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*May/June 2010 COTM - GOURMET: Meat

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 chapter:

Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops: page 468

    In the intro to this recipe, it is written: "Here is an astonishing little recipe that shows what a power ingredient like balsamic vinegar can do."

    This was quite simple and quick to make on a Monday night. One seasons center-cut pork loin chops with salt and pepper. 3/4 inch chops are called for, but mine were thicker, so I pounded them down some. They go into a hot pan, along with 8 smallish, peeled and quartered shallots. I didn't notice the quartering part....I chopped them up. And what's up with shallots, anyway? One can be tiny, another huge. Shallots are a vegetable, that when called for, I dearly wish the authors would specify something like "about one quarter cup."

    Anyway, the pork is browned for about 5 minutes and removed to a plate. The shallots remain in the pan. Balsamic vinegar (2/3 cup for 4 chops), a bit of sugar and salt and pepper are added to the pan and all is cooked down for a minute. Then the chops are added back, turned occassionally to coat and heated through until cooked.

    The Chowpup and I were trying to taste the sauce, but each time we did, we coughed, choked and sputtered from the (power ingredient) vinegar. "Ut oh" we said to each other. "Dad's not going to like this." So, I didn't exactly spoon any of the sauce over the chops when done. Not that there was a lot of anyway.

    But, in the end, they were very tasty. Mr. Clam even thought so. And the Chowpup declared them "juicy." And then she added, somewhat snarkily, (but I will forgive her) that it was the only time I had ever actually cooked a juicy pork-chop.

    4 Replies
    1. re: clamscasino

      Thanks! I've had my eye on this one for a quick weeknight meal! Sounds like a keeper!


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Thanks for providing the recipe link as I don't yet have the book on order from the library!

      2. re: clamscasino

        This was the very first thing I cooked from that book and we all loved it!

        1. re: clamscasino

          Oh good. Pork chops are on sale this week and I was eye-ing this recipe this morning. I have never cooked pork chops! I like the simplicity of the ingredients. Juicy sounds great and reminds me of a really great local pork sandwich that I sometimes used to get at a great local deli that, sadly, has closed now.

        2. Chicken-Fried Pork with Milk Gravy, page 466,

          The title says it all. How could this not be delicious? We inhaled it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pikawicca

            That's a recipe I would never choose, I don't know why, but now I've had a look at it and, mmmm, it does sound good. Comfort food, for sure. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Yet another advantage of COTM: sometimes others nudge you into trying something you wouldn't have thought of trying.


            1. re: pikawicca

              Chicken-Fried Pork with Milk Gravy, page 466

              So glad you reported on this, I had totally missed it when going through the book. Agree, it was delicious, the pork was nice and tender (I used a boneless loin that I cut into chops). I used Penzey's shallot salt and added a little paprika to the flour mixture.

            2. Korean Marinated Beef (Bulgogi), p. 443

              Quick weeknight meal dinner with a lot of flavor. Thinly sliced flank steak goes into a quick 15-minute marinade of soy sauce (I used low sodium), sugar, sesame oil, scallions, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Then sauteed on high for 5 minutes. For the adults, I served it in Boston lettuce with kimchi (purchased) and a little sriracha. The kids had the beef alone and LOVED it -- the world's pickiest 5 year old (he doesn't even like french fries for god's sake) came back for seconds and then thirds. Served with Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles (will report on in pasta thread).

              I don't know how this really compares to the authentic Korean version -- I suspect not entirely well (the Korean parents always bring the best food to the potlucks at my daughter's school), but it was simple, fast and flavorful and finding something that everyone in my house can eat happily is a tall order. I'll definitely be making this a regular on the weeknight rotation.

              17 Replies
              1. re: mebby

                Yum. Adding that one to my list! Love that the kids liked it too - we have family who sleep over every Saturday with three kids and I'm always looking for something everyone will like.

                1. re: mebby

                  I'm not sure I've ever seen flank steak in the UK - can you use skirt, do you think?

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Skirt steak is much richer than flank steak, which tends to be very lean and can be tough if not marinated, if that's any help. Flank steak is fairly low in fat and is always listed as a beef option for people on a diet.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Hannaone suggests any lean beef for bulgogi (Rib eye, Flank Steak, Tenderloin, or your favorite cut). We quite like it with rib eye because we can get it sliced perfectly thin.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Yes, getting the steak sliced thinly enough was the hardest part of the whole thing -- and made it clear that some knife sharpening is in order in my home!

                    2. re: mebby

                      The marinade ingredients you listed are pretty standard for a bulgogi marinade, and while grilled bulgogi is probably the best known way to prepare it, the saute or stir fry is one of the variations on this dish.
                      Try adding some Korean perilla (shiso, wild sesame) leaves to your lettuce wrap, it provides a great flavor addition.

                      1. re: hannaone

                        Thanks, Hannaone -- I appreciate the authentic perspective. I would prefer it grilled I think, but I think the kids would continue to enjoy sauteed. And thanks for the tip on perilla -- I think there was a recent discussion on sourcing/growing perilla here that sounded like it might make a big difference in flavor. And being in LA I should be able to find it in stores (I've heard that LA is the largest Korean community outside of the Koreas).

                        I should really explore Korean cuisine more -- have just been intimidated and a bit more SE Asian focused in tastes/knowledge. I also think that I could get a better quality kimchi -- what I got from my local market was so-so, but found a great-looking Korean market on the LA Chow board today. Was also in a supermarket in Japantown over the weekend with some great Korean produce as well -- I wish more date nights with my husband included excursions to exotic grocery stores! Although we were already late and it took 20+ minutes before I could tear myself out of there. Picked up a couple snack foods that I thought the kids would like (and which also had great packaging) and when we pulled them out my daughter said "Oh, squid chips -- I love those!" (half her school is Korean).

