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December 2011 COTM: 150 Best American Recipes: Main Dishes

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapter about main dishes.

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  1. Garlicky Baked Chicken, Pg. 130. (From Sara Moulton Cooks At Home)

    A winner right out of the gate. Crisp well flavored chicken, simply delicious. Just a few ingredients, easy to put together, totally doable for a week night dinner. I more or less halved the recipe.

    Heeding the advice of the side Notes from the test kitchen I first melted butter and chopped garlic in the microwave. I used a pie plate for this. Then I made breadcrumbs in the miniFP and put them into another pie plate and mixed the crumbs with grated cheese and S & P.

    Prep 8 chicken thighs, or 4 halved breasts. (I used 6 bone-in chicken thighs.) Coat a chicken piece with the garlic and butter then cover it with the crumb mixture. Place chicken on a roasting sheet. Repeat. If there's any garlic butter left in the plate drizzle over chicken. Roast for between 50 minutes to 1 hour. It took my chicken 1 hr. 10 min. to get crisp and golden.

    We loved this. Definitely something we'll make again. I served the beet/ horseradish/fried caper salad on page 82 to accompany the chicken...another winner.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      ETA: Chicken roasts in a pre-heated 350F oven.

      1. re: Gio

        So glad to hear it - hope Mr. G was happy to finally get something that wasn't bland! I have this one on my list.

        1. re: Gio

          Sounds super delicious! Skin on chicken?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Yup, skin on. However if you don't like skin take it off. The crust is terrific enough. Also, I didn't mention that I removed the fat from the underside of the thighs.

          2. re: Gio

            How interesting to read the pedigree of this recipe as told on p. 130. I started making this in the '80s, when I was in high school, as found in the Garlic Lover's Cookbook (recipes from the Gilroy Garlic Festival), in which it is called Uncle Hugo's Chicken. It was a hit, of course, and it became, and remains, one of my stepmother's go-tos for company if she's not sure of their tastes, because it's a crowd pleaser regardless of people's adventurousness (or lack thereof). It's just delicious.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              You bet it's delicious. It's all the butter and garlic, of course. I admit I did toy with the idea of using half EVOO and half butter... but then quickly abandoned that idea. Love that you and the recipe have history, Caitlin.

              1. re: Gio

                It's in Jean Anderson's "American Century Cookbook" too. Now there's a woefully lesser-known but absolutely tip-top cookery writer for you.

                1. re: buttertart

                  I like her very much but Im not sure about the book - sure, lots of stuff I remember from my youth but little I wanted to cook.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    I felt the same way about it, more of a history than a working book. I made that very chicken and a grapefruit cake that was quite good from it. The woefully lesser-known still stands.

            2. re: Gio

              We cooked this the other night... liked it very much but no one was sure they would do it again. I am not sure why. It was very good. I think we all love a regular roast chicken so much, it just did not seem as exciting. So I am actually excited now to try the Chicken with Lemon and Sage.

              I'll add this... it was much better the day after. If I ever did make it again, I think I would do it the day before and re-warm it the next evening. Much better (or, just know you will have killer leftovers)

              1. re: Gio

                I tried the Garlicky Baked Chicken this evening and it wasn't the unqualified success I had hoped for.

                One reason was because I used a whole, four-pound, Costco chicken, and they say specifically that a supermarket chicken has too much water in it and the bottom of the chicken will be soggy. It was. Next time I try it, it will definitely be with an organic, free-range bird. And a somewhat smaller one.

                My leftover garlic and butter thickened, and didn't thin out much even when I warmed it up. Maybe it was because I grated the garlic into the butter? Not sure. But since I couldn't drizzle it over the chicken, I sort of dolloped it on top expecting the butter to melt and spread over the pieces of chicken. It didn't. It just sort of sat there and and darkened up way before the rest of the breadcrumb topping did. Not a taste disaster, but not attractive enough for a company platter. Will add more butter if I have to next time.

                And finally, when I started eating it, the still-flabby skin pulled off in one fell swoop with all of the breadcrumb topping, so I wasn't getting a mouthful of that wonderfully tasty, crunchy, crust with every bite of chicken. Any suggestions on how to solve that problem? I'm actually thinking (horrors!) that I might try removing the skin the next time I try it.

                All that said, I will definitely be trying this again. Garlic? Butter? Parmesan? I'm gonna make this work if I have to put on another 10 pounds doing so.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Have a look at the recipe in the American Century cookbook by Jean Anderson, maybe? Not sure if the method differs but it worked for me from that iteration.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    That may be the only book of hers I don't have. She does, though, have basically the same recipe in The New Doubleday Cookbook. Maybe I'll give that a shot.

                2. re: Gio

                  Garlicky Baked Chicken, p. 130.
                  My turn to make this easy and succulent chicken dish, which my family liked a lot. Everyone else has already described it so I can only state that I concur: this recipe produces extremely tender and moist chicken from being baked in an abundant robe of garlic-butter soaked fresh bread crumbs. I used chicken breasts rather than my usual preference for chicken thighs, because my (unenlightened) family prefers white meat. The result was still flavorful and perfectly tender. I followed the recipe exactly, except I used "Sarah Molton's latest version" as presented in the notes. This specifies a bit more butter (well, half a stick, upping the quantity to 12 TBS), 1 fewer garlic cloves (3 instead of four; can't tell if this makes any difference) and half as much fresh grated Parmesan as in the original recipe: only 1/2 cup rather than a full cup. ( I was hoping that using more butter was offset, fat-wise, by using less cheese. I know; dream on.) I also baked my coated chicken on a rack placed over the baking pan as advised in the "tip," and the result was evenly crispy chicken. Left the skin on; it only added to the flavor of the coating.

                  This is in not a complicated dish, but rather one which tastes of chicken, butter, and garlic, with the savory Parm adding a salty hint as well as helping the crumbs to brown. I didn't baste once (didn't need to with 12 TBS of butter! ) but just stuck the pan in the oven and took it out 50 minutes later, when the crumbs were golden and the chicken was tender when pierced with a fork. The 6 and 8-year-old at the table ate their whole portion, appreciating the crunchy texture and simplicity of flavors. I think the adults felt the same way. Yes, the chicken wouldn't say no to a saucy addition and/or some fresh chopped herbs added to the crumbs, but it's just good as it is.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Garlicky Baked Chicken, Pg. 130. (From Sara Moulton Cooks At Home)

                    Finally getting around to cooking from this book. My second recipe in two nights. Not much to add to the many reviews of this dish except to say we loved it and I will be flagging it for cooking classes with my kids this summer. So easy and so much flavor. We used GF breadcrumbs and it was still wonderful.

                  2. Spicy (Tri Tip Steak) with Cilantro Relish, page 153.

                    The recipe calls for sirloin, I thought I had one hanging out, turned out it was a tri-tip steak. Not quite as tender, but flavorful. The meat was marinated in a mix of rice wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. While the meat marinates, cilantro relish goes together. Chopped cilantro, vegetable oil (I used peanut), lime juice, red chile, nam pla, sugar, and pepper are stirred together. The steak is quickly seared in a grill pan, and finished to taste (ours went to medium rare).

                    The recipe calls for serving this with steamed white rice and snow peas. I did serve the snow peas, but I have been wanting to try Vietnamese garlic noodles, so I substituted that for the rice. I also served the Asian Cucumber Ribbon Salad from Gourmet Yesterday.

                    All in all, a very tasty meal. We liked the flavors of both the marinade and the cilantro relish. The relish is just that, I might have preferred it a bit more emulsified into a sauce, at least for aesthetic reasons. And, as mentioned in the book, it would also be great on seafood.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      I had the relish in particular noted as something to try - over seafood as both you and the book suggest. Think it would be too strong over scallops? Should I stick with fish?

                      That cucumber ribbon salad has been a standby around here for years and years.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        To my taste, scallops would stand up to it just fine. I'm likely to try that too.

                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                        Cilantro Relish, Pg. 155. (Bill's Open Kitchen/Bill Grainger)

                        I made only the relish component of the steak recipe that LNightshade reported on. The full recipe was made as written. As LN states the ingredients are: chopped cilantro, oil (I used EVOO), lime juice, red chili (I used 2 red serranos), nam pla, sugar, freshly ground black pepper. I agree the relish is more sauce than relish. One quarter cup of oil is called for and I think that may have been too much. Also, next time I make this relish I'll reduce the amount of the fish sauce a tad. Curiously, my serranos were Very hot. Much more so than my jalapeños which are alternatives.

                        All that aside, we loved the relish as we served it over the left over slow-roasted chipotle pork so you can imagine the many flavors going on. A piece of fresh Northern Portugal bread, Saloio, was grilled then slathered with a bit of relish, sliced pork was placed on top. More relish over top gilded the lily.

                        1. re: Gio

                          I used the leftover cilantro relish the next day on pressed, grilled sandwiches with sliced pork (from the Island Pork Tenderloin recipe in Gourmet Yesterday). I agree, it worked very well with pork. The Island Pork has a lot of sweetness, which was a great compliment to the hot chile and tart lime flavors.

                      3. Tagliatelle with Crème Fraiche and Arugula

                        This won't be a fair review, because 1) I used pumpkin fettuccine, and 2) I left out a main component, the lemon. Did that because I am apparently unable to keep a thought in my head for longer than 4 seconds, and so deciding to pass by the very expensive organic lemons at the co-op in favor of the not-so-expensive ones just ahead drove the whole lemon need right out of my head. Until I got home and began tearing apart the bags, looking for those two lemons I was sure I'd purchased.

                        Regardless, since I was serving it with highly seasoned pork chops adobo, I decided to proceed without the lemon.

                        Preparation. The night before I cleaned and de-stemed the arugula leaves with large stems, to get ~5 lightly packed cups' worth. Stored it in our now cold sunroom overnight with damp paper towels. No need to tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

                        The same night I also made the cream fraiche. Added 2 tablespoons of buttermilk to two cups of heavy cream in a Ball jar, and let it sit out (loosely covered) overnight and all the next day. It was nice and thick by the time I came home from work and was ready to start dinner.

                        From that point on, the preparation was super simple. Just boiled and drained the pasta in lightly salted water, and grated my one heaping cup of Parmesan while it was draining. I used half Parmesan Reggiano and half Eau Galle (WI) Private Reserve Parmesan. Which reminds me: has any one tried Sartori's SarVecchio Parmesan? I love others of Sartori's, so am curious about that one.

                        Tossed the hot pasta with the arugula till the leaves wilted, then added the grated Parmesan. All of it, even though the recipe said to hold back 1/2 to serve on the side. Then 1 cup of the cream fraiche, and a good dose of coarse ground pepper. It was one beautiful looking bowl of pasta, what with the cream, the mellow golden pasta, and the bright arugula.

                        Verdict: My husband and I both loved it and thought the richness of the cream coupled with the arugula was brilliant. My daughter absolutely despised it, but I suspect that's just because she doesn't much like arugula, and this is not a dish in which the arugula takes a backseat.

                        Since it's rich and caloric as heck, it's best served small plate style; we'll get at least another two meals out of it, I'm guessing. It's also not at all cheap, as 5+ cups worth of arugula is quite pricey if you're buying instead of growing. All in all, an excellent accompaniment to the more complex flavors of the pork. But next time I'm definitely not leaving out the lemon.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: clepro

                          If I remember correctly, this recipe comes from Patricia Wells (gosh, I hope I'm remembering this right). Made it during P. Wells month with the lemon, and ended up finding it a bit one note. Good, but samey after a while. So maybe leaving out the lemon wasn't *totally* a mistake (although it does sound like a totally different pasta).

