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February 2013 COTM "Bistro Cooking at Home" Meat; Vegetables; Desserts

Please post your reports here for

Meat -- Braised, Roasted, Seared, and Grilled 209 - 252
Vegetables on the Side 253 - 276
Desserts 277 - 315

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  1. Black Pepper and Cinnamon Spiced Biscotti p. 312

    I must like biscotti, every time I make a new recipe I think it's the best yet. This one too is extra good -- besides pepper and cinnamon, it uses ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
    No butter in these, but eggs and dark brown sugar make them rich tasting. Recommended!

    1 Reply
    1. re: blue room

      Those look and sound wonderful blue room. Thanks for posting, I didn't even look at the dessert section.

    2. Maple Crème Brûlée (page 302)

      Crème Brûlée is my grandson’s favorite dessert so I was definitely making this for an all-Hammersley dinner party he was coming to. I was a bit concerned about the addition of maple because he’s such a purist, but he declared it excellent. I used grade B maple syrup as recommended because that’s what I prefer anyway and what I keep in stock. This is a traditional recipe except that he uses a whole egg in addition to the egg yolks. After quite a hearty meal, my guests were practically licking the ramekins.

      2 Replies
      1. re: JoanN

        Maple creme brulee - p 302


        Compared to other creme brulee recipes I've tried, this one was very straightforward -- scorch your cream with a scraped vanilla bean, then mix an egg and four yolks with maple syrup in a separate bowl and whisk the hot cream into it very slowly. Strain and pour into ramekins which are then baked in a bain-marie for 50-55 minutes. Easy!

        My ramekins are small, so I was able to get 6 servings out of this and probably didn't need to bake for the full 50 minutes, however, the custard set very nicely and was absolutely delicious. The maple flavour is great; it's not overpowering but it's definitely there in every bite. A very inspired take on the concept of creme brulee.

      2. Beef Braised in Red Wine with Mushrooms and Smoky Bacon à la Bourguignonne (page 218)

        The main course for my all-Hammersley dinner party (see reviews of Mixed Greens with Fried Walnut-Coated Goat Cheese and Maple Crème Brûlée) and a huge success. I marinated the cubes of chuck overnight in red wine, chopped onion and carrots, a halved head of garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme, and peppercorns. The marinade is dumped, the meat is browned in fat rendered from bacon and set aside, pearl onions and carrots are browned in the fond and oil that remains in the pot, flour is stirred in to coat the vegetables, then three cups of wine, three cups of stock, and some tomato paste are added and the stew is cooked stovetop for about three hours.

        I cooked the stew a day before the dinner party so I could defat it easily, but I was surprised how little fat there was. Before serving, you brown a pound of quartered cremini mushrooms and stir them into the stew. I served this with buttered Dutch egg noodles (gave thought to the recommended spätzle, and would love to try his recipe sometime, but decided to clean the apartment instead) and a baguette for wiping the plate clean--which even the carb averse at the table did.

        Don’t know if it’s because I used frozen rather than fresh (just plain lazy) pearl onions, but they essentially dissolved into the stew. You could taste them, but not see them. I’d probably go to the trouble of peeling fresh ones next time just so it would look more the way I expect a boeuf Bourguignonne to look. I loved the separate cooking and addition of the mushrooms at the end; they didn’t meld into the stew as did the onions. This was an excellent Bourguignonne. The meat couldn’t have been more tender or flavorful. He says it serves six, but it has four pounds of meat in it. As part of a three course meal it would have served 8 with room to spare.

        18 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          mr bc flagged this recipe as soon as he opened the book Joan so I'm delighted to hear it was so good. I bet it would be amazing w spätzle (but then, what isn't?!!) I haven't made a Bourguignonne in ages so I really must make this in Feb. Thanks!!

          1. re: JoanN

            I notice that you mention both this beef dish and the goat cheese salad gave inaccurate amounts in the recipes. (Though better to have too much than too little!) And it reminded me --
            I wrote this when we were doing Union Square Cafe:
            "Maybe the restaurant recipes were just a little too thoughtlessly cut down to home-size for the book."
            Same problem here, I wonder?
            The meal you made and described is mouth-watering, though!

            1. re: blue room

              "Maybe the restaurant recipes were just a little too thoughtlessly cut down to home-size for the book."

              I thought exactly the same thing, especially when I saw the amount of coating for the cheese and the amount of dressing for the salad. I'm sure those are both things that are made in huge quantity at the restaurant. He does give thanks to two recipe testers in the acknowledgements, but it could well be that recipes such as these were considered too simple or basic to require testing for the book. It will be interesting to see if this problem continues to pop up with other recipes.

            2. re: JoanN

              Adding to the list, thanks joan. Here's a link to the recipe for those cooking from online sources:

              1. re: Westminstress

                Thanks Westminstress, these links will be very helpful for those of us who chose not to, or couldn't, get the book.

              2. re: JoanN

                Just curious, what did you use for beef stock?

                1. re: Westminstress

                  I had some veal demi-glace in the freezer and thinned it. But if that or homemade stock wasn't readily available, I wouldn't hesitate to use a low-sodium boxed beef or veal stock when I make it again.

                2. re: JoanN

                  What a fabulous winter meal Joan. Lucky guests!

                  1. re: JoanN

                    I despise dealing with pearl onions. Maybe you could add the frozen ones in a little later in the process?

                    1. re: roxlet

                      The recipe only calls for 24 pearl onions. Not my favorite chore, but that number I can handle. And I do think I'd prefer them browned in the bacon fat. Guess I could brown them separately, but that would be almost as much of a pain as peeling them in the first place.

                    2. re: JoanN

                      Beef braised in red wine with mushrooms and smoky bacon a la Bourgignonne - p 218

                      JoanN, I think you and I were on the same wavelength because I cooked this to be followed by the maple creme brulee (I didn't make a salad, though!)

                      We loved this dish; it's a very nice rendition of a classic bistro stew. The tender, falling-apart beef, salty lardons, browned mushrooms, the pearl onions (I had to buy them in a big bag so I put in way more than 24), all in a meaty and incredibly flavourful broth.

                      I didn't get a chance to marinate my beef the night before, so I did that first thing in the morning using leftover wine from the previous evening's dinner party. The meat marinated for a total of about 6 hrs which seemed to be enough time for it to soak up some of the wine and develop a nice rich purple-ish colour. I only had 2 cups of wine, but then I only used 3 lbs of meat (the recipe says 3 to 4 lbs) so I made sure to toss the mixture a couple of times while it marinated and it worked out just fine. I was happy to not be pouring an entire bottle of wine down the sink after the marinating process was complete. (I've made Julia Child's version of this recipe and don't recall using separate wine for marinating and cooking. For that reason alone I probably won't make this particular recipe again.) For the actual cooking, the book is frustratingly vague about what kind of wine to use in this dish. My local liquor store only has super-expensive wines from Burgundy so I opted for a Merlot from the Bordeaux region, and I thought it was a good fit - the wine flavour was there but not too dominant.

                      I agree with others who have said this recipe is a little generous in its portion sizes. The whole thing just barely fit into my 5qt enameled cast iron casserole pot. It says that it makes enough to serve 6, but honestly, I had enough food there to feed a small army, especially with the spaetzle to bulk it up. No complaints about the huge amount of leftovers, though!

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Beef Braised in Red Wine with Mushrooms and Smoky Bacon à la Bourguignonne (p. 218)

                        I had made this recipe once before and remembered that we liked this version even better than the Julia Child recipe I'd used previously. So, voila--I decided this would be the perfect dish to cook for our 25th anniversary (we live at Mardi Gras Central, with no realistic hope of getting to a nice restaurant when Fat Tuesday falls on anniv. date), especially since, for my husband, beef is bliss.

                        I went to the trouble of peeling those annoying pearl onions since my experience is that the frozen ones will disintegrate during prolonged cooking. (I did the whole bag, probably 50 especially pearl-esque, but it was worth it.) I discovered I had no frozen beef stock so DH was dispatched to the only supermarket he could get to and brought home a carton of (Kitchen Basics) unsalted stock; he also brought 1/2 lb of white mushrooms rather than 1 lb. cremini so I used those and supplemented with some roasted chanterelles I had in the freezer. I used an inexpensive French red table wine recommended by the SM wine guy for the marinade and then for the stew. Unlike JoanN, I cooked mine in a 275F oven for just under three hours and then, uncovered, another 20 minutes or so.

                        We thought this was pretty spectacular. I served this with mashed potatoes (yukon golds, butter, a little cream) as DH specifically requested that to accompany. Sliced brussels sprouts also on the side; I never got around to making the planned salad as we were too busy enjoying a lovely bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. (We started with chicken liver crostini from previous COTM US Second Helpings; for dessert, apple tartlets from this book, report to follow downthread.)

                        Agree completely that this would serve more than six--but oh so glad to have the leftovers, which I think will be delicious with egg noodles or polenta.

