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Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

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  1. Roasted Eggplant with Dill, Yogurt and Walnuts (p. 97 in appetizers)

    Sort of a spiffed up baba ganouj. You roast the eggplant with some garlic slivers, then add it to a paste of garlic, dill, olived oil and salt, and then add in toasted walnut bits. The walnuts are what make this fun and special - nice crunchy bits. I think this needs more garlic, but we are liking it. I didn't have the full 1/2 cup of dill, and I think it would be even better with it ... I had probably 1/3 cup.

    1. Orange vinaigrette, p. 185

      I eat a lot of salad, and I'm always looking for different salad dressings. This one caught my eye because it includes orange oil or orange flower water as an optional ingredient, which seemed unusual. I used the orange flower water. Very nice. Not overpowering. I used it on my usual dinner salad with everything but the kitchen sink in it _ blue cheese, arugula, figs, leftover steak, vidalia onion. It would be good on a summer fruit salad also.

      1. Chilled Mung Bean Noodles with Dulse and Crushed Peanuts (p. 178)

        This is a "get back on the horse" recipe. Except I fell off the horse 9 years ago. Will explain at end of this message.

        I didn't have dulse (and live in an area where I have to drive an hour to get some), but I did manage to find some wakame at the local health food store. So, I prepped the wakame for salads.

        This salad a very refreshing, healthful, and wonderful summer lunch. I deveined and deseeded the jalapeno, so the flavors were somewhat subtle (and I used slightly less cilantro than the recipe called for). I don't think the wakame added much and next time I'd probably just omit it. I used the peanut oil from Spectrum, because it has a strong peanut smell to it, though I don't think it's roasted (Madison calls for a roasted peanut oil). The flavors are lovely, not too overt, and it really did taste better after a night in the fridge. I would definitely consider this as a "heat wave" meal and would make it again in hot weather. That said, it's not something I'd probably serve to guests at a dinner party.

        Re: getting back on the horse. When I was a Ph.D. student, I was teaching a summer class to make some extra bucks. One morning I decided to make this salad. I wasn't paying as close attention as I should've been, because my (only sharp!) knife slipped and sliced my finger. Okay, fine, but the darn thing would'nt stop bleeding. After an hour or so, it was still bleeding pretty heavily. I went to the student health center, where they bandaged it up (using what had to be forty feet of gauze) and told me to keep it elevated. So, I went to my class to teach, keeping my finger elevated. I would like to add that it was the MIDDLE finger that I sliced. I just told my class not to take it personally!

        1 Reply
        1. re: nofunlatte

          Oh no! Good for you for getting back on the horse.

        2. Coleslaw with Buttermilk-Horseradish Dressing

          I used chervil in place of dill, and a small shallot in place of the small onion, because that's what I had on hand. I loved the dressing until I added the grated shallot, at which point the dressing became overwhelmingly "oniony." If I made this again, I'd add some finely chopped, rather than grated, onion or shallot.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            Glad to read your report now, before I make it. I made the dressing yesterday and plan to put the coleslaw together for tonight, and will be sure to take your shallot recommendations. I have to say, I was impressed with the dressing, the little bit I licked off the mini-prep.

            1. re: pikawicca

              Made the Coleslaw with buttermilk-horseradish dressing. Given pikawicca's comments about the oniony-ness, I used some green onions I had instead of the recipe's grated onion. We went with the dill. Absolutely loved it.

            2. Tonight's (Thursday) Dinner:
              Napa and Savoy Salad - pg. 153 with Peanut-Ginger Dressing, pg. 189.

              Basically, I followed the recipe as written with a few adaptations as is my wont to do....
              Cabbages, carrots (grated), scallions, cucumber....I included some almost over the hill tomatoes, Iceberg lettuce, and red onion.

              DH made the dressing so I can only hope he followed the directions, but since the salad was spectacular, I guess he gets an A.
              Apple cider vinegar (organic from TJ's I'll have you know), soy sauce, minced garlic,
              diced Serrano chili ( I used jaleneno which probably explains the extra heat which I loved), chopped mint leaves, cilantro, and Thai basil ( from my garden! )...all whisked together. Ab Fab as they say.

              Had some leftovers from the past 2 nights so this salad plus the other stuff made a very nice hot weather meal.....

              4 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                That dressing sounds wonderful, except I don't like apple cider vinegar - what would you recommend as a substitute?

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Funny - I feel the same way about apple cider vinegar - thought it was just some weird thing of mine. I haven't tried this dressing yet, but I always sub white wine vinegar for apple cider without problems.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Actually, I think you could substitute any other vinegar, including the white wine vinegar LuLusMom states below. Probably sherry and rice vinegar would be good as well. I forgot to mention the addition of sea salt and FGBpepper.....
                    It really was delicious.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      If you really, really don't like apple cider vinegar, then rice wine vinegar.

