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September 2011 COTM, Slater/Kitchen Diaries: Summer

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters for June, July and August.

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  1. Grilled monkfish (cod) with rosemary, served with garlic mayo (p. 249)

    First of all, big thanks to all who helped me get this recipe. Dinner tonight was outstanding. It was my husband's night to cook, and I figured I could get us started on Slater month *and* make his life easier and still have a delicious dinner on a very busy day for him. And really, this couldn't have been simpler, even though I cheated on the garlic mayo (I just took a bunch of mayo, added some chopped garlic and salt - voila! delicious. Judge away.). So, for the fish: chop the leaves of 3 "bushy sprigs" of rosemary, make a pulp of 4 anchovy fillets , chop 2 small or 4 large cloves of garlic and mix with the juice of a large lemon and some olive oil. Add S&P. Put the fish pieces in the marinade and flop around until they have a bit of marinade on them. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least an hour, no more than 3. Grill. We absolutely LOVED this. Husband was glad I sort of pushed the issue (phew!). Grilling added a lot to the already wonderful mix of rosemary, garlic and anchovy. And cod was a perfectly fine sub.

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      I’ve had my eye on this since LLM first posted about it. Thought it would work with some mahi-mahi that was in the freezer. Tried it last night. Marinated the fish for the minimum one hour. Seemed to be enough. Cooked it on a cast iron grill pan for the given amount of time for an outdoor grill and the timing was right. Too lazy to bother with even LLM’s shortcut for the garlic mayo and it didn’t seem necessary since I was just serving the fish with a salad. Pretty good, but think the grill adds the element that puts it over the top—as LLM indicated in her review. Probably not the best recipe choice for those of us without the outdoor option.

      1. re: JoanN

        I definitely think this is one of those recipes where grilling adds a bit more to it, but I'm sorry it wasn't a bigger hit for you.

    2. 6.3 A Chicken Roasted With New Garlic and A Fresh Pea Pilaf To Go With It, Pg. 182, USA Ed.

      This recipe is all about new garlic and fresh peas. I had the new garlic but used frozen peas and still the finished dish had sweet bright flavors and wonderfully seasoned juicy chicken. The garlic is used to make a pan sauce with dry vermouth. All together a perfect combination, just as apt for September as for June.

      Pre-heat oven to 400F and season a large chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place chicken breast side down into a pan that just fits the chicken. Our chicken was 4 pounds and I used a v-rack. Roast for "just over an hour." That was 70 minutes for us. While the chicken is roasting take 2 whole heads of garlic, break apart and remove all cloves but don't peel them. Put them into a small pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the garlic and add to roasting pan when the chicken has finished the first roasting. Turn chicken breast side up (known forever in our house as flipping the bird) and continue cooking till golden. (about 25 minutes)

      During the second roasting phase make the pilaf. Cook about a cup of peas and drain. Since I used frozen peas I just let them thaw on the counter. Lightly sauté a chopped small onion (new season onion) in olive oil. Add a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves to pan when onion colors a bit. Recipe says to add the same amount quantity rice and liquid to pan but we relied on our ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups home made chicken stock. Season with salt, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the peas. Cover and wait for chicken to finish.

      Remove chicken from roasting pan, squish garlic from skins and crush into pan juices. Pour dry vermouth into pan and over heat scrape up fond making a pan sauce to both spoon over chicken and pilaf. .

      We loved this dish for so many reasons. Everything complimented each other beautifully. Because my onion was a purple variety it looked appealing with the green peas and white jasmine rice. I served a side salad of roasted cocozelle rounds and sliced tomatoes.

      1. Grilled Zucchini with Basil and Lemon
        Page 257 in Kitchen Diaries (or page 591 in Tender)

        Pretty much the same recipe in both books, in Tender the recipe calls for salting and resting the zukes, in KD they are just sliced and placed on the grill. Other than that, I think the directions proceed identically. Zucchini is grilled, then tossed in the zest and juice of a lemon, some olive oil and a "small bunch" of basil.

        Mr. NS the Griller was (understandably after a rough day) not up to individually watching and flipping a couple dozen thin slices of squash on the grill, so we popped them into a grill basket. We've had plenty of successes with grilling in the basket prior to tonight, but on this occasion the zucchini seemed more like they were steamed than grilled. We missed the char, but otherwise the dish was very nice. The lemon-zucchini-basil combination was bright and summery.

        If you have the time and patience to tend multiple thin slices of squash on the grill, I think the char would really add something to the dish, but even without, not bad at all.