                        This is, to me, a special occasion dish--lots of work trimming/cutting the chuck and peeling the onions, two bottles of wine in the recipe, etc.--but I'll definitely make it again.

                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                            ncw that looks and sounds spectacular! I know mr bc would love this as well. like mr ncw, he always loves a beef dish.

                            I couldn't help but notice that red pan to the right of your Le Crueset...is that enamel ware? It looks like a great size. I just purchased a Falcon ware bake set and I've been eyeing other enamel pieces.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              I have to laugh at how bad my photography is; that particular photo is even worse than I thought when I see it here. What you're seeing is just a ceramic bowl, a tallish, narrowish bowl I was using to hold the meat after browning it.

                              I love its color, though. Someone gave it to me several years ago. I have no idea its provenance, and it has no markings/signatures.

                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                I love its colour too ncw and I love that it's white on the inside, always nice to be able to see what's in the bowl. I used to have a set of mixing bowls that were all black. Sleek and stylish but not at all practical. Someone else is enjoying them now! Thanks for getting back to me and FWIW, I thought your photos were great!

                          2. re: JoanN

                            Beef Braised in Red Wine with Mushrooms and Smoky Bacon a la Bourguignonne, p. 218.

                            Made this delicious version of classic French comfort food the other night. What a great dish for a snowy night here on Cape Cod! The previous reviewers have done a very helpful job of describing and photographing it. I agree that Hammersley's recipe is very much worth making. The chief difference between his and Julia Child's version (my previous go-to recipe) is the the marinating and addition of the garnish of sauteed mushrooms and finely chopped garlic just before serving. Both are great ideas that I will repeat. I had intended to use fresh pearl onions but my store did not have them on the day, so I did use frozen and for some reason had no problem with them melting away. (Birdseye brand, if that makes any difference!)

                            Marinated the beef overnight, then braised the dish till the meat was tender, removed same and reduced the sauce till I liked the consistency. I used 4 pounds of Angus beef chuck (the pieces turned mahogany-colored in the red-wine marinade), and there wasn't a whole lot of fat to degrease. Lots of tasty leftovers.

                            Oh yes, I didn't t have homemade beef stock so I used Cooks Illus. taste-test recommendation: canned College Inn Beef stock. I'm sure homemade would have been the best, but the canned stock was still acceptable, IMHO. Obviously, the addition of smoky bacon, onions, carrots, tomato paste and mushrooms boosted the flavor of the canned broth a lot.

                            Was tempted to try making spatzle, which sounded great with this dish, but time constraints dictated using the Ottolenghi combo of rice and toasted orzo, which the whole family likes a lot.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              "I cooked the stew a day before the dinner party so I could defat it easily, but I was surprised how little fat there was."

                              I bet it was one of those dishes which tasted better the next day, too.

                            2. Spaetzle - p 243

                              I had never eaten or really heard of these dumplings before I got this book, and I decided to make them to accompany the boeuf bourgignon. Eggs, cream, fresh chopped parsley and other seasonings are mixed with flour to make a sticky dough which is then boiled briefly in tiny bite-sized chunks. Once the dumplings float, they are removed from the water, tossed briefly in olive oil and then just before serving they are browned in butter.

                              The recipe wasn't clear on how the dough is supposed to look or on how you're supposed to make the dough into dumplings and what size and shape they should be. Hamersley suggests pushing the mixture through a colander, but mine has such tiny holes that this wouldn't work at all. I opted to put the whole lump of dough on a cutting board, and hold the board over my pan of boiling water while I scraped pea-sized chunks of it into the pan. This took a surprisingly long time.

                              The results were yummy and went nicely with the stew, but in future I'd probably just make egg noodles.

                              For others considering making this, especially those who haven't made spaetzle before like me, there are a few videos on youtube that make it a lot easier to see what consistency you should aim for with your dough as well as the size/shape you want. Most of the video-makers have a nifty gadget that takes a lot of the work out of it; I don't think that I am likely to get one, but the dedicated spaetzle-maker would probably find it invaluable.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: geekmom

                                I saw that instruction about scraping bits of dough off a cutting board with the tip of a knife and I'll tell ya, I'd never, ever have made spätzle if I had had to do that. Before I inherited my grandmother's spätzle maker, I used to scrape the dough through the holes in a colander and it worked quite well. I wonder if his dough isn't as loose as some? He does mention that it should be pourable. Was yours? Will be sure, now that I've read your review, to check his proportions of liquid/flour before proceeding with his recipe.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  JoanN, the dough seemed like if it were just a tad less sticky then it would have been a little more pourable. It was quite reluctant to fall off the knife into the boiling water. Hamersley tells you you'll need anywhere between 1.5 - 2 cups of flour and to keep adding the flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough seems "too wet" but I had no clear frame of reference. Perhaps if I'd added just a little more flour it would have been a bit easier.

                              2. Beef Short Ribs braised in dark beer with bacon and red onions. p. 214

                                I've made this several times before, it's my favorite short rib recipe. I follow it pretty true to the recipe. This time I decided to rub down the ribs in a dried porcini and salt mixture. I let it sit on the ribs for a while, a couple of hours. They had a nice crust after I browned them, though I didn't notice any detectable difference in the braised meat or liquid. Made it with the garlic mashed potatoes and a butter lettuce salad with a roasted garlic vinaigrette. One of these days I will find the time to reduce the braising liquid properly, and have it come out as a nice thick glossy sauce, but it's so very tasty.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                  Glad to see someone made this. I was planning on doing this a week from Saturday as a sort of belated Valentine's dish.

                                  Stupid question though, where do you find short ribs? Do you buy from a butcher or does a normal grocery store carry them? I never thought to really look for them before since I've never made them.

                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    My local supermarket carries them, but they're nowhere near as meaty as the ones I buy from the butcher. My butcher charges a good deal more for them, but I think think it's worth it. If you have the chance, take a look at both sources and see how they compare. It's entirely possible that your local store carries a better quality short rib than mine.

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      Yes, most grocery stores carry them. Make sure you don't get flanken style which are cut crosswise into much smaller ribs with less meat. You want the ones that are at least 2 inches long or so. They look like large rectangles of meat with a bone on one side. I can usually find them on sale at about 5.99/lb.

                                  2. Pear-Cranberry Crumble p. 300

                                    This is a familiar baked dessert, usually done with apples in my kitchen. I used beautiful Bosc pears -- the nicely shaped ones with the dull brownish skin. Also Craisins (dried and sweetened cranberries.) The pears & berries are tossed with sugar and spice, vanilla and lemon juice, a little flour and salt. On top of the fruit mixture goes a crumbly mass of butter, flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar. I used 12 of the 18 tablespoons of butter called for -- and yes, the topping was little dry. We ate it with cream, though, so it was fine.
                                    I don't think the vanilla was neccessary -- muffled the fruit flavor just a bit, dimmed the brown sugar in the topping just a bit. Other than that, delicious. I'd make it again.

                                    1. I looked at the Souffléed Lemon Custard recipe on page 280 to see if it was the lemon pudding cake (soft custardy/saucy stuff on the bottom, puffy and golden on the top) I'm familiar with. It is, so I probably won't do this in February, would rather stick with new tastes during COTM. (I think I have a magazine recipe for this sort of lemon dessert from Ladybird Johnson, wife of the US President in the 1960s.)
                                      HOWeverrrr -- if you've never had this, do try it! Everyone will love it, it's pretty, sweet and tart, a great treat. It was discussed here, discussion started by our frequent poster pikawicca:
                                      ( a previous Cookbook of the Month)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: blue room

                                        I will definitely be making this this weekend - have had it bookmarked & a bag of Meyer lemons sitting in the fridge waiting to be turned into deliciousness!

                                      2. Grilled Flank (chuck) Steak with Coffee and Black Pepper Marinade p. 213

                                        I've heard so often that flank, butcher, and skirt steak are hard to find and expensive, and I'm usually happy with chuck if it's to be marinated, so chuck it was. No regret -- this is a marinade I would use again. It sounds odd to use coffee and mustard together, but it worked. (I've seen pot roast recipes with coffee in the gravy and cooking liquid so I trusted this plan.)
                                        Very nice! It also has shallot, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and a healthy little mound of black pepper in the mix.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: blue room

                                          That looks and sounds quite nice, BR! What did you serve with the steak?

                                          1. re: geekmom

                                            I made some risotto with curry (also from this book) --
                                            it was very tasty, but Mr. blue room liked it more than I.
                                            The beef marinade is subtle enough to go with very flavorful rice, but it probably wasn't the best choice.
                                            (Should have roasted some potatoes!)

                                          2. re: blue room

                                            got this one flagged, will probably use top blade, so glad to hear it worked with chuck.

                                            1. re: blue room

                                              Looks fabulous! This one I planned on making as soon as it warmed up enough to avoid frostbite while grilling, which should be tomorrow. I will happily forge ahead...
                                              Can you taste the coffee in the final product?

