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COTM August 2013 MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST: Savory Pies & Gratins; Vegetables & Beans; Rice, Couscous & Other Grains

Welcome to Cookbook of the Month for August 2013, which is MEDITERRANEAN HARVEST by Martha Rose Shulman.

This is the reporting thread for the following chapters:

Savory Pies and Gratins (or Savoury if you're from the UK!)
Vegetables and Beans
Rice, Couscous and Other Grains

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.

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  1. BRAISED BROCCOLI WITH WHITE WINE

    p. 272 – According to the author this recipe originates in Southern Italy so it surprised me a little that I hadn’t encountered it previously since I do a lot of Italian cooking. A search in EYB yielded a handful of similar recipes from my Italian books – a Sicilian version with black olives and anchovies and a lovely sounding variation using broccoli rabe and tomatoes from the wonderful book Pasta e Verdura.

    Admittedly I’ve never considered slow-cooking broccoli before but I was keen to try this dish to use up my broccoli and, surprisingly this is the *only* broccoli recipe in the book.

    Prep is simple. Broccoli is cut into florets. EVOO is heated in a non-stick pan (I’d use a wok next time as my broccoli kept escaping from the low-sided pan as I stirred). Garlic is added to heat for a few seconds before adding in the broccoli. Heat is reduced and broccoli is stirred to coat with the oil. Wine, salt and pepper are then added simmered for 5 mins before covering and continuing to simmer for another 10 – 15 mins until “very tender and fragrant”. After 10 mins mine was tender enough for our tastes. The broccoli is then removed with a slotted spoon and the sauce is boiled to reduce by half. At that point I found it too bitter for my taste (I’d used a very dry wine mind you) so I stirred in a pat of butter before pouring atop the broccoli.

    This was good and the acidity from the wine worked well with the earthiness of the broccoli. mr bc said if he didn’t know, he’d have sworn it was lemon juice atop. Not sure I’d bother making this again but it was worth a try. Ultimately I’d likely have been even happier with a glass of the white wine and some steamed broccoli!! ; )

     
     
    5 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Well Breadcrumbs, you've steered me away from this dish. It didn't sound terribly appealing to me to begin with, but as you mentioned, it is the only broccoli recipe in the book, and I've got broccoli.

      I haven't had much success matching recipes in this book to the produce we're getting in our CSA. I guess that's partly because we don't live in a mediterranean climate.

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        Sorry LN, it wasn't awful but it just wasn't worth repeating in my view. I just pulled a pan of roasted broccoli out of the oven. Believe it or not, my veggie-hating mr bc loves roasted broccoli. This time I tossed in some freshly grated parmesan and some lemon zest. We're taking it out to the deck w a glass of wine for an afternoon snack!!!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          Roasted vegetables can make a deal. My husband hated brussels sprouts until I started roasting them, and now he absolutely loves them. Those crispy outside leaves are almost like chips.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Your roasted broccoli and wine on the deck sounds like a much better idea! I agree with LulusMom about roasted vegetables; I've never liked cauliflower, but when it's roasted I can eat it like candy.

          2. re: L.Nightshade

            Interesting point about the climate and your seasonal produce. This book is working great for me, because I live in the South, and the produce matches up quite well with what I have. But I've had the problem you describe with other books, last month's COTM being a perfect example. I don't get leafy greens, for example, in the summer. Those are more of a cool-weather thing here, so to combine tomatoes with them is not a seasonal combination for me. So it really does matter where the author is from or what cuisine a book is about when looking for "seasonal" recipes.

        2. Stir fry with chicken, eggplant and thai basil (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/15/hea...

          )

          I don't have the book, and I'm really totally not sure which of the threads to put this in, but I found it on the website that Gio so wonderfully gave us all the link to.

          Our induction burner came late on Tuesday (too late for me to cook dinner) and last night was babysitter night, so tonight I gave it a test run. I'm a fan. The rice I made to go with this didn't turn out as well as my rice usually does, but I think that is a matter of learning what temp to use. I put it back on for about 4 minutes and it was fine. Not great, but fine.

          This recipe has you finely mince chicken; I feel like you could just go with ground turkey or chicken if you wanted to save this step, but i did mince the chicken myself. Then you make a small dice of the eggplant (the smallness of the dice was much discussed at dinner approvingly - Lulu said "I don't always like eggplant, but I'm loving this."). Garlic, ginger and hot pepper are combined. I must admit that on this step I just minced the all, I did not use the M&P as called for. A sauce is made of fish sauce, soy, sugar and S&P (and maybe lime juice?). Cook the garlic mix, then the chicken, take out of the pan; cook the eggplant then add the soy sauce mix and some water and cover; add the thai basil and stir for a minute.

          Huge hit. Lovely aromatic flavors; spicy without being overpowering. Really tasty.

          1. Iman Bayildi, pg 278

            I have to admit I was intrigued by the title of this dish. According to the headnote, Iman Bayildi translates into "the iman fainted." The two possible explanations are that the dish is so delicious to be swoon-inducing or that the iman fainted when he learned how much expensive olive oil is used in this dish :)

            So anyway, the first step to making your iman swoon is roasting eggplant, followed by cooking some onion and garlic on the stovetop and then mixing with tomatoes (I used very juicy fresh heirlooms), herbs (parsley dill and basil), salt, sugar and olive oil. Then you are supposed to drain the eggplant over a colander (I skipped due to time constraints) and then top/stuff the eggplant with the tomato mixture, pour over a water, lemon juice, sugar, oil mixture and braise the whole thing on the stovetop. At the end, it is supposed to have slightly caramelized liquid in the pan, which you can drizzle over your eggplant. Apparently, skipping the colander step was a big no no, because I had some very soupy eggplant at the end! I removed the eggplant and boiled the liquid down for awhile. When it became clear that I was very far from having caramelized liquid (I literally had a good 2 cups of liquid in the pan), I improvised and threw some farro in the pan and made a farro pilaf with the soupy liquid.

            In the end.... no swooning at our house, but it was good. It was actually much more hearty than I expected. More of an October dish than an August dish. In addition to the farro pilaf, which was tasty, but added to the heartiness, I though it was improved by a squeeze of fresh lemon and a little bit of fresh herb when serving.

            Picture is of the eggplant and tomato pre-braising. it was really beautiful at this point. Unfortunately, it looked a little dowdy after the 1.5 hours of braising.

