*May/June 2010 COTM - GOURMET: Pasta, Grains/Beans, Veg. Mains
Welcome to our May and June 2010 COTM, Gourmet Today: More Than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen.
Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from the following chapters:
Pasta, Noodles, and Dumplings
Grains and Beans
Vegetarian Main Courses
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Poblano Tortilla Gratin, p. 318
This was a delicious cheesy vegetarian tortilla casserole and was not only good as a side dish last night, but leftovers for breakfast today with a fried egg on top like chilaquiles.
Earlier in the day I had fried a big batch of tortilla chips so used those (recipe calls for baking 9 cut-up tortillas). Arrange chips on the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of sauteed roasted poblanos, onions, tomatoes (I used a can of diced), and garlic, and another layer of tortilla chips. Make a cheese sauce with a butter and flour roux, milk, and cheese (I used Monterey Jack), pour over, and garnish with poblano strips. It says to put the dish in the upper third of the oven, but I ended up moving it back to the middle of the oven since it was getting too brown. I also used more tortilla chips than the recipe called for, enough to make even layers.
Mushroom Barley Pilaf, page 274
I was going to make this for dinner last night, but ran out of time, so, we served it tonight with the buffalo tenderloin steaks with gorgonzola butter (which I've reported on in the applicable thread.) I realized that I would be too tired to cook it tonight, too, if I didn't get a head start, so, I did half the prep in the morning and finished it after work. This is a departure from the recipe, which has you do it all at once, which is probably more efficient.
This morning before work I cooked the barley (with home made chicken stock) and soaked the shitake mushrooms (then strained the soaking water and reserved for later use). I put the barley and the soaked mushrooms in the fridge (I put the shitake mushrooms in a bit of chicken stock so they wouldn't dry out.)
When I got home from work, I chopped the vegetables (carrots, celery, onions, and garlic) which I sauteed in a bit of butter and olive oil, then turn the heat down and let it cook on low for 15 mins or so I cut the quantity of fat by about 1/4 versus the recipe, which was probably too much as I had to add a bit of stock later to get it from sticking. Anyway, then you quarter some cremini mushrooms and toss those in with some salt and peppers and cook for another 10 mins or so. At about that point, I added a couple of tablespoons of chicken stock to the refrigerated barley and warmed it in the microwave (this step is not needed if you do it the book's way, because the book doesn't have you put the barley in the fridge). I also warmed the mushroom soaking water. I chopped the shitake mushrooms and stirred the barley, soaking water, chopped shitakes and some diced parsley, stirred it all together, and served.
This was nice, but I didn't love it. (I'm sure it would have been more delicious with the 3/4's oil and butter added back and cooked straight through as per recipe, of course.) But, it's very healthful and hearty.
However, my husband really loved it, saying he thought the mushrooms brought an earthiness that paired super well with the bison tenderloin steaks.
I have the feeling this barley dish will age well and be good as leftovers.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that my barley needed about 15 minutes less cooking time than the recipe suggested, and it turned out pretty al dente. Next time I might add a little more stock or water when cooking the barley.
Finally got around to the Poblano Tortilla Gratin (p. 318).
I baked my tortillas, but do wish I'd reread Rubee's post and added more. Still and all, absolutely delicious. Basically a gussied up version of nachos (but hey, that is my favorite comfort food, so I wasn't complaining). I served this as a main with a large salad on the side with a lime dressing.
Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles, p. 239
Super quick and flavorful accompaniment to Korean Marinated Beef (reported on in Meat thread). Soba noodles are combined with a simple dressing of rice vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce (I used reduced sodium), sugar and salt. Tossed with chopped mint and sliced scallions. I heavied up the amount of mint and scallions as I like a lot of flavor. I liked it and so did my husband, but we both felt like it could use just a little more flavor boost -- next time I would probably add a little more salt (reduced sodium soy may have been an error), a pinch of red pepper flakes and a smidge of chopped garlic and ginger. Picture with Korean beef below.
Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles, p. 239
Not much to add except I wish I read mebby's report prior to cooking. The soba was tasty but it mostly tasted of rice vinegar. I think the scallion to mint ratio is off as well. My mint is gorgeous right now but I couldn't quite taste the mint in the dish. Also, it could use a bit more soy sauce and maybe a bit of sesame oil. I agree with mebby about it needing a flavor boost. Dunlop's salted chiles may be too much but garlic and ginger with a bit of hot peppers may do the trick. Also, some grated daikon or carrots would also be nice. Oooh, and maybe some seaweed.
This is a refreshing dish for a warm summer's eve though.
Mint and Scallion Soba noodles, p. 239
Thanks to Mebby and beetlebigs comments I made some changes to this one and ended up really liking it. Made it to go with the Steamed Bass with ginger and scallions and was planning to make rice as well. Given that this would be the second starch and given what beetlebug and mebby had thought, I upped the mint and added a lot of chopped cilantro as well as chopped cucumbers to make it more of a salad. I also added some sesame oil and grated ginger and upped the soy sauce to vinegar ratio. With these modifications, we thought it was great. Even the super picky 3 year old ate it :)
We have some leftovers and I was thinking that with a little shredded up rotisserie chicken (which I happen to have in the fridge), this would make a great light lunch. Maybe that'll be on the menu for tomorrow.
Scallion-Wild Rice Crepes with Mushroom Filling, page 311.
Don't attempt this unless you feel like spending all day in the kitchen, which I did. (All parts can be made a couple of days ahead and assembled on the day.)
