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February 2009 COTM Schneider: Vegetables & Beans and Other Legumes

February 2009 COTM: A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider

Please post your full-length reviews of vegetables, beans and other legume
recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

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  1. Hummus, p. 101

    This is my go-to recipe for hummus. The key is the toasted and freshly-ground cumin, coriander, and sesame seeds. She says to coarsely grind them, but I finely grind. Also, I add a bit of olive oil to the hummus. The other ingredients are chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Everyone always asks for the recipe since it has more flavor than the typical hummus.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rubee

      So the sesame seeds are also ground and put into the hummus? I'll have to try that. What is her oil to chickpea ratio?

      1. re: MMRuth

        Yes, the sesame seeds are also ground and added to the hummus. She says to crush the spices in a mortar or coarsely grind them to provide "crackle" but I prefer the spices finely ground. The recipe actually calls for only 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive olive for drizzling, thinning the hummus with the bean cooking liquid (I use water if using canned beans). It's a very flavorful, light and fluffy hummus, although I do add a bit of oil when I make it.

        1. re: Rubee

          Thanks - I'll have to try making hummus with less oil!

          1. re: Rubee

            Do you prefer canned or dried (and prepared) chickpeas with this version? I have a whole notebook of hummus recipes, some specify canned, others the real deal. Still have not found my one true match yet, maybe this will be it...

            1. re: yamalam

              I prefer the dried beans so that I can use the cooking liquid in the hummus, but I've often made it with canned beans, which I did this time.

          2. re: MMRuth

            I've discovered that the Chinese Sesame Paste which I bought for the Dunlop recipes is a great addition to hummus. I don't know how it's different from other sesame pastes/tahinis I've had, but it's really a great addition.

            1. re: oakjoan

              Do you use the Chinese sesame paste in place of all or part of the tahini? Also, for everyone: do you use toasted or raw tahini?

              1. re: juster

                Sometimes I use it in place of tahini (when I'm making it from scratch) and when I buy a prepared plain hummus, I just add some. It just adds something rich. Maybe it has more sesame oil in it. I don't know. I started using it because I didn't have tahini once and subbed it to great effect.

          3. re: Rubee

            We tried the hummus this weekend for my house-warming dip party. It was extra good with the Parmesan Rosemary Crackers from Martha's Baking Handbook (I love those crackers!)! I really wanted to try the Hot-buttered Hummus, but couldn't find basturma in time, but this was a very flavorful version of hummus, which I usually find to be somewhat bland. The garlic sure intensified over time! We joked that everyone left the party with some very rank breath! If they didn't like garlic or cumin, they probably didn't like our party! ;-)

          4. Parsnip Fries, p. 48 (? will check it tonight)

            Tried these last night as Superbowl snacks. While not a particularly complex or revolutionary recipe, I'd never thought to make parsnip fries before, and they were good. You basically roast oiled and salted parsnip matchsticks at 375 for 45 minutes. I added a bit of cumin and oregano to keep things interesting. Made them along with sweet potato fries, and the combination of the two went well together.

            1 Reply
            1. Provencal-Style Mushrooms, p. 41

              The recipe calls for roasting wild mushrooms, onion, garlic, juniper berries, thyme, sherry, olive oil, S&P and optional cognac or grappa at 375 for 35 minutes. Toss finished mushrooms with 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 c minced parsley.

              For the mushrooms, I used a blend of portobello and shitake, as those are pretty cheap at TJ's. I opted for shallots instead of onions, replaced the juniper berries(hard to find!) with rosemary and mortar-and -pestled the parsley and garlic rather than mince. I didn't use the grappa/cognac.

              The result was good, and used a lot less oil (only 1 T) than my usual saute method. We ate these on top of a wild rice and brown rice pilaf, and they were very garlicky, and very good. I like a lot of garlic, and can take it raw...if you can't I'd omit the last step, as it was almost raw, with just a tad of the bite taken off by being tossed in the hot mushrooms.

              1. Gratin of Beans, Pg. 100

                I made a mess 'o beans a while ago and am just getting around to posting on the result of about a half of those pinto beans.... which BTW are very, very nice indeed.

                The recipe calls for the following:
                1 1/2 cups "rich meaty broth". I used home made chicken broth..
                a clove of garlic, unsalted butter, 6 cups cooked beans, FGBPepper, and freshly grated Parmigiano.

                The beans are put into a 2 qt. gratin dish which has been smeared with the cut side of a clove of garlic then buttered liberally. After this sits for a few minutes to dry the beans are poured into the dish, the broth is poured over after being reduced from the 1 1/2 cups to 1 1/3 cups.... and then dusted with the freshly ground black pepper.