                          1. re: clepro

                            Tagliatelle with Crème Fraiche and Arugula, Pg. 102 (From Italian Easy/Rose Grey & Ruth Rogers)

                            We made this pasta recipe last night with all the proper ingredients ... except... the Tagliatelle; had to use linguine. Can't summerize the procedure better than Clepro has. I will say though, I liked the dish very much. G, OTOH, "was not thrilled." He said the lemony flavor was too pronounced. I didn't think so. Harumph. Since he's been helping in the kitchen he's become harder to please. Culinarily speaking, that is...

                            I also served the Crunchy Cucumber, Celery, and Red Bell Pepper Salad with Cumin and Fresh Mint on page 69.

                          2. Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread salad p. 136

                            Here are the reviews from when it was the COTM in 2007 and 2008. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3559...

                            I’ve made the roast chicken before, but never the bread salad.

                            We used a 3.5 lb chicken (the smallest I could find) and dry brined it with salt and pepper for 2 days. We inserted rosemary and garlic under the skin of the breasts and thighs. We cooked this at 500 F, flipping as directed. Thankfully, we did not suffer from excessive smoke in the kitchen. Crispy skin, moist interior. With this recipe you get a great return on such minimal effort.

                            Now on to the bread salad. I thought about eliminating the currants because of my loathe for raisins, but decided to try it as written (good choice). Toast bread that has been painted with olive oil under the broiler to crisp and toast lightly. Break into bite size chunks, season with a dressing made of olive oil, champagne vinegar, and s & p (I did not use nearly all of the dressing ). Then add currants (that were plumped in red wine vinegar and water). Next add scallions and garlic that were gently cooked in a touch of oil just to soften. Lastly, one adds roasted pine nuts, tent with foil and bake 15 minutes. Once out of the oven, add some of the roasting juices from the chicken and arugula. This was surprisingly delicious. It had a crispy, chewy texture and peppery, tart, nutty, savory, and sweet flavors. Mmm, so tasty. My husband genuinely liked the salad too. He ate this with gusto. A great meal that I'd gladly make again.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: BigSal

                              Great write up. Makes me think maybe I really should try that bread salad.....

                              1. re: qianning

                                The bread salad was a surprise hit for us. Carby goodness hits the spot in this colder weather.

                                1. re: BigSal

                                  I love the bread salad more than the chicken itself. I leave out the currants.

                                2. re: qianning

                                  Yes, you definitely should. Have made this several times in the past, and the bread salad is what puts it over the top.

                                3. re: BigSal

                                  Thanks for this write up. I am planning on the Zuni chicken one night this week. I didn't know that the recipe was also in this COTM! After reading your review, I think I'll make the bread salad too!

                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                    Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

                                  2. re: BigSal

                                    I loved the bread salad, more than the chicken. I baked a no-knead bread for this salad and it was outstanding!

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      The bread salad! I wonder if someone invented it , or it just evolved, or what.

                                      I hope your description ("...surprisingly delicious. It had a crispy, chewy texture and peppery, tart, nutty, savory, and sweet flavors. Mmm, so tasty. ") inspires others to try it, and don't leave out the currants.

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread, salad p. 136.

                                        I noticed that there are differences between the recipe here, and the original in the Zuni cookbook. Assuming that the recipes in this book were tested for the home kitchen, I followed this recipe, which BigSal describes above. I did revert to the Zuni cookbook for the dry brining time. My chicken was also 3.5 pounds, and I left it curing in the fridge for the full three days that Rogers suggests. I used an oven-safe skillet to cook the chicken. I had no issue whatsoever with smoke from the oven.

                                        I had planned on making only the chicken part of this recipe, but thanks to BigSal's glowing review, I also made the bread salad. The dressing was not enough to moisten the bread very well (too much or too dry bread, I think), so I tossed in the reserved spoonfuls of liquid that the currants soaked in, which made it perfect. At the end, I tossed in quite a bit of arugula, as I was craving more greens.

                                        This was a wonderful meal! The chicken was flavorful, the meat juicy and the skin crispy. The bread salad was a perfect accompaniment. In retrospect, it was a little too time-consuming for a workday dinner, but it will definitely be repeated on a weekend.

                                          1. re: BigSal

                                            Thanks BigSal! And thanks for giving me the push I needed to try that great bread salad.

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          Zuni Roast Chicken w/ Bread Salad

                                          Ever had one of those nights in the kitchen? You, know, the kind where you think you've got a fabulous meal planned, and the results turn out to be, well in Mr. QN's kindly phrasing, a solid B; in mine, scraped by with a C. I ended up with a very pretty looking but thoroughly overcooked dry bird (3.5 lbs, cooked for a total of 55 minutes), and a salad where the flavors just didn't meld.

                                          The question is how much of this was due to the cook (based on earlier reports from others and a few transgressions on my part, my hunch is 90 plus %), how much the recipe (nah, this is a pretty well written recipe), and how much personal taste (the remaining 10% ?).

                                          So, to spell out my errors, in hopes that it saves others from the wrong path. As I often do when cooking at high heat, I preheated the oven with a baking stone in it. Bad idea! The chicken cooked too fast, and all the juices evaporated, there was plenty of salty fat in the pan at the end, but zero jus. Having no pan juice to play with messed up my bread salad, which turned into an hodge-podge of damp-ish bread and dry arugula.

                                          Oh well, at least there was no company involved, and now I know, when it comes to whole birds, be it turkey, duck or chicken, I'm just a low and slow kind of a cook.

                                          1. re: qianning

                                            Sorry to hear that it was a lackluster meal for you. I've had those nights in the kitchen. It's almost worse when expectations are high.

                                            1. re: BigSal

                                              You are right, expectations have a lot to do with it. Of course, my cooking wasn't exactly on either. Oh well.

                                        2. Chicken Thighs Baked w/ Lemon, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, pg. 133

                                          An easy to make baked dark meat chicken recipe with garlic & lemon plus sage rosemary & thyme, what's not to like? A nice weekday dinner hit here, we've had it twice in the past few weeks, once made with fresh lemons, as called for in the recipe, and once with preserved lemons, just as nice if not better.

                                          So, the recipe, make a garlic, salt, o. oil allioli in a mortar and pestle, smear it on the thighs and marinate for at least 2 hours to over-night (around 10 hours the first time, 4 as the thighs were defrosting the second time I made this, with no major difference in flavor).

                                          When ready to cook, slice lemons into rounds, set the rounds in a roasting pan, add a piece of rosemary, sage, thyme to each round, put the chicken thighs on top, roast at 425 for 45-60 minutes (45 was easily enough in my oven). Crispy skin, moist chicken meat, good herb flavor, and a nicely cooked piece of lemon for each thigh as a counterpoint relish.

                                          Since chicken thighs are pretty much the staple last minute weekday meal in this house, this dish is already in the "what the heck am I making for dinner" file.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: qianning

                                            I had this on my list. Thanks for the report.This and the Garlicky Baked Chicken will be on the menu for the weekday menu this week.

                                            Did you have any difficulty with the alioli emulsifying? When I've made large amounts of it without egg, I've had it break on me on occasion.

                                            1. re: BigSal

                                              First time I made it, no trouble; second time I was rushing, not a good thing, and it broke. But honestly as a marinade I don't think it matters too much, I just used it "broken" (on still pretty frozen thighs, too boot) and the chicken was still very good.

                                            2. re: qianning

                                              Did you refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight?

                                              1. re: angelsmom

                                                First time I refrigerated for around 8-10 hours, second time I didn't refrigerate at all, as the thighs were still defrosting.

                                                FWIW, I think the main thing is to get the garlic mashed into a pulp (not chunks, chips or even very fine dice) as this gets the flavor into the oil & the chicken, and keeps the garlic from burning when baking.

                                              2. re: qianning

                                                Made this tonight. We really liked the super-crispy skin. The thighs were rather large, so baked for an hour. Served with Double Corn Polenta, p. 203 (will post review on the Side Dish thread).

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Chicken Thighs Baked w/ Lemon, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, pg. 133

                                                  Nothing to add to the excellent reports. This is a great, quick and absolutely delicious. The skin crisped up beautifully and the flavorings all subtly infused the meat. Because of this recipe, I just bought this cookbook.

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    We made this for dinner tonight, and it is fairly similar to something my husband calls 'Scarborough Fair Chicken,' which is a roasted chicken made with parsley, sage, rosemary, and, you guessed it, thyme. The addition of lemon was a very nice touch, and although the chicken was slightly overcooked due to having begun with thighs that were still slightly frozen. Nonetheless, this was very tasty with delicious, very crispy skin and meat perfumed by the herbs and lemon. The pan juices were a bit too over caramelized (cook-speak for burned) to be of use, and we served this with some rice and a very fresh salad. Very tasty.

                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                      Made the Chicken thighs with Lemon, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme tonight. Had a friend to dinner, and luckily she's the best guest in the world and always understands if things don't work out. But this time around it was not an issue at all. We LOVED this. Crispy, tasty skin, tender dark meat chicken. Everyone else has already described the making so well that I'll just say that I'm another huge fan. This is definitely going into heavy rotation. Served it with baguette and the green bean creme fraiche chive salad from the book.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        My turn on this one. Nothing much to add other than another vote for easy and delicious with perfect crispy skin and good flavor. Will definitely repeat.

                                                        I'm also very pleased with myself, since it has been a very long time since I've managed to make 3 or more COTM recipes in a given month. Hoping to keep the participation going in the new year!

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          I made this recipe a number of times with various results. I think that putting allioli under the skin is key as well as letting it penetrate the chicken flash over time. The lemon become almost a pickled lemon after baking for a while. I never had sage when I made it and musy try as written once my daughter's garden produces fresh sage:) Good recipe to keep in your back pocket - one of my friends asks now - are you going the make THE chicken?:) My grandboys do not like it all because there is no sauce...

                                                        2. Rigatoni alla Toto, Pg. 107. (From Rome, At Home/Suzanne Dunaway)

                                                          No, this is not an homage to Dorothy's dog. It's a trattoria in Rome that serves "unassuming and delicious meals". The author of the recipe story says that it's a "miraculous recipe" and "one taste can absolutely make you swoon". I don't know about you, but it takes a little more than onion, sausage, basil and cream to make me swoon. No miracles were created in the kitchen last night... but a simple dish of the comfort food variety. The definitive word is "unassuming."

                                                          Olive oil is heated in a skillet and a finely chopped small onion is cooked till translucent. Remove the casing from a pound of sweet Italian sausage, add the meat to the skillet and brown on all sides. A cup of dry white wine is poured into the skillet. Cook this 1 minute then add "a few fresh basil leaves", ground fennel seeds, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (I used 1/2 & 1/2). Salt is listed with the ingredients but no instruction is given for the addition. Anyway, the sauce is simmered for 20 minutes while the rigatoni cooks to the al dente stage. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano. (I garnished each dish with chopped fresh parsley.)

                                                          There's enough leftover for another meal. I intend to make a spicy marinara sauce, reheat this rigatoni and toss with the marinara. For the salad, I re-purposed the beet and horseradish salad of a few nights ago tossing it with blanched small carrot thinnings a la Nigel Slater.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Darn. This was on my list. I was hoping for the swoon, and have been casing my options for sweet Italian sausage. I wonder if using the left over cream fraiche I have instead of the heavy cream would give it more punch.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              There goes the "that's why they make chocolate AND vanilla" thing again. This was a huge hit for us. I loved the creaminess with the spicy sausage and basil.

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Well yes... spicy sausages would have been much tastier but I was being a good girl and used the recommended sweet sausages. I should have followed my first inclination and done the same as you, LLM.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  I really felt for you and your husband last month, when everything you tried was coming out bland. And then that you made something I'd recommended and didn't like it ... eeek! Stick with the sisterhood of the red pepper. I'd forgotten that they call for sweet sausages (which, for once, I've bought, to go with the corn bread salad since they specifically say "don't go with spicy, this is strong enough with the dressing" - we'll see).

