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April 2012 COTM: Melissa Clark Month, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: Chapters 1 and 2

Please use this thread to discuss chapters 1 and 2 fron In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite: Waffling Toward Dinner; The Farmers' Market and Me, pages 5 - 76.

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  1. Pomegranate Roasted Carrots, p. 71

    Lately, really nice organic carrots have been on special at Whole Foods, so I've been buying and preparing them as a side or inorporating them into other things. I usually find carrots rather boring so when I find a tasty recipe that's easy, too, I bite.

    Tasty--check. Easy--check. I made less than half a recipe, I guess, as MC calls for 1 lb. I put several whole carrots (MC says to halve or quarter, but my carrots seemed thin enough, and I really wanted to serve them whole) on a baking sheet and eyeballed the olive olive, just enough to roll the carrots around to coat, sprinkled them with kosher salt and a generous pinch of Aleppo pepper and popped them ino a 425F oven for 10 minutes (MC says 15) and then gave them a stir; I realized they were starting to turn golden, so decided to go ahead and drizzle them with the pomegranate molasses (so glad to find another reason to use this!) and put them back into the oven for the final 5 minutes (and not roast for the additional 10 minutes before drizzling as the recipe directs). They came out nicely roasted and glazed. I sprinkled them w/cilantro (MC suggests it, basil, or parsley). The result was a tender carrot, w/a lovely sweet-sour flavor and a burst of feshness from the cilantro. DH managed to look up from the basketball game he was watching just long enough to say how much he liked the carrots, and that I "can make these anytime," high praise indeed from someone who can usually take them or leave them.

    The recommended cooking time (30 min. in a 425 oven) is just too long, esp. if you cut the carrots as MC suggests. My whole carrots took only 15. (Older carrots probably would take longer.) Since I was using the oven at a high temp anyway, I did these in the oven. Next time I would just roast them stovetop, in a skillet over low heat, for about 20 minutes (the technique used in Mario Batali's roasted carrots recipe in 150 Best American Recipes)--easier to keep watch over and not heating the oven for a few carrots.

    But I will make these again. They were really delicious. For carrots. : )

    9 Replies
    1. re: nomadchowwoman

      My turn for the pomegranate roasted carrots. I don't have much to add to the excellent review above. This was delicious and different. Just be cautious with the pomegranate molasses. I was a bit too cavalier and it has pucker-power ( think lemon juice on steroids). I love anything sour but next time I'll be more careful to actually measure carefully, as I should have.
      And this may be due to the product I purchased at my local market; it has citric acid listed as a major ingredient. Nonetheless , this is a definite 'keeper'. It might even be a good Christmas dinner side, with a few pomegranate seeds on top for the full 'red and green' effect.

      1. re: Blythe spirit

        I mixed some pomegranate molasses with balsamic and a bit of honey, and the result was super. Roasted medium carrots, quartered lengthwise at 425 for 15 minutes, tossed with just enough glaze to coat, and back into the oven for 5 minutes. Best carrots ever!

        1. re: pikawicca

          What a great idea! I wish I had thought of that... I'm trying that next time.

      2. re: nomadchowwoman

        Pomegranate Roasted Carrots

        I was looking for a way to turn a partly eaten bag of baby carrots into a side dish and stumbled upon this simple gem. It was so good! Great combo of flavors that will be repeated.

        1. re: Westminstress

          I'd forgotten about these--about the book, for that matter. Reading through this read has made me pull it off the shelf again. So many nice recipes to revisit.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            I wasn't as taken with this book as I was with Cook This Now when these books were COTM, but now looking through the threads, I can see there are so many gems here. I just reserved the book at the library so I can give it another look.

            1. re: Westminstress

              After your reminding me of the book's existence, I pulled it out yesterday and made for dinner last night the roast chicken w/lemon, garlic, and thyme on croutons that we loved so much when it was COTM. It was pretty easy, but seemed very special on an average Wednesday night. Now I've retagged a whole slew of recipes I want to try or revisit.

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                Those croutons are *killer*.

                Another really easy, very good dish is the brown butter Turkish swordfish.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Thanks, LLM. I'm always looking for new swordfish ideas.

      3. Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Almonds p 70

        I've been making this for a couple years now, it's the first thing I think of when I see cauliflower at the grocery store. Well, okay, I first think cauliflower cheese, dismiss it, then think of this. I have a well stocked Indian box in my kitchen, so I always have the whole spices on hand. I use black mustard seeds rather than brown. I bang them up a bit in my mortar and pestle, mix up the cauliflower pieces, spices, oil, salt and pepper on a big rimmed baking sheet (not the almonds!! I've made that mistake a few times). Roast 15 minutes, stir it, roast 10 more, add the almonds and stir, 5 more minutes. Very very good. My husband likes this, and he doesn't generally care for cauliflower.

        For those who don't have the book, the recipe is available here:

        5 Replies
        1. re: sarahcooks

          Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Almonds, page 70.

          Ever since trying Batali's cauliflower dish with agruumato, olives, and capers, I'm a total convert to roasting cauliflower. His dish tastes very Italian, so it's great to have another recipe that works with a different theme. Sarahcooks describes the simple instructions for preparing this dish above. And it is simple: a few seeds, a few florets, some oil, pop it in the oven and enjoy the spiced aroma. I served this with a steak marinated with Asian flavors, and it was a great side dish. But I think this could also be my new favorite snack food.

