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APRIL 2011 AMFT/ Greenspan: Vegetables and Grains; Desserts; Fundamentals and Flourishes

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  1. Caramel Topped Semolina Cake page 438

    I tried this simple fine dessert from the book and I'm glad I did. I kept looking for the *flour* in the ingredient list-- no flour -- just thicken Cream of Wheat (semolina) in milk. Eggs, sugar, raisins (or any chopped fruit) and flavor get stirred in later. The caramel topping is sugar cooked with water and a squirt of lemon until it's amber. In my (black pan) picture below the melted sugar is just barely starting to turn color. You swirl this hot stuff in a warmed cake pan, then pour on the batter and bake. It's moist and sweet -- definitely serve it warm. Very happy with this 1st recipe from the book!

     
     
    2 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      This was my first too! I used plain Malt O Meal, as that's what we have on hand. I liked it, it tasted a lot like flan, but with a different texture. It was really good the first day, but not nearly as good the next day - it had lost that wonderful dark caramel taste. I think it would be good without the raisins too. My pan was bigger than the one called for, so it's pretty thin.

       
       
      1. re: sarahcooks

        br and sarah your cakes are wonderful! Well done! I've never tasted a cake like this before but you've piqued my interest. Pity you don't live closer!! ; - ) Alas, I'll just have to add it to my list!!

    2. Dressy Pasta "Risotto", Pg. 369, Vegetables

      This was a great start to AMFT month. Who would ever think to make a pasta dish based on the risotto technique. All the usual elements and ingredients are there and the final dish was luscious: creamy, and flavorful.

      Melt butter in a saucepan, add a chopped onion, cook till onion is translucent. Pour in broth (chicken), bring to boil then add the pasta. Ms Greenspan prefers tubetti, elbows can be used as well. I had neither but did have small orechietti so used that. Stir the pasta then simmer till all but 1/4" of broth has been absorbed. At that point pour in heavy cream (1/2 & 1/2) and simmer 3 minutes. Next add mascarpone (mild goat cheese) and freshly grated parmigiano. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary and lots of freshly grated black pepper. Take pan off heat, cover and let rest for 3 minutes minutes before serving.

      Really a very simple but delicious dish. During the time the pasta is simmering a side dish can be made and everything is ready to plate at the same time. There are additional bonne idees on the recipe page and I intend to make every one of them.

      I made Melanzane al Forno from Marcella's Italian Kitchen as a side dish and will report on it on Buttertart's thread.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Oh yum Gio! Hard to go wrong w mascarpone in/on anything in my books!! What a great idea this is. I'm not a fan of risotto as it always reminds of rice pudding however I can imagine the technique being terrific for pasta. I'll have to give this a try. I can imagine some lovely kale on the side.

        1. re: Gio

          oooh, sounds good-- and I have some marscapone to use up. Gio, would you mind posting the proportions, as I don't have the book and would love to make this.

          1. re: greeneggsnham

            Here you are GENH:

            Dressy Pasta Risotto

            Butter - 2 Tblspns unsalted
            Onion - 1 sm chopped
            S & P
            Broth - 3 3/4 cups Vegetable, Chicken or Boullion cubes
            Pasta - 1 1/3 cup, Tubetti or Elbows
            Heavy cream - 1/2 cup
            Parmigiano - 1/2 cup grated
            Mascarpone - 3 1/2 Tblspns
            Taste for seasoning and add:
            S & P - a little salt if necessary, lots of FGBP

            1. re: Gio

              Thanks, Gio! I love the idea of pasta risotto. Will report back once I get around to making it.

              1. re: Gio

                So I finally got around to making the Pasta Risotto (Thanks again, Gio for the ingredients). Gio did a great job of describing the technique so I won't repeat. I used orzo instead of tubetti or elbows and this created even more of a risotto mimic. Other than that, I followed the recipe faithfully.

                This was a pretty quick and easy recipe with a very savory and creamy result. I thought it was great and was sure the family would like it. Unfortunately, the kids turned up their noses at this. I found this surprising and frustrating, especially as they love all things macaroni and cheese and love Parmigiano, which is the main flavor aside from chicken broth. As a result, I ate this for lunch for the past 2 days. I'm sure my cholesterol is suffering.

                So, although I really liked this, probably won't make again as the fam won't eat it and I can't afford to have a heart attack this young.

          2. Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin, p. 362.

            A couple of people reported on this on the earlier thread (and liked it, as did I) but did not post detailed reviews so here is mine:

            A head's worth of parboiled cauliflower florets are placed in an oven proof pan and then 1/4 lb of lightly-browned bacon pieces are scattered over. A sauce consisting of 1/3 cup of flour, 5 eggs, 1 cup of heavy cream and 3/4 cup of whole milk is whisked 'till smooth in a bowl, seasoned with s & p and grated nutmeg, and finally augmented by 3 oz. of Gruyere or Emmenthal ("or even Swiss in a pinch") stirred in-- saving 1/3 of the cheese for the top. Set the gratin on a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat of parchment paper and bake at 425 F for about 25 minutes until puffed and golden. Voila! A rich and savory side with a delicious reliance on heavy cream,, cheese and bacon plus a hint of nutmeg, that could never be mistaken for anything but French! Relatively easy to make and can be set up ahead, too, and/or served at room temp.

            We all scarfed this up, even the children, who generally resist cauliflower. I paired it with oven-baked salmon, but it would be a great side-dish for a holiday buffet, or alone as a simple "comfort-food" supper. As Dorie remarks, the gratin has elements of a quiche or a pudding; the puffiness of the sauce also reminded me somewhat of a simple souflee. She also suggested several other additions: onions or broccoli, ham instead of bacon, curry or thyme instead of nutmeg, etc.

            One thing: Dorie specifies using a 2 1/2 qt. gratin dish. I can never remember how much my various Emile Henri gratins hold, so rather than bothering to measure I lazily opted for the suggested alternative: a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex pan. She warned that this would be "a tad too big" and I think that the smaller pan WOULD be better in terms of the gratin filling it more completely. (Maybe that's why she suggested lining the baking sheet, in case of spill-overs in the 2 1/2 qt. dish.) My gratin spread out in the larger 3-qt. pan and cooked more quickly than I expected. The edges got a bit over
            -browned. Of course, I could have been checking more carefully for doneness, couldn't I? ;-)

            This is going into the dinner party/ pot-luck/ holiday line-up for sure. Might sneak it in to family dinners again, too. Cauliflower tastes REALLY good this way.

            16 Replies
            1. re: Goblin

              Curiously enough, this is my side dish for tonight, except I thought I'd halve the recipe for just the two of us. And...the main dish is fish too. Haddock baked in red wine (of all things) A Marcella Hazan recipe.

              1. re: Gio

                Hi Gio,
                Yes, I'd definitely halve the recipe because it makes quite a bit. Not that the leftovers aren't tasty!

                1. re: Gio

                  Gio - as you saw, this one was on my short list. I plan to make it Monday night. Didn't know whether I should half it or just eat the leftovers for lunch for a couple of days...let me know how your halving it works, ok?

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin, Pg. 362

                    Well, we did make this gratin last night and loved it. I followed the recipe, but halved the sauce ingredients because the cauliflower I had was smaller then most, I thought. and there's just two of us here. I used a smaller baking dish than Goblin, about 8" X 11", placed on a parchment lined baking tray. There was no spillage, the gratin fit perfectly. However, I'm sorry I only made half a recipe. The proportions worked out OK and even at half a recipe we have leftovers, but I think the whole recipe would have been better. One thing I must say is that I think 10 minutes to parboil the cauliflower is too long because it was just too soft at the end. This is a terrific dish and rather easy to make... I recommend it heartily

                    The main dish was from Marcella's Italian Kitchen, fish cooked in red wine.

                    1. re: Gio

                      If I didn't have pastrami and makings for a good sandwich tonight, I'd go ahead and make it. I wonder if it would freeze okay? I have one of those food saver things. I'm going to make the entire recipe at any rate; could give some to the neighbor.....I want to add a pinch of aleppo or cayenne pepper, ya think?

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        Oh def add the heat... I should have. Also, I was tempted to sprinkle the top with a little Paprika. My Mum used to just for color.

                        1. re: bayoucook

                          Gio is right about not parboiling the cauliflower florets for the full 10 minutes--I'd say just until barely al dente. They cook in the oven and also seem to soften up a bit more as refrigerated left-overs

                          1. re: Goblin

                            I'll be careful with that, don't want the cauliflower too soft.

                        2. re: Gio

                          I made it Monday night as planned and we loved it. Made the entire recipe and shared some with the bachelor neighbor. Used 1 2/3 cup of half and half since that's what I had. Add about 1/3 tsp. cayenne, may add a touch more next time. Having the leftovers tonight, and had some for lunch yesterday. Will definately make it again and play with it some more; a keeper.

                            1. re: dkennedy

                              Many apologies, DK, I'm just seeing your question now. The fish was... interesting. (I made a report of it in Buttertart's Hazan thread.) The red wine turns the lucious white fish rosy but doesn't add much else to it. We used a burgundy. Here's a link to that report...
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7743...

                      2. re: Goblin

                        That's one of my "top ten" - got the ingredients to make it early this week. SO glad to know it's as good as it seems!

                        1. re: Goblin

                          Thank you Goblin for all the detail in your post. With it I was able to make the Cauliflower Bacon Gratin without the book - which grrrr, hasn't yet come from the library.

                          I followed the some of the "variations" suggested and used diced ham instead of bacon. Also, since I only had 1/2 head of cauliflower, I added in a half dozed sliced and sauteed leeks from the garden.

                          This was delicious, but I think rather more well suited as a side dish than "as a simple 'comfort -food' supper." For the latter purpose, and that was mine, I felt the ratio of cauliflower (even halved) was too high for the amount of "soufflé." And it could have used more cheese....I love cheesey things.....