             
            1. Pan-Fried Zucchini with Mint and Pepperoncini, p. 292.

              This is a very simple recipe with one touch that was new to me -- the final, brief simmering of the slices of zucchini in white wine vinegar.
              First, the zuke-slices and a crumbled dried hot chili pepper (pepperoncini) OR some hot red pepper flakes (what I used.) are briefly sauteed briefly in oilve oil in which garlic cloves have been slowly cooked. You then boil the vinegar-zucchini-peper mixture with vinegar until the vinegar mostly evaporates--only a minute or two. Then cover the pan and simmer for a few more minutes until the zukes are tender. Season with s & p, toss in some fresh minced basil (my choice) or mint, and serve.

              The white wine vinegar gave the zucchini slices an interesting, unusual flavor: mildly pickled, sort of like bread-and-butter pickles, but not overpoweringly so. I liked them--and the leftovers the next day were also delicious cold in a salad. Then also seemed to stay nicely al dente--another result of the vinegar? . . . but that may have been because I was watching so carefully when they were completing the final simmer.

              Anyway, a nice, simple variation on my usual sauteed zucchini dish.

              1. Provincal Swiss Chard Gratin, p. 257.

                Like my zucchini bed, my Swiss Chard patch is overflowing, so I was glad to find this recipe suggesting using up to 2 # of chard including the stems to make a hearty chard gratin with Provencal French flavors. In addition to the eggs and cheese, cooked medium-grain or Arborio rice is mixed in.

                The chard leaves are boiled briefly until tender, then squeezed dry. The diced stems are chopped. Again, simple but effective ingredients: minced onion and garlic and the diced shard stems are sautéed in olive oil, mixed with the chopped parsley and chopped thyme (fresh or dried) Then a mixture of eggs and grated Gruyere cheese is stirred in along with the cooked rice and all is poured into an oiled shallow pan, and topped with some bread crumbs. Oil is drizzled over and it's baked for 45 minutes or so at 375 F, or until browned and bubbly.

                Lots of flavor--I was liberal with the s & p and the thyme, not to mention the three large garlic cloves called for. It's not really custardy--much firmer and could be cut into squares for a buffet or picnic. Nice.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Goblin

                  So glad to see this review as I have been very intrigued by the recipes in this chapter, and I've been having trouble deciding which one to try!

                  1. re: Goblin

                    OK, I have a gratin coming up this week and am choosing between this one and the Greens Gratin (which is very similar but has a little less garlic, less cheese, no thyme but 1/2 cup milk). Do you have any thought, based on how yours came out, which would be better? I'm assuming the other one would be a little milder and a little more custardy, but maybe this one is tastier? Also, I was wondering whether you think a toddler/preschooler would eat this as a main course, or if I should also serve something else alongside like maybe some sausage? Also, last question, when she says "1/2 cup rice, cooked" she means 1/2 cup *raw* rice, right, so about 1-1.5 cups cooked rice? I've never made anything like this before, which is why I'm full of questions!

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      Can't answer your other questions, but just looked up the greens gratin and yes, she means 1 to 1-1/2 cups cooked rice. If she had meant that the rice was already cooked, the ingredient list would, or should, have read "1/2 cup long-grain or medium-grain cooked rice." Also, in the note she gives specific instructions for cooking the rice, an additional indication that what she's calling for in the ingredients list is a measurement for raw rice.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        Hi Westministress,

                        Oh, I love taking about recipes and results so it's fun to consider your questions. First of all, I agree with Joan N that the instructions meant to use 1/2 cup raw rice, and this is what I did: took 1/2 cup raw Arborio (in my case) rice and cooked it according to the instruction on p. 235, which were entirely satisfactory.

                        I think that you are also probably correct to intuit that the Provençal Greens Gratin recipe on p. 253 would turn out a bit "looser" or more custardy, and also without so much garlic and thyme flavor. With less cheese, It might not be quite so "cuttable" into neat squares, which I how I served it.

                        I happened to like the special Provençal flavor that thyme gave the gratin--and I'm a person who habitually uses more fresh garlic than called for, so you know where I stand on that! ;-) I made sure that it was well seasoned with S & P , too. The adults at my table were fine with it. I had a 7 and a 10 year old, who tasted the gratin but didn't wolf it down. There were other menu options so that was OK. I also saved the leftovers (which were delicious) and served them the next day cold in squares as well.

                        Would a Toddler/Preschooler go for either gratin as a solo main course? In my experience, toddlers are more accepting of new foods, since they haven't yet had time yet to develop definite opinions about what they will try! Depending on the age, being able to cut food into finger-food size portions can be a real plus. But I would probably have other options available, like sausage, perhaps some cut-up veggies or fruit and/or some bread.

                        Hope this helps and let us know how it works out.

                        1. re: Goblin

                          Thanks so much! I'll let you know how it turns out....

                      2. re: Goblin

                        Provencal Swiss Chard Gratin, p. 257

                        So I finally got around to this gratin last night. We enjoyed this. In fact, I was surprised by how much flavor was packed into this dish. It tasted "meaty" to me though it was vegetarian, and also I kept thinking I was eating mushrooms, though I knew I wasn't (must have been the gruyere contributing lots of umami!). And with all the rice, cheese and vegetables it made for a satisfying vegetarian main course without being overly heavy. I tasted the gratin 10 minutes out of the oven (the minimum resting time specified in the recipe) and an hour later when it was still just a bit warm, and I preferred it after it had been sitting for a while and was warm to room temperature. I found that the flavors deepened while it cooled. So a good make-ahead dish, and I'm looking forward to the leftovers. Oh, and out of my two kids, the baby loved it and ate an entire bowlful and my toddler said he liked it but only ate two bites (this is not surprising though; he rarely eats green vegetables, and there is a lot of chard in this dish.) I just served it with corn on the cob and he ate lots of corn, drank his milk, and that was dinner.

                        1. re: Goblin

                          Provencal Swiss [Rainbow] Chard Gratin [not really], p. 257

                          Every week my kid has been bringing me an unclaimed CSA box from a fairly mediocre farm. The bulk of these boxes is greens- kale and this week a bunch of rainbow chard. I taste greens as really bitter; too bitter in fact and so, I have to admit I have never actually eaten rainbow chard. [I tried kale 6 times, with "will convert you" recipes and hated all of them.]

                          But, I decided that I needed to try this stuff at last and chose this recipe, almost. At the end of the paragraph about preparing the chard for the gratin pan, she notes, you can stop now and serve this as a side dish. That is what I chose to do since once again, I didn't want all the eggs and cheese in this dish.