          1. re: sarahcooks

            Roasted Spiced Cauliflower [with Almonds], p. 70

            Very easy and tasty, even though I forgot to crush the spices, and I totally forgot about the almonds. Also, I subbed fennel seeds for the coriander seeds, which worked fine. I made it as a side dish to a quicky version of chicken marbella, and the combination of flavors was great.

            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

              I used the leftovers as a topping for a green salad, which was great. All of the seeds provided great bursts of flavor with the salad greens.

            2. re: sarahcooks

              We loved this as well. A really nice prep for cauliflower.

              1. re: sarahcooks

                Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Almonds p. 70

                I made this last night to go with the Brown Butter Swordfish and liked it a lot. It's not so very different from other spiced roasted cauliflower dishes I make regularly at this time of year, but I enjoyed the addition of almonds. I think my 2-year-old daughter enjoyed it the most. I was a bit nervous thinking that the spices would put her off since she's been rather fussy about food lately, but she loved it and ate a lot.

              2. Red Lentil Soup w/ Lemon pg 75

                Having this for lunch as I type. This one totally beat my expectations, in truth I only made it because I wasn't in the mood for Indian style dal & rice, but have a plethora of red lentils, some opened and needed to be used tomato paste, and a box of TJ's veg stock that needed to be used. This was the best "use things up" lunch I've made in a long time.

                Its pretty quick, just saute some onion and garlic, then add tomato paste, ground cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, once those are blended in add lentils, stock (veg or chicken), water and diced carrots, simmer for 30 minutes or so.

                When the lentils are soft, use an immersion blender to puree some of the soup. She has you add lemon juice at the end, but I just used a wedge of lemon right in the serving bowl, her suggested garnishes are cilantro, mint or parsley, and a dash of olive oil. Mint was very nice with this soup, as was the splash of olive oil.

                23 Replies
                1. re: qianning

                  My turn for this soup. I love lentils - and this recipe couldn't have been easier. I added cilantro as well as a bit of mint and fresh lemon juice at serving. I'm not normally a huge fan of the flavor of cumin but this was good :-). It is easy for a weeknight, it's healthful, and its inexpensive.

                  1. re: qianning

                    Another vote for this soup! qianning does a great job of explaining how it all comes together. I made per MC's directions veering off the path only when it came to garnish as I topped w some Aleppo pepper. I tasted this before adding the lemon juice and it was delicious. So much so that I hesitated as to whether I should bother but then I remembered MC commenting that this is one recipe that she always makes to her own specifications each time she prepares it so in went the lemon juice. It really takes the soup from good to great. I found the lemon really made the flavour of the carrots pop. We just loved this. I'll be happy to make it again!

                    1. re: qianning

                      I have some red lentils that have been moldering in my pantry for longer than I'd like, so I am wondering if you could provide some quantities or a link to the recipes. I have Eat This Now, but not this book. This soup sounds awesome.

                      1. re: roxlet

                        There are so many recipes of Clark's online, if you google the name of the recipe and "Melissa Clark" you're almost certain to find it:

                            1. re: roxlet

                              You need 2 cups lentils, 2 large onions chopped, 4 garlic cloves minced, 2 quarts broth (chix or veg), 2 teas. cumin, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 2 carrots diced (I didn't bother to peel but the recipe says to do so), plus juice of one lemon (more to taste if desired), 1/3 cup cilantro , mint or parsley. You begin by cooking the onion and garlic in 4 TBS EVOO, then add pinch or more chili powder and/or cayenne, cumin and tomato paste. Cook a minute or so. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the lemon and herbs. Simmer till cooked thru and tender. Taste for seasoning. Purée the soup leaving it half chunky and then add the herbs, lemon, a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of chili powder (optional).

                              1. re: Blythe spirit

                                Thank you all very much! With unusually SEASONABLE (read chilly and wet) April weather promised for this week, I will definitely make this. And, inspired by what seem to be some very usable and interesting recipes, I went ahead and ordered the book. But I'm making this tomorrow for sure!

                            2. re: qianning

                              Red Lentil Soup with Lemon p. 75

                              Made this for lunch today with the plan of having leftovers for my husband and I through the week. This soup is great! And addictive. I was intrigued that MC chose this as one of her favorites and as BC mentions, the only recipe she follows faithfully. This recipe manages to be interesting and comforting at the same time and I really ate way more of it than is reasonable for a "light lunch." The bad news is, I only have one portion left for leftovers because I ate 3 bowls at lunch! The good news is the soup is so healthy and easy, we will repeat soon.

                              1. re: qianning

                                Red Lentil Soup with Lemon p. 75

                                I thought this soup was pleasant enough, but needed more oomph. I make a similar dish that's a bit spicier, and I serve it with yogurt. So I added more chili powder and some buttermilk to this one, which bumped it up a bit. I think I'm going to add cooked greens to the leftovers, and possibly additional seasoning, which means I'm essentially turning it into my other recipe. Ah well, I guess I already have a favorite red lentil soup.

                                1. re: qianning

                                  This is a great recipe. For how simple it is, it has a big flavor pay off. My son, who says he doesn't care for lentils, came back for a second ladleful.

