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February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 5-8

Welcome to our February COTM: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 5-8: Vegetables, Potatoes, Corn, Legumes, Pasta, Rice, Grains, Stuffings, Sandwiches, Pizza and Savory Pies

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from these chapters of THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK. Give us the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

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. I've got a few quick reviews, as the recipes weren't anything big, just everyday recipes.
    First I made the String Beans with Ginger and Garlic (p.260). Because the original recipe served 10 I cut it in half, and it came together quickly and easily. Basically just blanch the beans(I used haricot verts), then saute them in some olive oil with ginger and garlic until heated through. As an everyday recipe it was pretty good, although nothing really special. To be honest I've had much better easy green bean dishes, so I don't think I'll make this again, but it wasn't bad served with the rest of the meal.
    We also had Mashed Potatoes Anna (p. 294), a basic mashed potato dish with some butter, cream, and milk. It tasted like most mashed potatoes, pretty good, and just how I expected it would. As a simple goto mashed potato recipe I'm happy with it, because we just needed some mashed potatoes to go with the meatloaf we made so we used this. Again, nothing special but a good overall recipe if you just want some comforting mashed potatoes.

    9 Replies
    1. re: JVHcook

      JVH, I'm very interested in "every day" kinds of recipes (not just the fancy ones), so I'm glad you're reporting on those. Sorry to hear about the green beans. I think I have those marked.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Well, they weren't bad, just not amazing. If you like ginger I'm sure you will like them as a simple side dish, so I wouldn't necessarily avoid trying them.
        I don't have too much time for all the elaborate recipes, so I too go for the everyday recipes, glad I can help you.

        1. re: JVHcook

          If you like extra gingery green beans, there's always Yin Yang beans from Grace Young: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7567... (no garlic in hers, I think). I know what you mean. Good and bright, but not the "best ever."


        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          I have an everyday review for you. The macaroni with ham and cheese is our house recipe!
          I watched Pierre Franey make this on TV one Sunday morning 25 years ago and have been making ever since. I never saw the recipe in print before but it's almost exactly mine. I use 1/2 and 1/2 instead of heavy cream and have never measured it- I just free pour until the sauce looks right. And i bake it at 350, not 425 but I think next time I make it I'll go with 425.
          BTW I bought the cookbook but its been too crazy in the new snowbelt to try anything new so far this year so I'm living out of the freezer for now.

          1. re: Berheenia

            Oh, very kind of you for pointing this out, thank you.

            And I completely understand your point about "living out of the freezer for now." Ditto.


        3. re: JVHcook

          Hi! I also made String Beans with Ginger and Garlic (p. 260) and I will make this again. (I halved it as well for 6 people.) The "tag words" for me are Fast, Easy and Fresh. Once you've got the beans prepped and refreshed ahead of time, it's so easy to complete the recipe even in the midst of making three other dishes at the same time (I was having a ENYTC testing-marathon!) I liked the slight crunch of the minced ginger and chopped garlic as well as the savor and aroma they added; next time I might toss a handful of chopped almonds in. I agree with everyone else that it is definitely not complex: "simple side dish" describes it very well. I think it goes well with other, richer dishes and can see it as part of a holiday buffet, for instance. I also often cook for a 5 and a 7 year old and they loved the beans this way. Oh yes; I made it with olive oil rather than the vegetable oil in the recipe and it was fine.

          1. re: JVHcook

            I made the String Beans with Ginger and Garlic last night, since it was just my husband and me, I divided the recipe by 5 or so. I thought these were delicious and I will definitely make them again. I also used haricots vert. I loved that once the beans are blanched and the garlic and ginger cut up, the whole thing comes together while you are waiting for the chicken to cool off a bit. Very quick.

            1. re: JVHcook

              String Beans with Ginger and Garlic, Pg. 260

              My turn for this homely dish and we liked it. Love garlic and love ginger so it's a dish I'll make again certainly. Used grapeseed oil instead of vegetable which I have foresworn along with corn oil and tasted a difference. Nice and light. and clear tasting. We steamed the beans for a bit instead of blanching then quickly iced them. Went well with pan fried "Dover" sole and the Crostini Romani pg. 77

            2. Bulgur Salad With Pomegranate Dressing and Toasted Nuts (I don't have the book with me, so I'm not sure on the page number.)

              This was kind of one of those recipes that the more I tasted it, the less I liked it. In fact, my husband said he liked it at first, but by the time we were cleaning up, he decided we shouldn't keep it for leftovers. (Thankfully, I halved the recipe!) It was just too tangy, between the lemon juice, the tomato paste, the pomegranate molasses, and the coriander. I would say it definitely needs something to counteract the tart factor... a creamy cheese, perhaps? Regardless, we decided it wasn't worth tweaking for us. I served it with the Chicken Roasted With Sour Cream, Lemon Juice And Mango Chutney and some roasted carrots.

              8 Replies
                1. re: Katie Nell

                  Thanks for the review (and taking one for the team). I was thinking about this one (trying to get more whole grains into the family) but looks like I will skip it based on your experience.

                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                    Rigatoni With White Bolognese page 344

                    I actually found this recipe in Cooking for Mr. Latte, which I decided to read and finish before starting The NY Times Cookbook. The sauce is on the stove right now and my house smells divine! The only variation I made from the recipe is to increase the amount of the carrots, onion and celery as it seemed like it needed it. I also used stock instead of a bouillon cube and a mixed wild mushroom pouch instead of straight porcini, as that is all I had on hand. I am planning on freezing 1/2 the batch prior to adding the cream and cheese and serving the other 1/2 for dinner tomorrow night. Will write again when I have my family's feedback.

                    1. re: dkennedy

                      cannot wait to hear about the bolongnese. The mixed wild pouch sounds like a good sub.

                      1. re: apple342

                        Went out of town for my sister's birthday, so I am a little late reporting back on the White Bolognense. Rave reviews from my family (kids ages 10 and 12). Comments like "make this again" and "can I have another serving of just the sauce?" come to mind. We all agreed that this was a keeper, but next time I think I will 1/2 the amount of the sausage and replace it with an equal amount of ground veal. My son is gluten/dairy free so we served him the sauce prior to adding the cream and the cheese and it was still wonderful. I had enough left over to freeze about a 1/2 of a container, enough sauce for a light lunch for two.

                        1. re: dkennedy

                          Thank you for posting this, a definite dinner soon!

                      2. re: dkennedy

                        Rigatoni w White Bolognese – p. 344 – Chapter 7

                        As Italian food lovers, this recipe had immediate appeal and since the butcher was putting out freshly made sweet Italian sausage when we arrived yesterday, it seemed the time was right to give this recipe a try. I’m certainly glad we did. We agree w dkennedy, we thought this dish was a winner, we loved it! Actually the sauce reminded us quite a bit of that from one of our all-time favourite Tuscan pastas, a dish called Pinci alla Boscaiola.

                        Prep is fairly quick and very straightforward. The “holy-trinity” of carrots, celery and onion are diced. Dry Porcini mushrooms are re-constituted, drained and diced (liquid reserved). A beef bouillon cube is dissolved in 2 cups of simmering water (I just left this on the stove until needed). Sausage is removed from casings, parmesan is grated, white wine and heavy cream are measured. That’s it, you’re ready to cook!

                        The holy trinity is added to a pan over medium-high heat and cooked ‘til the onion is translucent at which point Hesser suggests that salt and pepper be added. I skipped this step given the later addition of the bouillon as I felt there may be adequate salt in that ingredient to season the dish to our tastes. Meat is added to the veggies and once it has browned, heat is increased and wine is added to simmer until almost fully evaporated. This process is then repeated w the bouillon. Mushrooms are then added along w enough soaking liquid to cover the meat half way. Things continue to simmer away until, as Hesser says, the sauce is “loose but not soupy” At this point the cream is stirred in and the sauce is set aside until pasta is ready. Pasta is drained and sauce is folded in. Hesser suggests additional mushroom liquid or, pasta water may be required to loosen but this was not necessary in our case. Pasta is plated and cheese is passed at the table.

                        As I said, we really loved this dish. The sauce was rich and flavourful (I did add about 1/2tsp of salt btw) without being too heavy. Only 1/3cup of full cream is added so the sauce is not overly creamy, rather it just provides a nice coating for the pasta. Our sausages had very little fennel seed and I did miss that in the final product. I also think some fresh thyme would be a nice addition to this sauce. The meat flavours are fairly predominant, so I’d highly recommend using quality ground beef and, a good Italian sausage. Without hesitation, I’d recommend this dish.

                      3. re: greeneggsnham

                        ditto here KN - I agree w greeneggsnham, thanks for sharing this. Life's to short for underwhelming recipes!

                    2. Crispy Potato Crowns, page 284

                      Meh! Melt some butter, and while the butter is hot, brush half of the butter on the bottom of a gratin pan. She recommends a porcelain gratin pans, but I own metal All Clad ovals. Chill the pans for 10 minutes until the butter hardens. [My kitchen is so cold right now, the refrigerator wasn't required.]

                      Slice potatoes using a mandolin. Her cooking note indicates that you must use a mandolin, but doesn't give the thickness. I used my thinest v-slicer setting which is 1/16". The potatoes were certainly wafer thin, but very watery. Artfully place the potatoes into the gratin pan, creating a second layer if required. Then brush the remaining butter over the top. Though salt and pepper is listed in the ingredients, at no point does she say when to add it. So, I added after the final butter application.

                      I cooked for 30 minutes, and these were not crispy. The potato was too mushy and watery. With the exception of the edges, the potatoes steamed more than they baked.

                      Things to do differently: slice a little thicker, at least 1/8", spread the potato slices on a dish towel to remove some of the water, plan to remove them from the gratin pan and crisp in a frying pan or move onto a better recipe.

                      Served with grilled skirt steak and Raw Spinach Salad, page 175

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        Thanks for the great review. Sorry this was disappointing. Sounds like a fair amount of work for something to turn out "mushy and watery". Why is your kitchen so cold?

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          Ah the cold kitchen... the cold kitchen == (old_house + 39_windows + northeast + low_temperatures) * cost_of_oil. We are keeping the thermostat very low.

                      2. Italian Roast Potatoes, p. 300
                        Another simple and easy side dish that surprised me by being better than I expected. Basically this is just 1-inch potato cubes tossed with olive oil, 12 cloves of unpeeled garlic and lots of oregano ( I also used fresh rather than dried because I had it growing) and then oven-roasted for about an hour. So simple, but these turned out just as Hesser described: delicious crispy browned cubes with soft pillowy centers. One-half cup is more olive oil than I usually use in roasting 6 medium potatoes but they sure were delicious! The directions about not crowding the potatoes in the roasting pan and not salting until just before serving also did make a difference. I KNEW about this before but I usually don't take such care. The roasted garlic turned into savory chewy little nuggets--also good. Finally, the 5 and 7 year olds who come for dinner really liked these too.

                        20 Replies
                        1. re: Goblin

                          goblin, i was looking at that recipe, but 1+ hours at 425 seemed like a long time for one inch cubes. may i ask what type of potato you used?

                          1. re: qianning

                            Qianning, I think that it IS a long time and I set my timer for 45 minutes because my sister's oven, where I was cooking, is notoriously "hot" about 25 degrees. At this point the potatoes were quite browned (but I like them that way, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside,) . I'd watch them and check sooner than an hour; maybe after 30 minutes if you don't want quite such a brown coating, nor such chewy garlic "nuggets."

                            The recipe specified "waxy potatoes," which I took to mean ones not floury nor high in starch like russets are. My supermarket had three types available: the round red ones, the round white ones (White Rose variety I think) and some long white ones which I chose because I find that the long ones are easier to peel and dice. I think the variety is actually just called "Long White Potatoes." They were quite satisfactory.

                            1. re: Goblin

                              thanks for the reply. i'm planning on making this early next week. since i usually never cut the potatoes that small, and usually pre-heat the oil, i'm curious to try this methodology and see how it works.

                              1. re: qianning

                                Good--please tell us how it went.

                                1. re: Goblin

                                  Italian Roasted Potatoes pg. 300

                                  Not much to add to Goblin's excellent write up. The recipe does come true, although checking on them at 45 minutes is a good idea. This is definitely the type of roasted potato that has a very crispy exterior, personally I like the type of roasted potato that is a bit less crispy and a bit more carmelized, but Mr. QN loves anything crunchy, so these were a big hit with him.

                              2. re: Goblin

                                I wanted to add to the discussion of potatoes: I made this again last night with some potatoes I had in storage in my garage (harvested them in late Sept.) and although they were the "waxy" type when I harvested them, over the four months in storage they had turned floury--I guess this happens to potatoes over time. Anyway, they were definitely not as crispy on the outside, though the interior tasted just fine! The skins were a bit too wrinkly and not as delicious, IHMO.

                            2. re: Goblin

                              Italian Roast Potatoes p. 300 (a Nigella recipe from 2003)

                              We tried these last night and they were indeed delicious. I thought the potatoes were perfectly crisp. However, I though the garlic cloves were overdone, and our garlic cloves are HUGE even cut in half as we did. We did these on 2 jelly roll pans because they still seemed crowded in our largest roasting pan. We used Kosher salt. We used older potatoes and they only needed 50 mins instead of the hour she called for, so the suggestion about to check after 45 mins. We wish maybe we'd cut these a wee bit bigger.