                          But there was an issue at the grilling station and the steak was a bit delayed so I threw the prepared chard into a tiny gratin pan [I only had .5 lbs of chard to start] and topped with the topping from last week's cauliflower- just a bit of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and olive oil and threw it in the oven which was already going for dessert.

                          You know. This stuff isn't so very bad at all. I particularly liked the stems. It did look like a Christmas tree as you mix the stems and greens together. I added the thyme with the garlic to the sautée pan and am so glad that I did. I might even consider rendering a bit of bacon to start. I don't think a little pork would have hurt at all. Mr. SMT says I am welcome to add this green to our winter vegetable soups.

                          Served with a tiny steak, sliced garden [YEA!!!!] tomatoes, steamed corn, and steamed green beans.

                        2. White Bean and Chard Ragout (page 304)

                          Great Northern or Cannellini beans (I used dried baby limas) are soaked overnight and simmered for an hour the next day with chopped onion, pressed garlic, and a bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley, thyme, and a Parmesan rind. While the beans are cooking, you soften chopped onion, add more garlic, then rosemary and more thyme, and finally either canned chopped tomatoes or peeled, seeded fresh ones--which is what I did. That’s cooked down until thickened then stirred into the beans which are cooked some more. Then thinly sliced stems of the chard are added and cooked for about 15 minutes before the slivered chard leaves are added and all is cooked for another 5 to 10 minutes. It’s served with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

                          At a number of different stages she says to taste for salt and I had to add an awful lot of it. I’ve cut way back on my salt intake the past few years so it seemed as though I just kept adding more and more. But it really did need it. Lots of pepper, too. I still thought it needed something, maybe some acid. Debated whether to add lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar and went with the Balsamic. It seemed to do the trick and brightened it up a bit.

                          I made a full batch because without thinking I dumped the pound of beans into water to soak and the bunch of chard from the farmer’s market was the amount called for. But it does make an awful lot and for most of us half a recipe would be plenty. She says the recipe serves six, but even as a vegetarian dinner with nothing else on the side, it could quite easily have served eight.

                          All in all, this was a tasty and satisfying dinner. But I doubt I’d make it again if for no other reason than the hassle of cleaning and chopping the chard stems and leaves, although she does give instructions for making much of the dish ahead of time.

                          I am, however, eager to try her suggestion of turning the leftovers into a gratin. Perhaps that will make me more of a booster for this dish.

                           
                           
                          8 Replies
                          1. re: JoanN

                            I'm not surprised it was better with some Balsamic, I think greens always need some acid. Sounds mighty tasty!

                            1. re: JoanN

                              White Bean and Chard Gratin (page 304)

                              This is White Bean and Chard Ragout redux, her recommendation for what to do with the leftovers. The leftovers are spooned into a lightly greased gratin dish, sprinkled with bread crumbs and topped with Parmesan then drizzled with olive oil and baked at 375F for about 20 minutes. This is an especially good dish to make from the leftovers since the leftover chard loses it's bright, fresh color upon sitting.

                              I liked this better the second time around. Of course, who wouldn't like a crunchy, cheesy, topping. But I also think the flavors melded better after an overnight in the fridge.

                              If I could sneakily get someone to clean and chop my chard for me, I'd definitely consider making the gratin again.

                               
                              1. re: JoanN

                                I'm so with you on the chard ...

                                Also agree that a crunchy cheesy topping makes pretty much everything taste better.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Outstanding Joan, both dishes look and sound sensational and are now on my "must-try" list.

                                  What I've taken to doing with sandy vegetables and basil is filling a sink with water and just leaving them in there until I'm ready to use them. First of all, my veggies have never tasted and looked fresher and best of all, the sand/dirt has all settled to the bottom of the sink. I was amazed how well basil keeps when stored this way...partially submerged! I discovered this by a happy accident of forgetting I'd left everything in the sink before leaving on a business trip. I returned 3 days later to find mr bc had just left everything in the sink and to my amazement, it looked as fresh as ever!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    That's the way I clean sandy greens as well. And my chard, from the farmer's market, was very sandy indeed. It's the removing the stems, then cutting the stems into quarter-inch slices, and then rolling and slivering the leaves that I hate. Almost as much of a pain as making artichoke bottoms from fresh artichokes. Almost, but not quite.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Could you outsource the job Joan? In a pinch, mr bc is my veggie cleaner. Since he hates eating chard in the first place, he's especially aghast at the thought of eating sandy chard or kale. Needless to say, he always does a really good job!! Before we moved to this house one of my neighbour's little girls used to love "helping' me in the garden. I'd get out a bucket and enlist her services in washing the veggies for me. I just wished she could have moved quicker. (kidding of course!!!)

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Not much of an opportunity here, unfortunately, for outsourcing. And even on those rare occasions when there is someone around, my kitchen is more of a single than a double.

                                        About children moving more quickly: My godson used to love helping me in the kitchen, and always wanted to shape the dough for pizza. Problem was, even at a young age he was a perfectionist and that pizza dough had to be PERFECTLY round. I've never made a perfectly round pizza in my life, but anything less was unacceptable to him. Wouldn't you know, he's now about to start his third year in the architecture program at Cooper Union. These things start early, don't they?

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          What a great story Joan!! I totally believe we're hard-wired for certain things.

                              2. Pan-Fried Zucchini with Mint and Pepperoncini, Pg. 292

                                A versatile dish this as it can be a light lunch with crusty bread and sliced tomato for instance, a frittata filling, or a side dish. I served it with roasted chicken and it was very nice. A bit tangy from being sauteed in white wine vinegar. Seasoned with chopped mint and basil, Maldon salt, FGBpepper and hot red pepper flakes... the pepperonci part.

                                The zucchini is sliced thinly and fried in garlic flavored oil. Then a bit of white wine vinegar is added, cooked down to evaporate, and the pan is covered to allow the zucchini to simmer till tender. Quick and carefree. At this stage of my game when Summer starts producing all the wonderful vegetables this is just the kind of recipe I love.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Gio

                                  You and Goblin have enticed me, and I'm guessing you've done the same for others who also don't have the book. I found the recipe online: http://books.google.com/books?id=GAjP...

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Pan-Fried Zucchini with Mint and Pepperoncini, Pg. 292

                                    Just popping in to report that this dish is delicious when topped with the Quicker Basic Tomato Sauce on page 79 and topped with cubes of feta.

                                  2. Zucchini and Greens Gratin, pg. 235
                                    (a variation on the Provencal Zucchini and Greens Torte, pg 234)

                                    Made this on the fly last night, eyeballing rather than measuring; and reducing to 1/3 recipe, which was just the perfect amount for the 2 of us as a side dish. It is really the same gratin that Goblin wrote up, but with zucchini in the mix with the greens, in my case spinach, oops frozen spinach--did I mention "on the fly"?