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Red Lentil Soup w/Lemon, p. 75

                                    This was one of the recipes I made when I first got this book last year, and I recall thinking at the time that, though it was good, I liked better the curried red lentil soup I usually make. But after reading all these reports, I knew I wanted to revisit it. Downed by a bad cold the past few days, I wanted soup but no more of the take-outs DH has been so kindly getting for me. I wanted something a little heartier, something spicy, and definitely something easy. Since I had everything on hand, I decided to drag myself into the kitchen and make half a recipe so I could have some for lunch. And it really hit the spot.

                                    Others here have described the process well, so I'll just add that I used aleppo pepper instead of cayenne and finished it with cilantro and some lime juice in addition to lemon juice as well as additional salt. I thought about stirring in some yogurt, decided against it, and then forgot the olive oil drizzle I had decided upon. No matter. It was delicious. I really appreciated the kick of citrus.

                                    So easy and quick that I'll surely make it again.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      My turn for the lentil soup! It's rained for the whole month here - ever since an official drought was declared and a hosepipe ban imposed - and today was particularly nasty with hail for a time. So I hunkered down and made soup.

                                      I made this as written apart from it was too cold, dark and rainy to go in the garden to get some mint so I didn't add any herbs at the end. I enjoyed the soup anyway, but I think it would be better with the herbs. This reminds me of a Turkish soup I've enjoyed many times on holiday - the lemon juice really lifts it. I think yoghurt or spinach would be good additions too. I'm interested in making the version on the following page too - has anyone tried it?

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Glad you liked this gg and I love the idea of adding spinach...I think that would be wonderful!!

                                    2. re: qianning

                                      My son wanted me to make this again tonight, which I am not doing. This from someone who claimed he didn't like lentils! I would say it was an unqualified success!

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        Don't know what it is about this little soup, but abashedly have to admit I've now made it three times, including for a quick solo dinner tonight. Quick definitely has something to do with it, plus the ingredients are things I always have on hand. Other than veg stock vs. chix stock (I prefer the veg), I haven't experimented;although the lime/cilantro combination sounds good, as does a spinach/yogurt option.

                                        The bulgur variant on the next page doesn't call to me personally just because it takes an additional half hour to cook, and I do think quick is one of the key reasons I'm so infatuated with the original.

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          I made it with our own homemade chicken stock. I'm resisting making it again tonight since my houseguest is excited about the possibility of pasta for dinner, but it will definitely show up on the dinner menu again within the week.

                                        2. re: roxlet

                                          roxlet congratulations, that is most definitely a breakthrough!

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            He's a very adventurous eater, but for some reasons, lentils never did it for him -- before now!

                                        3. re: qianning

                                          Red Lentil Soup

                                          On a drizzly and blustery April afternoon, one craves a hearty meal to warm the belly. A little lentil soup really was the perfect pick-me-up for such a grey day.
                                          Lunches really aren't my thing. I like lunch to be quick and simple, preferably delicious, though I do admit to throwing up my hands and reverting to boxed items when inspiration doesn't come. This day, I knew that I wanted lentils, but I did not want dal, thank you. So as I added the cumin and tomato paste to the pot and was rewarded with a distinct dal-like aroma, I started grumbling to myself that this was going to be a lame version of that Indian staple that I just wasn't in the mood for.
                                          Well, I sit here eating my words as a side dish to my soup. I opted to use mint as the finishing herb, and that musky fragrance along with the bright lemon really took that soup in a new direction. There was a distinct Middle Eastern flair in my bowl that begged to be lapped up with some floppy warm pita bread and a side of fattoush. Even Mr. Allegro went nuts for this dish, and he is not a red lentil fan at all. I was extremely impressed with the simplicity and overall deliciousness of this soup, and will be putting this into my lunchtime rotation (maybe even tomorrow!).

                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                            So glad you enjoyed this Allegra, reading your review made me crave it all over again!

                                          2. re: qianning

                                            Per a request from my son, I made this again last night, following the recipe online as opposed to the one in the book, which is slightly different and larger. I prefer the one online, but in any case, it turned out very well, and was a hit with everyone again.

                                            1. re: qianning

                                              Yesterday was a rainy day -- perfect for lentil soup! Like others, we enjoyed this soup. I used the recipe from the NYT and doubled it. We garnished with cilantro and mint. I used an entire lemon for the double batch of soup and could have used even more, but I am a fiend for lemon in my red lentil soup and always add a lot. I stashed half the soup away in the freezer pending baby's arrival, and I'm sure we'll be glad to pull it out again even in the middle of summer. I too am curious to try the alternate version with bulgar and mint -- sounds like a Turkish-style lentil soup which I usually love - but will probably wait until fall for that one.

                                            2. Spinach and Avocado Salad with Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette, p.50

                                              First a vinaigrette is made with the standard french ingredients: garlic, dijon, lemon juice and olive oil. The garlic was scraped into a paste with salt which I think really helps to temper the harshness of raw garlic. This vinaigrette is pored over spinach (we used baby) and cubed avocado then lightly tossed.

                                              In a word, this salad was delectable. We all gobbled our portions and then I hovered over the salad bowl with a fork annihilating the leftovers. We doubled the avocado, because the recipe only calls for a half and I didn't want to waste the other half and we also doubled the vinaigrette because the amount the recipe called for didn't look like it would be enough.

                                              This salad was so simple and yet I loved it!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: michaelak79

                                                Broiled Striped Bass with Brown Butter Corn Sauce, p. 53-55

                                                This is a wonderful fish dish that can be as simple or complicated as you like. The fish itself is seasoned and then smeared with a compound butter. Then it is roasted at 500 degrees for 7-12 minutes. On its own, this fish has perfect texture and the subtle sauce resulting from the compound butter makes for an ideal weeknight dinner.