                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                No, the coffee is not identifiable, neither was the mustard now that I think of it.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  Darn it! Well, that's good news for The Offspring, at least. Doubt they'd enjoy a coffee flavoured meat hunk much. I, on the other hand, may have to seek out some instant coffee powder that GH mentions in the headnotes so that I can pump up some of that flavour for my own meat...

                                              2. re: blue room

                                                Good to know this is a hit blue room and it sure does look lovely! I have a flank steak in the freezer so we'll definitely give this a try. Just not this weekend - we're expecting snowmageddon today and I must say, it's already pretty darn nasty out.

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  Looks delicious! This is one I had flagged to try (along with like eleventy hundred other ones haha), and I'm glad to see it is good with chuck, as that's much more affordable.

                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                    Grilled Flank Steak with Coffee and Black Pepper Marinade p. 213

                                                    Oh, wow. I thought this was just fabulous! Maybe it had something to do with grilling in mid-winter, which to my mind always makes things taste better, but we all went nuts for this dish and fought over who would get the last scraps.

                                                    I'm not really sure what cut of meat I used, since I never remember to properly label my freezer storage, but it definitely wasn't flank or skirt steak. Some kind of round, maybe. Either way, the meat was wonderfully tender and flavourful after a marinade on the short end of the spectrum, about 3 hours. GH has you reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade to pour over the cooked, sliced steak, and mingle with all the delicious meat juices. Next time I would keep double that amount, as that marinade was one of the best parts and we kept dunking the rest of our meal in the tasty sauce until it was gone. Since I had the barbecue out anyways, I grilled some thick-cut slices of yukon golds and a couple of zucchini, as suggested. It felt like summer on my plate!
                                                    The steak was slightly sweet from the brown sugar and the vinegar, and although you can hardly tell the coffee is there, it lends a subtle deep note to the flavour. I will absolutely be making this again, and soon.

                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      Yes, that looks good. I love this recipe. I've made it w/flank, but good to know it's excellent with other cuts.

                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                        Grilled flank steak with coffee and black pepper marinade - p. 213

                                                        Finally had a chance to try out this recipe. Our steak marinated for somewhere around 6-7 hours - Mr Geek kindly donated some of his precious morning pot of coffee toward the dish, so it sat from around mid-morning in a ziplock bag (a great suggestion from GH - we will be marinating meat this way in the future!)

                                                        Our flank steak was thinner at one end and the other half was about 1" thick. We found that the thinner half of the steak was wonderfully flavourful with a very definite taste of coffee coming through in every mouthful. The thicker half was still very tasty but did not have much coffee flavour at all. This makes me wonder whether marinating for the full 24 hrs might have led to a stronger coffee flavour in the thicker parts of the meat. Clearly, I have some investigating to do!

                                                      2. Roast Pork with Apples, Onion, and Sage - p. 241

                                                        Not impressed. Maybe my hopes were too high. After all, I had this pork roast on the brain for the last two days as it sat brining in the fridge. That's a lot of build-up. I did make a few changes, so I will take some of the blame, but not all.

                                                        First, brine the pork loin. In addition to salt and sugar, the brine recipe calls for maple syrup, sage, juniper berries, cloves, and bay leaves. Let the pork loin soak in the brine 24-72 hours before roasting. Here is where I will give the recipe credit: the flavors from the brine really did show up nicely in the cooked pork.

                                                        When you're ready to roast, remove the pork from the brine and pat it dry, then leave it to rest for about an hour to come to room temperature. Pour maple syrup over the pork, sprinkle with black pepper, then roast. Simple enough. (Tip: I had a feeling the maple syrup was going to wreak havoc on my roasting pan, so I put some foil down, and I'm sure glad I did! My pork didn't have much fat, so the maple syrup drippings created something the texture of peanut brittle on the foil.)

                                                        The apple mixture/topping/sauce (can't figure out what it was supposed to be) is where this really fell apart for me. Cook a chopped onion and four apples (peeled, cored, and quartered) in a sauté pan until the mixture starts to brown. Add Calvados, and ignite (ignition optional). Then add two cups of chicken broth and simmer. When you take the pork out of the oven, remove the rack with the pork, add the apple mixture to the drippings in the pan with fresh sage, and cook until the sauce comes together.

                                                        This apple mixture/sauce is where I'm lost. Nothing in my onion/apple mixture ever browned. Everything really just steamed and turned white and mushy (maybe it was crowded, I used my smaller pan). I left out the Calvados, but I just don't think that was a deal breaker here. It was really a miss in texture for me. Also, my pork didn't really have any drippings, so I just finished the sauce in the sauté pan. I couldn't find a center cut, bone-in pork loin, which is what the recipe calls for, so I used a boneless center cut loin, don't know if this would have made much difference.

                                                        I won't make this again. There are better pork-and-apple recipes out there.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Abby0105

                                                          Abby0105, just curious - what type of apples did you use? I know some varieties are really not good for cooking & can become mushy and tasteless and I wonder if that might be what went wrong for you.

                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                            Could be, geekmom. I used Pippin apples because that's what I had on hand. They are usually great cooking apples, but certainly juicier than the Granny Smith called for in the recipe, which might have kept them from browning.

                                                          2. re: Abby0105

                                                            It's a shame it didn't turn out as you had hoped because it does sound like a good recipe. A bone-in pork roast would probably have yielded the pan drippings you needed for your sauce, but it also sounds like a lot of sweet in the ingredients.

                                                          3. Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, Pg. 263

                                                            This is a pretty good rendition of a recipe for which Google gets "About 1,730,000" different results. Most of those recipes include apples and are cooked on top of the stove. Here Chef Hamersley bakes the cabbage in the oven and there's not an apple in sight. There is however bacon, a white onion, small amount of caraway seeds, a tiny amount of sugar, quite a lot of salt which I reduced to 1 1/2 teaspoons, pepper, red wine, balsamico, broth, and chopped parsley to garnish which I forgot.

                                                            Starting on the stove top in a Dutch oven G cooked sliced bacon for a couple of minutes then cabbage, onion, caraway, S & P were added. This is cooked till cabbage has wilted. Then the other ingredients are added brought to boil, then bunged into a moderate oven for an hour till cabbage is tender. Really a low and slow braise.

                                                            These ingredients do produce big flavors. Still, not really a stand-out finished dish, it's more a quiet one in my estimation. Tasty, tangy, slightly sweet, yes. A solid side dish for a main that needs to take over and star. Which leads to my main dish... Ottolenghi's Conchiglie with Yogurt, Peas and Chili. Certainly not a dish that exudes bold flavors that would compliment the cabbage. Or vice versa for that matter. Together, though, the meal was suitable for a snowy evening in front of the fire.

                                                            11 Replies
                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Gio I'm curious if you've ever had Patricia Wells' braised red cabbage (from her Bistro book) ?
                                                              Four apples and a whole bottle of wine, we're crazy for it.

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                Just looked it up and made a note to try it next time I make duck or a pork roast. I love that she says leftovers are great as a luncheon salad the next day. Bet I'd really like that, too. Thanks, blue room.

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  I can't remember, BR, but when I go downstairs I'll have a look at the book. Better yet, I have a look in the archives. You'd think I'd remember a whole bottle of wine.

                                                                  I really enjoyed cooking from the Bistro book.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    ...perhaps it was the whole bottle of wine that made you forget Gio!!
                                                                    ; - )

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        Ah, Gung Hay Fat Choy to you as well Gio. I suppose I should have planned a menu w a nod to the occasion but I had my heart set on that pasta...

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Gio I can't help but compare your (wondrous) new avatar to poster yumyum's

                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                            Gung Hay Fat Choy, Rue Bloom... Yumyum's icon looks like sausages. Yum! Yum! Mine represents the Chinese New Year of the Snake. But you knew that. ( In a few days I'll change it back and then people won't know what the heck we're talking about.)

                                                                      2. re: blue room

                                                                        I've made a note too blue room...sounds good.

                                                                        My favourite red cabbage dish comes from Mimi Sheraton's "The German Cookbook" - simply outstanding.

                                                                        Funny you should mention Wells though, I'm cooking from her "Trattoria" book tonight. Theres a delicious-sounding seafood pasta w my name on it!! i bought both these Wells books because they were past COTMs (before my time here on CH) but I don't ever recall cooking from them. Is your review for the cabbage on the old COTM thread blue room?

                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          I had to look and see, yes I reviewed it there
                                                                          a short review and no picture.
                                                                          I think I found the Mimi recipe --
                                                                          quite similar, I'd say.

                                                                    1. Parmesan-Crusted Lamb Shanks, page 226

                                                                      It was with great trepidation that I decided to try Hamersley's Lamb Shank recipe. We have been so pleased with Molly Steven's version in All About Braising, and the lamb we bought this Fall only has so many shanks so I was worried I would "waste" the shanks. But my commitment to the COTM won out and I am so glad that it did.

                                                                      Like most braise recipes, you start by browning the meat. Then cook the onions, carrots, tomato paste, rosemary and garlic until they begin to color. The shanks are put back into the pot with some white wine and chicken stock before going into a 350º oven.

