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*July 2010 COTM - ITALIAN EASY: Fish, Poultry, Meat

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Our July cookbooks are ITALIAN EASY and ITALIAN TWO EASY, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the following chapters:

Italian Easy:

Seafood
Birds
Veal, Lamb, Pork, Beef

Italian Two Easy:

Fish with...
Birds with wine
Roast meat
Grilled Fish and Meat

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. Grilled Tuna with Fennel Seeds (IE, page 137)

    Good, not great. I used a grill pan heated to screaming on the stove top. Thought it needed more than “a minute or so.” More an aesthetic issue since at the specified time it looked anemic. Probably overcooked it slightly. Still. Not something I’d return to unless these were the only two ingredients left in the cupboard.

    Served it with Fava Beans and Peas (IE, page 201) which I'll report on on the appropriate thread.

     
    1. Chicken with lemon, Italian Easy, p 147

      This is basically a pared down version of Marcella Hazan's recipe for roast chicken with lemons, which is the way I usually roast chicken. This method has you roll a lemon on the counter to soften it, then pierce several times with a fork. Put the lemon in the cavity of the bird, along with some fresh thyme, season well and secure with a toothpick. Roast in a 200C oven, breast-side down, for an hour, then flip the chicken over and roast for another 30 minutes.

      This was spectacular, really moist and juicy and falling-off the bone tender. It was a free-range bird from the farmer's market so the flavour of the meat was very good. I served it with the pan juices, and the courgettes from ITE, which I've reported on in the appropriate thread, and some sourdough for mopping.

      The only difference between this recipe, and Hazan's is the addition of the thyme, and that you keep the oven temperature constant (Marcella has you raise it for the last portion of cooking time). I think you might also flip the bird later in the cooking process as well. Anyway, the results were just as good and as it's a slightly simpler method, with no faffing about with the oven temperature, this will become my new standard.

      17 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        It's nice to know how to simplify! Not that Marcella's method is that difficult, but, sometimes it's hard to know which things make a difference and which don't if you're trying to take a short-cut. I shall file this away for winter when we're cooking indoors again.

        I think we're getting an odd combo of good success and only so so from this book. Weird.

        EDIT: P.S. I'm enjoying the little asterisks Caitlin used in the thread titles. Very festive. Has she been doing that all along and I've been slow to notice?

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          It really is weird how some recipes are giving great results and others just "eh." I had noticed that too.

          And I'm putting this chicken (previously overlooked) immediately on my "to make" list. Thanks for pointing it out gg.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I'm excited about these books now, which I've had for years, and am enjoying rediscovering them. I guess a lot of the time I dismissed the recipes as ridiculously simple, but for some reason I'm finding them quite inspiring at the moment.

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            I've been lurking bcs I don't have these books - TDQ et al, should I break down and get them, do you think?

            1. re: buttertart

              Hi buttertart... Can you find them at your local library? That's what many of us do as a prelude to buying them. OTOH, there are many of the Italian Two Easy recipes on line. We are finding that some of us love some of the recipes and some do not. This pretty much follows from month to month, though, so I'm not letting that influence me too much, I hope. I Am paying attention to the negative comments, however. I'm glad you're lurking... perhaps you'll take the plunge before long.

              1. re: buttertart

                Not TDQ, but if I were you I would borrow them from the library first to see if you really think you need them. I have Italian Easy from the library and marked very few recipes I wanted to try. Admittedly, IE (don't know about I2E) is pretty heavy in carbs, something I'm trying avoid right now. If it were winter, perhaps I'd be trying the risottos, but I'm not standing over a hot stove while it's 90+ degrees out.

                I've only tried two recipes so far, neither compelling. And of the recipes others have reviewed very positively, I've only copied one to my database since many of them are so similar to recipes I either already have or have made often before.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I buttertart, I AM TDQ and I pretty much agree with JoanN (and Gio).

                  I'd give these books a test-run before committing to them, if you can find them in your library. They are a little unconventional and we're getting a lot of mixed results. I'm not personally ready to buy them yet.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I looked at them when they came out and didn't find them too exciting so was very interested to see how people are making out with them. i'll definitely look at them again because some of the food does sound interesting.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I'm starting to feel like these would be good books to take to a vacation house with you, where you don't have all of your normal kitchen equipment handy and you need to keep things simple.

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        That is a really interesting thought, and useful. We'll likely be going away for 6-8 weeks this winter, and I've been mulling in my head what to do about recipes.

            2. re: greedygirl

              Based totally on gg's review, this was the welcome home dinner for my husband after a week away. He said "this is one of the best roast chicken's I've ever had." Not sure I"m *quite* as in love as him (although I liked it very much), but definitely agree the skin was irresistible and would make it again. So easy. I didn't bother taking the leaves off the thyme, just stuck the whole thyme stalks (sp?) in the bird. Served with cauliflower and fennel seed from the same book. Review of that in the a.m.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Just wanted to post that the leftovers of this chicken are wonderful, I'm now in love with it. Love the lemon flavor that is in each bite. Thanks gg, never would have noticed this one if not for your review.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Just as good as gg and LLM said it was. My chicken was only 3-1/2 pounds (not 4; a kosher bird, by the way) that I cooked for the full hour and a half. My white meat was a tad dry, but I don’t like white meat much anyway and all the rest of it was so terrific I didn’t care. Definitely a go-to recipe when you need roast chicken NOW.

                But did you “Serve with the juices” as the recipe directs? Looked more like fat than juices to me. Thought I’d pass.

                1. re: JoanN

                  There really wasn't much in the way of juices with mine ... a little brown juice on the bottom of the pan, but nothing I could have really served it with.

                  So, so glad you finally found a winner! This is going to be a go to recipe for me, based on the ease (and short ingredients list).

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Just so I don't come across as a total downer, I really liked the Salsa Rossa Picante, too. In fact, I've made it a second time. I just didn't think it paired well with the dish it was recommended to accompany.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      You, a downer?? Never. More often than not I either laugh or sigh contentedly when I read your posts.

                  2. re: JoanN

                    I always have quite a lot of juices with mine and they're really good.

                2. Whole Dover Sole (fillets of local flounder) p. 190 ITE

                  We make this pretty often, because flounder is really tasty, fresh and local for us. Instead of using a whole fish we just use fillets (filets?) and we do add a bit of fennel tops both under and over while grilling. You brush the fish with olive oil, season, grill until done (we add the fennel fronds) and serve with lemon. Nothing could be easier, and it is always wonderfully delicious. Not something you really need a recipe for, but it makes my husband feel more comfortable to have one (he's the griller in the house).

                  1. Flattened chicken, Italian Easy

                    This is an old favourite. The recipes calls for a boned chicken, but I normally buy my chickens from the farmer's market, so I just spatchcock mine instead. Then you loosen the skin, and slide chopped garlic, thyme and salt inside. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and anoint with olive oil.

                    The recipe then calls for you to cook the chicken in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, but I normally cook mine on the Weber, flipping over once. It's really yummy.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      GG... happy to read your comments about these chicken recipes since I've been drooling over them. This Flattened Chicken recipe and the vermentino one have been calling to me. I've not tasted Vermentino so I'm particularly interested in that one. As for the lemon chicken, that's my preferred method to roast chicken with the exception of using garlic cloves and not thyme in the cavity. Crispy skin every time.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Yes, I sometimes put garlic in the cavity as well, and rosemary. All is good and I've never had a chicken I didn't like this way. The ones I'm buying from the farmer's market at the moment at a very good price are a revelation - they just fall apart.

                        I'm not entirely sure what vermentino is - can you enlighten me?

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Vermentino is a white Italian wine from Sardinia. From what I've read, it has a citrusy flavor. I think I'll ask the CH wine board for assistance.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Gotcha. I've got my eye on the one with vermouth. I am a recent convert to vermouth as a drink, after a weekend in Madrid when we drank chilled red vermouth on tap as an aperitif. I now have a bottle of martini rosso in the fridge - how very seventies!

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              OMGoodness. I automatically thought that recipe called for Dry vermouth which is what we use in our gin martinis. I also use it in cooking when dry white wine is called for if I don't have any at hand.

                              If it does call for red vermouth that's a whole 'nother flavor.

                              1. re: Gio

                                No it is dry vermouth - I'm just obsessed with red vermouth at the moment!

