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November 2008 COTM The Art of Simple Food: Vegetables

MMRuth Nov 1, 2008 04:39 AM

November 2008 COTM:

Alice Waters - The Art of Simple Food

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for vegetables here, including those recipes that fit in this category 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!

  1. Gio Nov 3, 2008 04:24 AM

    Braised Savoy Cabbage, Pg. 296

    I love Savoy cabbage in any preparation so I was looking forward to this.
    The cabbage is quartered then sliced through each quarter once more. It is braised with diced carrots, onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic and seasoned with salt - no pepper. After a few minutes dry white wine then chicken broth are added in stages. All is simmered till the cabbage is tender. It didn't take too long at all. I did this during the last hour that the Braised Pork with Dried Chilis (page 139) was cooking.

    We liked this dish but thought it was very mild given all the savories included. It was a good side for the braised pork. though.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Gio
      Carb Lover Nov 3, 2008 06:49 AM

      I love savoy cabbage too! I'm looking at the book now and it does say to season the raw cabbage w/ salt and pepper. It looks like the cabbage only cooks for about 15 min. so I can see why the short braising wouldn't develop the flavors a whole lot. There's a braised cabbage recipe in All About Braising that got lots of raves when it was COTM. I think it cooked for at least 1.5 hrs. though.

      I like the idea of a short braise for the convenience and vibrancy; sometimes I don't like things cooked down too much. I have regular cabbage in my fridge now so may try it later this week.

      1. re: Carb Lover
        Gio Nov 3, 2008 06:57 AM

        Yes, you're right about the pepper. I just didn't read my notes correctly....
        It is a short braise, but because the Savoy was fresh, fresh the flavor of the vegetable really came through....and it was tender but not mushy.

    2. JoanN Nov 3, 2008 10:23 AM

      Long-Cooked Broccoli (page 294)

      I made as directed (chopped broccoli including peeled stems, 6 cloves of sliced garlic, and a pinch of crushed red pepper cooked in a cup of water) but at the end of what was supposed to be a one-hour cooking time, the broccoli was still waaay too soupy. Had to boil it down for probably 10 minutes to get it to a texture that looked like something I might want to eat. It tasted fine, but it certainly wasn’t anything special. And it looked like khaki mush on the plate. I’ll stick with roasting my broccoli.

       
      1 Reply
      1. re: JoanN
        Gio Nov 3, 2008 04:56 PM

        I'm so glad to read your report JoanN. This was on my list to cook and I was very wary of the "long cook" process. I either steam or roast fresh broccoli. Thanks very mush... LOL

      2. The Dairy Queen Nov 4, 2008 05:22 AM

        Winter Squash Puree, page 324

        I'm not really sure if this is a recipe. She just tells you to cut a bunch of winter squash in half, de-seed them and place them face down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 until tender. Remove, let cook, remove flesh, then mash with a potatoe masher. Season with oil or butter (we used EVOO) and salt and cream if desired (we skipped the cream). She has a couple of suggested variations we didn't follow, but that sound good.

        This is hardly a revelation, but, baked squash is delicious nevertheless! We used a combo of acorn, delicata, and carnival...

        ~TDQ

        24 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen
          clamscasino Nov 4, 2008 05:51 AM

          I discovered that method for baking squash (cuts out that dreaded and dangerous peeling) about a year ago and now I don't cook it any other way. I think the flavor is superior - even my daughter has been converted from a "eww, squash!" gal to a "yay, you made squash!" chow-pup. I don't use parchment paper though. Instead I rub a bit of olive oil on the cut side. I can see how parchment paper would be easier to clean up...but then I don't do the dishes...

          1. re: clamscasino
            The Dairy Queen Nov 4, 2008 06:27 AM

            I still have a hard time cutting the squash in half, to be honest... I fear for my fingers. Waters says you can just oil the baking sheet, so, I'm sure your method of rubbing oil on the cut half would be fine, too. :)

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen
              j
              jeanmt Nov 4, 2008 11:24 AM

              I roast the entire thing for a bit. When soft enough to handle I take it out and cut it, scrape seeds, and stick it back on there. Works fine.

              1. re: jeanmt
                The Dairy Queen Nov 4, 2008 11:39 AM

                That's a good idea! What do you do if you want to chunk it up for soup?

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  LulusMom Nov 4, 2008 01:34 PM

                  If it's for a blended soup, then it doesn't really matter ... just scoop out the innards into the pot. I do it this way all the time, so much easier. Not sure what I'd do if I wanted chunks of squash though.