                                                                      I modified the recipe just a bit. Instead of dried rosemary, I used fresh since I have a plant growing in my house. I also added some bay leaves because all braises need bay. He states that I should be able to scrape the bits off the bottom with the vegetables, but that didn't really happen, so I added a bit of wine earlier than he states. I also used the Stevens' method of placing some parchment paper inside the pot under the top. And finally, the oven was warmed to 325º only.

                                                                      When the shanks are tender, cook for an additional 15 minutes uncovered. Place the shanks on a sheet pan and coat with the bread crumb, shallot, garlic, Parmesan cheese and salt/pepper crust. The shanks are placed in a 400º oven until the coating is crispy. Meanwhile, strain the sauce and then reduce by half.

                                                                      We served the shanks over polenta, our favorite way, and the suggested way to serve. This dish was really good! It was as light as a lamb shank can be since there were so few vegetables in the braising liquid, it was primarily wine, meat juice, and stock. As with most braised recipes, I should have served it with a gremolata to add a fresher flavor. We don't eat one shank per person in this house, so I will at least top with some lemon zest tomorrow when we enjoy the leftovers.

                                                                      Highly recommend!

                                                                      photo No 1: lamb shank with crust ready for oven
                                                                      photo No 2: Dinner!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        Gorgeous! We love lamb shanks and this recipe is on The List. I'll have to move it up that ever-growing list...

                                                                      2. Souffleed lemon custard - p 280

                                                                        A mostly accurate recipe here: http://starchefs.com/GHamersley/html/...

                                                                        The differences are that the book specifies large eggs, and calls for 1tsp of lemon zest instead of 1/8 cup, and a pinch of kosher salt instead of 1/2 tsp salt. In the directions, the book says it's OK for the mixture to be a bit lumpy after the milk and cream are mixed in. It also directs you to use a cake pan whose sides are at least 2" high and to make sure your bain-marie has enough water to go about 1/3 of the way up the sides of your cake pan.

                                                                        This was an extremely delicious dessert. It's the first time I've ever attempted any kind of souffle and I'm happy to say it worked out quite well. I was really careful not to overmix once I added the egg whites and I think that was the key. The top is light and foamy and once you scoop in with your spoon there is a more-ish layer of creamy, intensely lemony custard hiding underneath. We all ate ourselves silly -- this makes a LOT, and unless you have a big family you would do well to serve it on a day when you will have dinner guests. It would be a great dish for a dinner party anyway as you remove it from the oven and let it sit till it comes to room temperature before serving, so you could get that out of the way early.

                                                                        The flavour, like I mentioned earlier, is intensely lemony, and we served with some fresh raspberries which helped to make this less overwhelming. The book also recommends serving the custard with a crisp cookie and I definitely feel like it needed that, to cut the sharpness of the lemon flavour a bit more.

                                                                        I'm going to go for an extremely vigorous 5k run now so that I can eat some of the leftovers after breakfast. Hah!

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                          "ate ourselves silly"
                                                                          Does that say it all, or what?

                                                                          A literally mouth-watering review, thank you geekmom.

                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                            Such a great dessert--and great write-up. So glad you enjoyed it. (And what's running for, if not to justify an extra bite of dessert.

                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                              Souffled Lemon Custard, p. 280

                                                                              Geekmom and I appear to be on the same wavelength--except she's ahead of me!--in reporting on the same recipes. Her reviews are very complete and echo my opinions.

                                                                              We also thought that this was very delicious: light and bright and sparkling with its one cup of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. My husband, definitely a citrus-head, adored it. The souflee part sets up easily and floats on top of the custard, which functions as a sauce. It's not difficult to make and Hammersley's instructions are easy to follow.

                                                                              My caveat: the recipe makes a whole lot! The servings are given as 6 to 8, but I think it would serve at least 10 -12, especially if one added a cookie or some fruit to accompany it. Must admit, we've been eating the leftovers for two days so far, with no real diminution in taste! Anyone for a 10K run?

                                                                              Also, I inadvertently undercooked mine, not being sure what "bake until the custard is just barely set" actually meant, particularly when the top was already well-browned after 40 minutes. I felt the finished custard wasn't quite thickened enough--more like milk in texture than thickened cream, though still very delicious.

                                                                              Next time I will make sure that only the center of the pan is still jiggly, and cover the top with a bit of protective foil if it seems to be browning too much. In concept, this reminded me of a lemon pudding-cake that I have made before--but more refined and with an exquisitely lemony flavor. The fact that it is served at room temperature, or refrigerated as we can attest, makes it good for making ahead.

                                                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                                                Great review, thanks Goblin! It's funny that we seem drawn to the same dishes. I agree with you that it holds up well for leftovers but in my experience, it should NOT be stored in a metal baking pan if that's what you had to use to bake it (it was the only one with 2" high sides in my kitchen). The leftovers took on a metallic taste that was unpleasant. Still, the rest of the custard did disappear so it couldn't have been THAT bad...

                                                                              2. re: geekmom

                                                                                Souffléed Lemon Custard, p. 280

                                                                                This has become one of my go-to desserts: I love lemon desserts, and this one is easy and elegant, the slightly more sophisticated cousin of lemon pudding cake.

                                                                                As geekmom and Goblin, have already described the process so well, I'll just add that it lends itself well to tweaks: I've made this in ramekins before (though I prefer it made in one dish, w/more loose custardy sauce); I've also subbed in coconut milk and used orange juice zest. And it's delicious with berries of any ilk.

                                                                                I'd run 5K any day for the promise of this as my reward.

                                                                              3. CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE CAKE

                                                                                I am cooking from the online recipes because this book doesn't seem to be available in Europe at all.

                                                                                I used the recipe here: http://www.sfgate.com/recipes/cooksbo...

                                                                                Disclaimer: I have a crawling 8 month old, and a non-baby.proofed house, so I didn't have things entirely together when I made this cake. I made some mistakes and was really rushed. Still, it turned out delicious! This cake was very dark, VERY rich, and really was like a giant chocolate truffle. We loved it. I regret eating at night though. With so much chocolate and coffee in the ingredients, I am very caffeinated now!

                                                                                First, chocolate (bittersweet and unsweetened) is melted with butter. Here, I used 55% and 86% instead, since could not get my hands on unsweetened chocolate. I just used a bit more of the strong stuff, and a bit less of the sweeter one. Next, some hot coffee and vanilla extract are stirred into the chocolate mixture. (My coffee was not quite hot because the little one distracted me.)

                                                                                Eggs are beaten with sugar, then the chocolate mixture is folded in, then a very small amount of flour is stirred into that. The eggs should have been room temperature, but because of my lack of planning, I only took mine out of the refrigerator just as I started my prep work, so they were still pretty cold.

                                                                                Oh, it also calls for 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. This isn't available in my area, so suspecting that my salt might be saltier than kosher salt, I played it safe and cut the amount in half.

                                                                                Next, the mixture is poored into a cake pan, which is baked in a water bath until the center is just barely a little jiggly. Here again, the baby distracted me, and when I pulled my cake out of the oven there was no jiggle left. My cake was still really soft with a truffle like consistancy.

                                                                                The cake is chilled before attempting to remove it from the pan, then let to come back to room temperature.

                                                                                He suggests a port and cherry sauce, or creme anglaise to serve with the cake. I have a great, "lazy" version of creme anglaise, so we decided to use that. Unfortunately, the light sweetness of the creme anglaise made the cake taste more bitter than it did without, rather than cutting the richness and the bitterness. I think I would use the creme anglaise again, but I will be making my cake a little less dark next time.

                                                                                So, over all, a very easy, very forgiving recipe that produces a really great dessert!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Hadil100

                                                                                  Wow, "a giant chocolate truffle." I looked at the ingredients just now, and that cake looks potent. Interesting how the vanilla sauce made it moreso.

                                                                                  I think you are a newer poster, nice to see you (& baby) here!

                                                                                  1. re: Hadil100

                                                                                    "Giant chocolate truffle"?? SOLD. I will be putting this one on the menu for next weekend!

                                                                                    Thanks for your thoughtful comments about the sauce & the flexibility of this recipe for those who are distracted!

                                                                                  2. Apple Tarte Tatin - p 286

                                                                                    A batch of Hamersley's "bistro tart dough" (p 115) is rolled out and left in the fridge while 5-6 Granny Smith apples (I used Braeburn because I have about 30 lbs of them in storage) are peeled, cored and quartered, then tossed in a bit of sugar and cinnamon. Meanwhile, a quick caramel consisting of 3/4 cup of sugar and 4 tbsp butter are cooked up in a cast-iron pan, then the apples are carefully arranged on top and simmered in the bubbling caramel for five minutes. The pastry is pressed on top, then the whole thing goes straight into the oven at 400F for 15 min, the heat is reduced to 375 and the tart bakes for approximately 15 min more. The tart is cooled for 20 min and then inverted onto a plate and served with sweetened creme fraiche.