                        Thanks again for the tip!

                        1. re: mebby

                          A good Korean market will have their own store made kimchi, usually in an un-branded jar or plastic container. Try one of those instead of the foil pack or commercially jarred varieties.

                      2. re: mebby

                        I copied Mebby and made the Bulgogi along with the mint and scallion noodles tonight. We loved the beef. We didn't have any kimchee, but I had yellow beets in the refrigerator and I got creative....I julienned a big one and made a thai-style quick pickle with the ingredients you'd usually use for cucumber salad (rice vinegar, water, sugar, shallot, hot pepper). For once an experiment of mine has worked! Clearly not very authentic, but it was very tasty along with the beef (and even the noodles) wrapped in lettuce. It added a nice spicy crunch.

                        1. re: megmosa

                          Your beet idea was a good one.
                          Here are two recipes for Korean (daikon) radish, which could easily be used with or instead of kimchi with a bulgogi meal.

                          Daikon Radish Salad


                          1 each white Daikon radish, finely shredded (Approximately 2 lbs)
                          2 tablespoons salt
                          1 small small carrot, finely shredded
                          2 each green onions, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
                          1/4 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
                          2 tablespoons sugar
                          1/2 teaspoon finely ground red chili pepper


                          Prepare the radish:
                          Place the shredded radish in a bowl.
                          Add the salt, mix well and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
                          Rinse with cold water then drain thoroughly, pressing out as much liquid as possible.

                          Prepare the Salad
                          Add carrot, green onion, vinegar, sugar, and red pepper. Mix well.
                          Serve chilled or at room temperature.

                          For a variation add 1 finely shredded English Cucumber to the salad.
                          Pickled Daikon Slices

                          무장아찌 mujangajji ??
                          This recipe is NOT for 단무지 danmuji (the yellow colored pickled radish).
                          Pickled Daikon slices are great as a snack, as a ban chan dish, or added to kimbop and leaf wraps.

                          Note that these are not the yellow colored pickled Daikon available in Asian markets.


                          2 pounds fresh Daikon Radish
                          2 teaspoons salt

                          2 1/2 cups rice vinegar
                          1 cup sugar
                          1/2 cup broth

                          1/2 cup water
                          1/2 ounces dried kombu (kelp)


                          Wash fresh Daikon in cold water.
                          If needed, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler.
                          Shave or slice the Daikon cross wise into "poster paper" thin slices.
                          Place the sliced Daikon into a bowl, add salt, and mix well.
                          Let stand about one hour.

                          Bring water to a boil and add the kombu.
                          Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for fifteen minutes.

                          Sterilize a jar or other lidded container (large enough for about 3 cups) in a boiling water bath for about three minutes.

                          Remove Kombu from broth and discard.
                          Add vinegar and sugar to the kombu broth.
                          Increase heat to medium and sitr until sugar is completely dissolved.
                          Continue heating until marinade just begins to lightly boil.
                          Remove from heat.

                          Final Mix
                          Transfer Daikon to a strainer and press out excess moisture.
                          Place into the sterile container and add hot marinade.
                          Stir gently and let cool.
                          Cover and refrigerate.

                          Daikon slices will be ready to eat in 48 hours.

                          1. re: hannaone

                            Thank you! I'll have to try these. They sound great.

                        2. re: mebby

                          Based on Mebby's review, I decided this one was going to be one of the few beef dishes I make each year. And wow, we loved it. I sort of cheated though. I marinated the flank steak for 8 hours and then grilled it for 8 minutes (4 each side) whole instead of cutting it up. So, not at all authentic, I guess, but my husband said it was the best beef (and he LOVES beef) he's had in ages. The marinade was lovely, even I was enjoying every bite and I'm not a huge meat lover. Lulu loved it too. Thank you Mebby - I never would have considered it without your review. Served with roasted green beans. Really - a great meal, and I'm not at all sad that I cheated. I'd do it again this way in a heartbeat.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            Yea! I was just thinking a few minutes ago that I need to make this again. And your "cheat" (which doesn't seem like much of one) sounds like a great summer adaptation -- I take it you grilled outside (not indoor grill pan)? Truth be told, the thin slicing was a pain in the you know where, so I'm all for your version. Thanks!

                            1. re: mebby

                              Yes, grilled outside on the grill. SO much easier than cutting it first, and less chance of overcooking that way. Thanks again for writing about it - I think I would have totally bypassed it otherwise. Definitely a really nice beef dish.

                            2. re: LulusMom

                              You're "cheat" is similar to an actual Korean Dish called Neobani, where steak like cuts of meat are tenderized with a knife tip, then marinated and grilled.
                              Neobani is thought to be a forerunner of Bulgogi, and was probably descended from Mongolian seasoned meat dishes.

                            3. re: mebby

                              your pic looks yummy! my BF and I are huge Korean BBQ fiends, so I'm going to try this.

                              1. re: mebby

                                Made this for dinner last night using paper-thin beef slices from the Chinese supermarket (from the freezer section). Served with steamed rice, horsetail radish kimchi and steamed sugar snaps dressed with soy, black vinegar and chili. With some kimchi dumplings to start it was a great meal which we both loved. Will definitely be making it again.

                              2. Pork Chops (Lamb) with Pomegranate and Fennel Salsa, p. 468

                                I had an extra fennel bulb left over from the ragout the other night and TJs still has pomegranate and I had bookmarked this one, so made it (but with lamb suggested alternative in headnote -- not a big fan of pork chops).

                                Chop fennel and saute for 6-8 minutes, remove from heat and mix with pomegranate seeds, chopped scallions and cilantro, seasoned rice vinegar, honey and salt. Cook pork/lamb and serve. Easy peasy.

