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January 2010 COTM: Patricia Wells VEGETABLES

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Welcome to the VEGETABLES thread for the January 2010 Cookbook of the Month, featuring Bistro Cooking & Trattoria: Simple and Robust Fare Inspired by the Small Family Restaurants of Italy.

Please post your reviews of Seasonal Vegeatables(BC) and Vegetables (T) here.

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  1. Les Poivrons Rouges de Maggie (p 89)
    Maggie's Roasted Red Peppers

    I got a big bag of red peppers from the market for a bargainous pound so decided to make this last night. It's pretty easy - core and deseed the peppers, slice them and layer in a large roasting tin with 2 heads of minced garlic, some sliced green chiles (I subbed red pepper flakes as she suggests) and olive oil. Cover with foil and roast at 400F for 45mins to an hour until farily soft. Then remove the foil and bake for another 45 mins unil the peppers are very soft and slightly charred. Serve hot as a side dish, or store in a jar and use chilled as a condiment.

    These are really good. I just had some on my lunchtime salad and they're sweet and nicely spicy. Pretty morish and would be good with lots of things. I also put them on Mr GG's quesadlilla type sandwich. The only problem I had was that I thought the oven temperature was a bit high and reduce it once the peppers were uncovered, as they seemed to be charring too much and the garlic was in danger of burning. I often have this problem in my oven, though, as it's fan-assisted and I think most American recipes don't take this into consideration.

    Anyway, yummy. Would be great with grilled tuna, as she suggests.

    2 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      Oh I've made these too and loved them. In Trattoria she does red peppers in a covered skillet with some olive oil, vinegar, salt and a sprig of whatever. I usually have thyme or rosemary. They come out so silky and shiny - glistening. I've been making them for years. The acidity adds a nice brightness when served with a bit of roasted chicken - or most anything. Will add in the page number when I'm home near the book. You would probably like these too. Especially on a hot day when you don't want to fire up your oven.

      1. re: cinnamon girl

        Greedy Girl: It's funny I used the adjective silky, since the title of them is Silky Sauteed Red Peppers, Trattoria, p4. She takes 6 red bell peppers, 1/2 c vinegar and sea salt (I put in a sprig of thyme). She quarters them and puts them into a skillet with balsamic or wine vinegar (I use a mix of red wine and sherry vinegar b/c I'm tired of balsamic), covers and cooks over a very low heat for abt 25 minutes.

        Then she removes them to a serving platter. I pick off the skins b/c they're usually starting to peel off anyway and it's tough. Then she deglazes w a little more vinegar (3 tb) and reduces . . . adds 1/4 olive oil, just to warm through, and pours over the peppers. Let cool 1/2 hour or longer to serve at room temp. During pepper season you can even serve as a salad course.

        It's Feb 1 - I guess this COM is over; I thoroughly enjoyed it. Many thanks to everyone for all the great observations!

    2. Tian de Legumes (Layered Vegetable Gratin), Bistro Cooking, Pg. 83

      Ms Wells says it's "a cinch" to make and it is. However, don't expect any cheese or breadcrumbs in this gratin. Sliced tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions in layers with thyme, salt and EVOO sprinkled between layers. I used a 9" baking dish and had a some sliced onions and eggplant left over. IIRC I layered each of the veggies 3 times. The onions are supposed to go only on the bottom but I included them in each combo. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 1 hour. At that point we uncovered the dish and baked it for an extra 10 minutes. I thought is was rather bland and thought it could have used a drizzle of tomato sauce and grated cheese... and RPF. Notice there's no black pepper in the recipe! DH scoffed it right down and liked it v. much. If I ever do it again I'll include the ingredients I mentioned.
      She says the dish is served with a grilled beef in a grainy mustard sauce, but I served it with steamed brown basmati rice.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I make this a couple of times a summer, following the recipe assiduously; every time I make it I am disappointed because it comes out watery. Any ideas?

        1. re: Mollybloom

          Hi Molly...
          I too like a simple lower calorie dish, especially in Summer. Sometimes as I am slicing certain vegetables I notice there's more "juice", such as with tomatoes. When that happens I put each slice on a paper towel or kitchen tea towel to absorb the liquid. I do that with the tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, sometimes onions too. I don't usually salt and drain. Frankly, I do think that the addition of a breadcrumb topping would give a noticable jump in flavor and perhaps be helpful in your situation. Another thing to try is roasting the eggplant first...just enough to dry it out a little. Also, try baking the gratin longer than 10 minutes without foil, not letting the topping become too brown. I hope this helps.

      2. Choux Rouges Braises -- Braised Red Cabbage
        Bistro Cooking (p 95)

        This seemed like an overkill plan for cabbage when I read it, but wow it is worth doing.
        1 red cabbage, 4 apples, onions and cloves, red wine vinegar and a *whole bottle* (about 3 cups) of red wine. The wine I used came from a winery called Clos du Bois in CA--but sorry, I can't remember which grape or year--I just made sure it was red and dry and within my budget.
        Because of the apples, I guess, it calls for only 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. The just-right sweet-sour results are impressive. My SO looked up and said "This is good!" with just the right emphasis :) It gets braised over "very" low heat for 2 hours.
        I just love it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: blue room

          My friend recently gave me Clos du Bois Chardannay and we loved it! I din't know they make red wine too.