February 2009 COTM Schneider: Flavor Catalysts
February 2009 COTM: A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider
Please post your full-length reviews of flavor catalyst 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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Roasted Sesame, Ginger, and Scallion Vinaigrette with Salted Black Beans, p. 613
This was great, one of my favorites from the book so far. 1 Tb each of sesame oil and vegetable oil are heated, then add minced ginger (I used a little less than the 1/4 cup called for), sliced scallions, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. To this I added homemade chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and Chinese preserved black beans. I made it last night, and today heated it up and spooned some over warm tofu. This made a delicious lunch today, served with Korean-Style Romaine from the 3/09 issue of Gourmet magazine.
I was going to have seafood tonight, but this was so good, and I love tofu, that for supper I decided to take some of the vinaigrette and heat it with chicken stock and a spoonful of Sichuan broad-bean chili paste. I cubed some more tofu and let it simmer for a few minutes. Another delicious meal, served over steamed rice. I'll be making this a lot since it's so versatile.
For another meal this week I plan on grilling flank steak with the Sichuan Pepper Rub (p. 550), sliced thin for lettuce wraps with cilantro and cucumber, and use this tasty vinaigrette to drizzle over everything.
That sounds and looks delicious, and I usually have all those ingredients on hand.
The Korean Romaine sounds interesting too- I just tried grilled romaine for the first time and loved it. Never thought warm romaine would work, but it does, and its so different than the typical salad bar caesar drenched version.
I agree - I've had a grilled romaine Caesar salad at Digestif, and really liked it, but I was wary of the warm dressing on this salad. I was afraid it would be wilted and soggy, but liked how the Romaine stays crispy. It was really good. In fact, I made another batch today as it can be made ahead, chilled, and served at room temp. Perfect for lunches.
Recipe link (I didn't have Korean pepper so used Aleppo):
Mexican "Mole" Rub, p. 551
This is a nice spice blend to keep in the cupboard. It's a mixture of Ancho Chile Essence (p. 543), Hungarian sweet paprika, cumin, black pepper, Mexican dried oregano, cocoa powder, dark brown and white sugar, and salt. I added a bit of olive oil to make a paste and used it on a roast chicken for tacos.
Roasted Sesame Seed Dressing, p. 611
I didn't love this, and not quite sure why. It could have because I used sesame seeds that might not have been fresh, or that I had to use seasoned rice vinegar (with sugar) after I had already added sugar. The ingredients sound great - sesame seeds are toasted and ground, and then blended with sugar, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, and water. I drizzled it on roasted eggplant (p. 42), but preferred the eggplant without.
I did like it better as a marinade, however, especially for one that doesn't include oil. I added some minced garlic and marinated drumsticks overnight. We grilled the chicken tonight, and served with a cucumber salad tossed with rice wine vinegar, cilanrtro, and scallions.
Has anybody tried the "Everyday Mayonnaise"? I just did. Not sure..... So far, I've added 5X the lemon juice and 3X the salt..... It tasted odd at first... very tofu-ey. Maybe I'd describe that as a little bitter. Anyway, to cover that AND to make it tart/flavorful enough, I put in more lemon and salt. It ended up pretty runny, so it's in the fridge right now, to see if it thickens up.
Any ideas? For this batch, I'm thinking if it doesn't thicken enough I could add maybe cornstarch? But I'd need to cook that, right....? Egg white? ditto. ummmmmm I can always use it as a dipping sauce..
For next time, I figure I'll try a thicker tofu with similar amounts of everything else. I think that means more fat, though. Or I could try some powdered citric acid in addition to lemon juice, in order to lessen the moisture. I'm really curious to hear your thoughts, and if anyone's tried this recipe.