                              2. re: greedygirl

                                Huh, never would have occurred to me to drink red vermouth as a drink. Might have to give that a shot. Speaking of old-fashioned drinks, somehow recently I started adding just a spot of dubonnet to my G&Ts. Festive. I then pretend to be the Queen Mum (uh, during her livelier days).

                                And Gio, I do the same with dry vermouth - keep a bottle by the oven for when there isn't anything else open. I think if it was good enough for Julia Child, it's good enough for me.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Gin and dubonnet! Hilarious. You are such a hopeless Anglophile, LLM. It'll-)be jellied eels and pie and mash next, you mark my words. ;-)

                                  Red vermouth on the rocks, with a slice of orange and a spritz of soda is a fabulous summer drink, believe me. If you like campari, as I do, you'll love it.

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Adore campari. And yes, I'm a hopeless anglophile. And a hopeless Francophile. I need to phile my way east.

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          My turn on Flattened Chicken....

                          As GG suggested, I spatchcocked the bird. Was hoping to grill it but I couldn't get the dang thing lit....so plan B: roast at 400.....Mine took a full hour to cook, even though it was only 3 lb. Ah them bones. Mighty tasty though.....tried to leave some for the kids.

                           
                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Flattened chicken. We started with a whole chicken (slightly less than 3.5 lbs) and I convinced my CHP (chowhound by proxy) to bone the chicken. I found a great video of Jacques Pepin that proved to be quite helpful. We cooked this in the oven because it was quite late in the evening. It cooked for about 35 minutes. The skin was a little rubbery (my fault), but it was moist and well seasoned. Definitely something to make again -next time we will try it on the grill.

                          2. Guinea fowl with fennel, Italian Easy, p 152

                            I made this back in the mists of time, and all I can remember about it is that we liked it very much! I do love me a guinea fowl, so must try this again.

                            1. Flattened sardine, chilli, lemon. Italian Two Easy, p188

                              I don't really like preparing fish, so I wasn't looking forward to removing the backbone from my sardines, but actually it was pretty easy. You cut off the heads, then press down on the sardine to loosen the bone. It works - they come off really easily and it makes them so much nicer to eat.

                              Once you've flattened your sardines and removed the backbones, crumble 4 dried chillies over the fish, and rub the flesh with grated lemon zest, salt and pepper. Grill skin-side down for a couple of minutes, then turn over and grill for another couple of minutes. I have one of those special BBQ baskets for fish, which made this a whole lot easier. Serve with lemon.

                              I thought this was good but not spectacular. At the end of the day it's grilled sardines. I did like the method for removing the backbone, and that made the dish much more palatable for Mr GG, who's not a huge fish fan, especially when he has to deal with bones.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Oooh! I don't have I2E but adore grilled sardines. And that sounds like a great method for removing the backbone. Any chance they offer an indoor option for this recipe? If so, I'll definitely have to get my hands on the book.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  It says you can do them on a griddle pan or grill (broiler) as well. If you love grilled sardines, you'll like this recipe.

                                  Here are the quantities:

                                  16 sardines
                                  4 dried chillies
                                  5 lemons (zest three of them)
                                  Ex v olive oil - for drizzling afterwards

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    That sounds really yummy. Will have to check and see if Citarella has sardines. Thanks for the detail.

                                  2. re: JoanN

                                    JoanN: You and I agree on this. Fresh sardines are fabulous.

                                    gg: I also have those fish grill baskets, but the fish often sticks to it and is pulled apart. I don't use them very much because of this.

                                  3. re: greedygirl

                                    I tried to get my husband to do this recipe with some other oily but cut fish because I love the sound of the chili and lemon together. But maybe, based on what you say about the ease of cutting the sardines, I should try it as is. Like JoanN, I love sardines.

                                  4. Fried Scallops (IE, page 132)

                                    Three strikes and I’m out. Well, maybe not, but definitely getting gun shy.

                                    Season scallops. Heat skillet to “very, very” hot. Sear scallops for seconds on each side. Add olive oil to pan then place halved anchovies among the scallops, squeeze lemon juice over all, and “Fry for 1 minute until the anchovies become crisp.” Then, as usual, drizzle with more olive oil and lemon.

                                    The anchovies didn’t become crisp. They sort of began to melt and stick to the pan. Was there enough oil in the pan? Could the anchovies fry with all that lemon juice added to the oil? No idea. Won’t be bothering to try to find out. I like anchovies, but I didn't think they went at all well with the delicate sweetness of the scallops.

                                     
                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Good Grief, Joan. You aren't having much success with these recipes are you? I know you have a great fish monger but do you think the scallops may have been the dreaded "wet" kind? Dry scallops would have seared and not melted. Your photo really doesn't look too bad... how did they taste?

                                      I have decided that any recipes I make from now on will not have the final EVOO drizzle no matter How good it is. Enough already with the extra olive oil.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Not the scallops, I don't think. Been buying excellent ones regularly from the same fisherman at the farmer's market. And it was the anchovies that melted; the scallops did indeed sear.

                                        It's not so much that it tasted bad as that I didn't care for the balance of flavors. I thought the anchovies overwhelmed rather than enhanced the flavor of the scallops.

                                        I think this may have been one instance where the minimalism of their instructions worked to my disadvantage. I used fairly inexpensive bottled anchovies cured in oil. Would it have made a difference if I'd used expensive anchovies cured in salt? As I said, not gonna find out.

                                        I do have some crab in the freezer. Maybe I'll use some of it to make the crab bruschetta. That seems to be a definite winner, and I sure could use one right now.

                                      2. re: JoanN

                                        I know. Joan, you seem to be having lousy luck with very nice ingredients. I don't blame you for feeling a little gun shy. It's one thing to have disappointing results with an inexpensive, ordinary ingredients such as potatoes, but another to when you have a disappointment with beautiful scallops.

                                        I just wonder, if, in an attempt to be "easy", they are just being imprecise in these recipes. I know precision (think Judy Rogers in Zuni cookbook) can be a big bore and perhaps intimidating, but it can be necessary to yield the correct results. You can't always guess what they are thinking.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          That "imprecision" seems to be a hallmark of English recipe writing - Elizabeth David and following - I wonder why it's characteristic of their recipes and the diametric opposite is largely true of US recipes at least these days. US writers assume no knowledge and British writers assume you've been cooking since infancy.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            I think you're right, although, JoanN is an experienced, accomplished cook, so she's not going to be making a lot of "beginners" type mistakes, so, it makes me think there still must be something important missing from some of these recipes. Or, maybe some crucial things were lost in the translation to SAE.

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              The dreaded chef's books issues maybe? This is how we make this at the restaurant, sort of, but not exactly, because why then would you come and spend bags of cash to eat this at the restaurant? (Was not in any way casting aspersions on JoanN's cooking abilities of course, it was meant as a general observation on cookery-writing style in the 2 countries. It's the US that's supposed to be more laid-back, isn't it? That doesn't come through in recipes written here.)

                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                Yeah, I think maybe it's the chef's book thing. They don't really know or remember all of the steps they do, because they do them so automatically.

                                                ~TDQ

                                            2. re: buttertart

                                              I really don't think that's the case, generally. There's a world of difference between Elizabeth David and most modern, British cookbook writers.

                                              FWIW, I think they would have used salted anchovies in this recipe, being purists and all.

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                I suspect you're right, gg, about the salted anchovies. But I didn't have any on hand, I need to go to a specialty store to find them, and they're very expensive when I do. And frankly, if it made a significant difference to the recipe, I would expect them to specify. Unless, of course, salted anchovies are the norm in the UK and this was more a question of sloppy Americanization.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  I just know that because I've got the original River Café book, and I know their ethos. I think they should have specified if it was important, definitely.

                                                  Salted anchovies aren't the norm here, but they're not that expensive, either. Maybe a £2-3 for a jar. Having said that, I can get them without too much trouble living in London, because I know where to look, but I'm not sure what you'd do if you lived elsewhere.

                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                  The Slater books I have, the Oliver books I've read, and the one River Cottage book I have are all on the sketchy side in their recipes if you compare them to similar US books. Delia Smith isn't of course. Which writers are you thinking of in particular? (Just curious. Obviously I'm not familiar with the full run of UK writers, would that I were.) I take it you've eaten at the restaurant and from what I've heard that would dispose one kindly to the books.