                                I was worried that the tastes were going to too simple given the minimal ingredients (and not being a minimalist myself), but for my money tasted like more than the 10 minutes and 5 ingredients it took. It was very refreshing and perfect with the lamb. I actually ate the extra salsa right off the spoon. (Although I will say that I wouldn't have called this a "salsa" -- more of a relish in my book, but whatever.)

                                I will definitely make this again. Below is a picture of the salsa -- not very artistic, but you get the idea.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mebby

                                  you're killing me! looks yum, and i applaud the substitution of lamb for the pork. will try this one too.

                                2. Blade Steaks with Mushrooms, p442

                                  I'm not familiar with the cut of steak used in the recipe, but I had some nice sirloin from the farmer's market so decided to use that instead. So I cooked my steak in the usual way, on the griddle, while I made the sauce, which was delicious.

                                  Cook mushrooms (I used small portobellos, cut into wedges) and shallot in butter in a heavy frying pan until mushroom are browned and tender. Transfer to platter with the steaks, covered with fiil. Add a quarter of a cup of balsamic and 2 TBSP of soy sauce to the pan and deglaze for a couple of minutes. Add half a cup of beef stock (I used some rich chicken stock I happened to have in the fridge) and simmer for two mins. Stir 3/4 a tsp of corn starch into two TBSP of reserved stock, and add to the sauce. Simmer, stirring for a minute or so or until thickened. Return steaks and mushrooms to pan and warm through.

                                  We both thought this was terrific. As steak and mushrooms are Mr GG's absolute favourite foods, he loved it and practically licked the plate. There was a lot of sauce, as I made the full recipe but only two steaks, so we mopped it all up with lots of bread. Delicious.

                                  1. Grilled Spicy Skirt Steak, p. 537

                                    Skirt steak is brushed with a wet rub of chile powder, sugar, salt, allspice, cumin, worcestershire, black pepper and olive oil, let to marinate for 30 minutes and then grilled quickly for 5ish minutes. Very tasty, but it's pretty hard to go wrong with grilled beef:) I usually "wing it" when making spice rubs, but sometimes it's nice to have a more structured recipe so you know how it'll turn out. I served it with plantains, grilled corn and rice, the meat was especially delicious in contrast to the sweet plantains.

                                    P.S. Was not spicy

                                    1. Buffalo Tenderloin Steak with Gorgonzola Butter page 500

                                      I served this with mushroom barley pilaf from pg. 274 (will report in appropriate thread.)

                                      We buy bison from the producer directly and split it six-ways with friends. (Even so, that turns out to be a lot of bison!). On my way out the door yesterday morning, I asked my husband to pull some bison out of the freezer to defrost for dinner tonight. I had no idea what cut he was going to choose. I discovered last night that he pulled the four tenderloins out of the freezer (we only get one set of four per bison!). I was hoping I MIGHT find a beef tenderloin recipe in Gourmet Today, but was astonished to find they had a buffalo tenderloin recipe.

                                      Extraordinarily easy and quick. Mash together softened butter, minced parsley, and gorgonzola dolce (mine was actually labeled dolcini--I hope that's the same thing), set aside. Pat dry, season with S&P, then sear steaks in a bit of olive oil in a cast iron pan, flipping once, for about four minutes, then put in the oven at 450 degrees for 4-6 minutes. Remove from oven, spoon gorgonzola mixture over the top, and tent with aluminum foil for a few minutes.

                                      My husband said this was the second best meal I've ever made him. (The first was some beef recipe from Pham/Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table). I'm kind of embarrassed, actually, that this simple recipe is one of his favorites and I've knocked myself out over much more difficult ones that apparently didn't impress, but the man loves his beef, I guess.

                                      We'll make this again when we get more tenderloin steaks, which won't be until the next bison. of course.

                                      The only adjustment I made to the recipe is that I cut the amount of butter in half.

                                      P.S. the tenderloin was super tender, almost blue. We like ours that way.


                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Wow that sounds great and I had totally skipped over that recipe. Presumably the gorgonzola butter would also work with steak? There is a buffalo stall at my farmer's market though, so I will have to see if they have tenderloin steaks.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          I'm sure it would be lovely with steak, too.


                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              (Sorry, just saw this.) Couldn't sleep. Not a good time for cooking, but it is a good time for reading!


                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            I can remember trying a gorganzola butter recipe with chicken breasts once, which seems kind of wrong but actually worked out well. Walnuts were involved too - found it on epicurious somewhere but it seems to have totally disappeared. Maybe I just winged it and tried it with chicken (but c'mon ... that just seems so odd). Anyway, the butter was delicious on it, too, surprisingly enough, so I'm sure it would be fantastic on steak.

                                        2. Chinese Beef with Broccoli, p. 448

                                          I had trimmed up a whole beef tenderloin so used the uneven pieces for this instead of flank steak (and used the trimmings to make beef stock which I used instead of chicken stock).

                                          The sliced meat is marinated in soy, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and cornstarch. I ended up making this the following night, so marinated overnight instead of one hour. The meat is then stir-fried and removed, stir fry ginger, garlic, and scallion, and then add blanched broccoli, meat, and the sauce (stock, oyster sauce, soy, rice wine, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar). I used less broccoli than the recipe called for, and sliced the stems instead of cutting into matchsticks. Served with white rice, I thought this had nice flavor, though I always need some heat and sprinkled ground red chili on mine. My husband's verdict: "Very good, you can make this again".