                                    We loved this. And I can see lots of permutations of veggies working nicely in this basic format. For us it was the side to a simple piece of grilled meat, and a quick tomato and basil salad. God bless summer.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: qianning

                                      one thing though, despite oiling the pan, it did stick a bit. if i were going to try and cut squares or slices, a parchment lining might be a good idea.

                                       
                                    2. Cauliflower, feta and olive gratin. Pg 261

                                      I did a sort of half version of this. I used half a cauliflower head instead of a whole one, didn't bother measuring the tomatoes (I'm a metric gal and the book is US based and the conversions do my head in) but used the full amount of feta cheese and olives.

                                      The recipe is simple, steam cauliflower florets. I timed mine from the moment I put them in the pan, not from boiling so they were probably a bit crunchier than the recipe intended but perfect for our tastes. These get tossed with tomatoes, crushed garlic, thyme, olives, pine nuts and then put into a gratin dish.

                                      You then spoon over a mix of feta and milk you have blended slightly. We had to thin ours as it was too thick. Breadcrumbs go on top and then it bakes for 35-40 mins.

                                      We loved this, it's light and full of flavour. I'm glad we used the double amount of olives, garlic and feta for us it was a perfect main dish. Our only thought was that when we ate it hot from the oven the pine nut flavour just wasn't there and it seemed like a waste of an expensive ingredient. When we went back for a second helping and the gratin was cooler we could taste the pine nuts. Also, given the shape of cauliflower florets it's not a gratin you can dish a uniform slice from so it looks messy when you plate it up. Definitely a make again dish.

                                       
                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Frizzle

                                        That sounds great! Not a recipe that I'd noticed so I'm glad you pointed it out.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          I got round to making this for Sunday dinner - we liked it a lot. Cauliflower is dirt cheap at the moment and I'm really enjoying the recipes in this book. I might steal an idea from Plenty, and make the leftovers into a frittata.

                                        2. re: Frizzle

                                          I agree; this sounds delicious and thank you, Frizzie, for the suggestion. I'm really liking the gratin recipes in this book.

                                        3. Purple [Orange] Cauliflower Gratin, page 257

                                          Cauliflower is boiled in salted water before being chilled. In a fry pan, sautee some minced garlic for a minute in olive oil, then add chopped parsley and the cauliflower. Cook for an additional minute seasoning with salt and pepper.

                                          Mix bread crumbs, olive oil, and Pecorino Romano or Parmesan in a bowl. Dump cauliflower mix into an oiled casserole. Top with the cheese mixture and bake at 400º for 20-25 minutes.

                                          This was really good! I bought some locally grown orange cauliflower that was heavily discounted and then chose this recipe since it didn't include milk or eggs. Based on the fried cauliflower discussions, I chose to steam the vegetables instead of boiling. I have never boiled vegetables, and don't think I will start now. It took a few minutes longer for them to soften using this method. Our gratin was ready at 20 minutes. I think this topping mixture would work on a number of other vegetable gratins.

                                          Served with a dinner of steamed local green beans, salad, and sliced tomatoes undressed.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            This sounds really good smtucker, I'd love to try it. A question for you. Did you feel the 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs was adequate for a 1 1/2 - 2 lb cauliflower? It doesn't seem like much to me...(says "breadcrumbs"!!)

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Your instincts are spot on. I had 1lb 3oz of cauliflower and used the full amount of topping. I could have done with a tad less I suppose, but once I had grated the cheese I wasn't going to waste. If I were making 2lbs of vegetable, I would increase the amount of topping. Now that I am thinking about it, the tablespoon of oil for the topping could have incorporated more breadcrumbs and cheese. So to recap, I might start with the same amount of oil and add an increased amount of breadcrumbs and cheese.

                                              Should have mentioned that in my notes above.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                Thanks so much smt, I've made a note in my book and will adjust accordingly. We love cauliflower and this dish sounds lovely. Thanks for pointing it out!

                                            2. re: smtucker

                                              Orange cauliflower! I didn't know such a thing existed. I've never seen it in the UK. White obvs. Purple, yes. Green (romesco). But never orange. Does it taste different?

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                I really like Orange Cauliflower. It doesn't have any "sulfur" flavor and has a clear and bright flavor. Those are not adequate words at all to describe a vegetable I fear but when given a choice, I will always buy the orange over white.

                                                 
                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  Funnily enough, there was orange cauli at my farmer's market today, so I bought some. And a purple one!

                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                  There were purple caulis at the farmer's market so I made this for tonight's dinner as a side dish based on smt's review. I thought it mighty tasty - Mr GG declared it the best cauliflower dish he'd ever had and practically scraped the bowl clean!

                                                  Great dinner paired with Diana Henry's Catalan Chicken, a tomato salad and DH's rhubarb cake for dessert.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    Cauliflower Gratin, p. 257

                                                    I made this last night with ordinary white cauliflower and panko for breadcrumbs. I do confess to sprinkling extra grated parm over the top but otherwise followed the recipe as written. It was so easy and so delicious! What a great treatment for cauliflower.

                                                  2. ZUCCHINI, TOMATO AND RICE PILAF

                                                    p. 328 – This dish just happened to be calling for two items I have in abundance at the moment so I just couldn’t pass it up. What appealed to me in particular was the unusual multi-step cooking process and, the use of dill. I don’t think I’ve ever used dill in rice before. According to the author, this is a Balkan dish.

                                                    Prep isn’t overly demanding. An onion, garlic, tomatoes, dill and flat leaf parsley are chopped. MRS provides the option of using canned tomatoes in place of fresh. This wasn’t necessary in my case. Zucchini is sliced and rice, water and paprika are measured. Onions are sautéed until tender then garlic is added and stirred until fragrant. Paprika and tomatoes are then stirred in and simmered to let the mixture reduce somewhat. Zucchini and salt are added and cooked until the zucchini is tender. Rice, water and more salt (I didn’t add the latter) are stirred in and the mixture is brought to a simmer the covered and cooked for 20 mins or until the rice is tender. At this point the mixture is fairly thick. The pan is removed from the heat, covered with a towel and the pan lid then allowed to sit for 15 mins. I can’t say I’ve ever done this before. The rice is then uncovered and pepper (I used Aleppo), parsley, dill and evoo are stirred in. The rice mixture is then turned into an oiled casserole dish and baked at 375°F until the top has browned. This took 30 mins in my case. MRS instructs you to cut the rice into squares or diamonds then serve warm or cold garnished with dill and olives and with a yogurt mint spread. Since I had some homemade Tzatziki on hand, I opted not to bother with the spread.