                The dish goes into a preheated 400* oven and baked for 40 minutes or until they are "very creamy." After that you take out the dish and sprinkle the Parmigiano evenly over the beans then back into the oven they go till the cheese is melted and golden brown.

                All in all the gratin was very tasty and we liked it very much. As usual, you can substitute any variety of bean which will give you the desired creamniess she's looking for.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gio

                  I made a half recipe of this last night using 3 cups of canned flageolets. I didn't halve the amount of broth, but reduced it to a cup, which actually wasn't enough. When I checked the beans after half an hour they were in danger of drying out rather than becoming creamy so I added a little bit more water and cooked for a bit longer before adding the parmesan.

                  I served these with venison sausages from the farmer's market (amazing) and purple sprouting broccoli and I thought the combination went well. I liked the beans but wasn't wowed by them - they lacked the requisite creaminess, imho. Mr GG on the other hand was a big fan and had two portions. Given that he liked them so much, they're relatively healthy and he's trying to lose weight at the moment, I'd definitely make them again.

                2. Red Lentil Stew with Caramelized Onions, p. 104

                  Hmm, I just realized that I attached my review of Red Lentil Stew with Caramelized Onions to yamalam's post in the soups & salads thread (link below), but I think the discussion really belongs over here under the beans thread.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                    Cool, this is one of the recipes I've bookmarked, so I'll have to go read it.

                  2. Celery root and apple purée, p. 81

                    I selected this recipe because it seemed like a good side dish to serve with leftover roast pork and because I had enjoyed a lovely celery root purée at a restaurant a few weeks ago.

                    S. Schneider proposes to cook celery root with milk and rice to give more creaminess to what might easily be a watery purée.

                    First, you peel and cube about a pound of celery root. That is the tough part: the root’s easy enough to peel, but it’s a lot of work to slice and dice. I sharpened my Opinel twice and almost got a blister for my troubles. A reminder of why I don’t often tackle this root!

                    The diced root goes into a pot, with about 3 tablespoons of rice, some kosher salt and some ground pepper to taste, which you cook in 3 cups of milk. Bring to a boil, let cook for about 10 minutes. Add a couple of sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced, and cook for another dozen minutes or so, until fairly soft. The first picture is the pot cooking.

                    As she mentions in her recipe, the milk will curdle. What she didn’t mention is that the whole thing tends to boil over quite readily! I added a splish of oil to help reduce the foaming.

                    After all that, drain the solids in a colander (the whey-ish liquid is tasty: you can use it in soupy or saucy things), and transfer into a food pro. Add a knob of butter, and process until the whole mess is nice and smooth. Adjust salt if needed.

                    Conclusion: it’s a lot of work, but it’s not hard… and I used a of cooking implements (2nd picture). The purée was subtle, a little sweet from the apples and indeed not watery. A hint of old-fashioned mustard of a pinch of nutmeg might not be a bad idea.

                    The dish worked nicely with the roast pork. The other side dishes were sweet potato fries with lime and a hint of chile, a handful of leftover roasted Brussels sprouts, and some steamed broccoli.

                    I forgot my camera at work, but I used my Mac’s built in camera to grab these pix as I worked. I felt very silly trying to position an open laptop above a steaming cook pot and I wonder what the neighbors might have thought if they saw me through the windows!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: TheSnowpea

                      Wow, those photos are pretty good, considering. I'm a little deterred these days by "a lot of work", but, it does sound delicious. I get a lot of celery root in my CSA. This might be something to try.


                    2. Steam-sautéed vegetables

                      This is a method for cooking starchy root veg. You fry an onion in two teaspoons of "flavourful" oil (I used pork dripping) until softened. Add cubed root veg (swede and parsnip in my case) and toss in the fat. Then add half a cup of water and cover. Steam/sauté until tender (about 12 mins), then remove lid, add another teaspoon of fat, and sauté for another five minutes or so until "glossy". If you want, you can cook for another five minutes until the edges of the veg get crusty (which I did).

                      A nice side dish for venison sausages, this was very tasty considering the small amount of fat used. We enjoyed it. I wouldn't say the veg got very crispy though.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I assume this is the "Braise-Sauteing Dense, Starchy Vegetables" on p 64. I tried this last night -suing some reserved bacon fat and cooking rutabaga, watermelon radish, carrots, and celery root. Came out nice (great veggies from winter CSA which helped), but I think I might prefer roasting root veggies which has a similar effect but easier to get crisp without overcooking. I ended up with mushy veggies, not get particularly crisp, using this method. But I'm glad to have another way to do root veggies like this which was pretty fast and didn't use the oven for future reference if the oven is otherwise occupied!

