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Jan 31, 2013 11:27 PM

Feb 2013 COTM “Bistro Cooking at Home” Introduction recipes; The Art of the Salad; Soul-Satisfying Soups; Small Plates

Post reports here for
Introduction recipes 12 - 23
The Art of the Salad 25 - 48
Soul-Satisfying Soups 49 - 64
Small Plates 65 - 100

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  1. Mixed Greens with Fried Walnut-Coated Goat Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette (page 34)

    This was the first course of an all-Hammersley dinner.

    Balls of goat cheese are dipped in egg, then in a mixture of finely chopped walnuts, bread crumbs, minced shallots, and s&p. The balls are flattened into disks, refrigerated until cold, fried until lightly browned, and served on hearty greens lightly dressed with a sherry vinegar and dijon vinaigrette. I made the cheese patties in the morning and kept them in the fridge until ready to fry and serve that night.

    The proportions in this recipe were all cockeyed. There was tons of the walnut/breadcrumb mixture, which made it very easy to coat the cheese but I have more than half of it in the freezer. (Hoping it might be good for coating fish.) And I had considerably more than half of the dressing left as well.

    This was outstanding, and very elegant. One of the out-of-town guests took one bite and said, “Do you know how much you’d have to pay for this in Aspen?!?” It really did look and taste like something you might find in a fairly high-end restaurant and will definitely be on a menu again--especially if I’m looking to impress.

    7 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Stunning Joan, what an absolutely gorgeous looking dish - definitely restaurant quality! Goat & I don't get along at all, much to mr bc's dismay as I bet he'd love this.

      1. re: JoanN

        That does look fabulous! I am a sucker for anything with goat cheese.

        1. re: JoanN

          Lovely looking salad Joan, Must try that one next.

          1. re: JoanN

            Salivating here. This is one of my favorite salads when in France, and I have it on my list. Thanks for telling us about the excess walnut/breadcrumb mix.

              1. re: JoanN

                Back to report that the walnut/breadcrumb mixture perked up an otherwise boring frozen flounder fillet. And there's still some left. I think it might be even better on a chicken paillard. Coming up next.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Mixed Greens w/ Fried Walnut (hazelnut) coated Goat Cheese, pg 34

                  Joan N's report did it, I had to give these a try. We were having another salad with dinner, so I just made a half batch of the cheese to serve with drinks. Also, since I like walnuts, but they don't like me, I used toasted hazelnuts. the results were delightful, and now that I've given it a whirl, this will go into the appropriate for company file. But Joan N is right the proportions are all off--my 1/4 batch of the nut/breadcrumb mixture was still more than needed to coat 4 1+ oz cheese balls.

                2. Hearts of Romaine with Watercress and Creamy Parmesan Dressing, Pg. 35

                  The foundation of this dressing is more or less a basic Aioli using raw egg yolk. Not wanting to use the raw egg yolk I made my own egg-less aioli then proceeded with the recipe which calls for 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, Kosher salt, and pepper. The salad components are hearts of Romaine for which I subbed hearts of escarole, and a whole bunch of watercress w/o stems. Rinse the lettuce and toss with some of the dressing., add to each salad plate. Do the same with the watercress placing the leaves on top of the lettuce. Drizzle each plate with remaining dressing and sprinkle a little more cheese.

                  We both liked this simple salad. The tang of the watercress cut through the rich creamy dressing very well and the dressing was perfect with the bitter escarole.. The main dish was Walk-Away Chicken on page 181. We walked away from this meal quite satisfied.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Gio

                    (Hearts of Romaine with) Watercress and Creamy Parmesan Dressing, Pg. 35

                    Since I didn't want 1.5 C of this dressing, I played pretty fast and loose with this one--using the egg yolk, but half the amount of shallot, garlic and mustard; then 1TBS lemon juice, and 4TBS olive oil, and a heavy 1/4 C parmigiana. I liked the results very well, Mr. QN was more so so about it. Served it over nice crisp watercress (including the stems!) as a side to steamed Maine shrimp, a nice little meal.

                  2. CLASSIC BISTRO VINAIGRETTE – p. 29

                    I found this recipe online here:


                    A classic French vinaigrette. Hammerlsey has you macerate the shallots in the vinegar prior to whisking in the oil and remaining ingredients. I have some amazing Pinot Noir vinegar that seemed perfect for this recipe. I love how mellow it is relative to other red wine vinegars and it really worked well to create a balanced and very versatile dressing.

                    I’d decided on the very rich Lulu’s Linguine as our main tonight so I wanted something w some bite to lead into that dish.

                    I ended up grilling some endive in my Panini press then drizzling this dressing atop along w a sprinkling of sliced Kalamata olives and grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese melted into the caramelized crevices of the endive and its sweet, earthy flavour provided a nice balance for the bitterness of the endive and the tartness of the dressing. A lovely recipe to have in your repertoire.

