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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.