guys didn't use the food processor?

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                I think I may have been the one to start the whole tired arm thing. I was using the Zuni recipe where Judy Rodgers gave explicit directions about the dough coming together, etc. At that moment, taking the FP out would have been an additional step and thing to clean.

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  I didn't know that was an option. Its a good idea, but just more equipment to wash. My arms could use the exercise.

                        2. re: foxy fairy

                          I've always been too intimidated to make these, but I'm going to try them now! One question... what kind of milk? Would it be ok to use 1%? If not, I'll just buy some whole milk.

                        3. I don't have the book in front of me, so I'm not sure if this is the right place to discuss the Chicken Liver Pate with Green Peppercorns.

                          Made this yesterday. I mostly followed the recipe, but at the last minute realized I didn't have any cream. So I just left it out.

                          I loved the smell of the onion and garlic and thyme cooking in the butter, but my heat may have gone a little too high (crappy electric stove), and the butter burned a little. Not badly, just went a bit golden, making a few of the onion pieces crispy.

                          My problem is that I'm not a great judge of chicken liver pate. I like to eat it out occasionally, but the idea of liver does skeeve me out a little, and maybe cooking and processing it myself put me a little too close to it. I know it's irrational, but I've never been able to shake the gross-out factor. I really want to, though, not least because I'm chronically anemic and liver is one of the best remedies for that!

                          One thing I liked was the green peppercorns. I'd never used them before, so that was a novelty. I also liked the way they tasted.

                          So now I have the pate in the fridge, and I want to try it this afternoon. There were no serving suggestions in the recipe, so I thought I'd ask fellow hounds what the best way to eat it is. All suggestions welcome!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kagey

                            I'm very eager to hear how you like it. I may try for Thanksiving.
                            My favorite way to eat pate is with thinly sliced baquette, mustard and cornichons.

                            1. re: NYchowcook

                              Thanks for that suggestion. I do have some cornichons, so I'll try it out!

                              After leaving it for a day, I tried it yesterday afternoon. I was really pleasantly surprised. It was a little hard, but I think that's probably because I left out the cream. But it tasted really good and was nicely smooth. The green peppercorns seemed to have permeated the pate with a subtle flavor and a bit of heat. That was really nice.

                          2. I did cheese straws with sharp cheddar & romano cheese using the new Trader Joes puff pastry. Worked great. The only complaint I have is that the TJ's pastry sheets don't have a dividing paper between them so they were totally stuck together. good thing I wanted to use the whole package, I had to wait for it to thaw before unsticking them.

                            1. Pepper Provencal has been a standby for years--it's so versatile and terrific on a sandwich with fresh mozzarella. It goes really well as a compliment to black olive tapenade or as a sauce for fish.

                              1. Spicy Shrimp, p. 19 (anniv. ed.)

                                This was a nice simple dish and a good addition to an antipasti table, though it's not spicy at all so I'm unsure of the name. Shrimp is sauteed in butter and olive oil with minced shallots and garlic. Once cooked, season with s&p, and toss with lemon juice and dill. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. I serrved it drizzled with some extra-virgin olive oil and lemon wedges.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Rubee

                                  Wow just saw this, thanks for the photo rubee, it really helps me want to try the dish, looks good to me!

                                2. Pate Maison -- chicken liver pate (p. 27). (It's in the "charcuterie board" section, but this seems the best place to post.)

                                  I always liked my mother's chopped chicken liver, but the idea of purchasing and handling and making livers just did not appeal. But when I was in the supermarket at the dog bone (er, beef marrow) section, there was a container of chicken livers that spoke to me. I went home and made Pate Maison. But first I did some research of other techniques (epicurious) and didn't think SP's technique of boiling (!) the livers was traditional, so instead I sauteed them, as described below, but I used pretty much the spices and other techniques called for in SP's recipe.

                                  I sauteed the onions in a ridiculously large amount of butter (1 stick), then garlic, liver and spices (I substituted allspice for cloves, because that's what I prefer, and added pepper. I omitted currants because I didn't have and that is just too far from traditional, in my book.) I stirred in Calvados near end of liver cooking time, and let it boil off (though recipe doesn't mention this).
                                  Tasted sauce to see if the flavor was repulsive (as I suspected), or not. Hmm. It was good! like SP says, the spices provide an interesting flavor for those who aren't certain whether they love liver. I pureed in food processor, and put into bowl and topped w/ clarified butter (who knows why?) and covered.