                              She says serve right away. We didn't because we needed the broiler for about 15 minutes to cook the 6666 Soppin' Sauce T-Bone Steaks pg 539. We tented the potatoes with foil while the steaks were broiling, then put them back in the oven for 5 minutes untented. They got soft while tenting, and did firm up some upon reheating, but a bit of the magic was lost. (Maybe this extra 5 mins is what did my garlic in?) Anyway, don't cry for me as I snacked on the potatoes the entire time I was broiling my steak, so I got my fill. But, next time, I will serve them right away as intended.

                              I also wonder if this much (1/2 c) EVOO is needed, and I'm guessing it is, and we actually used 3.1lbs potatoes, slightly more than the 2.5lbs the recipe called for and 14 cloves of garlic (7 half huge cloves) instead of 12.

                              Wow. A real winner.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                I was wondering if this much oil is needed too, as there was quite a bit of oil in the bottom of the pan when all was said and done. I might try decreasing the amount by a tablespoon or so, what do you think? Garlic cloves were way over cooked, might try the Bittman method of adding them at the 1/2 way point.

                                1. re: qianning

                                  Good suggestions on both counts. Let us know how it goes if you're the one to try it first!


                                  1. re: qianning

                                    I'm also going to try these again using a bit less oil--maybe 1-2 Tbs less. That seems reasonable--but I suspect that using more oil than I'm generally used to does increase the final "crunch" of the potato cubes.

                                    Good idea to add the garlic half-way through. I actually liked the cloves really chewy, but I did miss being able to squeeze the roasted garlic out onto the potatoes while consuming them.

                                    Funny how such a simple recipe can garner so much conversation!

                                    1. re: Goblin

                                      would not be surprised if you are correct about the more oil=more crunch.

                                      my garlic came out on the wrong side of the carmelized/bitter divide.

                                      simple sides are my favorite thing to nail if possible, it relieves so much stress in the kitchen.

                                2. re: Goblin

                                  Been reading through the reports of the Italian Roast Potatoes and at first thought they must be the potatoes from Molto Italiano that so many of us had great success with a few years back. Interesting how similar the recipes are: same number of similar potatoes cut the same size and roasted at the same temperature. Major differences: Mario blanched the potato cubes for two minutes before roasting them, used half the amount of oil, didn't peel the garlic cloves, and roasted them for about half the amount of time. I haven't tried these, but I've made the Batali ones numerous times and they've always been crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, with the garlic not overcooked.

                                  For anyone who might be interested in comparing the two, here are the reports from when Batali was COTM.


                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Italian Roast Potatoes p.300

                                    Not much to add to all the comments above, just to say I thought these were really good. though I wish I'd read all the comments before I cooked this as my garlic was completely overcooked and rock hard. I left the cloves unpeeled but it didn't help. Next time I will add them half way through as suggested. I loved the crunchy exterior and soft insides of the potatoes.

                                    I served these with Breaded Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Cheese p.465 and Broccoli Puree with Ginger p.253.

                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                      My garlic was also overcooked and hard and bitter. I didn't use waxy potatoes, but floury ones peeled and they were still good. An hour at that high temperature is definitely way too long in my oven (which is fan-assisted). They were done after about 40 which was annoying as I had to leave them out a little while before serving so they lost some crunch. Still. we liked them very much. I used a third of a cup of oil for three large potatoes (maybe a scant 2 lbs?) and that was plenty. I'd probably cut the potatoes a little bigger next time as well.

                                    2. re: JoanN

                                      Joan-I just had a chance to look at the link, and although I don't have the Batali book, these do look similar, but not quite the same.

                                      The Hesser recipe yields a REALLY crispy potato on all sides of the potato cube, where as the Batali (looking at the pics some posters attached, and comments) looks decidedly more crispy on the bottom. Personally I'd probably prefer the Batali, and it looks more like my usual pan roasted potatoes, but Mr. qn, who is a sucker for anything crunchy, preferred the results from the Hesser method.

                                      1. re: qianning

                                        Perhaps it's because I toss them during roasting that mine are always crispy all the way around. Also, I no longer pay much attention to the time, but roast until they are the amount of crispy I want them. One other step I take with the Batali potatoes that isn't in the instructions is to make sure the cubes are really dry before I roast them. I'm sure that adds to the crispiness as well.

                                        Anyway, as I said, I haven't even tried the recipe from ENYT since the Batali recipe and my minor adjustments has become such a staple for me.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Once in the oven, no need to tosser the Hesser version of the roast potatoes. Very low maintenance. Of course, now I have to try the Mario recipe!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            And I'll have to try the Hesser version!

                                    3. re: Goblin

                                      Italian Roast Potatoes, p. 300

                                      My turn to make these. I used skin-on russets since that's all I had, a little less oil, seasoned with a mixture of Penzey's Mexican and Turkish Oregano, along with Shallot Salt, and roasted for about 45 minutes with no tossing. They were good as they were, but even better when they soaked up some of the lemon sauce as I served them with "Elizabeth's Frink's Roast Lemon Chicken". The leftovers made excellent home fries this morning.

                                    4. Crispy Tofu with Shiitakes and Chorizo p. 302

                                      Well not exactly. The tofu never got crispy and I didn't have the nerve to use chorizo, just used ground pork seasoned my own way -- black pepper & a little smoked salt.
                                      Actually very tasty -- the sherry and soy sauce flavored the tofu, which was underneath nice nice mushrooms and green onions. Made a nice lunch. The pork should have been used more as a flavoring, as you can see I have a little patty, but everything went well together.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: blue room

                                        I've been making this since the recipe was published in the Times several years ago, in the vegetarian variation suggested in the article (twice the mushrooms, no chorizo). The tofu gets slightly crisped on the outside, but I don't know that I'd describe it as crispy. Still, it's good enough that I've made it perhaps 8-9 times in 3-4 years.

                                      2. Broccoli Rabe Oshitashi (sic) p. 262 http://tinyurl.com/63kv7hk

                                        Boil broccoli rabe until crisp-tender in salted water, shock and drain. Then dress with a paste made of roasted sesame seeds, mirin and soy. I did add a touch of sugar to balance the flavors (the soy sauce taste was a little sharp at first). I have made this dish with spinach and green beans previously, the broccoli rabe is wonderful with it too. This would also work with bok choy, chrysanthemum greens depending on what was in the refrigerator.

                                        After making this dish, I believe the proper name should be broccoli rabe goma-ae (sesame dressing). Ohitashi comes from the verb hitatsu which means to soak or to steep and it’s typically boiled greens with soy sauce and dashi. Still delicious, but wanted to mention this for those that are interested in Japanese food.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          That sounds good; thanks for highlighting the recipe.

                                          1. re: BigSal

                                            Broccoli (Kale) Rabe Oshitashi

                                            I picked up kale rabe at the farmer's market, and used it in this broccoli rabe recipe. I didn't cut it up, I wanted the whole stalks on the plate. I agree with BigSal that this is not really like oshitashi (not because I am familiar with the etymology of the word as is BigSal, just because I've prepared and been served a fair amount of oshitashi). But I found it very tasty nevertheless. I was tempted to speed up the recipe by making a dressing with tahini instead of roasting and grinding sesame seeds, but I'm glad I didn't. I really enjoyed the fresh roasted sesame taste. After adding the soy sauce and mirin to the ground sesame, the sauce was very pasty, so I did add a little warm water as suggested.
                                            This was a compatible accompaniment to Ottolenghi's Seared Tuna with Pistachio Crust, which I reviewed here:

                                          2. Lasagna (page 342)

                                            I have a lasagna aficionado staying with me and was curious to know what she’d think of this. The sauce contains a half pound of pancetta, a half pound each of spicy and sweet Italian sausage, and browned meatballs made with ground sirloin, grated Pecorino Romano, eggs and parsley. The meatballs were so loose, they ended up being more like patties. I was afraid they might disintegrate in the sauce, but I think dusting them with flour before frying them helped hold them together. After being cooked in the sauce, the meats are roughly chopped and become a separate layer in the lasagna. No béchamel here; the cheese layer was fresh ricotta, eggs, more grated Pecorino Romano, parsley, and grated mozzarella. Too thick to spread; you sort of had to dollop it.

                                            The recipe just calls for “16 fresh lasagna noodles.” I usually make my own, but with company here and furniture with the upholsterer, I had no place to spread out the pasta after rolling it so I looked up the original article in the Times to see what had been suggested then. The original called for Antica Pasteria lasagna noodles. Never heard of them. Decided to go with Fairway’s own fresh noodles.

                                            I used a 9 X 12 baking pan as directed, and there was too much filling. I kept trying to get it all in there and just made an unholy mess. I had sauce leaking on the counter, overflowing the pan, and dripping onto the placemat. I think next time I’ll just go with a slightly larger pan rather than try to cut down on the amount of ingredients, which would be a pain to try to do in proportion.

                                            There are two schools of lasagna: more pasta with thinner sauce and less pasta with thicker, chunkier sauce. This is definitely in the latter category; unlike Marcella’s Baked Green Lasagna (my usual) which has a minimum of 6 layers of pasta, this one just barely contained 4 layers. My friend, the aficionado, said she prefers the Hazan, but thought this one was right up there among the best she’d ever had.

                                            19 Replies
                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              That looks absolutely decadent, Joan. The cheese layer sounds remarkably like the mixture my mother made for her lasagna. Hers was somewhat looser though, perhaps more eggs. Plus, I know for a fact she would not have used 1/2 lb. pancetta and the other meats too. As years went by she used less and less meat in the sauce. How did the sauce taste though? Sweet? Acidic? I haven't read that particular recipe yet. I'll have to take a look at Giobbi's recipe and compare.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                Oh that picture! I sure wish it were possible to try all three--and I mean side by side--this one and M. Hazan and Ed Giobbi. Giobbi I don't know at all. (But I found the Giobbi recipe: http://classreunionprogram.com/classy... )

                                                It's odd that it didn't fit in the pan--a little annoying to have the wrong pan size given, but at least it wasn't cake batter.
                                                This would be perfect around here for Valentines Day. Something as special as this might someday inspire me to actually try to make the pasta fresh. Hazan called the dried store bought stuff "clunky" and warned you'd be "sadly shortchanged". I believe it.
                                                Thanks for that picture!

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Wow--great review Joan and your photo looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for posting it. Bummer about the pan size. How was the flavor of the sauce?

                                                  1. re: apple342

                                                    @Gio: Interesting you mention more eggs in the cheese layer. All the recipes in this book seem to have been tested using extra large eggs. I use large eggs. Not sure it really made that much of a difference since they were mixed with 15 ounces ricotta (I used fresh ricotta from Fairway so that may have been firmer than the packaged variety), 2 cups grated Pecorino Romano, and 1 pound minus one cup of shredded mozzarella. I doubt that even adding a third egg would have loosened it up much.

                                                    @blue room: I’ve made Ed Giobbi’s Lasagne a number of times but, frankly, it was so many years ago I can no longer say how this compared to that one in taste. And as for store-bought noodles being clunky, no question about it. On the other hand, this is a big, clunky lasagna and I suspect that if I made the noodles as I do for Hazan’s recipe they’d almost get lost. I may be wrong, but if I were going to make this with homemade noodles I think I’d make them a bit thicker than I usually do.

                                                    @apple 342: The sauce was sweet and mellow. I thought perhaps it had a bit too much onion in it. The recipe calls for 2 medium red onions. I think I’d cut that back to one large one and I would chop it even more finely that I did. I liked the sauce well enough, but it was no match for Hazan’s Bolognese. Hard to compare, though, because with this sauce you remove the meats, chop them separately, and add them as a separate layer. In so many other recipes (most?), the meat is an integral part of the sauce.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Joan your Lasagna is exquisite! It made me incredibly hungry as soon as I saw it and I've been thinking about it since I saw your photo yesterday!!

                                                      I'm just planning my shopping list for the weekend and pulled out the book. I have a couple of questions if you have a moment.

                                                      DId you use the suggested 1/2 cup of olive oil in the Tomato sauce?

                                                      When it comes to removing and chopping all the meats, did you
                                                      include the meatballs?

                                                      Aside from using a larger pan and less onion, if you were to make this again, would you make this dish with the same ingredients and method in the book?

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        I did use the suggested 1/2 cup of oil in the sauce but I'm sure you could cut that by at least a half to no ill effect. That said, the finished sauce didn't seem particularly oily to me. You do need at least some oil in the pan because you cook the wine until it's almost completely evaporated and you just need to make sure the onions don't begin to burn.

                                                        Yes, I removed the meatballs along with the sausage and chopped it all up together.

                                                        I'm afraid perhaps I made too big a deal about there being too much sauce for the pan size specified. Not that it wasn't true, but perhaps I exaggerated somewhat. Although I would use a larger pan next time, it would be only very slightly larger. And who knows, maybe your sauce will boil down more and you'll have less of it or your noodles won't take up as much room as mine did. It could even be that just making sure the cheese layer was spread out more thinly than mine would allow the whole thing to settle more in the pan. Anyway, I'll be very curious to hear other reports on the pan size issue.