                      I used to think I didn't like apple cider vinegar until I bought Bragg (raw, unfiltered, organic, "with the mother") apple cider vinegar at my food coop. So much tastier than the supermarket variety, that I now find myself finding uses for the cider vinegar! (That's one reason I can't give up Frank Stitt's buttermilk dressing!)

                  2. I hope it's okay if I post my experience with an online Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone recipe that I found since I wasn't able to get Deborah Madison's book from the library. I don't have the page number but am putting it under Soups because, well, it's Roasted Vegetable Stock. Here's the link to the recipe I used:


                    This recipe is a great way to use all the vegetables you have floating around in your fridge and cupboards. I thought the roasting brought out a nice flavour to the stock, though I still think I prefer a stock without any roasting of the vegetables. I provided a picture just to show how dark the Roasted Vegetable Stock is. I'm sure it would freeze well but I used it in a bunch of dishes over the next few days.

                    I made Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes and Chives, Penne with Carrots (risotto-style too so that I kept adding the stock to cook the pasta), Braised Duck with Lettuce & Peas which I served with Duck Fat French Fries (yum!) and I boiled some Rice with the stock and sprinkled it with Furikake. I think the Roasted Vegetable Stock added a really great taste to all those dishes.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: always_eating

                      Wow. That is dark. I'm glad you're following along with the online recipes~


                      1. re: always_eating

                        That stock looks amazing! It must have had a wonderful intense flavor.
                        FWIW: I've cooked from the online recipes during various COTM cook-alongs.
                        As long as it's from the author I see no problem....

                        1. re: Gio

                          Thanks, TDQ & Gio. "Wonderful intense flavor" is actually a great way of describing what the stock tasted like (I tried some on its own right after I finished making it).

                      2. Okay, I guess I am on a roasting kick because I thought I would try this recipe for Grilled Tomato Sauce from Vegetarian Cooking For Eveyone that I found online:


                        I used some really ripe, delicious tomatoes and I'm thinking I need a better way to char the tomatoes because my sauce tasted more sweet than grilled. I broiled them in my oven since I don't have a barbecue. The Tomato Sauce was still good and I cooked it longer to make it more thicker. I also added basil, garlic and vodka to make a tasty sauce for some pasta.

                        1. Sherry vinaigrette, p. 185

                          A recipe is not necessary for making a vinaigrette, but I do use recipes. And I've used this one before. Olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. It came out very garlicky. Which is fine with me.

                          1. Blue Cheese Dressing, Pg. 189

                            Tonight it was hazy, hot, and humid NOB so that meant...Salad!
                            And that means look in the fridge and retrieve anything that remotely could contribute to a dinner salad. Keep in mind tomorrow is shopping day.....

                            Here's the list of ingredients I came with:
                            Leftover rice from an Indian takeaway of a few nights ago augmented with some of the veggies.
                            Chopped Iceberg lettuce
                            " Cucumber
                            " Bermuda onion
                            Sliced hot cherry vinegar peppers
                            Halved grape tomatoes
                            Grated carrot
                            Homemade croutons from an artisnal loaf left over from something or other.
                            (I had intended to use some diced left over roasted chicken from Sunday's dinner but we decided against it.)

                            Now for the dressing according to Ms. Madison:
                            6T EVOO, 2T yoghurt, 3t sherry vinegar, 3 oz. bleu cheese ( I used a bit more).
                            The garden was being watered so I used finely chopped scallions instead of chives, did not use salt but did grind some Tellycherry peppercorns.
                            All whisked together keeping the cheese chunky.
                            Very nice, Very easy and perfect for a light summer dinner.

                            {Ben & Jerry's chocolate chip ice cream for dessert blew all my good intentions....}

                            1. Green spinach and pea soup p 213

                              We made so many substitutions that it may not be fair to say we used this recipe, but it was a great starting point, and the soup turned out beautifully. Bright green, fresh, bright and summery tasting. Delicious.

                              Fried the onions and carrot first, with a chile de arbol, then simmered
                              No scallions—used a larger onion instead
                              No celery/parsley—used a cube of vegetable bullion
                              Added a big bunch of fresh mint—half with the spinach and peas, and half fresh when pureeing the soup
                              Added a bunch of fresh basil when pureeing the soup

                              1. Romaine Hearts with Parmesan and Lemon Vimaigrette, Pg. 142

                                Minced garlic, sea salt, FGBPepper, Lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, and 1/2 cuo freshly grated Parmesano cheese. I did not croutons since we had grilled sandwiches. Lovely fresh Romaine hearts straight from the farm in the afternoon...I shaved a carrot and halved grape tomatoes just to boost the veggie content. Lovely salad dressing and it's going into the repetoire since I tend to always make the same red wine vinegairette unless I'm prompted like this.

