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December 2011 COTM: 150 Best American Recipes: Soups and Salads

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapters about soups and salads.

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  1. Beet Salad with Horseradish and Fried Capers, Pg. 82. (From The NYT Magazine/Amanda Hesser)

    Very nice. A different way to serve beets. I never would have thought to shallow fry capers. Also, though, I don't have the salted capers...must get ASAP. However, the author does allow the use of the ubiquitous brined version. I had roasted the beets the preceding night to lessen the prep time. I stored them in the fridge, covered, overnight and took them out the next night to bring to room temp while I prepped for the evening meal.

    After removing the skin from the beets cut in wedges, place in a bowl. Heat a bit of olive oil in a small skillet. Put in the capers, fry for a minute, drain on a paper towel. In a small bowl whisk together: Dijon mustard, prepared horseradish, white wine vinegar. Whisk in a drizzle of EVolive oil then sour cream. Add half the dressing to the beets and mix gently. Taste for seasoning and add more dressing or S & P to your liking. Rub a platter with half a clove of garlic then discard. Tip in and spread the beets on the platter. Sprinkle with the fried capers and serve.

    We quite liked this. It looked pretty on an antique white ironstone platter... I'm considering making it for Christmas. With some green garnish tucked around the edges it will look quite festive, I think.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I have to laugh at that garlic step. Is that the only garlic in the dish (or, in this case,ON the dish?) Do you think it made a difference?


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        That's not the first time a recipe has called for rubbing half a clove of garlic on a platter or bowl and in my estimation very little flavor comes through. Others may have a different experience with this technique. A salad tossed in a wooden bowl seems to bear the essence well IMO. I know what you mean, though, TDQ. It hardly seems necessary does it?

        It's the only garlic in the dish.

      2. re: Gio

        I made this too, with salted (and soaked, of course!) capers, and we quite liked it. We're a caper-loving household, so this one caught my eye immediately. Although it doesn't match my favorite way to prepare beets--a Turkish prep using yogurt, lots of crushed garlic, and olive oil (Yoğurtlu Pancar Salatası)-- it's a keeper.

        And yes, the garlic is to laugh.

        I used a mix of red, golden, and Chioggia beets, and also roasted the beets the night before.

      3. "The" Lentil Soup p. 54.
        A lentil/dal fan for a few decades, I decided to try "...a unique techique applied to the humble ingredients."
        No food processor nor blender here, only a food mill, with admonitions of "Do not stir."
        This soup seems to me a good one for comfort and gaining strength.

        I used Kirkland organic chicken stock and ground my own cumin seeds. It was hard to accept "...leaving the thin lentil skins behind."

        I did not serve as suggested the pita bread cut into really small squares, IMO. But I used a Kirkland brand of lavash which I use often and like.

        Served with a lettuce salad w/lemon, garlic, olive oil. Served with bitter melon braised solely in olive oil. Served with dasheen (experimenting with) see rice-ing pic. Made homemade pickles to serve, but they weren't quite ready.

        I had a pint jar + to freeze for another time.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Rella

          I have wanted to make this. I don't have a food mill, only a ricer. Is that what you used?

          1. re: roxlet

            I used a food mill.

            Here is the typical food mill that I've seen that homemaker-cooks use and have used most of my long life. http://www.amazon.com/Mirro-Foley-2-Q...

            I have used a heavier food mill in the past which I liked better, but it was not stainless and necessitated re-buying.

            I am sure that a ricer would not work for this recipe.

          2. re: Rella

            The Lentil Soup (page 54)

            Note: I made this about 6 weeks ago, before leaving for vacation, and wrote my report at that time. So apologies if I'm duplicating info.

            They’re right when they say it doesn’t look like much. Right, too, when they say “arguably the most satisfying soup in the world.”

            Lentils and grated onion are simmered without stirring for an hour. Lentils are passed through a food mill then seasoned with cumin and S&P. Lemon juice is added and it’s returned to the pot and brought to a simmer. The soup thickens quickly. You can thicken as much or as little as you want. Soup is topped with fried pita squares and a drizzle of olive oil.

            They emphasize that you should not omit the fried pita squares and drizzle of olive oil, so I didn’t. But they instruct you to deep fry one large pita cut into ½-inch squares in 2 cups! of olive oil. No way was I gonna do that. I shallow-fried them in a few tablespoons of oil (which they absorbed almost immediately) and just kept tossing them until they were mostly brown and toasty. That seemed to work well enough. They remained crunchy, even after sitting in the soup for bit.

            This was very good and would be a nice soup to have on hand in the freezer. In fact, this was for a dinner for my grandson for whom I packaged and froze the pre-leftovers so he could take them back to the dorm. I suggested he add some cut-up ham, or even a hot dog, for a very quick and hearty meal on those nights (seemingly more and more frequent) when he doesn’t get home from the studio until the wee hours.