                           
                          1. re: clamscasino

                            Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
                            As noted by others, a decadent and delicious treatment for cauliflower. The only change I made to the recipe was to replace the cream and milk with half and half, as that was what I had on hand. A lovely dish, although quite a bit richer than I generally serve on the average Tuesday evening. As a bonus, my cauliflower-hating son scarfed it down. I wouldn't hesitate to make it again, but would probably save it for a more special occasion.

                          2. re: Goblin

                            Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin – p. 362

                            My turn w this tonight and after enjoying the Potato Gratin so much and, sampling the absolutely stellar Chicken in a Pot, maybe my expectations were set a bit too high for this dish tonight. I loved the idea of it, certainly all the individual ingredients appeal and, in terms of presentation, without a doubt it’s a lovely looking dish. All that said, I liked but didn’t love this dish. mr bc, as you may know, is my resident veggie-hater, and he proclaimed this a hit. (Not that the cream, bacon and cheese might have had anything to do w that!!).

                            I followed the recipe as set out in the book and made no modifications at all. In hindsight I’m wondering if I might have preferred it w some onions or scallions…

                            It did seem to liven up w a sprinkling of salt at the table and perhaps my bacon was just not salty enough (though that’s what I usually love about this bacon, it’s not too salty). Not sure I’d make this again. I'm wondering if I might prefer it for breakfast?

                            We served this w Marcella Hazan’s tasty Sautéed Snapper w Mushrooms from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

                             
                             
                             
                             
                          3. Mashed Potatoes – p. 355

                            It seemed funny to be following a recipe for mashed potatoes but since I intended to serve some anyway, I thought I’d give this a go. Also, I was taken by the fact that DG had devoted an entire page to mashed potatoes and figured that there must be something special about them. Three preparations are discussed and I took a little bit from each.

                            I peeled and chopped 2lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes and once they’d boiled until tender, I riced them over some butter I melted in the still hot pan. While potatoes boiled I warmed a mixture of milk and cream. I stirred this into the potato/butter mix until a smooth texture was achieved. Since DG mentions that the French refer to mashed potatoes as a “puree” I opted for a looser mash than I would normally make so in the end, my potatoes really did resemble a puree.

                            I seasoned w some S&P along w a little roasted garlic puree that I’d stirred into the milk.

                            Lots of cream, butter, potatoes…needless to say, these were truly scrumptious and not at all healthy! Go figure! If you want a treat, make these potatoes!

                            We served these along w grilled lamb chops and Tuscan Kale w pine nuts and golden raisins. The two appetizers were also from the COTM, here’s a link to that review:

                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7758...

                             
                             
                             
                             
                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Simply Spendiferous BC. I'm not touching that recipe with a 10 foot wooden spoon...LOL

                            2. Brown-Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts en Papillote page 352
                              Our little local Saturday farmers market opened yesterday, but produce consisted mainly of potatoes and Jerusalem chokes. One vendor had the cutest, leafy, baby brussels sprouts, so I came home and found this recipe. Brussels sprouts are tossed with butternut squash cubes, chopped peeled apples, olive oil, salt and pepper. They are topped with a little bit of brown sugar and fresh sage leaves, and cooked in aluminum foil.
                              As I see it there were two problems with cooking in packets. It's a much bigger deal to check for doneness when you have to open or slit the foil. And the contents tend to produce liquid and consequently steam themselves. In the 25 minutes written, our vegetables were very overcooked. The sprouts were a greenish grey, the apples were mushy, even the squash was slightly overdone. I did like the flavor combination, I would do it again, roasting the same ingredients in an open dish, so they would brown and caramelize a bit.

                               
                              3 Replies
                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                Nightshade, I'm so glad you posted this review, because I would have tried this recipe as written--I love B. Sprouts and have a butternut squash even now reclining on my kitchen counter. But your suggestion to roast the ingredients rather than steam them en papillote sounds logical to me. So that's what I'll try! Thanks!
                                Lucky you with a Farmer's Market opening near you now!

                                1. re: Goblin

                                  You're welcome. I hope you'll let us know how it turns out when you do it.
                                  I love the image of your reclining butternut!

                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                  Your photo looks appetizing LN and the ingredients do indeed sound enticing. Thanks for taking one for the team and doing a first run on this dish. I've made a note in my book for future reference.

                                3. Pancetta Green Beans, Pg. 333

                                  This is the second time I made these beans. We liked them the first time and again last night.
                                  We like the salty flavor of the pancetta with the rather bland beans. This dish is even better with fresh from the farm haricot vert... Served with the "Lazy Man's" roast chicken on page 200 and Orange Salad, page 117.

                                  My previous report on Oct 29, 2010
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                  1. Croquants page 410
                                    These are almost more candy than cookie -- well, no, -- they are more sugar coated nuts than cookie. Just egg white, sugar, flour, and nuts. I used a mix of pecans, walnuts, and almonds -- and shouldn't have. Since there is no flavoring, (no vanilla, no nuthin') you need the nuts to provide the flavor. One all-walnut or all-pecan croquant I think would have some interest, but I have muddle-nut flavored croquants. Good, and crisp, and sweet -- addictive regardless--but would be better if I had thought ahead.

                                     
                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: blue room

                                      I've made these with an equal mix of coarsely chopped almonds and halved hazelnuts, and enjoyed them. They're VERY sweet.

                                    2. Salted Butter Break-Ups. Pg 400, Desserts

                                      These became a fast favorite in our house. This salty-sweet butter cookie is heaven. Similar to shortbread, only better. It is the perfect example of how the simplest recipes are the most treasured. I rolled a little extra sel gris on top of the cookie (under wax paper) before brushing the egg wash on. Have made these many, many times and everyone has loved them. The concept of "one big cookie" that everyone breaks off a piece is really quite fun. Highly recommend this one.

                                       
                                       
                                      11 Replies
                                      1. re: apple342

                                        I've only made this once but loved it also. Thanks for the reminder

                                        1. re: apple342

                                          I don't know how I missed your post earlier apple. . . these look divine, far more appetizing than DG's photo in the book! I can't wait to give them a try, thanks so much for your review, I'd have missed these otherwise!

                                          1. re: apple342

                                            Made these yesterday as well - I think your addition of the extra sel gris is a good idea. We used 1 tsp kosher salt (she recommends 3/4-1 tsp sal gris or kosher) and, frankly, I would have preferred a little extra salt. That being said, they were delicious - I couldn't decide whether I liked the softer section or the crisp edges better, which for me is a standing ovation. On the other hand, they're extremely dangerous to make when it's just two of you that live alone. I keep having to remind myself that what we're polishing off in less than two days is in fact an entire batch of cookies. It's the only thing that stops me...and the entire thing is almost gone.

                                            1. re: apple342

                                              How do you think this would mail? Does it break apart easily?

                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                I didn['t find it all that fragile. I think, with proper packing, it would mail just fine.

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  Katie Nell, I have mailed this several times but, not as one big cookie...I broke up and put in tin and in cello bags with ribbon. Everyone loves the unusual shapes--sort of like brittle. Eases the mind of "breakage" if you know what I mean!

                                                2. re: apple342

                                                  Salted Butter Break-Ups. Pg 400, Desserts

                                                  I made these last night for book group and they were a huge hit. I wish I had read the earlier posts about extra salt though. I used 1 t of diamond crystal kosher salt and the cookie could have used a bit more salt. I think I'll try sprinkling a bit of maldon salt before the egg wash.

                                                  Breaking the cookie as a group was also fun. Big thumbs up for this simple and uber delicious cookie.

                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                    Thanks for the bump on this. I haven't made in ages.

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      I made these a second time and they weren't quite as good. The difference was the fridge resting time. The first time, the dough rested overnight. The second time, the dough rested for a hair over an hour. Even though the recipe calls for an hour rest, the cookie tasted significantly better with a longer resting time.

                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                        That's good to know. I need to try these again.

                                                    2. re: apple342

                                                      Dorie recently shared this recipe on her website so I thought I'd paste a link here for folks who may not have the book or, may not want to bother pulling it off the shelf!!

                                                      Here it is:

                                                      http://doriegreenspan.com/2013/05/jam...

                                                    3. Everyday Vinaigrette – p. 484 (Fundamentals and Flourishes)

                                                      I feel a little odd reviewing such a straightforward recipe but since DG devotes almost 2 pages to the base recipe and variations, I felt I might as well include my thoughts/experience here.

                                                      The recipe itself is pretty standard. One part acid to three parts oil along w some Dijon mustard, S&P. In the base recipe DG recommends red or white wine vinegar (I used white). DG does not include shallots, garlic or herbs in her base recipe though her head note certainly acknowledges that you may wish to do so. Since I intended to store leftovers in the fridge, I decided not to add herbs (which I find shorten the shelf life of dressings) but I did add some crushed garlic. I always find that the success of vinaigrettes (like most dishes w very few ingredients) is relative to the quality of ingredients you use. In this case I’d recently purchased a wonderful white wine vinegar at a Niagara winery and I’m guessing that’s why we were especially pleased with this vinaigrette.

                                                      I made this recipe to dress our Salade Nicoise, another COTM dish. Review and photos of that recipe are here:

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7758...

                                                       
                                                       
                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        BC, I'm so glad you reviewed this "straightforward recipe" because it caused me to read DG's two pages and I learned a lot! Who knew (or remembered) that a spot of mustard will keep a vinaigrette from separating, or a drop of hot water will bring a broken vinaigrette back together? Not me. So thank you.
                                                        I'm planning on making and reporting on another basic recipe tomorrow--DG's aioli (p. 490.)

                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                          I agree Goblin, I really enjoyed reading DG's vinaigrette primer and like you, if I'd ever known a little mustard would help bind the dressing, I'd long since forgotten that nugget!

