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December 2012 COTM: How To Eat -- Low Fat; Feeding Babies and Small Children

Report here for these recipes:

Low Fat 381 - 399
Feeding Babies and Small Children 416 - 455

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  1. GYPSY TOAST - p. 422 (Canadian Edition ... which seemingly was published simultaneously in Hoboken according to my book!)

    This isn't as much a recipe as it is serving suggestions for French Toast. I just happened to have read this section after seeing a recipe for savoury French Toast on Food 52. A light bulb went off when Nigella mentioned cutting her French Toast into stars. I thought Food 52's savoury french toast would make the perfect festive breakfast if cut into stars!! This was a hit with our guests. FYI, I used Aleppo pepper vs black pepper. Our friends were tickled w the star-shaped toast...thanks for the inspiration Nigella!!

    Here's the Food 52 recipe in case anyone is interested:

    http://www.food52.com/recipes/7030_cr...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      I suppose that's not from the low-fat chapter... Ha!

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        RIght you are TDQ!!! Nigella cuts her Gypsy Toast into shapes for her kids in the Feeding Babies and Small Children chapter but I found the idea inspiring and was glad I'd decided to read on despite having neither babies or small children at our home!

    2. Garlic Roast Potatoes (page 425, US edition)

      Her take on the perennial favorite. Chop unpeeled new potatoes into small dice, toss unpeeled garlic cloves in the pan, pour olive oil over all, mix with your hands, sprinkle with salt and roast @ 400F for 45 minutes.

      Both potatoes and garlic were overcooked, although still edible. I think the timing was just too long for potatoes that were to be cut into “small dice.” To be fair, she says “or until cooked and golden” but I was busy with other things and just set the timer for 45 minutes. I may have liked this version better if I’d checked it at 30 minutes.

      But even then, I really didn’t care for having to deal with the garlic skins. I much prefer both Batali’s and Hopkinson’s methods which call for cutting the peeled potato into 1-inch cubes, blanching, adding sprigs of rosemary to the mix, peeling the garlic cloves, and cooking at a slightly higher temp for a lesser amount of time. Instead of a crispy throughout piece of potato, the outside is crunchy but the inside is creamy. More of an effort, but better result.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        Thanks for your report on this potato recipe, JoanN. I roast small unpeeled potatoes and unpeeled garlic often... sometimes just the two and sometimes with other vegetables. I slice the root end off the garlic. When cooked the skins come off easily if one holds the tip and smooshes the garlic through w fork. Rather rustic, but tasty. My temp/time is 425F/25-30 min. Longer if the potatoes pieces are a bit larger... Works very well.

        1. re: JoanN

          For some reason, I thought Nigella's roast potatoes were in ENYTC. I vaguely remember that and that everyone loved them. I wonder if Hesser made some tweaks?

          ETA--found it on EYB--http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r... Not from HTE, but definitely a Nigella recipe. Some overcooking complaints then, too. http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/7095/I...

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Took me a while to find it since Nigella's name isn't in the index and the recipe is listed as "Italian Roast Potatoes."

            The one in ENYTC is a bit different. Potatoes are cut into 1-inch cubes, not small dice, and she seasons with dried oregano, not adding salt until after the dish is finished. Recipes call for roasting @ 425F for 1 to 1-1/4 hours.

            I looked up the reports on the dish and was surprised to see that I had posted a link to the Batali recipe then. Although everyone liked the recipe, nearly all agreed that the the garlic was overcooked and recommended checking on the dish at least a good half hour before the timing listed. May try the ENYTC version next time and see if it works better for me. May just be a question of getting the timing right--on both recipes.

            1. re: JoanN

              I suppose it's just one of those that depends on how small your dice and how hot your oven and how fresh your potatoes etc., etc., but Nigella's trademark is that her recipes are typically unfussy. This seems a little fussy. Maybe we should just stick with Batali's!

              I do remember liking them when I tried the ENYTC version!

              ~TDQ

              1. re: JoanN

                I use the ENYT method (i.e. start with cold oil, do not add salt until the end) all the time now, it has become standard, but....I rarely add garlic, if I do they go in half way through, and I sub fresh rosemary or sage leaves for the dried oregano. I also find that the olive oil can be saved and re-used. 1 hr total cooking time is usually enough, but it depends on the potatoes.