            1. re: JoanN

              Nice presentation, I enjoyed it.
              I,too, froze a bit. I debated at first if I should halve the receipe. I'm glad I dd not.

              1. re: JoanN

                I think I'm going to get a food mill for Christmas -- I'm asking for one just so that I can try this soup. Looks delicious!

                1. re: kellyts

                  I've had a food mill for decades. I can't honestly say I use it all that often. But when I need it, nothing else will do. Think raspberry sauce--with no seeds.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Sounds like my mortar and pestle. I can't get rid of it though I use it rarely since it's the best for what it does do!

              2. re: Rella

                My turn on "The" Lentil Soup. I cheated. i don't have a food mill or ricer, and just used my immersion blender. Totally against the rules. And guess what? I loved it anyway. We made this on Saturday and Lulu and I couldn't stop having tiny little bowls of it (so much so that I was worried we wouldn't have enough tonight). She kept asking "when are we having the lentil soup we made??" Back in my college days I used to gussy up my cans of Progresso lentil soup with cumin, so that being a hit wasn't surprising, but the lemon juice really brought it up an extra notch. I loved it. I did do the whole 2 cups of olive oil, and wish I'd reread JoanN's review first. Mine did *not* stay crispy the whole time, although they were very tasty. But there will definitely be a next time. This soup is easy to make and absolutely delicious. Even without a food mill or ricer.

              3. Alice Water's Coleslaw, Pg. 67. (From the NYT Magazine)

                As Jason Epstein states in the recipe story, "Leave it to Alice Waters to come up with a formula that highlights the refreshing spicy-sweet flavor of the cabbage." That sums up the essence of a different combination of ingredients that creates a very nice slaw that could easily compliment a variety of main dishes from burgers to roasts.

                Slaw ingredients: green cabbage, red onion, cilantro leaves, jalapeño.
                Dressing: olive oil, fresh lime juice, red wine vinegar, Maldon salt (specified, but a good Kosher salt will do), freshly ground black pepper, sugar to taste.

                Shred the vegetables and toss into a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the slaw, toss well to coat. Let this sit at room temperature for 1 hour mixing and tossing every so often. Drain the liquid from the bottom of the bowl. Taste now and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Wait another hour then toss and serve.

                We didn't change any thing with this recipe. A choice is given for the amounts of a few ingredients...
                1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil. We used 1/4.
                3 to 4 Tbsp lime juice. We used 3T.
                3 to 4 Tbsp red wine vinegar. We used 3T.

                The slaw was delicious although I should have used more lime juice and vinegar. There's some left over and I'll probably add the extras when I serve it again. Also, my jalapeño wasn't very hot and I'll add either another one or simply some red pepper flakes. But it was well received as made and I'll probably make it again. I should say that we didn't wait the second hour. Still, the slaw was very tasty.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gio

                  Alice Water's Coleslaw

                  I am a fan of cabbage but have often been ho hum about coleslaw. Too gloppy and mayonnaise-y often. This coleslaw was fresh and bright and had great flavor. A real winner! I didn't measure, but just added lime juice and red wine vinegar to taste.

                  Served this with tacos made from a slow cooked Southwestern style brisket, pickled onions and pinto beans. A great meal. Leftovers are packed in the fridge and we will see how they fare.

                2. Pea soup with crispy pancetta croutons and sour cream, p.31

                  Delicious, and easy. Cook chopped scallions and mint leaves gently in butter for a few minutes, add frozen peas and chicken stock and a bit of heavy cream, simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat and puree. Salt to taste once pureed, and reheat if needed.. Top with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche, and with croutons made by oven-roasting chopped pancetta, torn pieces of bread, and torn pieces of mint leaves -- drizzled with oil and seasoned.

                  Having no heavy cream, I used half and half, and waited to add it until the puree stage. [An immersion blender makes this stage hardly any work at all.] For the leftovers, I made smaller croutons (1/3" bread cubes) in a skillet, and liked them better than the "opening night" large, irregular ones. Thought this might be the rare soup that's not better the second day, but it was (SO agreed), so would be an excellent make-ahead for a dinner party, with only the croutons to pop in the oven.

                  Miint is growing outside the back door, and most of the ingredients are staples here, so this is almost a pantry dish [scallions and pancetta being the shop-fors]. Very encouraging start! Just bought beets for the salad with horseradish and fried capers...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ellabee

                    Pea Soup with Crispy Pancetta, Bread, and Sour Cream, Pg. 31 (From Jamie's Kitchen/Jamie Oliver)

                    We made this last night and Loved it. Ellabee described the procedure very well. As she did, I also used 1/2 & 1/2 instead of heavy cream but I added it after the broth, in my case home made salt free chicken broth, then cooked the soup with frozen petit pois for the full 15 minutes. The mint I had was less than "a large handful" called for so I augmented it with a few teaspoons of dried.

