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June 2009 COTM Elizabeth David Classics: Vegetables

Welcome to Elizabeth David Classics, which includes these three books by Elizabeth David:

A Book of Mediterranean Food [M] - "Vegetables"
Summer Cooking [S] - "Vegetables"
French Country Cooking [F] - "Vegetables"

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes here for vegetable dishes contained in the chapters listed above. If such a dish appears in a chapter the title of which is not covered by one of the categories in the master thread, please post it here anyway. Since there are a number of different editions and some posters have the individual books, please post the abbreviations for the books as listed above, and the name of the recipe, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. That way posters can then look up the recipe in the index of whichever book they have.

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. From M -- "A Book of Mediterranean Food" -- Vegetables

    I chose "Potato Kephtedes", which ED states is a Greek favorite. Simple simple but very nice.
    I riced 1 lb. of cold peeled boiled potatoes (regular baking potatoes). (The recipe said to "sieve" them, but I riced.) Then added 2 finely chopped tomatoes. This is the 1st time I've seeded tomatoes for any recipe-- but I could see that too much moisture would ruin this dish. So after peeling them (easy if you drop them into boiling water for 15 or so seconds), I scooped out the shiny slippery seedy part and chopped the flesh.
    Added 1 tablespoon melted butter,
    some salt & pepper, some fresh chopped parsley, some chopped green onion.
    ED doesn't say *how much* parsley or onion or salt/pepper-- common sense here. (Visualize the individual potatoes, figure from there.) Then add 2 ounces flour (very approximate equivalent is 3 TBLS.) This mixture gets "kneaded lightly", rolled out, (I just patted out) and made into rounds (patties.) Fried in half butter, half olive oil until browned (both sides). ED says they should be very soft inside.
    Comfort food of course. I found myself wishing the tomatoes had a sharper tang, but hot from the pan with that thin crisp crust they were just about perfect.

    10 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      have you ever made Marcella's potatoes and tomato casserole? It is divine, and it seems similar in ingredients.

      1. re: NYchowcook

        NYchowcook, no--I don't know that casserole. I have only one of her books-- ("Essentials of ..."), where would I find it?

        (You can't beat her "Novara's Bean and Vegetable Soup" from that book.)

        1. re: blue room

          Marcella's Baked potatoes, onion & tomatoes, Apulian style
          Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, p. 521.

          It's great and I've made it many times. I've used canned tomatoes, and it's fine. Romano really sets it off.
          I'll have to try the bean soup.

      2. re: blue room

        blue room, I'm curious whether you weighed the flour or used some equivalency chart. I only ask because most references I see indicate that all purpose flour generally runs 4.5 to 5 ounces per cup (depending on how it's measured, humidity, etc.), and a cup is 16 T. Clearly, whichever system you used, it worked out well. Inquiring minds and all...

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Caitlin, I have no scale, I googled and saw that 2 oz. = 4 tablespoons.
          But is that fluffed up dry and sifted, or packed down on a humid day? So I guessed.

          But *your* measure would make 2 oz. = 8 tablespoons, right? A big difference. I'd like to find a scale I can trust.

          1. re: blue room

            Ah, I see. I think what's happening is that there's a confusion about liquid vs. dry measurement in the 2 oz = 4 T conversion. 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces = 16 T, so 2 fluid oz is indeed 4 T, and the conversion works with any liquid.

            But dry ingredients are all different weights for the same volume (dry cup or spoonful) because they're different densities. So 1 cup of granulated sugar weighs more than 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of nuts or oatmeal weighs something else than either. And we in the US don't know that intuitively the way people in places that weigh dry stuff do from experience, because we use volume measures in our cooking.

            What matters most to me is that the recipe worked out for you regardless and you enjoyed it! If it hadn't worked, I'm sure you'd have thought, This needs more flour to come together, and considered adding it. No reason not to do it the way you did if you liked it, if you decide to make it again, after all.

            Here's a good reference that converts weight/volume of different flours, for these rough estimates: http://www.traditionaloven.com/conver...

            When I want to find out for dry ingredients, if I don't have access to a scale, I'll google "ounces [ingredient] to cups" and that usually turns up a reference to the specific thing.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Caitlin, I looked here http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_ta..., but now I see that the info given there isn't correct. I was just lucky in this instance!

