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November 2008 COTM The Art of Simple Food: Eggs & Cheese

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November 2008 COTM:

Alice Waters - The Art of Simple Food

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for eggs and cheese here, including those recipes that fit in these categories that are in the first section of the book. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, 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. In Watersian fashion, I took advantage of yesterday's visit to our local farmer's market to pick up some local in-season produce. Part of the haul was a lovely bunch of smallish-leaved red chard. I knew I needed to cook it before leaving town on Election Day, as my partner tends not to cook when I'm away. So, I jumped at the chance to use it in a brunchy type dish like the Chard Frittata (pp. 166-167).

    In general, I followed the recipe fairly closely, but made a couple of tweaks and one goof. The first tweak came early on, when I decided to brown and render 2 or 3 oz of Niman Ranch applewood-smoked bacon (diced) in a bit of olive oil. I poured off about 3/4 of the fat and then added the onion, which I mistakenly cut into fine dice rather than the thin slices specified in the recipe. The second tweak was to use chipotle powder instead of cayenne--a decision driven in part by the fact that I didn't have my mise en place together (i.e., I was too lazy to paw through the spice shelf long enough to get to the cayenne).

    I cooked the frittata in my 10" cast iron skillet for a couple of minutes over a low flame and then transferred it to a 350-degree oven. I left it in the oven for 10 minutes--until the top was nicely browned. After resting for a few minutes, the puffy omelet settled down to a 1/2" thick cake of chard and chewy smoky nuggets of pork held together in a savory eggy matrix.

    While this simple dish was not a revelation to me, it did make delicious and satisfying use of the season's bounty.

    1. Scrambled eggs (no page number as my broadband is down and I'm typing this from the library!

      I'm kind of struggling with this book because everything is so simple and I'm not really being inspired by it, so in desperation I turned to her recipe for scrambled eggs. Gordon Ramsay says scrambled eggs are a really good test of a cook because they're surprisingly hard to do right, so I was interested to see her take on them. (I usually use Gordon's method, which yields delightfully creamy eggs).

      I followed her version to the letter - lightly beaten eggs, added to a hot pan with a knob of butter. She doesn't tell you to turn down the heat once the eggs are in, so they cooked fast - too fast for my liking. I thought they were a bit rubbish really, as the quick cooking meant they didn't have the creaminess I love in scrambled eggs. I did only cook two eggs though, in the smallest skillet I have, which is a small Le Creuset omelette pan. Maybe it would work better with eight eggs.

      Anyway, I'm not a convert and will be returning to Gordon's method asap.

      7 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        Is Gordon's method the low and slow kind (perhaps in a double boiler)? We love our scrambled eggs cooked that way too, but it does take some patience and time since it can take 15-20 min. depending on the amount that one's making.

        Have you tried Bill Granger's method?
        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

        It's quite good and not rubbery and the best high-heat method that I've found. Scrambled eggs in a flash. I still prefer the slow method when I've got the time though...

          1. re: hohokam

            Thanks for that great video! I love Gordon...it's nice to see him just cooking and having fun instead of yelling at people on American TV.

            1. re: Carb Lover

              Hmm, this is interesting. I've stayed away from Ramsey because all I've seen is his screaming of "F**K!"

              Weird about Water's scrambled eggs....she being so francais and all. The eggs sound awful. The end result of slow-cooked scrambled eggs is worth all the stirring and standing over the pan.

              I just checked her recipe and it seems to me that what you'd get, leaving them on the medium heat, is a tough skin on the bottom, unlike the creamy Ramsey eggs.

              1. re: Carb Lover

                I don't think I could stand "Hell's Kitchen" no matter how it was put together, but I shake my head when I think about how good "Kitchen Nightmares" *could* be if it weren't produced and edited by people aiming for the lowest common denominator. Oh well...topic for another board, I suppose.

                Glad you liked the video. :-)

                1. re: hohokam

                  Have you seen the British version of Kitchen Nightmares? It is really good - can't stand the US version.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    HUGE difference! He actually seems fairly charming on the UK one.