                                                                                    If you're someone who has a knack for desserts and pastry you will probably find this dish pretty straightforward (and indeed you may have already made a tarte tatin or two) but for me this recipe was a revelation!

                                                                                    When I took the tarte tatin out of the oven I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance - the pastry looked "right", golden and slightly puffed up, and the caramel was bubbling nicely - but when I took it out to the table and inverted it onto a plate and what came out was unmistakably a tarte tatin, I just couldn't believe it. I felt like Doc Brown in "Back to the Future" where he sees the time machine that he invented, which has come into the past and he gets this look of complete and utter astonishment on his face and yells "IT WORKS! IT WORKS! I finally invented something that WORKS!!" (If you all haven't seen this 80s classic, I would encourage you to go find it - a really fun movie!)

                                                                                    The pastry was flaky and luscious, the caramel so creamy and sweet (mine was probably a bit too runny as it poured all over the plate after we sliced the tarte, so I'll have to do research on how to encourage it to thicken up a bit), the apples were still firm but baked through, and they were soft and delicious. We served with a huge dollop of the sweetened creme fraiche recipe which follows on p 287, and a strong cup of black coffee; it was a magnificent dessert. Rustic and flavourful. Honestly, the whole time I was eating it I had this feeling of amazement and a huge grin on my face because it was so, so good and I could easily picture myself being served something like this in a restaurant. I still can't really believe that it worked and if my waistline weren't begging me to stop making bistro desserts, I would probably make this again tonight.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                      That sounds lovely, geekmom, and your review was a pleasure to read!

                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                        Thanks for this, I enjoyed it! I'll be using his Bistro Tart Dough today for a completely different recipe, (potato gallette.)

                                                                                        Yay for restaurant-worthy desserts, and retro desserts -- back to the future!

                                                                                      2. Individual Warm Apple Tarts with Chinese Five-Spice Powder, Caramel, and Creme Fraiche, p.312

                                                                                        These were delicious--but primarily because of the salted bourbon-caramel sauce from another recipe that I subbed for the one in this recipe. (I'm sure GH's caramel sauce is also delicious, but I'd tried this salted bourbon version recently, and I'm hooked.)

                                                                                        I modified the pastry dough and used half butter, half lard as I'd recently bought some leaf lard from a fancy new butcher shop here and have been dying to try it in pastry. I doubt that the lard had anything to do with it, but the pastry gave me fits (as it always does--never sure what I'm doing wrong) before it finally came together. After its rest, I shaped a couple of small raggedy tart shells and refrigerated those until filling them, which I did after dinner so we could enjoy these right from the oven as GH suggests.

                                                                                        Earlier I'd made the caramel and cooked the apples (the recommended Granny Smiths, in wedges) in butter, a little sugar, and some five-spice powder (that I made myself in a couple of minutes). The buttery five-spice bath added very nice flavor to the apples.

                                                                                        This wasn't the most beautiful of desserts (mine rarely are): My tart crusts were still just beige after 33 minutes in a 350F oven so I took them out. I realized I'd forgotten to brush the pastry with egg wash (and also wonder if the ceramic baking dishes I used may have interefered with the browning). A dollop of creme fraiche and several spoonfuls of the addictive caramel sauce cover a multitude of sins is all I can say.

                                                                                        1. Sauteed Spinach with Garlic, Lemon, Olive Oil, Pg. 255

                                                                                          My kind of recipe. My kind of side dish. A pure and simple presentation of an old standby. I had a pound of baby spinach and this method worked perfectly to enhance their delicate flavor just as chef Hammersley said it would.

                                                                                          After rinsing and draining the spinach very well the leaves are sauteed at high heat in a little EVOO. G used a wok for this. The water left on the leaves steams the spinach until they wilt. He then has you strain the spinach to remove the residual water. Put the pan back over medium heat, add a little more oil, garlic, and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook this for a few seconds then return spinach to the pan, drizzle with lemon juice, cook a few more minutes then S & P to taste.

                                                                                          Delicious. The spinach was silky smooth with high flavor and was a perfect foil for the main dish which was Chicken Arrabbiata from Antonio Carlucchio's "Italia" cookbook. Garlic roasted creamer potatoes rounded out the meal.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            Yes!! I cooked this to go with the salmon wrapped in leeks the other night (still haven't had time to sit down & write that one up) and it was exactly as you describe. Gio - luscious, light and silky with a surprising complexity of flavour. I will probably never serve plain steamed spinach again.

                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                              Sauteed Spinach with Garllc, Lemon, and Olive Oil, p. 255

                                                                                              As Geekmom, says, this was a great combo with the Salmon Wrapped in Leeks on p. 156. And it's just a nice side, period. Silky, garlicky, nicely dark green--fresh-tasting yet with a pleasing depth of flavor. I think it's that the spinach is first wilted in olive oil, then placed in a sieve to drain out MOST of the water, and then sauteed some more in olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of grated nutmeg, with lemon juice added. Plus s & p and more lemon juice to taste. I used medium-sized spinach leaves and I'm sure that even more burly spinach would be fine if de-stemmed first. Might take a bit longer to wilt, but I like the flavor of Plus-Sized spinach!

                                                                                          2. BEEF SHORT RIBS BRAISED IN DARK BEER WITH BACON AND RED ONIONS p. 214

                                                                                            So, this was my first time ever making short ribs, and I am a "slow cooking" newbie. I also halved this recipe since it's just 2 of us, and half could EASILY serve 4 people, so I think the serving suggestion of 6 servings for a full recipe is a bit off. It could be easily for 8. I bought my meats (ribs and bacon) at a butcher and it was around $25, so not horrible. The rest of the ingredients (other than maybe the beer) are pretty much pantry staples.

                                                                                            You start with trimming the "excess fat" from the short ribs. I wasn't sure if this meant ALL the fat, so I did leave some on. Then you salt & pepper the meat, and brown it in your large heavy pot. I used a 5 qt stainless dutch oven, and did it in two batches, as the book suggests to not "crowd the pan". After that you remove the ribs and pour off the fat, and add in the bacon (that is cut into 1" pieces), and render that. The book said 5 minutes, mine was done much faster. Once that's done you add in the onions. Now, the book said to cut the onions into half inch rounds but I just sort of quartered them (wasn't paying attention to the instructions). You let the onions brown a bit, then add in the tomato paste, and let that cook for a couple minutes, then add in the beer (I used Guinness), vinegar, and beef stock (I had to use a combo of beef and chicken, which the recipe says you can do, because I only had about a cup of beef stock. I'm also just now realizing that I forgot to half this... so I used the full 2 cups called for instead of 1 cup. Oops.

                                                                                            After that, you add the ribs back in and let it come to a boil, then put in the oven, covered, until they are fork tender. For me this took about 2 hours and 20 minutes. After that, you remove the lid and let it cook for 15 more minutes. Once that's done, you can actually cool it down and save for later, but I just kept going. After removing it from the oven, you take out the onions and the meat, and then skim the fat off the liquid, and then let it reduce by at least 1/3.

                                                                                            There's also a recipe for mashed potatoes, which was nothing mind blowing, it uses milk and butter and russet potatoes. If you make this, I definitely suggest doing the mashed potatoes because the sauce with the potatoes is super delicious. I did leave out the scallions as my SO doesn't like them.

                                                                                            To serve, it suggests putting the short ribs on the plate first, then topping with the potatoes, but I did the opposite, then pour the sauce on top. By the way, I was only able to eat half of what you see in the photo (which was about 1/3 of what I made, doing the half batch), so again, I think the serving suggestion of 6 servings is way off. To drink, I had (and am still having) some cabernet made here in Colorado. The book suggests a Barolo, Malbec, or a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I also roasted some asparagus to have on the side.

                                                                                            As for the actual dish, I thought it was just OK. To me, the meat itself just tasted like pot roast, which isn't my favorite. It didn't seem to absorb the flavors that were in the sauce. I LOVED the sauce and potatoes though. I don't think I'll make this again but I'm glad I tried it, and it was a good intro to me to short ribs and "slow cooking".

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                              Thanks for this detailed review -- much appreciated! I'm especially glad to know that a half-recipe would serve 3, that way I can cut it in half whenever I try it. It's disappointing that the finished product didn't really seem to taste of the sauce when you were done.

                                                                                            2. Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary – p. 225

                                                                                              So delicious! Arctic-cold weather be damned, I sent mr bc out into the deep freeze to grill last night! We’ve both been eyeing this lamb recipe since the beginning of the month so when we heard there was no snow in the forecast, mr bc declared he’d brave the cold to grill this. The compromise was we used the gas grill vs charcoal. This dish is very simple to prepare. A paste of chopped garlic and salt is made then chopped fresh rosemary is added and the mixture is further combined to release the rosemary’s flavour. The boneless, butterflied leg of lamb is laid flat and the herb paste is rubbed into both sides. Black pepper is sprinkled atop and the lamb is then wrapped and refrigerated for 1-24 hours. Ours marinated for 24. Though the book doesn’t say to do this, I removed the lamb from the fridge 1 hour prior to cooking. Grill is set to medium high and the meat is grilled for approx 25 mins, flipping once. The meat is then left to rest for 10 mins, loosely tented w foil.