              1. re: blue room

                Oh, okay, interesting. I see whoever answered this question is confused about the fluid ounces/weight issue! That's the potential problem with wikis, I guess. All the references I've seen give the weights I mentioned, which is why I was curious.

                Clearly, you get it; I misunderstood your previous answer and thought you'd just looked for a general oz to T conversion rather than specifically flour. Sorry about that!

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  No problem, glad you caught that--maybe someone will jump in here and recommend a scale.

                  1. re: blue room

                    There are lots of good scales out there available at any cookware shop, or you can find a good selection of scales at good prices at www.balances.com.

                    You want a scale with a capacity of around 5-10 lbs for most home kitchen tasks that reads to a precision of 1 g or 1/8 oz (which is more than 1g, but is as precise as you are likely to need for cooking), and it should read both ounces and grams.

                    Some scales have a "parts counting" function which is handy, so you can put, say, 10 or 20 pennies or screws or whatever standard sized object you want to count to calibrate it, and then you can just dump them on the scale to count them. I have a scale that does this (not my kitchen scale), and usually use it for rolling coins to deposit in the bank.

                    My kitchen scale is a Salter 1015 with a capacity of 7 lbs and a stainless steel top, so I can weigh directly on it or put a bowl on it and zero the scale so that I'm not weighing the bowl, but it seems to go through batteries faster than it should, so I won't recommend that particular model, but Salter makes others that get good reviews.

      3. Poireaux a la provencale - "A Book of Mediterranean Food"

        This is a great way to cook leeks, if you have a lot of them like I did (3 lbs). You basically cook them gently in olive oil and seasoning for about ten minutes. Add half a pound of tomatoes cut in half (I used whole cherry toms), a dozen stoned black olives, the juice of a lemon and a dessertspoon of chopped lemon peel to the pan and cook slowly for another ten minutes or so (I think mine took a little longer).

        Simple and very tasty. I served mine warm with some new potatoes and good butcher's sausages, but she also recommends the leeks cold as a salad.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greedygirl

          Yum. I want to try this. Reminds me that I would like to return, also, to another fantastic COTM leek recipe I found, from Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. I believe olive oil was involved, and just the tiniest amount of rice, and I cooked the leeks in my Le Creuset with a tight cap of parchment paper directly over the vegetables. I kept spooning more and more of the leeks into a little bowl until there were almost none left for dinner by the time Sweety got home... ha ha :)

        2. Pommes de Terre Matelote [M]

          Lovely way to serve the potatoes. Very nice indeed!
          Boil some potatoes (I used 4 Yukon Golds) and when just tender cut in half. Place them in a pan with butter, parsley, S & P. Cover with stock (I used chicken stock) and a glass of wine (I used 4 oz.). This cooks for about 10 minutes and the sauce reduces a bit. The directions call for binding this sauce with the yolk of an egg but I did not do this. The potatoes had wonderful flavor and we both liked the dish enough to want to make it again. .

          10 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            This sounds good. Maybe I'll try it tonight or tomorrow.

            1. re: Gio

              We tried this recipe last night and were "disappointed." Actually the chowpup used a much stronger word.....I used red potatoes and steamed them whole with skins on. When tender, we peeled them and proceeded as per the recipe. It's hard to tell what went wrong since this is one of the more "specific," (i.e. very little guess-work involved) recipes I have come across in the book.

              It all went astray when I added the wine (4 oz). The chowpup thought it smelled disgusting (again she used a much stronger descriptive phrase) while it was cooking and it totally turned her off. I myself was getting skeptical.....The finished potatoes weren't nearly as bad as I expected, but the wine seemed to give the potatoes a sour note.

              In retrospect, what I think I did wrong was pouring the wine over the potatoes BEFORE adding the stock (chicken) to cover. Perhaps the potatoes soaked up that winey flavor too much. ...

              I thought about skipping the binding of the sauce with an eggyolk as Gio did. But there seemed to be so much liquid in the potatoes that I went for it, and was glad I did.

              I made these to accompany Le Poulet a la Creme, which I have posted about in the poultry thread. We loved that and thankfully sopping the sauce up with the potatoes somewhat redeemed them - for me anyway.