                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                Rigatoni alla Toto - p. 107

                                                                I actually made this back in Sept and posted a short review at that time and since our experience was different from Gio's, I thought I'd share the link here. FYI, I added some fennel pollen to up the ante in terms of fennely-goodness and as I read over my notes now, it was the fennel-infusted cream that really wow'd us. I also added a tomato that I needed to use up as you'll see in my review. I tasted pre & post this addition and we liked the dish both ways though when I make it again, I'll add some tomato if I have fresh on hand.

                                                                Happy to recommend this, here's the link:


                                                              3. Pasta with Asparagus Lemon Sauce p.99
                                                                Not much to swoon about - pretty bland dish, imho, and a few dishes to wash after. One pound of trimmed asparagus is cut into 1-inch pieces; stalks boiled for 6-8 min until very tender and cooled. Tips boiled until just tender, cooled in ice water and drained well. Pasta cooks in the same water until not quite al dente. Asparagus stalks are blended with lemon zest, olive oil and a bit of cooking water and heated in a pot where cooked pasta goes to cook further with more pasta water, salt and pepper. The recipe says to put tip in at the same time but i thought that they will overcook and put them in at the end with grated parmigiano. I halved the recipe, used fussili instead of penne and followed the rest as written. When I tasted the sauce in the blender, it had very nice lemon flavour but I di not taste the lemon in the finished pasta. I do not think I will make this again unless a miracle happens and leftovers taste amazing:)

                                                                1. Mussels with Smoky Bacon, Lime, and Cilantro, p.126

                                                                  This is certainly one of the best dishes I've ever made, and my husband pronounced it "the best mussels I've ever eaten" (and we eat mussels at restaurants frequently.

                                                                  Incredibly, a vendor had a variety of heirloom tomatoes at the farmers' market this morning (she dug them up in September and put them in a hoop house), so I used about a pound of those, chopped fine. My jalapeno was VERY hot (what's up with that? Last year they were tasteless, this year they'll knock your socks off.), so I only used half.

                                                                  Prepped all the ingredients and cooked the steaming liquid hours ahead (used dry vermouth for the wine), then cleaned the mussels at the last minute. Easy peasy.

                                                                  Served with crusty garlic bread. A memorable feast.

                                                                  12 Replies
                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                    Oh good, I had the fish guy promise to have mussels for me next Saturday so that I could make this. I'm really looking forward to it. Glad it was such a hit. There is no way I'll have the quality of tomatoes you had - should I go with quality canned or plum?

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      I would do quality canned. (My fishmonger picked through the mussels one-by-one, taking out all open ones -- no waste at all.)

                                                                    2. re: pikawicca

                                                                      Unfortunately, this was a bummer for us (the Mussels with Bacon, Lime and Cilantro), but I think mostly because the mussels we got were *very* gritty. I cleaned and cleaned, and pulled out beards like crazy, but the results showed that it didn't matter. I've never had this problem before, and it was disappointing. Pretty much ruined what would have otherwise been a nice dish. Still and all, we agreed that while the sauce was good, it wasn't our favorite. We put two of the ones from Fish Without a Doubt ahead of it (the black bean one and the coconut cream curry, if not mistaken) and an epicurious one with pernod and cream. The sauce was definitely very nice, and maybe it was the turkey bacon instead of real stuff that made the difference, but I doubt it (for us). The kicker is that this is the number one recipe from this book that I had in mind to cook. Oh well, everything else has been very good.

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        I made the mussels this weekend and loved it. Used supermarket mussels (farmed in PEI - the orange kind), chicken bacon, lemon for lime and vermouth for wine - yummy sauce! Will definitely make again!

                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                          Did anyone make both this mussels recipe and the recipe from the Dorrie Greenspan 'Around My French Table' cookbook? We are going to do one of these recipes on Wednesday night, just curious if anyone tried both and has a preference.

                                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                                            If any of you who have done the mussels with smoky bacon, etc. are online now, can you please offer an opinion? I'm going shopping in a while and want to try this tonight. I hate ketchup, so I don't want to buy a bottle for this small usage. Do you think I can leave it out? Or sub a little tomato paste? Maybe a touch of vinegar and sugar? Any ideas?

                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                              I think you could easily leave it out, but given that I am the one person so far who liked but didn't love this recipe, maybe my opinion isn't worth quite as much. You already have the chopped tomatoes in there, maybe just a smidgen of sugar.

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                Thanks LulusMom! It sounds like your problem with the dish had a lot to do with your mussels, so your opinion on this is helpful in spite of your bad experience!

                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  It pretty much exclusively had to do with the quality/grit level of the mussels. That said, it wasn't my favorite ever sauce/cooking prep for mussels. I can't wait to hear how it turns out. I really can't imagine the tiny bit of ketchup in there would make a difference (especially since you don't like the stuff).

                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                Sometimes the dish is much more than a sum of its parts and maybe, just maybe, a bit of ketchup made a difference here. I would sub with an equal amount of tomato paste and a pinch of sugar. I loved this dish:)

                                                                              3. re: pikawicca

                                                                                Mussels with Smoky Bacon, Lime, and Cilantro

                                                                                This dish was a big hit at Casa Nightshade. We are big mussel fans, and Mr. NS pronounced it one of the best mussel dishes he has ever had. I used large Penn Cove mussels (I usually prefer the smaller ones, but this was all that was available). My diversions from the recipe: I omitted the ketchup, did not substitute anything else, and certainly did not feel anything was lacking; I had locally-made double smoked bacon which rendered no fat whatsoever, so I added a bit of olive oil; and I had a very large, hot, jalapeno, so I only used about 2/3 of it. Delicious! Will definitely do this again.

                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                  Mussels with Smoky Bacon, Lime and Cilantro

                                                                                  Mussels are one of my favorite solo dinners when my kids aren't here and by chance I had everything in the house for this last night other than the mussels, which a quick dash to the fishmonger's solved. Since I was solo I only used a pound of mussels, but I halved the recipe for the rest of the ingredients, since I wanted to have lots of sauce to sop up with the bread. Used good quality canned tomatoes and applewood smoked bacon (TJ's).

                                                                                  Verdict: Yum! Delicious and very different than my usual preps (classic french mostly) and also felt more substantial (although less virtuous given that bacon). The bit of heat from the jalapeno was welcome and all the flavors really played off of each other beautifully, without overwhelming the mussels. I'll definitely make it again.

                                                                                2. For some reason, I can't seem to pull up the link for the main Dec. 2011 COTM feed, and it is not coming up when I bring up the archive. Lulu's Mom, could you post the link for it here. Looking forward to this month's book.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                    Is this what you are looking for?
                                                                                    If so, it's always at the top of the Home Cooking board.

                                                                                  2. The Amazing Five Hour Roast Duck P. 142
                                                                                    The amazing 5 hour roast duck was actually pretty amazing, although I roasted it for less than the 5 hours and when I do it again, I would probably think about taking it out of the oven at about 31/2 hours. This duck cavity is rubbed with salt and pepper and filled with chopped garlic and thyme and you make dozens of slits in the skin with a sharp paring knife, being careful not to cut into the meat. You put it on a rack on the jelly roll pan, and put it in the oven. You take it out every hour, pierce the skin with the knife again and turn the bird over. If following the time frame of the recipe, you would raise the temperature to 350 after four hours, sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper, and roast for another hour until the skin is crisp and browned. You let the duck rest for 20 minutes before cutting into quarters and serving.

                                                                                    The duck was meltingly tender, and the skin was shatteringly crisp. Another side benefit was that the low temperature caused the duck to release perfectly clear duck fat, which you can pour off and make use of in a myriad of different ways. ALso, the low temperature meant that, despite being on a sheet pan, there was no splattering that you usually associate with cooking a duck in the oven. This recipe was a winner in every way.

                                                                                    27 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      I was so hoping someone would try this! Thanks! This will be one of the meats on my Christmas table!... I've never bought duck, I am assuming it is not hard to find one!

                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                        Meltingly tender and shatteringly crisp skin - sounds divine!

                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                          I made it for Thanksgiving this year. I roasted it for 3 hours at 300 with turns at 45 minute intervals, then a final 1/2 hour at 375. To Tom P: I bought a frozen 5 pound muscovy on Monday at my regular Kroger store, and it was of course thawed in the fridge by T'day morning. This is a very easy dish to make, and very tasty. I put some apple wedges in the cavity and that worked.

                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                            All of my local grocery stores have chickens, turkeys, capons, and geese. No ducks, so I ordered one online. Plan to make this next Saturday.

                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                              I'd recommend a Long Island (Pekin) duck for a first one, the Muscovy ones can be a bit stronger than I like.
                                                                                              Made this and liked it a lot too. I usually steam duck for an hour and roast it for another hour, or cook them wrapped in tinfoil for an hour and then unwrapped (to simulate steam cooking) - the latter produces clear duck fat too. The 5-hour comes out like my usual w/o the hassle.

                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                Another duck question: is this a dish you can cook and then let sit 30-45 minutes? Just checking for oven timing and warming casseroles, etc while the duck rests before Christmas dinner)

                                                                                                1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                  The downside of a long rest is a gradual decline in the crisp of the skin, but 30 minutes should be OK. I mentioned to pika off-board that toaster ovens are great for re-heating whole breasts or leg/thighs with skin on -bake a while to warm them, then a quick broil will crisp the skin. Watch it carefully - there is a point where the skin turns almost to dust.

                                                                                              2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                Made this tonight (for the second time), no thyme or garlic, just salt and pepper, Muscovy duck. Sublime, plus almost a pint of clear duck fat. Pretty much followed the instructions. Used some of the rendered fat to braise shredded cabbage, and some more to fry potatoes. Deglazed the pan and added Marsala and a bit of orange marmalade to make a sauce. Happy diners.

                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                  How long did you cook the duck for?

                                                                                                2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                  The Amazing Five Hour Roast Duck P. 142

                                                                                                  This has been my go-to company duck recipe since I first encountered it several years ago in the BAR series, simply because it is so easy, and you can get everything else ready while it's roasting. I sometimes go only four hours, but this time I took the whole five as the ducks were larger and even fattier than usual.

                                                                                                  Roxlet has already described well the process. I roasted two birds for a small dinner party on Friday night, and they turned out beautifully, with crisp brown skin and succulent meat.

                                                                                                  And then there are the bonuses: lots of beautiful duck fat, which I strained and put into the fridge (potatoes cooked in DF are in our near future); about 4 qts. of stock made from the carcass, the wings, necks, giblets; and last night I made duck-and-mushroom pot pies for the freeze w/the leftover meat. (My husband had gone out to buy them for me, and when he got home, he said "My gosh [or something slightly saltier], do you know how much these blasted things cost?." to which I replied, "Yes, Dear, but they will pay for themselves." And they just about have.

                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    Nomadschowwoman, I never made duck stock - what do you use it for? I would love a recipe for your mushroom-duck pies - would you share?

                                                                                                    I made this duck for a friend a couple of months ago and did not try it then. She said that it was the best duck ever and she is a duck lover:) I will be making it again once I am back from the next week vacation. Still using the fat that I rended from that duck to cook potatoes - not sure what else to use it for. Any ideas?

                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                      Hi Herby--I use duck stock just about the same way I'd use chicken stock--in ragus, to cook beans, in soups or gumbo. (I love it in mushroom soup.)
                                                                                                      Duck fat is delicious for sauteeing greens, cabbage, brussels sprouts, carrots (or probably almost any vegetables, particularly the winter ones). I once fried eggs in it, and they were divine.