                                                    Given the instructions on how to cut this dish, I suspect the author imagined the finished dish to be drier than mine was. The top of the rice was brown and crispy but what remained beneath was tender and didn’t really hold a shape per se once it hit the plate. Nevertheless, we thought this rice was outstanding. The cooking process produced what I’d call a stodgy texture but the flavour was rich and almost creamy. No one flavour was predominant. It’s always a treat to try a dish that presents a flavour profile like no other you’ve enjoyed before. This dish did just that. We loved it…two forks up, I’d highly recommend this one.

                                                     
                                                     
                                                    1. Provencal Kale and Cabbage Gratin, p. 254.

                                                      So I've been enjoying exploring (and reading about others' explorations) of the various gratins in this chapter. I decided to make this particular French recipe because I had lots of fresh organic kale from my garden and also a nice green cabbage. Since I needed to bring a vegetable buffet dish to a party, I also liked the fact that Ms. Shulman noted that these "tians "are sturdy enough to slice." I cut the result into 2-in squares and this made the serving easy.

                                                      This recipe follows the reliable method of the Swiss Chard Gratin on p. 257. A chopped onion is sauteed in olive oil, with the addition of minced garlic, and then a pound of "slivered" kale and a small green cabbage are added to cook down until tender. Chopped fresh sage, s & p are also added (I had only some dried sage). Two eggs, some cooked rice , the cooked veggies, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, and grated Gruyere and Parm cheese are mixed together and all is put into a gratin dish and covered with fresh breadcrumbs drizzled with olive oil. The dish is baked for 30-40 minutes until browned and firm.

                                                      It's a great method. I just didn't particularly like the taste of the final result and I think it's because to my taste, kale is a bit problematic when it is cooked like this. My curly kale took quite a long time to become tender and it still was somewhat bitter. The slivered cabbage cooked down but didn't add much to the flavor one way or another. And the two cheeses, so flavorful with the Swiss Chard recipe on p. 257, didn't really stand up either against the kale and cabbage.

                                                      I liked the Swiss Chard recipe a lot better.

                                                      Healthy? Definitely. Did my guests eat it up? Yes. Will I make it again. Probably not. Maybe I'm just a kale-wimp.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                        In fairness to the writer of this recipe, I should add that the instructions said that black kale, cavolo nero, is the preferred type. I just used my regular burly curly-kale variety and perhaps the black tuscan kale would have had a different flavor/texture, one that I found more agreeable.

                                                      2. Stewed Green Beans with Tomatoes p 272

                                                        Faced with an abundance of beans in all colours, I happily found this recipe to make a tiny dent in some of my surplus, and though the finished product looked a little drab, the flavour of this dish more than made up for its lack of visual appeal.

                                                        Simple ingredients, extraordinary results. Onion, garlic, green beans, chopped, peeled tomatoes, s&p all make their way into the pan and the lot is simmered, covered, until very tender and stew-like. Just before serving, stir in a handful of herbs (mint, parsley, and/or dill-I used all three) and red wine vinegar to taste (scant 1 T. for me).
                                                        When I first started to cook this, the food looked so fresh and lovely; I was using scarlet runners, yellow wax and rattlesnake beans, plus the bright red of the grape tomatoes (sadly the weather has been so cold here that no tomatoes are ripening and so grocery store ones were the only option!), but of course the deep purple faded and then the vibrant green became olive from the extended simmer. No matter--the fork-tender beans and the broken-down tomatoes melded into a delicious, slightly sweet and vegetal dish that was a big hit for everyone at the dinner table. Perhaps it could use just a hint of heat, so maybe I'll toss in a bit of cayenne for next time, but it really was a winner. I'm already planning round two.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                          Stewed Green Beans with Tomatoes, p. 272

                                                          I had forgotten about this report, but reading it again ... I agree with everything Allegra said! Delicious dish. Unfortunately my two little ones both refused to eat it, but my husband and I liked it a lot and had no trouble polishing it off. This was especially good after it had been sitting a while and was only lukewarm -- the vinegar had a chance to mellow with the tomatoes to produce a nice sweet and sour sauce. I used mint and parsley for my herbs and about 1 T vinegar.

                                                        2. Ligurian artichoke and greens torta Pg 231

                                                          I did this yesterday for our dinner. I had been given a couple of jars of artichoke hearts and had some kale to use up so it seemed like a good recipe to try.

                                                          The torta (pie) contains the artichokes, greens, ricotta, parmesan and hard boiled eggs.

                                                          I can't get good quality ricotta at a reasonable price here so I make my own. I used my recipe rather than hers as I'm used to it. It's the same process, vinegar curdles the milk. I think it's technically called farmer's cheese.

                                                          I then made her yeasted olive oil pastry. It's winter here so it took longer than the hour to rise. I ended up popping the bowl in front of the heater to hurry it up.

                                                          It turned out I didn't have enough kale for the recipe and I couldn't face a trip to the shops so I shredded some brussel sprouts as well. The kale I blanched and the shredded brussel sprouts got covered in boiling water to soften them.

                                                          You then fry onion, add chopped artichokes to the pan, garlic and then your chopped greens. I let this cool a bit and then added the vegetable mix to the ricotta, 2 eggs, parmesan and fresh marjoram.

                                                          The pastry is punched down, split in half and given another five minutes to sit before being rolled out into discs. Filling goes into the pie, then quartered hard boiled eggs are placed in and then more filing and finally the pastry top. A quick egg wash and into the over for 40-50 mins.

                                                          It tasted ok. The marjoram came through nicely and the artichoke was not overpowered. I'm glad I didn't have fresh artichokes though I am sure they would taste better. The dish was labour intensive as it was without prepping fresh artichokes. We ate it lukewarm and felt a nice side would be some roast tomatoes. I'm not sure I would make this for dinner again but I do think it would make a good picnic dish.

                                                           
                                                           
                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Frizzle

                                                            Well it certainly looks wonderful, if nothing else!

                                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                                              Thanks Allegra. I think I just prefer more intense flavours. This is quite delicate. My husband really enjoyed it.