                                                        Given the above, I might possibly add another egg or two to the cheese layer to make it more spreadable. And I might, after roughly chopping the meats, add them back into the sauce. It would be one less layer to fiddle with and I don't think it would change the lasagna significantly.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Thanks so much Joan, your feedback is helpful. I think I'll go ahead w the oil as set out in the recipe and see how it goes since as you say, the sauce doesn't appear oily. Thanks too for the thoughts on the quantity of sauce, I'll heed your advice and likely select a pan based on the volume of sauce I end up w. I also think I'll separate out a bit of plain tomato sauce for the base of the pan and then just leave the meats in the sauce to simplify the layering process as you suggest.

                                                          I find the meatball chopping to be particularly odd. I'm guessing the idea is to get some, but not too much, surface browning on the meat but it still seems overly complicated (I agree w you though, I do think that's whats intended) I may make them small and leave them whole...we'll see.

                                                          Thanks again Joan, we're planning to have this for dinner tomorrow. If I have time, I may start the sauce tonight.

                                                          One thing I do know...if mine ends up looking even half as good as yours, I'll consider it a success!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Excellent thinking that you should hold out some sauce for the bottom of the pan. And a bit extra for the top as well since the final instruction is to pour the remaining sauce on top of the last layer of noodles and then sprinkle that with 1 cup of reserved grated mozzarella. Adding that to my notes right now.

                                                            The meatball chopping doesn't seem that odd to me because the very first lasagne I ever made from scratch, also from a NYTimes article, had sausages, meatballs, and pork loin all cooked in the tomato sauce and then removed from the sauce and shredded or crushed before being sprinkled in layers onto the noodles. The instruction in that recipe is to crush the meatballs with a fork, which I'm sure would work just as well. Also, that recipe has you fry the meatballs in the fat given off by the sausages, which makes a lot of sense except that I'm not sure my sausages gave off quite enough fat to be able to do that.

                                                            And I'm sure yours will look at least as good as mine. Just had some leftovers for lunch about half an hour ago. Oh, man! Sometimes when you've spent all day making something you (well, I) don't really appreciate it when you sit down to dinner. But, oh! those leftovers!

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Oh yum! I know what you mean about not appreciating something after spending a day on it. I think you've got sensory overload at that point. I really hope I have time to start this tonight to break it up a bit.

                                                              I can't wait to try this Joan. Thanks for the tip on the sauce for the top, I'd missed that but will reserve some for there as well.

                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                Yes, I always chop up my meatballs for lasagna and mix them with sausage that I also chop up.

                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                          Joan, so sorry but yet another question. Did you pre-cook your fresh noodles at all? I picked mine up from our local Italian bakery today but they're a little thicker than usual as their pasta machine broke down so they were hand made . . . lucky me, but I want to do them justice!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            The noodles I bought said to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. I cooked them for 2 minutes and then ran them under cold water until they were thoroughly cool. I did them in two batches just because I thought it might be easier than trying to do 16 at once. The noodles turned out fine. Given the same noodles, I'd do exactly the same again.

                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                        Wow that looks incredible, but sounds like quite an undertaking! How long did it take you to make the lasagna? Doesn't sound like something in my near future but sure looks awesome!

                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                          Ideally, I make the sauce one day (or have it in the freezer already) and make the noodles and assemble the lasagna the next day, but this was pretty much an all-day affair, including doing the shopping in the morning. It helps that all you need to serve with it is some bread and a salad.

                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                          Lasagna – p. 342

                                                          Wonderful! After seeing Joan’s beautiful, appetizing photo we couldn’t wait to try this dish and, had high expectations given Hesser’s note that it edged out Giobbi’s in the recipe selection process. I’m delighted to report this lasagna did not disappoint, it really was outstanding.

                                                          I prepared the dish with the ingredients as set out in the cookbook with the following exceptions:

                                                          - Olive oil, cut by half, with no detrimental impact
                                                          - Parmesan cheese instead of Pecorino Romano
                                                          - Eggs – I used 1 double-yolk and one large egg in the cheese mixture instead of 2 extra-large eggs
                                                          - Lasagna noodles were fresh from our local Italian Bakery. They are made “pan-size” and I used 3
                                                          - Tomatoes – I used 2 boxes of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes instead of the 2 cans suggested

                                                          I really enjoyed making this lasagna, it’s comfort food that smells wonderful at every stage in the prep process and made for a relaxing day in the kitchen. The simmering sauce was especially aromatic both before and after the meats were added.

                                                          I started my sauce in the morning since it needs 3 hours of simmer time. At the point Hesser instructs you to remove the meats from the sauce to chop, I refrigerated the sauce and plate of (un-chopped) meats so I could go out and run some errands and pick up the assembly process later on. If you wanted to make this dish over a couple of days, this seems like a logical place to stop.

                                                          Joan mentioned her meatball mixture was quite loose. Fortunately that was not my experience. My butcher had “extra-lean” ground sirloin, which may have made a difference. The meatballs were definitely moister than my usual tri-meat version however they held together very well. Like Joan, I also found the cheese mixture was extremely dense and consequently, had to be applied in dollops.

                                                          As Joan notes, the book suggests this lasagna be baked in a 9” x 13” pan. Unless your 9” x 13” pan is 4 or 5” deep, I can’t imagine all these ingredients fitting in. I opted for a 10” x 14” x 3” pan and even with that, I left out the layer of noodles since once I’d placed the meat and cheese on top of the 3rd noodle layer, the ingredients were already at the very top of the casserole dish.

                                                          My lasagna needed more oven time than Hesser suggests. We baked ours for 45 minutes and it was only at that point that the cheese started to bubble on top.

                                                          This dish was a huge hit at our house. I’d say it was the “meatiest” lasagna I’ve ever tasted. The ½ pound of pancetta lends richness to the tomato sauce and bacon was definitely the most predominant flavour in our sauce. We especially liked the mix of sweet and spicy Italian sausage. I used 1 spicy and 2 sweet, which was perfect for our tastes. Though I’d never heard of using chopped meatballs in a lasagna before, we loved them as well.

                                                          This would make a wonderful, impressive casserole for a buffet-style service and I wouldn’t hesitate to serve it to company. Delicous!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Wow. I am definitely making this soon. I just have to break out my Atlas pasta machine first.

                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                              Absolutely gorgeous photos, Breadcrumbs! I can see very clearly that your meatballs weren't as loose as mine. Looks like the perfect lasagna pan, too. I'm surprised your ingredients didn't quite fit either. I would have thought that just enough larger and deeper. Oh well, doesn't really matter to the taste of the dish, does it? And not enough of a problem that it should keep anyone from trying this. Glad to hear you all loved it. I loved reading your report.

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                That's gorgeous, Breadcrumbs! I could dive right into that. Love the baking dish too...

                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                My turn for the lasagna.

                                                                I made this Friday at the request of my sister-in-law for her birthday dinner. I used Lidia's recipe for Middle Class (Not Quite Golden) Pasta for the pasta sheets... my husband stayed up with me until 11 the night before rolling out pasta dough. (I'm so glad that I have a husband that will do this and not question why we're up at 11 rolling out pasta dough! :-) I pretty much layered it how I wanted to layer it, not paying attention to the instructions of a 1/3 of the meat mixture, etc. That way I had no overflowage, and if I had some mini lasagnas (which I did) on the side, we'd have some to freeze too. I thought the sauce had a nice flavor, and overall, I thought it was a pretty good lasagna. But... I just do not like Italian sausage! So, if I made it again, I would do without the sausage, but that's not the recipe's fault for sure. Everyone else seemed to really love it, and there wasn't much left, even though the 5 of us aren't necessarily what I would call big eaters! I served it with the Caesar Salad and garlic bread... my first ever 3-course meal! (I usually overdo the amount of courses!) And I served Dorie's Tiramisu Layer Cake, so I guess it was technically a 4-course meal!

                                                              3. Noodles Romanoff p.311 from 1970
                                                                This is a piquant macaroni and cheese, I'd say. Tasty! Made with flat noodles, sour cream and cottage cheese. Flavored by (the piquant part) onion, Worcestershire, Tabasco, and Parmesan. I used Asiago instead of Parmesan because it's my new favorite. It will go with plain baked chicken thighs and a salad.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  Oh, I haven't had this since I was a kid. In fact, my mother cooked it from the NYTimes. Wonder if my husband can stand another trip down memory lane.

                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                    My husband IS a trip down memory lane!

                                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                                    blue room, your noodles look so good! how did I miss this one?! definitely going to make this.

                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      This looks like my side for some venison sausages tonight, thanks for pointing it out.

                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                        would you mind paraphrasing the recipe, please?

                                                                      2. Pad Thai-Style Rice Salad p. 357 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/din...

                                                                        I had planned on making the Shaking Beef tonight, but after discovering it takes 2 hours to marinate the beef, on to plan B. The rice (jasmine) was already made in my rice cooker, so I did not cook it in salted water per this recipe. My scavenger hunt in the freezer was successful and I was able to find both chicken and shrimp.

                                                                        Cook beaten eggs into a thin crepe and cut into strips, then add to bowl with cooked rice. I am feeling better about my wok seasoning and only used ½ T of oil instead of 2 T.
                                                                        Next cook chopped garlic and chopped shrimp (again, I used ½ T oil instead of 3 T), stir-fry and add to bowl. Cook chopped chicken thigh until done and add to the bowl. Cook scallions and beans sprouts and add to the bowl. In the wok, cook fish sauce, thai chiles (I used one extra), tamarind, sugar, lime juice and water. Drizzle dressing over bowl of rice, then toss and top with chopped peanuts, cilantro and bean sprouts. In our haste, we added all of the sauce and consequently, the rice was a little too moist. Otherwise, not a bad little dish. One could use all chicken or all shrimp, or neither.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                            I thought to myself I'd like this because I like Pad Thai -- and realized it is Pad Thai made with rice instead of noodles, right?

                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                              Yes, exactly. It won't replace your favorite Pad Thai recipe, but it was quick to put together and pretty tasty (but not mind-blowing).

                                                                          2. Fettuccine alla Romana, p. 310

                                                                            Ding, ding. Another winner. I served this as a side dish with Satimbocca (561). I followed the recipe to a tee except that I omitted the prosciutto since we were having it in the Saltimbocca. Simple process: boil the pasta, drain briefly, and add, still moist, to a warm bowl w/4 T butter. Add warm cream, cooked peas, and parmigiano. Toss. Grind some black pepper over it.

                                                                            Nothing earth-shatteringly original about this recipe, but we loved it. My husband, who insists he doesn't like peas, said I could serve him peas this way anytime. (You mean with cream, butter, and parmigiano, dear? )

                                                                            While the prosciutto would surely have added another delicious dimension, this worked perfectly without and as such should be acceptable for vegetarians and people who don't eat pork. Easy and delicious.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              Fettuccine Alla Roma Romana – p. 310

                                                                              Scrumptious, simple, super-quick! This dish is a triple threat and what more could you ask for! Reminiscent of the much-loved pasta Carbonara, this dish was a real hit at our house.

                                                                              Prep for this dish is quick and couldn’t be easier. Cut your butter into small pieces, shred some parmesan and prosciutto, measure some heavy cream and shell peas. ncw explains the assembly process above which again, couldn’t be easier.

                                                                              I did make a couple of changes along the way. The recipe calls for freshly “cooked” peas. As opposed to doing this separately, I simply add the peas to the pasta during its final moments of cooking to save time and dirtying another pan. Also, I used Seranno ham instead of Prosciutto. Finally, instead of warming a serving bowl to prepare the sauce, I simply used the already warm pasta pot to melt the butter and assemble the sauce and pasta. I then plated the pasta into the individual serving dishes that had been warmed.

                                                                              Like mr ncw, mr bc absolutely loved this and marveled at its simplicity concluding that he might even be able to make this himself and treat me to dinner one night! (that happens maybe once per year so this was quite a limb he was going out on!!).
                                                                              I’d recommend this to anyone, a terrific dish to add to your repertoire.

                                                                              Prior to dinner I served some antipasti including the yummy Florentine Dip from this book. If you’re interested in taking a look at my review and photos of that dish, here’s the link:


                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                Oops, I posted the wrong second photo! That's the dip I mentioned. Here's a closer look at the pasta:

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  Looks great - Mr GG would love that and if he's very nice to me I might make it for him next week. ;-)

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Reporting back belatedly to say he did like it very much. I wasn't massively excited by it, tbh, but it was a pleasant dish and easy to put together.

                                                                              2. Le Cirque’s Spaghetti Primavera – pps. 314-316

                                                                                Don’t try this at home . . . at least not on a weeknight! Good heavens, this is such labour-intensive, multi-pot using dish I was simply too exhausted to review it afterwards! No kidding.

                                                                                In fairness, Hesser does comment on the “all twelve pain-in-the-neck steps” to make this recipe and somehow I missed that on first pass of the lengthy head notes. Pity. In this case all that effort failed to produce a remarkable dish. I’d describe this as mediocre, at best. Yes, the veggies were fresh and crisp, the sauteed tomatoes were sweet and flavourful and the creamy cheese sauce was light but my satisfaction with it did not equal the time invested in preparing it.

                                                                                Here’s how it all came together:

                                                                                This recipe calls for 6 green vegetables, tomatoes and mushrooms, most of which are to be chopped or sliced to varying lengths and sizes and then, all of them. . . get this, have to be steamed, blanched or sautéed . . . INDIVIDUALLY! Yes, I did that, each time-consuming step. Of course rinsing and shocking and draining each one, individually after cooking as well.

