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Jun 30, 2013 06:11 PM

Cookbook of the Month July 2013 BIG SMALL PLATES: Chapters 3&4

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 3 and 4 of the book. They are:

Bowls and Spoons, p142


On a Raft, p176

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. I think the title should read chapters 3 and 4

    1 Reply
    1. re: dkennedy

      Apologies - working nights so sleep deprived!

    2. Rabbit Tostadas, p. 197

      Cumin Scented Black Beans, p. 201

      Cabbage and arugula salad with vinaigrette (components of rabbit tostada) p. 199

      The Rabbit Tostadas are on the cover of this book. It is the first recipe I made out of this book and it convinced me I made a good decision buying it. I remember being so impressed with myself as I served it, because dinner came out looking just like the cover and tasting amazing.

      There are so many good things to say about this recipe it is hard to know where to start. I guess I will start with the notes I made in the book the first time I made it: "Fabulous recipe. The beans need at least 1-2 peppers to flavor them. Note that the guajillo chiles suggested by Cindy are WAY too hot for my family. Substitute 1-2 mild California chiles instead. Do not omit the chiles as their flavor is an essential component. The rabbit component can be made ahead of time and frozen. Can substitute chicken thighs in place of rabbit. The salad, vinaigrette, and beans are all outstanding. Next time prepare a larger version of the salad component, and plate it as a salad, with the warm beans serving as the base and the rabbit on top of the salad, serve it with a small crisp tortilla as a garnish."

      Since the time I wrote down these notes, I have made this dish several times. I will caution that if you decide to make this with chicken thighs instead of rabbit you probably will not see the magic of this dish. It is still good, but it does not have the "wow" factor. Splurge at least one time and make it with rabbit.

      The big salad idea works best for adults. The cabbagey crunch coupled with the salad dressing are addictive. For kids, it may need it to be served as described in the recipe.

      The tiny tortilla thing is adorable but a lot of work. I used a cookie cutter to cut down my full size tortillas the first time I did it. But since then, I always make full size tostadas.

      1. Sunday Supper Burgers with Thousand Island Dressing, Pg. 216

        This was quite an impressive start for us. A three part recipe each of which is delicious in its own right but here combines to create absolutely the most flavorful burger I've ever eaten. The ground meat to use is beef but I substituted ground organic dark meat turkey and it worked perfectly.

        First on the agenda is to make the dressing consisting of: mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, ketchup, Tabasco, Worcestershire, chopped parsley, and either cognac or brandy... we used brandy. Combine and set it into the fridge in a covered bowl till ready to use. Second, slice 2 rashers of bacon, fry till crisp, remove to a paper towel lined plate. Slice an onion, press out the rings, set aside.

        Prepare the burgers: S & P, grated sharp cheddar (I used sliced aged cheddar), slice brioche buns (I used soft Kaiser rolls), arugula leaves, minced pickles (I used naturally fermented half sours), minced scallions. The recipe is for 6 small burgers from 12-14 pounds meat but I made 4 burgers from 1 pound.

        After the burgers are cooked place cheese on each one. Grill the cut sides of the rolls, spread dressing on the bottom, top with arugula, onion rings,then burgers, some pickles on top of that, then bacon, and scallion. Spread more dressing on top roll and cover burger. One thing, she doesn't say when to place onion rings on the burger, so use your judgement.

        This was more than delicious. The meat was juicy and rich. All the other flavors at play blended and mingled producing a truly luxurious burger. At first I thought the dressing was going to be too sweet but in the end it enhanced the the other ingredients immensely. Also served was a chopped tomato and onion salad and potato chips. A great beginning to the month.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Wow, sold! I was just poking around here and read your post Gio. Suddenly, this is what's for dinner tonight!

          1. re: Gio

            Sunday Supper Burgers with Thousand Island Dressing, Page 216.

            Gio describes the ingredients and the process above, so I'll just chime in with my experience. We couldn't get small buns; the regular size ciabatta buns looked like the best choice. So I just made regular size burgers. Now, truth be known, I hate ketchup, hate mayo, and hate sweet pickle relish, consequently, I hate thousand island dressing. But I got to thinking that I've probably never had good, homemade, thousand island dressing, so I gave it a shot. It definitely worked on the burger. I think that little shot of brandy in the dressing saved the day. Mr. NS cooked the burgers over a wood fire, and the bacon too.