                                                          I also enjoyed here piece on mayo and I've flagged her lemon curd recipe from the same section. Looking forward to reading about your aioli.

                                                      2. Black Olive Tapenade, page 487
                                                        I made this tapenade to go with the Tuna Confit (page 305). This is an easy accompaniment that can be thrown together in minutes. Black olives, anchovy, lemon zest, lemon juice, rosemary, thyme, piment d'espelette, and olive oil are thrown into a food processor and blended. Very salty, of course, and a little goes a long way. This would be great on fish, or chicken, or just on a slice of bread.

                                                         
                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                          This looks and sounds great LN! I've added it to my list. mr bc doesn't love tapenades but I think the anchovies in this one might just win him over! Thanks for the review!!

                                                        2. Potato Gratin (pommes dauphinois) page 360

                                                          I first made a potato gratin at the age of 11, in a country house in the interior of France, watched carefully by my older French cousin. She coached me in French, a language I didn't yet actually speak. Proudly, when I returned to the states, I made this for my family and it failed miserably. Different potatoes, different cream, and no Gruyere to be found.

                                                          This recipe is a little different than my cousin's, and to be honest, I enjoyed this one more. The cream is infused with garlic and thyme. She recommends russet potatoes sliced to 1/8". I used the V-slicer to get very exact slices.

                                                          Though she says you can add some extra milk if the cream mixture isn't sufficient, but it measured out perfectly for us. The gratin is cooked in a 350º oven for 45 minutes. Ours needed longer to get browned, and in fact, I ended up using the broiler to speed that along at the end.

                                                          Served with a pork tenderloin brined in the Ad Hoc pork brine with some vegetables.

                                                          We don't often have cream in anything, but when the urge takes over, I will head right to this preparation method. It was excellent.

                                                          13 Replies
                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                            Food memories can be so powerful smtucker and the fact that this dish exceeded your expectations and, memories of a great dish you had in the past really enhances the appeal of this dish for me. Thanks for sharing those memories and a great review, I look forward to trying this.

                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                              Potato Gratin (pommes dauphinois) – p. 360 (Vegetables and Grains)

                                                              As soon as I saw the beautiful photograph of this dish in the book, I knew I had to make this dish. Holy macaroni…was this delicious!! We adored these potatoes, they exceeded our expectations and even out-shone the grilled steak and lobster tails we served alongside!! Sometimes it’s good to be bad and this is one of those dishes . . . if you want a scrumptious treat, do give these a try.

                                                              smtucker has covered the prep above. One aspect of the instructions I particularly liked was the “peel, slice and assemble” aspect. Normally when I’m making a gratin or scalloped potatoes I peel and slice the potatoes, place them in salted water as I go, then dry them before assembling the dish. DG has you peel the potato, slice it and place it in the casserole dish. For “planners” like me this made me feel as though I was living a little on the edge…peeling and slicing my spuds while the oven heated but wow, here’s to last minute prep….no extra bowls to wash, no drying potato slices and a HUGE time-savings! I’ll never look back!

                                                              I made everything according to DG’s instructions except that I simmered the thyme sprigs along w the cream as smtucker did above. The resulting dish benefited from the thyme-infused garlic cream. I don’t think we’d have loved the dish as much without that modification.

                                                              This is one of those fabulous examples of a dish w so few, but stellar ingredients, that just comes together to blow you away. One of the best potato dishes I've made. Everyone raved about this. One of our guests said he’d fight the dog for the dregs in the casserole dish . . . and he won!! The very best part is the lovely crusty cheesy goodness on top! Two forks up, this is a huge hit!

                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                The leftovers were also fabulous. Just threw them in the oven for 30 minutes after dribbling a tablespoon of milk around the edges.

                                                                Your picture is gorgeous. Such a lovely brown color.

                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                  Thanks smtucker and you've reminded me that I should have mentioned that at the 45 min mark, these weren't quite done and while we had browning on the edges, the centre hadn't browned as yet. I put them back in the oven for another 15 mins and we were good to go! Thanks so much for pointing these out smtucker. We loved them and your idea of simmering the thyme in the cream was amazing!

                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  i made this a couple of weeks ago and added roasted garlic to the cream mixture. It was pretty good that way.

                                                                  1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                                    Oh that does sound like a good idea AGM, thanks! I usually roast garlic in large batches then freeze it so I always have it on hand.

                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    Hi Breadcrumbs,
                                                                    I know this is not the right board for this, but I really like the look of your baking dish. I've just shattered the second of my set of three (originally my mother's set, so they only lasted four or five decades!), so I'm in the market for new ones. Do you like your baking dish? Do you know who manufactured it?

                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                      Hi LN, my baking dish is a Denby in the Harlequin pattern which I believe has been discontinued. I have a few Denby bakeware pieces and I really do love them all. They are great "oven-to-tableware" and wash up like a dream by hand or, in the dishwasher w no pre-rinsing (an issue I seem to have w my Corningware French White pieces).

                                                                      Being a UK based business, pieces tend to be widely available in Canada. I'm not sure whether that's the case in the US but they do have a US website. I took a look at their "warehouse/discontinued items" section and they have a piece in the identical shape, just another pattern/colour. It's on sale if you're interested, here's the link:

                                                                      http://www.denbyusa.com/oblong-dish/i...

                                                                      That said, from time to time I've seen the odd pieces available at our Winners and Homesense stores. These stores are part of the US-based TJX group of companies so perhaps you might be able to find some at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        Thanks for all that info. Found a couple of very tempting baking dishes on the website. Plus, we go to Vancouver quite frequently, so I can look for pieces there. Good to hear that the maintenance is reasonable.
                                                                        Thanks again!

                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                          Happy shopping LN, I'll keep my eye peeled on your photos to see if you find any pieces to your liking!!

                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          You people are wonderful! Not only bringing new cookbooks, recipes and techniques to my attention, but acting as personal shoppers as well! I've got the ebay item on my watch list, I'm looking at a couple on the Denby website, and I'm also considering some Revol pieces. Must decide soon.
                                                                          Thanks so much!

                                                                    2. re: smtucker

                                                                      This is such a simple and delicious dish. I made it tonight as a side for a grilled lamb chop and a salad au chevre chaud. Why is this dish so delicious? What makes it so good? Tonight was the best ever, which I attribute to a good potato.

                                                                      Yum.

                                                                    3. Butter and Rum Crepes page 411

                                                                      Tra la tra la this one makes me sing. Just excellent. The crepe batter is enhanced with orange and lemon zest, rum, (Cognac here) vanilla, and Grand Marnier if you like. This milk/flour/egg/sugar/flavoring mix is chilled for 2 hours. Then make 10 crepes, my pan is 7 1/2 inches (cooking surface, down in the bottom) as she suggests. They are delicate but easy to handle--didn't tear from handling. A little sugar sprinkle, they're done.

                                                                      The stuff that looks like frothy orange juice in the little dimple pitcher is the sauce--

                                                                      it's orange juice, lemon juice, honey, and butter. The sauce gave me a little trouble--she wants you to heat the honey, then cool it, then blend in chunks of "cool room temperature" butter. Didn't work--the butter curdled--I just warmed the whole thing and blended it. It's delicious and together they are impressive. I recommend these--you probably already have the ingredients!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          Those look and sound just lovely br. I especially love those crispy edges on the crepe, I can just imagine how wonderful they tasted. Yum! Thanks for pointing this one out.

                                                                      1. Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)--variation of Mayonnaise, p. 490.
                                                                        This was outstanding stirred into the seafood pot-au-feu on p. 308. Added a lovely note of richness and suavity and IMHO elevated the recipe to French country dinner-party status. It had been a long time since I'd made mayonnaise, and I didn't dare be a complete purist and use a mortar and pestle to make my aioli, though Dorie said this is the best way to do it. My blender worked just fine UNTIL the last addition of oil, at which point the mayo broke. . . but I managed to fix it (see later in review.)

                                                                        Anyway, as with the discussion of Everyday Vinaigrette (p. 484) that Breadcrumbs reviews, the introductory discussion of this section is very informative. The technique is so simple: mix one egg yolk with lemon juice/wine vinegar and 1/2 - 1 cup of oil--grapeseed, canola, or EVOO, plus 1/4 tsp (or more) of Dijon mustard and s and p. In the case of aioli, 1-6 crushed cloves of garlic are added with the egg yolk. The trick is in the mixing: the oil must be added in droplets until at least half of it is in, at which point a steady stream is possible. Still, despite my best efforts, when I was slowly pouring in the second half- cup of oil into the blender, my mixture suddenly broke and curdled.

                                                                        So there I was, stuck with a thin, sullen-looking liquid aioli. Dorie does not mention a remedy, but I found it on the internet: start with another room-temp egg yolk and add the aforementioned sauce, drop by drop. This time I slowly whisked the sauce in by hand and all thickened up very satisfactorily.

                                                                        There is a lot of room in this recipe for variation, which Dorie encourages: I chose to use a champagne vinegar because I wanted a slightly fuller flavor than pure lemon juice. I used half EVOO-half canola oil to keep the flavor somewhat light to accompany the delicate fish of the pot-au-feu. You can make it as full-flavored as you wish by using all EVOO and/or another wine vinegar. Aioli is good with just about any vegetable, hot or cold, and I think dipping pieces of toasted bread into it would be fabulous.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                          Goblin thanks for the great review and the tip on fixing the aioli. Good for you for not getting frazzled! I've made a note of your tip in my book. Does it get as thick as jarred mayo? I'm kind of picturing a looser texture.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            BC, I just went to the fridge and checked my homemade aioli for texture, compared to a jar of Hellmann's Real Mayo. The textures are almost identical, with the chilled aioli being barely looser. When I first made the sauce at room temperature, it was softer, but firmed up in chilled storage.
                                                                            When it "broke" the sauce was really thin and curdled--unmistakable! I found my remedy on the following eHow site--there are other ways to fix this, depending on circumstances, but the whisk-into-an-extra-egg-yolk worked fine for me.
                                                                            http://www.ehow.com/how_2313513_fix-b...
                                                                            Interestingly, Dorie cautions that aioli made from fresh garlic (I used 4 cloves) is best served the day it is made, but to me, the taste of the one I made three days ago was still fine--not noticeably bitter or "off."