                      2. Roasted Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers. Both simple and delicious, with deep flavors, though I would have preferred adding the anchovy at the end of the pepper recipe, I think (I am an addict of cold roasted peppers dressed with olive oil, and garlic and served with anchovies and chopped parsley. and prefer the fresher anchovy flavor to the cooked) T

                        1. From page 42:
                          "Fried" Eggplant
                          Peppers Roasted with Garlic and Anchovies

                          I've never been one to shy away from butter or oil in my cooking, so I'm really enjoying tasty recipes like these that show me I don't always need a lot of fat to flavor dishes. I made these for a nice veggie snack, and then wished I had made a double batch. I will next time, so I can use it for snacks and side dishes.

                          For the eggplant, I sliced one Japanese eggplant and brushed with just a bit of olive oil. For the roasted peppers, I used red bell peppers, quartered, and filled with half of an anchovy and garlic slices. I sprinkled both with Penzey's Shallot Salt and Aleppo Pepper. At 450 degrees, the eggplant took 20 minutes, the peppers 30.

                          These simple vegetables were delicious. The eggplant was soft and tender, the skin nicely crispy-chewy, and I really liked the flavor of the shallot salt and hint of heat from the pepper. The roasted peppers were juicy, and I loved the saltiness of the anchovy with garlic. I garnished with fresh basil. I liked the eggplant best warm, while I preferred the peppers room temp to really taste the flavors.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Rubee

                            I've been playing around with roasted eggplant for a while, and when I read this recipe, was dubious that I could cut the olive oil so drastically, but the dampened pastry brush trick really works! It's now my go-to for all things eggplant. Here's a pic of one of my more successful experiments- I cut the eggplant lengthwise, then made rolls out of the long strips with roasted red peppers (and prosciutto and ricotta)and served in a tomato sauce.

                            1. re: yamalam

                              Great idea! I have some ricotta, one more eggplant, and a red bell pepper I can roast. Your pic looks so good - guess what I'll be doing for dinner tomorrow. No prosciutto, so I'll some anchovy for flavor. Thanks for the inspiration!

                            2. re: Rubee

                              I've made those stuffed peppers as well, Rubee. My red bells had the stem still attached so I simply cut through the stem leaving it in place. It had a pleasant look on the platter. We loved the taste. A stuffed pepper without all the bread crumbs.

                              1. re: Rubee

                                These roasted peppers are one of my favorite healthy snacks and I make them often. Last night I served them as part of an appetizer plate, and it was also one of the favorites of my guests. All appetizers except for the zaalouk (Moroccan eggplant salad from Roden's "Arabesque") were from this book:

                                (picture) Peppers Roasted with Garlic and Anchovies, zaalouk, Slow Roasted Tomatoes with basil, Farro Salad with Green Apples, Toasted Spices, and Pine Nuts, and Hummus.

                              2. Cabbage Braised with Smoky Ham and Riesling, Pg. 70

                                I'm a little behind on posting the recipes I've cooked from this book due to the many "hang-ups" here on the site I've experienced over the past few days...so here goes something we had on Thursday last:
                                This braised cabbage was a tasty and satisfying dish. We love all brassicaceae and cook them regularly all winter long. This take on braised cabbage was delicious. It was even good cold the next day as a little snack....

                                Ms. Schneider recommends duck fat, Savoy cabbage and champagne vinegar which I had on hand. I substituted diced pancetta for a piece of lean smoked ham, and Fumé Blanc for the Riesling.

                                In a dutch oven the fat and chopped onions are combined, covered and cooked for about 10 minutes. Wine, ham, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes are added and cooked for 5 minutes. Then the chopped medium white cabbage and S & P are stirred into the pot, covered and simmered for about 10 minutes. The cabbage is then, "rearranged" in the pot then "cooked till tender but not mushy."
                                She says to remove the ham but I left the pancetta in since I had diced it, then the vinegar is stirred in.

                                This was a perfect side dish for a simple breadcrumb encrusted chicken breast recipe from the Da Pavano cookbook. I also served crostini of olive oil, sliced tomatoes and feta sprinkled with Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle. That stuff is good on anything!!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Gio

                                  Gio, I'm really impressed by how many things you've tried from the book (and how good you make them sound). Your reviews read a lot tastier than the book itself!