                                                                                Don’t put the cutting board away yet though, there’s still basil, chilis and garlic to chop. These flavour enhancers are mixed in at various stages in the cooking processes noted above and, to follow. Ooops, almost forgot to mention, you need to toast pine nuts and, grate Parmesan too.

                                                                                Spaghetti is cooked, drained and returned to their pot then, if you have any pots or pans left, you need to pull one out big enough to accommodate the spaghetti and, all the other ingredients and now you’re ready to start your sauce. Butter is melted then chicken broth, cream and parmesan are added and stirred to combine then spaghetti is tossed in along w half the vegetables, the liquid from the sautéed tomatoes (yep, that’s another strainer you need!) – all this is combined then remaining veggies are added, more cream if necessary (it was), and pine nuts. Tomatoes are then spooned over top. If anyone still happens to be awake, dinner is served!

                                                                                The last time I made pasta primavera I had big hair and was listening to the likes of Duran Duran, INXS, Soft Cell and Bon Jovi on the radio. I can assure you that it never took me much time to throw together back then, I was too keen to go out and have fun to be spending so much time in the kitchen. That said, the next time I’m craving this dish, I’ll be pulling out my old recipe and trying to forget this latest experience. Thank goodness our dishwasher was repaired!!

                                                                                21 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  Mama mia. That's not like any primavera sauce I've ever made. I haven't read the recipe yet but can't wait to find out where on earth it came from. You're a very brave cook BC. I'm in awe.

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    ARGH! All that work and mediocre at best? I'll consider that a total pass then. Thanks for taking one for the team.


                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      << if you have any pots or pans left>>

                                                                                      What a wonderful early morning laugh I had! This is a phrase I promise to use at least once in my life.

                                                                                      Thanks for the wonderful report.

                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                        That first shot especially looks delicious, but your post is disheartening--and enlightening.

                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                          Thanks br, I believe that photo was taken at "Step 8 - sub-process 8.7.2b" - the point where you're sautéing the garlic in pan number 24 and adding the previously steamed/blanched/drained/shocked and drained once again veggies that you had set aside in bowl number 256.

                                                                                          Thanks also Gio, DQ and smtucker for your support, it really was an egregious process!

                                                                                          You know, I think I might be harbouring a just tad of resentment towards dear Amanda (I feel I can call her that now after what I went through here) for including this recipe! ; - )

                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            I just looked at "the original recipe" for this, and the 1st paragraph reads:

                                                                                            " Cook the broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and green beans in boiling
                                                                                            salted water until crisp but tender, about 4 minutes. Add the peas
                                                                                            and cook for 1 minute more. Drain and refresh the vegetables in
                                                                                            cold water. Drain and set aside in a mixing bowl." Do you think this means don't cook them all seperately?


                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                              Oh I bet that recipe intends you to cook them at the same time br whereas Amanda states:

                                                                                              "Cook each of the green vegetables separately in boiling salted water . . . .the essential thing is to cook each so that it remains crisp and tender"

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Yes , I saw that in the big red book! Somewhere along the line the instructions changed.

                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                  Clearly she was intent on torturing me!! ; - )

                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              To be honest, I think she's including some recipes because she thinks they are "important" in terms of historical value, not necessarily because they are delicious or because she recommends them. Note she includes a recipe for "bacon explosion" in the book. I don't think she expects us to make it. I think she included it so in 10 years we'll all look back and remember the bacon obsession of the aughts. I think this pasta primavera is in there for a similar reason. So, you can remember your INXS and Duran Duran days...


                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                "...not necessarily because they are delicious or because she recommends them."
                                                                                                Well ain't that a shame --
                                                                                                to me those two things are the reason for having a cookbook published.
                                                                                                A *history of cooking* book would contain all the other recipes.

                                                                                                Oh well. At least a few Bacon Explosions might get made for Superbowl Sunday.

                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                  Well, I'm sure she thinks it's the best or most important pasta primavera recipe the NYT has published... And it was the trendy dish of its era, so it seems it should be included in the book.

                                                                                                  As far as bacon explosion, I always thought it was a gimmick and not something people were eating for the deliciousness of it, but for the sheer excess and over-the-topness of it.


                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    No recipes went into the book just for historical purposes. Otherwise there would have been plenty of terrapin and tripe recipes from the 19th century! I included recipes that, first and foremost, I thought were great -- the question I asked myself was "Would I want to make this again and again for the rest of my life?" -- and that had something to say about how we cook and eat. Bacon explosion is amusing and fun, and a whole lot of people like it. If you're having a backyard barbecue, why not serve the bacon explosion and some cold beer?

                                                                                                    1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                                                      Good to know, thank you.

                                                                                                      Would you kindly please talk a little bit about how much rewriting you did of recipes? I understand that you wrote the headnotes and notes and tips at the end of the recipes, but how much re-writing of the recipes--ingredients lists and directions etc.-- themselves did you do?

                                                                                                      I'm enjoying ENYTC so much (as much reading it as cooking from it) that I just picked up a copy of Cooking for Mr. Latte. That reminds me, I have to see if that Mock Lobster meatloaf recipe made it into ENYTC!

                                                                                                      EDIT: No, it did not make the book. Must try it out of Cooking for Mr. Latte then!


                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        I tried as much as possible to leave the recipes alone, but often recipes before, say, 1980, needed clarification. For instance, Craig Claiborne would write "In a kettle..." and no one knows what a kettle is anymore so I changed this to pot; also meats like beef and chicken used to take much longer to braise so I changed the cooking times to work for today's kitchen.

                                                                                                        Along with these small language and timing changes, I added larger how-to-roll-out-pie-dough instructions when I felt they were needed. My job was to unearth the gems from the archive, give them context and make them accessible.

                                                                                                        When I felt the clarification wasn't essential to the success of the dish, I included it in my "recipe notes" and when it was crucial, I made the change to the recipe. Beyond clarification, I sometimes adjusted measurements that I felt would materially improve the recipe without changing its integrity -- this was all based on my testing of the recipes.

                                                                                                        The section of recipes that I did the most work to were any that were printed before 1950 -- because the recipe writing style then was so different, and so rudimentary, I fleshed them out in our modern recipe structure. Two examples of the old recipe style are in the book intro -- I think you'll see what I mean!

                                                                                                        1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                                                          That was my understanding from the intro and from a few interviews you gave that I read, so thank you! It sounds like a lot of work. I don't know how you managed to test all of these recipes (not to mention the ones you tried that didn't make the book!) and still managed to stay so trim. I think I read somewhere that during the six years you typically devoted one day a week to testing recipes?

                                                                                                          There's a post floating around in these threads about a Jacques Pepin recipe for Sausage, Bean, and Corn Stew that someone compared to a recipe in the NYT archives and found different in terms of cooking time and some other instructions, which is why I asked about adaptations. (I personally haven't seen the Pepin recipe in the NYT archives...).

                                                                                                          Anyway, thank you very much.


                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            Wow. It certainly looks healthy, at least! I guess this recipe is reaching for the opposite extreme to all the mediocre or bad Pasta Primavera (mushy veggies ansd pasta that seemed to all have been cooked together) so ubiquitous in the late '70s/ '80s.
                                                                                            Sorry it was not otherworldly after that production--but I must ask, how/where on earth did you score such beautiful tomatoes this time of year (and how do they taste)?

                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                              Thanks ncw! Funny you ask about those Tomatoes. They're actually what inspired me to make the dish. I stumbled upon a little Italian market last weekend. The tomatoes looked beautiful and were labeled "Italian Tomatoes" they weren't much bigger than golf balls. . .all on the vine and very fragrant. When I asked the lady at the cash about them she said her son grows them from seeds he got in Italy. in a greenhouse I presume given the snow here!

                                                                                              Anyway, they were truly scrumptious. We used some for sandwiches and they were the perfect balance of sweet and tang. It was like having a little burst of summer. I wish I'd bought more.

                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              I am bored and fed up and at work at 9pm so this gave me a much-needed laugh! I'm sorry for your pain, BC, but it was worth it for the lolz.

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                What I want to know is what you do for an encore!

                                                                                                1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                  Breadcrumbs, thanks for tackling one of the most time-intensive recipes in the book. The reason I tested it -- and sorry you didn't like it -- is because many NYT readers suggested it. Before I began testing any recipes, I asked NYT readers for their favorite recipes of all time, and their suggestions (several thousand) were my guidebook through the modern half of the archive (1960s forward). When I made this recipe, it turned out really well for me, and I decided to include it because a.) it was great, b.) it was a famous dish of its era, and c.) it marked an important turn in restaurant cooking.

                                                                                              2. Smoked Mashed Potatoes p.300

                                                                                                I decided to make these to go alongside the brisket in sweet and sour sauce. I knew reading the recipe that they would be good. They blew us away! My husband handled the smoking outside so they were not any harder for me than regular mashed potatoes.

                                                                                                Make sure you retain enough of the potato cooking water. I used the full cup, and added a touch of milk. (Full disclosure: My 12 year old daughter weighed out the potatoes... she could have gotten more than was called for possibly.)

                                                                                                These are pretty lean for mashed potatoes. 4 pounds of potatoes + 3 tablespoons butter + 1/2 cup cream or half and half. The smoky flavor is intoxicating!

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                  I had to look at that recipe immediately to see if you *really* smoke the potatoes -- yes you do!
                                                                                                  I'd have to do this on the stove, which is probably more trouble than I'm willing to go to this morning, but someday soon. I like that smoked flavor very much -- do you think you would have guessed what the flavor was if you did not know?

                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                    Definitely. It was a nice pure clean smoky flavor. Heck my husband even cut the hickory down for it himself! You should try it though. It is a very nice recipe.

                                                                                                  2. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                    Becca Porter, glad to read your review! I dreaded making them because I thought they seemed like a pain in the neck, but then was very pleased with the result. They're one of a category of recipes in the book that I think of as fun projects. Turducken and cassoulet being two others.

                                                                                                  3. Maida Heatter's Cuban Black Beans and Rice p. 281

                                                                                                    Amanda's introduction made me want these right away. These did not disappoint. I must admit that I left out the rum at the last minute. I was serving my kids and it is not cooked off at all. Next time I will scoop theirs out, and then add it.

                                                                                                    The raw onion mix was an important addition. I added a ton of onions to my plate. So good. Oh, I did make one other change. I used a pork bone + some ham instead of a ham hock. I have finally decided that I really dislike the rancid like flavor they give out. Maybe I am just not sourcing the good ones, but I do not like them.

                                                                                                    I felt the whole complicated rice ordeal did not work. I boiled my rice for a few minutes shy of the 17 minutes and then drained and steamed. It was a wet clumpy mess. I will probably just cook it the regular way next time. Sorry no pictures for this one.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                      My rice cooker makes better rice than I have ever or will ever!

                                                                                                      1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                        Excited to see someone else tried this recipe and liked it. I have it tabbed to try next week but after my recent failures I was thinking of skipping. I felt her instructions for the rice in the Pad Thai Rice Salad also did not work.

                                                                                                      2. Yette's Garden Platter, Pg. 220

                                                                                                        I could have sworn someone else made this dish and I was prepared to piggyback onto it... but I can't find it. So here we go. This recipe is very easy to prep and the final baked vegetables are full of flavor, especially if you season everything aggressively.

                                                                                                        Sliced potatoes and zucchini are layered, one layer for each vegetable. Peeled/cored/seeded/chopped tomatoes are combined with parsley, garlic, chopped onions S & P & EVOO (I included dried thyme and 1/2t cayenne) then spread over top of the vegetables. I also seasoned between the layers of potatoes and zuccini with S & P and dried thyme. This is baked at 350F for 1 1/2 hours.

                                                                                                        After reading the recipe several times I thought it needed more seasoning and the finished dish proved it. This could very easily be a main vegetarian course with a salad or garlic toasts. The recommended baking dish size is not stated, merely "a shallow baking dish", so I used a 9"X11" pyrex which barely held all the vegetables. Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll use a larger dish. Served with a concocted chicken stir-fry utilizing left overs, and a green salad with the Blue Cheese Dressing on pg. 464.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                          I quite liked the look of this dish too, must try it!

                                                                                                        2. Boston Baked Beans, Pg. 274

                                                                                                          In honor of the New England Patriots as we watched the Super Bowl game I made a traditional meal which included Boston Brown Bread pg. 656. These recipes are not the usual ones I'm used to making but they were an adequite alternative, and I got to use my much loved vintage bean pot. For the baked beans I used Marfax beans, an organic heirloom New England bean from Freedom Bean Farm in Maine instead of white pea beans. They are medium-small, roundish, and golden-tan colored and been growing here for more than a century. They have a rich nutty flavor and are perfect for baked beans. The other alteration I made was to use 1/2 pancetta (which she also used) as recomended as a substitute for salt pork and 1/2 hickory smoked bacon.

                                                                                                          Instead of soaking the beans over night I used the "quick soak" method in the morning: Clean and sort the beans then add them to a pot covering them by 2" with water. Cover pot, bring to a boil, boil 2 minutes, turn off heat, let beans sit in the water 1 hour. I then proceeded with the recipe.