                    This is such a pretty soup. The photo accurately shows the finished dish. The fact that it tastes like a breath of Spring in a bowl makes it all the more appealing.

                    The exact recipe is here, if anyone is interested...

                  2. Tortilla Soup with Chicken and Avocado p. 48

                    This was my first attempt at tortilla soup. I used this recipe as my guideline and made a couple additions/changes based on Rick Bayless’s recipe. Heat oil and cook finely chopped onion (I added garlic too) until soft, then add chili powder (I used ancho chile powder, Bayless suggests this as a second choice to pasillas) and tomato paste. Add seasoned chicken thigh (bone-in, skinless) and turn to coat and add chicken broth (homemade), simmer, cover and cook 30ish minutes (turning once) until done. Remove from pan, shred and set aside. Remove excess grease from ancho mixture, add remaining chicken broth, cilantro stems and pureed fire-roasted diced tomatoes (taken from the Bayless recipe- this recipe suggests adding diced tomatoes at the end of the recipe) and simmer to reduce by a third. My broth was unsalted so I did add some salt too. Add chicken, corn (less than suggested), and tortilla strips (mine were baked, so the texture suffered once they were in the soup for a while). I omitted the black beans and will probably continue to do so if I were to make this again. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, lime juice. I omitted the sour cream and just noticed that I forgot to add the queso fresco- oops!

                    This was hearty and filling, but not heavy. It had some heat, the corn added a touch of sweetness, and burst of flavor from the cilantro and lime. This may have been more tomato-ey than intended as I pureed the tomatoes and cooked them with the broth rather than adding diced tomatoes to the finished soup. Nonetheless, this hit the spot.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: BigSal

                      I love Tortilla soup. I'll put this on my list. Thanks for the review.

                      1. re: BigSal

                        I've never made tortilla soup either, Sal, and was delighted to read your report. I'll add it to my To Make list too.

                      2. Tomato Salad with Cumin, Pg. 80. (From The Cuisines of Spain/Teresa Barrenechea)

                        This is a very nice piquant side dish salad. I halved the recipe and made the recipe without deviation.

                        Slice several tomatoes, arrange them in a single layer on a platter, sprinkle with Maldon salt and let them sit while the dressing is made. I used organic hot house tomatoes on the stem. Mash garlic and salt to a paste with a pestle in a mortar. Add a chopped tomato and pound with the paste. Red wine vinegar, black pepper, cumin, sweet pimenton - which is smoked Spanish paprika - are added to the mortar and all is pounded till smooth. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the tomatoes and sprinkle a bit more cumin over all. I garnished with torn cilantro leaves.

                        We liked this very much. It would be great in a sandwich or chopped as a relish. Paired this with the Slow Roasted Chipotle Pork on page 174.

                        1. Corn Bread Salad with Grilled Sausage and Spicy Chipotle Dressing - p. 91

                          Pikawicca posted an enticing description of this dish in September and I was immediately off to my shelf to pull this book and make this dish. I posted a quick review back then so I've pasted the link to that thread here in case folks are interested.

                          I've made this twice since that time and it's always been a hit with our guests. Quick, amazing flavours and totally tasty, I'm happy to recommend this dish and thank pikawicca once again for drawing my attention to it.

                          Here's the link:


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            I finally got around to making the Corn Bread Salad with Grilled Sausage and Spicy Chipotle. Thanks so much to Pikawicca for pointing it out a few months back. I doubled everything except the onion and the sausage and served it as a main course. Lots of left over dressing, but my husband insisted I save it for dipping grilled cheese in (and I think it would be great on eggs). We all loved this.

                          2. Crunchy Cucumber, Celery, and Red Bell Pepper Salad with Cumin and Fresh Mint, Pg. 69.
                            (From Once Upon A Tart/Frank Metesana and Jerome Audureau)

                            Loved this salad. I'm a salad freak and could subsist entirely on salads. This one was terrific with many flavor layers and a delightful spicy sweet-ish dressing. The cucumbers were omitted as were the red bells. In their place I included ribbons of iceberg and radicchio lettuces. There are suggestions for other vegetables if making this salad during the cold weather months. The full recipe was made.

                            The vinaigrette was made first: white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic cloves, freshly ground cumin, S & P, olive oil, finely chopped mint and parsley.

                            Salad components were: sliced celery ribs (I included leaves as well), white and green parts of scallions, thinly sliced red onion, and my subs of iceberg and radicchio.