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Thank you LLM.... I'm trying to make up for lost time. My Schneider blitz.. Actually what I've been able to make has been Very Easy! That's the main requirement. And, of course, that this recipe has RPF included was a big plus. Next on the list is the composed/impromtu soup I was supposed to make last Tuesday... we had take away instead. LOL

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Easy is a pretty big requirement around here too. Hard to straddle that fence: want to make something wonderful/want it to be easy to do.

                                  2. re: Gio

                                    I have a lot of samples from Penzey's sent with shipments that I hadn't tried. Cooking from this book, however, has motivated me to finally experiment with the different seasoning blends. I just started using the Sandwich Sprinkle. You're right - that stuff is good on anything! I can't believe I waited this long to try it. I love it, especially with champagne vinegar in salads, on baked potaotoes, and on grilled vegetables.

                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      Try it on poached eggs.... goes into another dimension.....also on slow roasted tomatoes.

                                  3. Parsnip fries, p47

                                    The recipe calls for 3 pounds of parsnips and 2 tbsp of oil, I had just over a pound so cut the oil in half. I chopped the parsnips into batons the size of french fries, tossed in the oil using a moistened pastry brush to make the oil go further (this is a great tip I think) and then roasted in a fairly hot oven for 45 mins, tossing a few times. They ended up quite crispy and brown in places and tasted OK but just, well, a bit meh. They were rather on the dry side too - lack of oil I suppose. I suppose nothing is going to taste as good as deep-fried root vegetables! Would probably make again though, if only to use up the abundance of parsnips I get in my veg box in the winter.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      I adore parsnips. I say go with more oil. Or make a curried parsnip soup.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Did that last week! Parsnips galore in gg towers. I am willing it to be spring.

                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                        Yamalam reported on them above, and menioned that she seasoned with cumin and oregano for more flavor. With both your reports, I'm going to try them too, but use your suggestion of a bit more oil.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          I'm going to try it with swede (rutabaga), but maybe cut into cubes rather than sticks. Cumin and oregano is a good idea.

                                      3. Greek-Style Potatoes with Lemon and Thyme, p. 49
                                        Roasted Asparagus with Pecorino, p. 45

                                        I made both of these as side dishes to Ottolenghi's Chicken with Za'atar and Lemon.

                                        I loved the potatoes, which soaked up so much flavor as they roasted in a mixture of water, lemon juice, evoo, chopped shallots, salt, and fresh sprigs of thyme. When the liquid is evaporated, they're finished by tossing in a bit more olive oil and then baked 10 minutes more "until glazed and golden". As E is on a low-carb diet, I halved the recipe, and plan on using the leftovers, along with asparagus, for a frittata today. I think this is the first time I've eaten potatoes without butter, and thought they were delicious.

                                        The roasted asparagus was a revelation. I cook asparagus this way all the time, but with much more olive oil. This recipe calls for only 1-1/2 tsp per pound of asparagus. Brushed on with a dampened pastry brush, the asparagus is roasted at 450 for about 20 minutes and served with grated Pecorino Romano and cracked black pepper. Just as good as when I make it, though it certainly doesn't need the glugs of oil I've always used - another lesson learned. And another 2 pounds lost this week ; )

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          The potatos kind of sound like something I tried from an old Fine Cooking magazine. Where you cook small potatos in their skins on the stove top in chicken broth until they are cooked and all the chicken broth is absorbed. Then you heat them until the bottoms get a little browned, flip them over, smash a litttle bit and brown on the other side. And then put chives on. The potatoes really pick up so much flavor that way, are nice and creamy inside and crusty outside. Perfect.

                                          1. re: Rubee

                                            Greek-Style Potatoes w Lemon and Thyme – p. 49

                                            Though I’m very late to the potato party, I’m no less enthusiastic about these wonderful morsels!! We loved these! Thanks to Rubee's beautiful pictures and, terrific suggestion of pairing these w the Ottolenghi chicken dish, we were delighted to give these a try tonight.

                                            Many years ago I took a Greek cooking class that was appropriately taught by a fairly well-known (in Toronto anyway) Greek Chef. The meal we were preparing was a Greek Easter menu and, much to my dismay, we did not make the wonderful lemony potatoes I’d come to love on our visits to Greektown. When I asked the chef if he’d share a recipe, he replied “I could, but then I’d have to shoot you” and that was that. Not to be deterred, I later emailed him and, he eventually did share it w me. We’ve been making them and loving them ever since. This recipe has some definite similarities and I’d say it’s a simplified version. We thoroughly enjoyed them and I’ll be happy to make them again.