                                                          2. Easy Fish Stew with Mediterranean flavors (website)

                                                            Again, I really have no idea where to put this but I made the Easy Fish Stew with Mediterranean flavors from her website http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/hea... for dinner tonight

                                                            This really is easy, and healthy too. Tasty, although I was actually surprised by just how many raves I was getting from Lulu and her dad about this one. I kept thinking "ok, what have they done to get themselves into trouble?" I thought it was very pleasant, but the raves seemed a little unwarranted. I think a bit of anisette or pernod would bring this up a notch (not to mention some nice garlicky aoili - but that wouldn't have kept it healthy) and made it as good as they seemed to find it. I used tilapia, did add the dried red pepper. I definitely liked it, I don't want anyone to think otherwise. Part of my holding back may just be that the learning curve on my induction burner is turning out to be a little slower than I had expected. Difficult to tell, after years of gas flame, just how much heat the thing is giving off.

                                                            And thanks to Caitlin for suggesting the CH recipe for Corsican Cocktails (http://www.chow.com/recipes/11268-the...). I read her suggestion this morning, it sounded good, I knew what I was making for dinner and it was a no-brainer. Lovely pre-dinner cocktail. All in all a nice meal. Not having the book isn't proving to be much of a problem, although of course I have no idea if this is in the book or not (erm, now I'm wondering if this is the same recipe that meatn3 recommended from her Provencal book - and sent me - will need to go look and see. If so, hi meatn3!).

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              The book is exclusively vegetarian, but I don't think it matters if you post your reviews here.

                                                              I need to try that cocktail!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                I'm sorry! I thought I'd heard someone say that some of the recipes had meat in them. I don't have the book and am cooking from the Times' website of her recipes. And yes, you gotta try that cocktail.

                                                            2. Greens and Potato (Torta or) Galette - p. 232

                                                              A member of my CSA has had such a good year for her collards and chard in her garden that she is handing out big bags of greens to anyone who will take them. I was happy to help her out, and with several bags of collard leaves the size of dinner plates filling up my fridge, this recipe was clearly the one to try!

                                                              This is *not* a weeknight meal by any means, but you can get on with other things while the galette (or torta) bakes.

                                                              First, prepare one recipe of the yeasted olive oil pastry (p 229), then, while it rises, you can prep your fillings, which consist of 3/4 lb of small potatoes, 2 - 2.5 lbs of greens (I used collard greens, which aren't listed as an option in the ingredients but worked just fine) - these are stemmed and cooked for 2 minutes in boiling water, then shocked, drained and squeezed out before chopping coarsely; an onion and 2 cloves garlic, 1 cup ricotta (I had cottage cheese so I used that instead), grated gruyere and parmesan, 2 eggs, fresh basil and parsley, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I won't make this long review even longer by explaining all the details of preparing this filling, but I will mention that in my case, the potatoes, which are boiled, then cooled and sliced, didn't take even half of the 20 minutes the author suggests, so the time should be adjusted based on the size of potatoes you're using.

                                                              After allowing your dough to rise for an hour, punch it down gently and roll it out to a 16" circle. (This led to a spirited argument in my kitchen, as Mr Geek and geekboy were cooking with me and none of us could agree on how big 16" was, then we had to hunt down a non-metric ruler...) My son proudly rolled out the dough and he folded it up over the vegetable filling. He did a pretty nice job of it; next time we'll work on rolling out evenly. I'm glad my kid will not grow up with the pastry phobia that haunted me well into my 30s. I found this recipe to be particularly easy to work with and very willing to be rolled out and manipulated; I will make it again, for sure.

                                                              The galette is baked for 45 min or until the dough is golden brown. At that point there was some liquid on top of the vegetable filling and I was concerned that it would be too wet, but it was fine, and there was none of the dreaded "soggy bottom", which my family lives in fear of after watching The Great British Bake-Off.

                                                              Anyway - the result was delicious. I think you'd have to like greens to enjoy it, because they are very much the star of this dish, but flavour-wise and texturally it was a lovely meal. It may have been time-consuming to make but we all felt it was worth waiting for; and there were leftovers, which the recipe says will keep well for reheating later. The only thing we thought we might do differently next time is to keep the potatoes separate rather than mix them with the filling, so that we can have an even layer of them on the galette.

                                                               
                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                That looks gorgeous - and no soggy bottom! Yay!

                                                                (A new series of Bake-Off is about to start. Can't wait!)

                                                                1. Pasta with romano beans (green beans), goat cheese and black pepper (website: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/hea...

                                                                  )

                                                                  Again, no idea if this is in the book or not. Needed something that could be done with one burner and this fit the bill. Got some lovely local goat cheese at the farmers market on Saturday and bingo - a done deal. Unfortunately I couldn't find romano beans so I subbed fresh green beans. Basically you cook the green beans until just tender, shock in cold water, cook your pasta and when almost ready add the green beans to reheat. Meanwhile put the goat cheese in a bowl and add a half cup of the pasta water to it to thin it. Drain the pasta/bean mixture, add in the goat cheese, lots of black pepper and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I loved the smell of the goat cheese with the black pepper, and people seemed happy enough with this. I thought it was lacking something, or didn't have quite enough goat cheese or something. Maybe a bit of minced chive would have picked it up a little? A few torn basil leaves? It was fine, but I wouldnt' bother making it again.

                                                                  1. Provençal Summer Squash, Red Pepper, and Tomato Gratin - p. 255

                                                                    Off to a late start on this month's COTM, but I'm sure I'll catch up as this book is ideal for using up my CSA box. This gratin is a perfect example. Generally when I think of a gratin, I am thinking of a dish with breadcrumbs and cheese, and perhaps some cream, but not eggs. This author's gratins seem to usually (haven't checked them all) include eggs, which makes them almost more frittata-like in my mind. It also makes them more of a main dish, which is a good thing.

                                                                    For this one, you sauté onions until soft, then add bell pepper and sauté some more, then garlic, then summer squash (I used yellow crookneck). This all gets sautéed until cooked through, and seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme. At this point you are supposed to stir in some cooked rice. I had cooked rice that I intended to use, but I forgot to put it in. This vegetable mixture get stirred into a mix of 3 eggs, milk and gruyere cheese, then poured into a gratin dish. The gratin is topped with sliced tomato, and bread crumbs on top of that. A drizzle of olive oil, and into the oven it goes to bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

                                                                    The fairly lengthy sautéing process does wonders to concentrate the flavors of the vegetables, although, combined with a long bake time, it might knock this dish out of the weeknight category for many cooks. There is a good amount of hands-off time, so you could easily prepare a couple other dishes while this is cooking. I forgot to put the rice in, but the gratin set up just fine without it. This would be great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The two of us ate 3/4 of the gratin for dinner, and Mr. MM snagged the leftovers for lunch. This is simple food, but it's very good and makes good use of produce which is all available right now where I live.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                      I've had this gratin on my to-do list for ages so I was glad to read your report Mel. When I think of gratin it's usually in the colder weather. That has delayed me, that and the rice component which I was reluctant to use thinking it would make the finished dish "heavy". So I'm glad to know it isn't vital. This will probably be a week-end dish for us...