                            Toss everything in a large bowl and toss together to coat. Even without the crunch of cucumbers and peppers the salad was refreshing and delicious.

                            18 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              Oh good! I'm planning on making this on Saturday. Good to know that if the grocery store is in it's usual woeful state I can sub vegetables.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Made the crunchy cucumber, celery and red bell pepper salad with cumin and fresh mint salad. Loved it. Not sure how much of the mint I got, despite the fact that I likely used a bit more than the 2 tablespoons called for. I roasted the cumin seeds and that really did add suck a lovely flavor. I'll make the vinaigrette again for sure, even if it isn't to go with this particular bunch of vegetables. I stuck with the vegetables called for, although I only cut 4 celery stalks instead of 6, and only 2 cucumbers instead of 3. It was still a LOT of salad, but much loved. I skipped the parsley. I'm wondering - Gio, did you taste a lot of mint in yours?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Like you, LLM, I didn't get much of a taste of mint in this dressing... and I also used more than the recipe listed. That's the last of my fresh mint for the season. However, I was thinking that these little bits of herbs and spices we find in fabulous dishes. but hardly notice in the eating, contribute to the overall deliciousnes of the finished dish.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I think fresh herbs and spices are the biggest difference one can make to one's cooking, no question. But man, I was trying to taste that mint, and not getting it at all. And mint is usually fairly assertive. I really did love this dressing, and, as I'm sure I must have said before, will make it again and again for other salads (just even greens it would be wonderful on).

                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                    Made the crunchy cucumber celery and red pepper salad with cumin and mint again on Sunday. Doubled the asked for 2 teaspoons of mint. Still didn't taste it. Next time I'll save the expense and bother of buying/chopping the mint. Await the review saying "gee, I sure missed that mint."

                                  3. re: Gio

                                    I made the dressing only from the Crunchy cucumber, celery and red pepper salad and man, that is a delicious dressing. LLM and Gio, thanks for highlighting this one. I passed it by initially because I'm not a big celery fan and it seemed kind of summery to me. But we had turkish kebabs last night with a salad and so based on LLM's recc, I made the dressing from this salad to put on my romaine and green bean salad. Loved it! I ground cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle due to lack of pre-ground cumin and I think that made a huge difference in the taste of the dressing. Also, I doubled the mint because I didn't have parsley. I must say that I did taste the mint and thought it really added something to the salad. It may be due in part to the fact that I really only roughtly chopped the mint, leaving rather large chucks of mint leaves in the dressing. I thought this was great and will definitely add to my salad dressing rotation.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      I made this salad at least three times by now - love it! Great salad to take to work as there is nothing to go mushy after sitting around. I did not put parsley in and put mint in the salad and not the dressing. Did not measure the mint but probably used very close to the specified amount - definitely could taste the mint.

                                      1. re: herby

                                        It's a *great* lunchbox salad. definitely holds up.

                                      2. re: Gio

                                        Crunchy (Cucumber), Celery, and Red Bell Pepper Salad with Cumin and Fresh Mint, page 69

                                        I somehow missed the cucumber in the name and in the ingredients when I went shopping, so I made the salad with everything but. Very bright and refreshing, and so colorful. This salad was a great balance to the spice of our main dish, a turkey-sweet potato-curry soup. I also felt the mint disappeared somewhat, I attributed that to the dregs of the season, but looking at the other reviews, perhaps a little more mint is called for.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Crunchy Cucumber, Celery, Red Bell Pepper Salad w Cumin & Fresh Mint, Pg. 69.

                                          We made this again, last night, and this time I had all the necessary ingredients.
                                          I did increase the mint a little and chopped up some of the tender celery leaves, however that didn't cause any great difference. But... we both loved this salad. It's a keeper.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Crunchy cucumber, celery, and red bell pepper salad, p. 69

                                            My turn to review this fresh and perky salad, which I made twice this month, the last time as part of a Christmas Day buffet. I agree that the cumin-mint -Dijon combo makes a very nice dressing that deserves to be used on other salads. One addition I made was to mix in 2 tsp of honey with the vinaigrette. I liked the hint of sweetness softening the vinegary mustard and white wine vinegar flavors.

                                            I used all the specified veggies, plus some thinly sliced mushrooms as suggested in the notes. I had fresh mint still growing and I used it with a liberal hand, though it still wasn't particularly dominant. I also think LMs suggestion of roasting the cumin seeds would be very nice.

