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April 2012 COTM: Melissa Clark Month, Cook This Now: Autumn

L.Nightshade Mar 31, 2012 10:26 PM

Please use this thread to discuss the chapters in Cook This Now, Autumn: October; November, December, pages 288 - 386.

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  1. LulusMom Apr 1, 2012 06:23 AM

    My Mother's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken Parts with Mustard Croutons (p. 373)

    This is one of the bonus recipes from ITKWGA. She mentions something about having to put the chicken under the broiler if you want crisp skin, which struck me as odd in a roast chicken recipe, and since my broiler doesn't work, I decided to go with skinless boneless thighs for this, so take the chicken comments with a grain of salt. Basically the chicken part of this was fine but nothing special, but man, the mustard croutons were to die for.

    So, you take some sort of country bread or ciabatta and slice into /12 inch slices. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with these slices, then brush with mustard, drizzle with olive oil, and add S&P. Season the chicken all over, then put them on top of the bread. Add a bay leaf and some thyme, the cloves from a head of garlic and pour more olive oil over this. If using the chicken parts she calls for, you cook for 50 minutes. I only cooked for 35 and that seemed just right. Again, we all liked this, especially the croutons. Served with

    Winter Salad with Fennel, Radicchio, Walnuts and Manchego (p. 355)

    This salad was absolutely fantastic. I could have eaten the whole bowl (glad I didn't though - this was a rich meal!). Dressing is lemon juice, garlic, S&P, olive oil. Then add grated cheese and toasted walnuts. Sliced radicchio and fennel make up the vegetable portion, and shaved manchego curls are added at the end. Very very tasty.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom
      g
      greeneggsnham Apr 9, 2012 07:33 AM

      Mmmm, Chickeny mustard croutons sounds great. Will have to add that one to the list.

      1. re: greeneggsnham
        LulusMom Apr 9, 2012 09:30 AM

        The croutons were *amazing.*

      2. re: LulusMom
        w
        Westminstress Apr 19, 2012 07:35 AM

        My Mother's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken Parts with Mustard Croutons (p. 373)

        Made this last night, and we all liked it. The prep was just as LulusMom describes, so I won't repeat it. We used bone in, skin on thighs, and cooked everything in a cast iron skillet, which worked well. I cooked at 425 for about 50 minutes, then blasted with high heat for another 5--10 minutes to brown the chicken skin and crisp the croutons more. (I cook on a vintage stove, and I usually have to add extra oven time.) The croutons were indeed delicious. The texture surprised me a bit because I expected the bread to crisp up all the way through. Mine were definitely crispy on the bottom but soft on the top (not surprising, really, with all the chicken juices that dripped into them. But they were very nice with the chicken, sort of like savory chicken and waffles. The dish was a snap to put together - yet another weeknight winner from Ms. Clark.

        1. re: Westminstress
          Caitlin McGrath Apr 19, 2012 10:44 AM

          I made this with bone-in, skin-on thighs, too (posted in the ITKWAGA thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8418... ), and also thought it was great. The croutons were just luscious with all those drippings soaked in. I don't really want to think about the calories, but I'll definitely do it again.

      3. L.Nightshade Apr 2, 2012 05:23 PM

        Red Chard with Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins, page 363.

        I found some beautiful (and inexpensive) organic red chard in the market, and with the simple additions in this recipe, it was elevated to a special side. Golden raisins are simmered in rum and water, until they're happily plump and inebriated. Pine nuts are toasted until golden. Then the chard is quickly cooked in oil and garlic, and the raisins and pine nuts are tossed in. This was an attractive dish, with interesting flavors. And, obviously, quick and easy. A hit with the braised pork shoulder that was our main course.

         
        3 Replies
        1. re: L.Nightshade
          t
          TxnInMtl Apr 9, 2012 05:09 PM

          Red Chard with Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins, page 363.