                    The author notes this dressing keeps for 3 days when covered and refrigerated. I’ll let you know!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      Classic Bistro Vinaigrette, Pg. 29

                      We made this vinaigrette last night to dress a mixed hearty greens salad. The lettuces I used were heart of romaine, heart of escarole, and watercress. Loved the dressing... I learned a long time ago to let any allium soak in vinegar, in my case a Tuscan aceto, before adding to a dressing since it reduces the harshness of what ever onion you're using. The salad was served with an old fashioned linguine arrabbiata. As Breadcrumbs said, it is a very good salad dressing to have in one's repertoire

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        CLASSIC BISTRO VINAIGRETTE p.29

                        Not much to say here that others haven't. It was good, pretty much a classic mustardyish vinaigrette. I had on a baby spinach side salad. I only had a very cheap generic red wine vinegar on hand so I'd be interested in trying it with a nicer vinegar.

                        I have mine stored in the fridge in one of those salad dressing shaker jars and plan on having it again on Thursday.

                        And, if anyone cares, a 2 tbsp serving is 94 calories :)

                      2. Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, with Watercress Salad and Creamy Horseradish Dressing, Pg. 47

                        A slightly fiddley salad this but in the end quite a savory finish. The beets were roasted early in the day then sliced into thinnish wedges later when the salad was made. Walnuts are toasted either in a skillet or in the oven...I used the skillet. Directions for this are on page 4. Prep the watercress and lettuce of one's choice. A large shallot is thinly sliced lengthwise. The beets are then tossed with the shallot slices and dressed with walnut oil (EVOO). For the dressing combine prepared horseradish, Dijon, heavy cream (1/2 & 1/2), olive oil, lemon juice, S & P.

                        The watercress and lettuce (green leaf) are tossed with additional EVOO and lemon juice and seasoned with S & P. These are supposed to be portioned onto individual salad plates but I used a deep platter and lay a bed of the greens in the middle. The beet wedges w shallot were laid on top of the greens, drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle toasted walnuts over top and garnish with minced parsley.

                        The salad looked lovely on a white ironstone platter with the shallot picking up the beet color and the green against white. Quite festive. I thought the dressing lacked a little something and thought perhaps the horseradish I used wasn't quite as strong as it should have been but G liked it as is. The combination of flavors was a tangy lemony delight though. This was served with pan fried smelts and braised greens, a Jamie Oliver recipe from Happy Days with the Naked Chef.

                        1. Vegetable Stock, Pg. 20

                          Weekends are often the time I make stock for the week and I try to use a recipe from the current COTM. This recipe made only a quart but since I increased a few of the vegetables and included one or two not listed I also increased the amount of filtered water used and produced 1 1/2 quarts of stock.

                          So, the vegetables are: leeks, onion, carrots, celery, tomato, plus thyme, parsley, bay leaf. Omitted were turnip and parsnip; included were rutabaga and chopped chard stems. Add water to cover and a few inches over. Bring to boil, cover, reduce to simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add marjoram, basil and tarragon to steep for 15 minutes. Cool then strain.

                          When I tasted the finished stock I thought it had a slightly sweet complex. flavor. Perhaps sweet from the basil? Anyway, I was too busy to re-taste the next day but when I use it this week I'll report back with the result...

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            To me, It's much harder to make a good vegetable stock than a meat stock -- the last I tried was from the COTM Union Square Cafe -- I posted about it
                            It also was a little sweet. (Too many root vegetables seem to make stock *too* sweet,
                            but a little is OK.
                            )Are you going to use it for risotto, or ?

                            1. re: blue room

                              Actually, I don't know What I'll use the stock for just yet. But I always need a cup or two of stock during the week. I don't make vegetable sock very often, it's chicken or turkey stock usually. My morning oatmeal is savory rather than sweet, made with whichever stock is in the fridge. Rather than risotto, G likes to cook rice with stock instead of plain water...especially brown rice.

                              The Bistro recipe is very lean - no oil or soffritto - just everything into the pot at the same time. He does give a variation though of roasting the veggies then proceeding. I might do that just to see the difference. I roast the poultry bones sometimes and that produces a really full-flavored stock, as you would imagine.

                              1. re: blue room

                                Off the February COTM but you just gave me an aha moment! I made the veg broth from COTM Union Square Cafe and froze it for Thanksgiving. We hosted a very big group of people so I bought some gravy and made my own using the veg stock. There was a lot of my gravy left over so I froze it and just got it out this month and it was sweet and not very good. I couldn't figure out what happened but now AHA. I tasted the stock when I made it but I guess cooking it down in the gravy brought out the sugar.