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Jun 30, 2013 06:08 PM

Cookbook of the Month July 2013 BIG SMALL PLATES: Chapters 1&2

Welcome to Cookbook of the Month for July 2013, which is BIG SMALL PLATES by Cindy Pawlcyn.

This is the reporting thread for recipes from Chapters 1 and 2 of the book. They are:

Sticks, Picks and With Fingers, p6
Dressed Not Naked, p106

Please remember that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy cooking, big and small!

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  1. Thai style fish cakes with Erasto's Nuoc cham and Sriracha Sauce, p. 54-55

    This recipe caught my eye because my son is gluten intolerant and these fish cakes don't contain any flour or other binder. Both the fish cakes and the sauce come together very quickly so they are perfect for a weeknight dinner. We enjoyed these, but they didn't make it to the "oh mom, can you make these again" category. Though tasty, they weren't as crispy as I like, probably because they don't contain flour. Perhaps next time I will try dredging them in a GF coating.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dkennedy

      I almost made these cakes yesterday but because we had somewhat picky guests I opted for a crab cake recipe using flounder. They were tasty but loose and used GF breadcrumbs as a binder. How was the dipping sauce? I actually thought that the recipe will take a while to make and glad to know that they are not too time consuming.

      1. re: herby

        The sauce is really nice, I think what put me off was the lack of crunch.

    2. Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings, p. 105

      As described in her intro, these wings are very easy to make. They would make a great addition to a 4th of July BBQ spread. My son is always up for a plate of wings, and so these were one of the first recipes I honed in on. He really enjoyed them, and the rest of the family agreed. Still won't replace our standard hot wing recipe, though it is a welcome change.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dkennedy

        Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings, p. 105

        Made these last night for an easy dinner. I added some drumsticks to the mix because we only had two wings on hand and just let the drumsticks start cooking a bit earlier. I didn't get nearly as much pepper and garlic from them as I was expecting, but they were very good. I paired with the shaved fennel salad from Cook This Now.

        1. re: dkennedy

          Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings, p. 105

          Not much to add to the two reports here except to say that these will become our standard wing recipe. I'm not a fan of overly sweet, sticky wings, and DH does not like when hot sauce is the predominant flavor. These were neither, a delicious alternative to the wings we've tried.

          I followed the recipe, marinating a full 24 hours, except that I had to bake them considerably longer than the prescribed 18-20 minutes to get them "dark brown and crispy"--probably 30 minutes. I loved the real bite of black pepper and undertones of garlic and soy sauce. Served these as an app for a casual dinner when my whole family was in town last week, and they were a hit with everyone.

        2. My Very First Beef Satay - p. 102

          I had planned on making the chicken wings that dkennedy reported on for dinner last night, but forgot to start the marinade early enough, so I decided to go with this one instead. This dish is very simple.

          Beef and mushrooms (if you're using) are marinated in a mixture of tamari, sugar, sherry (or rice wine), minced ginger, minced garlic, and sesame oil. I substituted for half light and half dark soy sauce per her suggestion and went with the rice wine suggestion. Meat and mushrooms are cooked on the grill until caramelized.

          The satay isn't as complex in flavor as those that I've made before (from Cradle of Flavor), but it's a good, easy dinner. I very much liked her suggestion of adding shiitake mushrooms to it. They absorbed the marinade and were very flavorful. We skipped on the mustard sauce, so I can't report on that portion. I assume it would add a bit more to the dish.

          1. Dungeness Crab-Sweet Potato-Corn Fritters, page 48.

            Dungeness crab season is just getting rolling here, so this was a natural choice. I made half a recipe, for a pre-dinner cocktail accompaniment for our July 4th dinner last night.

            The dipping sauce (I would really call it more of a spooning sauce) is made by stirring together lime juice, minced jalapeño, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and a lot of chopped cilantro.

            The fritter batter is made of flour (the recipe calls for cake flour, I used all-purpose), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, turmeric, salt, pepper, water, grated sweet potato, fresh corn kernels, and crab meat. (No eggs! these are the first fritters I've made that use no eggs.) The batter is spooned into hot peanut oil. The recipe calls of an inch, but I couldn't bear to use that much. I probably used less than half an inch!

            In the oil these went from a pale yellow batter to a very bright red fritter! It took a couple of test fritters for me to get the insides done, I think I was just removing them too quickly because of the bright color. Once I got it down, these were great! I could definitely make a big plate dinner out of these. Wonderful flavor.