                                                If you choose to make the brown butter corn sauce, the dish becomes a little more complicated. You can prepare the corn in one of two ways: as a side dish or as a sauce. In either case, I would characterize the corn as being more appropriate as a side dish and serve it as such rather than preparing it as a sauce for the fish. The corn makes an amazing vegetarian entree or a wonderful addition to a summer picnic menu.

                                                1. re: michaelak79

                                                  Spinach & Avocado Salad w/ Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette, p 50

                                                  M79 has given a great description above, so no need to repeat here. Funny thing is Mr. QN loved this and like M79 thought the garlic was just right; I on the other hand found this way too raw garlic-y. And so it goes.

                                                  1. re: michaelak79

                                                    Spinach and Avocado Salad (with Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette), p.50

                                                    It's sort of silly for me to report on this, since the recipe is basically about the vinaigrette, which I didn't make, but my lunch was inspired by this, so here I am anyway. I had baby spinach in the fridge and a ripe small Hass avocado on the counter, but I was too lazy/busy (mostly lazy, to be honest) to make the vinaigrette, so I just dressed it with olive oil, Meyer lemon juice, salt and pepper. I had some feta left after making the Shrimp for a Small Kitchen the other night, so I crumbled it and threw it in, as well - it worked well with the spinach, avocado, and lemon and the whole was a satisfying quick lunch, with a hunk of whole-grain bread.

                                                    1. re: michaelak79

                                                      Sausage Salad with Radicchio and Frisee (variation on Spinach and Avocado Salad with garlic mustard vinaigrette, although I'm not sure why) ps. 50/51

                                                      I'd bought some vegan sausages at TJs and wanted to do something a little different with them. I figured making this as our main course, along with a baguette would do the trick. Unfortunately I think you really need meaty sausages to really get the flavor of the fat in the dressing. Still and all, I enjoyed this, and husband went back for thirds. Lulu complained that it didn't have enough dressing. That child has never met a sour flavor she doesnt' want more of. I doubled the recipe (tripled the dressing - at least - to make up for the lack of fat in the sausages), using 2 heads of radicchio and a package of baby arugula in place of the frisee. Once that is in your salad bowl you make a paste of garlic and salt, then start sauteing your sausages in olive oil. Once they are getting browned you add the garlic mix, and some red wine vinegar to the pan and scrape up the brown bits (of which there were none, given the vegan sausages). Put the sausage mixture onto your vegetables and check for seasoning (including more olive oil if necessary). Very simple, and I liked it. I'm SURE that it would be better with real sausages, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Sausage Salad with Radicchio and Frisee, Pg. 50-51

                                                        I'm not sure this was better "with real sausages" as LLM said, but we liked this salad very much. I used the spicy hot pork sausages I sometimes get at my local salumaria, doubled the dressing ingredients, used both radicchio and frisee, increased the garlic from 1 large clove to 3, and added 3 chopped scallions just before putting the sausage meat into the skillet. I followed the recipe directions and it produced a tangy, spicy, pretty (green & white frisee, purple and white radicchio), main course salad. This was served atop a soft pocketless pita (a new item from the farm bakery) with dressed chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and scallions on top of that. Quite filling and satisfying. Gorgeous whole strawberries with a dollop of TJ's Cool Whip simulation was dessert. That stuff tastes for all the world like the Real Thing...

                                                    2. Roasted eggplant with basil green goddess dressing , page 72.
                                                      This was a winner! I especially loved the dressing. The anchovy was un-detectable to my guest.
                                                      The two of us polished off the whole thing. This is a definite repeat for me.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                        Good to see you liked this....I have it tagged for later in the month. What did you serve it with?

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          It was very rich - so I just served it with a salad of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. Plain grilled chicken or fish would work well too.

                                                        2. re: Blythe spirit

                                                          Roasted eggplant with basil green goddess dressing , page 72

                                                          I made this last night and it was a hit. Super easy as well.

                                                          Note: it makes a lot of dressing, I probably didn't use even half of it. But, on the plus side, I used it as a dip for carrots and pita chips.

                                                        3. Rich and Nutty Brown Butter Corn Bread with Fresh Corn (p. 57)

                                                          This is a wonderful cornbread – great texture, and the flavor is really enhanced by the brown butter and corn kernels.

                                                          I have a 10-inch cast iron skillet, so I made 1 1/2 portions of this recipe (which calls for a 9-inch skillet), because I wanted a nice tall bread. It was the perfect amount. I was also able to cut down on the butter a bit and the bread certainly didn't suffer for it.

                                                          Corn kernels and maple syrup are sauteed in melted butter in the skillet you will be cooking the bread in, until everything is (as it says in the title!) rich and nutty. [I used the full amount of butter for this step (6 T for 1 1/2 recipes)].

                                                          Flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt are whisked together in one bowl, then a wet mixture of plain whole milk yogurt, eggs [I used a full 2 eggs rather than trying to get 1 1/2 eggs], sugar, and baking soda are gently combined with the dry and with the brown butter/corn mixture.

                                                          More butter is melted in the skillet [this time I only used the original 4 T. amount], and again allowed to get slightly browned before the batter is poured in and spread around.