                                  I suppose more traditional would be schmaltz rather than butter, but all that fat either way is really what makes the liver palatable. Had some that didn't fit into the bowl that I happily snacked on. This is for Thanksgiving. A success, indeed.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                    Mushrooms Stuffed with Walnuts and Chesse p.12
                                    These are great. The stuffing is made by adding defrosted chopped spinach to sauteed onions, walnuts, garlic, feta and Gruyere. I assembled them early in the day and popped them in the oven for 10 minutes. Couldn't be simpler or more satisfying. I have quite a bit of stuffing left over so I will buy more mushrooms tomorrow and make them again. We need something to help us finish the champagne!

                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                      I really didn't like this recipe, but I followed it exactly as written. btw, I made this 15 years ago so I'm doing this from memory. I love chicken livers -- there's no need to hide the taste. I really didn't appreciate the currants in the pate. And as I didn't cook off the alcohol, the alcohol taste really got in the way of this dish. If I would make it again today, I would probably modify the recipe the same you you did.

                                    2. Rosemary & Prosciutto Phyllo Triangles, page 9

                                      For something easy (and b/c we had some prosciutto and ricotta from the Big Bread Sandwiches), we decided to go with these last night. Filling came together in about a minute :) -- 2 egg yolks beaten into a cup of ricotta, with some chopped-up prosciutto and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, some rosemary, salt and pepper.

                                      We used fresh rosemary as I have lots of herbs around after Thanksgiving and I used about, hmm, 3/4 Tbsp of the fresh. The flavor came through and was really nice - I think it would have been a bit flat with the dried.

                                      We make phyllo triangles all the time -- probably every week. Our favorites are sauteed mushroom or asparagus mixed with cheeses (I usually do cream cheese with a little yogurt or sour cream) and fresh herbs. These fell a little short of our expectation, probably because of the texture and our intense love for veggies. The phyllo, of course, was delicious and crispy, but I enjoy a little more texture to the filling. These were just squishy inside. They were good, but a little rich for us.

                                      I did like the manner of actually assembling the triangles - stack two sheets, brushing each with butter, and cut (the short way) into five strips. Then roll up each in triangles, flag-style. I usually fold differently, but these ended up the same size, and I think this approach was actually easier to compile.

                                      **If you are a first-timer with phyllo, try working with these delicate sheets when you're in a good mood. ;) Patience is key. Get a damp (but not wet) towel and drape that over the stack of phyllo awaiting. This will really keep it from becoming brittle. If it tears a little, don't freak out - you're layering and folding, so no one will ever know. Just nudge it gently back into place.

                                      SP suggests baking at 350 for 25 mins -- we pulled them out, golden and perfect, after about 12 minutes, which is how we usually do phyllo triangles. They would have been burnt to a crisp after 25 mins, I would think.

                                      We must have added more filling than the prescribed teaspoon - because we ended up with exactly 30 triangles, not 60. With the mushroom ones (or spinach, or asparagus) I can't leave them alone, but we did have some of these left over.

                                      Pretty good, but not great -- I think it's a matter of taste though. I could see that these would be great at a cocktail party, though - as some people would prefer this kind of filling I think, and they could be a great contrast with other hors d'oeuvres. Not everyone is the veggie-monster that I am. Plus, this drastically reduces prep time: nothing to sautee.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: foxy fairy

                                        I notice that SP Good Times includes a recipe for phyllo "kisses" (cute name) - filling is just goat cheese and herbs de Provence (page 116, Chevre and Phyllo Kisses). These are in the spring wedding chapter. You layer 2 sheets of phyllo and then cut itsy-bitsy squares (30 squares per double-layered sheet of phyllo!) and twist up the edges into kisses*

                                        In Good Times, they also roll phyllo diagonally and shape into a spiral??? with sauteed mushrooms "in the center of the spiral" -- I guess you just press it into the center? The spirals must be small. Anyone done it that way? (Wild Mushroom Pastries, p. 255)