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December 2014 & February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 9-12

Welcome to our February COTM: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 9-12: Fish, Shellfish, Poultry, Game, Beef, Veal, Lamb, Pork, Sauces, Dressings, Condiments, Rubs and Preserves

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. Ok, last review for me this early morning. And this one's a good one. The Meat and Spinach Loaf (p. 524) turned out to be a great tasting meatloaf, with a nice touch from the spinach. We just used a 'meatloaf mix' of ground meat from the grocery store, and forgot to buy the bacon so we went on without it. I imagine it would add a whole other layer of flavor though, so next time I'll definitely use it. A pretty simple recipe, it came together easily and without much trouble, and really came out of the oven looking great. One of the better meatloafs I can remember, but I don't really have meatloaf much so that might not be saying much, although I'd definitely make it again. Paired with the Mashed Potatoes Anna (p.294) and String Beans with Ginger and Garlic (p.260), which were all linked by the books serving suggestions, we had a great meal.

    7 Replies
    1. re: JVHcook

      Your statement "One of the better meatloafs I can remember" and from the book "...the only meat loaf I would serve to guests."
      Sounds like a must-try.

      1. re: blue room

        I agree. And meatloaf is a favorite among the little ones at my house. When asked what he wants for his 4th birthday tomorrow, my oldest said "meatloaf". I think I will stick with our regular home recipe for tomorrow, but will mark this one to try later. I especially like that it has spinach in it. Definitely not above trying to sneak some green veggies into the kids.

      2. re: JVHcook

        Great review JVH, I'm really looking forward to trying this. Meatloaf is a fave at our house and I love the idea of the spinach inside. I make a lasagna w spinach and its our favourite recipe.

        1. re: JVHcook

          Is there a link to the meatloaf recipe?

          1. re: JVHcook

            For my final recipe from this COTM February I made this meatloaf and we were really pleased with it. I also forgot to buy bacon but as I used a beef pork mix from the Italian butcher I thought there was a perfect amount of fat. I couldn't believe how well the spinach incorporated- I initially thought it was way too much. In case anybody is counting we made a lot of ground beef recipes this month as hubbie is having dental work done and can't eat steak. After he's done we won't be able to afford steak either. ha ha. Hope Jamie has some good mince recipes. I'm off to pick up my copy of the Naked Chef at the library and turn in a my the library copy of Essential The New York Times Cookbook. I did buy a copy from Amazon and am looking forward to using it for many years.

            1. re: JVHcook

              Meat and Spinach Loaf, page 524

              We got some ground meat in our organic ranch drop this month so, a couple nights ago, I decided to go back to the ENYT, as I remembered posts about this recipe.

              I used a mix of ground beef and pork, about half and half. (I would have like to use veal, but none was to be found.) I couldn't get my breadcrumbs to pulverize enough (too fresh, I think), so I threw it in with the milk, parsley, and celery in the blender, which did the job. I used fresh baby spinach, just barely wilted and then chopped. I used pepper bacon on the top.

              As JVH says above, the spinach is a really nice touch. It also makes the loaf a bit lighter, unlike some brick-like meat loves I've seen around. The bacon on top adds eye appeal, and the drippings going into the meatloaf don't hurt the flavor either. Without a doubt, one of the better meatloaves I've had (although I admit I'm not a frequent meatloaf consumer).

              I did not make the tomato sauce, instead roasted some tomato quarters with thyme, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil (à la Ottolenghi). Mr Nightshade made a lovely multi-vegetable risotto to go alongside. A simple potato dish would work well also.

              And it is nice to have some leftover meatloaf waiting in the refrigerator.

               
              1. re: JVHcook

                I love this meatloaf. Since 2011 when I posted it has become a regular casual dinner party dish for us. I now make it with the bacon (I see in 2011 I didn't) and I'm making it tonight to celebrate successful dental work for me. It will be accompanied by mashed potatoes and zucchini. There will be leftovers but I'm betting it freezes well.

              2. I made the boeuf bourguignon II, and it was possibly the best boeuf bourguinon I have ever made, and this is a dish I have made since I was a teenager! However, I was intrigued by the method described in the first recipe, and I would be tempted to try that the next time.

                7 Replies
                1. re: roxlet

                  Quite an endorsement, wow! How did it compare in complexity to other BB recipes you've tried? Can't wait to hear how BBI compares!