          I copied your menu for the evening, L. Nightshade. I hope you don't mind! This was a great little side. I was out of pine nuts, so I used almonds instead which also worked quite well. My one quibble with the recipe is I wish they had included weights. I scaled the recipe in half because we had two bunches of chard in our CSA box, but it still ended up being more raisins and nuts per chard than I might've wished. All in all though, I minor complaint for a tasty side.

          1. re: TxnInMtl
            L.Nightshade Apr 10, 2012 05:38 PM

            I agree with you on the weights. I took the only two chard bunches at the store, but I think they were small by bunch standards, weights would have been helpful for scaling the other amounts. Glad to hear it worked well with almonds; I enjoyed this dish but pine nuts are usually too dear!

            1. re: L.Nightshade
              LulusMom Apr 11, 2012 02:48 AM

              I've subbed walnuts without causing too much pandemonium. Depends on the recipe, I am guessing.

        2. Gio Apr 3, 2012 07:23 AM

          Ham Bone, Greens and Bean Soup, Pg. 316
          http://www.thekitchn.com/ham-bone-gre...

          This a soup to warm the cockles of any heart. (I've often wondered where those are located...) Luckily for me Ms Clark allows variations on her theme here and I made quite good use of that. Instead of a ham bone I used 5 oz. of cooked roast ham - diced, and instead of the specified pinto beans I used cannellini which I had already cooked per Molly Stevens' recipe in All About Braising so they were well seasoned. Finally I had about 3/4 cup left over cabbage stir-fry so stirred that in near the end of the cooking which added a nice smoky flavor to the soup. I omitted 4 strips of bacon sliced in 1/2 inch pieces.

          The first thing to do is cook the beans. If you do use the bacon, cook the pieces till crisp then remove and drain on a paper towel. Diced carrot, celery, onion is added to the bacon fat in the pan and cooked till soft. Add chopped garlic and cook 1 minute. Continue as the directions in the above link state and you'll have a hearty, soothing soup in your tummy and repertoire. Don't forget to have a fresh loaf of crusty bread at the ready. BTW: the L/O stir-fry vegetables and cooked beans were added to the soup at the same time I added the kale.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio
            beetlebug Apr 3, 2012 07:33 AM

            Re: cannelli beans. Was this recipe with the escarole in Stevens' book?

            1. re: beetlebug
              Gio Apr 3, 2012 07:37 AM

              Yes, that's the recipe. I like her recipe best of all I've tried.

          2. t
            TxnInMtl Apr 9, 2012 05:57 AM

            Golden Parsnip Latkes, p. 351

            I love parsnips, so not surprisingly, I thought parsnips made into latkes and fried in duck fat were fantastic. The only change I would make to these is maybe cutting back on the salt a tiny bit.

            To make, grate parsnips and onion in a food processor. Wring out as much moisture as possible. Then mix in flour (I used whole wheat), eggs, salt, baking powder, and pepper. She then gives you a choice of frying your latkes in chicken fat, duck fat, or olive oil. I went with duck fat.

            Full recipe (along with a couple of others) can be found here: http://www.austin360.com/food-drink/h...

            1. Gio Apr 13, 2012 05:25 AM

              Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Pg. 328

              I've been eating and making this dish since I was born. It seems like that anyway. This is the way my mother made bitter green leafy vegetables. A quick saute in EVOO with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and S & P. I Love this dish so much. I guess it is a acquired taste, but with fresh bright greens the tiny florets seem to sweeten after the saute.

              I prepared the rabe by rinsing them well then rough chopping the leaves and stems but leaving the florets whole. MC's recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons water to be added after throwing the greens into the pan but I find there's enough water clinging to them so there's no need. The trick is to cook the rabe till tender but not beyond that. Finished dish was absolutely delicious. It was a side dish to the Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts in ITKWAGA on page 147. Fab combination.