                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                        This sounds good. I've wanted to try more of her gratins, but haven't wanted to repeat the rice, so it's good to know they also work without the rice.

                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                          Provençal Summer Squash, Red Pepper, and Tomato Gratin, p. 255

                                                                          I had already planned to make this gratin this week when I read MelMM's report, and I was happy to see both how much she liked it, and that it worked out fine without the rice. It wasn't that I was concerned with stodginess per se, but it made one less thing to do, so I also skipped it. I used zucchini, one each small red and yellow onion in place of two red, and fresh oregano in place of thyme.

                                                                          I agree that this is very, very good, and Mel is quite right regarding the effect of the long, slow sauté: The vegetables were rather soft in the finished gratin, but not mushy, with concentrated flavor but individually discernible. I'm trying to recall the last time I had zucchini that tasted as deeply of itself. It helps that the seasonings are subtle, allowing the inherent sweetness and flavor of these peak-season vegetables, brought out by gentle cooking, to shine.

                                                                           
                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                            Wow, I love that line about zucchini tasting so deeply of itself. Great recommendation!

                                                                          2. re: MelMM

                                                                            Provençal Summer Squash, Red Pepper, and Tomato Gratin, p. 255

                                                                            Wooed by the positive reviews, this was Thursday's dinner. We made the recipe using zucchini as our squash and included the rice. This was a truly delicious meal that highlights the summer's bounty. We've been eating quite a bit of zucchini as of late (including two recipes from My Calabria) and this was a great addition to the repertoire. We enjoyed this both hot and cold.

                                                                            My Mr. and I typically don't eat vegetarian meals together - I typically just eat them on my own. So when I plated our meals, my husband was on auto-pilot and instinctively pushed his gratin over making room for his protein. When I let him know that was the meal, he was a little surprised, but even he enjoyed the gratin.

                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                              Another lovely review for this recipe, another perfect use for zucchini. Thanks for reminding me about this one, and also about the zucchini dishes in My Calabria--I loved the zuke parmesan in there and must make it again!

                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                Ditto on that zuke pram from My Calabria!

                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                              Provençal Summer Squash, Red Pepper, and Tomato Gratin - p. 255

                                                                              I made this gratin last night as a result of all the accolades. I actually sauteed the vegetables a few days ago, then last night after work I assembled and baked the gratin. I had intended to use the rice, but in the end I left it out because I just didn't have time after work to make the rice. As it turns out, like qianning, I missed the texture the rice provides in the finished gratin. The rice also makes the gratin much more filling and hearty, which is good if you're trying to preserve enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Once again, we ate the gratin pretty soon after it came out of the oven because everyone was starving. I thought it was good but I wasn't blown away. I tried some more about two hours later, after putting the kids to bed. At this point it was pretty much at room temperature. Now I was blown away by how much better the gratin was after a more lengthy rest. Wow was it good after the flavors came together! I'm still interested in trying more of these dishes; from now on though I will include the rice and make them at least several hours ahead to allow the flavors to develop.

                                                                            3. Summer Squash Risotto - p. 322

                                                                              I made this back in July, when the book was under discussion. In many ways a classic risotto, but there is one thing just a bit different about this one which works very nicely.

                                                                              Vegetable or chicken broth is put to simmer on a side burner. I used a really good homemade chicken stock - you know, the kind that turns to gelatine when it cools. That may have been a big factor in my appreciation of the dish, so I want that to clear from the get-go.

                                                                              For the risotto, you start by sautéing onions in butter, then add some garlic, and then the summer squash (I used a mix of yellow crookneck and zucchini). When the squash has released its liquid, and that has cooked off, you remove 1/3 of the squash and set aside. Into the squash that remains in the pan, you stir some arborio rice and marjoram (I intended to use oregano, but Mr. MM, who was sent to the garden to pick it, came back with basil instead, so I used that. Half at this stage, and the rest added at the end). In typical risotto fashion, you then add some wine, cook that off, then start adding stock, and keep stirring and adding stock as needed, until the rice is done. Then you taste for seasoning, add a bit more stock, the reserved squash, parmesan cheese, and pepper. Taste for seasoning again and add salt if needed.

                                                                              This is a really simple risotto, but the flavors were just great. Once again, prolonged sautéing at the outset concentrated the flavors of the vegetables. I also think using a really rich homemade stock added a lot.

                                                                              1. Eggplant Pilaf, p. 237

                                                                                This was an unusual dish, of Turkish origin, and one that we really enjoyed. I chose it because I had some gorgeous (and cute as a button) fairytale eggplants to use, and I wanted a rice pilaf to pair with the apricot yogurt dip on p. 91. To start, onion is sauteed in olive oil, and when soft, garlic is added along with cumin and coriander seeds and a bit of sugar. When all is fragrant in a few minutes, add your rice, water, salt and a bit of tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on low for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed, at which point you take the pot off the heat, put a clean kitchen towel over the pot, and recover for another 15-20 minutes to allow the rice to steam and fluff. Separately, diced salted eggplant is sauteed in olive oil, first uncovered, then covered, until very tender. When the rice is done, stir in the eggplant and season everything to taste with s&p. I really loved the flavors of this rice. Very gentle, warm and soft background notes from the garlic, onion and tomatoes, but then you would get exciting flavor pops from the whole spices scattered throughout. It also worked well with the eggplant stirred in. We served this as a side dish for oven-roasted lamb, and it was perfect in this context. We had the apricot yogurt dip alongside, and I thought that dip, which is a bit on the garlicky side, somewhat overpowered the subtle flavors of this rice. I think having some yogurt alongside is a good idea if serving as a vegetarian main dish, but maybe plain yogurt or a very light raita or tzatziki. Also on the menu was an heirloom tomato salad, and the fresh juicy tomato was delicious with this rice as well.

                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                  I had to google fairytale eggplant--wow, I never thought I would call a vegetable cute, but you are so right! Eggplant is one of the most beautiful veggies to me, and these guys are irresistible. Now if only my farmers market would sell more interesting varieties of produce...
                                                                                  Great review!

                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                    I just googled too. I didn't realise those were called fairytale eggplant. I'm pretty sure they have another name in Europe but I don't know what it is!