                                1. Here are two of my all-time favorite recipes from this book:

                                  p. 150 Roasted Beets with Anise Vinaigrette

                                  Peel the raw beets and cut into 1/2" cubes, toss with olive, salt & pepper. Roast at 375 until carmelized, 25-45 minutes (I do it for longer usually). Crush 1 tsp anise seeds with 1 clove of garlic and salt. Whisk in 2 tsp sherry vinegar and 1 tbsp olive (she calls for 2, but I think that's too much). Toss beets with vinaigrette. She says to marinate for a few hours or overnight, but we eat it immediately, while still warm. The leftovers are great too, and it even freezes well. Yum, yum, yum.

                                  p. 155 Cauliflower Salad with Green Olives & Capers
                                  We love this salad too, although I have to admit that what I make only somewhat resembles the recipe, since I leave out a bunch of ingredients. Slice the cauliflower thinly, stem and all. Purple cauliflower is particularly pretty in this dish. Toss with sherry vinaigrette (garlic clove, Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, olive oil. Heavy on the vinegar, light on the olive oil). Add a dozen or so sliced pimento stuffed olives, 1 tbsp capers, and some chopped parsley. I leave out the watercress/escarole, hard-cooked eggs, scallions, celery, green bell pepper, and cucumber. But it's still really good!

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    I'd had my eye on that Cauliflower salad, but when I saw the ingredient list I sort of baulked a little. Thanks for letting us know that leaving that stuff out didn't make a huge difference.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      I can't say that it doesn't make a difference, since I've never made it the proper way, but I can at least say that it's great even leaving some of the stuff out. To me, the key flavors are the vinaigrette, the capers, and the olives (and the cauliflower, of course). Hope you like it!

                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      OK, I'm making those beets. I have all the ingredients. They are officially on the menu!

                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        I bought golden beets yesterday. I'll try this recipe this week -- hoping to, anyway!

                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                          Finally got around to the caulilflower salad and it was a hit, although we all thought it could use more of the olives/capers/dressing. Left out the escarole (is that what it called for? maybe watercress?) egg, and green pepper, but otherwise did it all. This, again, made a ton of salad even though it says it feeds 4. Not a problem - it will make a lovely lunch. If I made it again I'd bump up the big flavor items. Thanks to Karen Schaffer for the tip on this one.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            So glad you liked it too! I probably do add more of the big flavor items when I make it. Or rather, I use less cauliflower while keeping those items them same, because there's only 2 of us and I don't want to end up with too much. The leftovers are good while fresh, but don't keep it too long because the sulfury notes from the cauliflower start to make it taste a little off.

                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                              We all definitely liked it. My 2 year old daughter is glomming some for lunch right now.

                                              I wondered if somehow I'd gotten an especially big cauliflower. And I think in general what I'm finding with her recipes is that bumping up the flavors is necessary, but then I like really ka-bang flavors.

                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                And I realize this would make it non-vegetarian, but a little chopped anchovy in this salad would be wonderful too.

                                          2. Tofu salad spread (p. 129).

                                            I make this a lot, especially in the summer, when I'm looking for lighter salad fillings. I like it much better than egg salad -- it has a firmer, drier texture. I almost never make it exactly as described in the recipe; it's easy to make substitutions, depending on what I've got in the fridge. (For example, the recipe calls for 1/3 cup each of finely diced celery, green bell pepper, and carrot. I take this to mean "1 cup finely diced whatever crunchy vegetables I've got.") But yesterday, in honor of Chowhound, I made a batch following the recipe closely. The diced vegetables give it some crunchiness, but it's still spreadable (especially if you add a little extra mayo) and has a nice, mild, herby flavor.

                                            My main advice would be to give it several hours for the flavors to develop. Also, the recipe says "makes enough for 3 to 4 sandwiches." I find it goes a lot further than that -- maybe 6 to 8 sandwiches. (One batch fills a quart container.)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jlafler

                                              I've found that her recipe portions seem generous (which, I think, is a good thing).