                                            3. re: JoanN

                                              Man, this sucks for you! I"m so sorry you're having such bad luck. I can't imagine how a bottled or tinned anchovy could possibly become crisp - wonder what the heck they're doing to them?? Anyway, really sorry.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                I gave this a go this weekend and tried it with whole salted anchovies (rinsed with water then deboned). The scallops themselves tasted great and the anchovies did get crisp and lent their saltiness to the lemon juice and olive oil. But, like JoanN, the anchovies themselves were too harsh to pair with the delicate scallops. If I were to make it again, I remove the scallops after crisping them up and just eat the scallops with the sauce. Does anyone have ideas on how to mellow the anchovies? I've read about soaking them in milk? And now that I have an open tin of salted anchovies, I will try the green bean and anchovy recipe. Thanks to Gio for posting.

                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                  I'm so glad you tried this with salted anchovies since that was obviously what the authors intended. Shame, though, that it didn't seem to make much of a difference in the finished dish.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Yes, bummer.

                                              2. Last night we tried Mussel Pangrattato from IE. I did not have whole "dried chile" on hand, and so substituted a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes. The idea is to combine bread crumbs, olive oil, lemon zest, and oregano, and serve over mussels which have been steamed in a combination of canned tomatoes, garlic, and white wine. Normally we just use whatever bread we have on hand to mop up the juices. It was a different (and slightly messier to eat) experience using the crumb topping instead. However, it was a nice change from our norm. It came out well-a keeper.

                                                1. Sausage and Wine, Pg. 175, Italian Easy

                                                  Loved this. Lots of robust flavors. I can see many other serving suggestions other than the polenta suggested. We had some fresh spicy chicken sausages from an Italian salumeria near us which were perfect for this dish. Pork sausages were probably intended but the ones we used were terrific. They were so fresh, in fact, that instead of cutting the rounds 1/2" I had to slice them into 2" pieces. No matter, they browned up nicely and stayed intact, for the most part. After the sausage rounds are browned they're removed from the pan and the fat drained out. A bit of olive oil is added and chopped onion, celery, carrot are fried till "lightly colored." At this point chopped garlic, sage, ground cloves, chilies are added and stirred to combine with the veggies. A 14 oz. tin of drained tomatoes, and red wine are added and the whole thing is cooked for 20 minutes. The sausages are returned and the sauce is cooked 10 min longer. Taste for seasoning and adjust if nec. The serving suggestion is with polenta but I discovered early on that we were out of cornmeal so DH made a pot of jasmine rice. Delicious! This could be used over pasta too, I think.

                                                  42 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Good morning Gio. I was perusing the book last night and this recipe caught my eye. Might be next for me....but I was curious about the cloves. How pronounced a flavor did they lend?

                                                    1. re: clamscasino

                                                      Buon giorno!! The cloves? What cloves? No detectable flavor whatsoever. Not only That, but I actually followed the directions and buzzed them in my dedicated spice grinder. I'll use ground cloves next time. BTW: my cloves were fresh from Penzey's. Harumph. Having said all of that, we loved this dish.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Hmmm...maybe the cloves just add a little Je ne sais quoi, or whatever the Italian equivalent is.

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          "Non so che cosa"

                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                          Well that just begs for the next question....when you ground up those cloves how much did the 3 whole ones yield?

                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                            Micro grains... really, a very tiny amount.

                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                              Sausage and Wine: Italian Easy pg.175

                                                              Made this last night and agree with Gio that the flavors were quite "robust." I would add "rich" also as an adjective. I used 4, instead of 6 Italian sausages, as the ones I bought seemed unusually large, and that was plenty. They didn't render hardly any fat at all - not even enough to pour off. And they had enough heat, even though they were "Sweet" Italian sausages that I didn't bother adding the two crumbled, dried chiles. I did mean to add a smidgeon of ground cloves, but spaced on that. Turned out there was only one carrot in the fridge....

                                                              Stupid question came up though: how much is a "celery head"? They couldn't mean, say 15 stalks, right? I used 2 stalks, trying to make up for the absent carrot, and that seemed pretty much all right.

                                                              I did serve this with polenta (pg 126) although instead of stirring in olive oil, I used butter and spiked it with with parmesan. It was the perfect foil for the sausages - a bit of creamy blandness against the rich and spicy, fennel laden sausages.

                                                              This would be a great, wow-za party dish.

                                                               
                                                              1. re: clamscasino

                                                                So happy you liked this dish Clams!! Glad, also, that you made the polenta. I'm definitely making this again...with the missing side dish.

                                                                <"how much is a "celery head"?">
                                                                "A bunch or "head" of celery consists of approximately a dozen or so individual ribs also called stalks." So says WikiAnswers,
                                                                http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_st...

                                                                I removed the outer stalks till I came to the light green/whitie-ish inner core. So I used maybe about 8 stalks which I sliced across to about 4" lengths. Oh, and I only used 5 sausages as they were large too.
                                                                Robust, rich deliciousness.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Thanks for the definition Gio. That's a lot of celery, and the relative lack of it in my dish (on top of the missing carrot) would explain it's overall "meatiness." That being said, were I to make this dish again, I think I would go with 4 stalks.

                                                        3. re: Gio

                                                          i've got my eye on this one too, especially now.

                                                          I find it interesting how common chicken sausages are in the US - not very common at all round these parts, and you'd certainly never find them in Italy, ime. I can get great Tuscan sausages in a local butcher, so I'd probably use those. :-)

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            The US is chicken-mad (due to the low-fat diet mania).

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Isn't it also heavily subsidised?

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Yes as is agriculture in general. It's led to breeding of chickens with grossly oversized breasts because of the demand for skinless boneless (tasteless...) white meat - which makes the short lives of these poor birds even more terrible.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Just to assuage y'all... the sausages I cooked were made from organically, humanely grown free range chickens from a local farm. They were Delicious.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    Gio, I would never in a million years think you remotely capable of buying anything less. I bet they were!

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      LOL buttertart. I hope I didn't sound too po'd...But I bet I did.
                                                                      Apologies.

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Didn't mean to ruffle your feathers, dear Gio!

                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                  I don't believe poultry farms are subsidized in the US, but much of the grain that the birds are fed certainly is. I think the popularity of poultry sausage in the US is more of a low-fat issue, although even that is questionable. There's a stand at my local farmer's market that sells turkey and turkey parts, but the overwhelming amount of their sales comes from turkey sausage. And a damned good turkey sausage it is. But it's not anywhere near as low-fat as people seem to think. A lot of it's flavor comes from using dark meat and skin. Still, it's very well seasoned and made from free-range turkeys fed natural ingredients, so can certainly be considered a healthier choice than most sausage you'd find in a supermarket.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    The flavor is what counts in this context, not the politics. Sorry I opened that can of worms even slightly (chickens like worms, though, don't they? they'd be happy to see some).

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      Pork sausage is very, very popular here, and the high quality ones aren't that fatty. I get the Giggly Pig ones often from the farmer's market.

                                                                      http://www.gigglypig.co.uk/

                                                                      I can't get my head round a sausage made of chicken or turkey. The flavour profile must be very different.

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        There's good stuff and there's junk. In turkey sausage as in life. I first started using turkey sausage when I was trying to reproduce certain dishes for my mother who didn't eat pork. Supermarket brands that were meant to replicate Italian sausage were pretty vile. But the spicy turkey sausage I buy at the farmer's market is surprisingly close in flavor, somewhat less so in texture, to the pork sausage I can buy at a high end salumeria.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          This is at the Greenmarket, correct? May I ask the vendor's name and which location? Himself is a sausage fanatic, I'm not quite as fond as he is but like a nice one once in a while. Thanks very much.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            It's DiPaola. I buy it at Tucker Square (across from Lincoln Center), but you can find them at many of the greenmarkets throughout the city. Here's a link with markets and days:

                                                                            http://www.whatisfresh.com/users/dipa...

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              Thanks a million. He teaches at Fordham LC so I'll clue him in on this, too convenient!