                  1. re: LulusMom
                    The Dairy Queen Nov 5, 2008 02:39 AM

                    Oh, my difficulty iscutting the squash open in the first place. jean was suggesting that I bake it for a little bit, then slice it open. I was wondering if she used the same technique when she needed the flesh for soup--would she bake it first? Just curious, as I'd hate to heat up the oven in that case if I didn't have to... Still, it's better than cutting your hand!

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      LulusMom Nov 5, 2008 05:26 AM

                      Here's another little trick - poke a few holes in it and nuke it for about 10 minutes. Makes it much easier to cut into (and then roast for the flavor). But I do feel your pain on cutting them. Recipes that say "peel and cut your squash" always make my eyes roll back into my head.

                      1. re: LulusMom
                        The Dairy Queen Nov 5, 2008 07:33 AM

                        That seems like a good tip, for when you don't otherwise need to have your oven going. I shall try that next time. I can't believe it, but I am, indeed, intimidating by the lowly squash!

                        ~TDQ

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                        j
                        jeanmt Nov 6, 2008 12:02 PM

                        In that case, I microwave it!! For five to seven minutes, then keep sticking it back in there until I can cut it. You have to let it cool down, which is time consuming. But better than trying to cut it unheated. Whoops, I see LuLusMom had the same tip.

                      3. re: LulusMom
                        greygarious Nov 29, 2008 11:31 AM

                        Nuke a large butternut on medium power for 10-15 min, not even pricked. Allow to cool before handling. This softens the skin and flesh just enough to allow easier peeling and slicing.

                  2. re: The Dairy Queen
                    yumyumyogi Nov 24, 2008 06:29 PM

                    This is by far the best knife for cutting squash, or any rooth vegetable for that matter. Even my chef borrows it from me when he needs to cut squash. It's relatively cheap, to:
                    http://www.amazon.com/Forschner-Victo...

                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                  foxy fairy Nov 5, 2008 06:31 AM

                  I only use this method for several years now -- slice squash in half, roast with EVOO, S, P.
                  Deepened, toasty flavor and no drama of squash-cutting!

                  However -- I would like to make butternut squash lasagna with the CUBES again, but I recall an agonizing hour of battling with the squash when I made this a couple of winters back... I just don't know that I want to deal! I also tried a yummy little treat at Whole Foods sample night recently -- cubed squash in kind of a salad with cranberries etc... I would like to find a low-maintenance way to cube. Or someone to come to my house and do it for me -- ha!

                  1. re: foxy fairy
                    Gio Nov 5, 2008 06:45 AM

                    Formerly I used my huge long Wusthof chef's knife ....sliced the squash in half around the middle then in half the long way, then pared the skin. Even with that Excalibur it wasn't easy. Now I buy butternut already pared and sliced in halves....from there it's very easy to slice the cubes.

                    Instead of buying a big acorn or other squash, I now buy several smaller ones. Much easier to slice. We love squash.

                    1. re: Gio
                      greedygirl Nov 5, 2008 06:54 AM

                      What you need is a Y-shaped vegetable peeler. Like this:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Oxo-Good-Grips-...

                      1. re: greedygirl
                        Gio Nov 5, 2008 07:07 AM

                        I've been using the OXO-Good Grips Swivel Peeler:
                        http://oxo.com/OA_HTML/xxoxo_ibeCCtpOXOPrdDtl.jsp?section=10054&item=46403&minisite=10024&respid=53057
                        It works pretty well on most everything.

                        They also make a pro model of the one you linked to that looks like it would peel anything...
                        http://oxo.com/OA_HTML/xxoxo_ibeCCtpO...

                        1. re: Gio
                          greedygirl Nov 5, 2008 07:33 AM

                          I think that's the same one that I linked to. I've got one and it's a marvellous thing.

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            Gio Nov 5, 2008 07:37 AM

                            Oh right - I just glanced at it the first time... Thanks for the recommendation!!

                      2. re: Gio
                        oakjoan Nov 5, 2008 12:32 PM

                        I have a heavy-duty knife that is somewhat dull, yet verrry sturdy. I use it to cut squash with a mallet. I have to poke a hole in to get it started. I don't like to try to slice it in half due to fear that it might slip and take off a finger or worse.

                        So, I stick it in and then pound it with a mallet. Since I don't care about this knife, I don't worry when I smack down on it.