              TxnInMtl first made this recipe and posted her results in Beetlebug's preCOTM thread...
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8378...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gio
                LulusMom Apr 24, 2012 03:28 PM

                Garlicky Broccoli Rabe (with Turkey Sausage and Rigatoni) p. 328

                I went with one of her "what else?" suggestions and made this into a full meal by first browning some turkey sausage (and breaking it into bite size pieces), then adding the garlic, then the broccoli rabe and then cooked pasta - I picked rigatoni which seemed a good match to us. Tasty and very satisfying meal. We'll make this again, but next time I'll add more of the broc. rabe - I foolishly forgot to see how many this particular recipe served (it was 1-2). We'd have liked more vegetable, but still and all, we really liked this a lot.

                1. re: LulusMom
                  Gio Apr 25, 2012 05:48 AM

                  Oh yes, LLM. Rabe and pasta is a Great combination. I sometimes include oil packed anchovies with the garlic as it's sauteing. The large rigatoni is my favorite short cut pasta but I've used all sorts of different past shapes... all taste wonderful with the garlicky, spicy sauce. So happy you liked the greens cooked this way.

                  1. re: Gio
                    LulusMom Apr 25, 2012 07:47 AM

                    Oh, it was great. I have also made pasta with broc. rabe, garlic and anchovies, without adding in the Italian sausage, and like you, I think it is a fantastic combination (truly, anchovies in almost anything savory are a nice touch). This was such a simple recipe, but something I'd never made before.

              2. Breadcrumbs Apr 15, 2012 05:19 PM

                My Mother's Lemon Pot Roast - p. 380

                This absolutely delicious recipe originated in MC's In The Kitchen WIth A Good Appetite. My review and photos are here:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8418...

                 
                1. Breadcrumbs Apr 17, 2012 04:55 PM

                  Stir-Fried Chicken with Leeks, Oyster Mushrooms, and Peanuts – p 304

                  I was looking for COTM recipes suitable for weeknight meals and this jumped out at me. Nothing like a quick stir-fry to get food in your belly asap!

                  I even made the marinade and chopped my garlic and ginger on the weekend to speed things up further. Happy to report this recipe delivered a quick and tasty meal.

                  beetlebug was kind enough to detail how it all comes together in her pre-COTM thread so I’ve pasted the link here:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8378...

                  I didn’t veer far from the course other than to use a mix of wild mushrooms since some of my shitakes had seen better days and looked more like wizened apple dolls than they did mushrooms! As always, I upped the ante w the garlic and subbed Italian parsley for cilantro due to an allergy.

                  For those of you that love you that became wok devotees as we wokked along w Grace Young, you may be interested to read MC’s “What Else” for this recipe where she talks about ditching her wok & why she did.

                  FWIW, I made this in a skillet as my old wok isn’t suitable for my new induction cook top however I do find a wok to be more serviceable because of the high sides.

                  MC suggests you splash some rice vinegar atop your plated dishes. I elected to do this after first tasting the dish alone. I thought the vinegar enhanced the flavours of the dish. mr bc didn’t use the vinegar and just loved the stir-fry as is. I thought the dish was good but not great. I would have enjoyed it more without the peanuts I think. (and I usually like peanuts but I found their flavour to be somewhat overpowering).

                   
                   
                   
                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Breadcrumbs
                    Gio May 5, 2012 06:01 AM

                    Stir Fried Chicken with Leeks, Mushrooms, Oyster Mushroom and Peanuts, Pg. 304

                    We cooked the stir-fry for dinner last night and it was a definite hit for us. I followed the recipe exactly using 1.29 pounds of boneless/skinless chicken breasts so increased the other ingredients accordingly except the oyster mushrooms of which I had less than the amount required. In my opinion they were lost amongst all the other lusty ingredients. I found out too late our cilantro had been severely depleted so used a couple of handfuls of freshly picked arugula. The peanuts were omitted as usual due to dietary constraints. Lastly, I totally forgot to spritz some the vinegar when serving. In spite of everything, though, the finished dish was delicious.

                    1. re: Gio
                      nomadchowwoman May 5, 2012 11:24 AM

                      I find that a lot with oyster mushrooms. They are better, I think, in simpler prepartions. I love them stir fried with asparagus and a little garlic.

                  2. L.Nightshade Apr 17, 2012 05:25 PM

                    Winter Salad with Fennel, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Manchego, page 355.