                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                This sounds fantastic. I missed this one somehow, but it is now on the list to make sooner rather than later.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  I'm such an idiot. I had to return my copy of the book to the library today, so I quickly photocopied a bunch of recipes. But I forgot to photocopy this one--even though the sausages are thawing in the fridge as I type. You've already posted the instructions, Gio, but could I please ask you, or anyone else with the book, to post for me the list of ingredients. Just think of it as doing community service for a senior citizen who's short-term memory gets shorter by the hour.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Don't forget, you can check the list of ingredients at EYB. Strike that, I don't think EYB gives proportions. But here they are:

                                                                    6 sausages
                                                                    1.5 cups red wine
                                                                    1 onion
                                                                    1 celery head
                                                                    2 carrots
                                                                    2T parsley leaves
                                                                    2 T sage leaves
                                                                    2 garlic cloves
                                                                    3 cloves
                                                                    2 dried chilies
                                                                    14 oz canned tomatoes
                                                                    olive oil

                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                      Thank you so much, bb. I really feel like such a dolt!

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        Welcome to my world.... ;-)

                                                                  2. re: Gio

                                                                    I have the most lovely focaccia bread in the fridge ready to bake off. So far, just made the dough. Toppings will be garden herbs, parmesan cheese, a few roasted tomatoes and some roasted garlic. How would this dish work as a ragu to serve with the bread? [i.e. no polenta or pasta or anything.]

                                                                    I have some home-made italian sausage in the freezer which I think I spiced perfectly to use and a box of Poms tomatoes that I just bought based on a chow recommendation.

                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                      I think it would be fine as a ragu, you have all the right vegetables. Sometimes chopped roasted peppers and/or zucchini are added as well. However, I would not add the cheese to the ragu. (You probably wouldn't but I had to say it) Add the cooked sausages to the ragu. What time is dinner? I'll bring the wine, a nice Chianti classico I bought for the rigatoni, ricotta and red wine recipe..

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        7:30? 8:00? Love the idea of adding some of that Hutchins Farm zucchini into the ragu. And there will be leftovers so I could make some polenta tomorrow. Dinner has been planned!

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          We didn't love this dish. The net result was just too acidic which could either be a result of the wine or the tomatoes. I used Poms tomatoes which is a new ingredient for me, but really, I think the wine was just too overpowering. I had an open Cote du Rhone so I used it. Very full-bodied. I wish I had changed the proportions to 1/2 tomato, 1/4 wine and 1/4 just some water. The balance would have been better.

                                                                          But, I am not ready to give up on this just yet since I really like the underlying flavor profile. There are 4 cups of leftovers which I think I will turn into a layer of lasagna. This way I can balance out the acid with a creamy bechamel layer.

                                                                          So how many pounds/ounces/grams is 6 sausages? The lack of precision is a little off putting!

                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                            Oh gosh SMT, that's too bad. I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. For tomatoes I used half a tin of Hunt's whole organic tomatos, drained. I've never used Pomi but I guess I should try them at least one time. For the wine we used a Chianti classico reserva. I have no idea what 6 sausages weigh. The ones we got from Pace were about 51/2 - 6" long which I thought were huge so we only used 5 of them. I can only wish you the best of luck with the lasgne, sadly I dish I rarely eat these days. (Too labor intensive and too many calories. Boo Hoo)

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              I think a Chianti would be perfect actually. The interesting thing is, I really enjoyed making this dish. It was simple; I had my zen moment of cutting all of the vegetables into lovely little dices, adding ingredients one by one and it smelled wonderful! Just too much wine.

                                                                              I will actually freeze the remaining portion. This is NOT lasagna weather at all. I will pull it out when the leaves begin to turn and I am making cheese again.

                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                I wonder if they are generally a little heavy-handed with the wine in these books. I tried the one wine with peaches recipe (posted about it in the desserts thread) and thought it was a touch too boozy, though otherwise very interesting.

                                                                                JoanN! I hope I didn't contribute to you feeling too self-conscious! You know, you've got to call them as you see them.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  I'm not usually that easily intimidated. It's just that I knew I wasn't using the best ingredients and it's become clear that these recipes require just that.

                                                                            2. re: smtucker

                                                                              I wasn't crazy about it either. I didn't bother to post about it because I was beginning to be embarrassed about all my negative reviews this month. Also, I chalked it up to less than stellar ingredients. My sausages were something marked "spicy Italian" that came from so far back in the freezer I no longer recalled their provenance. The tomatoes were out of a can in the cupboard (I wished after the fact that I had used Pomi tomatoes, which I use often; the finished dish would have tasted less like a tin can). And my wine, too, was very full-bodied --a Bordeaux that was really too good for the dish but I had some left from the night before.

                                                                              Oddly enough, I feel the same way you do. I'm not ready to give up on it either. Will give it one more try with what I hope will be the right ingredients in the right balance.

                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                Phew... Thank you for making me feel better.

                                                                                My sausages were hand ground and spiced by me and we eat them, in small amounts, as a topping for pizza. I used half hot and half sweet. I can vouch for them. You have now vouched for the tomatoes which leaves us both reconsidering our wine choice.

                                                                                I will never just have Italian wines lying around. We invested [well, bought] cases and cases of French wines when they were too young to drink and we actually had extra money. They are now ready to drink and we hardly ever do, so that is what I will be using.

                                                                                I have already popped the 4-cups of leftovers into the freezer to pull out again in October.

                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                  I did exactly the same thing you did--bought French wine futures when I could afford them. I still had cases of wine stored in my parents wine cellar (also known as the cellar crawl space) that I had to bring back to my 1-bedroom apartment after my mother died. Some of them are now past their use-by date; still good, but going fast, especially now that they're no longer stored under ideal conditions.

                                                                                  I'll bet everybody's really feeling sorry for us right now. Having (just HAVING) to drink up all this fine French wine.

                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    Yes, I'm sobbing.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Sounds like you need to have a LOT of dinner parties.

                                                                        2. I'd like to try the chicken in milk (italian Easy page 146). But I wonder how that would work out if I used pieces, rather than a whole bird, which I've never done. I'm comfortable doing this in the Le Creuset with four pounds of skin-on bone-in thighs... might that work? Adapting as necessary, of course. I have baked chicken in milk (a la Silver Palate) for chicken salad, using boneless skinless breasts. But I would like to try it this way, I think.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: twilight goddess

                                                                            Hi Twilightgodess... I say do it. I can't remember if the recipe calls for cutting up the chicken or not. But it doesn't matter. I've subbed pieces for a whole chicken in the past and the finished dish didn't suffer.

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              It does not indicate cutting the bird. But I'll go for it, then. Thanks!

                                                                          2. Lamb chop, bruschetta p. 200 (Two Easy)
                                                                            Dead simple and delicious. We’ve only just discovered lamb rib chops this year and I’m so glad we did. Season lamb rib chops and grill. Squeeze lemon juice while grilling. Grill bread slices, rub with garlic, rosemary branch and drizzle with olive oil. Adding the rosemary to the bruschetta added a nice aroma. This is something that we could have made pre-COTM, but I would typically not have paired the bruschetta with the chops nor would I have added lemon.

                                                                            26 Replies
                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                              That's the thing I'm liking about this COTM - you wouldn't necessarily have thought of the flavour combinations yourself. For example, roasting cherry tomatoes and pairing them with mozzarella.

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                I agree. I also appreciate that the recipes are not very laborious, so I can easily try a dish or two after work without much planning.

                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                  I love that about these books too - the easiness. Who doesn't love having more easy dishes in the repetoire (sp???) for busy days?

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    Me 3. Simple, easy recipes which become very tasty dishes, for the most part. Even the few I didn't care for will be revisited so I can tweak them to my satisfaction.

                                                                                    For years I cooked meals without referring to cookbooks although I began collecting them almost as soon as I was married. Cooking along with COTM has allowed me to rethink old standards and introduced me to Global cuisines...not to mention the camaraderie of the board.

                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                      everything Gio said, and especially:

                                                                                      >not to mention the camaraderie of the board.

                                                                                      The encouragement and support I've gotten here have made me a better and more adventurous cook over the last few years. It means an awful lot.

                                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                      Actually, my cooking goal for 2009 was to develop a repertoire of simple and healthful dishes that I could just whip out, by memory. I didnt' really get very far in 2009, but these two books defintely meet the "simple" requirement and, often, the heathful requirement. I just wish they were a little more consistent in terms of outcome. I'd say they are batting about 65%-70%? JoanN's results continue to disturb me, especially when it comes to fish and meat, etc. I can shrug my shoulders when a veggie recipe goes awry, but due to the expense of fish and meat and for moral reasons, it really bothers me when these kind of recipes that call for such precious ingredients are a "miss".