                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                              Thanks so much for checking Goblin, that's great to know. It totally makes sense that it would be looser at room temperature. Also very good to know that the garlic/flavours have held up over a few days, I love coating meat w a little mayo in the summer prior to grilling. This would be fabulous spread on a burger, or chicken prior to grilling then w a light layer on the toasted bun as well!! Oh, and maybe some on the side to dip the french fries!! mmmmm!!

                                                                              Thanks as well for sharing the link, I've bookmarked it for future reference. Excellent!

                                                                        2. Sophie-Charlotte's Macaroni Risotto, variation of Dressy Pasta Risotto, p. 369.

                                                                          This variation follows the same technique that Dorie outlines on the same page for Dressy Pasta Risotto: 1 1/2 cups of pasta pieces (I used elbow macaroni) are tossed in a sauteed butter & chopped onion mixture, at which point 3 1/2 cups of broth (any type) are poured into the pan and brought to a boil. Cover; simmer for about 15 minutes until the pasta is done; adding more broth if the pasta isn't tender. Toss with a few TBS of butter and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, and serve. Cooked bacon, sauteed mushrooms or leeks may be stirred in too, but I kept it simple because this was being served with the seafood pot-au-feu (p. 308) and also to children--I wanted to see how they liked it.

                                                                          This is an easy preparation, and a nice alternative to rice. It wasn't as creamy as I expected from the original recipe's description, but I'm sure this was because this variation lacked the addition of cream and marscapone at the end. The result was still delicious--the pasta absorbed the onion-flavored broth and became tender and toothsome.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                                            I just misread the title of your post, Goblin.....when I realized my mistake I burst out laughing. I thought it was a verrrrrry experimental-sounding dish - Macaroon Risotto.

                                                                            I also made Marie-Helene's Apple Cake. Used Cameos, Granny Smith, Braeburn and can't remember the 4th one. Maybe Honey Crisp. This cake is just delicious. I was worried about it because it didn't rise much . I also had a hard time getting it out of the pan. I cut a slice each for husband and self. It's sooooo rich. It's also quite easy to make. This is a repeater.

                                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                                              Good grief, I awoke and looked at posts in the middle of the night, thought oakjoan's reading of the experimental sounding dish said "Racoon Risotto." Definitely not my cup of tea.

                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                This is like an online game of telephone!

                                                                          2. Marie-Helene's Apple Cake, page 432
                                                                            I've made this cake twice now, the second time was an experimental version. This recipe is frequently posted online so I won't go into details. The experiment I did with the second cake was making it gluten-free. Since the cake is pretty flour-pour and fruit-rich, I thought I had a good shot of making something edible. I think gluten free flour takes longer to cook than wheat flour. Even after adding additional baking time the cake was a little pudding-like. But very tasty. The cake made with regular flour baked well in the allotted time.
                                                                            I really like that this cake calls for four different types of apples. I used a Braeburn, a Honeycrisp, a Pink Lady, and a Jazz. I had my own little apple tasting as I was chopping, the differences are amazing: sweet, tart, sharp, rich, etc. Mmmm. And you can really taste the different flavors in bites of the cake.
                                                                            Next: I want to try this same cake recipe with fresh peaches.

                                                                             
                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                              "And you can really taste the different flavors in bites of the cake."
                                                                              Now that's cool--!

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                I thought it might have been my imagination because I had been taste-testing the different apples before assembling the cake, but no, I was not the only one who could taste the different apples. It is pretty cool!

                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                LN how clever of you w your gluten-free version and your use of multi-variety apples. I've been eyeing this cake and will have to give it a try. I do love your idea of peaches! I'm thinking pears and apples together would be nice as well. Thanks for sharing, you cake looks wonderful!!

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  I can't take cleverness credit for using different apples, that is what the recipe calls for!
                                                                                  I like your idea of pears and apples. One of my all-time favorite desserts is Lorenza de Medici's Miascia, which is a bread pudding with apples, pears, raisins, and lemon zest, topped off with rosemary.

                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  I've made this cake with a brown rice/potato starch/tapioca blend, to make it gluten free, but only had two kinds of apples in the house--braeburn and pink lady. I should say also that I subbed butter flavored shortening, the Spectrum brand, for the butter, because we're currently eating non dairy in our house. It still worked well, and was delicious, though a little gooey in texture. I do think that if I make it again without the butter, I would add less rum, because with shortening, Myers rum was just too assertive. Oh, and because of the lack of gluten, I added a tsp. of xanthan gum to support the structure.

                                                                                  1. re: amyzan

                                                                                    I used a brown rice-potato-tapioca blend also. What I missed is the xanthan gum, which I guess you are supposed to add when baking cakes and cookies. I'll try that some time. The cake was sure tasty, though, if slightly gooey. The regular glutinous one I made was completely cakey.

                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      Xanthan gum is not necessary for cakes and cookies. Generally, in applications where you wouldn't use a high gluten flour if baking non-gf, xanthan gum serves no purpose and is actually counterproductive. There is a lot of bad info out there on g.f. baking. People have tended to put xanthan gum into g.f. recipes without thinking, just because everybody does it.

                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                        Interesting. My gluten-free flour blend states on the label (in fine print, so I missed it) to add xanthan gum only when baking cakes and cookies. This is all new to me, and I don't know what the reliable sources are. Any recommendations?

                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                          Sure, you can bake gluten free without the hydrocolloid gums like xanthan gum and guar gum. But, they do make successful gf baking easier and more consistent. In my experience, xanthan gum does make a difference in cakes and cookies. There are alternatives like guar gum and engineered starches, but you need something to replace or mimic the missing gluten. Otherwise, cakes are cookies are going to be crumbly, dry, and have problems with shrinkage and storage. You don't use the same amounts per cup of flour to make cookies and cakes as you would bread, so those all purpose mixes aren't a good idea. The proportion of xanthan gum to GF flour for cookies, in particular, is much lower than for bread, but that little does go a long way toward cookies that have good mouth feel, keep well, and can even be frozen, portioned, before baking, for convenience.

                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      I've made Marie-Helene's Apple Cake three times now. Though the cake tastes pretty good, the consistency and texture seem a bit off.

                                                                                      The first time I attributed issues to using possibly stale ingredients and so I bought fresh flour and baking powder. While the second cake seemed to rise better, it still seemed too soggy or heavy.

                                                                                      For the third attempt I used two Ida Reds, one ginger spice and a Cortland. (The prior two times I also used a combination of apples, though I no longer recall exactly which. I'm pretty sure it was at least a Cortland and a golden delicious.) I guess I thought the Ida Red should hope up well and so I tried to use these (based on a friend's advice).

                                                                                      In any case, the last cake actually had the most gaps in the cake. I guess I should have pressed things down more, but I didn't do this the first two times and that wasn't an issue. Anyway, my cake looked similar to the picture in L.Nightshade's post (except for the third time).

                                                                                      When I look at Greenspan's picture in her cookbook, it almost looks as if she used thinnish squares or rectangles, rather than cubes. The picture also makes it look as if she placed the apples pieces in the pan, and then poured batter on top to give a top cake layer.

                                                                                      Does anyone else have issues with this recipe, or is it just me?

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

                                                                                        This was recommended by dkennedy over on the "What are you baking these days?" thread. I wanted to use up some apples, so I gave it a shot. I used only Granny Smith apples because that's what I had on hand, but I would definitely try this again with 4 different apples. It was very easy to put together. My partner announced that it was "better than pie." High praise. I'm shocked by how moist it is, even the morning after, left uncovered. I love L. Nightshade's idea to make it with peaches!

                                                                                         
                                                                                      2. Quatre-Quatres page 434

                                                                                        This is the cake that comes right after Marie-Helene's Apple Cake -- it should be easy to find if your book flops open to that favorite!

                                                                                        I've made this kind of cake before, but this one is so far the best. Flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and flavoring. The egg whites are whipped and folded in--you don't *have to*, but I'm glad I did, the texture is moist, lighter than pound cake. The topping is just crumbled brown sugar. I used vanilla and Cognac to flavor it.

                                                                                        Dorie G. says kids get this after school *across France* -- I believe it. Easy and delicious. Here it is, still cooling in pan--

                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. Swiss Chard Pancakes – p. 350 (Vegetables and Grains)

                                                                                          I had some chard leftover from the Chard-stuffed pork roast I made earlier in the week so after a quick search on EYB, I found this recipe and thought I’d give it a try. Only now, as I came to type up my review did I think to take a look at the old AMFT thread to see that JoanN had the very same idea 6 months ago!!

                                                                                          DG notes that these “farcous” (a type of crepe or galette loaded w greens, especially swiss chard) are typically served w salad as a main course however you can also serve them as an hors d’oeuvre w a topping. Well, that immediately made me think of tzatziki and since I had some Greek yogurt and cucumbers in the fridge, the plan was put in motion!!

                                                                                          JoanN also did a fabulous job of describing how these come together so I’ve pasted the link to her post here FYI:

                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                          I did adapt the recipe somewhat. DG calls for chives and parsley whereas I had my Tzatziki in mind so I went w dill and parsley. I also added the zest of one lemon to brighten the flavour of the pancake. Otherwise, I made these exactly as the book sets out.