                        I don't have a microwave, but putting the squash in the oven or a steamer for a bit to soften it up sounds like a better idea than the one I'm using. My method DOES get rid of tension and is somewhat cathartic...nothing like giving something a whack, eh?

                        1. re: oakjoan
                          greedygirl Nov 5, 2008 11:55 PM

                          I recently bought a cleaver from a Chinese supermarket. It's GREAT for cutting squash, and I really enjoyed using it to joint a chicken. THWACK!

                          I did worry slightly about what would happen if I got stopped by the police on the way home from the supermarket though.... It's not an offensive weapon, officer.....

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            oakjoan Nov 6, 2008 01:17 PM

                            You could always offer to demonstrate on a chicken if threatened with arrest for carrying a deadly weapon.

                      3. re: foxy fairy
                        beetlebug Nov 5, 2008 07:30 AM

                        When I make butternut squash lasagna, I just cut the squash in half (lenghwise), roast and then scoop. The squash gets mixed and mushed with the bechamel sauce anyway, so there is no reason for it to be in cubed shape. So much easier then peeling and chopping (she says with a huge gash in her pinky from a losing battle with peeling an acorn squash).

                        1. re: foxy fairy
                          yumyumyogi Nov 24, 2008 06:31 PM

                          Cubing becomes a cinch when you do it a few times this way:
                          http://www.cookthink.com/reference/10...

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                          Tom P Nov 7, 2008 07:53 PM

                          I have to chime in, I loved this squash discussion. Two Thanksgivings ago, I made from Suzanne Goin's LUCQUES cookbook the Warm Kabocha Squash Salad. Cutting through that squash was easily one of the hardest %@#$ things I have ever done in my life. The salad was so good I have always wanted to make it again. I guess like childbirth you forget the hard part. I could not believe how difficult it was, though.

                          Given that, I confess I love to get Trader Joe's peeled and cubed butternut squash when I need that one. I realize that is being a bit of a baby but sometimes you have to move fast.

                          1. re: Tom P
                            LulusMom Nov 8, 2008 04:33 AM

                            It's being a very sensible baby, if you ask me!

                        3. JoanN Nov 6, 2008 08:40 AM

                          Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions (page 295)

                          I played fast and loose with quantities, using up some cut up thick-sliced applewood-smoked bacon I had in the freezer. It was probably more like three and half slices than the two called for. Had a stalk of sprouts from the farmers market; no idea what they weighed. I don’t think proportions matter much.

                          You parboil the sprouts (small ones cut in half; large ones into quarters), cook bacon until rendered but not crisp in some olive oil, remove the bacon and cook a diced onion along with savory or thyme sprigs (I used thyme) in the bacon fat, add the sprouts and cook until beginning to brown, then toss in the bacon. I let the bacon get a little crispier than she recommended, but I prefer it that way.

                          This was an excellent rendition of a standard that I’d definitely make again if my scale were telling me I could indulge in some bacon fat.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: JoanN
                            MMRuth Nov 6, 2008 09:24 AM

                            Glad they were good - I made a note to try these (well, and I seemed to have made the same note next to anything with 'bacon' in the title!).

                            1. re: JoanN
                              oakjoan Nov 6, 2008 01:18 PM

                              JoanN: Please tell us where you bought your scale.

                              1. re: oakjoan
                                MMRuth Nov 6, 2008 01:23 PM

                                You want my scale, which deducts pounds for any weight gained due to bacon intake.

                                1. re: oakjoan
                                  greedygirl Nov 6, 2008 11:32 PM

                                  Salter ones are good and I think you can get them from Amazon.

                                2. re: JoanN
                                  MMRuth Nov 10, 2008 08:37 AM

                                  I made these last night and they were really delicious. I made 1/2 a pound of brussel sprouts, which I parboiled for about 3 minutes (she says 'until tender' or something like that). My husband asked me to "please add extra bacon because brussel sprouts can be boring", so I used two slices of bacon, not one. I also used red onions because I had half of one to use up, and I really liked the sweetness they added to the dish. Will definitely make this again.

                                   
                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    greedygirl Nov 19, 2008 04:06 AM

                                    I made these last night but minus the bacon as we were having them with pork stroganoff. Really lovely - we wolfed them down, with - ahem - explosive results later on! I imagine would be even nicer with the bacon, so will do that next time.