            I actually have batter left over; I'm going to make a couple more fritters in the morning and top them with an egg!

            2 Replies
            1. re: L.Nightshade

              ...and the leftover batter did survive to make breakfast fritters. I made them bigger, and topped each one with a fried egg. These were delicious! Mr. NS liked them even better than the evening version!

              1. re: L.Nightshade

                [Blue] Crab-Sweet Potato-Corn Fritters, p. 48

                I'd been intrigued by these since reading LN's report, so when I had crab left after making a salad one night, I decided to try half a recipe of fritters the next. I wish I'd remembered that LN used her leftover batter successfully, because even half a recipe made a boatload of fritters--16 or 17! While still delicious reheated the following night, they seemed greasier than when fresh.

                I followed the recipe, used cake flour as well as all the exacting measurement amounts (half of 1 3/4 tsp, etc--what is up with all those 1/4 and 3/4 tsp measures?), except that I upped the amount of crab to about 2/3 c. (I actually thought they could have used even more crab.) Although I probably slightly overcooked these--the corn kernels were almost crunchy--we really enjoyed them, especially with the dipping sauce. And they're quite pretty--as LN's photos, and not mine, attest.

                This was the last recipe from this book for a while, as I'll be travelling for the next few weeks. And while I found many of the recipes to be a lot more involved than I want to be during the summer, I've found a few treasures so I have no regrets about adding this book to my collection.

              2. Serrano Ham Wrapped prawns with Piquillo Vinaigrette and Living Watercress, pg. 50

                This is a three part recipe, but not particularly difficult, and quite a bit can be done ahead. We had this as part of a tapas spread for 4th if July company, and it went over pretty well. That said, if I were to make this again, I'd use the concept, but change the dressing, which was good, but not great.

                So, part one make the dressing--sherry vinegar (ooops--my preferred bran of sherry vinegar is out of stock right now, I used a good red wine vinegar instead), sherry, s&P, shallots, garlic, evoo, piquiilos torn into strips. Easy enough, and good, but it just didn't sing for me. Next time I make this salad, I'll use P. Casas's vinaigrette for watercress, 'cause I like it much much better. Also, I made a half batch for 1 large bunch of watercress (approx. 2 cups), and that was way too much dressing--I've got half of it leftover.

                Part two-wrap prawns (shrimp in my case) in serrano ham, and put them on skewers. Brush, liberally it turns out is better, with oil and grill over charcoal. Worked a treat. Very nice and very easy.

                Part three--assemble salad by dressing watercress (a very fresh, but standard supermarket variety in my case) with the dressing, plate the cress, and plop the shrimp off the skewers onto the top of the cress.

                9 Replies
                1. re: qianning

                  OOOps, forgot to attach the picture.

                  1. re: qianning

                    Which vinaigrette of Casas are you referring too? I'm planning on making this tonight.

                    1. re: BigSal

                      just saw this big sal, probably too late, but the Casas dressing I was referring to is the one from Watercress and Carrot Salad w/ Anchovy dressing, pg 108 F&WOS.

                      Anyway, I'll look forward to hearing your opinion on this dish/ We really thought the grilled shrimp + ham on top of cress was a tasty combination.

                      1. re: qianning

                        Thank you. We had a change of plans, so we'll try and make them tomorrow.

                    2. re: qianning

                      Serrano Ham-Wrapped Prawns with Piquillo Vinaigrette and Living Watercress p. 50

                      This made for a delicious, summer dinner. We loved the sweet shrimp enveloped in the crispy, nutty ham. The peppery watercress salad was a great match for the richness of the shrimp. We ended up using the Casas vinaigrette (thanks qianning for the suggestion).

                      1. re: BigSal

                        Funny, I just made that Casa vinaigrette yesterday and used it on a simple arugula salad. Hope you enjoyed it.

                      2. re: qianning

                        Q, what is your preferred brand of sherry vinegar? I'm just about to polish off the last of my mediocre bottle and would love to have some guidance for the new purchase...

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Sorry, just saw's a picture:
                          I used to be able to buy it locally, avoiding the shipping rigamarole, but haven't seen it since my last bottle ran out.

                          1. re: qianning

                            Oh, my. Does that look and sound good. I use Unio brand Moscatel vinegar as my everyday wine vinegar, but will keep an eye out for this. I wonder if Fairway carries it. Will check it out next time I'm there.