                                                                                                          Heat oven to 250F, drain and pour beans into a braising pan (bean pot), nestle salt pork and a small onion into beans. A mixture of dry mustard, molasses, salt and boiling water is poured into the bean pot. Cover pot and place into oven to simmer for 4 1/2 hours. At that time the cover is removed and because the beans were almost dry we added more boiling water. The beans cook for another hour uncovered. The aroma in the kitchen was wonderful. The beans were creamy, and slightly sweet and combined with the bacon and pancetta quite delicious. I usually stud the onion with cloves and kind of missed that flavor. We both liked this, and really the prep wasn't much at all and once the beans are in the oven you're free to do other things...like make Boston Brown Bread...

                                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            I plan on making the Pad Thai Style Rice Salad on page 357 tonight so I once again attempted to search through this thread for similar posts but I still don't seem to know how to do it. Someone told me I use Control <F but it doesn't seem to work for me. Any tips? Better yet, anyone tried the Pad Thai salad yet?

                                                                                                            1. re: dkennedy


                                                                                                              An earlier thread about the Pad Thai but not very much info. I will post again with my results.
                                                                                                              If I truly feel motivated at dinner time, I may start the meal with the watermelon gazpacho on page 150!

                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                dk, Big Sal made the Pad Thai Salad and reported on it upthread. Did you not see it?
                                                                                                                Here tis, just in case:

                                                                                                                Good luck with it tonight.

                                                                                                              2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                Here is Big Sal's report on the Pad Thai Style Rice Salad.


                                                                                                                Ctrl > F only works when all of the posts are expanded. If all posts are not expanded, click on "Expand All" in red letters immediately after the original post before starting your search. Then click Ctrl > F and type in your search terms. I think the search is case sensitive, but since the names of recipes are nearly always in capital letters, that shouldn't be a problem.

                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                  dkennedy, by Ctrl F I assume someone is saying to search the applicable thread for some key words, such as "pad thai" in this instance? I do that all the time and it works really well. The hitch is, you have to make sure the threads aren't collapsed. You can uncollapse them by clicking on the red "expand all" right underneath the OP. Your browsers search feature can't find text in posts that are 'collapsed."

                                                                                                                  I hope that helps.

                                                                                                                  Is that watermelon gazpacho the watermelon-tomato one? If so, I can't wait to read about it! I have that one bookmarked for summer!


                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                    Hi DQ,

                                                                                                                    Yes, that's the one. I have cut up all the ingredients so it looks like I will be trying it tonight. More later....

                                                                                                                    Re the Ctrl F, I have tried and tried without success. I am going to ask my hubby when he comes home if he can help me figure this out. Very frustrating!

                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                      Hi dk, not sure if you're a Mac user but if so, then its command f . . .

                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                        I am a Mac user and I have been trying command f, still, nothing!!! Oy, frustrating! I'll figure it out at some point. Back to the recipes....

                                                                                                                        I made both the Watermelon and Tomato Gazpacho and the Pad Thai Style Rice Salad tonight and I am sorry to tell you the results were not good.

                                                                                                                        The Gazpacho was just plain yucky, don't waste your time. It sounded so enticing too. I used a perfectly ripe watermelon which was very sweet and juicy on it's own, and my tomatoes were also very flavorful eaten on their own so I know it is the recipe and not the ingredients. The balance of flavors just didn't work.

                                                                                                                        As for the Pad Thai, I think this recipe shows promise. This was one of the MInimalist recipes, and I remember reading his recipes were not well tested so that could be part of the problem. First of all, the recipe is not well named. This dish is more like a fried rice salad than a Pad Thai. The proteins (chicken, shrimp, egg, and peanuts) were great before I added the sauce. The scallions and bean sprouts added at the end really helped the flavors "pop." I think it was the rice (the recipe called for Jasmine) and the sauce which were not properly thought through. I think next time I will use good old chinese take out rice as my base and instead of tossing the dressing with the salad, I will pour a very small amount over the top, like I would for a salad dressing. Re the sauce, it was very flavorful, but the balance of the sweet sour salty spicy components were way off. Maybe more sugar? Maybe less tamarind?

                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                          Okay... what browser? In Safari, a little tiny search box appears in the upper right hand corner of the window, just below your tabs. Hit enter, and the number of hits should refresh, the window will go gray, and the search term will be highlighted in yellow.

                                                                                                                          Sorry to hear that you had a serious clunker tonight and an almost. What did you eat?

                                                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                            SMTucker, your description did the trick. I can now search within a thread. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions. Yes, I am in Safari, on a mac. I guess I just didn't see that little box before because I have noticed when the screen going grey.

                                                                                                                            We ate the rice salad, and tasted the gazpacho. My husband supplemented his dinner rice cakes and a can of tuna.

                                                                                                              3. Al Forno's Roasted Asparagus (p 233)

                                                                                                                This is exactly how I always make asparagus, so it seems funny to review it, but technically it is a NYT recipe, so there you go! You just drizzle asparagus spears with olive oil and roast it in a very hot oven. I accidentally cooked it a bit longer than I intended, but as DH and I both like overcooked asparagus, that was fine :)

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                  Just made this tonight as well. I usually grill asparagus, but it's a bit cold for grilling now so I went with this. First time I've used such a high temperature of 500 and the oven rack in the highest position. A simple preparation of olive oil and salt turned out to be the best asparagus I've had in a while. Will definitely make this again. Also, I'm not sure if this changed anything, but I oiled and salted the asparagus about 45 minutes before I put it in the oven because our dinner was delayed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                    Al Forno's Roasted Asparagus (p 233)

                                                                                                                    I often roast asparagus, but like JVHcook, I've never used such a high heat or oven rack position. I usually roast at about 400 in the middle of the oven--and I almost always think the outsides are getting too brown by the time the stalks are tender. But this is the perfect way to cook them--they were tender in maybe 6-7 minutes, and they still looked beautiful. (My friend, an accomplished cook who was over for dinner told me that she had basically given up on roasting asparagus; she marveled at how good they were.)
                                                                                                                    I did squeeze some lemon juice over these just before serving them , as a side with cannelloni.

                                                                                                                    Sometimes the simplest recipes are the most deceptive. I'll use this high-heat method from now on.

                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                      I made these roast asparagus last night to go with Roasted Salmon with Herb Vinaigrette (p. 430). Not much to add. Simple and delicious. ate these right off the baking sheet!

                                                                                                                  2. Potato "Tostones" (Flattened Potatoes) p 301

                                                                                                                    This didn't turn out as well as I hoped. I used small yellow potatoes and the water content was too high, either because I boiled them in an inch of water (I don't have a steamer) or because of the type of potato. My husband made mash out of them yesterday and I thought they were too loose then too. You steam them, then squish them, then fry them in 1/4 inch of olive oil in a cast iron pan. Mine would just not brown. I'm pretty sure my oil was hot enough, but it took much longer than she said to get even a little browning. They held together okay as long as I was careful, and the bits that were browned were delicious, but mainly they were an oily, soggy mess. Very disappointing.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                      When I saw these on your fully plated dish (your fish photo) I initially thought they were the Jill Dupleix Crash Hot potatoes. I wonder if they evolved from this dish . .. baking in the oven would allow that moisture to cook out. They look good sarah, sorry they were disappointing.

                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                        If you like this concept, you might want to check out this thread about crash-hot potatoes, which are done in the oven instead of stovetop once flattened: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/742088

                                                                                                                      2. Sweet Potatoes Anna, p. 297

                                                                                                                        I was disappointed in this recipe, which layers 6 med. sweet potatoes, sliced 1/8 in. , adds 10 TBS of unsalted butter, a tsp. of dried thyme (or 1 TBS fresh) and S & P for seasoning. Place in a skillet or gratin pan and bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. A nice short list of ingredients and uncomplicated prep (if you have a mandoline) but I guess I expected a result more like regular pommes Anna and less like a skillet full of sliced sweet potatoes. Even with the weight on top, the potato slices didn't "meld" together and turn crisp on the outside, even with a pass under the broiler. The finished gratin tasted nicely of sweet potatoes and thyme and butter, but wasn't anything special IMHO. I could have just roasted the slices on a baking sheet for the same effect, and wouldn't have had to spend several minutes fussily overlapping the slices in concentric rings in the pan.
                                                                                                                        Maybe someone else would have a different experience though! I ended having to hand-cut the potato-slices because my mandoline just couldn't hack it through the hard, fibrous sweet potatoes. Perhaps my slices were slightly too thick? Don't know.

                                                                                                                        1. Baked Zucchini with Herbs and Tomatoes, p. 250.

                                                                                                                          Easy and colorful, can be set up ahead of time, and definitely provides a taste-of-summer recipe whose ingredients are available in the average winter supermarket produce section, which is why I desired it. You toss zucchini sticks, chopped onion, sliced scallions, celery leaves, fresh basil, fresh plum tomatoes, olive oil, and 1/4 c. flour to bind things together, in a pie plate, and bake for 20 minutes at 425 F till ingredients are just cooked through, about 20 minutes (though mine took longer). This all works, but reminds me of a "lite recipe" that is OK as far as it goes but nothing special. The flavors need to be ramped up, and next time I'd use good-flavored canned tomatoes (Muir Glen; San Marzano) and more basil. And I'd definitely add some cheese mixed in and on top to make it a gratin--Parm, or Asiago, or another flavorful one. And then it wouldn't be "lite," would it? ;-)

                                                                                                                          1. Escarole with Pan Roasted Garlic and Lemon, Pg. 249

                                                                                                                            Loved this...! Another warm salad but so much more. Instead of braising escarole to death or sauteeing it, after slicing the whole head thinly then rinsing very well the escarole is added to a pan in which 10 cloves of sliced garlic have been simmering in EVOO on Very Low heat for 25 minutes or until they're tender. After the escarole is added to the pan the heat is turned off. Toss the escarole with the ol and garlic. Add lemon juice and salt and combine. At this point one can either toss lemon wedges with the escarole, or serve wedges on the plate to be squeezed as desired. I served the wedges. I wouldn't change a thing in this dish.

                                                                                                                            As long as we're on page 240... I made the Roasted Cauliflower a few nights ago. It's the method I always use when roasting broccoli or cauliflower: Toss the florets in olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper, roast in a 375F oven till caramelized. Always full of flavor and compliments almost any main dish.

                                                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              That wilted escarole with garlic sounds just delicious. I'm going to have to try that, regardless of when I get the dratted book in my hands. Here is the recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/31/din...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                We get escarole in our CSA and I've only ever made soup with it. I'm excited to try this when the time comes!


                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                Escarole onto my shopping list.

                                                                                                                                Thanks for the rec. I will definitely try this one, Gio.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                  Escarole with pan roasted garlic (pg. 248)

                                                                                                                                  Made it with dinner, nothing to add to Gio's excellent post, she's right, it is delicious.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    The escarole didn't work out 100% correctly for me; blame the stove. I had the heat as low as possible, and the garlic started browning very quickly, and continued to do so despite my best effort. (There is a smaller, weaker-BTU burner, but a 12-inch pan can't fit on it on account of that pesky wall behind the cooktop.) As the garlic was browned and not as mellowed as it should have been, it was removed, and I proceeded to toss the escarole with the hot, garlic-flavored oil, and added salt and lemon juice. It was tasty, if not exactly what was intended.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                      Escarole with Pan Roasted Garlic and Lemon, Pg. 249

                                                                                                                                      Add me as a fan. My head of escarole was probably not "large,' so I probably could have done with less oil--1/4 c. probably would have been plenty. But I loved the flavors--garlicky, lemony bitter greens. Served this with cannelloni.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                        Escarole with Pan Roasted Garlic and Lemon, Pg. 249

                                                                                                                                        Loved this. Not much to add other than that it was nice to eat a warm salad on a really cold winter day. Next time though, I may add a dried chili pepper to give it a subtle heat.

                                                                                                                                        I didn't run into quick browning. I also forgot to partially cover the pot during the infusion time and only did so for the last 5 minutes or so. I used a LC 4.5 dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                        Loved, loved, loved this.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                          My greengrocer didn't have escarole (in fact I hardly ever see it here) so I bought frisée or curly endive instead. Do people think that would work in this dish?

                                                                                                                                          (And can someone remind a technodunce how to search within a thread - took me ages to find this!) TIA.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                            Hi GG... I love frisee in a salad. Since the escarole (they're in the same family BTW) isn't really cooked but simply warmed by the residual heat because the heat is immediately turned off when it hits the pan, I say try it. The frisee will wilt, that's all.

                                                                                                                                            Sorry, but can't help you with your other Q... I could never figure it out myself.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              Hi gg, I agree w Gio on your first question. As for searching within a thread, you first must "expand all" (option at top of thread) and then:

                                                                                                                                              On a Mac: Command- F
                                                                                                                                              On a PC: Control-F

                                                                                                                                              On the Mac, the search box appears in the top right hand corner of your screen beneath the tool bars

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                  If you ate running firefox on the Mac, the search box will be on the lower left hand side of the browser. Safari, it will be at the upper right hand side.

                                                                                                                                                  Enjoy the warm salad.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                I made this with frisée and it was delicious. I had the same problem as Caitlin, though, that my garlic started to brown at the lowest heat on the smallest burner. I cooked it for less time than called for, as a result.