                                                                                                      Here is my recipe for pot pies; for the duck variation, I simply substitute duck stock and duck meat for the chicken:

                                                                                                      5-6 T. butter
                                                                                                      2 lg. carrots, cut into chunks, ¾ -1 inch thick
                                                                                                      10-12 oz. fresh pearl onions, peeled (or ½ # frozen, added at end)
                                                                                                      1 – 1 ¼ c. mushrooms, wild, domestic, or a mix, cleaned and halved or quartered
                                                                                                      1 lg. leek, white and pale green part only, cleaned and sliced
                                                                                                      1 lg. or 2 sm. shallot (s), minced
                                                                                                      1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
                                                                                                      1 clove garlic, minced
                                                                                                      1/3 c. all purpose flour
                                                                                                      3. c chicken or turkey stock
                                                                                                      1/3 c. dry white wine
                                                                                                      1/3 c. heavy cream
                                                                                                      Salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                                      2 ½-3 c. cooked chicken or turkey, in chunks and pieces
                                                                                                      2 T. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
                                                                                                      ½ c. frozen or fresh green peas

                                                                                                      Yields about 8 c. filling

                                                                                                      Pie or puff pastry—enough for 6 individual pies or 2 9- or 10-inch pies

                                                                                                      Melt 1 T. Butter in lg. skillet over med. heat. Saute carrots 8-10 minutes until barely tender. Set aside in separate bowl. [If using fresh pearl onions, add another T. of butter and sauté 6-8 minutes until they begin to soften. Add to bowl.]

                                                                                                      Add another T. butter, raise heat to med. high, and sauté mushrooms until they begin to brown. Add to bowl.

                                                                                                      Melt remaining butter in same pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté about 5 minutes, and add shallots, thyme, and garlic to leeks. Sauté another 3-4minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Stir in broth and white wine. Increase heat to high and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

                                                                                                      Add cream and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, stirring frequently, 5-6
                                                                                                      minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                      Preheat oven to 375. To bowl of sautéed ingredients, add chicken or turkey. Pour gravy over mixture in dish. Stir to blend. Cool mixture.

                                                                                                      Add parsley & peas [and frozen pearl onions if not using fresh] to mixture in bowl.

                                                                                                      Butter casserole dish (or individual-portion dishes). Pour in filling. Top with pastry, pressing edges to seal. Cut hole or slits to vent. Bake on top rack of oven, about 30 minutes, until pastry is brown and filling is bubbling.

                                                                                                      Vegetarian: omit meat; increase amounts of carrots and mushrooms (and more butter for
                                                                                                      sautéing ); substitute vegetable stock for poultry stock.

                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        Many thanks for the recipe, variations and suggestions, Nomad! Definitely cooking duck soon and will have to make your pot pie - sounds so very yummy:)

                                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                    Another question here for anyone who has tried this recipe ... I have 14 coming for Christmas dinner and the Whole Food Ducks are about 4-5 lbs. So I need two. Do you think if I cook them side by side in the same oven it will work?

                                                                                                    1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                      Why wouldn't it? Low and slow is the secret here.

                                                                                                      1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                        I've done it, in fact they were side by side in the same large roasting pan. Worked out fine.

                                                                                                          1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                            Respectfully Tom, if duck is the only meat with your main course, 2 ducks won't feed 14. I figure a leg & thigh or a breast per person.

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              I was thinking the same thing. Depending on how many sides, I'd say you need 3 ducks. I love duck (just back from south-western France where I ate it every single day - happily so!) but it doesn't usually give a ton of meat.

                                                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                            We have a large tenderloin and a big tray of lasagna as well. I just wanted everyone to have a little bit of it. So I am thinking two might be enough with a ton of sides, too... or...?

                                                                                                            1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                              Two in your case will be absolutely enough. I thought this is THE main and also thought that two duck won't feed 14 people.

                                                                                                          2. re: Tom P

                                                                                                            I cooked two in the same oven when I cooked these--worked great.

                                                                                                            1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                              There is no way that two 5-pound ducks will feed 14 people! Four ducks will do it, but unless you have two ovens, that's difficult.

                                                                                                            2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                              5 hour roast duck. This recipe is such a winner! Served this as part of Christmas dinner and it was a complete success. I only roasted 4 hours and let rest for 30 minutes. There were groans of ecstasy at the table and my baby was literally sucking on the bones. 4 year old also loved it. My middle girl turned her nose up at it, but I think it may have had something to do with imagining cute baby ducklings.

                                                                                                              Used some of the rendered fat for roasted potatoes (awesome!) and feel like I have a special little treasure hidden away with the remaining cup of fat sitting in the fridge.

                                                                                                              Between this and Roxlet's sticky toffee pudding recipe (incredibly good), my extended family was requesting that I always host Christmas dinner.

                                                                                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                I had the exact same experience as greeneggsnham and everyone else. Wow. I roasted two side by side (thanks above advice!) and also stopped at 4 hours, letting them rest 30 minutes before we attacked them chinese style, as recommended in the book. I can't imagine a better roast duck. And it was very easy.

                                                                                                                The amount of fat that came from the ducks was astounding! Had I not just made duck confit fro Cassoulet, I'd also have saved it. We served the duck along with a beef tenderloin and a tray of lasagna for the main dishes. This is a keeper and finally a recipe that lives up to the title of the book!

                                                                                                                Oh and the crowd went wild. There was nothing left. Even the 'duck-haters' tried it and then went back for seconds.

                                                                                                            3. Sear-roasted salmon fillets with lemon ginger butter (p. 124)

                                                                                                              Wonderful. I like using compound butters on fish a lot, and this was no exception. The butter is easy to make - butter, lemon juice, ginger, and chives. Made that yesterday, and so was able to not worry about the main at all tonight. You sear the salmon on the stove for about a minute, then into a 500 degree oven for about 2. A nice, medium rare slice of salmon with a very tasty butter. Served with roasted butternut squash with 5- spice (husband found this part of the meal too sweet) and the Green-onion buttermilk biscuits from the book.

                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                Sounds like a great meal! I made the compound butter (lemon juice, thyme, and shallots) today to use later in the week.

                                                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                  I think you'll like it - such a good combination of flavors. And once you have the butter, you basically have at least 2 if not 3 meals (at least for our family, maybe more for yours). I think I'd go with rice as a carb over the biscuits. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

                                                                                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                  Made this tonight for an appreciative audience. Used the grated zest of 2 Meyer lemons in addition to the juice. I'll leave out the juice next time, as it doesn't have nearly as much flavor as the rind, and I found it devilishly messy and difficult to incorporate it into the butter (even though I warmed the juice, as directed). Very good dish for little effort.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                    I agree that the lemon juice, even with the tip of warming it first, is a pain and doesn't incorporate well.

                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                    I mad this last night, and I agree with the other posters that the compound lemon-ginger butter makes for a delicious and easy salmon dish. And I also agree that the lemon juice is not that easy to incorporate into the butter, warmed or not--mine persisted in looking sort of curdled. Picawicca's solution of using the grated lemon rind alone sounds very interesting.
                                                                                                                    Anyway, the bright flavors really perked up the salmon filets without being too dominant. But I have to admit that I didn't sear the salmon filets as in the recipe title, but rather roasted them the low-heat way as suggested in the accompanying "tip." I was trying to avoid the strong fishy odor that pervades my eat-in kitchen on a winter's night when I sear salmon over high heat. The recipe suggested bringing the 5-ounce filets to room temperature, oiling them with EVOO and covering them with a "thatch" of chives, plus S& P, and then roasting them for exactly 17 minutes at 250 F. And that's exactly what I did. The result was rosy and moist filets, perfectly cooked through. Admittedly, there was no delicious crust on the outside of the filets, but the lemon-ginger compound butter added its own special interest to the completed dish. This method is a great solution for dinner-parties where the kitchen is open to the dining room. The timing works. I'll use it again.

                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                      (Tuna) with lemon ginger butter.

                                                                                                                      Mr. NS brought home tuna last night, so I just made the lemon ginger butter to go with it. I made half the recipe, put big old knobs of the stuff on each steak, and still had plenty left over. I forgot that our herb garden chives had expired, so I used finely chopped scallion greens. I can see that this might suit salmon a bit better than tuna, but it was very good. It did take bit of stirring to incorporate the lemon juice, but it ended up smooth and fully combined. I forsee making a little tub of this to keep on hand for summer fish grilling. I wonder if it would keep well, or if the fresh ginger might go bad.

                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                        It will keep fine in the freezer. Just roll it up like a log in some plastic wrap in pop it in. I've done it with other compound butters many times, and it is such a great thing to have when you just bring home fish and a vegetable - suddenly it is a special meal.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                          I know it works with herbs, wasn't sure about the ginger. But I was thinking of just keeping in the fridge. Freezer is a much better idea, thanks!

                                                                                                                          ETA -By the way, I wasn't thinking of keeping in the fridge until summer, just until the next fish came by!

                                                                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        Just wanted to report that I made this a few nights ago, and heeding reports about the difficulty of incorporating the lemon juice into the compound butter, I skipped the juice altogether and used the zest of one lemon instead. Perfect--the resulting butter was absolutely delicious on the salmon, which I seared on the grill and finished in the oven.
                                                                                                                        An excellent dish.

                                                                                                                      3. Slow-Roasted Chipotle Pork, Pg. 175. (From The New Cooks Tour of Sonoma/Michele Anna Jordan)

                                                                                                                        For ease of prep and cook this recipe is a dream of unattended cooking. The direction is to use chipotle powder but pureed chipotle in adobo is recommended as an alternative which is what I used. A ratio of 1 part chipotle to 2 parts salt is used for whatever size the pork roast, bone-in or boneless, is. Boston butt is recommended, I used a nicely marbled 3 1/2 pound Boston butt. The recipe also calls for small corn tortillas but we had to settle for Trader Joe's flour ones since all the stores we stopped at were out of the corn tortillas.

                                                                                                                        You will need a deep roasting pan with a lid... but a clay pot is the vessel of choice and it was a treat to use my Romertopf, a pot I bought two years ago and have used only once. I do think a slow cooker could be used as well.

                                                                                                                        For the recipe combine Kosher salt and chipotle well and rub all over the roast. After soaking the clay pot and cover put in the roast, cover, place in a cold oven, close the door then turn the heat to 275F. If using another type pot the oven can be preheated. The roast cooks for 3 1/2 - 4 hours. It's done when a fork pressed against the meat causes the roast to fall apart. Ours took a little longer than 4 hours for the pork to get to that stage, though not entirely. Rest the pork covered for 15 minutes.

                                                                                                                        In the meantime warm the tortillas: Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Slightly dampen a tea towel, make sure the tortillas aren't stuck together and stack them on the towel which is then wrapped around them. Wrap the towel package tightly in aluminum foil and place in oven for 7 minutes.

                                                                                                                        Stack 2 tortillas, pull the pork and place on top, add cilantro, and squeeze a bit of lime juice over, fold in half. I included a few shredded lettuce leaves.

                                                                                                                        Verdict: If you think all that is contained by a small tortilla... it isn't.

                                                                                                                        Potentially this is a tasty recipe. The ratio of salt to chipotle is probably a good one, but I think the final amount should be at least doubled, even tripled. We simply stuck to the 1 Tbsp chipotle to 2 T salt as the recipe stated. The slow cooking seems to cook all the flavor out of a dish so meat should be seasoned aggressively. The juicy bits of meat were delicious but T J's tortillas were horrible - dry with a curious corn flavor even though they were made of flour. I'll have to read the label more carefully later. The tomato and cumin salad on page 80 was a terrific match.

                                                                                                                        1. Cremini mushrooms with chive pasta (p. 108)

                                                                                                                          Big hit, but to my mind this was mostly because of the roasted creminis. I think you could put them in a pasta with olive oil and garlic and it would still be very special. You roast the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, and then when cool enough (for me it took about 7-8 minutes) cut them into quarters. Cook either spaghettini or capellini. Make chive oil from 1 cup of chives and 1/2 cup of olive oil, S&P. Drain the pasta, add the chive oil and the mushrooms and mix together. Ta-da! The chive oil is nice, a bit subtle, but those mushrooms are killer. My husband raved, and Lulu asked if she could have some in her lunchbox tomorrow.