                                            2. p. 175 Red Beans with Walnut Sauce

                                              OMG! Shoe leather would taste good with this walnut sauce (DH said exactly that), though I think I'll take the vinegar down just a notch the next time. Whirl 1/2 c walnut pieces and 1 clove of garlic in a food processor, then add 4 tsp wine vinegar, 1 tbsp walnut oil, salt, pepper, cayenne, and 3-4 tbsp cooking water from beans (or just water if using canned beans). Stir in chopped scallions, cilantro (I left this out), parsley, and basil, then pour over 1 1/2 c kidney beans (or any bean, imho). Garnish with more of the scallions and herbs. Delicious! I had it on a bed of lettuce as a light dinner when I got home from yoga. I'll make this one again for sure.

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                Wow--I'm going to have to try this! Sounds easy and delicious. And since I'm decluttering and getting rid of stuff, I'm sure I'll have some spare shoe leather around the house.

                                                And I'll use my basil, which is looking mighty fine out in the yard.

                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                  Karen S:

                                                  Ai, ai, ai! That bean recipe with walnut sauce sounds terrific. Can't wait to make it. As you said, the walnut sauce makes the dish (well, those weren't your exact words.... ;+)

                                                  I can tell that it would by just looking at the ingreds.

                                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                    Thanks for posting such specific directions. I'm going to try it this weekend with green beans, it sounds delicious!

                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                      I made the walnut sauce above, tossed with cooked green beans, and served it as a room-temp side dish with grilled steaks this weekend. We really liked this too - great flavor with the tang of vinegar, garlic, and herbs, and texture from the ground walnuts. I followed Karen Schaffer's ingredients above, but substituted aleppo pepper for the cayenne. For herbs, I used scallions, cilantro, and parsley, and also added minced red onion. This is also a great dish to keep in the fridge for a snack as I thought it was just as good cold.

                                                      Not the prettiest pic, but people still had seconds!

                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        It's true, it's not a particularly photogenic dish, kind of gloppy looking, but it tastes great. If I were really concerned about appearances, I suppose I'd sprinkle chopped parsley over the top of it. So glad you liked it too! What a great idea to use it over green beans instead of dried beans.

                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                          Yes, thanks so much for reporting on it so enthusiastically, or I wouldn't have thought to make it. I definitely want to try it with red beans, and was thinking it might be nice as a lentil salad too.

                                                    2. Sweet Corn Soup p. 206

                                                      I had 5 ears of corn that needed a purpose and after a weekend of heavy eating was looking for a lighter soup to make with them. I pulled out this book and decided to try the sweet corn soup.

                                                      I didn't make the vegetable stock but instead simmered the corn cobs with everything else and added a little bit of chicken stock(I know it's a vegetarian cookbook but we're not vegetarians and I often use a little stock or bacon fat in the recipes).

                                                      It's a nicely flavored soup with just a little olive oil for fat. It's cooling down now...I'll add about a tablespoon of cream before serving tonight but it doens't even really need that. There are several suggestions for variations/garnishes. I have a lot of red bell peppers and grape tomatoes so I'll garnish with that and either some fresh basil or fresh dill.

                                                      1. Our family, kids included, love the Ravioli with Masses of Basil recipe, except that we prefer it with tortellini. Delicious, healthy, and easy. Everyone I serve it to loves it. It is a great summer meal. I sometimes embellish with some cubes of fresh mozzarella, chickpeas, etc.

                                                        Also, there is a lentil and roasted beet salad that is delicious.

                                                        This is one of my favorite cookbooks.

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: MangiaMuse

                                                          I love beets, and the Beets with Lemon, Cilantro and Mint (p. 151) may be (correction....my husband says "is") the best beet salad I have ever made. The pure flavor of the beets is only enhanced by the tangy mixture of lemon zest,lemon juice, diced onion, parsley, cilantro, mint, and olive oil. The recipe calls for placing the beets over salad greens along with black olives, but we enjoyed them as is. Really, this is a wonderful dish.

                                                          1. re: onefineleo

                                                            I thought I had made every beet recipe in the book -- how did I miss that one?! It sounds great. I look forward to trying it (though not in the near future, since I'm not growing any beets at the moment.) Thanks for the pointer.

                                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                              All of these beet recipes sound good. I did make the one with anise vinaigrette, page 150, that you mentioned above. Yummy.

                                                              1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                I'll jump in this Beet Parade.....

                                                                Last night I made the beet salad on Pg. 155 and dressed it with the Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette Pg. 187

                                                                My Oh My what a nice salad this is! Yesterday we bought a beautiful bunch of colorful beets from a local farm (Tendercrop, for those in Boston) and the dressing really brought out the wonderful earthyness of these beets. Instead of grating however, I sliced them thinly then blanched them. We loved this!!!