            2. re: JoanN

              Thanks for the report, I was going to make tonight, so I will use your suggestions.

            3. CHAR SIU - p. 399

              To quote Nigella who quoted a Dr. Jonathan Miller….this dish is “not quite char siu, its just char siu-ish” Regardless of it’s authenticity, we’d call it delicious.

              Super simple to put together as well. I found the recipe online so I won’t get into the weeds here but will say a simple marinade is mixed together and the pork is covered and refrigerated overnight. The next evening the meat is placed in a roasting pan and baked for approx 45 mins, while basting from time to time.

              The meat is tender and juicy with a lovely ring of the mahogany glaze of the marinade around the edges. mr bc loved it straight up atop some steamed brown rice. I sliced mine and served it atop Nigella’s Aromatic Chili Beef Noodle Soup as she suggests. I’ll review the soup down thread but suffice to say, dinner was a big hit tonight. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph the cooked meat on its own but you’ll get the idea w these pics.

              Here’s the recipe:

              http://www.labellecuisine.com/archive...

               
               
              2 Replies
              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Please note, I neglected to mention my book is the Canadian edition.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Char Siu, page 399.

                  Our version of this dish looks nothing like Breadcrumbs' version! And I'm sure it was quite a bit further from char siu than the author intended. But that, I think, goes to show that it's a flexible recipe. Mr. Nightshade was really the one in charge of this dish. He's not much of a recipe follower, but he was at least inspired by Marinade #2. This marinade is supposed to contain: soy sauce, prune juice, mushroom ketchup, miso, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, and brown sugar. We omitted the mushroom ketchup, not having any, and substituted some chopped up prunes for the prune juice. He also added a few chopped chile peppers, because, well, he adds them to everything. The recipe calls for a 24 hour marinade, but due to unexpected events, ours marinated for 48 hours. Mr. NS cooked the tenderloin in a grill pan, instead of roasting it. When it was finished, he added a bit of wine to the juices and made a sauce.

                  This was a very successful marinade, and we both enjoyed the taste quite a bit. The prune was probably the dominant flavor, but it was nicely balanced, with just the right touch of sweetness.

                   
                2. AROMATIC CHLI (PORK) BEEF NOODLE SOUP – p. 381

                  Lovely! Nigella offers a variation on her beef soup and suggests it can also be enjoyed with her char siu pork. Since I’d committed to making the char siu and, I love soup, this seemed like a perfect fit for a weeknight dinner.

                  You can easily prepare the soup in the time it takes the pork to roast so this comes together in short order. I found the recipes (for both dishes) online and will paste a link below to save having to get into detail regarding the prep.

                  Since I was using pork I opted to go with chicken broth as I didn’t have any pork broth and I’m not a fan of bouillon cubes, which Nigella suggests. I also had some fresh Thai bird chilis so I chopped 2 along w a little bit of garlic before adding the chunk of ginger and the broth to the pan. Nigella has you simmer the aromatics in the broth while you prep your veggies. I went with baby bok choy and snap peas as NL suggests. I topped my soup w some chopped green onions, parsley, basil and chives since I didn’t have any Thai Basil.

                  This was a tasty and satisfying soup. I especially appreciated the flavour from the aromatics. The ginger and chili infused broth was so good I would have been happy to enjoy it all on its own. The other components just enhanced the experience. This would be a great soup to sooth a cold I bet!! We served the sliced pork alongside so folks could add it at will. The pork was outstanding in the soup. It melted in our mouths. Excellent, we loved this.

                  Here’s a link to the recipe: http://www.labellecuisine.com/archive...

                   
                   
                   
                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    Please note, I neglected to mention my book is the Canadian edition.

                    ....and I meant "soothe" not sooth above!! *%{&/# typos!!!

                  2. Chicken Pie p.489 UK edition

                    I roasted up a large chicken the other day, thinking of all the ways that I could use the leftover shredded meat in various incarnations. Now that I am in possession of said meat, I can't for the life of me think of what to do with it, or find any of the recipes that I had in mind. Does this only happen to me? I'm dreadful at remembering anything when it matters. Luckily, I could at least recall this recipe.