                                                                                              The grilled meat was tender, juicy and incredibly flavourful. Every slice of meat was kissed with lovely garlicky-rosemary goodness. Last night we served this with lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted for potatoes from the wonderful Divertimenti cookbook. Today I’m picking up some Greek Yogurt and will make some Tzatziki so we can serve the meat atop a grilled pita w Tzatziki and a Greek salad.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                I love roast lamb, and a garlic/rosemary combination is classic. Your lamb was cooked just the way I like it, BC. Drool-worthy photos!

                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  Good for you, or mr BC, lol! It's looks perfect, really gorgeous! Good to know and keep for reference, I had forgotten a roast lamb recipe was in this book.

                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                    Looks so delicious! I have my eye on this one too but alas, where I live, the cold is also accompanied by wind most of the time, so that makes for difficult grilling. This summer it should be great!

                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      That all looks so good! I just bought lamb shanks but now wish I'd bought leg of lamb for grilling.

                                                                                                    2. Rice Pudding Cake with Apricot Sauce and Candied Pistachios p. 291, 292, 293

                                                                                                      I made a half recipe of this pleasant "rice pudding cake". It's pretty much rice pudding with extra egg so it "sets up" and you can slice it. Arborio rice and milk, sugar and vanilla, a little lemon zest, and eggs make up the "cake". If you like rice pudding, you'll like this. The lemon zest is steeped in hot milk and then strained out -- a necessary step? The rice is cooked carefully and stirred to keep the grains separate. Sugar and egg and vanilla complete this mixture, which then bakes in a cake pan at 300F.
                                                                                                      Of course the apricot sauce and candied pistachios are the stars. The nuts are just coated with simple syrup and salted turbinado and baked 'til dry and crisp. The apricot sauce is lovely -- chopped dried fruit plumped and simmered with sugar water and lemon juice, and then mixed with wine -- I used a (plain I suppose) Riesling (mentioned in book) rather than the Sauternes (his 1st choice).
                                                                                                      The toppings took the dessert from nice to ooh!

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                          That looks beautiful--and candied pistachios sound divine. I think you've convinced me to try to make my first rice pudding.

                                                                                                        2. Brown Sugar - Pecan Shortbread - p 306

                                                                                                          Flour, brown sugar & cornstarch (aka corn flour) are mixed with butter and vanilla extract, then finely chopped pecans are stirred in. The whole mixture is pressed into a pan and refrigerated for 30 min, then cut into small bars & baked on cookie sheets.

                                                                                                          Serious Issues with this recipe, because I could not get the texture right. I'm really not sure what I did wrong. It's a very simple & straightforward recipe so I can only assume that my flour was less sifted than that used by the writer & tester (a huge reason why I strongly prefer cookbooks that use weights - especially for baking!)

                                                                                                          I mixed everything together as directed and saw that it was crumbly but could still clump together while in the mixing bowl. So as directed, I put a too-large piece of parchment into my baking pan and pressed the mixture in, then refrigerated for half an hour. At this point the recipe instructs you to lift out the entire mixture using the excess parchment paper sticking out at the sides. I did this very carefully but before the mixture made it onto the cutting board it developed a large crack down the middle and as I was slicing into squares it basically crumbled into mush.

                                                                                                          I decided not to bother cutting before baking, so I returned everything to the pan, pressed down firmly and put it into the oven. After baking, the mixture was a tiny bit more inclined to stay together, and I let the block cool as much as I could before cutting, but the end result was still really crumbly. Considering that the intro for the recipe describes these as "crisp cookies" that are sent out as accompaniments to other desserts at the bistro, crumbly was definitely NOT what I was expecting.

                                                                                                          At any rate, the finished product was quite tasty - no matter how crumbly you can't really go wrong with brown sugar and pecans! - but given the issues I had with the recipe and my lack of baking prowess to figure out what the heck I did wrong, I probably won't make these again...

                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                            Geekmom, I am a shortbread devotee, so thanks for the detailed review. It sounds as if the flour and cornstarch did not/could not meld together with the other ingredients. I have a recipe for Brown Sugar Walnut Shortbread that sounds a lot like this one. The difference is the addition of a beaten egg, which binds the dough together. It is pretty much no-fail. If you would like the recipe, just let me know.

                                                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                              Ooh yes please. I will put my email address in my profile. Thank you Goblin!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                Goblin, I'd love to have your Brown Sugar Walnut Shortbread recipe, if you'd be so kind as to post it here for us.

                                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  Geekmom and Caitlin, this one's for you!

                                                                                                                  Brown Sugar Walnut Shortbread:

                                                                                                                  This is a delicious, buttery, easy, walnut-y shortbread that makes LOTS of cookies. Depending on how you cut them, anywhere from 3-5 dozen. (But I think one could easily cut the recipe in half.) I think it works best in two quarter sheet pans because it allows for more even cooking in home ovens.
                                                                                                                  It also will work in one half sheet pan; just make sure you monitor it carefully so it doesn’t burn on the edges or bottom.

                                                                                                                  4 sticks (1 pound) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

                                                                                                                  9 ounces light brown sugar

                                                                                                                  5 ounces white sugar

                                                                                                                  2 eggs, room temperature

                                                                                                                  1 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

                                                                                                                  1 pound 3 ounces unbleached All Purpose flour (I like the King Arthur brand)
                                                                                                                  1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

                                                                                                                  Prepare a half sheet tray, or two quarter sheet trays, by buttering and lining with parchment paper. Allow a two-inch overhang on the long sides of the pan to help release the shortbreads later after they have been baked.
                                                                                                                  Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until combined, then mix in dry ingredients. Combine completely.
                                                                                                                  Divide dough evenly into prepared sheet trays, spreading smooth and level. (Dough will be somewhat sticky--just press out out evenly as best you can. ) Sprinkle with granulated sugar or decorating sugar and bake at 325° until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
                                                                                                                  Let cool completely before using a sharp knife to cut into squares. These keep well at room temperature for at least a week!

                                                                                                                  In the interests of full-disclosure: I first saw this recipe and slightly adapted it at: http://www.lottieanddoof.com/2009/12/...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                      Yum! I'll let you know how this goes...

                                                                                                                2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                  I came so close close to making this! But now maybe not.
                                                                                                                  I looked at Dorie Greenspan's recipe for (same name) shortbread. Hers has 1 cup butter to 1 1/2 cups flour. His has 1 cup butter to 2 cups flour. So his would be drier.
                                                                                                                  Thanks for your post, and I like your assessment --
                                                                                                                  "no matter how crumbly you can't really go wrong with brown sugar and pecans!"

                                                                                                                3. Sear-Roasted [Veal] Chops with Capers and Cornichons, Pg, 223

                                                                                                                  When the marinated chops hit the hot cast iron skillet the aroma in the kitchen was intensely perfumed with the south of France. We couldn't wait to taste the result. In a word the chops we used were delicious. Although the recipe is for veal chops I used organic pork chops with just a little fat which helped to create the luscious flavor.

                                                                                                                  Chops of 1 1/2 - 2 inch thickness are required but ours measured 1 1/4 inches so I reduced the final roasting time a bit. The marinade combines olive oil, sherry vinegar and herbes de Provence. I set the chops into a baking dish and coated the chops with the savory marinade. They rest for 30 minutes which gave me time to prep the remainder of the meal: cauliflower and salad.

                                                                                                                  Sear the chops till browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn them over and place the pan in a pre-heated 425F oven. They roast for between 7 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness. The meat is placed on a plate to rest while the sauce is made, and tented with foil. Pour off any excess fat then add minced shallot to stir-fry for a minute. Next add chopped capers and cornichons, and in sequence sherry, stock, butter, chopped parsley. Serve the chops with the sauce poured over.

                                                                                                                  Quite a succulent morsel with an herbal, somewhat tangy, absolutely delectable flavor. Our chops were large and meaty so the marinade had a chance to work its magic well. I thought my chop was a tad overcooked but G thought his was perfect. I'd make this recipe again with veal. Now that would be scrumptious I would imagine.

                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                    Well I'm convinced! I'll never run into proper veal chops, but can do proper pork! Thank you, Gio!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      saw some nice rib veal chops at Costco and was sold Due to scheduling my daughter made the dish, her first cooking experience with veal. I walked into the house and the smell was amazing - the dish lived up to the smell, tender veal, savory sauce set off by the crunch of the pickles etc Highly recommended by Kalb family and hangers-on. I agree this would be good with pork, but the veal was exquisite in this treatment.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                                        Good to read your report, Jen. Congratulations to your daughter! I knew the veal chops would be wonderful and fully intend to use them next time.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                        Ok, leave it to me, I picked up chops AFTER i had already returned the book to the library.....can anyone help me out with the approximate proportions of oil to vinegar in the marinade?