                                          1. Portobello Buffalo Burgers with Celery Apple Slaw pg 500

                                            Basically what you do is grind up a bunch of portobellos and chopped up onions in the food processor, saute them in olive oil, let cool, mix up with ground buffalo, and form into patties. This has the effect of extending your ground bison by about double. The resultant burger patty was very soft and tender, like a delicate meatball, perhaps. The slaw is julienned celery and granny smith apple, mixed with a vinaigrette of mayo, vinegar, mustard and a bunch of other stuff. I only made one change to the recipe and that's that I used nonfat mayo instead of real mayo. (What, exactly, is nonfat mayo anyway? Best not to look, I think.)

                                            This turned out pretty nice. My husband really enjoyed them. If I were going to serve bison burgers to guests, I'd serve these. However, I was frustrated by how much work they turned out to be when I was expecting them to be SUPER easy because they seemed easy. Really, it wasn't that much work except that the direction to "Pulse [chopped] onion and [quartered] mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped" seemed like it was going to be super fast. Instead, I found that onions and portobellos don't want to be in the food processor together. Portobellos are super light and they just want to fly about under the domed lid of the food processor like moths to a light fixture or something. I ended up having to separate the onions from the mushrooms and having to pulse them separately, about one mushroom at a time, stopping once or twice to stir and mash. I have mushroom bits all over my kitchen.

                                            I wanted the cole slaw to be a bit tangier. I guess I wanted more granny smith apple. (Maybe I wanted real mayo!)

                                            I served with the sweet potatoes with cilantro lime vinaigrette. (Will post in vegetables thread.) I didn't think it was the best match, in hindsight. The cook's menu planning mistake, not Gourmet's. I think the bison burgers want something earthier on the side.

                                            Sorry for the blurry photos.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Love this report, especially the mushroom/onion fight in the food processort. Can totally picture it. Sorry you weren't in love with your meal, especially since it wasn't the snap to make that you were expecting.

                                            2. Skirt Steak with Red Wine Sauce, p. 445

                                              I was grilling steaks on the grill, was looking for a quick sauce, and this Red Wine Sauce was perfect with some petite filets.

                                              Red wine (I used cab), fresh thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and a little sugar is boiled until reduced, the herbs removed, and then finished with butter like a classic beurre rouge. It made a nice dinner with the steaks, and a side salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon.

                                              Recipe link:

                                              1. Glazed Ham with Pineapple Mustard Sauce, p. 476.

                                                I had an open can of pineapple juice in the fridge so thought I would try a new glaze for a spiral ham half I cooked this weekend. Pineapple juice and sugar are boiled and reduced, Dijon mustard whisked in, and fresh thyme added. Since I used an already-cooked ham, I shortened the cooking time: Baked with pineapple juice, covered, for half an hour, and then uncovered with the glaze about 20 minutes more. I still prefer my go-to glaze (Ina Garten's mango chutney/Dijon/OJ), but this was really good with a nice sweetness from the pineapple syrup, especially as a sauce. I'd make it again just to serve the sauce on the side instead of my typical honey-mustard.

                                                Recipe link:

                                                1. Barbecued Pork Burgers with Slaw p. 540-541 http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... Not amazing, but very good for what it is. To try and save some time cooking tonight, last night I sliced the cabbage and shredded the carrots and put the frozen ground pork (leftovers from a previous COTM) in the fridge. One makes the coleslaw by whisking mayo, milk (I used skim) and vinegar together and adding the carrots, cabbage, chives, salt and pepper. This was simple, but surprisingly tasty. It was not too saucy, the flavors were not complex, but crispy with a nice flavor. I was hungry tonight and kept sneaking a taste. It could have also been the Duke's mayo (now a convert thanks to Chow), but it was good and so quick and easy to put together. Next you create a sauce with bottled BBQ sauce, white wine vinegar, cayenne and salt. I am not a huge fan of BBQ sauce and was concerned that the flavor would overpower the dish. The ground pork is seasoned with salt, pepper and some of the BBQ sauce mixture. Burgers are grilled, finished with BBQ sauce. Buns are grilled and then painted with some BBQ sauce. Burger and cole slaw are added to the buns. The BBQ sauce added nice flavor, but did not overwhelm. The coleslaw added a welcome crunch and good balance to the burger. Will make again. In reflecting on all of the recipes I've tried from the book, I noticed that I can easily pick something out of my pantry or freezer and find a way to use it. I also have enjoyed the variety of influences in the many different recipes.

                                                  1. Lamb Chops with Cumin, Cardamom, and Lime (page 484)

                                                    Disappointing. Probably because, unlike so many, I adore lamb. I guess if you don’t like it very much, this masks the flavor. I can understand that for some that would be a positive; the flavor profile is certainly appealing. But not for me.

                                                    However, truth in advertising. I used loin chops that were much thicker than the rib chops called for. Could that have made that much of a difference?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      JN. I love lamb, too. The thickness might have overwhelmed the flavoring ingreds... or it might just be a blah recipe.


                                                      Jungle Curry with Pork and Eggplant (p. 470)

                                                      I made this tonight with the boneless spareribs I get at COSTCO. I cut them into chunks. I also didn't have several of the ingredients, i.e., green beans, canned baby corn (whole) Asian fish sauce. I thought I had fish sauce but it turned out to be something else that had been in the fridge for a lonnnnnng time.

                                                      This is basically a curry flavored with Thai red curry paste. I had gotten really tired of Thai food due to overconsumption several years ago, but this sounded good. And simple.

                                                      Thai curry paste is stirred into some veg oil over low heat. Pork is added and browned and then removed to a side dish and the eggplant is added and stir-fried. The pork and some ginger are added back along with some chicken stock (I used a couple of shakes of chicken bouillon powder). The recipe also calls for a "5 inch long mild red chile, thinly sliced" which I didn't have. I used a spoonful of the "universal condiment"instead.

                                                      Basil leaves are stirred into the curry and sprinkled on top. I served it over some good basmathi rice which I cooked with a chopped half onion (sauteed).