                    What's to say about chicken pie, really? White sauce w/a bouillon dissolved (I've recently discovered better than bouillon, which is surprisingly much tastier than I expected)....added veggies & chx. I have this involuntary compulsion to double or even triple the vegetables in any given dish and decrease the meat, so I tossed in some diced cooked carrots and extra peas. The sauce was rather thick so I diluted a bit with real chicken stock. Even with my additions it barely filled a shallow pie dish. The pastry took longer to brown that the 20 mins NL details, but everything came together rather quickly and easily, for something involving pastry, anyway.
                    This wasn't fabulous, it was comfort food....albeit a little bland comfort food, but The Offspring enjoyed it as it was, and since it is in the "feeding children" section, I suppose it passed the test. I'm surprised that everything in this section does look rather boring taste-wise; after reading Lawson's chapter on feeding children, she claims that children really do like spiced up and flavourful foods, then presents us with these lackluster items....

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      Allegra this sounds like ideal comfort food and good to know it comes together quickly. Ideal for those times where memory fails!! I think my memory is worse. Lately mr bc has been pulling things out of the freezer that I've even taken the time to label yet I still don't recall where the recipe came from and when I made it. Recently he pulled out a "Leek Sauce"....I drew a blank and it was only a Word search that saved me. Life's too rushed and in my case, I feel I'm so focussed on the days ahead that lately I'm not taking enough time to be "in the moment". I plan to change that come the new year....among other things, if I can remember them!!

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        I've been prone to misplacing my sharpie so when it comes time to label I confidently tell myself that Of course I'll remember what that lumpy block of brownish liquid is in the depths of the freezer, how could I forget? and then promptly forget. I'm sure that time will come for me when even the most carefully labelled items draw a blank, too!

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          You have to put a date on everything going into the freezer, too. I am so bad about losing track of things, that I even label everything going into the fridge, with at least a date. I keep a sharpie and a roll of painter's tape in a kitchen drawer. So an open jar of something half-used, gets labeled with the date it was opened. Leftovers or a half-can of tomatoes that I put in a tupperware, get a strip of tape over the lid with the date on it. This problem doesn't get any better as you get older, I'm afraid to say, so best to get into the labeling habit now.

                        2. re: Allegra_K

                          My 20 month old likes 'spicy' and 'flavourful' food, but that just means it has a pinch of cayenne, or feta in her fritter. For example, she gobbled down Madhur Jeffery's Rice Noodles with Brussel Sprouts in the weekend.

                          http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                          It has curry leaves, mustard seeds and chilli. However, it's more like a carb for eating strong curries with. (She won't touch the curry btw).

                          But it has more 'spice' than the food she has in her nursery or the childrens meal when out. It's all comparison isn't it? I think it takes a very rare child to actually like strong flavoured food that's not sweet.

                          By the way, I've cooked the cottage pie in the baby section a while ago. All I remembered was that it's very sweet. But the little one loves it.

                          1. re: lilham

                            This dish was certainly milder than what we're used to, but it was well received. I don't cook enough comfort food; in fact, this was my first chicken pie in almost decade! When I said chicken pot pie was for dinner, the offspring looked at me like I was nuts.."You mean chicken......in a pie?" I suppose they expected some apples and cinnamon to be strewn in there as well.
                            I started my kids off like that too, with just hint of seasoning and worked up from there, now my oldest is a spice fanatic and happily digs in to anything I make....the younger one prefers less capsaicin but is still pretty adventurous, so I'm pleased.

                          2. re: Allegra_K

                            If you have any chicken left, I highly recommend the Sichuan chicken and cucumber salad from Mighty Spice. It's really delicious, and I think you'd love it.

                            1. re: Westminstress

                              Sounds marvellous; I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                    That's exactly as written in the book, Allegra. I absolutely recommend this salad. It can be used with left over chicken too. I made it several times and it gets inhaled immediately.

                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Ditto on what Gio's said. FYI, I've made this w Thai basil vs cilantro due to an allergy and it was sensational. So quick and simple but so good. During the summer when I was working late this salad saved dinner on a number of occasions as mr bc would pick up a deli chicken and chop everything up then we'd have this when I got home and tossed it all together.

                                    2. re: Allegra_K

                                      Yes except the book calls for Sichuan pepper rather than black pepper