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  thanks for the temptation, and for reporting on what you did. her instructions are really unclear--grate beets, and then blanch? really? what you did makes much more sense. i look forward to trying this when i get my next csa share.

                                                                  1. re: rose water

                                                                    Many of her instructions, or lack thereof, are really strange. Before I make a recipe I read it over several times to make sure I understand completely exactly what outcome she has in mind. Then If I feel it will be easier, I lean on my past cooking experiences to facilitate that end result. I think this is a book on which I will rely heavily for vegetable side dishes in spite of some of the aberrations.

                                                                    1. re: rose water

                                                                      I don't see why blanching sliced beets makes any more sense than blanching grated beets. Either way, just toss them in boiling water then drain. Okay, I have to admit I don't want to see the towel that's been used to towel dry them, but that would be true whether sliced or grated. The recipe sounds great, in any case.

                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                      Almost a year to the day I revisited, last night, the above beet salad with lime-cumin vinaigrette, but this time I added sliced and blanched carrots... 3 of them. The beets, 2 bunches of 4 with leaves, came from the farm we shopped at in the afternoon and were small. They were adorable and very sweet. The salad was delicious. The salad was served with grilled Jamaican jerk marinated chicken breasts. I'll stir-fry the greens tomorrow night when I make (Lord help me) a Japanese fishhead dish....

                                                                      I'm so glad to have this book on my shelf. I've referred to it many times since it was COTM.

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        I just turned back to this book too, Gio! I was remembering a fantastic eggplant dish I made last July, and also a really simple easy cauliflower gratin with feta, and some pinto beans with tomatoes -- simple, yummy. Mmmm.

                                                                        1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                          Foxy... my mid-year resolution is Less Meat More Vegetables. That's what we usually do during the summer months, anyway. These last few days have been warmer than most days this summer and that makes me want to cook less. Tonight I plan a stir-fried cabbage recipe with plain steamed Basmati rice. I know DH has some spicy sausages he wants to grill, but I'll just stay with the cabbage and rice.

                                                                2. re: onefineleo

                                                                  the other really fantastic beet recipe is the roast beets with lentils and preserved lemons, p174. i always make it with the lemon zest substitution and it's incredibly flavorful.

                                                                  1. re: rose water

                                                                    What is lemon zest substitution? I've never heard of it.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      the recipe calls for one preserved lemon or 2 teaspoons lemon zest. i've always used the latter.

                                                                    2. re: rose water

                                                                      I made it with preserved lemons and wasn't blown away, to be honest.

                                                                  2. re: MangiaMuse

                                                                    Ravioli and Tomato Salad with Masses of Basil, p. 177

                                                                    This salad was my contribution to a Fourth of July backyard barbecue potluck. Preparation is simple. Ripe tomatoes are peeled, seeded and chopped (this is the hardest part) and combined with olives, capers, jarred marinated artichoke hearts, olive oil and an entire bunch of basil which has been torn into pieces. Cook your ravioli, drain well, and gently combine with the other ingredients. Season to taste with s&p and a bit of vinegar. In the headnotes, DM mentions that she often uses this salad as a picnic salad, and I found that it served the purpose well as it was very tasty and held up well at room temperature on a hot day. My only complaint was with the ravioli themselves -- I had to use what was available at the grocery store, and I think it would have made a difference to make the extra effort to get special, really good ones.

                                                                  3. I made the Jicama and Avocado Salad last night - actually the recipe also calls for orange and spinach in it as well but I had neither. I just left out the orange and subbed arugula for the spinach. Weird to have jicama and not oranges.

                                                                    Anyway, it was quite good. It's a combo of strips of jicama, avocado, radishes, and arugula. The dressing is Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette which is delicious (p.187). I had no limes and so used red wine vinegar. You are supposed to top it with a handful of sunflower sprouts which I also didn't have. I used some chopped scallions instead.

                                                                    Served it with a soup from the Chez Panisse Cookbook (Bertoli/Waters) which is one of my favorites: Carrot and Red Pepper Soup. It's actually 2 soups pureed and then combined (actually the red pepper soup is spooned on top of the carrot. It's very simple. Just sliced carrots, onions, etc. cooked in broth (critter or veg) and then topped with a soup made by cooking sliced red pepper in butter and a small amount of water. I usually serve yoghurt alongside as I find it cuts the dense richness of the soup.

                                                                    I also made the Crisp Polenta Croutons on p. 525, but will report on them in the "Grains" thread.

                                                                    I am going to make the jicama salad again with the oranges in it. It was delicious the way I did it, but the addition of oranges sounds good to me.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                      What's jicama? I don't think we have it here, unless it has another name.