                    This salad starts with an interesting dressing, that's just a bit different from the usual. Lemon juice is whisked with kosher salt, ground pepper, and chopped garlic. Then olive oil is whisked in. Next comes finely grated manchego cheese, and toasted, finely chopped walnuts. It's a dressing with substance, thick and flavorful. Radicchio and fennel are thinly sliced and tossed with the dressing. The salad is topped with shaved manchego. Clark says you can also add greens if desired. I had a very few leaves of cress sitting around, and tossed them in. I loved this salad; the sweet and bitter "greens" pair so well with the rich and nutty dressing.

                     
                    2 Replies
                    1. re: L.Nightshade
                      s
                      stockholm28 Mar 25, 2014 04:50 PM

                      Thanks to LulusMom who recommended this on the most successful COTM post. I loved this salad and have eaten it three days straight. I just tossed the dressing in at serving time.

                      1. re: stockholm28
                        LulusMom Mar 26, 2014 03:32 AM

                        Thrilled that my recommendation was such a hit for you. This is one of those that you can't get enough of, isn't it?

                    2. LulusMom Apr 23, 2012 03:32 PM

                      Roasted Blackfish with Olives and Sage (p. 299)

                      I was a little skeptical of sage on fish (for some reason - now that I've had it I can't imagine why), but I love sage, and I love olives, and I love fish, so I thought I'd give it a go. And I'm so glad I did. It was very tasty. Lots of flavor. And easy, for those of you who want dinner on the table in 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 425 and drizzle baking sheet with olive oil. Put the fish on it, then season with S&P. Tear up the sage and toss over fish; add chopped olives (I used the kalamatas that she suggests) and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Roast for 8-10 minutes (my fish was fairly thick, so it took more like 14 minutes). When finished squeeze lemon juice over and dust with pepper (she calls for Urfa or Aleppo - I didn't have either so went with cayenne, then another drizzle of olive oil if you want (we didn't think it needed it). Lovely texture to the fish, and again, such a nice, strong flavor with the olives, sage, lemon and pepper. Lulu said of the fish "it is like 100 silk worms made this fish." I served this with the J. Pepin caesar salad but without the blue cheese. It was a nice combination.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LulusMom
                        w
                        Westminstress Oct 29, 2012 06:38 AM

                        Roasted [Bluefish] with Olives and Sage

                        We had this last night for dinner, and it was so, so good. No blackfish at the market today, so I used bluefish, which worked wonderfully well in this recipe. I used green Provençal olives and loved them with the fish and sage. Skipped the pepper at the end bc I didn't have any (and honestly, I didn't miss it). Before the fish went in the oven, it sure looked like there was a lot of sage on top, but I neednt have worried. The sage shrank and mellowed as it cooked, and in fact all the crispy sage bits were my favorite part of the dish. definitely will be making this one again.

                      2. Breadcrumbs Apr 29, 2012 08:34 AM

                        Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Anchovy Bread Crumbs - p. 371

                        This recipe originally appeared on p. 46 of Ms Clark's In The Kitchen With a Good Appetite. My review and photos of this outstanding dish are here in that COTM thread:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8418...

                         
                        1. k
                          Karen_Schaffer Apr 30, 2012 09:47 AM

                          Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy-Date Dressing, p. 296

                          I could have sworn I had read discussion about this recipe already, but I can't find any. Either I'm delusional or blind. In any case, here's my review:

                          Remove ribs from kale (2 large or 3 small bunches, whatever that means) and finely slice it. Make dressing by mixing together 6-8 finely chopped medjool dates, 6 finely chopped anchovy fillets, 3 finely chopped garlic cloves, finely grated zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons, 1/2 c. evoo, and 1 tbsp + 1 tsp red wine vinegar. Add salt and more vinegar if needed. Toss with kale.

                          I made a 1/3 recipe for the two of us, subbed a Meyer lemon for the oranges & lemons per her suggestion, and used barhi dates instead of medjool. The dressing seemed too thick and lacked acidity, so I added more vinegar.