                                            It was so nice to have a crisp and invigorating salad amongst the other hearty holiday buffet dishes.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              (Crunchy Cucumber, Celery, and Red Bell Pepper Salad) with Cumin and Fresh Mint, P. 69

                                              So, I made this dressing and used it with a completely different salad: baby spinach, mesclun, navel oranges, Marcona almonds, and dried tart cherries. I can only concur with all others that it is really delicious, and clearly matches well with many salads and meals. A couple of my guests commented on how much they liked it, and asked what was in it; when I got to the cumin, they said, "Aha! That's what it is."

                                              I used freshly toasted and ground cumin, and probably around double the mint called for. Like others, I didn't find that the mint really registered as such, even using double, but I have no doubt that it added to the whole effect. I used the other proportions as written, and had just the right quantity to lightly dress a big bowl of greens that served eight. I'll definitely be making it again.

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                I am really puzzled by the mint comments. All of you said that the mint did not register much and all of you put the mint into the dressing as instructed. Being a bit of a contrarian, I put the mint in with the salad ingredients and tossed the whole business with the dressing made as instructed minus the mint. I loved the mint flavour and my friends singled it out right away. If any of you make this salad again would you consider doing it my way and report if mint shined brighter or if the method made no difference? I typically do not like putting fresh herbs into the dressing but love tossing them up with the greens before I add the dressing.

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  Actually, I also added both the mint and parsley in the salad bowl with the other salad ingredients I used, as I had made up the vinaigrette earlier in the day and stuck it in the fridge in a jar, and didn't want the herbs sitting in it all day. As I noted, I used closer to 1/4 cup of chopped mint than the 2 T called for, and didn't feel the mint was obvious, and no one I served it to commented on it when they asked about the salad and dressing components. Perhaps there was too much else going on.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    I have grown mint in the outside garden and in the aerogarden that have been absolutely tasteless. (Sorta the jalapeno syndrome.)

                                                    Maybe even a tedious way to create more pungency would be instead of 'cutting/chopping' .. to break the leaves and/or break and bruise slightly the leaves.

                                                    This last suggestion of mine is going just a bit far ... ;-))

                                                    At any rate, if you do the mint-thing again taste a few of the leaves before you chop them to see if they are acutally top flavor.

                                                    Just a thought.

                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                      I think Rella solved the problem, which is the taste of mint. I get mine from an independent produce store and the flavour of their herbs (and veggies/fruit) is usually very good. Maybe this is why I had nice mint flavour in my salad and most of you did not.

                                                      1. re: herby

                                                        My mint was fairly fragrant and minty on its own, so I don't think it was necessarily lack of mint flavor in the mint that was to blame. Regardless, as I said, I am sure it added to the whole. I'll see what happens when I make it again sometime and use it with different vegetables.

                                                      2. re: Rella

                                                        Definitely agree: I have loads of mint in my "garden," and its strength varies from even one spot to another, it seems, and it certainly varies depending on the time of year. Sometimes I can smell it when I walk by; sometimes I cut some, chop it, and it's virtually tasteless.
                                                        Of course, it's also true that fresh herbs lose their vibrancy in salad dressing, as Herby notes.

                                              2. Senegalese Peanut Soup

                                                We LOVE LOVE LOVE this soup. It's a true peanut soup, not a soup with a few ground peanuts tossed into it. I think it's rich --with one lb peanuts and 1/2 cup heavy cream ---but definitely worth the calories. And it's very easy to make.

                                                I make these modifications:
                                                **I don't use leeks if I don't have them in the house (and I rarely do).
                                                **I up the cayenne to 3/4 t.
                                                **I up the salt to one t.
                                                **I use only 5 cups water bc I like soups to be thick.

                                                If you like peanuts, make this. You will be happy that you did.

                                                1. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup w/ Bacon, pg 41

                                                  Multitasking here, having this for lunch at the same time as typing the review. And it is not a bad little soup. I followed the recipe technique pretty closely, but switched sugar pumpkin for butternut, and mixed turkey/chicken stock for pure chicken, and made only 1/3 batch.

                                                  The recipe calls for roasting butternut halves with butter and bacon in a fast oven for 30 minutes, or until soft. Set aside the bacon pieces, scoop out the squash. Meanwhile, saute some finely diced onion in a heavy pot until soft, add bay and thyme, add the squash, stir to combine flavors, add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 min. Remove the bay leaf (ooops, forgot to do that!) , puree in a blender or food processor with a little added cream. Taste and adjust seasoning, I added a tsp of maple syrup at that point (in place of their suggested sugar), warm it up in the pot and serve.

                                                  I'm sure it is because of the turkey in my stock, but this soup tastes a bit like Thanksgiving dinner in a single serving bowl. Topping my side of crackers with a little leftover cranberry sauce, completes the motif, and here I sit unduly pleased with myself for finding a good use for the very last (hurrah!) of the thanksgiving left overs!