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        It's a root vegetable - you may well not have it in the U.K. - originally from Mexico, I believe:


                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          Interesting. It looks like it can be found in your area in Asian markets as "yam bean"....


                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                            GG: It's sort of a hippie veg here in the States. It's largish and shaped like a ball that somebody sat on. It's very crunchy and juicy - sort of like a potato crossed with a turnip. It doesn't have much taste, but it's so crispy and juicy that it blends in with lots of stuff. I also think it's from Mexico originally.

                                                                            The "Too Hot Tamales" (Fenneger and I can't remember the other woman's name) have a great recipe in their cookbook from the Border Grill in L.A. for jicama pancakes - more like fritters.

                                                                            Weird that it's called "yam bean" in UK Asian markets, as it's so much bigger than any bean I've ever seen. Sort of shaped like a largish kabocha squash, but with a light beige color.

                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                              I can't say that I've ever seen a jicama in the UK, although apparently you can grow it here (according to the Royal Hortcultural Society, but they are experts and have greenhouses). Will have to look out for it in Chinatown etc - do I get a prize if I find one?

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                Your prize is enjoying its sweet, juicy crunchiness, which is especially nice in summertime. Try a simple salad (if you do find any, that is) of jicama sticks and pineapple or mango dressed with lime juice and a sprinkle of chile powder.

                                                                          2. re: oakjoan

                                                                            there's also a carrot and red pepper soup in VCFE that i've served both hot and cold and really enjoy - i'd be curious to see how the two compare

                                                                            1. re: patz

                                                                              Patz: I saw that carrot/pepper soup in VCFE also, but decided on the Chez P one because I love that you serve the carrot soup and put a dollop of the red pepper puree on top. I like mixing it myself, although it does get almost completely combined once you start eating.

                                                                              I do plan to try Madison's Carrot and Pepper Soup, p. 204, soon though.

                                                                          3. Balsamic or fruit vinegar vinaigrette, p. 184.
                                                                            Several of the vinaigrettes including this one have you chop a shallot, let it sit in vinegar _ or lemon juice _ and then add the oil. I used raspberry vinegar, which might not have been sharp enough for my taste. Madison says to use one shallot for a rather small amount of oil and vinegar. My shallots were huge so I used a fraction of one.

                                                                            1. Creamy Herb and Shallot Dressing -- p. 186

                                                                              This is one of my go-to dressings. I usually glance at the page and then improvise with whatever oil, vinegar, and herbs I find around the kitchen. This is a variation on the shallot vinaigrette on page 183 -- a tangy, fresh herb-y, creamy variation that is fantastic.

                                                                              The technique is simple and can be applied to a number of other dressings -- first, for 15 minutes, let a finely diced shallot sit in a couple Tbsp of fancy vinegar and 1/4 tsp of salt. Leave this for 15 minutes, which she says on p 183 will give the shallots a sweeter flavor. Then add a few Tbsps fresh herbs, snipped, plus 1/4 cup olive oil, a couple of Tbsp of creme fraiche or sour cream.

                                                                              In June I taught a newly vegetarian friend to make a "snazzy salad" with toasted nuts, dried fruits, butter lettuce, avocado, feta, etc and I showed her how to make her first-ever homemade dressing. So this is a great way to teach someone to make a (really excellent-tasting) dressing. DM suggests trying it with asparagus or mushrooms, which would also be excellent. An unusual tangy and creamy dressing!

                                                                              1. Tomato and Onion Salad Pg.162 with Sherry Vinaigrette, Pg. 185

                                                                                Very simply: tomatoes and onons (Vidalia) sliced in rounds. The vinaigrette: Chopped garlic, Kosher salt and FGBpepper, 1 1/2 T Sherry vinegar, 1 t Dijon mustard, 6 T EVOO. Whisk and drizzle. I had a few chives from the garden at hand so I chopped them and garnished the salad. I made this first so the flavors would meld whilst I made the pasta. This was a tasty compliment to the Fettucine with Parmigiano-Reggiano which I will report in the appropriate thread.

                                                                                1. Beets with Lemon, Cilantro and Mint (pg. 151)

                                                                                  My, my, my, this was quite tasty and a slightly different spin on beets. I prepped the beets the Zuni way (lower temp, 350 degrees, I think, with a quarter inch of water in the covered pan. 30 minutes or so until just tender and then let the steam finish them off). I like the Lucques way better (higher temp, longer time) but it was blazing hot here so I was looking to minimize the oven heat.

                                                                                  Anyway, the dressing is lemon zest and juice, red onion, parsley, cilantro, mint, ground coriander, olive oil and salt and pepper. These are whisked and then the sliced beets are lightly dressed. I tossed these with greens but no olives (didn't have any).