                                                                                                                          20 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            Made just the roasted cremini mushrooms last night. I actually initially intended to make the whole recipe, had the chives and everything. My plan was to do it in 2 days. Had the oven blasting for roasted green beans (review will be posted on side dishes) , so I figured I'd roast the cremini today and then put them with the pasta tomorrow for dinner. But while the mushrooms were cooling, they got devoured by my husband, who thought they were a sidedish for tonight :) I managed to steal one off of his plate before he ate them all and it was deliciously meaty and savory.

                                                                                                                            They were a big hit so I guess I will have to try again with the whole recipe.

                                                                                                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                              I think they would make an amazing side dish!

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                Certainly worked for us! I would like to try the whole recipe though. Apparently, I'll have to hide the mushrooms from my husband while they're cooling :) Or maybe just make a double batch so there's some to snack on.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                  I've been jealous of your husband all day.

                                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              Cremini Mushrooms with Chive Pasta – p. 108

                                                                                                                              Inspired by LM's post and, with a big paper bag of Cremini mushrooms lingering in my fridge, I just had to give this recipe a try. Ladies and gentlemen, please do not adjust your sets (or monitors!!) yes, this was an electric green dish and we thoroughly enjoyed it! I have an abundance of chives in my garden throughout the growing season and can't wait to make this dish again with my just picked chives. I did add some garlic to the pesto this time around to give the flavours a boost, along w some chili flakes.

                                                                                                                              This was a big hit at Casa BC. I enjoyed mine as is and served mr bc's w some grilled chicken. I'd love to try this w King Oyster Mushrooms. . . one of my favourites.

                                                                                                                              Thanks for the inspiration LM!!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                Love the colors.
                                                                                                                                I must try this dish--love pasta, love mushrooms, and also have lots of chives (that I often forget about) in my "garden."

                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                  Looks luscious! I'm considering a mushroom pasta for dinner tonight. I would jump on this save for the fact that I lost all my chives at the first frost. I'll put it on the list for spring!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                    Thanks LN, two other Mushroom pasta's we love are:

                                                                                                                                    Penne with mushroom sauce (Penne col sugo di funghi coltivati) from Marcella's Italian Kitchen . . . I don't recall if you have that book?

                                                                                                                                    and Pasta with mushrooms from Off The Shelf: Cooking From the Pantry by Donna Hay which, I think you did buy.

                                                                                                                                    I'll check the WFD thread to see what ends up on your plate!! Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                      another great pasta with mushrooms recipe is in one of the Italian Easy books - Pasta with dried porcini mushrooms. Heaven on a plate.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        LulusMom, could you paraphrase the recipe? I do not have these books but have a "ton" of dried mushrooms that I do not know what to do with.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                          Penne, tomato dried porcini (Italian two easy, p. 64)

                                                                                                                                          Soak 1 1/2 oz porcini in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Peel and slice 2 cloves garlic. Chop 1 tablespoon parsley. Grate 2 oz. parmesan. (she says to make tomato sauce - I've always just used canned or tubed; 5 tbsps). Drain the mushrooms, straining the liquid into a bowl. Rinse the mushrooms and chop coarsely. Melt 7 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, add the garlic. Then add the porcini and fry until soft. Add a little of the porcini broth and simmer until absorbed. Stir in parsley, add tomato sauce and season. Cook and drain penne and stir into the sauce. Drizzle with olive oil.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                            Many thanks, LulusMom! I will make this soon - sounds yummy:)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                        Breadcrumbs, I cannot find the Penne col sugo di funghi colivati in Marcella book you suggest. I can't seem to find it in EYB either. Can you point me in the right direction. Tho, only if it is made with 'dried' porcini.

                                                                                                                                        I've not yet found a recipe made with dried porcini that I enjoy. I keep trying.


                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rella


                                                                                                                                          I assume 'coltivati' means cultivated, and it doesn't call for dried mushrooms, per EYB. Breadcumbs's note on EYB says it's on p. 132.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                            Thank you. My mistake - no wonder; I was looking in the wrong books. I don't have that book. I thought she meant:


                                                                                                                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                      Cremini Mushrooms with Chive Pasta – p. 108

                                                                                                                                      As LulusMom and Breadcrumbs have noted, this is a very tasty dish. DH, not usually big on meatless meals, loved it. Even better, this is a snap to throw together if you have chives and mushrooms. I used Barilla multigrain pasta, which worked perfectly well with these flavors.

                                                                                                                                      As you can see from my photo, my result was not as beautifully green as Breadcrumbs's (my chive oil was, but I probably had too high a pasta-to-oil ratio.

                                                                                                                                      A definite keeper.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for reminding me about this one. I have made the mushrooms on their own several times, but still have not made the whole dish. We have vegetarian friends coming over this weekend for dinner. I think this might have just answered the question of what to make!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                          Made this over the weekend for a vegetarian dinner party and I have to add my raves to everyone elses. As NCW says "A definite keeper." Even my carnivorous husband and green-averse children gobbled it up. My vegetarian guests asked for the recipe and were amazed with the simplicity. This will go into regular rotation.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                      Cremini Mushrooms with Chive Pasta p. 108

                                                                                                                                      Thanks to LLM for reminding me of this recipe that had been on my "must try" list for some time.It was enjoyed by both of us and it was a snap to make after work. The roasted mushrooms were so good that they almost didn't make it to the plate after my husband and I tried a bite after taking them out of the oven. And although subtler in flavor, we also really enjoyed the chive pasta. I'm thinking about pairing it with shrimp (w/o the cheese).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                                        Yay! Like the idea of pairing with shrimp. Maybe that will be my Christmas eve pasta ...

                                                                                                                                    4. Turkey Sloppy Joes
                                                                                                                                      With a package of ground turkey in the freezer that wasn't getting any better, I happened across this recipe. Now I have to confess that I had never eaten a sloppy Joe before making this! It was surprisingly good and full-flavored and I would definitely make this again for a quick week night dinner.
                                                                                                                                      Two cups of onion that are chopped finely are cooked in a tablespoon of olive oil until beginning to caramelize, and a pound and quarter of ground turkey is added with a tablespoon of salt. After the turkey is cooked, a tablespoon of ground cumin is stirred in, followed by a cup of wine that is then reduced to a quarter or so. A can of crushed tomatoes go in next, and the whole thing is allowed to cook for 15 minutes at which time 2 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce is stirred in. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of molasses, which I omitted. Shred some cheddar cheese, put that over a sliced Kaiser roll, and ladle on the meat mixture. As I said, it was surprisingly tasty and the richness caused my husband to ask if it was beef. With this, I served a tossed salad.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                        This is so interesting. Almost everything I've on the docket to make is made the night before by someone else. We're doing these tonight, so glad to hear you liked them.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                          Turkey Sloppy Joes, Pg. 45 (From The Hartford Courant)

                                                                                                                                          We made the Sloppy last night but not the Joes. That is to say we made the sauce recipe but served it over steamed Jasmine rice. It was delicious. I halved the recipe.

                                                                                                                                          Roxlet's description is very well stated so I'll just say that I did use the molasses, a strange but worthy addition, and used a combination of Dubliner cheese and Jarlsberg to make the cup of cheese needed. I used a jug burgundy that I keep on hand for cooking as the red wine. To serve, a scoop of rice was placed in the center of a plate, a hefty sprinkle of cheese atop that then the sauce ladled over with a small garnish of minced parsley over that.

                                                                                                                                          We have made sloppy joes a few times in the past and thought this version was particularly tasty. Perhaps a bit of hot sauce or cayenne to up the heat would be welcome. A sauté of escarole was the side dish.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                            Who'da thunk sloppy joes could be made elegant? Impressed w/your riff on this recipe, Gio.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                              Oh thank you, Nomad. I did mis-speak though ...I didn't halve the recipe. The ingredient list has 1 1/3 pounds of ground turkey and I had exactly 1 pound but the test kitchen notes that it's OK. There's quite a bit left so I'll serve it over Rigatoni tomorrow night. After all it Is a meat sauce....

                                                                                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                            Made this tonight using ground chicken -- no one could believe it wasn't beef. Dialed back the cumin to about 1 1/2 t. and added a pinch of cinnamon. Served over brown rice. Very tasty, we all liked it a lot. Served with braised collards.

                                                                                                                                          3. Stir-Fried Chicken with Lime and Coconut - p. 129

                                                                                                                                            If this sounds yummy to you, run, don't walk to your pantry and get started because this sure is delicious!!

                                                                                                                                            We initially made this in September when I first rec'd this book and we've made it a few times since then as it makes for a quick and delicious week-night meal that never seems to disappoint.

                                                                                                                                            I posted a review in Sept so I've pasted a link here in case anyone is interested. Happy to recommend.


                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                              I've definitely got to make this!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                Yep, on my list! Quick and delicious are perfect for around here.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                  Stir-Fried Chicken with Lime and Coconut

                                                                                                                                                  Made this a few nights ago and completely agree with Breadcrumbs on the quick and delicious. I will also add warm and comforting on a cold night.

                                                                                                                                                  The only adjustment I made was to use one chile pepper instead of two, as I was serving it to my kids as well. Perhaps because of that it had a more Caribbean feel to me than Asian, but that's not a bad thing at all. This was one of those rare dishes in my home that made my picky kids happy and flavor-loving me happy and I think it will be making a regular appearance on our table.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                    Stir-Fried Chicken with Lime and Coconut

                                                                                                                                                    This is one of those funny dishes that I was eager to do, based upon ingredients and the above reviews, and found very disappointing. I followed the recipe, except I used half red and half green chile pepper, and I used coconut oil instead of olive, as I don't like to use olive oil for high temp wok cooking. I would think that a dish with chiles, lime coconut, fish sauce, and cilantro would be a can't miss in the Nightshade house. But we were very underwhelmed. The nastiest comment I made was that if this was served in the hospital cafeteria, I wouldn't be a bit surprised. Not inedible, but surprisingly bland and boring. A bust for our Christmas eve dinner! Oh well, on to better things tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                      Really? I made this for the second time (different audience) last night to rave reviews. How could a dish with chilies, lime, coconut, fish sauce, and cilantro be "bland?"

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                        "How could a dish with chilies, lime, coconut, fish sauce, and cilantro be 'bland?'"

                                                                                                                                                        I know! That's exactly what I said! I love all those flavors. But for our tastes, or by some other unknown factor, it just didn't measure up. Weird, right?

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                        My turn on the Stir-Fried Chicken with Lime and Coconut. I tasted as I went, and while i would never have said hospital food about it, I did find, as L. Nightshade did, that it seemed to be missing something. Remembering one of our favorite meals, I added a bit of curry powder. That really woke it right up, and went perfectly with the coconut milk, lime, cilantro and green onions. With that, we all loved it; without I think it would have been an ok meal, but not as lick the plate-ish. I had to ask for family hold back (FHB) so that Lulu would have enough for a lunch or two.

                                                                                                                                                        PS - last week we repeated the chicken with lemon, sage, rosemary and and thyme and it was just as great as the first time.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                          It still strikes me as odd that a Delia Smith recipe is one of the 150.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Turkey Broth, Pg. 152 (From Food and Wine/Christopher Solomon)

                                                                                                                                                      This is the broth used to make the turkey gravy on page 148, It's one of the components of the Spiced-Rubbed Turkey with Sage Gravy and Wild Mushroom Stuffing on page 146. I've been making this broth for 2 years now and it's become my standard, both for chicken broth and turkey. It has a deep rich poultry flavor that compliments gravy and soup. This recipe makes 3 quarts of broth. I make it over the course of 3 days. On Day 1 we slice off a few large pieces of roasted meat and eat them for dinner.