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    You know, I'm just not sure, but it might have been the cognac, because there is very little else that truly differs! It also could have partly been the meat. My husband has taken to buying a whole chuck at the Restaurant Depot, and breaking the meat down into roasts, chopped meat and stew meat.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      You're so right about the meat roxlet, I find some of our favourite dishes can turn out completely different if we purchase meat from a new spot. Glad you've found a great source and, this recipe sounds like a winner. I'd bookmarked both recipes but will definitely start w this one! Thanks for posting.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Well, maybe it WAS the meat. My husband bought another chuck and when I looked at the package, I realized that it is prime chuck. Prime chuck. Who ever heard of that??!!

                  2. re: roxlet

                    Hello everyone. I'm a long-time lurker and first-time poster.

                    I made the Boeuf Bourguignon II a few nights ago and in short, it was a big winner. The beef was incredibly tender with a deep, rich flavor. I made it to serve over the Spaetzle (page 525), which I'll comment on separately.

                    This was an ambitious and time-consuming recipe for me. It took 4 ½ hours from start to finish. Of course, simultaneously watching a marathon of cheesy television probably slowed me down a bit.

                    Some notes and lessons learned:

                    After an hour of chopping, dicing, dredging and browning, I gave up on browning the meat "on all sides." Instead, I browned each cube (using the word "cube" VERY loosely here) on the top and bottom, then called it a day.

                    So far I haven't met the casserole dish large enough to hold this volume of food. Instead I filled three medium-sized dishes. This and the 2-sides browning were the only deviations that I made from the recipe.

                    A taste test immediately before the 1 ½-hour baking step left me pessimistic. At that point the meat was bland and tough. That just set up a nice surprise, because a taste test 90 minutes later made me a convert. I'm eating leftovers as I type and still can't believe something so delicious came from my kitchen.

                    As yummy as the leftovers are, there's little difference between now and when I first made it. So I'm not convinced that it's necessary to make a day in advance. However for convenience sake on busy days, it's a great item to have already made and waiting in the refrigerator. I'll also freeze a few portions from this batch to determine how well it freezes and reheats.

                    And for the little kid in me…the flaming cognac was AWESOME!

                    Cheers.

                    1. re: MollySunshine

                      Welcome, Molly, and thanks for the great writeup! While I've never done the flaming-liquor-in-the-pan thing myself, but I fully admit to glee when I've had crepes Suzette flamed at the table at creperies.

                      1. re: MollySunshine

                        Welcome Molly, great write up. I love boeuf bourguignon, and to your point, I've never browned more than a few sides of the cubes and it always turns out great.

                    2. Yucaton Fish with Crisp Garlic p. 431

                      This was a winner for us, although with some slight modifications. But I would say, if you don't like lime, you might want to skip this one.

                      This recipe is a minimalist one, and thus pretty simple. You start by browning 5 sliced garlic cloves in canola oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. This is then reserved. Next you take flounder (or other white fish) fillets and cook in a large nonstick skillet with dried hot chiles. The instructions don't say anything about breaking up the chiles and I did not. I used 2 whole dried arbol peppers and they didn't seem to add much heat. If I wanted this hot, I would definitely add more, or break up the chiles next time. Conspicuously absent was any instrucyion to season the fish. Normally, I would have salted and peppered the fish before searing, but I tried to be a good COTMer and followed the recipe, so just into the pan naked with the oil and peppers. after 2 minutes, you turn down the heat and add fresh lime juice (almost 1/2 cup) and cherry tomatoes (optional, I used). You are supposed to cook another 2minutes until cooked through. The recipes explicitly states "do not turn the fish". Now, my flounder fillets were huge, about 3/4 lb each and pretty thick. They were nowhere near cooked through at the end of the second 2 minutes. Hesser, in the cooking notes says to preheat your oven so you can finish the fish in the oven if needed, but I was using a huge skillet to accomodate all the fish (didn't want to have to wash 2) that it wouldn't fit in my oven. So I just flipped the fish. There was no indication of why NOT to flip it and I couldn't see what harm would come of it (aside from the fish fillets breaking in half). Once cooked through, you remove the fish to a platter and then stir cilantro into the pan. Then you spoon the cilantro and pan juices onto the fish along with the browned garlic slices and oil and additional fresh lime juice.

                      The final result was way underseasoned, in my opinion, but with the addition of salt at the table was delicious. Fresh, light, flavorful and easy. My husband who loves lime, loved it. The toddlers wouldn't eat it-- they saw the chile peppers go in and wouldn't touch it. I think it would have been too limey for them anyway. (They got a plain pan-fried flounder fillet and were happy with that). When I make this again (and DH has already requested that I do), I will up the garlic and cilantro. My husband and I were fighting over the sauce, which is really like a cooked salsa. The garlic also becomes very mild as it is cooked. I would also season the fish before searing with salt and pepper and maybe a little cumin. I would also probably sear the fish on both sides before adding the lime juice.