                                                                                                                                          2. Cabbage and Potato Gratin with Mustard Bread Crumbs p. 298

                                                                                                                                            This is good, but doesn't outshine other braised cabbage dishes I've made.
                                                                                                                                            It contains green cabbage and onion and just a little potato. Bacon and bacon grease, butter and bread crumbs and Swiss cheese (Gruyere or Comte' I had none).
                                                                                                                                            Also called for 1/4 cup of heavy (reduced) cream to be stirred into it, but I didn't.
                                                                                                                                            The bread crumb topping is nice -- garlic, (I never have parsley!) with cayenne and good mustard and the cheese. You saute' a couple times in this recipe and bake twice too.
                                                                                                                                            It would have been a little different with the cream and parsley --
                                                                                                                                            but I think I'll stick with plainer cabbage recipes.
                                                                                                                                            I stirred it around a little before the pic--there's a lot more breadcrumb topping than shows.

                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for your report blue room... we're making this tonight so I was glad to read your description. I have all the listed ingredients... we'll see how it turns out here. I'm using Gruyere cheese and thought I'd use JoanN's method of whizzed up cottage cheese for the heavy cream. Did you serve it as a side or the main dish?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                I should note that it turns out Mr. blue room *loved* this -- wants more.
                                                                                                                                                Gio, it was a side, but I suppose it could easily be a main.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks blue room. As it turned out, G came home late so we made a quick marinara sauce and had pasta. I'm planning to make it next week, though.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                I made this before the month started. It was delicious. Really creamy and just decadent tasting. The cream is what makes the difference.

                                                                                                                                                Is JoanN's cottage cheese trick whizzing it around in the FP?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                  <"Is JoanN's cottage cheese trick whizzing it around in the FP?">

                                                                                                                                                  Yes. That's the trick...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    In baked recipes like this I seem to have good results subbing Carnation evaporated milk for the cream. Does anyone else do this?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                      I've done it, except I use lowfat evap milk. Works well in many applications. But I've tried JoanN's cottage cheese trick with both nonfat and lowfat cottage cheese (plus powdered nonfat milk) and it works like a dream in most applications.


                                                                                                                                                2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                  Cabbage and Potato Gratin with Mustard Bread Crumbs p. 298
                                                                                                                                                  I made this Sunday night and the only problem was my bacon didn't render nearly enough fat to braise the veg so I had to add some butter- about a tablespoon. I did use the heavy cream and it really bumps this dish up a notch. I wouldn't change this step. We will feast on leftovers for a while- it made a lot.

                                                                                                                                                3. Caramelized Endive, Pg. 238

                                                                                                                                                  I love endive and have cooked many variations of this theme but this was one of the best. There was a yin yang of sweet and bitter that was quite pleasant.

                                                                                                                                                  Three Belgian endives are halved, seasoned with salt and pepper, placed cut side down in a skillet in which better has melted. When the endive has browned sugar and fresh lime juice are sprinkled over and the endive cooks for another 15 minutes or till tender. Very nice. A make again dish. Served with the Saltimboca pg. 561 and Crostini Romani pg. 77.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Broccoli Puree with Ginger p.253

                                                                                                                                                    I do like broccoli puree - I like the taste of broccoli but find plain steamed broccoli boring so I'm always on the lookout for more interesting ways to cook it. This was considerably more time-consuming and pan-dirtying than steamed broccoli but also much more delicious. Thinly sliced onion, chopped garlic and a slice of ginger are softened without browning. Then heavy cream is added, simmered then the ginger slice is removed and the cream is set aside. The broccoli is boiled until tender, then pureed in the processor with half the cream/onion mixture. She suggested adding some of the broccoli cooking water if it's too dry but mine was on the too damp end of the scale so not necessary. Then the rest of the onions/cream mixture is added and pureed again. Some ginger juice is added which you have previously grated and juiced.

                                                                                                                                                    I was a bit concerned that the onions were going to create too much texture for a smooth puree but ir worked out fine, though it wasn't as silky as a puree with just broccoli. The ginger flavor was very subtle, not surprising I suppose in the way it was cooked. Amanda says it's "The winner of the best baby-food dish in the book" and my daughter did complain that it was baby food but I like purees so I'll be makng it again.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Haricots Verts with Balsamic Vinaigrette p. 231-32

                                                                                                                                                      Another quick 'n easy veggie side that can be set up ahead and served at room temp if desired.

                                                                                                                                                      Basically it's green beans (it's worth using haricots verts if possible), steamed till crisp-tender, refreshed in ice water and drained. You then add some sliced scallions and chopped dill. Then you whip up a balsamic vinegar-red wine vinegar dressing flavored with some Dijon mustard, and just before serving you toss the bean mixture with it.

                                                                                                                                                      Good things about this recipe:
                                                                                                                                                      It can be served on its own as a side or as a salad, served on a bed of lettuce greens. (The skinny haricot verts make it seem more dressy if you were doing this as a first course.) The 5 and 7-year-olds loved the fact that I served this at room temp with their entre as a dinner side-salad, with the beans served in a butter-lettuce cup. They instantly rolled up their portion of green beans inside the lettuce, pronounced the result "green bean tacos" and ate up more beans than ever before. Must admit, I had forgotten to add the sliced scallions--a brain hiccup--and I think the kids probably liked it better with just the dill. But the scallions WOULD have been nice especially for grown-ups and would have added crunch if I'd remembered!

                                                                                                                                                      Another good thing: the vinaigrette is very tasty. Using two parts balsamic to two parts red-wine vinegar makes a nice balance of flavor which would go well with salads.

                                                                                                                                                      Final good thing: having everything basically prepared ahead of time and served at room temp. would make this easy for potluck picnics or buffets.

                                                                                                                                                      Of course, you could also serve these green beans warm (sans lettuce) and I think that would taste good as well.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                        Clever children you have there, Goblin. Passed over this recipe several times and now, thanks to your report, I'm going to see if I can get haricots verts this weekend. I like those best too.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                          We made this for dinner tonight without the lettuce. A tasty, easy side that can be made in advance. I was surprised by how much I did like it. I kept sneaking a taste while the chicken was cooking. The scallions and dill add a nice layer of flavor. Healthy, tasty spin on green beans.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Cumin-Mustard Carrots, p. 237

                                                                                                                                                          Another riff on the Moroccan combo of carrots with cumin, this time finished with butter, lemon juice, ground cumin and grainy mustard. The carrots are thinly sliced (I chose smallish organic carrots and peeled them; not the ones called "bagged baby carrots.) I steamed the slices as directed until just tender ; I then shocked the carrots in ice water and drained them ahead of time, and then reheated them later in the microwave , adding the lemon-mustard-cumin-butter mixture before serving. The children at my dinner table liked this preparation better than the previous Moroccan carrot salad (p. 187) because they thought the thin carrot slices tasted "more like raw ones." Apparently cooked 1/2- inch slices aren't as acceptable! ;-)
                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, I'll make this again because it's pretty and piquant, while mellowed by the butter.

                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                            Cumin-Mustard Carrots, Pg. 237

                                                                                                                                                            Loved these! I made them last night using regular carrots and they were terrific. I used the dreaded mandoline to slice the carrots (and managed to chop a hunk of little finger in the bargain), steamed the slices then tossed in the dressing. I used 1/2 teaspoon more of the cumin but kept the other amounts the same. What a delicious way to serve carrots. The main dish was Hunan Beef with Cumin pg. 575, another side dish was Stir-Fried Collards pg. 254.

                                                                                                                                                            Bye for now, ENYTC. Another Great month.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                              I like to tell everyone to get a cut resistant glove; I know I'd slice my fingers if I did not have one. Microplane makes one. I got another brand -- they cost about $20-25, well worth it. (Let me know if you need to know where I ordered mine from.)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                Walker, I'd love to know where to order that glove. I guess it's time for me to get one. I hate the mandoline but have used it quite effectively in the past with no problem. I must not have been paying close attention the other night. TIA.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  This is the one I got, they show you how to measure your hand; I needed the small size. It's $25 + free shipping (assuming they have not raised the price since I bought mine).


                                                                                                                                                                  Here's one from BB & B for $14.99 .. it looks like only 1 size. You can order at the store and use your discount coupons; they probably won't have it in stock in the store. (I love the microplane box grater and I gave 5 as Christmas gifts this year.



                                                                                                                                                                  (Amazon has some listed; read the reviews.)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                    I've seen them recently at BB&Bs hanging on the wall in the cooking tool depts (in NYC).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      I've even started wearing mine when I grate parm on the microplane box grater (otherwise, I often end up with nicks (blood) on my knuckles.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                        Hah! Funny you should say that walker as tonight I took out a good piece of my thumb instead of the hunk of parmesan w my microplane.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                          It "hurts me" to hear that, makes me shiver.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks walker, that was a first for me. My fault, totally. I was working too close to the rind and my hand slipped. It wasn't pretty!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Takeout-style Sesame Noodles – p. 355 – Chapter 7

                                                                                                                                                            Step right up folks, right here under the covers of this big red book we have a “NO COOK RECIPE”!! Can you say “Dinner in a flash”??? These noodles were delightful, fresh, flavourful and oh-so-simple. We loved these noodles and will definitely have them again.

                                                                                                                                                            Do read the back story to this dish and, Hesser’s selection process for a noodle dish. The cooking notes are also interesting. One topic covered in the latter is the inclusion of Szechuan peppercorns. I didn’t use them, though they are perfectly legal here in Canada and, when I make this again, I’ll exclude them too. We thought this recipe was just right as is.

                                                                                                                                                            Prep is so easy. Chinese lo mein egg noodles are soaked and prepared in the typical manner except that a “splash” of sesame oil is tossed in once drained.

                                                                                                                                                            A sauce of sesame oil, soy, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste is whisked together.

                                                                                                                                                            Cucumber is cut into julienne-like strips. Roasted peanuts are measured.

                                                                                                                                                            Half the sauce is poured over the prepared noodles and tossed to coat and then more sauce is added to your taste. Our taste was to use all the sauce!!

                                                                                                                                                            Noodles are transferred to a serving dish and topped w the cucumber and peanuts.

                                                                                                                                                            We liked every aspect of this dish. The cucumbers were an unexpected pleasure and I’ll consider this inclusion in other Asian dishes. I didn’t change anything and, wouldn’t change anything next time. This really hit the mark for us on so many levels. No hesitation in recommending this dish.

                                                                                                                                                            We served this w Shaking Beef from the COTM – Chapter 11. Here’s the link if you’re interested in our thoughts and photos:


                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                              Yum, sounds delicious. We love noodle dishes like this - thanks!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Poivrons Verts Farcis (Stuffed Green Peppers), Pg. 223

                                                                                                                                                              Made this last night only my poivrons were rouges. Ms Hesser says this is "The forgotten dinner of the 1970s." I sure don't remember ever eating or cooking it... The recipe calls for 4 peppers and 6 sausages, either sweet or hot. I used hot. And, because the sausages were huge I only used 3 to fill 3 1/2 peppers.
                                                                                                                                                              The peppers are stuffed with a mixture of Italian sausage with casings removed, which is first sautéed till no longer pink. Then onions, garlic, curry powder, S & P are added to the skillet and cooked for 8-ish minutes. This combination is put into a bowl and mixed with cooked rice, broth and a lightly beaten egg. The peppers are blanched for a minute, sliced in half, de-ribbed, seeded and stuffed. Place the stuffed pepper halves in a baking dish, mix breadcrumbs and Parmigiana and sprinkle over each, drizzle EVOO over all and put into a pre-heated 400F oven. Bake for 20 minutes then turn the heat down to 375 and continue to bake another 25 minutes, or less.

                                                                                                                                                              This was a simple recipe, the finished dish was tasty and the peppers looked festive on the plate. The inclusion of curry powder in the stuffing enhances all the flavors. I served it with reheated farfalle with a meatless sauce so the meal then became Italian, and we enjoyed it very much.

                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                The only poivrons farcis I remember in the '70s were green and were had at an Armenian restaurant in Berkeley (and seemed really quite exotic). That note on the recipe struck me as surprising as well.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  funny, "poivrons farci" weren't part of my '70's upbringing, but "stuffed green peppers" sure were, granted there was no curry powder in them (or probably the house where they were made), and the meat was more likely hamburger than de-cased sausage, but otherwise the recipe looks darn familiar.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                    It was ground beef in the Armenian ones too. They were too exotic for my mother (who used some green pepper in cooking, and raw in salads) and my husband (we got married in 1973, when I was a mere babe) has never liked them, so it's not surprising that they didn't loom large.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      BT & Q...
                                                                                                                                                                      When I was growing up Mom did make stuffed peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, calamari. All with the same mixture: fresh breadcrumbs, minced garlic, minced parsley, S & P, sometimes dried oregano and/or basil, sometimes an egg. Sometimes drizzled with marinara...sometimes not. But, never with minced meat of any kind, nor rice. So this one was interesting to make and eat.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  My mom often made a variation of these (in the '60s & '70s)--though they were only ever called "stuffed (green) peppers." She often did a mix of Italian sausage and ground beef (and there may have been breadcrumbs and parmesan, too), and tomato sauce was spooned over the whole thing. She also made a seafood variation--crab, shrimp, breadcrumbs, no sauce. I remember an aunt mixing ground beef and shrimp.
                                                                                                                                                                  I know I'd prefer your substitution of red peppers.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, after all this I had to try these. Like Gio I used Red Holland Peppers, and since I didn't have any left over rice on hand, I cooked my rice for the dish with some stock. Otherewise made as directed, and Gio has already covered that quite well.