                                                                                      And completely agree about loving the cameraderie of COTM. I am definitely a more confident, capable cook than I was when I first started participating a little over 2 years ago.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                        Much as I respect JoanN, obviously, it is just one opinion (albeit an informed one). Also, I seem to remember she said the tuna, for example, was good, not great. So not actively bad either. You just need to try the recipes for yourself!

                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                          Ohyes.. I agree with this. Taste. after all, is so subjective. How many times have I not liked something and many others have... and vice versa. Last night I made the rolled pork loin from IE. DH Loved it. I thought it was just so-so. Report forthcoming below.

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            Of course I am trying many recipes for myself, not to worry! I think I've done half a dozen or so at this point...

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              And it's great that the threads are getting so much debate. COTM is well and truly back!

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Doin' the happy dance ovah hee-ah. Well, insofar as I'm able...

                                                                                            2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              My batting average has been very good so far. As Gio says, everyone's taste is different.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                Batting average! You really should move to London. ;-)

                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                  Oh gosh, I thought that was an american term - baseball!

                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                You're absolutely right, gg, on both counts. The tuna wasn't bad at all. I just have better recipes for tuna. Same with the Fava Beans and Peas. Nothing actively wrong with it, just didn't think it a great venue for showing off the ingredients.

                                                                                                I'd be horrified, though, if I thought my reports were keeping others from trying recipes that might appeal to them. Toss that tuna on an outdoor grill and you might have something you'd rave about.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  Sorry, Joan, I didn't mean to single you out. No need to feel horrified. I am the master of my own opinion, always.

                                                                                                  It's not as if I'm not trying and reporting on many of these recipes myself. I have and I am. But, I now regret having admitted to reading about and heeding the experiences of others. I thought that was the reason we all report back. If no one else's opinion ever mattered, there would be no point at all for Chowhound to exist.

                                                                                                  My overall impression of these books is that they are indeed easy and present a lot of interesting flavor combinations, but that they are also rather vague and imprecise, which makes me particularly uncomfortable when a precious piece of flesh is at stake. I personally don't like to just jump in and try those kinds of recipes unless I feel confident they are going to work, and right now, I don't have that confidence. Apologies to those who love this book. I'm just not there yet.

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    But, TDQ, that's what COTMers do... read the reports of dishes we're interested in to see how others who made them felt about the result and what adjustments they made or will make in the future. I readily admit to doing just that. Whether or not it influences the way I make the recipe is quiestionable. Perhaps subliminally irt does. I've learned so much from those reports.

                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                      I definitely see your point. We've only made one flesh meal that I can think of (the grilled fish) and it was perfect, but I agree that spending a lot on meat and then not feeling as if the recipe is precise enough and ruining said meat would make me nervous. But again, with the pastas, I'm doing really well. And that fish is fantastic. And the cabbage salad too.

                                                                                                      And heck, the point of reading about others' experiences is to get some idea whether we should bother with a recipe. So of course heeding what you read makes sense.

                                                                                                      I think we're all good enough buddies at this point that we can have honest disagreements about stuff (although I don't think anyone is really disagreeing with anyone!). Some are liking the books more than others - this happens.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        I've only tried the crab (except I used shrimp) bruchetta recipe thus far, and it was very good. Maybe I need to try a fish one, too. ( I'll look above, maybe, and try the one you liked.) I think I'll swing by the fishmonger on my way home tonight. We need something quick and EASY.

                                                                                                        And, I agree, Gio. I learn so much from other peoples' reports!

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                        Also, I am going to pick up some PROCIUTTO, thanks to the encouragement of greedygirl.

                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        No regrets allowed on this board!!! Unless, that is, you fell asleep with a $50 hunk of meat in the oven.

                                                                                                        I know I've only tried three recipes so far, but what I'm finding less than compelling about the book (only have the first one) is the similarity of the recipes. I know it's an exaggeration, but it seems as though every recipe calls for lemon, garlic, chiles, and a drizzle of olive oil to finish. I'm even beginning to get a little bored reading the reports; even if it's the first time someone's posted about it, I feel as though I've already read it a few times.

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Oh my goodness, now that would be regretful!

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            So funny that, Joan. Each recipe Does seem like the others. But so did Rick Moonen's fry technique for so many fish recipes. I've used the recipes from IE & I2E to try to recreate dishes I remember my grandmothers, aunts and mother cooking. I even want to smell the aroma I remember. I did the same thing with Molto Mario. It's not gonna happen, tho. And we have 3 more weeks to go...

                                                                                                            Try the Bruschetta recipes in the front of IE. I'm doubling them, not using bread and serving them as simple small plate dinners.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              Gio, can you clarify what you mean by "not using bread"? This idea appeal to me. Do you mean you're serving them naked, like little tapas or something? Or are you serving them as lettuce wraps or something (as I believe Big Sal did with the crab=.lobster bruschetta)?

                                                                                                              Joan's comment about all of the recipes sounding somewhat the same, lemon, garlic, chiles, and a drizzle of evoo. I guess that does make stocking the pantry EASY!

                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                Yes, I decided to omit the bruschetta part of the Bruschetta recipe. Just using the basic ingredients from now on and serving the dish like a salad. or, as you say, like tapas. Could also be a lettuce wrap if I feel so inclined. It's more like antipasto, actually. There could be bread in a basket on the side if one's DCs need it. Also, I ditching the damn little hot chiles and using crushed red pepper flakes, about 1 - 1 1/2 t worth to taste.. MUCH more flavor and heat.

                                                                                                                I'm calling the recipes in both books Enigmatic.

                                                                                            3. re: BigSal

                                                                                              I caught the tail end of a Nigella Larson program yesterday ... the part where she raids the refrigerator after everyone is in bed. She took a cooked lamb rib chop from the fridge, wrapped a slice of what looked like prosciutto around the meat and greedily bit into it, rolled her eyes, and you just knew she was in... heaven.

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                She's so naughty...I love it! Good thing we don't have any leftovers or that could be me this evening.:)

                                                                                            4. Arista di Maiale, Pg. 166, Italian Easy

                                                                                              We had a boned pork loin to use up but no bones, as is called for in this recipe. So I butterflied it and made the rub as written: crumbled dried chiles, pounded garlic with salt and added fennel seeds to the mortar and worked it till I had a paste. Rubbed the meat with the mixture, seasoned with black pepper and the chiles. Rolled it up and tied it with a butcher's knot, top to bottom. Olive oil is heated top of stove in the roasting pan and the pork roll is browned on all sides. Into a 400F pre-heated oven it goes for 20 minutes. A cup of white wine is added, meat is basted and roasted another 30 minutes. The meat rests 5 min but is basted with juices from the pan. Cut thick slices to serve. Our roast was a tad over 4 lbs. The recipe calls for 3 1/2 lbs. I thought it was over cooked and slightly tough. DH did not and said he loved it. The flavor was fine, the fennel was noticeable in a good way, but then I like fennel. There's quite a large portion left so now I have to think of a way to serve it again. Perhaps thinly sliced on top of a salad?
                                                                                              Who knows...

                                                                                              1. Crab with Polenta (IE, page 126)

                                                                                                I could tell that this would have been good. That it wasn’t was entirely the fault of the crappy crabmeat. I’ve had this crabmeat in the freezer for a while. For some reason I thought I had bought it at Costco. When I took it out of the freezer thinking to make the bruschetta, I realized it was Vietnamese crabmeat that I’d obviously bought cheap, cheap in an Asian megamart. Thought perhaps this recipe would better disguise its poor quality. Nothing could have. Even though, I could tell the crab would have been lovely. I made it as directed using the full amount of garlic, chiles, parsley, and lemon even though I only used about 2/3 the amount of crab. And I used thai chiles I had in the freezer rather than dried and just minced them along with the garlic. It may have been a bit too spicy for some; not for me.

                                                                                                I also made their polenta as directed, adding two instead of three tablespoons of oil at the end. It was fine; straightforward polenta. Nothing unusual.

                                                                                                I understand that polenta is often used as a base for seafood dishes in Italy. But I would think that those seafood dishes are saucier than this one. I even drizzled the finished dish with more olive oil and lemon juice. As directed! But I just didn’t quite get this as a combo. The crabmeat seemed very light and summery. The polenta is heavy and something I think of as being more for winter or fall.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  It does look nice! Shame it didn't taste that way.