                                                                                          Now as I said earlier, I made this to serve as an hors d’oeuvre this evening but they smelled and looked so darn tasty we couldn’t help ourselves and had to do a quick taste test . . . I mean really, it was the only polite thing to do, protecting our guests from potential disappointment!! Well, like potato chips, it sure was hard just to have one! We just loved these. We had ours warm, well fairly hot actually . . . just out of the pan w a smear of tzatziki on top. Yum! It sure was tough not to have seconds!

                                                                                          I really liked the texture of these, the three eggs gave them just the right density and added a richness to their flavour. The lemon zest did it’s job and added a hint of brightness in contrast to the bitterness of the greens and the richness of the eggy milk batter. Loved the colour too, just beautiful!

                                                                                          Really looking forward to warming these later and having a proper helping.

                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                           
                                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            I made these pancakes in a small version, to accompany soup in a meal I described on the appetizer thread. I used a much smaller amount of oil in a non-stick pan. Even so, they absorb quite a bit, and still required blotting on paper towels. I started out doing five to the pan, ended up doing seven and eight. I just used a scant 1/8 cup per pancake. The browning, however, is not as even with less oil in the pan (judging by Breadcrumbs' perfectly golden cakes).
                                                                                            I liked the idea of serving them with tzatziki, but since I was serving them with a white soup, I thought I needed a bit more color. I pureed some roasted red peppers and chopped up some peppadews, mixed them with a spoonful of sour cream, some lemon zest and a bit of piment d'espelette. Just a little shot of color and spice.
                                                                                            I love these! All the tastes come through, fresh and green, and enveloped in the rich tasting batter. I'm kicking myself for only making half a recipe. I wish I had a big stack of them sitting in the fridge.

                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                             
                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                              LN your pancakes look perfectly browned to me, just lovely! I like your red pepper sauce and will have to give that a try, great idea!

                                                                                              I have to tell you I did make the full batch and we've been snacking on them ever since. We wrapped them in a stack w waxed paper between each pancake and then put them in a ziplock in the freezer. We've been pulling them out as we crave them and popping them in the toaster oven to defrost/heat up. This works like a charm and they emerge crisp as ever! They're really addictive.

                                                                                              So glad you enjoyed them.

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                Yes, I made these night before last. I got to use swiss chard, chives, and parsley from our garden. These raised bed vegetable gardens are incredible!

                                                                                                We ate them as our main course with a salad.My husband was skeptical, but we all felt satisfied after this meal. The 1/2 inch of oil frying probably helped.

                                                                                                We loved these! We ate a ton of them, and I still have a few left in the freezer.

                                                                                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                  That's great to hear Becca, and how lucky you are to be enjoying veggies from your garden already!! Things are still very "brown" here at the moment.

                                                                                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                                    Becca, that is impressive that you have such bounty from your garden already. My house and yard sit atop a big rock, I'll have to look into this raised bed gardening!

                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                      Yes, it is definitely a benefit of living in Louisiana. :)

                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    Thanks for that info, Breadcrumbs. It's good to know that they freeze well. There is definitely a full batch in my future!

                                                                                                  3. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                    I made the chard pancakes, too, also in a mini-version. We liked them a lot. Served them with yogurt/garlic/cilantro sauce.

                                                                                                    I love all types of fritters and usually make Indian-type ones.

                                                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                                      oakjoan, can you recommend or point me towards a good Indian fritter that is pan fried, as opposed to deep fried?

                                                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                      I did a repeat of Dorie's chard pancakes tonight. Although the recipe specifies whole milk, I tried them with non fat. Perfectly acceptable. Still love these pancakes, did a full batch to have some to freeze. I served them with Ottolenghi's choka. Great combination.
                                                                                                      Pic here (served with pork loin):
                                                                                                      http://www.chow.com/photos/674022

                                                                                                  4. Broth-Braised Potatoes, p. 358 (I think)

                                                                                                    These are small potatoes which are simmered in a combination of chicken broth, water, olive oil, halved garlic cloves, bay leaf, lemon zest, herb sprigs, and salt and pepper, which combination has in turn been boiled for a few minutes before the potatoes are added. I used halved red new potatoes and mini Yukon golds of the same size; I had about 10 potatoes which added up to the specified 1 1/4 pounds. I did not include the strip of lemon zest, because as it happens I had no lemon. I also didn't let the broth mixture cook the full five minutes (a matter of impatience/timing), and I forgot to put in the rosemary sprigs until the potatoes had been cooking for a few minutes.

                                                                                                    All the above blips may have made the potatoes less flavorful than they were meant to be, but nevertheless they were a step up from simply boiled or steamed potatoes. At the same time, I don't know that I would repeat this recipe in favor of the Pommes de Terre à l'Echirlète method from Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking (my COTM report on that is here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6245... and I understand there's a similar recipe in All About Braising) - in which small potatoes are cooked in broth or stock until it is absorbed, then browned. Those are more delicious.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      Thanks for mentioning Elizabeth David's recipe. I also made the broth-braised potatoes, which we liked, but weren't amazing. Crisping the potatoes afterward sounds like a perfect way to add texture and flavor to the dish.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                        Thanks for this review Caitlin, I'm glad I read it. I'd considered making these tonight to accompany the Orange Pork as DG has them as a suggested accompaniment. I think I'll pass in favour of some orange or cardamom scented rice.

                                                                                                      2. Marie-Helene’s Apple Cake. It’s on page 432 of the book, but I got it out of a PDF on the web named FFwD.RecipePacket.pdf which you can download from Download the October Recipes PDF - French Fridays with Dorie http://www.frenchfridayswithdorie.com...

                                                                                                        I don’t have the book, but I have been wanting to try this recipe every since I saw the picture. See photos of the version I made last night.

                                                                                                        I didn’t have any dark rum, and the liquor store I stopped by on the way home only had big bottles, so I used French brandy (Courvoisier cognac) instead. Turned out to be a good choice for the flavor.

                                                                                                        I used Lady Alice apples. This is a new Washington apple on the market. It is really large like the Honeycrisp apple. To me it tastes kind of half way between a Fuji and a Honeycrisp. It is very crisp, a little sweet, but has a slightly tart edge too, so I thought it would be a good baking apple. Since the apples were so big I only used three.

                                                                                                        The batter was heavenly! Yeah - I know I shouldn’t have tasted it, but it smelled so good! A little taste when cleaning out the bowl. OMG! I hoped the 3 tablespoons of brandy killed any bacteria laying about (I was fine). The cognac mixed in with the other stuff was just fantastic.

                                                                                                        I baked the cake quite a bit longer than the 50-60 mins specified. It had browned beautifully on top, but any knife inserted in the center came out greasy and not really clean. Finally, after an hour and 20 mins and the top well browned we decided “good enough”. There was butter bubbling up the whole time.

                                                                                                        When I took the springform pan side off, the cake looked like it had the texture of upside-down pineapple cake - very moist, and soft caramelized sugar clinging to the edges of the pan.

                                                                                                        We served it with vanilla bean ice-cream. My husband sprinkled a little cinnamon on top. It really had a lovely flavor. The apples were great. By now the brandy had melded into the background mix of flavors. The slight tartness of the apples came through. Definitely worth trying with different apples mixed together as you really taste the apples. I just didn’t feel like selecting different apples this time.

                                                                                                        But my husband and I weren’t so thrilled with the whole stick of butter. I know - French cooking - they use tons of butter. My husband said it should be called “heart attack apple cake” because of the 8 tablespoons of butter, and of course eating it with ice cream......

                                                                                                        We’re wondering if it can be made with half the butter. I would prefer a less gooey texture. I even found it maybe a little too sweet. Do you think this recipe would work with less butter? Or is there a similar recipe that isn’t quite so gooey?

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: audreyhtx1

                                                                                                          Nice photos! It's so funny that you said what you did, both times I made this cake I kept thinking of my mom's pineapple upside-down cake.
                                                                                                          I bet you could get away with less butter. I rationalized that the cake made at least eight servings, and we rarely eat butter. Also, I thought the cakes were sweet, but not overly so, but I always measure scant on sugar. It is probably somewhat dependent upon the sugar content of the apples. Two of my four varieties were pretty tart.

                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                            Hi L.Nightshade. I thought you had a nice photo too. In fact I looked at it to see how big to make mine!

                                                                                                            I think I would like a firmer cake - less gooey, a little less moist. But I really don't have a good idea how to change the batter to achieve the desired result. My apples weren't super sweet, but of course apples always add sweetness to whatever they are baked in.

                                                                                                            1. re: audreyhtx1

                                                                                                              audreyhtx1- I know what you mean by too moist. The first cake I made was light and cakey. I attributed the "gooey" in the second cake to my gluten-free flour blend. I think this recipe is worth playing around with: less butter, different proportions of egg/flour, etc. I'll be trying it again some time in the future. We can both post back if we make it again with changes.

                                                                                                          2. re: audreyhtx1

                                                                                                            I've made this cake with less butter, and thought that to be sufficiently rich - if I'd used the full amount, it would definitely have been more gooey and moist, as audrey states.

                                                                                                            I'd followed the recipe on the David Lebovitz website - http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/11/... - which I assume is the same one. I used about 2/3rds of the butter, and that worked out well for me.

                                                                                                          3. Nut Oil Vinaigrette, Pg. 485

                                                                                                            This is a variation of DG's "Everyday Vinaigrette" which consists of: 1 T wine vinegar to 3 T EVOO, plus S & P with a smidge of Dijon. Nut oil, either walnut which I used or hazelnut simply replaces some of the EVOO in the basic dressing. Also, instead of red (or white wine) vinegar any mild vinegar can be used. I used champagne. I added a bit of Maille grainy mustard and a chopped shallot as directed. The dressing was for a tossed salad of Boston (Bibb) lettuce and grape tomatoes. A perfect vinaigrette for a fairly delicate salad.