                                                          Mine took about 35 minutes to bake, and we were barely able to allow it to cool before slicing huge wedges and serving with chilli. As I said before, delicious!

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: GardenFresh

                                                            Maple syrup is such an interesting idea for cornbread. Was it markedly sweet?

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              Good point, but it was only 1 Tbl. maple syrup for a 9-inch cornbread, so it really wasn't any sweeter than cornbread is naturally/usually. The browned butter and corn kernels also add natural sweetness along with extra flavor. The yogurt does add a bit of tang to balance all that sweetness.

                                                              We served this with a pretty spicy chilli, so it was a perfect compliment. I would guess if you're serving it with something more mild that you might want to reduce the amount of added white sugar in the recipe, and/or maybe add some red pepper flakes or something with a kick.

                                                              1. re: GardenFresh

                                                                I have an irresistible memory of a breakfast "coffee cake" that my mother used to make: Grilled breakfast sausages are placed on the bottom of the pan, topped with whole cranberry sauce (perhaps from a can, but with a bit of orange zest, I believe), then cornbread poured atop, and baked. I'd like to try to recreate this, purely for nostalgia's sake, and the maple addition sounds like a great idea!

                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  That sounds delicious L.Nightshade! I'll have to try that myself – I'm a sucker for anything with breakfast sausage.

                                                            2. re: GardenFresh

                                                              Rich and Nutty Brown Butter Corn Bread with Fresh Corn, page 57 (an adaptation).

                                                              I used this cornbread recipe to make a breakfast dish that I remember fondly from my childhood. My mother's version had sausage links, canned cranberry sauce, and Jiffy mix corn bread. I broke up bulk sausage, sautéd it and tossed it in a springform pan; cooked up some cranberries with orange zest and just a bit of sugar and spooned that over the sausage; then added the corn bread per this recipe, and baked as directed. I had one ear of fresh corn to use up, so this was perfect. And even though there is only a tablespoon of maple syrup, it adds a nice touch. I did do the browned butter step, and poured it over the cranberries, which wasn't the technique in the recipe. But once I flipped it over and heated it up again, I think the butter seeped into the top layer of the corn bread. This is a lovely corn bread recipe. It was fun to recreate a dish I hadn't had since I was a wee one, but the corn bread would be great on its own also!

                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                Well that's a new one for me LN but boy, it sure does look delicious and thanks for sharing your journey down memory lane.

                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  Looks beautiful! Glad this recipe worked the way you were hoping L.Nightshade.

                                                                  I'll have to try this myself.

                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  Yum LN, that looks delish! I might give your variation a try; have 1/2 a bag of cranberries lurking in the fridge that need using up!

                                                              2. Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Almonds, p. 70


                                                                It was having cauliflower roasted that really led me to embrace it (that and a rich and delicious pasta dish: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792875 ). Anyway, this recipe is a nice twist, with good flavor from the titular spices and crunch from the almonds, that I was happy to eat a lot of, and I look forward to the leftovers tomorrow.

                                                                Cauliflower florets are tossed with olive oil and crushed coriander, cumin, and mustard seeds, salt, and pepper (plus I added a good shake of Aleppo pepper for a bit of heat). They're roasted for 15 minutes, stirred, roasted for 10 minutes, then sliced almonds are added and it's all stirred again and roasted for 5 more minutes, until the cauliflower is browned and tender. As I often do when roasting vegetables, I lined the sheet pan with a silpat for easy cleanup and that made it easy to scrape the spices that stayed behind into the bowl with the cauliflower after it came off the pan.

                                                                1. Creme Brulee French Toast with Orange Blossom Water

                                                                  - I made a bunch of changes to this so not sure how reliable my review will be... but I will say that I have never baked french toast before and now...I'm not sure I would go back. Especially for a group. So easy and it all comes out at once!

                                                                  For the creme brulee part - I actually had leftover "schmear" from the Ad Hoc Pinneapple Upside Down Cake so I used that instead of the brown sugar/butter (they are pretty similar - but the Ad Hoc also adds a small amount of rum, a little vanilla and some honey). For the bread, I used challah instead of baguette. And...I used clementine juice instead of orange.

                                                                  The verdict - I thought this was pretty great. My "brulee" part didn't really get crispy, but I used a different recipe so wasn't expecting it to. The flavor was still great. The only thing I noticed is that there was barely any orange blossom/citrus taste. It was not really noticeable to me. Overall though, I thought this was still very good.

                                                                  As an aside - I just came across these COTM threads - I don't know why I never noticed this before but wish I would have - I have so many of the books-of-the-month. I'm excited to go back through the threads and try some of the recipes based on the recs.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: moreace01

                                                                    Welcome to COTM, moreace01, I'm glad you found us! People keep adding reports to threads from past COTMs long after their dedicated months, so definitely don't feel as if you'll be alone if you report back on the older threads when you cook from those books.

                                                                    1. re: moreace01

                                                                      Creme Brulee French Toast with Orange Blossom Water - p. 27

                                                                      I decided to try this recipe because I had half of a baguette leftover from an evening of bread and cheese. I stuck to the recipe fairly faithfully. I had to sub molasses and white sugar for the brown sugar because we're moving in a month and I haven't wanted to replenish the sugar supply right before moving. I also added some fresh strawberries and blueberries because it's berry season here and I couldn't resist.