                                3. greedygirl Nov 6, 2008 11:39 AM

                                  Roasted Sliced Cauliflower, p299

                                  This was a revelation! And very easy for a quick after work supper. All you do is slice a head of cauliflower into 1/4 inch slices, brush will olive oil, season and roast. It's done when the edges have started to brown, and it's tender - about 20 minutes.

                                  I served it with some very tasty toulouse sausages, and a green salad with some cooked new potatoes tossed into it. We were very happy indeed with the meal, and Mr GG praised the cauliflower without being prompted and asked where the recipe was from. Yay! A winner, and I'll definitely make it again now that cauliflower season has started in earnest.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    c
                                    cpw Nov 6, 2008 02:48 PM

                                    "Mr GG praised the cauliflower without being prompted and asked where the recipe was from". This gave me a good laugh !

                                    I bought a head of cauliflower yesterday and not I am torn between this recipe and the salad with capers.

                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                      Gooseberry Nov 7, 2008 02:11 AM

                                      mmm, I really like roasted cauliflower.

                                      Try it with melted butter, too - I find it makes it even sweeter.

                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                        JoanN Nov 7, 2008 03:36 AM

                                        I adore all roasted vegetables, but cauliflower is one of my favorites. Rather than slice and brush, I cut into florets and toss with olive oil. And instead of cooking it just until it starts to brown, I cook it about an additional ten minutes--until some of the smaller bits are just short of beginning to burn. The more caramelization, the sweeter and better. Great, great, stuff, isn't it? I've often made it just to snack on. Even love it cold from the fridge.

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          v
                                          veggielover Nov 7, 2008 05:06 AM

                                          What temperature do you use to roast the cauliflower? I have some home right now, and I could make it for dinner tonight.

                                          1. re: greedygirl
                                            Carb Lover Nov 8, 2008 04:17 AM

                                            Roasted Sliced Cauliflower, p. 299
                                            Marinated Beet Salad, p. 244

                                            Thanks for the heads up on the roasted sliced cauliflower. I've roasted a whole head of cauliflower or florets, but have not done the sliced method. I came home from work a little late on Fri. night. Husband looked at me w/ those "i'm hungry" eyes. I had no meat or fish to design a meal around and didn't have the time or energy to comb through books for a good vegetarian recipe to use up all my CSA veggies. So I decided to make some simple vegetarian "tapas."

                                            While the oven was preheating to 400F, I sliced the two small heads of cauliflower that I had. Get this: one was purple and one was yellow. Pretty and psychedelic. They tasted pretty much the same as white cauliflower. They were a bit past their prime so were on the dry side. Instead of brushing w/ olive oil, I drizzled a little on and then tossed w/ my hands. Sprinkled on some salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. Roasted for about 20-25 min. and then finished w/ chopped cilantro. Overall, I liked the flavor of these, but I think I should have used a touch more oil. Solid but nothing revelatory for me. I want to try her steamed cauliflower w/ bagna cauda next.

                                            I had a bunch of roasted red beets awaiting their destiny in my fridge, so I took some inspiration from her marinated beet salad. I decided to cut them into large dice. I then added a little sherry vinegar and EVOO and based on her variations, I added some orange juice and zest and fresh dill. This was as it sounds...simple and tasty. The beets were super sweet. I think I like roasted beets better w/ greens and other goodies. I've got leftovers that I will toss with little gem lettuce, orange segments, and either blue or goat cheese.

                                            My other "tapas" were things that I just threw together based on what I had. Sauteed beet greens w/ garlic and lemon juice. Sauteed carrots and radishes cooked in butter. The beet greens were probably my favorite item of all. Don't toss out those beet greens, people!

                                            I was fearful that husband would protest this veggie tapas concept, but he happily ate it with a glass of French red wine. Another meal I felt good about making and eating. Of course, I promised him vanilla ice cream w/ chocolate sauce afterwards. :-) That was pretty darn good too...

                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                            1. re: Carb Lover
                                              c
                                              cpw Nov 8, 2008 07:29 AM

                                              Roasted cauliflower
                                              Last night I made the roasted cauliflower too. Sprinkled with salt and cayenne pepper (needed the pick me up) and brushed with melted butter as gooseberry suggested(thanks!). 20 minutes in the oven and it was perfect for my Friday evening tapas.
                                              On my way home from work I had stopped by fairway and picked up garlic cabarnet salame, some marinated mozzarella and almond stuffed olives. We washed it all down with a bottle of red wine. My husband just ate the cauliflower, and my daughter just ate the salame.