                                                                                                            The main dish was Roast Pork with Mangoes and Lychees page 278, and the side dish was Herbed Potato Salad from Gourmet Today which seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper and EVOO only.

                                                                                                            1. Cardamom Rice Pilaf, p. 382

                                                                                                              I was looking for an easy side dish to serve with a roast chicken that had been marinated in yogurt and cardamom, and lo and behold, DG had a recipe for cardamom rice pilaf. The prep is simple. Seeds from 7 cardamom pods are bruised and sauteed with a small onion. In goes a cup of white rice (I used basmati), 2 cups of stock, broth, or water (I used 1.75 cups of water, as I had no stock), and 1 tsp of lemon zest. 10-15 minutes later, the pilaf is done.

                                                                                                              I had a couple of issues with the recipe. First, 2 cups of water is way too much for 1 cup of rice. I cut it back some but the rice was still wetter than I like - I think it would be better with 1.5 cups. I also found the cardamom flavor overwhelming and did not like encountering the bitter seeds. I would have preferred to leave the cardamom pods whole for a more gentle infusion of cardamom. Finally, I could not taste the lemon zest (as with another DG recipe I tried). I also think the recipe would have benefited from being cooked with stock instead of water, but this is not DG's fault.

                                                                                                              We had leftover rice. To reheat it, I combined it with a similar volume of leftover plain basmati rice, sauteed the rice in a bit of olive oil to warm and tossed it all with toasted sliced almonds and quite a bit of lemon juice. This version was actually very tasty and better than the original. It went well with the almond sole meuniere, reported in the other thread.

                                                                                                              By the way, the chicken was amazing! Highly, highly recommended. You can find the recipe here:
                                                                                                              http://www.food52.com/recipes/9275_ro...

                                                                                                              1. A bit silly to review a Poached Egg recipe, but since I tried it-

                                                                                                                I'd never poached eggs before, and I wish I had! A nice description of the steps involved and very very easy to make - I always feared a gooey, egg white soup in my pan, but they came out perfectly - served them over sauteed chard and beans for a hearty peasant lunch.

                                                                                                                Off to try the Salted Butter Breakups...

                                                                                                                1. Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli – p. 334

                                                                                                                  Scrumptious. Simple. Super-quick to make! We loved this side dish.

                                                                                                                  Gio originally made this last October and posted her review in the previous AMFT thread. Here’s the link to Gio’s post:

                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                                                  This is easy to pull together, perfect for a weeknight meal. DG notes you can also steam your broccoli in advance if you wish . . . another plus, especially if you were serving it to guests and wanted to minimize your mealtime prep work. I love make-ahead recipes like this and have a separate bookmark for them in EYB now.

                                                                                                                  We really loved this, nothing revolutionary here just some good quality, simple ingredients that come together to make a delicious dish. I can’t wait to make this w locally grown broccoli or even other greens in the summer months.

                                                                                                                  We served this w Chicken Breasts Diable, another COTM dish. Here’s my review and photos if you are interested:

                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7758...

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                    Breadcrumbs, the broccoli looks good -- but that chicken in the second picture IS devilish, for sure!

                                                                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                      Thanks br! Both were delicious but truly, the broccoli was my favourite. . . so yummy w the lemony breadcrumbs!

                                                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli

                                                                                                                      I'm sorry to say I didn't have as good an experience with this as you breadcrumbs, but I guess you are the expert in bread crumbs! Dorie says to use 1 1/2- 2 lbs broccoli, trimmed and cut into 6 stalks. I only had 1 lbs, and when I cut it into 6 stalks they were *huge*. My bundle of broccoli was three heads, so they were each split in half. I don't know if by "trimmed" she means cut off the stems, or just lose the leaves and dry ends, but I left the stalks. The stalks were inedible and hard while the crowns were overcooked. And the breadcrumbs had zero interest in sticking to the broccoli. I think you have to use really dry breadcrumbs or maybe panko or something, because mine were too fresh and didn't get crispy. That said, is broccoli with 4 tablespoons of butter, garlic, lemon zest and parsley good? Uh, yeah. But it was definitely too much trouble for what I ended up with. I would definitely recommend going the breadcrumbs route and just chopping your broccoli into florets or using broccoli raab if you want the long spears look. ::sigh:: I am just not very good at cooking this kind of french/standard european kind of food I think. I served this with the chicken(pork), apples, and cream a la normande and it was a lot of dishes and a lot of calories for not much reward, no doubt mostly due to my "skills" in the kitchen. It was a lot to do at the last minute, which meant I wasn't giving enough attention to either dish. I don't think I'll post the photos...

                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                        I just did a search and found that this is a recipe the FFWD group has done, and based on the pictures, I'm the only one who cut the broccoli into 6 stalks. Did I read the instructions wrong? Am I crazy? Am I a mindless instruction-follower? Help me out here! :)

                                                                                                                        1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                          sarah I read your notes before I went to bed last night and I was chuckling so much mr bc thought I'd lost it!! The great thing about forums like this is that you get a whole new perspective on a recipe. When I read the recipe and saw "6 stalks" I interpreted it as "6 portions" and since I was serving the dish family style, it was irrelevant to me. So I just cut the broccoli in my usual manner.

                                                                                                                          I simply can't imagine the broccoli cooking evenly (as was your experience) if you truly had only 6 stalks . . . the stems would be quite thick. The only remedy I can think of would be to "whittle" the stalk down w a paring knife so it's more slender.

                                                                                                                          In my view, the success of this dish hinges on 2 key things. One, that your broccoli is tender-crisp and, two, that your breadcrumbs form a fairly even coating on your broccoli. The easiest way to achieve this would be to cut your broccoli into florets as you mentioned.

                                                                                                                          You followed the directions perfectly Sarah, I just don't think they're very clear.

                                                                                                                          As for the breadcrumbs, you're quite right. I just used the dry breadcrumbs you can purchase at a bakery or supermarket. Very fine and very, very dry.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahcooks

                                                                                                                            I just had this same experience last night - I tried to cut it into six stalks, and gave up and just hunked it up - ended up with more like 15 or 20 stalks, which took WAY longer to steam than the 7 or 8 minutes the book said. I used an electric steamer, but it took over 25 mins for the stalks to give the way she described, which means the rest of the dinner went cold while I waited for the broccoli to cook.

                                                                                                                            I also had a tough time with the breadcrumbs sticking to the broccoli. I did skimp a little on the butter because I just couldn't excuse eating 4 whole tablespoons of butter on a side dish, but I think I still used about 2 1/2.

                                                                                                                            All that being said, the flavors were delicious. Now that I have a better idea of how long it takes, etc., and especially if I steamed the broccoli in advance, this could quickly become a quick weeknight staple because of how well all the flavors melded and how much more interesting it was than simply tossing some microwaved broccoli on a plate the way we often do.

                                                                                                                      2. (Not) Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good page 364

                                                                                                                        SO curious about this recipe after reading about it here:

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                                                        Since it's April, there are no nice little sugar pumpkins. I thought I could get a feel for the stuffing-of-squashes by using zucchini. I looked up stuffed zucchini recipes for the cooking time and temp, but used D. Greenspan's ingredients for the filling.

                                                                                                                        Not a success, though-- disappointed with the "everything good" part. Bread and cheese and cream IMO needs lots more seasoning, doesn't it? Also more moisture--I saw that one poster added chicken broth.

                                                                                                                        Well, it's silly to be critical of a recipe I didn't follow, but still, based on the stuffing I wouldn't try this with a pumpkin.

                                                                                                                        Love the idea, though, and the presentation. My pitiful picture follows.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                          This particular recipe is now referred to as "That dang pumpkin."

                                                                                                                          The best stuffed pumpkin recipe I've made so far came from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food when it was COTM Sept. 2010. Here the link to my report and following, Beetlebug's report:
                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                            Thank you Gio, bookmarked. And haha "dang" is apt.

                                                                                                                            To be fair, though, I had my leftovers this a.m. -- hey much better. The cheese and bacon and onion much more "there". The short 15 minute baking time for the (already parboiled) zucchini shells is so much less than the pumpkin -- no time for flavors to hook up/marry I guess.

                                                                                                                            Fall will tell.

                                                                                                                          2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                            Too bad these disappointed br, they actually look really appetizing to me. I was wishing I had them for my breakfast!!

                                                                                                                          3. Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps, and Garlic en Papillote, Pg. 348

                                                                                                                            Instead of the usual stir-fry method of cooking bok choy en papillote is a delightful and flavorful way to prepare this delicious vegetable. The sugar snap peas are "stringed" if necessary, the baby bok choy is quartered lengthwise, baby white onions are halved (I didn't do this since my onions were small),
                                                                                                                            zest an orange. Gently toss everything together in a large bowl with EVOO, and S & P. Cut four 12" squares of aluminum foil and distribute the vegetables equally among them. Fold up the edges and and seal the packet. I like Jamie Oliver's method of using slightly larger squares, sealing 3 sides, adding the food, then sealing the 4th side. But DG's method worked well too.

                                                                                                                            The packets are placed onto a baking tray, then put into the middle of a pre-heated 400F oven to roast for 15 minutes. The papillotes can be served whole on a plate or opened and served from the packet. We did the latter. Minced fresh mint is the garnish.

                                                                                                                            We liked this very much. All the vegetables came from our local farm and were not only beautiful to look at but tasted so fresh and tender. I think this way of cooking any vegetable brings out all the natural flavors plus the hint of citrus adds a little something extra to enhance the whole dish.

                                                                                                                            The main dish was Pollo e Limone from Mary Ann Esposito's Ciao Italia. Steamed basmati rice was served as well.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                              These sound scrumptious Gio and I'll have to look up that Pollo e Limone recipe when my book arrives from Abe's. Did you recommend it to me perhaps?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                I can't remember whether or not I recommended that recipe to you, BC. CRS you know.