                                                                                                                                                      Day 1 - roast turkey parts. 400F/1 hour or till turkey is a rich golden brown

                                                                                                                                                      Day 2 - make broth overnight in slow cooker. Or stove top: simmer 2 - 3 hours.

                                                                                                                                                      Day 3 - make gravy on page 148 - 2nd paragraph.

                                                                                                                                                      The ingredients for the broth are: turkey parts... I usually use 2 turkey wings, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks. All pieces are large and weigh between 5 - 7 pounds. 14 cups water, sliced onion/carrot/celery, sliced garlic. I omit salt, use 5 or so black peppercorns instead of ground pepper and include 2 or 3 bay leaves.

                                                                                                                                                      Cool, strain, refrigerate covered till needed. Skim off fat before using.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Southwestern Black Bean Burgers, Pg. 96. (From Good Housekeeping Magazine/Susan Westmoreland)

                                                                                                                                                        There once was a home cook named Gee-oh
                                                                                                                                                        Who thought she had black beans to go to.
                                                                                                                                                        To the pantry she went
                                                                                                                                                        And found they were spent
                                                                                                                                                        So had to use white beans - oh my oh.

                                                                                                                                                        But have you no fear my good dear
                                                                                                                                                        The ending is so very near.
                                                                                                                                                        For dried black beans are waiting
                                                                                                                                                        And burgers need making.
                                                                                                                                                        As soon as they're done you will hear.

                                                                                                                                                        So, if you're still interested in my upside down recipe which does have reference to the original COTM recipe, here's what I did... Oh, and horror of horrors, a recall in 7 states including Massachusetts of CILANTRO has been issued. I cannot Live without cilantro...

                                                                                                                                                        Into a large bowl place drained, rinsed beans (cannellini) and mash with some mayonnaise till not quite smooth, but close to it. Add chopped cilantro (sigh, had to use parsley), fresh bread crumbs, hot pepper sauce (Tabasco),cumin (I included ground coriander to compensate for lack of cilantro), S & P. Stir well to mix. Flour your hands and create 4 patties. Heat a small pour of olive oil to a skillet and cook the burgers about 3-ish minutes till "lightly browned. Flip and cook other side. Slice some lettuce (iceberg and raddichio) and divide between small whole wheat pitas. (I used soft rolls). Top with salsa (med. hot Green Mt.).

                                                                                                                                                        These were really quite delicious, even tho... And yes, I'll be making the Real SBB next Sat. As soon as they're done you will hear. I served the Italian version of Black Bean Burgers with the Sicilian Slow-roasted Onion Salad on page 84. Why not, hmmm?

                                                                                                                                                        24 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                          Mmmm, these sound good and I hadn't somehow noticed them. Always have cans of cannellini beans around here, but will try to do them as written to see.

                                                                                                                                                          Cilantro?? Oh no!!!

                                                                                                                                                          I've been dying to make the sicilian slow roasted onion salad, so will check your review of that.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                            cilantro? yikes! wonder if NH is one of the 7 states....just bought some yesterday, and used a fair amount last night.....fortunately we all woke up this morning, but wonder what I should do with the rest of the cilantro bunch.....will have to look into this.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                              I've posted the info on the Media board... will post it here too.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                thanks for the head's up Gio. for those interested here are some more details,

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    Mine was bought in NYC. Hope it's good - had some last night to no ill effect. I think it's just about the main source of vitamins in my diet!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                I made these on a work night with the black beans and cilantro. They were quite tasty considering how easy they were to make. We ate them in the pita pockets since we only had large pita. Worked just fine though didn't look as elegant, I'm sure. I would definitely do this again. I think I would try to sub out Greek yogurt for the mayo next time since we don't often have mayo in the fridge but always have Greek yogurt. The cumin really is what gave the burgers great flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  Southwestern Black Bean Burgers, Pg. 96.

                                                                                                                                                                  We had a encore performance of this recipe on the weekend and I must say, I should have left well enough alone. Quite truthfully, I prefer the cannellini version served with rolls rather than the black beans served in mini pitas. . Oh, the black beans were fine... I didn't substitute nor deviate one iota from the recipe, even managed to find cilantro without the offending brand name or UPC codes. The recipe came together as before, relatively quickly and easily. But I don't know... G hated the way they looked. (eye appeal) He said it looked as if he were eating mud. The silly mini pita bread fell apart even though they were very fresh. I didn't eat mine. (Big) if I ever make these burgers again, and I do think they're a healthy alternative to meat, I'll go back to a white bean.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    These are in line for dinner tomorrow night. Lulu and I are huge bean lovers so I'm hoping we'll like them more than your second try. It was your first try that even made me notice the recipe. Was it mostly the lack of eye appeal and the problems with the pita that made you not like them?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, LLM, I didn't find them to be as tasty as those I made with the cannellini. The black beans had been dried, I soaked them for about 5 hours, drained them, then cooked them for 2 hours. (Small beans don't need a long soak) They were ready to eat then but I refrigerated them for about 2 hours till it was time to prepare dinner. I didn't season the beans when they were cooking. Perhaps I should have, but I thought I'd let the spices and herbs do that job when I mixed the burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                      I wasn't put off by the color. I love black beans. And, it wasn't the first time G has had black beans. He just didn't like the way these looked. The whole wheat mini pitas were ridiculously small...just a little bit bigger than a slider.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm interested to read what you and Lulu think of them. It's actually a fun recipe to make and one Lulu can help you with, surely.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                        She loves helping with dinner, and no question that it makes her appreciate the meal more. I'll keep my fingers crossed that we have more love for the black bean version than you did. I think my husband is going to be the hard sell on this one.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                          I find that beans never really pick up flavor well unless it is cooked in.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                                                                            I think that this is very true. However, I know that it is still possible to make a can of beans taste great. A salad I make at least twice a week (Lulu's favorite) is to open a can of great northern beans, drain and rinse, add minced shallots, lemon, salt and olive oil. This takes all of about 5 minutes, and is healthy and delicious. So I'm not giving up my canned beans yet.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                              Since I have given up use of canned food, and for those who like the convenience of canned beans, but 'granted' still not 'that' convenient, I offer my method of using dried beans. I know this is an not earth-shaking method :-))

                                                                                                                                                                              When I make dried beans, after cooking, I save them in 1-1/2 pint Ball jars in the freezer (juice added). To reheat and cook in a dish, I emerse to the lid in a stainless steel (made in India -thin ss) bowl of water to thaw for about an hour before the meal (just to get out of the jar).

                                                                                                                                                                              For use in a salad as you mention, it is a little more think-ahead. I leave them out to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or two for use.

                                                                                                                                                                              This is also great way to use cooked dried beans in a/for a 'slather.'

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the method. Once Lulu is a bit less energy zapping, I will likely do things like this. But my big question (and I feel like a dodo for having to ask) is what is a slather??

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                  Nothing more than a pureed bean (I've usually just used as you mentioned, great northern beans, or more often cannellini beans (which can be had at less-than a ridiciously priced named brand in a can), pureed, garlic added, herbs of your choice added, and 'slathered onto a piece of bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Beware, that too much garlic can really be 'hot.'

                                                                                                                                                                                  It can be a bean sandwich or 'anything that is pureed' and slathered (spread) onto a piece of bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually it applies to many foods, such as

                                                                                                                                                                                  here a feta cheese slather.


                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh man, I love this. So sort of any hummis-y sort of thing? I remember making something like this with basil and white beans and shallots, I think, once, and loving it. I like the idea of just playing with the ingredients. You've opened my world up a little, Rella. Thank you.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      You're welcome.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I get a kick out of imagining a dialog like this:

                                                                                                                                                                                      "What did you have to eat for lunch today?"

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Oh, I had a bean sandwich."


                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                I wasn't suggesting giving up on them at all. When I had a small child I used them. Now I cook big batches and divide into serving portions in freezer bags.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm curious about cilantro "without the offending brand name or UPC codes." Is there some difference in cilantros (not that I have many choices here)? I can never find cilantro w/roots still attched, as some recipes direct.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                            There was a recall in the NE of certain cilantro brands, as Gio had noted in her original review.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                              "The cilantro came from Salt River farming, located in Phoenix, AZ and was distributed through retailers in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana, South Carolina and Missouri."

                                                                                                                                                                              "The recalled cilantro is distributed in Pacific International Marketing cartons of 60 bunches, 30 bunches and 20 3-bunched sleeves. The bunched cilantro has a twist tie labeled "Pacific" and the UPC code 33383 80104. The UPC code for sleeves is 40695 80104."


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                I had read that review but forgotten that warning about the cilantro. Thanks for going to the bother to jog my memory, Gio (and LM).

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                            My turn on the Black Bean burgers. I doubled the recipe because I honestly couldn't see how one can of beans was supposed to make 4 real size burgers. And I was right. I used 2 cans and made 5 almost real size burgers. I think I probably used a bit more mayo than I should have, hoping it would hold things together more, but the opposite was true. Anyway, doubled everything else, and the flavors were wonderful. We all loved them (even my bean averse, decidedly not-vegetarian husband). Husband got his stuffed in the pita; Lulu and I shared a pita on the side stuffed with some lettuce and dipped in the salsa. Aside from problems due to them wanting to fall apart (not quite doing so, but boy, did they want to) these were a breeze and we though really very good. Next time I might try panko on the outsides just to give them a bit of extra crunch, and to help hold them together more. And they were easy enough and good enough that I do think there will be a next time. Then again, we'll see how the night goes, if you know what I mean.

                                                                                                                                                                          3. Shrimp and Grits.

                                                                                                                                                                            Very good, but not as good as the Crooks Corner recipe, which is the best I've ever eaten. The major difference is that the CC recipe uses chicken stock and half and half, which really boost the flavor. CC recipe also uses half the amount of bacon, which (believe it or not) is better, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                              I'm pretty sure this *is* the Crooks Corner recipe? She mentions that it comes from the place in Chapel Hill (where I live) where it originated, which is CC.

                                                                                                                                                                              *edit* Yes, this recipe is from the late Bill Neal, the chef who started Crooks Corner. I started feeling sure I must be wrong so I went and checked. It is from a book of his, so maybe he changed the recipe somewhat along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                Very similar, but not the one that's posted all over the web. (Spent a lovely year in Chapel Hill back in 1978.) Shrimp and grits certainly did not originate in land-locked Chapel Hill.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a great little town, isn't it? I totally believe you that shrimp and grits didn't originate here, but the local legend is that he was the originator. His son has opened a deli that people rave about, if you ever get back to visit (in which case, I'll buy you a drink).

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                    When we were there, the treats were burgoo and Brunswick stew (NO ONE served shrimp and grits). From what I read, the eating scene has evolved mightily. (I will certainly take you up on the drink, if I happen to return to your neck of the woods.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    ETA I believe I first had "Shrimp Grits" on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the late 1960's. No cheese, no mushrooms, though, so these might have been embellishments added by the Chapel Hill restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've never even heard of Burgoo, but I'm fairly new to these parts (7 years, is that new?); grew up in D.C. And I never see Brunswick stew on menus around here, but sure do know about it. The eating scene around here is pretty darned good, I have to say. There are some gaping holes, but we never lack for good places to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Drink offer is an open invitation (that goes out to all the COTM regs).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                        The old Dairy Bar served an exemplary Brunswick Stew as a special one day a week.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                Shrimp and Grits (half recipe and using 3/4 pound of 21-25 ct. shrimp).

                                                                                                                                                                                Made the following modifications when making the Grits: used half chicken stock and half water, added 1.5 T. cream with the butter, cut back on the cheeses by about half.