                                                                                  The lemon zest and beets were just a delicious combo. The garden fresh herbs didn't hurt either. I'm so used to eating beets with olive oil and goat cheese that it was nice to have a lemony flavor to them.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                    I'm so glad you tried this, BB. What a great dish. I've found that it works best to do it the Lucques way too.

                                                                                    1. re: onefineleo

                                                                                      I think it was you who raved about this recipe in another thread. Because of that, I tried it. I had just made two mediocre dishes from VCFE so I was feeling a little burned. But, your description sounded so great that I thought it would be a great way to eat my beets.

                                                                                      I'm so glad I did. Thanks so much.

                                                                                  2. Romaine and cucumber salad with a garlic vinaigrette (from the Gourmet links posted by MMRuth)

                                                                                    We loved this, although my friend and I went to the cinema afterwards and were a bit embarrassed as we thought we might be excuding garlic from every pore! I used one clove of garlic, pounded to a paste with salt, one T of white balsamic vinegar and 3 T of olive oil. Served with a simply spicy sausage pasta. Yum!

                                                                                    1. Cool Rice and Cucumber Salad, p. 170

                                                                                      Quick, easy, and delicious, especially if you already have some leftover rice (just warm it in the microwave).

                                                                                      I have to admit that I didn't get the same visual effect she was aiming for since I used black rice instead of white rice, and I didn't peel & seed the cucumber. The contrast of the cukes, herbs, and black rice was stunning, and you can see from the photos that the creamy dressing, yummy though it was, did dull the effect, but if you only saw the after picture, it still looks pretty appetizing. (Um, to those of us who like black rice, I guess. I cooked it for one of my sisters who thought it was more weird than cool. Oh well.)

                                                                                      I think it's a very forgiving recipe in terms of quantities. I used 1/2 c rice, 1 cuke, probably more herbs than called for (the dill got a little lost), and about 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 2 tbsp yogurt for the dressing. It made a nice lunch salad for 2. I think I'll try it with tarragon and fennel flowers next time, just for fun.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                        I didn't particularly care for that recipe--too much dill for me, I guess it stands out a lot more with white rice.

                                                                                        1. re: Sally599

                                                                                          Funny, because for me I could hardly taste the dill. But I admit, I didn't measure. Anyhow, if you liked the basic idea, you could certainly leave out the dill and use any other herbs you wanted.

                                                                                      2. Tomato-Basil Pesto (p. 57) and Pesto (p.57)

                                                                                        I really wanted to love the tomato-basil pesto, but it was just okay. Not bad, just okay. And granted, there are certainly lousy recipes out there in Cookbookland, so "okay" isn't a full-fledged condemnation of this recipe. I used about 2.5 T of tomato paste. Tried this on pasta (okay) and as a sandwich spread (did a nice job of enhancing the leftover buffalo ribeye steak that I made the sandwich with). I froze half the recipe and I'll use that in the winter as a sandwich spread (I'm thinking it might be nice with goat cheese).

                                                                                        The regular pesto--good, like a regular pesto. I skipped the optional butter (in nofunlatte's world, butter does not belong in pesto). I didn't have any Romano, so I just used Parmigiano-Reggiano. I'll make more of this (and freeze it for the winter), since my basil plants seem to be doing pretty well. This recipe is nothing earth-shattering, but that's not what I want with a basic pesto recipe.

                                                                                        BTW, I often stir in some pesto into homemade hummus. I might try that with the tomato-basil pesto.

                                                                                        1. Sesame Noodles p. 179

                                                                                          The actual title of this recipe is "Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips," but I substituted green beans for the asparagus. (In the note in the margin, she writes "It's endlessly versatile--you can vary the vegetable to go with the season, using, for example, snow peas, roasted peppers, grilled eggplant, carrot julienne strips, mung bean sprouts, and fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms." Or green beans.) I think the beans worked well because they're relatively porous and could absorb the dressing. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty faithfully; the only other change I made was to reduce the chili oil in the dressing from 2 tsp to 1 tsp in deference to my little daughter's palate. She had two helpings and ended the meal happily smeared with marinade.

                                                                                          I've made this recipe before, so I know that there is always a pool of excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl. Not wanting to waste it, I stole a quarter cup of the dressing (actually, she calls it "marinade," which seems odd for a salad) to marinate some chicken thighs, which I then baked. There was still plenty of dressing for the noodles. The chicken turned out well -- so well that I'd be tempted to make the marinade just for this purpose.