                                                  1. Carrot-ginger soup with lime creme fraiche, p. 34

                                                    _So_ good, and so easy once the ginger oil is made.

                                                    The ginger oil is essential -- for cooking and as a drizzle, and has to be made a day ahead. But it's easy, uses dried spices many cooks have on hand, and once done, it keeps for months in the fridge, available for this and other recipes (the soup only uses a couple of tablespoons): In a little pan, mix a cup of neutral vegetable oil and a couple of tablespoons of ground ginger and a little less of turmeric (which is used just for color). Bring to a simmer, then remove immediately from heat and let sit a moment before transferring it to a bowl or jar. Let steep for a day, then pour off the yellow oil into a tight-lidded jar or container, leaving the sediment behind.

                                                    For the soup, slice thinly a pound or so of carrots (4 large), a white onion, and a jalapeno chile (no seeds or pulp). Mince a small clove of garlic and grate a teaspoon of fresh ginger. Heat several tablespoons of olive oil with a tablespoon of the ginger oil on medium heat, and cook the onion, chile, garlic, and ginger until the onion's translucent. Add the carrots and go another five minutes or so. Then add 3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are tender. Puree. [Recipe has you puree in a blender and then strain; I buzzed the heck out of it with the immersion blender and it needed no straining. The book editors and testers agree.] Salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Add more broth if needed when you reheat, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

                                                    Serve with taste-enhancing and decorative drizzles of ginger oil and lime creme fraiche (creme fraiche stirred with lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice, which can be made ahead and refrigerated). Garnish with a cilantro sprig. <--(I was so taken by this dish I even followed this advice. Will reheat for lunch tomorrow and upload a pic.]

                                                    The carrot-ginger soup was a great accompaniment to the meal of roasted brussels sprouts and rotisserie chicken. I can imagine it being an equally good starter for a menu with Thai flavors. It's warming and creamy, but not at all heavy.

                                                    There'll be leftover lime creme fraiche, which could be used in or on anything with Mexican flavors to good effect -- nice sauce for black bean patties, or as a garnish for black bean soup, or just to jazz up burritos or tacos.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                      Update: used the leftover lime creme fraiche as a dressing for roasted beets, with a big spoonful of horseradish mixed in (a nod to the recipe at the top of the thread that Gio and others made). Refrigerated, served on shredded lettuce. Wonderful! Sweet-tart, with the hotness from the horseradish -- a very refreshing counterpoint to anything rich and creamy/cheesy.

                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                        What a great idea, ellabee. I'm going to make the lime creme fraiche today and will definitely add horseradish per your suggestion...

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          I think the lime creme fraiche would be great on the black bean burgers ...

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            I agree...! Today I'm making the chicken fricasse... I wonder how I can sneak the LCF w/HR ...Perhaps with the roasted green beans and garlic??

                                                      2. re: ellabee

                                                        I have been eyeing that soup. Glad to know it was a success.

                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                          I made the carrot soup yesterday for a friend and only had a small taste because the recipe makes exactly the amount it says it will make! Delicious and I have a lot of ginger oil left. The soup has an unusual and very appealing flavour. I also made very good chicken stock for the soups (I made three different soups for her last night - sitting in the car for tonight's delivery) and this, I think, made a difference in the level of deliciousness:) This is a keeper.

                                                        2. Sicilian Slow Roasted Onion Salad, Pg. 84. (Food and Wine/Paula Wolfert)

                                                          I made such a mess of the slicing of the onions. After cutting off the top and root end they're supposed to be sliced in 1/2 " rounds leaving the skin on and intact. This was the worst cutting job I ever did, but I roasted them regardless, managing to tuck the skins here and there but trying to keep to the edges of the onons. It's certainly a simple recipe to make.

                                                          Preheat oven to 300F. Layer a baking sheet with foil, paint foil with a coating of oil, place onions slices on foil. Roast for 1 hour. Turn over and roast another 30 minutes. Place on a platter, discard the skins and hard outer rings if any. Let cool while the dressing is made.

                                                          There's a choice of dressing:
                                                          1. Whisk olive oil, water, minced garlic, minced parsley, white wine vinegar, S & P, crushed red pepper flakes. Drizzle over onions when they are room temp..
                                                          2. After the onion slices are turned over in the oven, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, crumbled dried oregano and/or dried thyme. Then cook for another 30 minutes. I used the balsamic vinegar et. al. Once again, season aggressively for best results.

                                                          We liked this very much. I wouldn't call it a salad as such but there was that nicely acetic flavor of the dressing and slightly sweet carmelization of the onions to make the dish appealing.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            So glad you wrote this up I've been eying this recipe, but dreading slicing the cured thick skinned fall onions. But it sounds like it might still be worth it?