        1. Zucchini cakes with feta and dill, p. 226 US Ed.

          Fritters, essentially. And very good ones, sweet from zucchini and onion, savory from feta, and fresh from the dill. He says to serve them with chutney, but I had them on their own, alongside tomatoes with za'atar pesto from Radically Simple, and didn't think they needed a condiment.

          Grated zucchini is lightly salted and left to sit. Onion is sauteed in olive oil, then the blotted zucchini and garlic go in, and finally, flour is added and stirred to cook. At this point, I removed it to a bowl and wiped out the pan for cooking the cakes. Feta, dill, egg, and pepper are added (because of the feta and salted zucchini, I didn't add more salt), and spoonsful are cooked in more olive oil. He says this makes around 6, but looking at the quantities listed, I knew it would make more, and I actually got around 12 little patties. They are delicate/fragile and need to be turned carefully.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention. There are so many recipes in these books, I can't keep up. These sound very good. I made some Batali zucchini fritters with ricotta recently, that I liked a lot. But I'm eager to try this version with the feta.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Caitlin: Great minds, etc...however, the Zucchini Cakes I made didn't turn out as well as yours did. I salted the zukes, left them to rest for about a half hour., then I squeezed them quite vigorously. I followed the rest of the recipe - egg, garlic, plain flour, sauteed onions...yet when I dropped them onto the olive oil heated pan they browned nicely but were EXTREMELY difficult to turn over. She says they will be fragile, but this was really difficult.

              My husband and I both loved them, but I won't be making them regularly due to the difficulty I had cooking and turning them.

              I also didn't serve them with chutney, which I'm sure would have been nice...instead I made a sauce out of some low-fat yoghurt with some chopped parsley and pressed garlic. Very, very nice...except for the tedium of turning the patties. Served them with chicken soup made from last night's Slater-roasted chicken and some dried porcini (soaked). A very nice combo.

              I wonder how it'd go if I added more garlic and/or cooked the zukes longer to evaporate their liquid before making the patties.... This tasted good enough to fool around with.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Joan, mine definitely were not the cohesive little patties shown in the photo in the book. They did not want to stay together so much, and were definitely v. loosely knit.

                P.S. Oakland has one copy of The Splendid Table, so you ought to snap it up! Berkeley doesn't have it, so you are lucky I decided to sit the month out so we're not competing again.

            2. Strawberry Mascarpone Tart - p. 205 (UK ed)

              Let me just give a link to this recipe:

              One of the reviews is mine, and it should be easy enough to figure out which one. Let me just add that I am obviously not making this in September for COTM. In my neck of the woods, this is a May recipe. But I wanted to get it on the thread, just to spread the good news. It is an absolutely wonderful recipe to make at whatever that magical time of year is that you have fresh, perfectly ripe stawberries in your part of the world.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MelMM

                Oh good, I have this on my list. Almost made it last week, and then things just got too crazy. Soon.

              2. 6.5 Chicken and Rice Salad, Pg. 185, USA Ed.

                This is a follow-up recipe to the Roast Chicken with Fresh Pea Pilaf, and since we had more than half a left-over chicken from that recipe this salad was an obvious choice. For some reason Mr. Slater doesn't think many people will have left-over rice so the first thing on the agenda is to make a pot of rice. We had more than enough rice and peas pilaf for the salad so didn't make a fresh pot. Plus the pilaf was nicely flavored with cinnamon and cloves so added another dimension to the salad. I used vegetables I had on hand instead of bean sprouts and lentils as specified in the recipe.

                So, first prep the vegetables: for us it was 1 diced carrot, 2 chopped scallions, 5 sliced radishes, and a small handful combined of chopped parsley and celeriac leaves. Also, I had a handful of fresh ground- cherries so threw those in as well. I put all into a large serving bowl as I prepped each one then added thickly sliced chicken cut into chunks and the pilaf. Gently toss all this together and make the dressing.

                Deseed and thinly slice 2 hot red chilies (jalapeño), chop mint (omitted), measure out 2 heaping Tablespoons Nam Pla (Golden Boy brand), 2 heaping T lime juice, 3 heaping T olive oil with some walnut oil. Whisk dressing and pour over salad. Toss and serve.

                Needless to say with all the ingredients it was a very filling and tasty salad. We both like it but each had one small quibble. G would have liked what he called a "regular" vinaigrette...thought the lime juice was too strong, while I thought the fish sauce overpowered everything. Finally though, it was a satisfying end to Sunday's really nice roast chicken dinner.