                                                                      Like moreace, my french toast didn't get crunchy. I think this is because I used a baking dish that was slightly smaller than what she calls for so not enough of the liquid evaporated because the bread was packed too tightly. Either way though, it was quite nice. I also didn't get much of the orange blossom flavor. One other minor quibble, the 15 minute soaking time isn't quite long enough. The bottom of the bread was still a tiny bit tough in some bites for me. If you have the time, this would probably benefit from an overnight soak. I'll definitely give this another try using the correct size pan next time!

                                                                    2. Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Chiles and Pecorino – p. 63

                                                                      This sounded so appealing to me but I was hesitant to make it since mr bc isn’t a kale-lover or even a kale-liker so I wasn’t sure how this would fly, especially w the raw kale. The good news was, he got it down but unfortunately he didn’t love it like I did. If you like kale, you’ll love this dish. I thought it was outstanding!

                                                                      That said, not a salad I’d recommend for a hurried weeknight, as the prep is somewhat involved. Kale washed, trimmed, and sliced. Country bread toasted and whizzed in the food processor to make course breadcrumbs. Pecorino grated for the dressing and garnish. Dressing is a combo of garlic, lemon juice, pecorino, S&P and red pepper flakes. Just a note on quantities; MC has you juice a lemon but doesn’t specify an amount to incorporate into the dressing. FYI, she calls for 3 tbsp of EVOO so I only used 1 tbsp of the lemon juice in the dressing then I sprinkled a little on top of each plate…all told I likely used 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp.

                                                                      5 mins prior to serving the kale is dressed and left to stand. Dish is served w a drizzle of EVOO, additional Pecorino and the breadcrumbs.

                                                                      I should also add that I used a Pepper Pecorino, which I bought with this dish in mind and which was ridiculously good with the kale. I loved everything about this dish, the chewy texture of the kale, the dryness the extra Pecorino added, the slight heat from the chilies and of course the bittery-goodness of the kale/lemon mix. Dee-lish…this may be one of my favourite dishes yet.

                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        High praise, indeed. I will try this. I think we're in the same situation: my husband is not a fan of kale, but I like it. I've been using it for my lunches, and this is definitely something that can go into the rotation.

                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Chiles and Pecorino pg 63.

                                                                          I will start by saying we are kale lovers in this household. Especially Tuscan kale. But I have never made a raw kale salad and I have to admit when I have seen raw kale salad in Whole Foods I have generally thought that it seemed like it was purely for those who are masochistically trying to "out-healthy" everyone else. But, BC's enthusiuastic review as well as MC's entertaining lead in to the recipe convinced me to give it a go. I actually had my own little "Iron Chef" kale battle tonight as I made both this recipe and the Tuscan Kale with Anchovies, Garlic and Pecorino (Cook this Now, pg 12) due to an abundance of TUscan Kale.

                                                                          BC does an excellent job of describing the prep. I diverged from the recipe by skipping the separate bread prep and instead just using the overly crispy portion of my croutons from the Chicken with Croutons (pg 144). I also assembled the dressing in a big bowl and then just threw my sliced kale into it to save myself an extra bowl to clean. I also used all the juice from my one rather small lemon.

                                                                          I thought this was excellent. Very different from my usual kale preparation (either braised with a touch of pancetta or bacon or in soup with white beans and parmesan). The bright lemon acidity matches the brawny flavor of the kale well. She describes the dressing as almost Ceasar like and I thought this was a good description. The completed salad is sort of like Ceasar on steroids with a bracing amount of lemon and a much more muscular kale standing in for the romaine. Next time I will up the garlic.

                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                            genh, so glad you enjoyed this. I wasn't sure where you'd end up as I read your into paragraph but I'm delighted to hear it worked out. I could eat this every day, I just love its big, bold flavours. If you can get your hands on some peppercorn Pecorino, I'd highly recommend it and I totally agree on the garlic!! I always up the ante.

                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              BC, I really did enjoy it. Thanks for your excellent review giving me the nudge I needed!

                                                                              I will look for the peppercorn Pecorino. Am I right in thinking it has peppercorns mixed in with the cheese? I don't think I've ever noticed it, but will be on the lookout. Does sound like it would complement this dish well.

                                                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                genh, you're so welcome. Yes you're quite right. I purchased the pecorino from a local cheese-maker and there's a layer of peppercorns in the cheese. So if you picture a wheel of pecorino, there's a layer of peppercorns about an inch down from the top of the wheel. This infuses the entire wheel of cheese w a lovely bite. We've fallen in love w this cheese. It's amazing on its own, a decent shaving along w a sip or two of wine or, just wonderful in dishes that can take a punch of flavour.

                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                  I love pecorino with peppercorns - it's originally Sicilian I think. We certainly ate it in abundance in Sicily last year and brought some home to enjoy.

                                                                                  I am STILL waiting for my book - this is what happens when you order from the US. Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes three!

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Thanks gg, I didn't realize the cheese was originally Sicilian but it really is addictive!

                                                                                    Such a pity about your book isn't it. I really think that the Royal Mail is top notch. When ever I order books from the UK, I seem to get them in very short order. However, when I order from within Canada or, from US booksellers, my experience varies quite a bit. I find Amazon is good no matter where books are being shipped from and for used books, Better World Books in the US is fast.

                                                                                    Fingers crossed that you'll have your book tomorrow.

                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                      You must be psychic, BC, because my book did indeed arrive today, three weeks after it had been shipped. Looking forward to getting involved, even though April is nearly over!