                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                              Oh sure... do it. I used a serrated edged knife to work through those skins, but my "eye" was definitely off last night. Maybe I sliced too fast? Who knows...

                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                              Thanks for the review. I have red onions and Peruvian sweet onions. What did you use or suggest?

                                                              Somehow I think I've made this recipe previously, but just can't recall exactly.

                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                Hi Rella... I used two of the ubitquitous large "brown" onions for the two of us. Several outer rings are lost in the roasting, however I see that there is a bit left over.

                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                  Used Red Onions for this recipe. Previously I have sliced red onions, coated top and bottom with olive oil and roasted at 400-425F.

                                                                  However, this time, I baked at 300F as the recipe calls for, added balsamic and thyme 30 minutes before finishing, and it is certainly a different taste.

                                                                  I'll be doing my red onions more from this recipe from now on.

                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                  Sicilian Slow Roasted Onion Salad, p. 84

                                                                  My onions had fairly thin skins, and many of the slices lost their skins in the slicing process, while the skin of others lifted off as I turned the onions over at the one-hour mark. No matter. Like Gio, I used the balsamic drizzle instead of the dressing, because I was making another salad with vinaigrette. My onions were more medium than large, and so once they'd roasted I was left with a little dish of sweet, delicious onions that I happily ate up.

                                                                3. Green Bean Salad with Cream, Pg. 71. (From Guy Savoy: French Recipes for the Home Cook)

                                                                  Loved this salad. Simple in the extreme but totally delicious:
                                                                  Cook green bean then dress with a creme fraiche dressing. (We steamed them)

                                                                  The dressing:
                                                                  Add fresh lemon juice to a bowl, sprinkle in S & P, dissolve the salt. Stir in a minced shallot and creme fraiche. Dress beans. After a drool discussion of the appeal of horseradish plus creme fraiche I added HR to this dressing. Gosh was That wonderful...

                                                                  OT: I'd love to have this book. But since the used copies start at almost 60 bucks I guess I'll wait till after The Season. New it's about $80.00...!

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    You beat me to the punch again. I'm making this one on Thursday, and am glad to hear it was so good (hope it still is without the HR creme fraiche).

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      Well - as you can see there's not much to this recipe without the CF. Or did you mean you're not using the horseradish. That would be OK because it isn't called for in the recipe but creme fraiche is. Either way, what could be easier? The dressing finishes rather soupy so be aware.

                                                                      My father had a business friend whose motto was, "Think fast or be lost." LOL

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Ah, I thought you meant using that lime creme fraiche that had been discussed earlier. D'oh! Yes, I do mean to use creme fraiche but not the horseradish.

                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                      We also enjoyed the Green Bean Salad with Cream, especially my husband and Lulu who went back for seconds. I think Gio's pretty much summed up how it is made - very simple preparation. I think this dressing would be good on almost any cooked, chilled vegetable. I didn't add horseradish, but can see how it would bring a brightness to the whole thing.

                                                                    3. Fennel, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Salad, p.87

                                                                      This is a great salad - crisp and refreshing, a delicious combination of flavors, and also keeps well in the fridge, so leftovers aren't a letdown.

                                                                      Fennel bulbs are very thinly sliced (a great time to bring out the mandoline if you have one, or use the thin slicing blade on a food processor, as I often do, but last night, I cut the fennel by hand into matchsticks instead), and tossed with thinly sliced red peppers ans mushrooms, minced parsley, minced chives (I didn't have, but added some minced fennel fronds instead), and shaved Parmesan. A simple dressing of lemon juice, sherry vinegar, garlic, and olive oil is added. I used less oil than called for, but I like dressings a bit more acidic.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        Fennel, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Salad, Pg. 87. (From Martha-Rose-Shulman.com)

                                                                        As Caitlin said, "This is a great salad". I made it to accompany my all sedafood dinner on Christmas Eve.

                                                                        One large fennel bulb cut in thin slices, 2 large jarred roasted red peppers in thin slices, sliced mushrooms, chopped parsley, minced scallions instead of the recommended chives, shaved Romano instead of Parmigiano... combined with the lemon juice/sherry vinegar dressing. Terrific and so refreshing. A good salad to have on one's roster.

                                                                      2. Cherry Tomato Salad with Olives, Pg. 76 (From The Naked Chef Takes Off/Jamie Oliver)

                                                                        Another great recipe from Sir Jamie. This salad, more like a relish than salad, has wonderful flavors and would be a fine accompaniment to many dishes. Slightly salty, slightly acetic it was perfect paired with bruschetta we had for dinner. Although I used most of the elements in the salad I omitted the leafy components, subbed vine ripened tomatoes for the cherries, and used dried version of herbs for fresh. Nevertheless we loved it and believe we were faithful to spirit of the original recipe. Jamie calls this salad, "Squash and Smash."