                                                      I'll make this again. Maybe next time I'll plan ahead better and have the baby corn and green beans on hand, although I really don't like those canned baby corncobs. They look great but have a strong canned taste IMNSHO.

                                                      This was quite delicious and very easy and quick. Good for a week night.

                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                        With you on the corncobs, pointless and tinny. My opinion is NSH too! Cute.

                                                    2. Having made jungle curry from scratch on a recent trip to Thailand, I can tell you that this recipe is not very authentic. Jungle curry should be hot, hot, hot, and also have cloves. This does sound quite good though.

                                                      Can you not get fresh baby corn rather than canned? They sell baby sweetcorn in most supermarkets here, as well as in Asian shops.

                                                      28 Replies
                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        I never heard of jungle curry before, but that sounds delicious! I love hot, hot, hot!

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Fresh baby corn is an unusual sight in the US. I have certainly never seen it in a standard supermarket, though perhaps in an Asian market or specialty produce market; still, it's not a standard thing here, and certainly most restaurants use the canned. There was a brief conversation about this in the "Divide by a Common (Culinary) Language" thread.

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Does anyone know how restaurants get that "canned" flavour out of the baby corn? I love it in dishes from restaurants, and hate it in my homecooked dishes no matter how much I rinse it or blanch it.

                                                            1. re: Lotti

                                                              Can you not get fresh baby corn? It's pretty standard in supermarkets in the UK - in fact I don't think I've ever seen it in cans.

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                HA! I don't think I've ever seen it fresh! Does it come in little husks with silk, just like regular corn? Or is it attached to a stalk like brussels sprouts?


                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I've never seen it in NYC either, even in the Chinese markets. Little teeny ears in husks would be sooo cute...

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    Weird - it's not exotic at all here.

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      It looks lovely, actually. I wonder why it's not commonly grown here?


                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        I'll take a closer look next time I'm in one of the BIG Chinese markets...

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          I've looked for them before and never found them--not in New Jersey, not in Chinatown, not in Flushing. It is odd, isn't it, that we, a corn-growing country, don't have them and they're so common in England. Must have something to do with the economics of growing them, but damned if I know what that would be.

                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                            Hmm, that is completely weird. I was thinking maybe I had overlooked them in that big Great Wall on Northern Blvd that seems to have every foodstuff known to Asian man...

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              I think they're normally imported.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                This makes sense. From Ask Yahoo:

                                                                                "Most baby corn commercially available in the U.S. is grown and processed in Asia, particularly in Thailand. Because baby corn must be picked by hand, it is too labor-intensive for most American farms. It's been an extremely important crop in Thailand since 1976, . . . ."

                                                                                Still doesn't explain, though, why you can find them fresh so easily and we can hardly find them at all.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  21.3% duty on corn imports might have something to do with it.

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    Ah, yes. Good ole US farm policy. Didn't even think of it and I'm sure you're exactly right.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Yep...my business is import/export transportation and Customs brokerage.

                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                      Aha! Presumably to protect the domestic corn industry....

                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        Yup. Thailand is a GSP country (import duty rates lower or free for some products) but corn isn't one of them!

                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                        I've never seen fresh baby corn in Canada, but as I said, I like them in Chinese food in restaurants - and I'm sure they are canned. I just don't know what they do to them to take out the canned flavour that I can't get rid of at home. I've tried a number of things at home with no success. If anyone knows what restaurants do I would sure appreciate hearing about it.

                                                                        And while I'm asking, I may as well try this too: Shrimp in restaurants always are so tender and juicy - yet I hear that in most cases the shrimp being used are frozen not fresh. Again, in Chinese food, even when I re-heat restaurant shrimp leftovers they do not become tough.. Does anyone know why? I know I am not overcooking my shrimp at home and it is never as tender, juicy, and flavourful as restaurant shrimp. Sorry for the multiple questions, but hopefully someone who knows the answer to one also knows the answer to the other.

                                                                        1. re: Lotti

                                                                          There's a Chinese cooking process called "velveting" (marinating in cornstarch and egg white and then deepfrying at low temperature or water-poaching prior to final cooking in a dish) that lends to tenderness - and shrimp are usually cleaned with a good bit of salt before cooking, that could have some of the same effect.

                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                    I loathe baby corn. Canned, fresh, does not matter. But the recipe intrigues me however I'd like it hot, hot, hot too. GG, what chilis are appropriate for this recipe at that heat? Or can I just use whatever I might have on hand?

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      I can't remember the recipe off hand, but it's basically a red curry base but with cloves and ginger fingers pounded in, and chillies to taste. No coconut either, to temper the heat. When using a commercial paste, you can't really control the heat as when making it from scratch, but the Thai made ones are usually quite spicy in my experience. Can you get the Mae Ploy brand where you are?

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        I'm not sure about the Mae Ploy brand, but it sounds familiar... I can easily search it out. That's Thai red chili paste, then. I'll also Google for Jungle Curry and see what I find. Many thanks!!

                                                                        Edit: I instantly found this one that looks promising.... w/o the BC, of course.

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          That's the basis for the one in GT, I can tell from the similarities, only the GT version has been edited to make it more Americanized. Most decent Asian markets with Thai products have Mae Ploy, I think, so I'm sure you can find it in your area.

                                                                      2. re: Gio


                                                                        I made it with a jar of Thai Red Chili Paste I'd had in the fridge for a while. No coconut or coconut milk in this. It was plenty hot for us and we're used to chillies in both Asian and Mexican cooking.

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                          Thanks OakJoan. That's what I was hoping to hear... !

                                                                    2. Lamb Chops with Salmoriglio Sauce (pg. 484)

                                                                      I loved this sauce. Pound oregano, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt until it's paste like, then add olive oil. Spoon over the cooked lamb. That's it.