                                                                                                                                                                    We liked this dish. And I now see why my Mum liked it all those years ago, it goes together quickly and makes a nice mid-week dinner. Served with a simple green salad it was a synch of a meal.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Roasted Potato Salad, Pg. 285

                                                                                                                                                                    This tasty potato salad calls for baby potatoes but my Red Bliss babies were large so I quartered them. They are seasoned with S & P, minced garlic, and EVOO, tossed in a baking dish and arranged in one layer then roasted in a preheated 425F oven for 30 - 40 minutes. We pulled them out at 35 min. While the potatoes are roasting make the dressing: whole grain mustard (I used Maille) and red wine vinegar are whisked together then EVOO is drizzled in while whisking till dressing is smooth. The potatoes are tossed into the bowl and gently mixed with the dressing. Before serving sprinkle with minced chives and rosemary. Because my chives are under 3 feet of snow in the garden, I shredded then minced a scallion. I totally forgot about the rosemary. Nevertheless, the potatoes were delicious, with crispy seasoned skin. We Loved the combination of vinegar and mustard.

                                                                                                                                                                    Served with Pork and Squash in Coconut Milk, pg. 555. Another Fab meal...!

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, that sounds delicious. Another recipe to put on the list . . . that list is so growing.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Jasmine Tea Rice (page 354)

                                                                                                                                                                        I’m reporting on this recipe mainly to point out that it exists. I saw it listed as a serving suggestion for I no longer recall what and the idea stuck with me. You steep Jasmine tea (she recommends jasmine-tea pearls, which I never heard of, or jasmine-scented tea leaves, which weren’t readily available to me so I used something called jasmine green tea in bags) for 5 minutes, add rinsed jasmine rice and salt and let the rice soak for half an hour before cooking. I made mine with my own proportions in a rice cooker.

                                                                                                                                                                        Don’t know if it was because I used brown jasmine rice or the wrong kind of tea, but any flavoring in the rice was subtle to the point of being barely discernable. Nonetheless, I think this is a terrific idea that I’ll try again with white rice and the jasmine-tea pearls if I can find them in Chinatown.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                          It seems to me that the jasmine pearls would be kind of a waste in this recipe. They're tightly furled little balls of tea leaves that unfurl in hot water, giving a pretty effect (it's usually advised to steep them in a glass vessel so you can see). They may be a better grade of tea (don't know), but they sure cost more than others, too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                            Good to know. Thanks. I wonder if it might be that the tea balls make a much more strongly-flavored infusion, but not sure I'm willing to spend a whole lot just to find out.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                            Hmm tea-flavored rice *does* sound bland -- (sort of like rice-flavored tea?)

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts, p.235

                                                                                                                                                                            Pikawicca previously reported on this one here:

                                                                                                                                                                            I love brussels sprouts, the rest of the family not so much. This converted at least one of them over and I thought it was delicious, if a bit decadent in a meal that also included fried chickpeas, sauteed mushrooms and lamb sausage patties. Of course, cooking an old shoe in bacon fat and then sprinkling it with bacon would taste good too. Only sub I made was shallot/garlic instead of scallions. My husband is fairly certain that I'm trying to fatten him up for the feast.

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, Pika, for pointing this one out -- I definitely related to you "optimistically" returning from the farmers market each week determined to find the brussels prep that would make your family love them!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mebby

                                                                                                                                                                              Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pine Nuts, p.235

                                                                                                                                                                              I made these tonight--about 1/4 of the ENYT recipe--but I used pancetta instead of bacon as I had a piece I needed to use up. Otherwise, mebby and Pikawicca have covered this. Easy and tasty. (I couldn't help but squeeze a little lemon over the finished dish.)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Mushrooms with Manzanilla Sherry, p.249
                                                                                                                                                                              My husband is a big mushroom lover and this is always one of my favorite tapa. Simple enough -- saute sliced mushrooms and garlic ("a sliver" -- I did about 8 slivers) and 3 tbsp of sherry thrown in toward the end. This was okay, but not as good as I've had -- I prefer the more garlicky, slightly saucy version with some parsley to brighten it up a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Roasted potato salad, p285

                                                                                                                                                                                This was a huge hit with the better half, who pronounced it "sensational".

                                                                                                                                                                                Potatoes are roasted in oil and garlic - I baby new potatoes, then tossed in a dressing of wholegrain mustard, olive oil and red wine vinegar. The recipe said to cool to room temperature but I served the dish slightly warm, with the River Cafe roast chicken with lemon and roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and bacon from Gourmet. A really nice dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Wilted Chard w Pickled Red Onion – p.261 – Chapter 5

                                                                                                                                                                                  I needed a dish to cut the richness of all the other items on my Steak Au Poivre menu and I’ve been keen to try this recipe so it seemed the time was right!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hesser notes that she could have eaten the whole batch in one sitting and describes it as her “pint of cookie dough ice cream”! While nothing will replace my Dulce de Leche Haagen-Dazs, like Hesser, I could have easily devoured this all by myself! Its almost counter intuitive to add pickled onions to already bitter chard but somehow the onions (which have a small amount of sugar in the vinegar mix) seem to brighten and elevate the chard.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Prep is straightforward and relatively quick. Red onions are thickly sliced and covered w a mixture of white wine vinegar, bay leaves, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar and mixed peppercorns. Hesser notes you may need additional water & vinegar to submerge the onions and I did, 1/3 cup of each. Onions are then weighted down for at least 15 minutes. Mine pickled for about an hour before we were ready to serve dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hesser suggests that you boil the chard until tender however I prefer to steam it in the microwave to save time and dishes. Just prior to serving, oil is heated in a skillet over medium heat then crushed garlic and the chard are added and tossed to coat before seasoning to taste. Chard is then plated and topped w some of the onions. Remaining onions are passed at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                  This dish is wonderful; the onions really take it to the next level. Luckily we have some onions left over so I see more chard in our immediate future!

                                                                                                                                                                                  We served this alongside Steak au Poivre, another COTM dish. Here’s the link to that review and photos if you’re interested:


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Swiss Chard Casserole with Farfalle and Cheeses, p. 335

                                                                                                                                                                                    The first instruction is to wash, drain, and chop fine the chard. Hesser says in a note, "Chopping the chard is an onerous task, but keep at it because the little bits integrate well with the farfalle." I don't think I likely chopped it as fine as was intended, but in pretty small pieces. Onion is sauted, then garlic, scallions, chopped canned tomatoes, and the chard are added and all is cooked until the chard wilts. Some goat cheese and grated Parmesan are added (I subbed feta for goat), cooked farfalle are stirred in (I subbed whole-wheat penne), all is turned into a casserole, more Parmesan goes on top, and into the oven to heat through. This was pleasant, homey, a bit earthy, if not a wow dish. I added some red pepper flakes and used less oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Zucchini and Vermouth, p. 227

                                                                                                                                                                                    Couldn't be simpler. Coarsely grated zucchini is sauted in olive oil until most moisture is gone, a splash of dry vermouth is added, and it's cooked a bit more, until tender. I liked the flavor of the vermouth in this and enjoyed it, but I like how zucchini rounds can get nice and browned and flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic, p. 335

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made half a recipe, using dried pappardelle rather than fettuccine. Just get the garlic roasted and squeezed from its skin, and the rest of this can be put together very quickly. While the pasta boils, you make the sauce: olive oil and butter are melted together, then the roasted garlic and chopped preserved lemon (rind and pulp) are stirred in.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Reserve a little of the pasta cooking water and toss it into the serving bowl with the sauce. Drain the pasta, and add it to the bowl. Add chopped parsley, grated parmesan, S & P.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The mellowed garlic balances the pop of the lemon. Mine popped a little too much, but that was entirely my fault: I ended up accidentally using a whole lemon, when I should have used half (as I was making half the recipe); also my lemons are on the new side so they haven't yet mellowed as much as I'd like. But I'd make this again. It was super easy and was a nice foil to the pan roasted chicken w/wild mushrooms it accompanied, along w/a salad of greens, beets, radishes, blue cheese. (The photo is not much to look at so I'll stick to the written word.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                        Is this the one where she says in the headnotes, "Why can I always manage to have catsup on hand, but not preserved lemon?" It made me think, yeah, why not? So delicious and stores forever.


                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                          No, but I remember seeing that. PL are one thing I always do have in my fridge. I like to make them, but I never used to be able to think of too many things to use them in besides tagines or chopped over seafood, but lately I keep running across tips and ways to use them, and I realize I've just been stupid as they can brighten up so many things. (I even read somewhere recently of their being used to garnish cocktails.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Drunken Beans, Pg. 287

                                                                                                                                                                                        The beans here are dried pinto and they get drunk on beer. Well, they're supposed to get drunk on beer but because of my major screw-up at the beginning, they weren't even mildly tipsy. However at the finish the dish was pretty tasty. Because my brain is set on automatic, instead of starting the recipe as written with the beans being cooked immediately after soaking, I pre-soaked them overnight but then cooked them the way I always do, Not per the recipe: in 6 cups of water with a bay leaf or two for 4-ish hours. Don't do that. Start right in with the recipe. Do this...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Dice a couple slices of bacon and render in a large pan. Take out the bacon and add chopped onion and garlic, cook till soft. Now add the pre-soaked beans, broth and beer. At this point I added the already cooked beans and beer, but no broth. Bring to a boil lower heat, cook for 30 minutes (Less for me). Now add several thinly sliced jalapeños and S & P, cook for another 1/2 hour. I only cooked till the chilies were al dente. Adjust seasoning if necessary and stir in chopped cilantro. The bacon is supposed to be tossed but I added the crumpled bits as garnish.

                                                                                                                                                                                        As I mentioned above the beans were really flavorful and went very well with a spicy chipotle meatloaf.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I try to make a pot of beans once or twice a month so this recipe will get a re-do. Correctly next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A Perfect Batch of Rice, p. 316

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is Craig Claiborne & Pierre Franey's 1978 take on oven-baked rice, and I'm almost embarrassed to review it because it's so simple and probably everyone already does it! But the method does indeed produce flavorful, perfectly separate yet tender grains of long-grain rice, good for sopping up chicken or fish sauces, and I was glad to be reminded of the method. You saute chopped onion in butter/oil, toss in the rice to coat, and then add chicken broth and a bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and place in 400 F oven for exactly 17 minutes. Remove bouquet-garni, toss rice with a little butter and serve. The 5 and 7 year olds really liked it and scarfed up their portions, though unlike the adults, they refused to mix it liberally with the piquant sauce from the Chicken Paprikash (p. 461) Poor kids; someday they'll learn! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, what was different about this particular oven-baked rice recipe was that Claiborne added a pinch of cayenne/Tabasco sauce to the rice, which gave a bit more flavor. And though similar to the "braised rice" version that I first learned from Julia (Mastering I) and have used ever since, this was much simpler, in that you just stirred the rice into the hot butter and onion mixture and then immediately added the room-temperature broth. No sauteing rice/butter/onions for several minutes till the "rice grains become translucent and then milky in color" which invariably resulted in my onions over-browning. And no bringing the broth to a boil first before adding it to the sauteed rice, either. Just pour it in, bring everything to a boil, and bake in the oven for exactly 17 minutes. A simple ratio of 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups liquid and that's it. How come it took me so long to find this out?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I did do one extra thing that I learned from Cooks Illustrated Magazine: When the rice was removed from the oven after exactly 17 minutes-- did I mention that before? ;-) --I put a folded kitchen towel inside the pot on top of the baked rice, and kept the pot covered for an additional 10-15 minutes before removing towel and cover (and tossing with a little butter.) Keeps the rice warm and dry.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yogurt Rice p.356

                                                                                                                                                                                            I decided to try this rice dish after reading Hesser proclaim that she loves this dish as much as she loves her children and her husband.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Rice and yogurt (drained overnight) are mixed together and seasoned with salt. In a skillet, heat oil and add black mustard seeds until they sputter and then add urad chal, chana dal and chopped raw cashews. Cook until golden, then on low heat, add thai chiles, grated ginger and fresh curry leaves. Add this mixture to the rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I enjoyed the flavor of the rice, but found that my drained yogurt was rather thick and caused the dish to be clumpy. Even so, it was a comforting, fragrant dish with a little zip. This paired well with the Justly Famous Chicken and would go well with other spicy dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not ever having tried this dish previously, I decided to look up some videos on You Tube and most iterations I saw resulted in a more creamy mixture and the yogurt did not appear to be drained. That being said, I will definitely try this again even though mine was clumpy, I could see the potential in this. Next time I will either use greek yogurt or forego draining the yogurt and maybe even add hing and cilantro.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Farfalle Al Porrie Salsicce (Farfalle with Leeks and Sausages Sauce) – p. 329 – Chapter 7

                                                                                                                                                                                              With simple ingredients that I always have on hand, this seemed like an ideal quick and easy weeknight meal. This is a meal where the sum of its parts far outshines the individual ingredients used to make it. We loved this dish and without a doubt will have it again.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The “sausages” in this dish are sweet Italian and in my case, my sweet Italian sausages were chicken vs pork. Prep is very simple. Sausages are removed from their casings, leeks are sliced, a shallot is minced and, if you’re using fresh peas, they’re blanched. In my case, I used frozen peas so no blanching was necessary. While pasta cooks, sausages and leeks are added to oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. After about 5 mins, the shallot is added in and sautéed for a minute prior to adding butter, peas and some chicken broth. Once the pasta is done, pasta and sauce are combined.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This recipe calls for a pound of pasta, which seemed excessive given the quantity of sauce. We used half a pound of pasta, which was plenty. The dish is tossed w some fresh Parmesan.