              1. re: Gio

                I'm going to give this a whirl tonight, along with a pork cutlet dish from one of the books. I'm assuming you used white wine? I just made some chicken stock and used an egg white to clarify it, so I think I'll go ahead and use the yolk for this.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Yes, I used a white "table wine" - the same brand I always use for cooking...I really think my mistake was pouring it over the potatoes before adding the stock.

                  1. re: clamscasino

                    Thanks - I'll make sure to do it in reverse order and report back!

                    1. re: clamscasino

                      Just jumping in here to mention I used Chardonnay for the potato dish.. Should have included it in the report.....

                      Clams.... the Yukons I used were a little larger than medium size and I left the skin on throughout.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I just had some of the leftovers and the potatoes actually seem to have lost that winey flavor after a couple days in the fridge. Yeah! They won't be going out to the compost heap after all....

                        Did you do the last ten minutes on the stove, or in the oven as another poster did? I may actually try this again with Yukon Golds.

                        1. re: clamscasino

                          IIRC I kept the pan on the stove throughout.... no oven.

                  2. re: Gio

                    I made these spuds last night w/ the mackerel -- which I posted about (and sauteed dandelion greens). I had no chicken stock so used water and wine, Forgot about the yolk.

                    I liked this dish a lot. I used small/baby yukon golds. I think it's a handy recipe because I always stress over everything coming out at once, and if you cook the potatoes a bit ahead of time, before putting into oven; it should help w/ timing.

                    I was thinking ahead of time about the need to temper the yolks by putting a bit of the hot liquid into the yolk and whisking before dumping the yolk in the potato pan. (But I didn't do it!)

                    1. re: Gio

                      I made these on Friday night with the pork cutlets. I used 1lb of small white potatoes, which I forgot to peel, and cut them in half. I put them in a heavy sauce pan on the stove, and added 2 T butter, salt, pepper, chives and parsley, home made chicken stock to cover, and a glass of white wine - about 5 oz. I cooked for the ten minutes, removed the potatoes, and used the egg yolk to bind the sauce. I really liked this dish, but felt as if there was far too much liquid. That is a recurring theme that I'm noticing in various dishes I've made where one adds a liquid to cover in her dishes - I end up w/ far more sauce than seems "normal. Delicious though!

                       
                       
                    2. Haricot Verts a L'Italianne [S]

                      One pound of green beans are trimmed and boiled in salted water till not quite done. Really, it's a long blanch. Then they are put into a pan in which oil has been heated. 3 chopped tomatoes and some chopped garlic are added. I also seasoned this with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper although it's not mentioned in the recipe. This is cooked for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked. A very nice way to cook the beans. I have made variations of this over the years and this one of the best. Terrific for farm fresh green beans. It went very well with a roast pork loin and the seasoned boiled potatoes from the Summer book.

                      1. Mushrooms with vine leaves (S)

                        i was intrigued by this recipes, and as I had several organic flat mushrooms (portobellos to you guys) and a packet of vine leaves left over from Greek month (!) I decided to give it a whirl. She says to boil fresh vine leaves, but I just followed the instructions on the packet and soaked them in hot water for 20 minutes. Then you line the bottom of a baking dish with the leaves, and add a film of olive oil. Pack the mushrooms in the dish, add more EVOO, then put vine leaves on the top and cover tightly (I used foil as my dish doesn't have a lid). Bake in a "slow" oven for 35 mins.

                        I let these cook for a bit longer than 35 mins as they were quite large. They tasted really good - stayed very moist and flavourful. She says this method makes cultivated mushrooms taste like field mushrooms, whatever that means. All I know is they were lovely.

                        I have lots of vine leaves left over so I think I'll try her recipe for dolmades tomorrow.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Did you eat the grape leaves too? Or remove them before serving?

                          1. re: yamalam

                            She says to remove the top layer, which were all shrivelled anyway. I suppose you could eat the bottom layer but we didn't.

                          2. re: greedygirl

                            cultivated mushrooms are what we buy in the shops, grown in mushroom 'farms'. Field mushrooms are wild mushrooms you pick from the fields and woodlands in England. More common in ED's time, but foraging IS undergoing a revival... Clearly she thinks wild taste better than cultivated. I've never gone mushroom picking, so I don't know!