                                                                                                  Yep, it's all about the quality of the ingredients in Italy. That's why I find these books very authentic and inspiring. I know we've had fun with the "drizzle with olive oil" thing, but I'm thrilled to be replicating the simple but brilliant food I've had many times in Italy.

                                                                                                2. Cold Roast Pork, Mayonnaise, Pg. 181, Italian Two Easy

                                                                                                  Having just about a pound of leftover roast pork from the Arista di Maiale of two nights ago, I found this recipe to be perfect. My one aberration on a lazy Saturday night was to use Trader Joe's organic mayo instead making home made. I did add an extra squeeze or two of lemon juice, though.
                                                                                                  So... make the mayo and add rinsed capers, chopped anchovies and chopped parsley. Thinly slice the cold pork and place on a platter in a single layer. (You're supposed to drizzle on a dressing of lemon juice and EVOO but I omitted this. The enhanced mayo was delicious as it was.) Spoon the mayo over the meat. Easy peasy and very tasty. The mayo would be great on anything else as well. I especially think of broiled or baked fish... reminded me of a remoulade sauce with fewer ingredients.

                                                                                                  I served the first corn on the cob of the season from our CSA and a tossed salad.

                                                                                                  1. Pork Chops with Lemon (IE, page 170)

                                                                                                    I grew up in a Kosher household. Didn’t have my first pork chop until I was nearly 20. Been making up for lost time ever since. I don’t buy a cookbook without first checking out the pork chop recipes. So I knew, from the moment I first brought this book home from the library, that I would be trying this recipe sooner rather than later.

                                                                                                    It was very good. Brown chops stovetop, squeeze lemon juice over and add lemon to pan, put in oven and roast, rubbing chops with the cut lemon and basting once with juices, for at total of 20 minutes.

                                                                                                    Pisses me off that the photo in the book shows chops cooked on a grill; no grill in the instructions. And there’s additional sloppy editing that tells you to cook the chops in “an ovenproof skillet” then has you transfer those chops out of the ovenproof skillet into a roasting pan before you put it them the oven. Inexcusable for a publisher like Clarkson Potter. Shame.

                                                                                                    Okay, Joan. Calm down. Chops were good. Not as good as brined and braised with rosemary and garlic, but good.

                                                                                                    They recommend serving the chops with Salsa Rossa Piccante. I did. Yet another odd pairing. Report over on Sauces.

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      Funny. I looked at this recipe and was intrigued. However, I thought the cooking time was too long for the chops. Usually, I brown for 3-4 minutes per side and then in the oven for no more than 10 minutes.

                                                                                                      I do like the flavor combo in the recipe though and I'm going to try it as soon as the heat breaks here. With no a/c in the house, there is no way that oven is coming on.

                                                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                        The recipe specifies chops of 1-1/2 inches thick. Mine were a bit less and I cut back, but only a bit, on the timing accordingly. I didn't think them overcooked, but a bit more pink would have been fine too.

                                                                                                        The A/C in the apartment has been cranked up to cryogenic for more than a week now. No way I would have been doing any of this had that not been so.

                                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                        Hi Joan...we cooked the lemon pork chops last night and all I can say is, that is One crazy recipe. I must have read the recipe 5 times before I decided to do it My way. I cook lemon pork chops a couple of times a month and always on a grill pan (or on the Weber) and never into the oven to finish. Only a sear on both sides then left for a few minutes till done. They're always tender and delicious. It's such a simple procedure.

                                                                                                        First of all we used all natural market chops about 1" thick instead of organic ones from the farm which are much thicker. We only used the lemon and chops with no seasoning per the recipe and put the lemon halves on the grill pan after squeezing the juice over the chops. They were terrific, if not as tender as usual. I thought it strange to have such a simple recipe in the book but then thought the chefs must have assumed people wouldn't think of using lemon with pork...?

                                                                                                        I was all set to make the salsa verde but remembered we had green beans from the CSA to use up before get e new batch so just served steamed beans and a baked potato as sides.

                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          I think I like your cookbook, Gio, better than Rose and Ruth's. I must admit I hadn't thought to use lemon with pork chops so was happy to know how well they worked together. But when I make it again, I'm using your recipe, not theirs.

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            I'm telling you, I want Gio to write a cookbook "Cooking with My Aunts" or something. :) She seems to have lots of lovely recipes and insights.

                                                                                                            Oddly, Gio's recipe reminded me of the pork chop recipe from Art of Simple Food. Not that I really even remember if that recipe called for lemon, but just the simplicity of the technique, though. Also, that's exactly what Waters says, "cook until done."

                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              Off-topic but did you like the Waters? I still haven't cracked it open.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Not really. I liked reading it, but I found the recipes too basic for "intermediate cooks" (which is whatI consider myself, I guess) but too vague and assuming too much for beginner cooks. However, I think should really go back and revisit it after this "easy" month. Maybe I'll be more forgiving.

                                                                                                                Her new book "In the Green Kitchen" is far more appropriate, I think, for "beginners," although I've only cooked one recipe from it thus far.

                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                Thanks TDQ. Just what the world needs, another simple, quick & easy, Italian cookbook. Honestly when I cook I remember my relatives who are no longer among us. What they cooked, how they did it, where we were. That's the fun part.

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  That is the fun part as a reader, too. I mean, as Chowhounds, we are always on the search for deliciousness, but as human beings, I think we seek not only to nourish our bodies, but our souls when we come to the table. I think that connection to family and tradition and so on is very important in food. I think that's why some cookbooks are more appealing than others. A very slick competent celebrity chef book doesn't grab you the same as as, say, Cradle of Flavor did.

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    You're very right TDQ, but it is also the opportunity to learn something new, whether a cuisine or new flavor combinations. I think that is one of the reasons that Ottolenghi is so interesting to so many of us -- he takes familiar ingredients and then finds an unique way to combine them into delicious variations.

                                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                      I like to call it "arm chair" travel, except that with cookbooks, you have to call it "dining chair" travel.

                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        How about "propped up in bed" travel?

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          That works, too.

                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            Or in the bathtub travel.

                                                                                                              3. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                I do add a smidge of kosher salt and ground Tellycherry to the chops and let them sit while I slice and juice the lemon... just to give you the whole magillah. Thank you for the kind words, JN!

                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              Pork Chops with Lemon (IE, page 170)

                                                                                                              I liked this and it was a pleasant variation from my usual pork chop recipe (I usually use kosher salt, pepper and whole sage leaves). But, it didn't wow me and I wonder if it's because of the slight changes I made.

                                                                                                              First off, I don't have a grill pan so I always use a cast iron skillet. Second, I thought the cooking times were a bit long so I changed the technique a little. I first browned the chops for 3 minutes a side (my chops were about an inch thick) and then I poured the lemon juice on to the chops and put the lemon halves in the pan. Lastly, I finished the chops in the oven for about 5 minutes. Since it was a shorter cooking time, I didn't flip the chops. I kept the oven temperature the same as stated in the book (maybe a hair hotter).

                                                                                                              Anyway, the chops were cooked perfectly, but I did lose out on the lemony goodness. I did pour some of the juice onto the chops but the lemon flavor, was subtle at best. I served these with the parsley mashed potatoes (in the appropriate thread) and roasted carrots.

                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                Seems to me your changes were hardly enough to impact the recipe negatively and may actually have had the opposite effect.

                                                                                                                Although the photo shows the chops with grill marks, the recipe never does call for a grill pan. I, too, used a cast iron skillet (even though I do have a cast iron grill pan). As for timing, we know what we like and we know how to adjust depending on the thickness of the chops. I cooked mine longer than I ordinarily would because my chops were just the thickness called for; it was too long; I should have known better. Obviously, you did. Even though you didn't turn the chops, did you rub them with the cut lemon? That was what seemed to give the real lemon hit to mine.

                                                                                                                Anyway, as you say, it's a pleasant variation. But it's not going to replace my tried-and-true.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  oooh, I must have missed the directions on the rubbing the lemon on the chops (I found the recipe a tad confusing). But, I did pour the lemon juice straight on and I had a lot of juice and I also used the lemon juice as a sort of gravy.

                                                                                                                  The big problem, through no fault of the book, is that I just really enjoy my salted saged pork chops. Everytime I veer off this, it's never quite as satisfying.