                                                                      I had some lamb chops from the CSA. They were a weird cut though, because the bone was in the middle and there was a fair amount of fat in weird places (middle, sides). But, the lamb meat, little as it was, was delicious. And, the sauce just brought out the flavor.

                                                                      1. Lasagne bolognese, p226

                                                                        I love lasagne, but don't make it very often as there are just the two of us. Last night I wanted to take something substantial to book group, and it was just the excuse I needed to make lasgne!

                                                                        Anyhow, I cheated with this recipe and used dried sheets of pasta rather than making my own. I also substituted beef mince for veal, as I couldn't be bothered with a trip to the butcher that sells veal a couple of miles away, and had good ground beef in the freezer. It was still a great lasagne - way above average and everyone commented on how tasty it was.

                                                                        The recipe has you make a ragu in the normal way, by softening finely chopped onion, celery and carrot in butter and olive oil, then adding minced pork and veal (beef in my case), and a quarter of a pound of pancetta that you've minced in the food processor. Fry until browned, then add milk, white wine and tomato purée. Simmer for about an hour until thick but still moist.

                                                                        Then you make a bechamel in the normal way using a roux and adding warmed milk, seasoning with salt and nutmeg. I think I possibly made mine a little too thick, because I didn't have quite enough when assembling the lasagne, so had to open a small carton I keep in the pantry at all times for "emergencies"! You layer the lasagne as follows - ragu, parmesan, pasta, bechamel, ending with a thick layer of white sauce and sprinkling with yet more parmesan.

                                                                        This was so good - rich and delicious and oozing cheesy, meaty, creamy goodness. Delicious! I was hoping for leftovers to bring home, but I offered them to the host out of politeness and he didn't decline

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          Thanks for the report. I've been wanting to make a lasagne but it's been so long, I didn't know which recipe to start with. Well, it's going be this one! I'm glad to hear it came out fine with the dried sheets as that's what I'll use too. Did you use the no-cook ones, or the ones you have to boil? Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                            I love lasagna, and always make it with regular old lasagna noodles, uncooked. The sauce has enough liquid to soften them up, and I've never had a problem.

                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                              I used barilla no-cook ones, spinach variety. You won't be sorry - it's a delicious lasagne.

                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                              Another thing we don't have here - shelf-stable béchamel (and you have custard too, no)?

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                I think Bird's do a shelf-stable custard but I'd always go for one from the chiller cabinet myself on the rare occasions I buy custard (not very keen on it).

                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                Lasagne Bolognese, p. 226

                                                                                I agree with GG - this was so good. I made this for dinner for family visiting out of town and everybody had seconds. Like GG, I used Barilla no-cook sheets (plain) and mostly beef (1-1/2 pounds ground beef + 1/2 pound spicy crumbled sausage + pancetta). I also followed her tip about making sure I had enough bechamel for the top (one cup) but next time would make more to make the layers extra creamy. I covered it for the first half since I was using the no-cook sheets for the first time, but they cooked up fine. Loved the flavor of this lasagne - especially with the ground pancetta in the bolognese. This is a keeper.

                                                                                Recipe link:

                                                                                Pic of leftovers the next day:

                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                  Ooh I just read over the recipe--I love a little ham in lasagna--I'll keep this one in mind. I read greedygirl's post about this too.

                                                                                  The "green Gourmet" is being suggested for COTM December 2010 -- is this *that* book?

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    Yes. The 'green" book, Gourmet Today, was COTM for May and June of this year and some people are recommending that it be revisited. You can take a look at the master thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7055...

                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                      Yes.. the title is, "Gourmet Today."

                                                                                      There is an earlier book that has a yellow dust jacket. TDQ hilariously dubbed that book "Gourmet Yesterday."

                                                                                2. Beef Chow Mein p.245

                                                                                  My son loves stir-fries and this was a slightly different take which I enjoyed. The Chinese egg noodles are boiled, drained then fried into a noodle cake. The stir-fry of beef with shiitake mushrooms and bok choy (couldn't get choy sum) is then poured over the noodles. The flavor of the stir-fry sauce was very good and there was plenty of it - I hate it when stir-fries are almost dry. This will join my stir-fry repertoire as both my kids liked it (despite it having mushrooms in, which they claim to hate).

                                                                                  1. Orange-Soy-Brasied Pork Ribs. Pg. 480

                                                                                    This recipe calls for country-style pork ribs, which are currently on sale at the local market, and since I've lately had a hankering for them, I was delighted that Gourmet Today had such an easy-peasy recipe for them.

                                                                                    A braising liquid is quickly put together from orange juice, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, pepper and fresh ginger. That mixture is brought to a boil (until the sugar is dissolved) and then the ribs, sprinkeld with salt, are added in a single layer, "turning to coat." It gets covered and put into a 325 degree oven for two hours.

                                                                                    The ribs are supposed to then be transferred to a platter and kept warm while the liquid is skimmed of fat and then reduced to a syrup. Well I didn't have to do that since there wasn't much liquid left, and it was already thick and gooey. So the ribs just got turned about so they were "glazed."

                                                                                    The recipe calls for 4 pounds of ribs, but I chose to go with six ribs for the three of us. That ended up being 2.5 pounds, so I tried valiantly to adjust the ingredients to 5/8. May have messed up there a bit....the intro to the recipe states that the meat would be "redolent of orange and ginger." I didn't find that to be quite the case. It was more redolent of soy sauce. Adjustments I would make next time (and there WILL be a next time) would be to include some orange rind and use a bit less soy. Also, I found them to be a tad salty, but I think that was my error....