                1. Seared Beef with Mint and Mustard Dressing, page 269.

                  Well, one of these days I'll report on a recipe I've done exactly as written, but it won't be today.

                  This recipe calls for a beef fillet to serve four people. I had a small sirloin tip steak (about 8oz), and used this preparation method to serve two people. The meat is coated with olive oil, then a blend of sea salt and coarsely ground pepper. We cooked the steak on the grill, although for the fillet the directions call for browning then roasting in the oven.

                  The steak is accompanied by a sauce made by pureeing grainy mustard, lemon juice, mint, olive oil, and egg yolks. I had discovered I had no lemons, so I substituted lemon agrumato for the olive oil. I did not end up with the creamy mayonnaise texture visible in Slater's photo, perhaps because I accidentally glugged the agrumato into the mix, instead of adding as a stream. But it still tasted great.. This is a fantastic, simple way to serve beef, and it doesn't have to be reserved for a large fillet. The mint, mustard, and lemon really works with the peppery beef. It was great with the New Season Potatoes from Tender, which also have a bit of mustard.

                  Mr. Nightshade declared that Nigel knows what he's doing.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Oh man. I'm not a big meat eater, and that looks fantastic to me. High praise.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      How kind of you, LL's Mom, thanks!
                      We loved this dish, I'll happily make it again.

                  2. Orecchiette with Roast Tomato and Basil Sauce (p. 195 US ed)

                    Very simple supper. Toss a few pounds of small tomatoes (I used Sungolds and red cherry toms from my garden) with a few cloves of garlic and some olive oil and broil them until them blacken while the pasta water comes to a boil and the orecchiette cooks. I gave my pan a good shake a few times to make sure they browned evenly. Once the toms are nice and broiled, crush them with a fork in the pan and toss in lots of basil (Nigel calls for exactly 30 leaves; I used more and mine were a variety from my garden that grows as big as my hand, so I tore them up a bit) and a glug of heavy cream. Toss with the pasta, season, and serve with some grated cheese.

                    This was pretty good, though not mind-blowing. Nigel calls for a full pound of pasta, but I thought there was too much pasta for the amount of sauce. The 3 lbs of tomatoes really cook down; I would have used only half a box of pasta. I also ended up throwing in a few dashes of both balsamic vinegar and Worchestershire just to deepen the flavor of the sauce a bit. And even more basil! After those adjustments - and lots of parm on top - this was still a very easy and quick dinner that tasted good in the end, so I would make this again.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: GardenFresh

                      So nice to read your three recent reports, GardenFresh. This month I made a few of Nigel's pasta recipes and now come to the conclusion that he's an "all or nothing at all" kind of fella. One recipe called for 1/4 pound of macaroni for 4 people...while others called for a whole pound for two. In general, though, I'd say that he expects his recipes to be tinkered with since they're practically made up on the spot in his "small kitchen." (I've seen video clips of him cooking in his "small kitchen" and it'd not all That small)

                      1. re: Gio

                        Thanks Gio, and I agree about his kitchen. From clips of his Simple Suppers series on YouTube, it is big and bright and beautiful!

                        1. re: GardenFresh

                          So coincidentally, I just came across a post from The Kitchn's archives in which a commenter says that the kitchen Nigel uses on the Simple Suppers series is just a set and not his home kitchen, so I guess his own kitchen might indeed be pretty small.

                      2. re: GardenFresh

                        Following a recent holiday in Italy, I've come to the conclusion that in general I use far too much sauce on my pasta. In Italy, the pasta is in general fairly lightly sauced and it's always perfect.

                      3. 6.14 A Radish, Mint, and Feta Salad,

                        This salad had all the ingredients that were on hand and sounded just the thing to augment a Sunday dinner of grilled (in the Weber) small turkey and garlic potatoes. No mint though, so I subbed cilantro. Delicious and refreshing... I halved the recipe.

                        You will need: a large cucumber, radishes, scallions, feta, mint, parsley, EVOO.
                        Nigel has you peel the cucumber "lightly", leaving "as much of the bright green that lies just under the
                        skin as possible." He says, "Otherwise the salad will appear insipid.". And, I'll be darned, the cucumber Did have a bright green layer, and it Did liven things up. The cucumber is then quartered, de-seeded, and cut in chunks. Prep the other vegetables, chop them up, adding to a salad bowl as you go. Crumble the feta, and add to the bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and red wine vinegar over, plus grindings of black pepper (no salt), toss, and Bob's your uncle.

                        Very nice, crunchy, sprightly, it would make a good one dish lunch or supper.