                                                                                          Given that I've made this recipe before, you will not be surprised to know that I like it. It's got a lot of strong flavors -- sesame, cilantro, soy, ginger, garlic. What's not to like? Well, cilantro, if you don't like the stuff, but you could leave that out. We had kind of a chaotic evening -- my husband was out trying to locate a cat we were taking care of for a friend who's on vacation, so I ended up feeding our daughter dinner, and then my husband and I sat down and ate after putting her to bed. This was the perfect dinner for that sort of situation -- after our daughter was asleep we sat down and slurped noodles and chicken with a good Gewurztraminer. Yum.

                                                                                          I've found that this salad doesn't keep all that well -- it's really only good for about 24 hours. Since the recipe makes a huge amount, I suggest either cutting the recipe in half for a small household dinner, or making it for a potluck or a large party. Otherwise, it will get soggy before it's gone. If you want it to keep longer, I would recommend using thicker noodles. The recipe calls for thin noodles, but there's no reason you can't use something more the size of linguini, which would probably hold up better over time.

                                                                                          1. Beet Soup with Three Legumes (p. 223)

                                                                                            This is the first recipe from this book that I haven't liked so much. I did use canned beans, but good ones that I like a lot. Still, there wasn't a whole lot of flavor. You simmer the beets in water with the lentils initially. No aromatic ingredients. It's only later that you add some chopped scallions and parsley, and when serving you add a mixture of onion and spices fried in butter--sort of like with some Indian dal recipes. It was ok, but just a little lacking in flavor, or richness, or something.

                                                                                            The ingredients themselves were good. I think I'd do a similar dish, but in a different way. Probably fry some aromatics first so that the flavor has time to permeate, and up the amount of spices added at the end.

                                                                                            1. Spicy Chickpea Puree, Pg. 99

                                                                                              This is an alternative to a traditioinal hummus recipe and lives up to that description quite nicely. I've had chickpeas in the pantry for a few weeks and wanted to use them up. Since I don't really like them I thought blitzing them with herbs and spices would be a good idea, and it was. Curiously, there's no tahini in this recipe, which I've always used when making hummus.

                                                                                              Very simple recipe: Put into a large food processor chopped garlic, pinch of salt, cayenne, olive oil, cilantro and lemon juice. Whizz that up then add toasted cumin/fennel coriander seeds and cooked chickpeas and whizz till smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center and drizzle with EVOO..

                                                                                              Very nice snack or appetizer served with fresh pita bread.

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                This sounds good, and I will have to keep it in mind. Have you tried the bulgur with roasted chickpeas, red onions and lemon recipe from Flexitarian Table? The chickpeas are roasted along with red onions, lemon juice, bay leaves, cumin, and smoked paprika, and then mixed with hot cooked bulgur. I don't generally like chickpeas as chickpeas, either the flavor or texture - which I find kind of raw-beany and gritty, respectively - though I am fond of things like hummus and felafel. Roasting the (cooked) chickpeas somehow alters all that and I like that dish quite a lot.

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  The bulgur and roasted chickpeas sounds good. I found this - close?


                                                                                                  1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                                                    That is very close. I remembered that I had previously paraphrased the recipe straight from the book: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5919...

                                                                                                    As I noted there, I like it better with half the couscous called for.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      I LOVE that recipe, and almost always have everything (except maybe the parsley, which isnt' much missed) around the kitchen. I always use couscous instead of bulgur.

                                                                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    Caitlin, it was so good to read that Flexitarian Table thread again. I haven't made the bulgar with roasted chickpeas but it's a very good suggestion. Thanks for that. And, thanks for inspiring me to revisit FT. There are recipes in that book I meant to make but never got around to ... moving quickly from one COTM to another..

                                                                                                2. Carrot and Red Pepper Soup, p. 204

                                                                                                  I've been doing some cooking for a relative who just had fairly major surgery for an oral cancer and can only eat quite smooth foods right now, so puddings and non-spicy pureed soups are the order of the day.

                                                                                                  Diced onions, sliced carrots, red bell pepper, and 2 T. white rice (I used jasmine) are sauteed in butter or olive oil (I used olive oil). I didn't have a fresh red pepper, so I used drained, jarred roasted peppers and added them with the liquids. When the onion has softened, salt, parsley (I had none, so skipped), chopped fresh dill, the zest and juice of an orange, and water or vegetable stock (I used part water and part boxed low-sodium stock) are added (i put in the roasted peppers at this point) and all is simmered until the rice is cooked. The mixture is then pureed and seasoned with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                  The resulting soup is very nice, subtly seasoned (perfect for our needs), sweet from the carrots and peppers, and savory from the broth and dill.