                                                                        Squashed cherry tomatoes are tossed into the bowl in which the salad will be served. I chopped 2 vine ripened hot house tomatoes to more or less mirror the size of cherry tomatoes, then squashed the chunks to release some liquid and tomato innards. Next comes the fun part: smash unpitted black olives with the back of a chef's knife to remove the pit and toss the olives into the bowl. (ahem... discard pits) I used black oil-cured olives. Drizzle a bit of red wine vinegar over and a few grindings of black pepper. When serving add torn basil leaves and arugula. I used a couple of teaspoons of dried basil and oregano.

                                                                        Need I say that we loved it...? The suggestion is made in the notes that the salad would make a terrific dressing for pasta and I quite agree. There remained at the bottom of the serving bowl a tasty bit of juice which would have been perfect for sopping up with a piece of chunky bread but I served a wilted spinach/smoked salmon/poached egg (with runny yolk) bruschetta and thought another piece of bread would be too much. Next time.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Good write up, but what I really like is your holiday decorating!

                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                            Many thanks, qianning... Happy Holidays!

                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                            This is an all time favorite around our house, often served at dinner parties (since you can do the prep work a bit before people show up). So simple but so good.

                                                                          3. Smoky Shrimp and Halibut Stew – p. 59

                                                                            This dish was inspired by some unusual looking “new-to-me” shrimp I picked up at a local Italian grocer who imports fresh fish and seafood from the Adriatic. I’ve attached photos of my raw Canocchie or, Mantis Shrimp in case others haven’t seen them either. The recipe calls for 1 pound of shrimp so I used ½ lb of Canocchie and a ½ lb of black tiger shrimp. I decided to pre-cook and shell the Canocchie prior to adding them to the stew as they were very “spiky” and I felt they might be unwieldy and difficult to eat otherwise.

                                                                            The dish comes together quickly by sautéing bacon then onion, fennel and potato. Wine, broth and clam juice is added along w tomatoes in their juice, fennel fronds and thyme. One the potatoes are tender, the shrimp and halibut are added and cooked through. We bumped up the fennel flavour by sprinkling some fennel pollen on the finished dish. Light and flavourful, this was a nice weeknight dinner that I’d make again – sans Canocchie that is since I didn’t feel that the flavour they delivered was worth the amount of effort it took to prepare them.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              Funny, bc, one NYE when we were in Venice, we bought these at the Rialto market to serve as part of a big dinner w/two other couples; none of us knew exactly what they were or exactly how to best cook them, but we didn't discover the secret and were completely underwhelmed. In our prosecco-fueled state, we came up w/some crazy name for them (which escapes me now) and laughed about them for a few years. But the canocchie were the only seafood we ever bought in that market that we didn't love.
                                                                              The stew does look good, though.

                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                Thanks ncw, and I loved your story!! Like you, I'm confident I didn't find the secret to preparing them either as the meat yield was low. I was definitely glad I'd added the tiger shrimp as well!

                                                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                Wow. Mantis shrimp. I'm impressed. Very difficult to find here in the States. Sometimes in Chinatown, but not often. I tried them once in Asia, simply sauteed with some garlic and lemongrass, but I didn't care for them particularly either. They're absolutely gorgeous underwater, though. I've seen them scuba diving in Papua New Guinea and Thailand. I remember at least one Asian dive master telling me he didn't think they were worth eating. Too much trouble for too little flavor. So you're not the only one.

                                                                                The stew sounds terrific, though. Adding to my list, which is growing longer and longer every day.

                                                                                ETA: By the way, mantis shrimp aren't really shrimp; they're just called that because that's more or less what they look like.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  This was the first time I've ever seen them here Joan and needless to say, I won't be seeking them out again!! I can imagine they'd be beautiful under water and will have to share your feedback w mr bc who is an avid diver. Very interesting to learn they're not really a shrimp...I sure hope they aren't related to the praying mantis either!!!

                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                    Nope. That part of the name is based on what they look like as well. So. A mantis shrimp is neither a mantis nor a shrimp. And there you have it.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Well, that's a relief Joan!! Thanks! ; - )

                                                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  I've made this stew from 150 Best many, many times - it's a favorite.

                                                                                  I use whatever odds and ends of white fish and/or shellfish which happen to be on hand, but my favorite splurge is halibut and king crab.

                                                                                  1. re: MunchkinRedux

                                                                                    I totally agree with you MR....the halibut was exceptional prepared this way, a real highlight in the dish. I can also imagine how lovely the stew would be with a hint of sweetness from the crab.