                       
                      12 Replies
                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                        What a spectacular photo and, fabulous review g!

                        I've made some notes in my cookbook based on your experience and appreciate the detail you provided. I agree its quite odd that the fish go into the pan unseasoned. It sounds like your instincts were right on. A great compliment to you that your husband already wants it again!! High praise indeed!

                        Your post has made me very hungry!

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          Although I thought the final result was quite good, this one did make me think about what TDQ said about possible poor testing in Bittman's recipes. maybe the lack of seasoning on the fish was an oversight or an assumed step. I feel like the insistence on not turning the fish was also sort of weird without any explanation.

                          But still, those are pretty minor points overall for a dish that I will definitely make again.

                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                            Great review GENH! I've borrowed this book and SO's BD is on the horizon and he loves fish. This may be on the menu/

                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                              Great review and wonderful photo. I too have made notes based on what you said. Hoping to make this soon.

                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                Yucatán Fish with Crisp Garlic, p. 431

                                Greeneggsnham has this recipe covered and I agree on all points. I used 4 whole chiles de árbol and they didn't contribute much heat. Next time I'll break them in half. My fish also wasn't cooked so I covered the pan for a bit.

                                We loved this, and I am always happy when E likes a dish that is healthy (he said this was "absolutely fantastic"). I did make some changes. I used grape tomatoes cut in half and tilapia seasoned with Penzey's Shallot Salt, and Adobo Seasoning (garlic, onion, Tellicherry black pepper, Mexican oregano, cumin and cayenne red pepper). I also substituted the lime, which kind of defeats the purpose of a Mexican dish, for lemon as my Ponderosa lemon tree is covered with fruit. It's one of the reasons E liked this dish so much - he really loves lemon with fish. I also toasted more garlic.

                                I served with a romaine and radish salad tossed with an avocado-cilantro dressing. Easy, fresh, light, and healthy dinner, will be adding this to the rotation. Leftovers were great in fish tacos the next day (I sprinkled a little Penzey's ground ancho on the fish) with salsa roja, shredded romaine, cilantro, and more of the dressing thinned with crema. Taco picture: http://twitpic.com/3vaucb

                                Recipe link:
                                http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

                                 
                                 
                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                  Just made these tonight, went the taco route. They turned out great looking, and great tasting except for the spice, which was our fault however. All we had were dried Habaneros, and we ended up using 4 and breaking them up too. Turned out verrry spicy, we definitely should have used less or not cut them because we were using that type of pepper. Otherwise though we really enjoyed them, and followed some of your advice with the salt and pepper, as well as flipping them because we used a thicker fish fillet as well(halibut). Would definitely make them again, next time with less spice, overall a great and simple recipe.

                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                    Yucatán Fish with Crisp Garlic (page 431)

                                    Had some Costco frozen flounder fillets in the freezer and find them so boring I wasn’t sure how to use them up. Was so pleased to find this recipe—and the reviews.

                                    As I often do when cutting a recipe in half or quarters, I played fast and loose with the quantity of ingredients. I probably used the full amount of garlic and red chiles and half the amount of lime juice while using a quarter of the amount of fish. I skipped the optional tomatoes and since I didn’t feel like going out to buy cilantro, I used an ice-cube sized chunk of pesto. Took everyones’ advice and seasoned the fillets with s&p before cooking. My fillets were thin and ended up being perfectly cooked with exactly the timing given; no turning or covering necessary.

                                    I also loved this. Served it with a simple salad and kept pushing the greens into the sauce to soak up more of it. So good, and so easy, it makes me think maybe I should keep frozen flounder fillets on hand after all.

                                     
                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Did you have to defrost the fillets first or does this work straight out of the freezer? And was it a frozen ice cube of pesto you used? (questions from a gal who wants to make better use of her freezer).

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Yes, I defrosted the fillets first. They thaw very quickly--maybe an hour? hour and a half?--at room temp. And, yes, the pesto cube was frozen (or as frozen as pesto gets with all that oil in it). I just tossed it into the hot pan and it melted in seconds.