                          We were a little unsure about this dish until we added some toasted sliced almonds, which really transformed it. The crunch and the flavor were a welcome contrast. I think pieces of orange or other citrus would be a great addition too.

                          The amazing thing about the dressing is that none of the ingredients stood out, not even the garlic. Very interesting combination. But if I make it again, I would toss all of the ingredients into my mini-food processor. It doesn't seem like it should take very long to chop everything finely, and yet, somehow, it did. Also, making this salad earlier in the winter when the kale is younger and sweeter would likely be better, though the dressing did temper the slight bitterness of the kale nicely.

                          I do wish that recipe writers would specify quantities more clearly than "2 large or 3 small bunches of Tuscan kale." That's a fine starting point, but also include a weight ("about 12 oz") or volume ("about 8 cups shredded"). How do I know what size bunches your farmers market is selling you? If there's only one size of bunches at mine, are they large or small? And what if I'm picking kale from my own garden?

                          For soups & braises, I don't worry about it and just add what I feel like. But here there's the question of what balance of dressing to greens she intended. Yes, of course I know that it all boils down to what I want to eat. FWIW, I used 1 bunch of kale (whatever size that was -- I didn't weigh or measure it either) to 1/3 recipe of dressing, and it seemed like plenty of dressing. YMMV.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                            nomadchowwoman May 1, 2012 04:11 PM

                            I will definitely have to try this one.

                            BTW, my "usual" raw kale salad includes orange sections, almonds, red onion slivers, feta, sometimes avocado; I've also added kalamta olives once or twice. I do love the almonds and oranges with kale.

                          2. Goblin Apr 30, 2012 07:16 PM

                            Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pine Nuts, p. 310

                            I almost feel apologetic about reviewing this, because. . . well, we've all had spinach salad with dried cranberries FOREVER and why make it again? But this version is a pleasant variation on the theme, and I had some "crinkly, mature spinach" in my veggie-drawer (and Clark is so right that the flavor is superior to the Kindergarten kind) and I was craving a raw salad of it.

                            The dressing is what makes the recipe and really complements the earthiness of the mature spinach leaves. Besides the usual suspects (toasted pine nuts and dried cranberries tossed in at the last minute) the dressing is a sherry-vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette blended with a paste made up of a garlic clove, an anchovy, and s & p, all mashed together with a mortar and pestle. Very simple, but the anchovy gives a nice richness, and the dressing is smoothly unctuous rather than cloyingly-sweet (like one often encounters at restaurants.) Clark mentions other substitutions for the cranberries: dried cherries, apricots or pears, or raisins, and arugula would be a fine substitution for the spinach. I can see the salad as an easy toss-together, take-to-the-pot-luck crowd-pleaser.

                            And the children at my table ate quite a bit of the salad, which is more than what happens when I make cooked spinach.

                            And I restrained myself from serving goat cheese with the salad--SO predictable--but the creaminess would have been pretty good with it!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Goblin
                              LulusMom May 1, 2012 02:33 AM

                              I wouldn't have even thought of making this (for exactly the reasons you give - that we've all had this soooo often, that it is often cloyingly sweet, etc.) but now you've enticed me. And I have to say, I've had tremendous success with the salads I've made from this book.

                              1. re: Goblin
                                greedygirl May 1, 2012 03:04 AM

                                I've never had spinach salad with dried cranberries! Must be an American classic. Sounds good, especially with goat's cheese.

                              2. beetlebug May 9, 2012 08:15 AM

                                Cumin seed roasted cauliflower with salted yogurt, mint and pomegranate seeds (pg. 294)

                                I had made this in my cookbook report but with no mint or pomegranate seeds. I did love the cumin with the cauliflower but wasn't thrilled with the dollops of yogurt. Well, I re-made it, with the seeds and it made the world of difference. I did forget the mint and I didn't want to go outside to cut any since it was pouring.