            All in all, a delightful burger, and different from our usual. I think it looked very appetizing too!

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              The wood fire must have given the burger and bacon a tremendous smoky flavor, LN. Everything tastes better cooked over a wood fire "en plein air"!

            2. re: Gio

              Sunday Supper Burgers with Thousand Island Dressing, p. 216

              I would probably never have made these without first seeing Gio's and L.Nightshade's wonderful reviews - it's amazing how these easy-to-put-together toppings really made these burgers scrumptious. I made regular-sized burgers, too, with sliced cheddar and bread & butter pickles. It's easy to adjust the sweetness of the dressing, if you want, by adding more brandy and/or Tabasco sauce, but the peppery arugula balances that out as well. We loved these!

              1. re: Gio

                I too made these and probably would never have tried them except for the reviews here. Thanks.

                They were good ... the dressing was a bit sweet for me. I added more tabasco, but next time might try a little less pickle relish.

              2. Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers - p. 243

                I was a bit intimidated by this book with all the multi-part recipes while I was flipping through, so I decided to start simple. This came together easily and packs a lot of flavor.

                To make, roast a mix of bell peppers. She calls for red and yellow, but I had red and a green bell that needed to be used. She recommends wood fire roasting, but I went with the broiler. After the peppers cool, peel, remove seeds, and tear into strips. Then you add some finely chopped anchovies smashed into paste, hand-shredded basil, oregano, minced garlic, drained capers, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can make this a couple of hours ahead of time. Serve on toasted sliced bread.

                We toasted on the grill and soon-to-be Mr.TiM made the croutons a bit overly toasted, but it was still a good introduction to this book. I especially liked how the basil brightened the dish.

                5 Replies
                1. re: TxnInMtl

                  Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers, pg. 243

                  Not much to add to TxbInMtl excellent review above, except to say we had it and and enjoyed it too. My peppers were roasted over charcoal, and I used only red peppers, but otherwise, pretty much by the book. Totally agree with TIM, the basil is key.

                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                    Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers, p. 243

                    I loved the bold flavors in this simple mix. As it happens, I'd roasted (over my gas stove burner) and prepped one yellow and two red peppers a few weeks ago and frozen them. After reading the favorable reviews, I made half a recipe last night, and served this on grilled ciabatta "rafts." I didn't have fresh oregano so I used a pinch of dried, but otherwise followed the recipe. All went together in a snap.

                    My husband scarfed these although he claims not to like capers. I didn't mention the anchovies in the mix. Shhh!

                    Although CP says these will hold for only two hours, I plan to have the leftovers tonight. And this will be a great hors d'oeuvre next time I have people over for dinner.

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                      fwiw--we had left-overs a day or two later, seemed fine to me, of course the basil had darkened, but I thought it still tasted good.

                    2. re: TxnInMtl

                      Roasted Peppers with Anchovies and Capers - p. 243

                      We liked but didn't love this. I made a half-batch using grilled peppers, and it was enough to have as a light meal with another recipe from the book. I enjoyed the briny notes from the capers and the savoury anchovies in here, plus of course the basil, which really goes so well with these flavours. I thought this could have used a touch of acid to brighten the dish, but it was pretty swell and gorgeous to look at, and roasted peppers are always a treat.

                    3. Corn Soup Two Ways, p172

                      Well really, corn soup one way ... I only made the double-basil tomato topping. The other topping was a squash blossom garnish and huitlacoche garnish, neither of which are easily available to me.

                      With the tomato garnish, this is an extremely simple recipe and can easily be made in under 30 minutes. I chose it because I was looking for something that could be made from the vegetables available at my farmers market this week and corn, tomatoes, leek, and basil were all there along with an assortment of peppers. Since I didn't have a pasilla pepper, I asked about a substitute in another thread. This inspired a rather passionate debate about the term pasilla. I ended up using a poblano pepper in the soup.

                      The soup was good although it was really the tomato and basil garnish that dominated rather than the corn and chile. While I liked it, I'm not sure I'd make it again as I'd be just as happy with some fresh corn and sliced tomatoes and basil.

                      I've never had huitlacoche and perhaps this would really make the dish shine.