                                        I nearly always have Costco fish and shrimp in the freezer. Sometimes its the already packaged, already frozen stuff, sometimes I buy it fresh, take it home, portion it out, and seal it in FoodSaver bags. Although I have easy access to excellent fish, there are many times I just don't feel like shopping. I pull the fish out of the freezer in the late afternoon and it thaws quickly, as does the shrimp in cold, salted, water. I can make myself a quick, healthy meal in practically no time.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Very smart, thank you. I might have to employ that strategy!

                                          ~TDQ

                                  2. Chicken Roasted With Sour Cream, Lemon Juice And Mango Chutney
                                    I served this with the Bulgur Salad http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7632...
                                    We really enjoyed this dish. The chicken was super tender and the sauce very flavorful. I know TDQ mentioned that her eaters didn't care for mango, but I didn't find the mango to be a major flavor, so I think you could sneak this dish by them! This dish really couldn't be simpler.

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                      Simple and inoffensive to mango haters. What's not to love? Thank you!

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                        This one was on my list of "to-make" dishes KN, so glad to hear its a success. Did you make any revisions at all or was the dish good as is?

                                        I don't recall whether you have to make the chutney or use prepared. If its the latter, which brand did you use?

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          I made it as is (for once!). I considered using my new curry that I got at Penzey's that the lady called the 'Cadillac of curries', but I wimped out because it's expensive! I used my regular Penzey's curry, half of the spicy, half of the sweet. I don't think it specifies on the chutney, but I had just about 2 T. left of Crosse & Blackwell's Major Grey Chutney, so I used that up.

                                        2. re: Katie Nell

                                          Did this taste very much like Mayonnaise? This looks great, but I'm not really very fond of mayonnaise and I'm not sure whether the dislike would transfer to the final dish. Should I try it out anyways?

                                          1. re: JVHcook

                                            I don't know? I don't really think store-bought mayo has a distinct flavor, at least to me. I just asked my husband what he thought and he said, "no, it tasted like curry"! Sorry, that's not much help!

                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                              No, that's more than enough help! I think I'll have to try it now as I've grown a new love for curry lately, and my family likes mayo anyways so if I don't I'm sure they'll eat it. Thanks for the opinion.

                                          2. re: Katie Nell

                                            As a side note, the leftover sauce made a great salad dressing! I was making my grandma's layered salad to take to a family lunch tomorrow, and I wanted to make a little salad to go with our pizza tonight. But, I ran out of mayonnaise, and in a pinch, I decided to use the leftover sauce on our salad. I added a pinch of sugar, a tiny bit of pureed red onion, and a tiny bit of vinegar. My husband had two helpings of salad, which is saying a lot for him!!

                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                              Chicken Roasted with Sour Cream, Lemon Juice, and Mango Chutney – p. 480 – Chapter 10

                                              Katie’s review above enticed us to give this a try. We’re sure glad we did. Here’s our story:

                                              We thought this dish was delicious . . . just take a look at our sorry looking picture below!! This smelled really yummy as it baked in the oven and we were so looking forward to trying it we completely forgot to take a photo! It was only when mr bc was scraping up the last dregs from his plate that he proclaimed “Crap! We forgot to take a photo!!” At this point, I only had a couple of bites of my piece of chicken left but mr bc swiftly whisked my plate away for a quick snap! While I doubt the visual will entice you to try it, at least you’ll know we enjoyed it!!

                                              This really couldn’t be easier, a perfect quick weeknight meal. Two boneless chicken breasts are placed in a baking dish. A sauce of equal portions of mayo and sour cream, mango chutney (like Katie, I used Major Grey’s), curry powder, juice of a Meyer lemon and ground pepper is whisked together and poured over the chicken which is then baked in a 450 degree oven. Hesser suggests 15 mins however ours took 25 mins. It all depends on the size of your breasts I guess. (Well, not “yours”)!!!

                                              The sauce was really tasty and well-balanced w no one flavour prevailing. I did feel a little guilty using ½ cup of mayo though . . . not that it didn’t taste terrific, just that it seemed like a bit much for 1lb of chicken. I’ve made something similar in the past using plain yogurt and I think I’d replace the mayo/sour cream w that next time and perhaps reduce the lemon juice since the yogurt has its own tang.

                                              As I was enjoying this I was thinking how good it would be w some broccoli or broccoli rabe on the side. . . . . next time!