                                                                                                                            2. Mango Chatini, 489

                                                                                                                              I looked and looked thinking some else already reported on this but couldn't find that report so here's mine:

                                                                                                                              This was made as a condiment for an eggplant and potato curry dish from "660 Curries". It comes from the Republic of Mauritius which is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa in the southwest Indian Ocean. It was once French. Curiously, the language is Mauritian Creole...

                                                                                                                              The ingredients are:

                                                                                                                              Lime juice

                                                                                                                              Grated ginger

                                                                                                                              Diced mango

                                                                                                                              Three scallions or 1 Spring onion

                                                                                                                              Fresh cilantro

                                                                                                                              Piment d'Espelette

                                                                                                                              S & P

                                                                                                                              Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. That's it.

                                                                                                                              Although we liked it very much we each had different thoughts about the taste. G thought is was a good accompaniment to the curry but didn't think it was spicy enough. I, OTOH, thought it was hot & spicy, complimented the curry, and the flavors of the different main ingredients came though nicely. He thought the curry was "mundane." (his discriptor for ordinary.)

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                G sounds a lot like M in choice of descriptor...

                                                                                                                              2. Corn Pancakes – p. 337 (Vegetables and Grains)

                                                                                                                                Since we enjoyed the Swiss Chard Pancakes so much, I thought I’d give these a try. My interest w further piqued when I read DG’s head note recounting an instance where Jean-Georges Vongerichten prepared them and noted that they were something his mother made all the time. According to DG, the French are happy to use canned corn in their dishes. Clearly!

                                                                                                                                I thought that the chard dish was simple, well then this was stupidly simple. Comes together in a minute, truly. Get you blender out. Open up a large can of corn, drain it . . . dump it in blender. Add 2 large eggs, 6 tbsp AP flour, ¾ tsp salt. Put the lid on and whiz away until mixture is combined but not completely smooth. Spoon mixture in a pan w canola oil and cook until golden. Yum, you’re done!

                                                                                                                                These were outstanding. If you’re a fan of corn, and we both are, you’ll just adore these. So delicious, so simple. Evidently JGV serves these w crème fraiche and caviar . . . not sure if that’s just like “mama” used to make!! I served them w our current addiction, home made tzatziki and it was a nice match. The sweetness of the pancakes played well w the tart flavours of the tzatziki. I could also see these being the perfect vehicle for a spicy topping . . . mini spicy pulled pork hors d’oeuvres? The possibilities are endless.

                                                                                                                                Top marks for these, we’d highly recommend them.

                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                  These look great! You steered me onto the chard pancakes, so I'm ready to follow you with the corn. The ingredients are the same as corn fritters I used to make (sweetish for breakfast, spicy for a dinner side) except the kernels are left whole in the fritters. I'm sure I'll like these. They'd look nice for a buffet, plated alternately with the chard pancakes.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                    Thanks LN and you're absolutely right, they'd be great together on a buffet. . . love the idea of alternating them!

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                    Silly questions perhaps. I still have white corn kernels frozen from last summer. Any reason I couldn't use those? I've been hoarding them but it's almost May for goodness sake.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                      I think they'd work perfectly c.o. - let them come to room temperature first and you'll be good to go! Let us know how you enjoy these!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                        Thanks. I have a little flying fish roe hanging about. This sounds terrific.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                      Fixed these last night and they were terrific! And soooo easy. And pretty impressive looking also, huh? Just the two of us so I froze more than half. This is what I love about COTM. Although I never actually "do" one of the books, I can just drop in and get great recs. This is such a wonderful book but it's hard to know where to start. Thanks all.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                        That's wonderful to hear c.o., so glad they worked out for you and I'll bet they were even better w your own corn!!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                          Followup question. I made the "batter" about an hour before cooking and I don't think it suffered at all. How far ahead would you do this? Could I do it earlier in the day and refrigerate? TIA.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                            Hi C.O. I prepared this and made this right away. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to make the batter in advance but I'd store it in the fridge in the blender jar and give it a final quick whiz before pouring into the pan. I hope that helps.

                                                                                                                                    3. Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes with Garlic, page 353.
                                                                                                                                      Just a simple roasted vegetable dish: peeled and quartered J. chokes are tossed in olive oil, sliced garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Dorie states sprigs of herbs, which sounds like you should add in whole sprigs, but I took off the leaves and tossed them. This cooks for 35 to 45 minutes at 400. I cooked it at 425 as I had a J.O. chicken dish in the oven at the same time, so it was done in the shorter time. I deviated slightly from the recipe by adding a few quartered radishes into the mix. The vendor at the farmers' market said that roasted radishes where the "latest thing." Who knew? Anyway, it was quite nice, if not earth-shaking. A different use for both J chokes and radishes, which now may be going into some of my regular roasted vegetable dishes. Kind of monochromatic, so the dish doesn't photograph that well.

                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                        I think they look great LN, I love Jerusalem Artichokes so all variations appeal to me. Lovely!

                                                                                                                                      2. Lemon Barley Pilaf pg 383

                                                                                                                                        We had this with dinner a few nights ago and really liked it. I've been "in the market" for some new side to serve with grilled fish, and this one really fit. We will be having this again.

                                                                                                                                        Some onions are cooked in oil (DG uses butter, I used olive oil), then the pearl barley is added and sauteed for a few mintes, then add broth and a bay leaf bring to the boil, reduce heat cover and simmer. One thing, her reccommended simmering time of 35 minutes just wasn't long enough, it took more like 45-50 minutes for the barley to really absorb the liquid. Also, I skipped the additions of carrot and red pepper, as I didn't want added sweetness in the pilaf. After the barley has cooked and just before serving chopped scallions and lemon zest are stirred in which adds a wonderful brightness and aroma to the pilaf.

                                                                                                                                        We had this alongside the Mediterranean Fish with Frilly Herb Salad from pg 297 and really enjoyed them together.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                          Thanks for posting this qianning, the dish sounds delicious and I'd like to give it a try.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                            It was good. Meanwhile, i finally found le Puy lentils (thanks gio & smtucker) and will be following you down that path this week.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                            What a nice sounding recipe, qianning! I completely missed seeing this, and with a package of pearl barley in the pantry this recipe is calling my name. I made note of your cooking time. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              Well of course the recipe was calling my name. I've already made it, doh. Here's my report from Pikawicca's thread:

                                                                                                                                              Lemon Barley Pilaf, Pg. 383

                                                                                                                                              Although DG calls this "an earthy gratin" I didn't sense that at all and neither did DH. Rather, we thought it was an OK side dish for the Chicken tagine on pg. 212. It's an easy enough dish to prep and cook and a nice way to add another grain to a meal.
                                                                                                                                              We used organic pearl barley which is cooked in a combination of sautéed onion, chicken broth and water, and bay leaf. After a few minutes diced carrot is tossed onto the mix, then a diced red pepper, with a few minutes cooking time between additions. Heat is turned off, chopped scallions and lemon zest is then added seasoning adjusted and the pilaf is served. It did pair well with the chicken which had quite a few flavors competing for attention.
                                                                                                                                              By Gio on Oct 11, 2010 09:36AM

                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7313...

                                                                                                                                          3. Asparagus with Bits of Bacon, Pg. 330

                                                                                                                                            Loved this. We like asparagus anyway but crispy bacon, not-too-raw onion and lemon juice gave this vegetable a terrific boost of flavor. It's so very easy.

                                                                                                                                            You take already cooked asparagus, we steamed it, and gently mix the stalks with lemon juice and nut oil, I used walnut oil. Season this with S & P and set aside. Now, cook several rashers of thick bacon over medium heat till well brown. Take them out and slice into thin strips then combine with a finely chopped small onion. Take away all but about a teaspoon of bacon fat from the skillet, and when this fat has warmed add the bacon and onion and stir to mix well but do not cook. To serve plate the asparagus and spoon the bacon and onion over. delicious...!

                                                                                                                                            I served this with an orange and lettuce salad from Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern food. ( I love this book so much I have to get her Arabesque too. I already have her Book of Jewish food and love that.). Additionally, we had the left over thighs from the papillote we made Sunday night, page 221.

                                                                                                                                            1. Go-with-everything celery-root puree p. 354

                                                                                                                                              OK I have been trying to make a decent celery root puree for at least a decade and it has defeated me – until now. This is the celery root puree of my dreams. You cook chunks of celery root and potato (in a 4 to 1 ratio) along with some chunks of onion in equal parts water and milk. Drain, puree in the food processor with a fairly small amount of butter and you are done. I had to do this in two batches in my smallish food processor and the first batch was very good. The second batch I got distracted and left it pureeing maybe 2 minutes longer and WOW, it was so silky I couldn’t believe it. That’s the way to do it, clearly. This was easy-peasy and simply amazing. Made half the recipe which says it makes 6 portions but my half made 4 good-sized servings. Served with DG’s Duck Breast with Peaces (prune version), reviewed in appropriate thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7758.... DG says this freezes well which I am going to explore in my on-going quest to keep my father well-fed during the week when I’m not around.

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                GretchenS, can you describe the texture -- no -- the thickness, for me? Can you stand a spoon in it, or should a vegetable puree be more liquidy?
                                                                                                                                                And hey -- you sound like a good daughter!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                  If it were deep anough you probably could stand a spoon in it. Put it this way, it held its shape on the plate. I actually did save out some of the cooking fluid in case I wanted to thin it and you could use that if you wanted a more liquidy version. As I typed that I realized that I entirely forgot that I did add just a smidge of cooking liquid to help in the pureeing process, glad you made me think it through!! And on the other, I'm starting to wonder if he might be getting as sick of eating coq au vin and lamb shanks and oxtail stew (they all freeze so well) as I am of making them but he says not. ;)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                    Hi Gretchen S, what I don't like about celeriac purée is the color - did this come out a more inspiring color than the grayish one I've come up with in the past? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      It wasn't grey in any way, more like a pale beige, like the color of parsnips. And I was thinking, this is probably the way to make good parsnip puree too.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          If gray happens, you can green it up with a small amount of dark green spinach.
                                                                                                                                                          I tried lots of vegetable purées because of Lee Bailey recipes (the 1986 book is "Lee Bailey's Good Parties").
                                                                                                                                                          My favorites for color were beet and radish, and carrots and cauliflower.
                                                                                                                                                          For flavor, a mix of Brussels sprouts/roasted shallots/roasted yellow peppers.