                                Wow, those seeds just brought this dish to a whole different level. Crunchy, and slightly sweet juxtaposed with the cumin flavor. I can't believe how the whole dish was transformed. The yogurt was a cooling factor and next time, I'm definitely going to cut some mint.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: beetlebug
                                  w
                                  Westminstress Oct 23, 2012 06:19 AM

                                  CumIn seed roasted cauliflower w salted yogurt, mint, and pomegranate seeds

                                  I made this dish last night and had the opposite reaction BB - i
                                  Liked the salty yogurt but didn't think the pomegranate and mint were essential. I thought the cumin was great roasted with the cauliflower. One little peeve I had with the recipe is that she doesn't specify how much yogurt, mint and pomegranate to add. I at first drizzled a little, then had to add more of everything.

                                  This dish goes well with a wide range of flavors, but especially Indian. For those of you looking for a very simple vegetable side to go with a lentil or meat curry, look no further! This dish would be perfect for that.

                                2. t
                                  TxnInMtl May 29, 2012 04:48 PM

                                  Sauteed Bay Scallops with Rosemary, Capers, and Israeli Couscous - p. 353

                                  I was very excited when I first got this book to see that Melissa had quite a few Israeli couscous recipes, but when I went to make them, my usual source for couscous had dried up. While we were out of town, I stopped at a specialty store hunting for pomegranate molasses for Moro's duck breast recipe and was delighted to find some couscous there as well. Thankfully, after the wait, this recipe did not disappoint. I made it with medium scallops instead of tiny wild bay scallops. She also suggests you could make this with shrimp and we'll be trying that variation as well. This is a great weeknight meal that comes together in under 15 minutes. I served it with a simple sunflower sprout salad.

                                  To make, Israeli couscous is first cooked and drained. Meanwhile, garlic, bruised rosemary, and red pepper flakes (I used hot shattered paprika) are added to melted butter in a large skillet. After cooking for a minute, dry white wine gets poured in and the mixture reduced by half. The drained couscous, scallops, some capers, and salt are added to the skillet and cooked until the scallops are done. Stir in some lemon juice and parsley and serve. The only thing I might change is next time I might skip the parsley. I didn't feel like it added much to the dish for me and at times it detracted from the rosemary. My boyfriend didn't mind it though.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: TxnInMtl
                                    LulusMom May 30, 2012 02:42 AM

                                    Sounds really good - I've been wanting to try this and your review will push it toward the top of the list.

                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                      t
                                      TxnInMtl May 30, 2012 10:05 AM

                                      I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I'm still getting a lot of use out of this book and have a long list of recipes to cook through.

                                      1. re: TxnInMtl
                                        w
                                        Westminstress May 30, 2012 11:19 AM

                                        Me too. I actually broke down and bought the book (glad I did) and have a few June recipes in mind to try over the next few weeks. I think I'll be cooking from this book all year long as the seasonal organization really works for me.

                                        1. re: TxnInMtl
                                          LulusMom May 30, 2012 11:43 AM

                                          It's so odd - my first look through the book I found a list of things, not especially long, that I really wanted to make. But somehow I wasn't interested in the other things - very much not interested. At this point I've made most of my original list and had great luck with things that didn't interest me at first glance. And I've bought the other book! I'll definitely be cooking from these a lot in the future, and I think they'd make great housewarming or wedding gifts too.

                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                            t
                                            TxnInMtl May 31, 2012 07:15 AM

                                            I had the same issue. I bought it around Christmas but didn't get excited by it until the COTM. I'm holding off on buying the other book until after I move in September, but the prospect of moving is the only thing restraining me at this point. One of my friends had it on her wedding registry, so I've already given it as a gift as well (along with a list of recommended recipes and notes).