                                               
                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Chicken Roasted with Sour Cream, Lemon Juice, and Mango Chutney p.480

                                                Breadcrumbs and Katie have given such great outlines of the process for making this that there's nothing really I can add. Except that it took far longer than 15 mins for the chicken breasts to be cooked through - more like 30 mins. Though I may have misunderstood the instruction on halving the breasts. I read whole boneless, skinless breasts, halved as being the double breasts, halved down the centre division between the two breasts but now I read it again I think it should have been each breast halved. And I think the cut should probably be horizontal to ensure cooking in 15 mins. My breasts were quite plump (ha!) so would have taken longer than 15 mins with a vertical cut.

                                                Anyway, we liked the end result. I wouldn't say I loved it, it was a bit too "fatty" for my taste but it's a good quick dinner when all you have are some chicken breasts and store-cupboard ingredients.

                                                1. re: JaneEYB

                                                  I agree it was too fatty or just too many empty calories for two people and I hear you about chicken breast sizes. Recipes are always so exact about spices, an area that deserves wiggle room IMHO, but seldom say how many ounces a chicken breast should weigh. I wasn't too thrilled with the recipe but my oven can get too hot so I think it cooked away a lot of the sauce- it was done in less than 15 minutes. I also felt there was not enough curry but I used Trader Joe's curry powder, perhaps a better quality or just more of it would have helped.

                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  How much sweetness did the mango chutney give it? I'm not a big fan of sweet in my savory, but it sounds pretty good ...

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Hi LM, we're not averse to sweetness so I may not be the best judge however, that won't stop me!! ; )

                                                    I purchased a new jar of Major Grey's to make this recipe and, I did taste the chutney in advance of adding it to the dish. I think that brand is sweeter than Cross & Blackwell's which is my usual brand. That said, We didn't find the sweetness to be prevalent in the finished dish LM, the flavours were balanced for our tastes. Perhaps you could just add the chutney a little at a time until it suits your tastes. Folks can always add more later if they wish.

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      Thanks BC. We're all fairly averse to sweetness in anything but dessert (we only recently got over the whole dried fruit in Moroccan food business). Maybe your suggestion of just trying a little at a time is the best, if I make this.

                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                      This reminds me, I forgot to report, I made this again with all Greek yogurt... my husband liked it better, but I didn't really like it at all. I'm sad to say that I'm just a full fat kind of girl! It definitely wasn't very attractive... the yogurt kind of clumped together. Maybe I shouldn't have tried *all* yogurt?

                                                  2. re: Katie Nell

                                                    Chicken Roasted with Sour Cream, Lemon Juice, and Mango Chutney,
                                                    pg. 480

                                                    I agree that this is quick and easy, but I didn't like it very much. Used Major Grey's Chutney and commercial curry powder, which I like and use all the time, and I'm happy with mayo and sour cream, but this sweet and tangy but umm .. gluey dish didn't thrill. And as you can see, the book is accurate calling it "shiny yellow."
                                                    I *think* this is the first recipe from this book that disappointed me, so it's OK.

                                                     
                                                  3. Southeast Asian Chicken, 2 ways. p. 489

                                                    This is another Bittman Minimalist recipe that I made and liked. Again, pretty easy, although I did manage to complicate the recipe a bit to accommodate the non-spice eating toddlers in my family. My first modification was to use chicken wings and thighs (total about 2.5 lbs) rather than a whole cut up chicken, based on my family's preferences. These are supposed to be marinated in soy, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. I split the batch and marinated some sans red pepper flakes for the kids. These are then browned in a skillet with a bit of oil. They are supposed to be finished in the skillet as well, but I put the browned pieces into a 350 degree oven to cook through since I wanted to keep the kids portion without the pepper flakes. Once your chicken is cooked, you get the split into the "two ways". You can then serve with lime and cilantro for a "Thai" style dish or add sugar, more garlic, ginger, RPF and fish sauce to the pan to make a glaze of sorts for a Vietnamese style chicken.

                                                    I served the kids the plain chicken with just the soy, ginger garlic marinade and they were quite pleased. For my husband and I, I tried both ways. For us, the "vietnamese" style was the winner. It makes a sweet/savory glaze which was great on the wings, especially. I am not having a superbowl party, but if I were, chicken wings prepared this way would definitely be on the menu. My husband didn't quite lick the bowl, but he did put an extra scoop of rice into the serving bowl to sop up all the sauce. I'm not sure how authentic this is, but it is delicious.

                                                    I served this with Japanese rice and sesame roasted broccoli. Overall, a big success.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                      Oh this does sound good g. Somehow, in selecting over a 100 recipes, I managed to miss this one!! Now I'll have to add it to the (growing) list! Yum!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        It really was good! If you get to it, I'd love to hear how you like it. You have your work cut out for you this month!