                                                                                                                                                                                              We really enjoyed this dish. I can imagine numerous variations that will give this dish legs for years to come . . . using asparagus instead of peas, a spritz of lemon juice and some zest added to the sauce, addition of hot chilli flakes, variations on the type of sausage or, even using boneless skinless chicken in place of sausage. This is a keeper, I’m happy to recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                Good to read your report, BC. This, along with umptynine other recipes from this book is on my To Make list. Just to clarify, you halved the pasta but kept the original sauce ingredient amounts? I usually make a pound of macaroni...should I double the sauce ingredients?

                                                                                                                                                                                                Tonight will be my final meal from TENYTC this month. I simply ran out of time, but I'm sure I'll revisit the book in the future as I have so many other COTMs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi GIo & thanks. If I were using a pound of pasta I would definitely double the sauce. Hesser notes that this Lidia Bastianich recipe originally appeared in a pasta advert and I suspect the idea was to make the pasta itself the star of the dish. That said the quantity of sauce is meagre and with only 2 sausages and, 1 cup of chx broth I just don't see how this could be adequate for a pound of pasta. As you can see from my photos, even w 1/2 lb, there was little sauce to speak of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK... thanks! Admittedly, I only glanced at the recipe but do remember the note about Lidia. Odd that AH didn't adjust the sauce amounts to accommodate 1 pound of pasta. The sausages we like lately are hot and spicy and made in house by a local salumeria. And, they're Huge. I must make this recipe soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That looks great. I missed this recipe when going through the book, but it's definitely going on to my to-make list. I'm going to stay w/ENYT a bit in March as I own only one Jamie O book, not one of the ones that made the cut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope you will stay with ENYT Cookbook--I love your reviews and I'll keep reading them!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Goblin. I feel like we've hardly scratched the surface of this book, so I'm also looking forward to further reports. What others have to say about these recipes really influences whether I try them and how I approach them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks ncw, like you I also have some ENYT recipes in my menu plans for the days ahead. Looking forward to reading your reviews!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Farfalle Al Porrie Salsicce (Farfalle with Leeks and Sausages Sauce) p. 329

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or, in my case, Fusilli w/Leeks and Sausages Sauce (whole wheat fusilli, in fact--bionaturae brand--the only real change I made to the recipe). I agree w/everything Breadcrumbs said, and wish I'd remembered her comments (!) about using half the amount of pasta to whole amount of sauce. I made half the recipe (of both), and while I liked it very much and would definitely make it again for myself, my husband was not terribly keen on it. He found it too dry (too much pasta--especially since it was ww--for amount of sauce), and (sigh), he didn't enjoy the prominence of the peas in the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, I thought this was a good recipe, very simple, made w/ingredients I had on hand--some leftover IS from pizza the other night, a solitary leek, half a shallot, and that WW fusilli I've been meaning to try. I thought the sauce stood up very well to the WW pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Farfalle Al Porrie Salsicce (Farfalle with Leeks and Sausages Sauce) – p. 329 – Chapter 7

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I made this for dinner the other night and we both loved it. I did make some slight changes after reading all the reports. I used half a pound of fusilli pasta, three sausages (v. the two) and lacinto kale, in addition to the leeks and peas. C was skeptical about the amount of pasta when he saw the sauce in the skillet. But, when I added the pasta to the sauce, it was perfect. A little bit of cheese and the whole thing came together beautifully.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I probably would make another addition next time - hot pepper flakes or crumbled chile de arbol. But, we both loved this dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Farfalle Al Porrie Salsicce (Farfalle with Leeks and Sausages Sauce)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love it when this happens. I had Italian sausage from my ranch delivery and leeks left from my CSA box, so I entered them in EYB. The perfect dish brought me right back to an earlier COTM, complete with reviews and helpful suggestions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I did as others suggested and halved the pasta for the same amount of sauce. I also threw some garlic greens in with the leeks. Otherwise, as written. Some of the pasta recipes I've been trying lately remind me of how I used to cook in my younger days. Dinner was frequently pasta with whatever vegetables and protein I had on hand, topped with a little cheese. But this was a pretty tasty version.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Stir-Fried Collards, Pg. 254

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because I had one half of a very large Napa cabbage to use up I substituted the Napa for the collards but kept all the other ingredients the same. Napa is more tender than collards so I didn't blanch and ice the shredded leaves first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Heat the wok, add some salt and let it brown a little. Add oil (peanut) then add garlic to brown slightly. Next add the greens and black pepper and stir-fry a minute or so. Three tablespoons of oyster sauce go in next along with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Quick and easy and good side dish for just about anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Sugar Snap Peas with Horseradish p. 259

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We really enjoyed this dish. We only made half a recipe and wished we'd made the whole batch. Pork stock (box) and soy is cooked until it becomes a glaze, add the snap peas and cook until done, finish with salt, pepper and butter (I did not need to add additional salt). Top with freshly grated horseradish. The snap peas were flavored with the wonderful glaze and the butter helped add a nice richness. The horseradish was very subtle, but added a nice aroma and gentle flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Ed Giobbi's Sweet Red Pepper Sauce for Pasta pg 318

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Made as directed, Sautee sweet red peppers, add onion & garlic and chili flakes to the sautee, when soft, add chicken broth s&p, simmer for 15 min., then put the whole thing in a blender and whir, return to the pot, add shredded basil before serving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Alas this was not a success for me. The flavors just did not meld in a way we liked at all. The basic backbone of the sauce, sweet peper, onion garlic, stock was wonderful, and purreed it had a very velvety texture that we liked, but in no way did the chilis or the basil compliment the flavor of the sweet peppers. If I made it again (probably won't) I would eliminate the pepper flakes and the basil, but am not sure what to use instead. Anyone know an herb/spice that compliments cooked sweet red pepper?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hi qianning, sorry this didn't turn out as you'd hoped. I love red pepper sauces and dips as well so I can imagine it was disappointing not to get great results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I really like oregano w red pepper (roasted, dips/spreads, sauces). In one sauce I make I puree roasted red peppers, and roasted garlic w a little lemon juice of, sherry vinegar and some veggie broth and then I serve over pasta and top w some feta. If I'm serving w grilled fish, sometimes I add some olives and or capers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                For a completely different flavour profile, I also really like smoked paprika (hot or sweet) w a roasted red pepper sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funny, I was thinking half sharp paprika would have been much better than chili flakes. Before I tackled the recipe I thought it was odd that the sweet peppers weren't roasted first or peeled, but in fact I didn't miss the smoky flavor, and the skin pretty much completely emulsified into the sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the real issue for me was definitely the spice/herb combination, and I absotlutely agree that oregano, fresh or dried, sounds like a better fit than basil. Oddly enough i i didn't miss acid (i.e. lemon juice, wine etc) in the sauce, although when I realized how "off" it tasted to me I thought of adding yogurt or creme fraiche, but as I only had low fat yogurt on hand, I decided discretion was the better part of valor.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Confit of Carrot and Cumin (page 244)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yet another carrot/cumin combo recipe. And another good one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipe calls for about 16 thin carrots. I had 8 not very thin ones at all, so I cut them in half horizontally and then into halves, quarters, or eighths depending on how thick they were. The carrots are sprinkled with cumin seeds, olive oil, minced garlic, orange zest and juice, salt, and cayenne. It’s all brought to a boil on a stovetop and then cooked in a 275 degree oven she says for at least two hours. Mine were falling apart at about and hour and fifteen minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My carrots were about two-thirds of the called-for one-and-a-half pounds. I used the full amount of cumin seeds (probably even more than the full amount) and garlic; only a tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of just one orange instead of three but the full amount of zest, and was pretty heavy-handed with the cayenne.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The carrots were sweet as could be—and so was the garlic. The cumin was pronounced, but in balance. I thought it was just wonderful This was my dinner, but I’ll definitely be making it again next time I make lamb chops. The affinity would be spot-on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That looks and sounds just delicious! Definitely will make sometime. I bet it would be great cold or room temp, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wondering how I missed that one, glad you wrote it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Spaghetti with Fried Eggs and Roasted Peppers, p. 339

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is just as good as it sounds - spaghetti tossed with roasted peppers and a fried egg that is broken up so the yolk makes a sauce with a little pasta water and olive oil. Other ingredients were capers, garlic, parsley, and dried bread crumbs. I used the broiler method for the roasted peppers, and cut down the recipe to about 6 oz of pasta with one garlic clove and other ingredients roughly halved. The recipe calls for baking the pepper mixture in the oven for 10 minutes, but to simplify things next time I'll just warm it in the pan after I remove the egg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Recipe link:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. French Fries pg. 292

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Made as directed using her duck fat option. Four russets are peeled then soaked in water in the fridge for 8 hours, then removed from the water, cut into sticks, then covered with watr for an additional 8 hours. Removed, dried, fried in peanut oil and duck fat at 300 degrees for 2 min, drained, fried a second time at 375 until golden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      These were delicious, pretty much the perfect fry. The recipe's similar to another that we have used, excpt that the soakiing times in Hesser's recipe are longer, and this really does seem to make a difference. We don't make fries very often, but when we do this approach is worth the trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, these sound lovely qianning. I've had some duck fat In the freezer waiting just the right cause . . .I'm imagining these along w some mussels. Thanks so much for posting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wanted mussels, but Mr. QN voted for fried fish, and so it was. Anyway, these fries made me glad that the duck fat had been stashed away and finally found a worthwhile use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Latkes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        page 280

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tonight the man wanted a potato, and even suggested a baked. But our two baking potatoes looked just a little tired. Not desecrated, but not exactly vibrant. Potato Pancakes, I thought. After searching eatyourbooks.com, I chose the Latkes from this book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Born and raised [for a time] in NYCity, I have eaten many latkes in my day. I have eaten them at friends' homes, and at restaurants, but never tried to make them myself. This recipe however, beat them all, without question. Oh my goodness these Latkes had the perfect balance of potato to onion, just enough egg and the perfect texture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You start by peeling the potatoes, and then grate them with the onions. I used the fine shredding disc for my food processor. She says the onion juice keeps the potatoes from getting brown, and it did! While this sits, separate two eggs, and measure out some potato flour, salt, white pepper and chop some parsley. I didn't use the parsley, substituting fresh thyme from my garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bit by bit, squeeze the potato/onion mixture with your hands and place in a dry bowl. When all the potato mixture is in the bowl, add the egg yolks, salt, pepper and herbs and mix with your hands. The recipe calls for 2 tbl of potato flour, but I only needed 1.5 [ish.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Whip the egg whites to a stiff peak and then fold into the potato mixture, again with your hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pan fry the latkes for 6 minutes, flipping at the half way point. Each latke was about 2 tablespoons. Though she recommends corn oil, I used peanut since that is what I had. I am not kosher, heck not even Jewish, so I served with some sour cream that I had added freshly picked chives from the garden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Definately a keeper!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          smtucker what a wonderful report! I felt as though I was right there alongside you. If only I could have a bite . . . these sound so delicious. I tend to skip right over recipes calling for stiff egg whites but I'll have to give this another look. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I just bought the book, and perused the recipes to see what recipes I have already made since I have been a fan of the NY Times Cooking section for many years and have many of the books from the Craig Claiborne, Pierre Franey, Jean Hewitt years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One recipe that no one mentioned that has been a keeper for our family is the "Lentil-Feta Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette." My grown children now make it for their children. It is easy and good for a pot-luck or a summer meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: veggielover

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good to know veggie, I'll make a note of your recommendation in my book. The combination of ingredients sounds wonderful, I know we'd enjoy the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Fresh Corn Griddle Cakes with Parmesan [and Chives], page 282

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wanted a side dish for oven roasted lobster and ribeye (surf and turf for our belated Valentine's day) and I didn't want potatoes or noodles or bread, but I felt like some type of starch would be good. Also my middle daughter doesn't like lobster, but she loves corn so I thought it would be nice to make something special for her to enjoy, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I used frozen sweet corn rather than fresh and since the quantity is for 4 medium corn ears, I kind of guessed on the correct frozen quantity. The method is interesting, as you are supposed to grate the fresh corn off the cob into a bowl. Figuring this would break down the kernels a fair amount, I ran my partially defrosted frozen corn in the food processor for a few pulses. You add flour, grated parmesan, 1 egg and salt and pepper. You are also supposed to add chives but I didn't have these and so omitted. With the only liquid being the egg, my batter was too dry to really mix (presumably fresh corn would have been juicier) so I added a small splash of milk to allow it to come together. the batter remained very thick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            These are sauteed in butter in a nonstick skillet. They were really too thick to pour and I was afraid they wouldn't hold together. But once the first side got browned, they held together enough to turn and plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I really enjoyed these little summery patties, although in the end I don't think it was a great accompaniment for the meal. The mixture of sweet corn and parmesan was an interesting pairing, which I don't think I would have picked out as a good one. It actually worked together well, although I think they would have been better without the parmesan for a complement to the lobster and ribeye. These did better as a hors d'oeuvre than as a side dish. Although as an hors d'oeuvre they could have used a little dollop of creme fraiche or something to perk them up.