                                              1. re: Carb Lover
                                                oakjoan Nov 13, 2008 02:15 PM

                                                CL: The combo of cauliflower and caraway seeds sounds intriguing. We've been getting broccoli on parade in our CSA box the past few weeks. Wish some caulif would appear.

                                                One gripe I have about The Art of Simple Food is that, e.g., under Salads in the index, the recipes are listed by name rather than ingredient..."marinated beet". Hard to find. However, under "Shellfish", everything is listed with ingredients first, e.g., "clams, linguini with". I'm probably being too picky..

                                                I've probably written more times about this salad I had at A-16 in SF a few years ago than anything else...they steam the beet greens and chop them and include them in their sliced beet salad. I've been doing that ever since. Sauteeing the greens with garlic and lemon juices sounds pretty danged good, too.

                                                I also always use her method of cooking beets - roasting in the oven with a bit of water in the bottom of the pan, covered with foil.

                                                1. re: oakjoan
                                                  JoanN Nov 13, 2008 02:36 PM

                                                  Regarding cooking beets, my favorite method is from a Jamie Oliver recipe and it's less messy than in a pan covered with foil. He puts the beets on a sheet of foil, adds a little olive oil, a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and some seasonings (I usually just use S&P), and wraps the tin foil packet tightly. Place on a baking sheet just in case of leaks and roast until done. No cleanup. And the balsamic vinegar really brings out the sweetness of the beets.

                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                    NYchowcook Nov 19, 2008 03:51 AM

                                                    I roast beets w/ the foil-wrap method, which I think is nifty. I make a loose purse w/ air above the beets. It's how I roast garlic too. But I roast beets w/ nothin' on 'em (nekked); garlic I rub olive oil on.
                                                    Works great.

                                            2. Gio Nov 7, 2008 03:59 AM

                                              Braised Belgian Endive, Pg. 311

                                              This was delicious! 3 Endive cut in half and seasoned with salt then browned on the cut side in butter. Yes, we used Butter - 2 tablespoons. Next the endive is placed in a baking dish, 1/2 cup of chicken broth was poured around, covered tightly with aluminum foil and baked in a 400* oven for about 20 min. As she suggests, I was going to wrap each piece in a thin slice of pancetta before baking, but I forgot. And, quite honestly, I'm glad I did. This dish was quite satisfactory without the extra salty flavor. I served this with Baked Fish (pg. 329) with Pesto (pg. 230)

                                              1. Tom P Nov 7, 2008 07:44 PM

                                                Buttered Turnips, Pg. 323

                                                I received my CSA box today. When I get it, I spend an hour or so prepping all the vegetables so they are ready to be used. If I do this in the evening, I usually cook something while I prep. I'd just read this section on turnips, so when I had turnips in the box, I tried it.

                                                Very simple. REALLY wonderful. I’ll admit, I love turnips. But I'd never had them prepared this way. I let both the turnips and the butter brown more than she seems to recommend; otherwise, I cooked them as suggested. Wow. Soft, tender, so flavorful.
                                                It was a great example to me of trying a recipe as is: I often tweak recipes, even the first time I try one, and here I was tempted as I cooked the turnips to throw in herbs, or a little of the fresh onion I also received. But given the book is called ‘The Art of Simple Fod’, I restrained myself and I cooked as is, and they were all the better for it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Tom P
                                                  LulusMom Nov 8, 2008 04:36 AM

                                                  I often add a touch of brandy or cognac at the end of cooking my turnips in butter - brings out just a little more sweetness in them. I love turnips, I love butter, I love booze.

                                                2. Gio Nov 8, 2008 04:02 AM

                                                  Potato Gratin, Pg. 318

                                                  Try this one...it's very good!
                                                  Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced very thin, layered in a buttered baking dish ... each layer is seasoned with grated Gruyere cheese and S & P. One half cup half & half poured around then baked for an hour in a 350 oven.. That's it!!

                                                  Served it with a ground turkey and apricot meatloaf found at the Gourmet magazine site. Both dishes will be in the rotation from now on.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                    yamalam Nov 13, 2008 09:26 AM

                                                    Tried this last night on your rec and it was very good. My version says one cup milk rather than the 1/2 & 1/2, and I used 2% and it was plenty rich enough. I dotted the top with butter and seasoned the layers with chopped thyme rather than gruyere. Very simple, it seems like I would've made this already in my long legg-ed life, but the only potato gratins I've done involved bechamel, toppings and were more of a pain in the A. This is a great way to stretch 3 potatoes into a side for 4 people, and so easy. She mentions using a mandoline, but I thought it was easier to slice the taters by hand. Also, 3 T butter and 1 cup of 2% is less dairy/fat than I usually use on potatoes for 4 people, which is always a bonus.