                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Chiles and Pecorino, p. 63

                                                                            Agree completely w/Breadcrumbs and greeneggsnham that this is a really good salad with assertive flavors that stand up well to raw kale. And genh's idea to use the croutons from Crispy Chicken with Croutons (p. 144) was absolutely brilliant. (When I read her review, I had some leftover, which I promptly froze; popped those into the toaster oven before starting on the salad--which came together very quickly for me.) I followed the recipe to make the dressing, tossed it with the sliced kale, topped with the croutons, and had an easy and super nutritious lunch. It's nice to have another kale salad option that's quite different from my usual one.

                                                                            ETA: not sure why the grated pecorino romano looks like rice in the photo.

                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              Aha! Here is the raw kale salad thread that I remembered reading but couldn't find when I was posting my review. I made the raw kale salad that's in the October section of CTN, which has an anchovy-date dressing, so my review is posted over there. I was perplexed that I couldn't find the raw kale salad discussion to append my review too. Now all is explained.

                                                                          3. Garlic Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad, p. 66

                                                                            There was quite a little buzz about this recipe a while ago, and I've wanted to try it ever since. So yesterday morning, I put it together and let it "cure" all day.

                                                                            I started by mixing a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar and then tossing it with broccoli florets. I put a scant 1/2 c. olive oil (she calls for 3/4 c, but I don't think that much is necessary) in a skillet over low heat and added minced garlic (4 lg. cloves, minced) and 2 tsp. sesame seeds--before glancing again at the recipe and realizing it calls for cumin, not sesame, seeds. So I quickly added 2 tsp. cumin seeds and figured the sesame seeds couldn't hurt in a recipe with "Sesame" in the title. After a couple of minutes during which the garlic softened and it and the seeds released their fragrancees, I turned off the heat and stirred in 2 tsp. of sesame oil and, instead of red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. hot chili sesame oil. I poured this over the broccoli, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge until dinner time.

                                                                            We had this with grilled salmon and wild rice for dinner last night. Before serving the salad, I tasted it and wished I'd left out the cumin altogether as I found it overpowering. I decided at that point to drizzle some orange olive oil over the top, and I thought it helped balance all that cumin.

                                                                            My husband will never ask for broccoli salad, but he did eat it without comment. I really liked the way the raw broccoli softened ever so slightly, and I will make this salad again with these tweaks: I'll use sesame seeds and skip the cumin, add some minced ginger in with the garlic, drizzle with orange OO at the end and possibly a splash of soy sauce.

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              Garlic Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad, Pg. 66

                                                                              Made this last night as a side dish to soba noodles with Grace Young's sugar snap peas and shiitake mushrooms stir-fry. I increased some of the ingredients, left others as is... nothing too drastic. Loved all the garlic, my garlic was quite large and it was that wonderful purple striped variety. Like Nomadchowwoman we used less oil. I used 1/2 t red pepper flakes but wish I had used chili oil instead... The recipe was followed but the broccoli only cured for an hour. There's lots left over and I think it will taste terrific today. I wasn't as totally smitten as others who have made this dish but it is a different way to prepare broccoli. G gives it a 6, I'm waiting to see what it will taste like later today. I'll be back.

                                                                              BTW: We like cumin so didn't feel it overpowered, but then everyone has their own preferences.

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I've been curious about this recipe too. In a previous chow post (broccoli ceviche...), there was some talk of the recipe needing much more vinegar, what did you (nomadchowwom and Gio) think? Also, curious about mixing olive oil and sesame oil. Did it impact the taste and aroma of the two competing oils?

                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                  Honestly Sal, I liked the combination of ingredients, including the 2 oils.. I used dark toasted sesame oil. I only used 1/4 cup of EVOO but in retrospect I should have used more because there was *just* enough sauce to coat the broccoli. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of RWVinegar... I used 1 Tablespoon. The aroma of the sauce was deliciously intoxicating. We both liked the finished dish well enough and it did pair well with the soba & stir-fry, but G is not interested in making it again, and to tell the truth, if he doesn't want it I wouldn't go through the bother of redoing it just for me.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Thanks Gio. I think this will be one to try when the Mr. has other meal plans. :)

                                                                                  2. re: BigSal

                                                                                    Big Sal--I definitely think the recipe could have used more vinegar, so I think starting w/a tablespoon, as Gio did, is a good idea. I didn't notice any clashing of the oils--but I deliberately did not use a fruity OO. As to the cumin, which I ordinarily like, I think I just don't like the combo of cumin and broccoli.
                                                                                    I did eat the leftovers with my lunch for the following two days--but my husband had no interest, ended up telling me he didin't care for it at all. But it's the raw broccoli that he's never going to love.

                                                                                  3. re: Gio

                                                                                    Back again to tell how we liked the left over cured broccoli. I served it as one of the side dishes to the oven-roasted pork on page 181. It had mellowed a bit but after tasting I decided to sprinkle a pinch of salt over and added a bit more of the red wine vinegar. It really wasn't too bad. However, nothing is going to make G like this recipe.

                                                                                  4. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                    Garlic Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad, Pg. 66

                                                                                    Made this about a week ago when I was looking for a portable recipe to take to a friend's house. It got rave reviews, which is tricky in this crowd. (These girls like food, but get a little crazy trying to keep calories low - I didn't tell them how much oil was in the recipe and they didn't suspect!)