                                            One thing I’d suggest for anyone else trying these is to take a tip from my friend the Greek chef. He suggested that each potato be “scored” 1/3 of the way in w a cross. He said that was his great grandma’s trick to ensure the potatoes were able to absorb as much of the lemony goodness as possible.

                                            Dry oregano is a good substitute for the fresh thyme and, I’d definitely recommend adding some crushed garlic to this recipe. . . I’ve never had Greek potatoes without garlic!

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Glad you liked them. And I love your tips - will definitely have to try that again next time!

                                          2. Buttermilk mashed potatoes.

                                            You warm the buttermilk and add it to thoroughly mashed potatoes with salt and pepper. Once thoroughly amalgamated, beat in a little butter for richness.

                                            I made a bit of a mistake with this one which is that I took my eye off the ball and let the buttermilk heat up too much so it split. I used it anyway and I think I got away with it. Interestingly, this is quite similar to the Zuni recipe for mashed potatoes. It was quite good - not as nice as when made with lots of butter and cream, unsurprisingly!

                                            1. The Best Part of a Potato Gratin, p. 50

                                              She mentions this is closer to the traditional potatoes boulangère (thinly sliced potatoes cooked with stock). These had lots of flavor from the potatoes absorbing the broth, and we all liked the crispy pieces. I simmered homemade chicken stock, white wine, bay leaves, crushed garlic, s&p, and nutmeg and reduced it by half to concentrate the flavor. Thinly sliced yellow potatoes (I sliced Yukon Golds with a mandoline) are simmered for a few minutes in the stock to thicken, and then everything spread out in a lightly buttered baking sheet, dotted with a tsp of butter, and sprinkled with grated cheese (I used pecorino). Great low-fat side dish - this recipe used only 2 tsp of butter and 1-1/2 ounces of "full flavored aged hard cheese" per 2 lbs of potatoes. I served it with grilled steaks and roasted asparagus when family visited this Sunday. I think the leftovers will be great for dinner tomorrow night in a tortilla Española/Spanish omelet.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                I've made this a couple of times ages ago and liked it too. Must try it again, especially as I have a few holiday pounds to lose!

                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                  I made this last night to accompany simple roast chicken. So good - Mr GG raved and couldn't believe it was low-fat.

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    I am definitely going to try this. A while ago I made what I think is a related dish made with whole skin-on small potatoes cooked in broth and then heated so that they are browned. (The recipe was in Fine Cooking a while back.) It was a revelation. The potatoes were creamy and full of flavor from the broth. This sounds like a good twist with the white wine and cheese.

                                                  2. Fresh Soybeans with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Shaved Cheese, p. 114

                                                    I was looking for a quick and healthy side dish for my first attempt at a rotisserie chicken (BTW came out great - recipe from Williams-Sonoma's Complete Grilling Cookbook). Frozen shelled edamame are boiled, served in bowls rubbed with garlic, seasoned with s&p and a bit of evoo (I used 2 tsp instead of 1 tsp), and garnished with shaved aged cheese (I used Manchego.). I love edamame, and this was a reminder that I should cook soybeans more often - easy and quick, a 5 minute side dish. Leftovers made a nice snack today mixed with a bit of Dunlop's chili oil.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                      your rotisserie chicken looks beautiful! (and the edamame look great too) I like the idea of rubbing a bowl with garlic. Hey, if it works for bruschetta

                                                    2. Roasted Vegetables - A Guide to Improvising, p. 34

                                                      Whenever I want want to lose a few pounds but still eat well, I pull this book out for recipes and techniques. This week for veg snacks, I made the eggplant and roasted peppers with garlic and anchovies above, and also a batch of summer squash. Her technique calls for brushing a baking sheet with a damp brush with a tablespoon of "flavorful fat" (I used garlic olive oil), laying out the vegetables, and brushing the tops with the remainder. I seasoned the sliced squash with Penzey's Fox Point seasoning (salt, shallots, chives, garlic, onion and green peppercorns), and roasted at 400 for 25 minutes. Delicious and healthy.

                                                      1. Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, p. 38

                                                        I love this technique, especially with the kinds of tomatoes available during the winter, and Schneider's version uses less oil than others. Her technique calls for 4 pounds of tomatoes tossed with 1-1/2 Tb of extra-virgin olive oil, and then sprinkled with a bit of sugar, salt, and pepper. I made a batch this weekend for salads and Roasted Tomato Soup with Herb Cream (p. 394). I used plum tomatoes cut in half, and roasted at 325 for about 3 hours.