                                                    1. re: Gio
                                                      greedygirl Nov 13, 2008 01:39 PM

                                                      We don't have half & half here. Could I subsitute a quarter cup of milk and a quarter cup of single cream?

                                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                                        yamalam Nov 13, 2008 01:45 PM

                                                        I went with all milk, and it took one cup to cover the bottom layer of potatoes, as indicated in the recipe. I was happy with the creaminess and richness afforded by the milk, but yes, to up the creamy factor, I believe it would be good with a combination of milka nd single cream:)

                                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                                          oakjoan Nov 13, 2008 02:21 PM

                                                          I'm sure that'd be fine.

                                                          I couldn't believe the WALL O' MILK PRODUCTS in London supermarkets. Who'd a thunk there'd be 543 different types of cream and milk.

                                                          Oh, yeah, and bacon, too. At least 300 different kinds.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                                            greedygirl Nov 13, 2008 03:00 PM

                                                            People tell me that dairy products are much better over here. I've heard them rave about clotted cream and jersey milk! I've also heard that America is the place cheese goes to die. ;-) (It's true that I've never had any decent cheese in the States - I did find Epoisses in NOLA but it was served straight from the fridge - the horror!). Is creme fraiche regularly available?

                                                            And bacon - what's not to love?

                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                              LulusMom Nov 13, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                              I went to my local grocery store about 8 months ago and asked for creme fraiche, and they had NO idea what I was talking about. They kept asking me over and over "and now what is it exactly?" and asking yet another person working there if they'd ever heard of it. Crazy thing was, they DID stock the stuff.

                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                pikawicca Nov 13, 2008 03:56 PM

                                                                The cheese thing was true 20 years ago, but no longer. Artisinal cheeses are huge here, everything from goat to blues, cheddars, etc. American cheese has gone from absolute dreck to world-class in a surprisingly short space of time. About the only European cheese that we have no competitor for is Parm.

                                                                1. re: pikawicca
                                                                  c
                                                                  cpw Nov 13, 2008 06:14 PM

                                                                  That is so true. In some of the competetions Americans have been winning over French!

                                                                  1. re: cpw
                                                                    Gooseberry Nov 19, 2008 12:28 AM

                                                                    I think the cheese thing depends on where you are in the States. I was blown away by the varieties in California.

                                                                    However, I just got back from Italy, and I realise the thing that is very hard to find elsewhere in the world is their selection of FRESH cheeses (and I suppose one could almost include creme fraiche in that category). Different variations on ricotta and cream cheeses and farmer's cheeses. Scamorza, burrata, mozzarella, ricotta, caciotta, robiola, tomma, squacarone, sfilata... but since the shelf life is so short, I suppose it only works in a food culture where everyone appreciates and buys the stuff regularly.

                                                                    But I'll stand by the bacon criticism, though. There is a world beyond streaky bacon, but you'd never know it in an American supermarket.

                                                        2. Gio Nov 10, 2008 04:28 AM

                                                          Steamed Cauliflower with Variations, Pg. 299

                                                          This is a straight forward steaming procedure, however instead of steaming the whole head of cauliflower I broke off the florets. When finished, the Bagna Cauda (Pg. 230) was poured over to flavor.

                                                          Served as a side to a roast turkey breast and reheated leftover Potato Gratin from a couple of nights ago. Four Yukon Golds sliced very thin made a huge amount of gratin!

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gio
                                                            toodie jane Nov 10, 2008 08:34 AM

                                                            a nice description of bagna cauda served in an Italian vineyard...

                                                            http://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/ar...

                                                            1. re: toodie jane
                                                              Gio Nov 10, 2008 08:50 AM

                                                              How lovely that was to read, toodie jane. Just beam me there tomorrow. Thanks very much.
                                                              My mother made bagna cauda during these upcoming holidays and I've made it in the past as well, but I've never heard about cooking the garlic in water and vinegar. I'm going to try that next time.