                                                                                                                                              2. Orange or Lemon Rice Pilaf, Pg. 272

                                                                                                                                                This is the Bonne Idee #2 for the Osso Buco a L'Arman recipe on page 270. But, since it's a rice recipe I thought I'd post it here. It's quite good in a citrusy kind of way and we liked it with Claudia Roden's Peppery Hot and Garlicky Fish. (The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, page 193)

                                                                                                                                                Heat olive oil in a sauce pan then add a combination of orange & lemon zest, S & P, and cook, stirring, till onion is translucent. Put rice (I used basmati) into the pan, stir to coat, then add chicken broth. Bring to boil, add a bit more seasoning if you wish, lower heat, cover and cook till liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let the pilaf rest for a few minutes. If you want to, stir a bit of finely chopped fresh basil into the pilaf... I did.

                                                                                                                                                The citrus gives a nice zippy flavor to the rice and makes this pilaf a standout.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                  This sounds like the perfect accompaniment to fish. Thanks for pointed out the recipe!

                                                                                                                                                2. Crunchy/Ginger-Pickled Cucumbers, Pg. 340

                                                                                                                                                  Loved these quick pickles. I have several recipes for quick pickles that I make frequently but these were different with a bit of a sweet gingery flavor.

                                                                                                                                                  Since a choice of either seedless or regular cucumbers is given we used 2 "regular" ones. Slice them in half lengthwise, take out the seeds. I didn't bother salting and draining them but did blot them thoroughly along the way. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise again then slice them in chunks. In a bowl combine the following ingredients: Sea salt, a goodly amount of minced fresh ginger and garlic, seasoned rice vinegar, minced cilantro and I included just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Toss in the cucumber chunks and coat with dressing. The pickles should be covered and refrigerated for a few hours prior to serving but they were in the fridge just as long as it took to make the Café Salle burgers on page 240.

                                                                                                                                                  The pickles are meant to be eaten and not stored. However if you do have leftovers DG advises to drain all the liquid, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge. We did have a few that we stored and the next day, while not as crisp as they were initially, they were still delicious. And, the little bit of heat from the RPF intensified.

                                                                                                                                                  The combination of the burgers and garlicky pickles is classic. We thought this recipe was very good and will definitely make it again.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for pointing these out, Gio, as they sound delicious (I am a ginger fiend!). There's a quick cucumber pickle I like a lot with saffron and a white wine/wine vinegar brine.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Vanilla Pastry Cream (pg 505)

                                                                                                                                                    Every year come strawberry season my quest for the perfect pastry cream/tart filling re-starts, and every year my hopes are dashed. Unfortuantely that is still the case, this Vanilla Pastry Cream was far too paste-y and not at all velvety.

                                                                                                                                                    I really had doubts going into this recipe as the quantity of cornstarch is so high (1/3 C starch to 2 C milk), but I liked some other Greenspan recipes well enough to give her the benefit of the doubt. The result was a ridiculously heavy gloppy "cream" more or less the texture of uncooked cream puff dough, dull and heavy.

                                                                                                                                                    Oh well, there's always next year!

                                                                                                                                                    16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                      As is often said on these threads, thanks for taking one for the team! I've made a note of your results, won't be trying this one.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                        qianning, this has me interested. I would think that the famous-for-baking D. Greenspan could do this. I looked up some other recipes for vanilla pastry cream and the ratio you posted is not at all much different from others -- it should have worked. Did you sift the cornstarch? I'm puzzled by your results. Never made vanilla pastry cream myself, but would have trusted Dorie G. Was the taste OK? Not doubting you! Just curious now.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                          Let's see, first I did follow D. Greenspan's directions to the t. And the recipe "worked" in the sense that the pastry cream was usable (although so stiff that I had to whip it before I could transfer/spread it into the pastry shell) and OK-to-So/So for taste, I certainly didn't have to throw it away, but not silky/soft enough for my preference.

                                                                                                                                                          It may be that what I want is not to everyones taste. But I've had pastry cream once in a while in very good eclairs or tarts that I love, can't tell you why exactly, or what "makes" it, but that's the taste/texture sensation I'm trying to acheive.

                                                                                                                                                          Over the years I've tried several different recipes/approaches to pastry cream. Off the top of my head the ones that I can remeber include: Julia Child's using flour and sieving the custard after it has cooked OK but not divine, Saveur's French cookbook which uses no thickener, delicious, but had no structure so as soon as the tart shell was cut the filling ran all over the place, Bittman which uses both cornstarch and flour and as I recall had a slightly undercooked flavor to the starch/flour. There have probably been a couple of others over the years, almost for sure including one from Fanny Farmer, but as its been so long I just don't remember.

                                                                                                                                                          Finally, one of the reasons I tried DG's recipe is that I am in love with her tart shell dough recipe, which is perfect (now that I know Joan N's trick of sealing the shell with egg white), and figured the pastry cream would be the next step.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                            Are you sure you are not trying to replicate pastry cream mixed half and half with whipped cream?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                Ok, that puts my mind at ease, you were looking for a lighter texture which can be achieved with whipped cream. I was thinking of just stirring more liquid cream into it but of course that wouldn't have worked well.
                                                                                                                                                                This board is supposed to be "Home Cooking" but I swear 95% of the posters here have worked in restaurants/bakeries--everybody knows so much! And I'm letting it all soak in, thank you.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                              Specifically her tart shell dough in this book? As far as pastry cream goes, I love the one in Nick Malgieri's How to Bake (cornstarch) even without whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                yes the tart shell dough on page 498, very low water content, it cooks up wonderfully, i did notice that this time in the more humid central-heat-off summer it came to gether a little more easily than back when i made it in the early spring, but in both cases i was happy with the results.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll try it - my favorite so far is the Francois Payard one for the chocolate tart (another wonder of the world) from "Simply Sensational Desserts", a dynamite book.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  buttertart, is the Nick M. pastry cream about 2 cups liquid to 1/3 cup cornstarch?

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                              There must be a way to make pastry cream without any cornstarch, but I have yet to find it. I have had good success with a recipe from a random Williams-Sonoma cookbook, but I am just not a fan of cornstarch which it contains.

                                                                                                                                                              However, I believe that our quest for the perfect pastry cream is noble work.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                Both Julia Child and Fannie Farmer cookbooks use flour -- also "La Bonne Cuisine", a formidable book that I'm afraid of. That book specifies "the finest wheat flour, as beautiful and fine as possible."
                                                                                                                                                                I fill cream puffs with vanilla cooked Jello pudding -- but instead of milk I make it with half & half. ( It's made from sugar, cornstarch, vanilla -- a little too much yellow coloring -- but actually close to scratch.) I'd love to do the real thing though!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                  Oddly enough one of my benchmarks for the texture is a home made chocolate pudding recipe that I use which contains some cornstarch, just not this much, and no eggs. If I could figure out how to back out the chocolate and extra sugar from that recipe I sometimes wonder if I'd get good results.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                  There are recipes that call for flour instead of cornstarch. Here are a couple of examples; I haven't used these specific recipes, but have used others with flour:

                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                    For sure there was pastry cream in this world before there was corn starch....but maybe the secrets have been lost to time.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                      Endives, Apples and Grapes - page 338

                                                                                                                                                                      Served this wonderful side dish alongside a rabbit stew out of The New Spanish Table. Recipe Dorie credits to Alain Passard, a Michelin three star chef. My version looked just like the picture in the book, I love when that happens! The endive was crunchy and tender at the same time. The apples and grapes really added a wonderful contrast to the endive. I would make this again alongside long roasted pork or lamb. It would also be great with a roasted chicken, such as Grandmother's chicken out of Simply French. I loved this side dish and can't wait to make it again! I used red grapes but next time I will seek out champagne grapes for this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                3. Tomatoes Provençale, p. 344

                                                                                                                                                                  I was making the Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad, and in a sidebar, she says she likes to serve this alongside. Here in temperate Northern California, we're just reaching the end of the tomatoes, and so I'm buying them at the farmers' market as long as I can. This couldn't be simpler, as she says in the head note, and the results make for a delicious side that sure feels summery even if the weather doesn't.

                                                                                                                                                                  Medium ripe tomatoes, around 4 oz. each, are cored, halved crosswise, and set in a baking dish. They're topped with minced garlic and fresh herbs (I used parsley and rosemary), salted and peppered, and drizzled with olive oil. Bake at 375F for a total of 45-55 min., until very tender when pierced. That's it - no seeding, no breadcrumbs. This really allows the tomatoes to shine, and, of course, baking will enhance even less than stellar specimens.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Top Secret Chocolate Mousse, pg 421

                                                                                                                                                                    This very simple, all you need is 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, 3 eggs, and a little sugar and salt, recipe gave me a bit of trouble--the chocolate seized when the egg yolks were added. Tried to fix it by adding in a bit of the whipped egg white, which loosened it some, but not enough.

                                                                                                                                                                    Then resorted to whipping it with a hand held beater, that did the trick. Finished incorporating the egg white by folding it into the relaxed chocolate and voila, a tasty little dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                    Served it with sweetened sour cream (didn't have the recommended creme fraiche). A simple, not too sweet, quick even with the glitch, pantry friendly dessert.