                                                                                    I used sherry vinegar, and added an extra splash based on previous feedback. After eating the leftovers for a couple days, I began to think the cumin overpowered the other flavors a bit. I like cumin, but I might cut back a little next time to bring out the other flavors.

                                                                                  5. Olive Oil Granola with Dried Apricots and Pistachios, p.37

                                                                                    I love my regular granola recipe, but since it's a staple in our house (breakfast 3-4X a week), I'm always game for trying a new recipe so last weekend I made a batch of this one. The recipe is so strikingly similar to mine that it hardly counts as new, but it does use fewer ingredients--only one type each of fruit (3/4 c dried apricots, chopped), nut (1 1/2 c pistachios), and seed (1 c raw pumpkin) .

                                                                                    Into a lg. bowl, toss everything--3 c. rolled oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, 1 c. coconut flakes(I used unsweetened), 1/3 c. light brown sugar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger or cardamom (I used both), 3/4 c maple syrup, 1/2 c EVOO--EXCEPT the apricots (they get added at the end so they won't dry out in the baking).

                                                                                    Spread the mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet (I lined mine w/Silpat for easy clean-up), and bake at 300 for 40-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. I sprinkled the apricots and (I couldn't resist adding another 3/4 c or so of dried cranberries) over the granola and let it cool in the pan before transferring it to a large airtight container.

                                                                                    I've been using olive oil to make granola for some time, and while I can't say I ever really detect the OO taste in the granola, the results are delicious. If you like granola, this is a very tasty recipe.

                                                                                    1. Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Anchovy Bread Crumbs – p. 46

                                                                                      Scrumptious! mr bc and I both agreed this would make for a yummy weekend breakfast so when I saw the lovely purple-tinged California asparagus in my market yesterday I pounced on it with this dish in mind. As an extra-special treat, mr bc took to the kitchen and prepared this himself!! (a very rare occurrence at casa bc!!) Prep is straightforward. Homemade breadcrumbs are toasted in EVOO in a skillet along w some minced anchovy. Garlic, salt and lemon zest are added before removing from the heat and setting aside. Ms Clark makes a very convincing case for pan-roasting the asparagus in the head note but since mr bc wasn’t all that comfortable w that method, we opted to oven roast ours (approx 15 mins @ 400°F for thick stems). Eggs were cooked over-easy just prior to plating. Asparagus is laid out, breadcrumbs sprinkled atop before plating the egg. We sprinkled w the remaining breadcrumbs.

                                                                                      We loved the salty, subtle fish flavour the anchovies impart into the breadcrumbs and how it contrasted with the sweet, caramelized asparagus and a little kick from the garlic. The silky, creamy egg yolk cascaded over the lot to produce breakfast-perfection. Yum!! Loved this.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                          Wow. Spectacular is right. Making me very hungry, BC! And love that Mr. BC made it for you.

                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                            Thanks qianning and greeneggsnham, it was a lovely way to start the day and I'm keeping my fingers crossed this may be the start of a trend here at casa bc!!
                                                                                            ; - )

                                                                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                            Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Anchovy Bread Crumbs, p. 46

                                                                                            Another thumbs up on this one. I often serve asparagus (I pan-roasted these; super easy method that saves us from heating up the kitchen) alongside eggs, but those anchovy breadcrumbs really elevate the dish--and the anchovy hater-in-residence had no idea they were what made the breadcrumbs so delicious. I couldn't resist stirring a little grated parmesan into the toasted crumbs.

                                                                                            Great breakfast/brunch dish for guests--and crumbs can definitely be made ahead.

                                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                              That looks so good.. I'm going to have to try this as soon as the weather cools off.

                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Anchovy Bread Crumbs, p. 46

                                                                                              This got merely an okay from us. I liked all of the elements just fine, and the bread crumbs were really tasty. But the dish didn't pull together for us. The asparagus and the eggs seemed very distinct and separate from each other.

                                                                                              I will say that I tried her pan-roasting method since I had skinny asparagus, but after 10 minutes, twice her suggested time, they were still crisper than I like. Maybe if I had cooked them to totally tender, I would have liked the dish better. If I make it again, I think I would roast or grill the asparagus which would also save a little time since that could be happening while I made the breadcrumbs and fried the eggs.

                                                                                            3. Extra-Sharp Leeks Vinaigrette (p. 44)

                                                                                              Excellent side; I don't tend to use leeks much, certainly not often in a way that highlights them, so this was a nice change of pace for us.

                                                                                              5 medium leeks (I used the whole length, just trimming off the very darkest green parts) are cut in half lengthwise to be rinsed well. MC calls for tying all the halves back together then cooking them in a stockpot of boiling water. That sounded like too much bother (and too much wasted water) for me, so I just heated water in my biggest saute pan and lay the halves seperately, curling them to get them to fit. Next time I would just go ahead and cut the leeks into 3-4 inch lengths (which is how I cut them after cooking) and boil them that way, it would be much easier.

                                                                                              After cooking until just tender, the leeks are drained (and I chopped mine), then mixed with the dressing of 5 Tbl Dijon mustard (the hottest you can find, I used Trader Joe's brand because I find Grey Poupon very mild), 1 Tlb. lemon juice, 1/2 Tbl. red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, and S&P.

                                                                                              Served as a side to Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croutons (p. 140) and it was a wonderful dinner.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: GardenFresh

                                                                                                that does sound good, thanks for pointing it out....i don't even renumber seeing it in the book!