                                                          2. MMRuth Nov 10, 2008 08:40 AM

                                                            Celery Root and Potato Puree, p. 300

                                                            I made half a batch last night - cooked about 7 oz of the sliced, peeled celery root in butter, with the lid on, for about 15 minutes, then pureed in the food mill. I let mine get browner than you are supposed to due to lack of attention! I boiled 1/2 pound of yukon gold potatoes - well, one potato - cut into large chunks, then ran it through the food mill and added it to the celery root, and stirred in some butter, then some skim milk and half and half to taste, then a little more butter and salt and pepper. I love celery root and this is a great dish. Next time I might use the ricer instead, so that I get a less chunky result.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                              MMRuth Nov 10, 2008 08:46 AM

                                                              Forgot photos.

                                                               
                                                               
                                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                                beetlebug Nov 29, 2008 07:09 AM

                                                                I made this as well and wasn't enamoured of it. I don't have a food mill only a ricer. What I didn't like was the extra step of the celery root and butter in the pan. It wouldn't go through the ricer because the slices were too thin. I ended up using a masher and then adding them to the riced potatoes.

                                                                While it tasted fine, it wasn't worth the extra step. I think I kept comparing it to Goin's parsnip and potato puree, which I love.

                                                              2. pikawicca Nov 10, 2008 02:33 PM

                                                                Braised Savoy Cabbage, page 296

                                                                This was delicious, and will be on my Thanksgiving table. I made some changes, however.

                                                                Added 2 strips, chopped, good smoked bacon. Used a very nice New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. (The flavor of the wine really came through. On Thanksgiving, I plan to use an Alsatian riesling.)

                                                                If you try to make this following her directions, you'll be terribly frustrated. She instructs you to add the wine, cover the pot, and wait until the wine is almost gone -- about 8 minutes. Just where, exactly, does she think the wine is going to go in a covered pot? As soon as the cabbage is wilted, remove the top and cook over high heat, stirring once in a while, until the wine is almost gone. Then add the chicken stock and do not follow the instruction to cover the pot. Once again, cook over high heat, stirring a few times, until the liquid has almost all evaporated.

                                                                I really wish that all cookbook authors would farm their recipes out to home cooks for testing. This experience makes me wonder about the other recipes in this book.

                                                                1. NYCkaren Nov 12, 2008 06:05 AM

                                                                  Sauteed cauliflower, P. 119.
                                                                  This is one of the very simple recipes. What's notable is that you slice the whole cauliflower into quarter-inch slabs instead of separating it into florets. I made basically a half recipe, using a small purple cauliflower from the farmer's market. I made it in my cast iron pan, and the cauliflower got nice and brown. I added the optional garlic and parsley at the end. It was good!

                                                                  1. greedygirl Nov 13, 2008 01:41 PM

                                                                    Buttered cabbage

                                                                    I like this way of cooking cabbage and will probably use it lots now that savoy season is upon us. All you do is cook sliced cabbage in a pan with a knob of butter and about half an inch of water. It needs quite a lot of S&P in my opinion. I wasn't sure whether the liquid was supposed to boil off - mine didn't but I think it would be better if it did so I'd add less water next time.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                                      beetlebug Nov 29, 2008 07:11 AM

                                                                      I made this with a little napa cabbage and it was delicious. What I especially liked was that it gave napa a different taste to what I am use to. Of course, vegetables and butter, what's wrong with that?

                                                                       
                                                                    2. SarahRifka Nov 18, 2008 02:52 PM

                                                                      Chard Gratin

                                                                      This was a fabulous way to use up a bunch of greens I had bought at the Farmers Market last week.

                                                                      Recipe was simle and easy to follow, I have just a couple of suggestions: 1) next time I would add a little more milk - the finished result was tasty but could've been a little moister. 2) If you use chard the cooking time would probably be appropriate, but since I used mixed greens (including some tougher types like collards), I pre-cooked the greens a little longer.

                                                                      All in all a very tasty healthier and heartier version of "creamed spinach".

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: SarahRifka
                                                                        Tom P Nov 24, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                                        I made this last night. Loved it so much, I am going to do it for Thanksgiving. I actually prepped it the night before, as I had the greens (I used chard and kale both) and wanted to see if it would work as a 'prep the night before' dish, as the more of those I can do for Thanksgiving, the easier it is on the day. I did everything but the breadcrumbs, kept it overnight in the fridge, pulled it out an hour early, added the breadcrumbs (I added some parmesean, my one addition) and baked it 30 minutes. Just divine. And the people I had over to dinner felt it was the best dish of the night.