                                                                                    As soon as this went into the oven, it elicited cries of "when's dinner? when's dinner? And when it was finally ready, we enjoyed it very much.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                      Country style pork ribs are just about as handy as chicken breasts/thighs, aren't they?
                                                                                      This one sounds like one to try, I'll keep the soy sauce saltiness in mind, and thanks for the post, clamscasino.

                                                                                    2. Rib-Eye Steak au Poivre with Balsamic Reduction


                                                                                      Super fast, super delicious, super easy. Portions are way too large. A half portion is plenty for me. Grind black peppercorns in M&P. Pat steaks dry then press into peppercorns. Heat oil and butter in skillet to hot but not smoking, reduce heat to medium, then plop steaks in and cook 4 mins on each side. We did 4 & 2 mins. Next time will do 3 and 3.


                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Whoops, I forgot to mention the final step of deglazing the pan with balsamic vinegar then simmering the balsamic vinegar/sauce until it reduces...


                                                                                      2. Grilled Lamb Burgers with Eggplant, Pg. 546

                                                                                        I played fast and loose with this recipe... not with the ingredients so much but with the method and plating. Still, it was very tasty and made a nice weeknight meal. Minced lamb, ground cumin, S & P and garlic are combined and formed into patties... we had a little over 1 lb of meat and made 4 patties. A yogurt sauce is made with chopped cucumber and mint...I did have to sub finely chopped red onion, though. An eggplant is sliced thickly and after being seasoned with S & P, EVOO and pressed garlic we roasted the slices in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. The lamb was grilled on an indoor grill pan. All that is put into a pocket pita with the sauce as a dressing. However, I served the patty on a slice of eggplant with the sauce drizzled over. A baked potato and tossed salad completed the meal.

                                                                                        I loved this book in May at the first go-round and still do.

                                                                                        1. Pork Tenderloin in Paprika Cream – p. 472

                                                                                          This Hungarian-style dish caught my eye right away when I was flipping through the COTM and I’m glad we gave it a try

                                                                                          A tenderloin of pork is sliced, seasoned then off to a skillet to be sautéed in lard which, in my case was replaced with butter. As the pork browns, Italian frying peppers and garlic are chopped and a large onion is sliced thinly and added to the prep pile.

                                                                                          Once the meat has caramelized its removed from the pan and set aside so the veggies can have a turn at browning. The recipe then calls for a pound of tomatoes to be chopped for later addition however since the plum tomatoes at my market were hard as rocks and certain to be flavorless, I opted to use a can of Italian tomatoes.

                                                                                          Once the veggies are beginning to get some colour, paprika and salt are added and the simmering continues until the tomatoes have broken down.

                                                                                          At this point the house smelled just heavenly and my stomach really started to rumble!! A water/sour cream/flour mix is to be stirred into the thickened tomatoes and veggies but since I had some lovely juices leftover from the canned tomatoes, I opted to use those in place of the water. 15 more minutes until the pork gets tossed back into the pan for a final simmer before being plated over some scrumptious buttered egg noodles.

                                                                                          I wish you could scratch and sniff your screen to get a sense of just how wonderful this smelled, really yummy!

                                                                                          Including prep, this dish comes together in under an hour. It worked for us tonight as we weren’t in a rush to eat (well were weren’t until we smelled it!) but on a typical weeknight I don’t have an hour to spare.

                                                                                          That said, I’d definitely make this again. We loved it! The pork literally melts in your mouth and the paprika enhances the richness of the sauce, which also has a nice tang from the tomatoes and sour cream. I would highly recommend using Hungarian paprika for this dish if you can find it as it really is an important flavor element.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            The visual and your description of the sauce remind me of paprikash... same flavors -- sour cream, tomato, paprika. Mmmm.

                                                                                          2. Garlic-Rosemary Marinated Lamb Chops p.484

                                                                                            I needed a quick marinade for two lovely lamb steaks (taking the opportunity to have lamb while my daughter, who hates lamb, was out for dinner). This wasn't very different to a standard marinade I do but it helped to mush up the garlic in a pestle & mortar then I pounded the lemon zest, rosemary and olive oil so making the marinade quite mushed with no large pieces of anything. Great flavor.

                                                                                            I served it with Winter Tabbouleh on p.185, which was really good and reported on the Salads thread.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                              Jane this sounds lovely! I've never done garlic in my M&P, what a great idea, I can only imagine who good that would be!

                                                                                            2. Beef & Guinness Pies - p. 450

                                                                                              I actually made this dish almost a year ago now and w St. Patty's Day approaching, I was looking to see what I might make this year. Jamie Oliver has a Guinness Pie recipe I'm considering (since he's currently our COTM) but I wanted to compare it to a dish that's tried and true.

                                                                                              It occurred to me that I made this months before I discovered Chowhound and the COTM so I thought I'd add my review here just in case anyone is considering making this recipe now.

                                                                                              We absolutely loved this dish and at the time, I swore it would be the "only" St Patty's dish I'd consider in the future because it was just that good!

                                                                                              I did make a couple of changes. I used a frozen puff pastry and, I substituted pearl onions for the large, coarsely chopped in this recipe. I also made the filling one day ahead because I have limited time during the week and after tasting it when it was prepared and, then again the following day, I made a note in my cookbook saying I "must" repeat this step going forward since the flavours really did develop even further overnight and the sauce was even more robust and flavourful than it was the day prior.

                                                                                              I'd highly recommend this to anyone. Unfortunately I wasn't taking pix of our food in the pre-COTM days so no photos of this unfortunately!!