If I ever have to make a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, this will be the main event. My DH is not fond of meatless meals, but he loved this.
My crepe pan is larger than the one called for, so I used about 1/3 cup batter per crepe. Still ended up with 12 crepes. The wild rice grains in the crepe batter makes it a little hard to swirl around the pan, but they are very pretty and add interesting texture. Don't worry if your crepes aren't perfect: You can manhandle them into shape later.
I had some Taleggio in the fridge, so added bits to the top of the assembled crepes. Glad I did -- the added flavor was nice.
I made the whole recipe, but there were only two of us, so I'll find out how this does in the freezer and will report back.
Egg Noodles with Cabbage and Onions, p. 238, I made as a side for roast chicken with crispy kale. Frankly, I found the step of squeezing the salted cabbage by hand to remove liquid messy and a pain. So, I used a large heavy flat weave cloth to squeeze it out the way I do to make pierogi. Delicious, but I think I'll stick with my usual method of parboiling the cabbage in salted water before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. This is a good way to stretch egg noodles if you're trying to cut carbs but still want generous portions on the plate. I used whole wheat egg noodles. Poppy seeds are a pretty garnish. Rich with butter!
Korean Style Noodles with Meat and Vegetables (Jap Chae), pp. 246-7, I used fresh shiitakes and subbed a shoulder cut for the ribeye. I've never seen the Korean restaurants here use ribeye on this dish, unless it was a raw garnish? So, I'm not sure what's traditional, but the shoulder steak was flavorful. The method here was a bit of a pain, all that tossing each cooked ingredient in sauce before adding to the bowl. Since the first time I've made this dish, I've gotten lazy and just added the sauce over everything at the end in the nonstick saute pan instead of using a serving dish. It works fine, and it makes for fewer bowls to wash! We enjoy the thin omelet strips particularly in this dish. I've had it where the egg is just scrambled, and the omelet technique makes it a little more refined.
Dosas with Two Fillings, pp. 312-14, I just made the potato filling, forgoing the zucchini-tomato. This recipe is remarkably similar to the one I make from Yamuna Devi's cookbook, only hers doesn't include onion in the filling. I prefer it with the onion. Frying these is a bit of an art. Their recommendation of a spoon to spread the batter isn't best, IMO. I'd go with something flat bottomed, as it's quicker and more likely to evenly spread the batter. Well seasoned cast iron browns and crisps the dosas much better than nonstick, if you have it. We don't usually bother with storing the dosas in a hot oven, but rather eat them fresh, one diner at a time. It's difficult to keep them crisp otherwise. Highly recommended for experienced cooks. These will make a full meal when served with a soup like sambhar and a chutney on the side, neither of which are recipes in this book. I suppose the cold curried squash soup with chutney on p. 111 might serve in a pinch, but this was an oversight on the part of the editor, IMO. They really should've included a sambhar and a chutney recipe with the dosa recipe.
amyzan: Masla Dosas are among my favorites of all time! I have tried to make them a couple of times and given up because my batter never spread around thinly enough so that it got crisp. Since I live near a place that makes some of the best dosas I've ever had, I have been just too lazy to try again.
Mine ended up like crepes rather than the wafer-thin crispy covering I get at Vik's Chaat Corner in Berkeley.
Yeah, mine aren't as thin and crisp as the ones in restaurants, either. Part of it, I think is that they have big griddles in restaurant kitchens. When you don't have the freedom to spread the batter quickly as wide as possible to make those huge dosas served in restaurants, well, it just doesn't work as well at home. so, I just figured I'd make MUCH smaller dosas with much less batter at home. Sometimes, you have to add more water to get the batter the right thickness. It's supposedly to be the thickness of "light cream," a product not available in the Midwest for comparison. So, I just go for a very thin pancake batter. But, yeah, I'll keep eating them in restaurants most of the time. They're not expensive out, so why not?
My turn at making jap chae (p. 246-247). I have been meaning to try this recipe, but never got around to it. We just came back from a long weekend and I knew that I had most of the ingredients so this was dinner tonight. You start by making a sauce out of soy, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, sugar, salt and pepper. You add some sauce to the beef (I used some chuck I had in the freezer) and set aside, add the sauce to blanched spinach, add some sauce to the cooked sweet potato noodles (dang myun), cook eggs, slice and then set aside. Now the cooking... saute the mushrooms (I used dried shiitake), add sliced onions, then add carrots (matchsticks), green onions, red bell pepper (I omitted since I did not have any in the fridge) and saute. This vegteables are set aside with the sauce while the beef cooks. In the end, all of the components come together. This did make a lot of dishes, but we enjoyed it (this turned out better than a previous attempt to make jap chae). This could easily be made into a vegetarian dish.
Green Rice (Arroz Verde), p. 253
I made this as a side dish along with Grilled Corn with Lemon and Herbs to serve with Grilled Lemon-Coriander Chicken, and everybody went back for seconds. Nice flavor and a bit of heat from the seasoning puree.
I used a mix of roasted spicy New Mexican and poblano chiles I had in the freezer, along with cilantro, parsley, and homemade chicken stock. This is pureed, strained, and put aside. Soak rice in hot water - the intro says this softens it and makes it "absorb the flavors of the other ingredients" - and then drain and let dry. Saute onion and garlic in oil, coat and toast rice, add the seasoned stock, and cover and simmer. It went well with the other dishes too, another keeper from this book.
Poor quality pic - took it fast on the stove because it took longer than the recipe said, and we were hungry!