                                                                                                                                                                                Made the following modifications when making the shrimp: prior to cooking seasoned the shrimp with salt, pepper and pinch of sugar, added the scallion and mushrooms first to the pan and cooked about 1 minute before shoving to the side of the pan and adding the shrimp (next time will divide the scallions adding the white part only first with the mushrooms, and the green parts after the shrimp and as per the recipe).

                                                                                                                                                                                I thought the dish came out fantastic (DH seconds the emotion), and will make again soon. This is my favorite type of recipe: easy to prepare, lots of flavor from basic and accessible ingredients, reasonable in cost relative to the quality of the finished dish, and scoring a 10 out of 10 for eye-appeal, as it served up beautifully in shallow pasta bowls.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. Spanish-style shrimp cooked in olive oil, p. 117.

                                                                                                                                                                                The picture below used the recipe, but was cooked to order for me. Explanation: the dish says the cooking liquid might be the best part. My style of cooking this recipe left no juice for sopping up with 'lots of bread."

                                                                                                                                                                                I browned the cumin and paprika and garlic, and then added the fresh parsley before adding the shrimp. I did not add the "parsley to serve" or at the end as it called for.

                                                                                                                                                                                The reason I added the fresh parsley to cook with spices and garlic is that I'm just a little over-tired of the "add parsley to serve" even though I always use Italian parsley, my favorite parsley, but IMO parsley takes over with shrimp.

                                                                                                                                                                                This combination, garlic, cumin, paprika, parsley takes on a flavor like none I've tasted. None have a prominence, but takes on a new spice taste (think marsala). I was quite pleased that there was no dominate spice favor. I thought perhaps it would be the same ole'-same ole'.

                                                                                                                                                                                I prefer not taking off the tail; having a messy feast for the two of us is no matter. I generally lay a wet cloth beside the dish to wash off the fingers. I find with one prong of the fork, pressed into the tail will pull out the shrimp immediately without any trouble.

                                                                                                                                                                                The author suggests as an alternative to run under the broiler to crisp the shrimp. I had not need for doing that.

                                                                                                                                                                                Another bit of information shows that the 'secret ingredients' are the same spices used in North African charmoula. I have not heard of this name, but looking it up https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...
                                                                                                                                                                                I see that it says:
                                                                                                                                                                                "A Moroccan version comprises dried parsley, cumin, paprika and salt and pepper. It is the original seasoning for grilling meat and fish in Moroccan cuisine."

                                                                                                                                                                                For myself, this simple recipe is one that I've learned by and will be off-and-running to apply it to a tagine recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                  Spanish Style Shrimp Cooked in Olive Oil, page 117.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Rella's post above alerted me to this recipe, and I'm grateful for it! I prepared it as directed, adding the parsley at the end. I used up the last of the parsley from the herb garden, which is just about closed for the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                  This dish was simple and very tasty. My only disappointment came when the dish produced no liquid. I noted that the recipe said to serve bread to sop of the juice, so I drove across town to the spot where good bread is sold. But I didn't notice at that time that there was no liquid added to the recipe. Where is all this glorious juice supposed to come from? I have never seen shellfish produce juice, unless it was those chemically edema-tized scallops. So we ate dry shrimp and dry bread. Don't get me wrong, this dish was delicious, and I'd happily eat it again, I just wouldn't plan on dipping bread.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I served this with Ottolenghi's char grilled broccoli, which was a very compatible accompaniment. Mr. NS declared they were "made for each other."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I said in my first paragraph

                                                                                                                                                                                    "Explanation: the dish says the cooking liquid might be the best part. My style of cooking this recipe left no juice for sopping up with 'lots of bread."

                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it was just me - because I really hot fried it. Whereas yours should have a lovely juice if any were to be had in this recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Regardless, a great flavor. Thanks for your post and picture (otherwise I'd never known!)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                      I misinterpreted your statement when I first read it. I thought you meant that you cooked it in your own style, which eliminated the juice. But, there just wasn't any juice to be had! I still loved the flavor and thank you for bringing it to my attention!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Chicken Fricasee with Lemon, Saffron, and Green Olives, p. 140
                                                                                                                                                                                  The title really says it all: this is one of those Mediterranean-inspired dishes that is so satisfying on a cold night, when those savory aromas fill the kitchen beforehand. The list of ingredients is quite varied: after browning about 3 pounds of chicken parts (any combination) in olive oil, you toss in two diced carrots, a large diced onion, a diced celery rib, and 3 chopped cloves of garlic. These are softened and then dry white wine (1/4 cup) goes into the pan to boil, then chicken broth (1/2 cup, 2 large tomatoes (or a 14 oz. can of diced in my case) 2 oz. cracked and pitted green olives, 1 TBS "freshly crushed" coriander seeds, and 1-2 large pinches of saffron (I used two) are added to the pan. When all this comes to a boil, the whole is covered with a round of parchment paper and then with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the chicken is tender. The recipe suggests 45 minutes: I found that 30 minutes was long enough.
                                                                                                                                                                                  At this point you remove the chicken to a platter, increase the heat and add the juice of one lemon to the contents of the pan. Scrape up the browned bits, add heavy cream (3/4 cup) and either a preserved lemon in slices OR a regular sliced lemon (which I had) and boil till the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened. Season, pour the sauce over the reserved chicken, and serve, scattering a chopped bunch of cilantro, over the top when you do.
                                                                                                                                                                                  The ingredients-list is not that short, but the flavors are wonderfully complex and the technique is very simple. I loved the smoky notes of the saffron. I made the dish ahead and reheated with no problem. I also added about a tablespoon of honey to counteract the acidity of the citrus and the canned tomatoes. The recipe also suggests straining the sauce after reduding it to create a more refined appearance.. I did not do this, but I can see that one might want to for a dinner party.
                                                                                                                                                                                  We just served this with some good bread and steamed broccoli. Nice winter meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Here's a photo. You can see that it is a rustic-appearing dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                    We also made the Chicken Fricasse with Lemon, Saffron and Green (well, black) Olives last night and absolutely loved it. I was asked to put it into as heavy rotation as the amount of chopping would allow. I made a few small changes. I used skinless, boneless thighs (no flabby skin that way, and easier to eat), I used black olives because that is what I had, I also used a can of diced tomatoes, drained. When it came time for the wine and broth, I only used wine (but in an amount equal too both wine and broth asked for) and then just tossed a chicken bouillon cube in, and finally, I only used half a preserved lemon (sometimes they smell a little too heavily of kitchen cleaner - I was happy with my decision). I loved the crushed coriander seeds in this. Pretty much loved everything about it. An easy and fairly exotic way to cook chicken. Served it over polenta (couscous seems like it would work too, or a baguette on the side) and Bob's your uncle. As requested, I'll be making this again soon. It *may* be my favorite recipe so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      I like LulusMom idea about using black olives; I think they would add a nice extra note of color to the finished dish. I'm going to annotate my recipe this way, and also add the suggestion to use only half a preserved lemon if one does happen to have them on hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also meant to mention that I thought in this dish the cilantro really added a lot, even though it was just a finishing touch. I almost forgot it (does anyone else habitually do this?) and was so glad when I remembered.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Wasn't this really wonderful Goblin? I may just go with regular lemon next time, like you did.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                          I totally agree about the cilantro--it adds color (the finished dish had a festive "confetti" appearance) but its the clean green cilantro flavor that sets off the sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                          It's an interesting dish and you are rekindling my excitement so much that I'm going to make if for a Christmas Eve buffet--boneless chicken pieces, cut into slightly smaller pieces to be more fork-friendly

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made the Chicken Fricasse with Lemon, Saffron and Olives as well last night. I ended up using green and black olives (thanks for the suggestion LLM) and I also used skinless, boneless chicken thighs because that's what I had. I used about 1/2 of a small fresh lemon sliced very thinly and I added it with the tomatoes and olives (as suggested in the notes). I also had to sub ground coriander (used about a tsp) since I didn't have whole coriander seeds. I also left out the celery since I don't really like it (also minimize the chopping).

                                                                                                                                                                                      This smelled so good as it was cooking. The saffron just perfumed it beautifully. I must admit that based on my tasting, I think I might have liked it better before the heavy cream and lemon juice went in at the end. I felt like the cream dulled the flavors a little bit and we just are not huge fans of cream based sauces. I also felt like the lemon juice combined with the lemon slices made the lemon a bit too dominant. I cut back the lemon juice at the end to only the juice of half a lemon (and a small lemon at that) and I felt like that was more to our taste. I also did not strain the sauce (that's crazy talk in my opinion).

                                                                                                                                                                                      My bottom line: very good. My husband loved it. I might not have loved it as much as LLM and Goblin. Although I actually think that may be in part since it smelled SO good while it was cooking and the final product didn't quite live up to my expectations. I also had to compare it to Braised Ligurian Chicken from the NY Times cookbook (which also has olives and white wine but has the addition of anchovies). I think I prefer the Ligurian Chicken and I think that recipe is a little easier prep-wise. That being said, I think I will probably still make this again, but skip the cream. There is room in our winter repertoire for more than one braised chicken recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Crab Cakes with Scallions and Jalapeňo (page 121)

                                                                                                                                                                                      The intro to this recipe says they’re the best they’ve ever tasted. And I must say, they’re certainly the best I’ve ever tasted. But I post this with a bunch of caveats.

                                                                                                                                                                                      First, the recipe. Saute chopped scallions and jalapeňos in butter. Add heavy cream and cook down until thickened. Stir in dry mustard and a hint of cayenne. Let that cool a bit, then stir into jumbo lump crab. Spoon crab mixture onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 2 hours. When ready to cook, dip crab cakes in egg, then breadcrumbs, and sauté in butter and vegetable oil until browned. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

                                                                                                                                                                                      These crab cakes are so delicate, they fall apart if you breathe on them. I lost one to dipping it in egg, one to the burner when I tried to flip it a bit too heartily, and two to the pan when I turned them more than once (which they specifically say not to do, but how else can you tell how brown it is on the underside?).

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made only half a recipe, and was glad I did. Wouldn’t want to try a full batch until I feel more confident in the technique. What would I do differently next time? I’d make sure the cream mixture was quite thick. They say cook it for three to four minutes. I cooked mine for three. Next time, definitely four. They say to spoon the crab mixture onto a baking sheet, but don’t give any indication of the size they ought to be. Mine were about two-and-a-half-inches: smaller than you’d want for a main or an appetizer, probably, but larger than you’d want for an hors d’oeuvre. I wouldn’t make them any larger than that just because they’re difficult to turn; I’d be afraid larger ones would fall apart even more easily. I’d also make sure the patties were very compact before being refrigerated. Those that I pressed down on and on which I used a heavier hand trying to shape them, seemed to hold together better. They say you need two eggs to coat the full batch. I used two eggs for half, and still ran out of egg. I coated the last two cakes in breadcrumbs only and not only did they seem to hold together better, once they were cooked I couldn’t tell which was which. Had to wonder if the egg was absolutely necessary.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I know crab is an expensive ingredient to experiment with, but this recipe is unquestionably well worth it. It could be one of the best cocktail party tidbits of all time. And there’s so much flavor in the crab cake itself, any kind of dipping sauce would be redundant. I really do hope that some of you will try this and that with our pooled experience we’ll figure out how to emend the recipe to make it foolproof.

                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the warnings, *and* the praise, both nice to know.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                          These sound good, I don't like crab cakes that put SO much junk in them that you can't taste the crab. Might as well make them with tunafish. That said, I'm amazed you turned out such nice looking cakes, as I don't see what holds them together. It's hard to imagine that reduced cream can hold lump crabmeat together, especially enough to pick one up and dip it in egg. But, even though you said they were fragile, they look perfect. Well done!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                                            That’s exactly the problem. They’re held together, at least until you begin to cook them, by nothing more than chilled, thickened cream. So the thickness of the cream mixture and how well that mixture is incorporated into the crab are critical to being able to hold the cake together. About halfway through I realized that using a slotted spatula to dip the cakes in the beaten egg was more successful than using my hands to keep them from falling apart. Maybe that was why I was using up so much egg?