                                      2. re: TxnInMtl
                                        LulusMom Aug 11, 2012 04:03 PM

                                        I feel like TxnInMtl and I usually have very similar taste buds but on this one, we were off. I liked it but didn't love it, Lulu loved it, LulusDad was just ok with it. I think the main problem for the adults was the rosemary, and that may well be my fault. I must have used too much. It overwhelmed the other flavors (including the capers and garlic!). It was a pleasant meal, but all I was getting was rosemary; no sweetness from the scallops, no buttery-winey sauce, no garlic, no caper. I did love the pop of the Israeli couscous in my mouth with each bite. I used bay scallops, which I'm guessing had been frozen but still had a nice bit of sweetness. I skipped the parsley. Again, this may well have been user error - a sprig of rosemary can mean many things, and mine was pretty darned big.

                                      3. w
                                        Westminstress Dec 10, 2012 08:06 AM

                                        Roasted Acorn Squash with Honey, Smoked Paprika and Sage Salt, p. 337

                                        This is the first recipe from this book that didn't work for me. The recipe calls for slicing acorn squash into rings, scooping out seeds, toss with dressing of olive oil, honey, salt and smoked paprika, SNS roast till done. To make the sage salt, roast sage leaves, crumble and combine with coarse sea salt. Sprinkle the roasted squash with the sage salt.

                                        Where to begin. Slicing and individually scooping the acorn squash was too fiddle, and then at serving time we had to remove the skin from each piece, what an unnecessary pain. For acorn squash, I prefer to halve it, scoop out the seeds, and bake it, then eat the flesh with a spoon. For slicing, I use delicata or kabocha, which have edible skin. Then, I wasn't crazy about the honey-smoked paprika marinade. And finally, the sage salt didn't have enough sage flavor for me. I used the leftovers on roasted cauliflower, and it didn't do it for me there either.

                                        1. w
                                          Westminstress Dec 10, 2012 08:14 AM

                                          Carroty Mac and Cheese, p. 307

                                          Wow, we all liked this a lot. Grated carrots are boiled along with whole wheat macaroni. The hot pasta is tossed with sharp cheddar and butter and a sauce consisting of sour cream (I used creme fraiche), whole milk (I used 2%), eggs, salt and mustard powder. The whole thing is topped with more cheddar and Parmesan cheese, then baked for about 30 minutes. This was nice and cheesy, and I liked the whole wheat pasta in this context, though I usually am not a fan. I thought the carrots added nice flavor and really liked the texture; my husband would have preferred it without the carrots. My toddler who usually won't eat carrots gobbled them up in this format. I liked bring able to make him mac n cheese in a healthier format and will definitely make this again, may try substituting other veg for the carrots. If you are committed to creamy stovetop Mac n cheese, you won't like this version, but we are agnostic and liked this a lot.

                                          1. w
                                            Westminstress Dec 10, 2012 08:50 AM

                                            Butternut Squash Risotto with Lemon and Pistachio, p. 321

                                            This is an interesting technique for butternut squash risotto. The raw squash is grated and cooked along with the rice. By the time the rice is cooked, the squash has mostly dissolved into the risotto. Aromatics include rosemary, leek (I subbed shallot), garlic, lemon and black pepper, and the whole thing is topped with grated Parmesan (she says optional, but it's essential in my book) and chopped salted pistachios. This was quite good. It seemed bland and sweetish while cooking, but the lemon, cheese, pepper and nuts add lots of good flavor. While not as successful as the Mac n cheese in terms of getting vegetables into my son, he did have a few bites.

                                            1. w
                                              Westminstress Feb 18, 2014 07:47 AM

                                              Celery Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan

                                              MC says that this dish comes to the rescue when the only salad item you have in the fridge is a sad bunch of neglected celery..... which was exactly my situation last night. And I don't even like raw celery. Without much in the way of positive expectations, I dutifully thinly sliced my celery stalks, tossed with chopped toasted walnuts, shaved parmeson and the exceedingly simple dressing (red wine vinegar and olive oil, s&p). And, as it turned out, I loved this salad! It was super-crisp and refreshing. No stringy texture issues when the celery is thinly sliced. And the raw celery flavor is nicely balanced by the cheese and nuts. Very nice this time of year when the veggies are mostly sad, sad, sad. I'll definitely be repeating this one. (I made a half recipe with four large stalks of celery and that was plenty for us).

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