                                                                                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                    I understand completely. For me it brining, braising, garlic, and rosemary. But hope springs eternal.

                                                                                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                      Purely serendipitous, bb, that my copy of the new James Villas book "Pig" arrived in this afternoon's post and I've been reading pork chop recipes and thinking of you all afternoon. I want cool weather TOMORROW so I can start putting that "hope springs eternal" to the test.

                                                                                                              2. Slow Roast Chicken, Vermouth, Pg. 162, Italian Two Easy

                                                                                                                Delicious, relatively easy to do, long time roast. 3 1/2 hours, in fact. After seasoning the cavity of a 4 1/2 lb. chicken stuff with garlic, sage and rosemary, place breast side down in a roasting pan that just fits. Add 1 c water to pan then into a pre-heated 200F oven. for an hour. I thought that temperature was just too low so I roasted the chicken at 250F. After 1 hr turn chicken on its side and roast another hour, then turn on the other side and roast for third hour. Because we had raised the temp we shaved 15 min off this last hour. Take chicken out of oven, smear 10T all over chicken (I used 3T) , pour 1/2 c extra-dry vermouth (I used dry) into pan, boost oven to 400F and roast for 1/2 hour.

                                                                                                                It was difficult to get the chicken to stay on the side so DH just turned it breast side down then up then down again for the 3rd hour. There was a goodly amount of delicious pan juices, the meat was very juicy and skin crisped up somewhat after the raise in temp. I don't know if I'll make roast chicken this way again but it did turn out just fine. We were watching the World Cup final so at the half we ran to the kitchen, prepped the bird, then bunged it in the oven at 3:15PM. It was finished at 6:45 just enough time to make the side dishes, let everything rest for a few min then sit down to eat. Sides were Green Bean and Anchovy IE, pg. 25 and a scrumptious grilled corn on the cob from Mario's grill cookbook.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  I've got my eye on this dish as well. Glad to hear it turned out well.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    I made this last night as part of a small Italian-themed dinner party. It was really good, tender and moist, and the flesh took on a subtle perfume from the vermouth. I think on balance I prefer the lemon chicken recipe, but this was a nice change. Served with green beans and a simple green salad dressed with oil and balsamic. Delicious.

                                                                                                                    Gio - i found it relatively simple to cook the chicken on its side, because I made sure to use a pan that was just big enough for the bird, which I'm sure is the point of that instruction.

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      Hi GG... I have several sizes of roasting pans and did use one the bird just fit in. I think my problem was that I used the v-rack and the chicken kept sliding. Finely DH gave up and just flipped the chicken from breast to back. I Love Lemon Chicken. It's my favorite.

                                                                                                                  2. Roast Chicken, Vermentino, Italian Two Easy, Pg.160

                                                                                                                    This was a delightful dish, many flavored and satisfying. Also, it gave us a chance to taste a wine new to us, Vermentino. After asking for advice from the knowledgeable wine experts on the CH Wine board we bought Argiolas Vermentino di Sardegna Costamolino 2008 ("***$14 Rich, almost oily texture with flavors of lemon, ginger and nuts.") While the wine did give a slightly fruity/citrusy flavor to the dish, we both felt that it was a little too light to add any great depth of flavor. A nice drink cold from the fridge, but I have a feeling we won't be rushing out to buy a case. Having said that, the finished dish was lovely. and a good addition to my vast chicken repertoire. One of the ingredients that enhances the dish is the addition of 2 1/2 oz. of dried/soaked/drained/chopped/sautéed porcini. Now That's umami with boldness. The other ingredients are 4 1/2 lbs whole then cut up chicken, "waxy potatoes" quartered lengthwise (I used Yukon golds), garlic, Rosemary, EVOO and 1 cup of Vermentino. After sautéing the garlic and chopped mushrooms, and adding a bit of the drained porcini liquid, everything is placed in a roasting pan and roasted for 30 minutes in a 400F oven. The chicken is turned over and roasted another 30 min.

                                                                                                                    If you have the book the color photo accurately shows what the final dish looks like. Golden brown crispy and juicy delicious goodness. I served this with steamed haricot verts and the cucumber, mint and mascarpone salad on pg. 32.

                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      Do you think you could use any light white and get a similar taste? Or just ask at the wine store for something with a slightly fruity/lemony flavor? I'm sure there must be more out there. I'm guessing those wonderful porcinis and the garlic gave it most of it's flavor?

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        It Was delicious, LLM, but with all those porcini and the garlic & rosemary it Had to be good. I thought that the Vermentino was used as a substitute or alternative for lemon juice, but LJ would have given a much more acidic flavor. The Vermentino was quite subtle for my taste. OTOH I don't think any light wine would do. I'm certainly not a wine connoisseur but perhaps another lemony/citrusy wine could be used. One with more body. I didn't get the ginger and nut notes that are supposedly there, either.
                                                                                                                        Frankly, DH didn't care for it. His discriptive word these days is, "insipid."

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          Ooooh. Insipid. That is fairly damning. How could anything with that much porcini be insipid? I'm just thinking that in this burg-ettte, it might be easier to find something similar to the Vermentino than the actual stuff.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            Not the chicken dish, LLM, the Vermentino. He liked the roast chicken Vermentino.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              Good news. Back on the list it goes!

                                                                                                                    2. Pork Loin on the Bone (I2E, page 174)

                                                                                                                      Vittoria! My first unqualified success from these books. (Well, only very, very slightly qualified. Naturally.)

                                                                                                                      Cut the meat off the bone; season with garlic, rosemary, and salt; then tie the meat back onto the bone. Roast at 350, turning occasionally and adding water to the juices toward the end, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, and spoon pan juices over carved chops. I cooked mine for 1-1/2 hours and it was plenty. The meat was white throughout and I wouldn’t have minded a hint of pink. But it was juicy and not the least dry. I used the full amount of salt called for in the recipe. Not sure why I did that since I don’t usually. Shouldn’t have here either. It was just slightly too salty for my taste.

                                                                                                                      In the same way that the Chicken with Lemon that greedygirl reported on was a pared-down version of the classic Hazan recipe, this struck me as a pared down version of (or, perhaps the original inspiration for) the Standing Rib Roast of Pork in “The Zuni Café Cookbook.” That recipe calls for fennel and coriander seeds instead of rosemary, cuts the meat only partially instead of entirely off the bone, and marinates the roast for at least three days in the fridge. I took a cue from the Zuni recipe and prepped this early in the day so it marinated in the fridge for about 5 hours. The Zuni recipe is more complex, but this was terrific for something that can be done in one day.

                                                                                                                      A little tip for those of you who, like me, cook dishes like this mainly to be able to gnaw on the bones. Because the meat is cut completely off the bone, when I went to carve the roast into chops the loin and bone separated. If you’re making this for company (or even for unobservant family members), you could serve the meat to acclaim and save the bones for yourself. (I wouldn’t admit that in public, but I will among friends.)

                                                                                                                      I served it with Barlotti Bean, Sweet Potato salad (I2E, page 18). Also very good.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      1. Chicken with Nutmeg, EI p.144

                                                                                                                        So here it is, July 27. I've just today gotten Italian Easy. I thought I was easily going to have both books this month, and yet, due to the vagaries of libraries, have had neither until now.

                                                                                                                        Anyhow, I picked up IE today, and looked for a chicken recipe. And found this one, which no one has yet made!

                                                                                                                        So here goes: rub a chicken with lemon, season with nutmeg (half a nutmeg, grated!), S&P, and tuck prosciutto slices into the cavity.

                                                                                                                        "Prosciutto!" I hear you exclaiming. Yeah, if I were naming this recipe, I would have called it Chicken with nutmeg & prosciutto, or even Chicken with prosciutto, leaving the nutmeg to a supporting spice role.

                                                                                                                        Anyhow, rub, season, stuff, drizzle with EVOO, then roast breast down at 375 for 30 minutes, add 1/2 c white wine, roast another 40 minutes, turn breast side up, and roast a final 20 minutes.

                                                                                                                        It was as delicious as roast chicken always is. The prosciutto and nutmeg added subtly to the flavors, although more subtly than one would expect for such forward ingredients. I do question whether the 1/2 c wine was necessary -- it resulted in copious juices, more than needed.