                                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                          I have 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, a tablespoon evoo and a teaspooon herbes de Provence. Season chops well before placing in marinade and leave them in there for about 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                          I haven't made it, but this thread made me pull out my book!

                                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                            qianning, for two chops, the marinade is 2 T sherry vinegar, 1 T olive oil, 1 tsp. hdp. The sauce has 1 chopped shallot, 1 T ea. capers and cornichon, 1/2 cup ea. sherry and veal or chicken stock that reduce by half, then 1 T unsalted butter.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                              we are still reminiscing about just how good this dish tasted.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                            Sear-Roasted Chops with Capers and Cornichons, Pg, 223

                                                                                                                            An absolute wow. We had it for Sunday dinner, perfect with roasted potatoes and a wilted escarole salad.

                                                                                                                            Thanks to Gio & Jen Kalb for pointing it out (I'd skipped right over it when reading the book); and to everyone for help on the proportions.

                                                                                                                          3. Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Watermelon Salad, page 246.

                                                                                                                            I was really forcing summer with this one, but there were those cute little seedless watermelons in the store, and I had a pork tenderloin, so there it was.

                                                                                                                            This is a wonderful marinade! It includes balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, olive oil, and sesame oil. Part of the mixture is used to marinate the pork, and some is reserved to dress the watermelon salad.

                                                                                                                            I made this last night, and Mr. NS did the grilling honors, out in the cold. He didn't check the temperature, just went by the feel. While the pork was resting, I tossed the salad, which contained chopped watermelon, sliced red onion, and watercress. The finished salad is topped with toasted sesame seeds.

                                                                                                                            This was a great plate, and I look forward to doing it again in the appropriate season.

                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                              Yum! I'm always looking for new things to do with pork tenderloin as it's a good cut for two people. I had this one flagged but didn't think it was quite season appropriate :) I'm glad you went for it and it was good, I'll definitely try it once I can grill again.

                                                                                                                              1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                BTW, I forgot to mention that I used one tenderloin instead of two, and cut everything else in half. It was indeed perfect for two, with a little lunch leftover. It really is a summer dish, and I'm sure I'll do it again at the appropriate time!

                                                                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                Which looks more perfectly delicious, the meat or the salad? I dunno!

                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                  Thanks blue room, they were indeed both delicious! I very much liked that the marinade for the meat was the dressing for the salad. It really pulled it all together.

                                                                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                  Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Watermelon Salad – p. 246

                                                                                                                                  Big thanks to LN for posting such an enticing review and photo. I’d completely passed this recipe by but simply couldn’t resist after reading that post!

                                                                                                                                  We thoroughly enjoyed this flavourful dish! I especially liked how the marinade does double-duty as a salad dressing. Anything to save time is appreciated these days. I marinated the pork overnight and prepped the fruit and veggies the night before so that all we needed to do before dinner was grill the pork and assemble the salad. We especially enjoyed the peppery flavour of the watercress with the sweetness of the watermelon. The layered sesame flavours (seeds and oil) were also really nice adding a little Asian influence to the dish. Though the recipe claims to be spicy, we found it to be quite balanced in flavour and didn’t feel there was any prevailing spiciness to the dish – just a subtle warmth. A truly delicious and unusual recipe. Like LN, I prepared ½ the recipe.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                    You and LN have convinced me I must try this, next time I see some decent watermelon.
                                                                                                                                    Lovely photos.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                      Thanks ncw, this is a special dish. So fresh and flavourful.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                        Agreed, this will be on my spring/summer menu list.... Thanks you both made it look so beautiful & tempting....

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                        I'm so happy you enjoyed this, Breadcrumbs! Your photos are making me want it all over again. I, too, think that is a great trick of making the marinade and the salad dressing together. It's one less step, and it really helps connect the salad and the meat together.

                                                                                                                                    2. SKILLET COOKED SKIRT STEAK WITH BLUE CHEESE BUTTER p217

                                                                                                                                      OK so I kind of cheated, I didn't make skirt steak, nor did I use the cooking method in the book since I had much thicker sirloin steaks. I mainly used this for the blue cheese butter. I seared my steaks on the stovetop in cast iron then finished in the oven.

                                                                                                                                      For the butter, it's pretty straight forward, just use soft room temp butter, add in 2tbsp of blue cheese (the book suggests roquefort or gorgonzola), a finely chopped shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash it all up, and voila, you have blue cheese butter. It was great melted on top of the steaks. Also I found the amount to be too much, it says it serves 2, but I only used up half of it and it was plenty for my 2 steaks, which weren't huge but not small either, probably 6oz and 8oz.

                                                                                                                                      So, overall, a nice little topping for a steak to keep in your back pocket.

                                                                                                                                      1. Calf's Liver with ... Warm Mustard Dressing p. 248

                                                                                                                                        In the book this is served with Spinach and Bacon Salad, I did just the meat.
                                                                                                                                        Successful recipe (of course I loved liver to begin with.) The liver is soaked in milk first. This is to remove excess blood -- and bitterness, I've heard -- but I don't usually soak.
                                                                                                                                        The mustard sauce is good: Dijon, olive oil, red wine vinegar, fine-chopped shallot, bacon grease, salt & pepper.
                                                                                                                                        Cream (I used half and half) is added, and the sauce is cooked to thicken it a little.
                                                                                                                                        Drain and pat dry the liver. Season with salt and pepper, and press some mustard seeds into it (I thought the sauce was mustard-y enough, but the seeds are a nice touch for looks.) The cooking is quick, three minutes each side for a thinnish slice. I had it with some bacon too, and of course the sauce on top.
                                                                                                                                        When I tasted it, there was immediate recognition of the flavor, and I realized it was a braunschweiger & mustard sandwich I was thinking about! This is sort of a warm dressed-up dinner version of that. It's very good, I'd make it again and I'd order it in a restaurant.
                                                                                                                                        I usually melt about 3 big onions (practically a side dish!) to go with liver & bacon, this was a nice change.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                          I love liver. I'd seen this in the book, but wasn't convinced about the flavors. You've convinced me. It will be a while before I can get around to trying it, but now it's definitely on the list.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                            I'd forgotten about this recipe. Thanks for reminding me! I love liver, and that looks lovely.

                                                                                                                                          2. Wolfgang's Blue Cheese-Stuffed Burger with a (Madeira) and Green Peppercorn Sauce.

                                                                                                                                            Mr. NS brought home ground beef to make hamburgers, but I had almost all the ingredients to dress up that beef to make this dish. I was lacking the called-for port, so I substituted Madeira.

                                                                                                                                            The blue cheese is formed into balls, and the meat is wrapped around the balls, then flattened into patties. Once the burgers are done cooking, a sauce is made in the drained pan, with shallots, green peppercorns, peppercorn brine, and, in this case, Madeira. When this reduced by half, beef stock is added, along with a little cream (oops, another divergence, I actually used milk, had no cream). The sauce is spooned over the cooked burgers.

                                                                                                                                            I loved the sauce, it was great with the beef, and the bit of cheese oozing from the burger. The sauce would be good on a steak also.

                                                                                                                                            GH introduces this recipe saying "forget the bun." I'm not big on a burger patty as an entree, so if I made this again I would serve it as an open face sandwich on a slab of grilled bread.

                                                                                                                                            My camera doesn't take great close-ups, but you get the idea.

                                                                                                                                            1. Garlicky mashed potato cakes - p 264

                                                                                                                                              A very simple dish that is pure comfort food. Boil peeled, quartered potatoes in generously salted water, meanwhile mince garlic and brown it in butter then scald cream in the garlic pan. Roughly mash the potatoes and mix with the garlic cream. Once cool, shape into patties which you then refrigerate for 2 hrs+ and, when ready, you fry them up in vegetable oil and heat them through in a 375F oven.

                                                                                                                                              GH describes these as the most popular side dish in the Bistro and I can see why. They are crispy on the outside, warm, creamy and soft with nice little chunks of potato on the inside. Delicious creamy garlic flavour, wonderful textures and a great side dish to make ahead for a busy night.

                                                                                                                                              After taking a few bites of my garlicky mashed potato cake last night, I decided to abandon the original plan of making oven fries with tonight's dinner. We're having these again instead. :-)

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                Glad you posted this, I probably would have passed it right over in the book, which would have obviously been a mistake!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                  you do make those sound awfully good...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                    I've got the next batch on the go right now, and this time I'm incorporating some yams too... yum.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                      yams...glorious...did you add cream to them too?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                        Yes! I'm aiming for a ratio of 40% yam to 60% russets... that way it's not too overpoweringly sweet. I'll let you all know how they turn out.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                    Yum, I was going to make these when I made the roasted chicken but opted to go with something else instead. They sound so good, I wish I had made them!

                                                                                                                                                  3. Spicy Lamb Shanks with Couscous and Preserved Lemons, p. 228

                                                                                                                                                    Yes, these were very good; however, I wish I’d remembered that the last time I’d made them and posted about them on the WFD thread, fellow Christina Mason had pointed me to another GH lamb shank dish that sounded more interesting (and no doubt is): http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sp...