                                                                      2. greedygirl Nov 20, 2008 04:55 AM

                                                                        Celery root remoulade

                                                                        Celeriac remoulade is one of my favourite things, and having spent a goodly amount of time in France I've eaten a lot of it. I've never found any recipe that matches up to the little tubs you can buy in any French supermarket or deli, so I was keen to give this a go.

                                                                        It's very easy to make - the recipe calls for you to julienne your celeriac, but I prefer mine shredded, the way I've always had it in France, so I grated mine in the food processor. Then you toss it in some salt and a little wine vinegar, to prevent discoloration, before preparing the dressing. This is made from creme fraiche, dijon mustard, lemon juice, EVOO, S&P, whisked together.

                                                                        Once I'd combined the dressing and celeriac, and tasted, I thought it needed a little bit more acid, so added some more lemon juice. This may be because I used a small European lemon rather than a jumbo American one! It also needs quite a bit of salt, imho.

                                                                        The result was nice - fresh tasting with a kick from the mustard and lemon - but not fabulous. I think I am destined never to recreate the deli-style remoulades that I love! I have the same issues with carrot salad. *sigh*

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                                                          LulusMom Nov 20, 2008 05:28 AM

                                                                          Shredding instead of julienning ... a revelation. You've just saved me some time.

                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                            MMRuth Nov 20, 2008 05:33 AM

                                                                            I do that too - it is so much faster.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                              greedygirl Nov 20, 2008 06:02 AM

                                                                              If it's good enough for the French, etc, etc. And celeriac is such a *£!?*! to cut.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                LulusMom Nov 20, 2008 06:29 AM

                                                                                It makes so much sense, wish I'd thought of it earlier. I think this means we'll be having a lot more of it this winter. I've just never seen it that way (not even in France).

                                                                            2. re: greedygirl
                                                                              oakjoan Nov 24, 2008 04:03 PM

                                                                              Greedy Girl: Yeah, celeriac gratin and carrot salad are staples of the French food experience. I remember the first time I was in Paris and we went out to dinner at a random restaurant. A cart was pulled up to our table. It was laden with salads and various apps. I was totally impressed. There also used to be a place in SF called Paoli's that had the same app. cart. The sheer number of dishes was amazing.

                                                                              Paula Wolfert has a number of good carrot salad recipes in her various books..one with feta and black olives, garlic, harissa, caraway seed, vinegar, and olive oil and another with cinnamon, cumin, paprika, cayenne, lemon juice, sugar, and chopped parsley stand out.

                                                                              I realize these aren't the French deli-style salads, but they're pretty great....if not grate.

                                                                              1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                LulusMom Dec 1, 2008 03:26 PM

                                                                                I've made that PW carrot salad with the feta, black olives, etc. and it is truly delicious. Stinky and wonderful.

                                                                                I've just spent 9+ hours on a plane with a 2 and a half year old and then downed 2 margaritas ... must stop browsing chowhound and sleep ...

                                                                              2. re: greedygirl
                                                                                k
                                                                                Karen_Schaffer Nov 24, 2008 07:41 PM

                                                                                For what it's worth, I make an ersatz celeriac remoulade by making the dressing with yogurt, Dijon mustard, and capers, heavy on the mustard. It's more lively than the French versions, between the tangy yogurt and extra mustard. But, well, we like it.

                                                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                                  Gooseberry Nov 30, 2008 10:47 PM

                                                                                  There are very few vegetable salads which don't benefit from a little homemade concoction of mustard, a dash of honey, with yoghurt/mayo or olive oil, depending on application.

                                                                              3. w
                                                                                Westminstress Sep 4, 2012 06:47 AM

                                                                                Ratatouille

                                                                                I made it from the recipe posted here: http://food52.com/recipes/14155_alice...

                                                                                A fairly simple stovetop prep. Eggplant is chopped, salted, drained and sauteed, and there is time to chop the rest of the vegetables while that happens. The remainIng vegetables are cooked together. First onions, then garlic and lots of basil, then red peppers, then zucchini, then tomato, and the precooked eggplant goes in at the end. Everything dimmers together for 15 minutes or so and you're done! I thought the favors were thin at first but after everything sat together for a few hours it was just delicious! A very nice treatment for late summer vegetables.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Westminstress
                                                                                  Gio Sep 4, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                                                  Curiously, or not as this seems to a common occurrence on the home cooking board, I'm making the Italian version tonight, Ciambotta. The COTM Calabrese version that is. Same vegetables, same procedure, different country. Cin, cin, Westminstress...

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