                                                                                                                        My standard method for roasting chicken is to leave it breast side down the whole time. I adore the crispy skin that results on the backside. Since the breast cooks faster than the thighs/legs, roasting it breast down seems like a perfect method. I just don't see the point of ever turning the bird breast up. Especially since we usually eat the legs for dinner, then skin and refrigerate the breast for later use in salads and whatnot.

                                                                                                                        However, this time I reluctantly but dutifully flipped that lovely, crisp backside skin into the sea of juices. The result was soggy skin on the back, and insufficiently crisped skin on the breast. Bah, silly, pointless manipulation.

                                                                                                                        But the combination of prosciutto, nutmeg, and chicken is truly lovely. I will definitely make it again, but my way: sans white wine and needless flipping.

                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                          Hey, welcome to July! The good news is, you can keep posting to these threads for as long as you want.

                                                                                                                          Good to know about skipping the wine and needless flipping. Funny, omitting those steps would make the dish even EASIER! I wonder why the authors didn't think of it.

                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            Well, it's traditional to have browned, crispy skin on the breast meat. But since the white meat is done sooner than the dark meat, it can be difficult to achieve without overcooking the breast. So personally, I've just decided that I don't care about the breast skin and would rather keep the breast meat protected by leaving in down, traditional be damned.

                                                                                                                            Similarly, I never tie the legs together, because letting them splay lets heat in around them better. Trussing is traditional, but as far as I can tell, was strictly for appearance ("to look neat"). Or to keep stuffing in, I suppose.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                            I'm so with you on the naming strategy of these books. They seem to often leave out one of the most important things. Very odd. Still and all, they are a hit with me.

                                                                                                                            Good to know about not turning over the chicken. I love crispy skin.

                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              It's how the dishes are listed on the menu for the restaurant, no? Minimalist and a bit arch.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                              I always flip my chicken because I find the skin gets crispier that way on the breat, and the whole thing seems to swell up and get juicier. But then I don't normally eat the skin from the underside.

                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                That's the traditional way, of course. But I find the skin on the back/thighs/legs to be more satisfying than the skin on the breast anyhow. So I violate tradition.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                Hi Karen... I usually use a v-rack inside the roasting pan whether or not I'm flipping the bird... er... chicken. It keeps the chicken out of the juices and so the skin stays crispy. Don't you reduce the pan juices after the chicken is removed from the pan? I find that bit of wine adds a 'non so che cosa' to the pan sauce.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Well, yes, I suppose I ought to have dug out the v-rack. Although that can make the turning more challenging and DH hates washing it. But maybe I'll do it again with the rack. The breast skin might have crisped up better if it had been lifted out of the juices for the whole time.

                                                                                                                                  There was so much fat/oil on top of the pan juices that I just siphoned some out from underneath and put the rest in the refrigerator to separate. (Maybe I got carried away in drizzling EVOO.) I have a gravy separator, but again, DH hates washing it. And I do like to keep my dishwasher happy! You're probably right that I'll appreciate the wine in the juices now.

                                                                                                                                2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                  Karen! You are my hero. You are the wind beneath my chicken wings. As I read this series of posts I kept saying Yes! Yes! Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?

                                                                                                                                  I prefer dark meat. Could care less about the breast; I nearly always save it for a salad or another dish. I love the skin on the back. I eat the legs and wings first. But never, in all these years, did it occur to me not to flip the chicken back onto it’s back for the final whatever. I was shocked to realize I’ve been putting up with soggy back skin all these years for no good reason.

                                                                                                                                  So this afternoon, when I saw a small organic chicken on sale at the supermarket (and I practically never buy chicken at the supermarket), I just had to try it.

                                                                                                                                  I’m posting about it here because although it’s kinda sorta a combination of Lemon Chicken in 1E and Roast Chicken, Pinot Grigio in 2E, what it really is is K-S chicken with a couple of suggestions from Rose and Ruth.

                                                                                                                                  I stuffed the whole seasoned chicken with 6 cloves of garlic, sliced, and a whole bunch of rosemary sprigs. I put two rosemary sprigs along the breast under the skin. I put the chicken, breast down, in a dry cast iron skillet and cooked it at 400 for an hour, added half a cup of wine (used Chardonnay), and cooked the chicken another 20 minutes. As the chicken rested, I added another half cup of wine to the skillet, simmered it stovetop for 5 minutes, and poured it into a fat separator. By the time I was done totally indulging myself with a leg, a wing, spectacular back skin, readily available “oysters,” and never been so perfect “pope’s nose,” I was too stuffed to pour out the separated sauce and taste it. I’m going to pour it over the removed breast meat and see what I end up with.

                                                                                                                                  I wouldn’t do this for company. But this was a revelation. It’s the way I will roast chicken for myself from now on. And I will think of you, Karen, every time.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                    I do like a Chow love-in.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                      Gosh, JoanN, I am thrilled and humbly honored by your accolade! I am going to cherish "the wind beneath my chicken wings" forever.

                                                                                                                                      Nontraditional chicken roasters, unite!

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                                                                                      Just as a follow up, I used the last of the chicken meat plus the juices to make a very tasty chicken soup for dinner tonight. Used some of the tasty olive oil/chicken fat to saute the onions and garlic. Yum.

                                                                                                                                    3. Dover sole with capers (IE, p. 136)

                                                                                                                                      The market I went to didn't have Dover sole, but had some lovely black cod, so I used those instead.

                                                                                                                                      Heat the oven to 425. Also heat a roasting pan (I used a shallow Creuset and stuck it in the oven while it was preheating). Scatter salt & pepper in the pan and drizzle with oil, then place fish in pan. (Oops, I seasoned my fish directly and just put oil in the pan.) Scatter capers and marjoram over the fish, season and drizzle with olive oil (I skipped the drizzle). Roast until done. They say 10-15 minutes, but mine were totally done in less than 6 minutes, probably because I had fillets with no skin. Although even for whole Dover sole, 10-15 minutes seems rather long, especially when the pan is already hot.

                                                                                                                                      Tasty and easy, although I think I would prefer brined capers to the salted ones. The latter are just SO salty. I underseasoned the fish, knowing that the capers would be salty, but it lead to an uneven effect if I didn't get a caper in every bite. The marjoram with the fish was unexpected and very nice.

                                                                                                                                      1. Veal chops, IE, p168

                                                                                                                                        It's the first time I've ever cooked veal, but it won't be the last, because these were absolutely DELICIOUS.

                                                                                                                                        I bought thick loin chops, as instructed - they were huge, but not as big as they specified at 500g each. Probably more like 300-400, which was plenty big enough. Not as ruinously expensive as I'd feared - about the same as sirloin at my butcher (bearing in mind that we do not have super-cheap meat here anyway).

                                                                                                                                        The prep is very simple. Peel and chop 4 cloves of garlic, grate the zest of a lemon, chop sage and add to the veal along with 2 TBS of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Marinate for about an hour. We cooked these on the Weber - you need to wipe most of the marinade off before grilling, and turn frequently. Mine took about ten minutes and they were perfect. Tender, juicy, totally gorgeous. Mr GG and my friend were practically moaning in ecstasy.

                                                                                                                                        So a palpable hit. Will definitely make again, finances willing. Am also keen to make other dishes now I've discovered the deliciousness that is veal and a good place to buy it which is only a 20-minute cycle ride away. Veal is making a bit of a comeback here, but it's not available everywhere. Once the weather cools, I'm going to try shin of veal - I think there's a recipe in IE2 as well as one in All About Braising.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                          What a wonderful indulgence. It's recipes like that remind me how sad it is not to have a grill.

                                                                                                                                          I can, however, vouch for the Osso Buco alla Milanese in "All About Braising" being just marvelous. Probably the best osso buco I've ever made.

                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3301...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                            It does say you can use a griddle for this recipe. It really was good.

                                                                                                                                            Am definitely going to try some of the veal recipes from "All About Braising". There's one with figs which sounds amazing.

                                                                                                                                            I didn't tell you the funniest thing about last night's meal. Well it's not really funny, apart from in hindsight. We had nearly finished our veal, and my friend who was talking a lot was only halfway through, when there was an enormous crash from the window. WTF? It turned out that some kids, probably, had thrown a full can of fanta at our dining room window with some force and there was a huge hole in it! In the ensuing chaos my friend kept hold of her plate of veal - nothing's going to stop me from eating this, she said! Ah, the joys of living in inner London....