                                                                                                                                                    Still, we love lamb in almost any iteration, and this pretty easy recipe didn’t disappoint.

                                                                                                                                                    First you rub lamb shanks (I used four) with salt, pepper, and ras el hanout (I mixed up a batch using GH’s recipe on p. 230). I browned them in olive oil in a large LC DO, then added the chopped veggies—onion (one med.), carrots (two med.), garlic cloves (six lg.)-- along with 1 T ea. of the ras el hanout and coriander seeds and 3 T tomato paste and stirred to distribute. Next, two cups of white wine and six cups of stock (I used a mix of half poultry stock, half beef broth) go into the pot along with mint (GH calls for 1 T dried; I used about 2 ½ T chopped fresh since I have it in my garden). It’s all brought to a boil. After skimming foam, the pot is covered and goes into a 350F oven for two hours (I left mine in about 15 minutes longer). At this point, the cover comes off and the rind of two preserved lemons (cut into strips) goes in, and the stew cooks another 15-20 minutes. I stopped here and refrigerated it for the rest of the day, which was a good thing as I ended up with a good bit of fat that I could then easily remove.

                                                                                                                                                    Before serving, I made couscous according to its box's directions rather than GH’s (I confess I did not rub the couscous in my palms but instead just fluffed it with a fork), although I did put the couscous in a fine mesh strainer over a pot with the simmering cooking liquid, as directed. I covered it with foil and let it “steam” for about 10-15 minutes (not the suggested 25 as it was already cooked).

                                                                                                                                                    We served the lamb w/said couscous and stewing liquid, sprinkled w/chopped mint, and w/a simple romaine, red onion, and orange salad. Dessert was GH’s luscious souffléed lemon custard. Four of us left the table quite content.

                                                                                                                                                    1. [Slow-Roasted Leg of Lamb with] White Beans and Escarole, Pg.235

                                                                                                                                                      We made just the bean and escarole component of this recipe to serve with roasted turkey thighs and the combination was a good one. The fine flavors of one enhanced the other.

                                                                                                                                                      Dried beans, I used yellow-eyed beans, are soaked then cooked w/o seasonings for 20 minutes. Drain the beans, put them back into the pan, add chopped onion, garlic, water, and salt. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or till tender. After rinsing the escarole very well the whole head is chopped and added to the beans. This cooks for a few minutes till tender.

                                                                                                                                                      Quite an easy dish but for the bean prep time and the finished product is quite tasty. It's not unlike other beans and greens I've made. I usually add crushed red pepper flakes but didn't this time, however, do pay attention to seasonings when you cook this. The turkey was roasted with carrots and onions so there were several flavors on the plate. All quite satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Garlicky Cherry Tomato Confit with Toasted Pine Nuts – p. 269

                                                                                                                                                        I’m so glad I made this today, the very last day of this COTM. I think it’s turned out to be my favourite dish in the book! I can’t wait to make this again in the late summer when I have an embarrassment of tomatoes. If you’re one of those people like me that simply can’t pass by a farm stand w beautiful tomatoes on display then trust me, you need to have this recipe in your repertoire.
                                                                                                                                                        This is a pleasure to make and a dream to eat. I’m not ashamed to admit, I cleaned the pan w my bread…there you have it!

                                                                                                                                                        Onions are sautéed in olive oil then chopped garlic and cherry tomatoes join in. After a few minutes, red wine vinegar, salt, chili flakes and sugar are added. The mixture is then transferred to a small dish and baked. After 12 min, toasted pine nuts are mixed in, the oven is cranked and the tomatoes cook away for a few more minutes. Salt and fresh basil are scattered atop and you can serve this as is, or at room temp.

                                                                                                                                                        This really is sensational. I’ve baked tomatoes, I’ve roasted tomatoes and of course, I love them straight from the vine but I’ve never prepared them this way and I’m so glad to have discovered this recipe. Love, love, love it! What a great way to end a great COTM!

                                                                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, YUM. BC, this sounds absolutely delectable. I can't wait to make it! Thank you!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                            looks lovely bc. funny about the bead, i did exactly the same with the sauce for the fennel tonight. guess it was going around!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                              Wow, what a compelling review! I'd have passed this by, but I'm putting it on my late summer list. Great photos!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                That looks like summer in a dish! I will be bookmarking this one, thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                  This does sound great! I don't have the book, but is this the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                  It's definitely going on my summer list.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nonaggie

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks everyone for your kind words. Yes nonaggie, that's the one. It's sensational. Actually I picked up more tomatoes today (grape variety from Chile) and made this again!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                      I filed a mental note back in March to make this when local tomatoes became available; that time has finally come! I picked up 2 lovely pints of cherry tomatoes at the farmers' market this week and used them to make this recipe. I made a couple of small modifications - no sugar since I knew these tomatoes would be very sweet on their own, and a mix of white wine and balsamic vinegars since we didn't have red wine vinegar. We loved this and will definitely be making it again; thanks, Breadcrumbs, for pointing it out!

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                    Garlicky Cherry Tomato Confit with Toasted Pine Nuts – p. 269

                                                                                                                                                                    Made this last week as a side with Fiona's Easy Halibut, the Penne with Onions and Walnuts, and some roasted broccoli florets. It's been well-described above and is indeed delicious and easy and very pretty. I love the lighter acidity of the red-wine vinegar flavor with a pinch of sugar and chili flakes, as an alternative to the usual balsamic vinegar I use on tomatoes. I didn't have pine nuts so subbed toasted slivered almonds and they still provided a nice crunch. Full-flavored, yet the recipe doesn't dominate--the roasted tomatoes blended nicely with the other flavors. A definite keeper and I can see it at a picnic or buffet.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                      Goblin so glad you enjoyed this and I can imagine how lovely it would be with that Halibut. I just made the latter recently and we adored it. Thanks for reminding me about this one. I happen to be enjoying some roasted tomatoes w balsamic glaze as our antipasti as I type and now I can't wait to make this one again as soon as tomatoes are in season here.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. Braised Fennel pg. 272

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh was this good. Nothing complicated, but a wonderful veg, and the sauce was so so good.

                                                                                                                                                                    In an oven proof pan, saute quartered fennel bulbs in some olive oil and butter with a bit of sliced onion, shallots in my case. When brown, add fennel seed, pepper flakes, and herbes de provence, then de-glaze with pernod, white wine and chicken stock, bring to the boil, and put the pan in a slowish oven for 45 minutes, or until the fennel is cooked through. remove the fennel to a warm plate, add a few chopped fronds and a little more butter to the pan sauce and reduce by half, pour this over the fennel and enjoy. Lovely --really really good.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                      picture showed up from Mr. QN's camera a little late...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                        qianning I was just about to retire this book to my main bookcase to make room for EGOR on my tiny kitchen shelf and then, I read your review! This dish has been tabbed in my book since day one and I'd never gotten around to it. mr bc & I love, truly adore all things fennel and, I happen to have 2 bulbs in the fridge. I will definitely need to take a side trip from Asia this week and prepare this dish. Thanks for your enticing review and lovely photos.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                          Ha, sorry if I've caused you a bookshelf log-jam. My lap-top has been on the blink, just fixed yesterday, so I was behind on adding pics to posts.

                                                                                                                                                                          I've only made braised fennel once or twice before, so not much to compare it against, but I thought this one was the easiest and the best tasting by far. If you do make it I'll enjoy hearing how it works for you.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Japanese Eggplant with Coriander, Mint, and Ginger, Page 267.

                                                                                                                                                                      We had some miniature round eggplants, not the long ones I associate with Japanese eggplants. I used them for this dish to accompany the mussels in black bean sauce from Fish Without a Doubt.

                                                                                                                                                                      The eggplants are sliced, sautéed in hot oil, and drained. Thinly sliced sweet onion then goes into the same pan, and cooked until tender. Then the eggplant goes back in. Ginger, garlic, coriander seeds, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes. (The addition of one teaspoon of tomato paste is optional, and I declined.) Next, chicken broth (I used duck stock), orange juice, soy sauce, and mirin are added. The sauce is boiled and continues to cook, covered, until slightly thickened. Mint and sesame oil are added at the last.

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not sure I'd slice the eggplant again, I think it might work better in chunks, as the 1/4" slices pretty much fell apart. Otherwise, it's pretty great. A lot of flavors, all of which combine beautifully. A huge hit at table, and Mr. NS couldn't stop talking about it. I think it would be great cold also. If only we had leftovers to test that theory. All gobbled up.

                                                                                                                                                                      Not the most visually stunning dish, but certainly delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                        Sounds really good, thanks for giving me a heads up about it, I've got to go through this book more.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                                                          I completely overlooked this recipe--and it sounds right up my alley.

                                                                                                                                                                          Your eggplant looks really good, even if the slices fell apart--and it's pretty had to make sauteed eggplant look good, in my experience.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks you two! I'd put this book aside, but the recipe came up in my eggplant search on EYB. It was a great accompaniment to the main dish.