                                                                                              1. Osso Buco with Mushroom Sauce – p. 462

                                                                                                Some absolutely lovely milk-fed veal shanks from the St. Lawrence Market were the inspiration for this dish. What appealed in particular in terms of the Osso Buco recipe is that the sauce differed from typical Osso Buco and consisted of a mix of wild mushrooms, which I’d also picked up at the market so the stars seemed to be aligned for me to make this dish. I also liked the fact that the veal braised in the oven for 3.5 hours which makes it the perfect Sunday afternoon dish in my books since that buys me some time to get all my other house stuff done!! I halved the recipe in the book, which is intended to serve 6-8. . . and for what its worth, I think 8 is far more realistic if you were to use 8 pieces of veal shank.

                                                                                                Prep is straightforward. Shanks are dredged in seasoned flour then browned in a butter/olive oil mix. Gourmet suggests you do this in a skillet then transfer the shanks to a roasting pan, wiping out the skillet before the next items go in. This seemed so wrong to me as I happen to think those lovely brown bits left behind are the best part and, a key ingredient in seasoning the sauce. Instead, I opted to use my braising pan to perform all steps of this recipe, making it a one-pot meal. I removed the veal and then sliced onions, celery and some orange rind are stirred together and cooked until pale golden. At this point vermouth and water are added, mixed in and then added to the roasting pan. In my case I just put the shanks back into the braising pan, popped the lid on top and into the oven it went for 3.5 hours. (If you use the Gourmet method you would need to cover the veal mixture w parchment and then foil before braising).

                                                                                                Prior to removing the veal from the oven, your mixed mushrooms are sliced and sautéed with some S&P, butter and olive oil until they start to give off liquid. At this point vermouth and lemon juice are added and the sauce is reduced to approx ½ cup at which point it’s removed from the heat.

                                                                                                Veal is removed from the oven and the shanks are taken from the pan and tented. The pan then goes on the stove and is brought to a boil to finish the sauce. A beurre manie is made and whisked into the boiling veal sauce and then reduced before adding the mushrooms, lemon juice and fresh parsley. This is simmered for one last time before seasoning to taste. No seasoning was necessary in our case however, I felt the sauce was quite thick for pasta (I served this w egg noodles) so I reserved about 1 ½ cups of pasta water to thin it out. Once the noodles were done, I tossed them in the sauce prior to plating.

                                                                                                This was ridiculously good. I typically use an Osso Buco recipe that was an adaptation (not mine) of a Marcella Hazan recipe. I’ve tried many over the years and was completely convinced that I’d miss the tomatoes and, the use of a beef or veal stock. I didn’t. If you like Osso Buco, give this a try. It’s a special dish well worthy of the investment in your milk-fed veal shanks. Mr bc gave this a 10 . . . wow!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  That looks and sounds amazing, will definitely have to add this to the must-try list!

                                                                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                    Thanks Rubee, though it's not a typical OB recipe, it definitely is a stand out. Looking forward to reading your review when you get a chance to try it.

                                                                                                2. Pork and Tomatillo Stew - page 469

                                                                                                  Full recipe and step-by-step photos: http://twofoodiesonejourney.blogspot....

                                                                                                  If you read a tourist guide of San Diego or just walk through the streets of some of the more popular neighborhoods like North Park or Hillcrest you get the impression that the culinary scene of this city covers a wide variety of restaurants. There are many variations of “Western” influenced restaurants, like Italian or French but also many “Asian“ restaurants ranging from Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese to Thai. You will also find many unique restaurants using the outstanding produce of this region and showcasing the world class beer scene of San Diego but one cuisine is strangely at the same time under- as well as overrepresented in San Diego – Mexican. San Diego is in a unique location as it forms a large bi-national/transborder community with Tijuana and one would expect that this would also have a significant impact on the variety of the Mexican cuisine in San Diego. You can find some kind of taco shop at nearly every street or shopping mall in San Diego but otherwise one would get the impression that the Mexican diet only consists of tacos and burritos and hardly anything else. There are a few unique Mexican restaurants throughout San Diego representing less Americanized versions of Mexican food but it took us quite some time to realize it before we slowly started to explore it. The books from Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless were very helpful guides to get a better understanding of the vast variety of regional culinary differences in Mexico and its unique use of unusual ingredients and flavors not often found in Western and Asian cuisines.

                                                                                                  If you visit one of the ubiquitous taco shops in San Diego you will always find a salsa bar to dress up your tacos or burritos and part of it will be some kind of salsa verde. Salsa verde has often a very interesting and complex flavor including some tartness with floral undertones. One of the key ingredients for salsa verde are tomatillos, one of these unusual ingredients associated with Mexico and not found as much in other cuisines. Tomatillos might look like green unripe tomatoes and both plants belong to the nightshade family but tomatillos are actually related to cape gooseberries.

                                                                                                  Tomatillos with their unusual papery husk were domesticated by the Aztecs more than three thousand years ago and remained all the time an important food staple in this region. The culinary use of tomatillos is quite broad ranging from raw as a salad ingredient to jams and marmelades to cooked in stews and sauces for meats. For our first own use of tomatillos we decided to cook them appropriately in a Mexican inspired Pork and Tomatillo Stew.

                                                                                                  Instead of using only tomatillos in the braising liquid as the main flavor component we decided to go for a more complex flavor profile supporting and at the same time balancing out the tartness and fruitiness of the tomatillos by incorporating tomatoes, orange juice and beer into the stew. The pork turned out to be as fork tender as expected in such a stew but initially the stew overall had a stronger tartness than expected and the desired counterbalancing fruitiness was subdued and hardly noticeable. One of the golden rules of braising is to rest stews overnight so that the flavors can blend together but we hardly ever do it with our stews as we don’t think that the overall flavor improves significantly. But the exception proves the rule as with this stew it was critical to rest it overnight. Eaten on the same day the stew was good but nothing exceptional. Once we reheated it the next day all the flavors came together and we had a wonderful balanced stew without any overwhelming tartness. It made for a very satisfying Mexican influenced dinner when served together with rice and lime-spiked sour cream.