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                            Crab cakes are on my Christmas Eve menu but that procedure just wouldn't work for me, Joan. I do all the prepping/measuring/mixing, etc. and my husband does the actual cooking while I read out the steps involved. I can just hear him trying to turn those patties. You probably would too when the time came. They certainly sound tempting, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Jacques Pepin has a recipe for crab cakes in the Jan. COTM that I was thinking of. I'll have to read both recipes again and choose the one best suited to our method. But... I think you've decided for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                              Last night I had an (one) 8 oz crab cake at a restaurant. I was wondering the ways to get a cc onto a plate without breaking it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Then, reading your post and looking at your pic, I'm wondering if these crab cake could have been fried using the big muffin-type round tins.

                                                                                                                                                                                              What I'm imagining is packing the tin not to over-flowing; fry one side, turn the whole tin over however, tin still intack, and frying the other. Yeah, I know, a big imagination :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                                                                                I know it's different, and you don't get the same crust, but I bake my crab cakes in muffin tins--mini when I want hors d'oeuvres, the regular size other times, but they's also work in the bigger size as well. I butter or oil the tins and sprinkle a thin layer of panko in the bottom and then another layer of panko on top so they end up with a nice crunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks. I like that idea of baking in the tins in the oven as well. About 375F?? or 400? I guess I'll be the judge. :-))

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was referring to the medium size-large muffin "rings" which is basically the same thing. Actually I've got rid of all my muffin tins - everything non-stick. I'm living dangerously now-a-days.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                Coming back to report on the leftovers. I put them (directly from the fridge) into a 550F oven for a little more than five minutes. When they first came out, they were heavenly, almost as good as right out of the fryer, and I got very excited about the possibility of making them early and reheating them to serve. But they cooled down fairly quickly, and once they did the coating lost all its crispness and much of its charm, although the crab cake had lost none of its flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Reflecting on this recipe, I think most of the problems I had turning the cakes while sauteing were user error. If the oil/butter combo is the right temp and you put the crab cakes in and leave them alone until a good crust forms, you ought to be able to turn them--albeit carefully--without incident. It was picking them up to dip them in the egg that, for me, was more problematic. I like Rella's idea of tamping the mixture into a pastry ring to shape it before refrigerating it, but I don't think I'd cook it in the ring. And if I use egg at all, I'd probably add a tablespoon of water and see if the cake breaks up less in the thinner wash

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Roasted Sausages and Grapes, Pg. 169 (From Cucina Simpatica/Killeen & Germon)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's a really nice savory with a bit of sweet concoction that we liked very much. The sausages were spicy chicken and the grapes, seedless green. Red is an alternative. The key here is to get fresh, well seasoned sausages and these were perfect. A pan sauce is made with the juices after roasting. I halved the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Directions called for par-boiling hot Italian sausages and sweet Italian sausages to reduce the amount of fat. I omitted this step because I thought the chicken wouldn't be as fatty as pork and only used hot sausages.. (4 large links @ 2.32 pounds) So, over med. high heat, in a flameproof roasting pan, melt some butter, add add grapes and coat well with the butter. Nestle the sausages among the grapes and put the pan into a pre-heated 500F oven. Roast till grapes are soft and sausages are brown...about 25 minutes, turning everything over once. It took about 32 minutes for ours to get to that stage. Remove grapes and sausages to a warm serving platter and place roasting pan on stove top. Over med. high heat add balsamic vinegar, mix with juices and reduce till thick and syrupy. Pour sauce over sausages and serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                We thought this was a tasty and speedy method to cook sausages. Coupled with the grapes and balsamico it made a great week night meal. Instead of mashed potatoes with butter and cream as the stated accompaniment I steamed small Yukon golds, halved them and seasoned with EVOO, S & P, dried thyme, dried oregano and a heavy sprinkle of sweet Hungarian paprika. Some of the cucumber salad from the previous night was served as a relish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Monte's Ham, Pg. 180 (From Saveur Cooks Authentic American/D.Kalins & C. Andrews)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought someone had already made this fab ham recipe but I can't find it now. It's been a very long time since I cooked a ham but since we were just two this Christmas I thought I'd throw the Casa Gio Italian menu aside in favor of something different, and this was superb. We used a smoked Smithfield bone-in half ham weighing 6.75 pounds, so I essentially halved the recipe which calls for a 15 pounder. The half ham cooks in half the time so if you use the larger size make sure you double my times. This is so easy but produces an excellent sweet-salty piece of meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Into a 300F pre-heated oven goes the ham to roast for 1 hour. Remove the ham, turn up heat to 350F, score the ham into diamond shapes, stud with whole cloves at each diamond intersection. Brush on the glaze made of orange marmalade, Dijon mustard and brown sugar. Don't be stingy here and brush the glaze all over the ham. Put back into oven to cook 45 minutes, brushing on the glaze 3 or 4 more times. Remove from oven and rest for 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This was really impressive. I had imagined the ham would be very salty but it wasn't. We had a succulent, juicy, slightly sweet, tangy roast. Absolutely delicious and I imagine great for a crowd, given the ease of execution. I'd definitely make this again. It was served with a pineapple "stuffing", the cauliflower with caper dish on page 200, and G's favorite salad with blue cheese dressing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We certainly did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Glad to hear it, same here. Sounds lovely, cara Gio. Have a ham in the fridge for New Year's...hmm...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monte's Ham, P. 180

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Full disclosure: I'm not and never have been a fan of smoked ham (or boiled, for that matter). So I had never actually glazed and baked a ham. But we hosted a late afternoon NYD dinner, and I thought it might be nice to go quasi-traditional so I bought a half ham (it was about 8 1/2 lbs.) and figured if Gio loved this ham, it would be good. And it was. In fact, everyone except I had seconds (and DH is making a sandwich as I type).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I followed the recipe, halving amounts and times. I did make one small change in that I added about 1/2 c. brewed coffee to the glaze ingredients as I was afraid the glaze would be too sweet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As Gio points out, this is an easy recipe, great for a crowd. It was indeed juicy, tangy, and sweet. I really loved the glaze. But even this very nice recipe did not make a smoked ham convert of me. (A baked fresh ham: now that's an entirely different animal.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: it looked a lot better than it does in my photo!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Braised Short Ribs Chinese Style – p. 166

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I managed to find this wonderful recipe on-line so I’ll post a quick review below and leave the play-by-play to the recipe link since time is tight these days. Here’s the recipe:


                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’m happy to report that this dish was outstanding. We absolutely adore beef short ribs and this method of cooking them is now one of our absolute favourite preparations. The Chinese flavour comes from sherry, soy, ginger, scallions and star anise but it’s the star anise that stole the show in our view. We absolutely loved the fall off the bone tender, anise-infused meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Instead of simmering this stove-top, I decided to let it finish in the slow-cooker.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The first time I prepared this dish I served it over rice as I was thinking of it as an Asian dish. I’ve made it twice since and we prefer it over mashed potatoes or polenta. This is truly scrumptious and I’m happy to recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks so much ncw, it really was a wonderful, hearty dish. Absolutely perfect for this time of year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for this review, BC - great looking dish! I have been wanting to make short ribs for awhile now (baba au rum is another dish that I am craving but have not find a recipe for yet). Probably will make it in a week or so and will post when I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Over on one of the cookbook threads, qianning recently mentioned that the Rum Baba recipe in Luigi Carnacina's "Great Italian Cooking" is a winner. I have the book, but it's way to long a recipe to try to paraphrase and because the book is so thick, I couldn't even get a decent copy of the recipe from my desktop photocopier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's an old book (1968) and even used copies on Amazon are fairly expensive ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listin... ). Perhaps you could find a copy in your library?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ETA: Looked, but couldn't find the recipe online.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the info, JoanN! I found the book here for $5 + shipping - http://www.etsy.com/listing/37314279/...
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Do you think it is worth buying it? Are there other recipes there that you like? Neither my Canadian library no NY one has it. I have a feeling that libraries were not too interested in cookbooks those days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                At that price, yes. I do think it's worth buying. Although truth to tell, it's been on my shelves for decades and I've rarely cooked from it. (Maybe that's because it's on a top shelf and I need to get out the ladder to reach it?) Anyway, it's extraordinarily comprehensive, if now a bit dated. At that price, I'd grab it (before someone else here beats you to it). They're new, on Amazon, for nearly $100.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Joan N's "extraordinarily comprehensive, if now a bit dated", summarizes that book exactly. More of a reference for hard to find specific classical recipes than a day to day use it to whip up dinner kind of a book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is sold, what do you know... It is available on Abe's website for $19 including shipping which is probably not worth it, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it is the baba recipe you want, correct? i was able to scan it, so if you can get me your e-mail address, i can pass it on to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's it - many-many thanks! For some reason I've been craving baba along with the beef short ribs:) My email is iwosk@hotmail.com - very excited:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Braised Short Ribs Chinese Style – p. 166

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We had two friends over for dinner last night, and I prepared these short ribs, and they were an unqualified hit (with the added bonus that they're not very difficult to prepare. I followed the recipe (which Breadcrumbs has so kindly linked above) exactly. I wish I'd remembered to take a photo because mine looked different from Breadcrumbs's dish, in that nothing was distinguishable in my sauce, which was, I think, darker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Despite the star anise, soy, and ginger, I'm not sure I would have detected evidence of "chinese style" had I not known. But no matter: these were delicious, and I'd definitely make these again

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I topped these with frizzled leeks and served them with mashed potatoes and a spinach salad. As to the servings: recipe says it serves six. Four of us--two men w/healthy appetites and two women w/smaller appetites--ate half the recipe. So I'll be able to get another meal out of this--thankfully, as these short ribs were ridiculously expensive. I'll serve the second go-round with polenta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I absoluted loved these short ribs! Served them with mashed potatoes and with polenta - equally good. I took leftovers to work and everyone was asking about "what did I bring for lunch":)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Pomegranate-Braised Brisket, P. 161

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Supposed to be served on top of onion confit but we had kids and finicky eaters and I did not bother. No idea what posessed me to stray from my T@T brisket recipe! This one gave me a tough meat after 3+ hours of braising, a ton of sauce - which was good but too much - and not a lot of flavour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Never again! I rate it on par with Paste with Asparagus Sauce - the worst brisket recipe I ever made. No one took seconds, there was meat left over on the plates and the family verdict was to ditch it! My usual brisket is consumed and leftovers treasured.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Kashmiri-style Leg of Lamb, p. 182

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Made this for dinner tonight along with new potatoes, sautéed green beans, store bought pakoras, basmati rice, and raita. A truly fantastic meal for very little effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I opted for a 3 1/2 lb. boneless leg of lamb. After reading over the recipe and several renditions online, I was still a little unclear on whether I was supposed to keep or discard the marinade. I was also unclear if I was supposed to dry off the meat and brown it before putting it in the oven (many online versions recommended this course). Finally decided to just plop it into a cast iron dutch oven with only the marinade that clung to the meat. Cooked it for 30 minutes, covered and then took it out to have a look. It did not brown whatsoever and so it was a little ugly. The sauce had begun to turn into what I recognized as a curry sauce and so I think, in hind sight, I should have poured the rest of the marinade in along withe the meat. Cooked it at 350 for another 1.5 hours. As promised, the meat was meltingly tender. I also added 4 new potatoes to the sauce about 1 hour into the cooking time. They were delicious served alongside the meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Next time I will dry the meat, sear it on the stove top, then transfer it to the oven along with the marinade and cook for 30 minutes at 450. Uncover, and continue cooking for 1.5 hours at 350, adding potatoes 1/2 way through.