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      I thought they were called rainbow eggplant.

                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        Ah, but i've just seen that these are much smaller than rainbows. Teeny.

                                                                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                        Yes, these are tiny little eggplants, just a few inches long. I had never seen them before and I just could not resist! They were good -- very mild and tender with very few seeds.

                                                                                        Unfortunately, though, the beautiful skin turns brown during the cooking process.

                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                          I hadn't known about Fairy Eggplants before and I so am glad to make their acquaintance! Mr. google showed me that one can get both seeds and plants from Burpee's (see site below).

                                                                                          I find that eggplants are easy to grow--too easy; for some unknown reason I put in six plants of the larger ones and now am drowning in them! But these pretty little "mini-eggplants" look ideal for containers and I imagine that they would be fun to slice, top with a dollop of mayo mixed with Parm and a bit of minced garlic, and then put under the broiler to make a nice little appetizer.

                                                                                          http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/eggp...

                                                                                          1. re: Goblin

                                                                                            I've definitely made note of them in my "things to grow next year" list--all the better if they can grow in a container!

                                                                                            1. re: Goblin

                                                                                              try the grilled eggplant with hot pepper and mint recipe that several of us have made from this book. i guarantee that at least a few of your eggplants will disappear with no trouble at all!

                                                                                      3. Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic -- p. 289

                                                                                        I was feeling exceptionally unmotivated when it came time to cook dinner last night, but the thought of ordering pizza when we had so many lovely CSA veg in the fridge depressed me, so I found myself making this dish alongside an omelette from the eggs & cheese chapter. Boy, am I ever glad I didn't order pizza.

                                                                                        Halve (or quarter) and steam a pound of red potatoes; meanwhile, boil 3/4 lb trimmed and halved green beans for about 4 minutes, then shock in ice water and drain. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet and saute some chopped onions until tender (you can use either 1 medium onion, or the light-coloured parts of a bunch of spring onions), then stir in 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves and stir only until fragrant. Add the green beans and continue to stir for about 5 min then stir in the potatoes and some seasonings. (The recipe says to add some wedges of hard-boiled egg at this point but I omitted them because we were serving this with an egg dish.) Cover and reduce the heat to low and let cook for another ten minutes.

                                                                                        A couple of tweaks: I had cooked some bacon earlier, so I used the pan with the bacon grease already in it instead of heating olive oil. Also, I was using some very new and potent red Russian garlic from the farmer's market with massive cloves, so I only ended up using half a clove.

                                                                                        This is a simple preparation but a truly great way to let in-season produce speak for itself. We loved the way the potatoes crisped up in the pan during the last ten minutes of cooking, the onions caramelized and the garlic flavour permeated every bite of the green beans and potatoes. Yum!

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                          The way you described this dish makes it sound so wonderful that I know it will make an appearance on my dinner table soon enough!

                                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                                            Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic, Pg. 289

                                                                                            I made this last week with Romano beans, small red potatoes, and the HB eggs. I don't know what happened - whether it was me or cook's error - but I wasn't too thrilled with the outcome. However this week we have a ton of wax beans. I really don't like wax beans but I think I'll make another attempt with this recipe. I like the idea of bacon, Geekmom, so I think I'll crisp some up and add it at the end, using the bacon fat as you did..

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Gio, that's a shame that your take on this recipe didn't work out as well. Did you just find it lacking in flavour, or was there some other aspect of the dish that was disappointing? I hope the bacon gives it a bit of a lift, if you get a chance to try it out with the wax beans. (I'm not usually a huge fan of those myself but I was given a pound of them from a friend's garden, so I had to figure out what to do with them...)

                                                                                            2. re: geekmom

                                                                                              My current produce stockpile screams for this recipe. Thanks for the great review.

                                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                Potatoes with Green Beans and Garlic, Pg. 289 Take Two

                                                                                                Second time around for us with this recipe. This time we used wax beans and had Much better results. Again G used a wok, his favorite cooking vessel. I made a substitution of a handful o chopped scallions instead of onion. I was going to add bacon as Geekmom did but as usual I forgot. (If I don't write it down... I forget.) Also, I omitted the hard boiled egg wedges since we were using some left-over roasted chicken.

                                                                                                The upshot of all of this is that we enjoyed the finished dish immensely. The small red potatoes had steamed perfectly, the scallions imparted their own unique flavor that I find is more herbal tasting than an onion flavor, and the sauce had a pleasant olive-y garlicky essence. This was a good use of the wax beans too. One vegetable I'm not too fond of.

                                                                                                Served with the pan-fried zucchini on page 292 that I topped with the quicker than basic tomato sauce on page 79 and feta. Along with chunks of roasted chicken it was a Very Nice Meal indeed!

                                                                                              2. Mushrooms and Greens Gratin, pg. 234
                                                                                                (Variation on the Mushroom & Greens Torte pg. 233)

                                                                                                The upshot, we liked the flavors in this very well -mushrooms, greens (fresh asian spinach this round), shallots/garlic, rosemary, Gruyere-- the rosemary in particular was a very nice touch.

                                                                                                But we preferred the texture of the gratin I made last week. Some of this was perhaps user error, I should have used a smaller baking dish, this set up pretty flat, more or less a baked frittata. Which gets to my point, as a baked dish we liked the texture that the cooked rice added to other gratin.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  Mushrooms and Greens Tart, p. 234

                                                                                                  This was an unqualified hit. Even the "I'm not really hungry, don't serve me much" diner had seconds. Lots of savory flavors going on, with plenty of umami from the mushrooms, Gruyère, and Parmesan. Definitely a good dish for entertaining, and would be great at a brunch (especially because it could be made ahead and briefly reheated in a moderate oven).

                                                                                                  This uses the yeasted olive oil pastry on p. 229, which is easy to make and roll out. I made it with equal parts AP and WW pastry flour. The only issue I had was that its elasticity meant that once I started rolling, I couldn't really pick it up without stretching it out of shape. Luckily, I was using a silicone rolling mat that I could move about easily, so I just inverted the dough over the pan and and peeled it off. If you don't have one of those, I'd recommend rolling out the dough on parchment or waxed paper for easy manipulation.

                                                                                                  She calls for a 10" tart pan, a size I don't own, so I went with the 11" pan, which is fairly shallow, and the ingredients filled it up fine. I used cremini mushrooms and ruby chard, and included some of the chard stems, which I diced and sautéed with the onion (I didn't have a shallot). I also doubled the rosemary to 2 tsp. I elected not to stir the vegetables into the egg/milk/cheese mixture, but instead spread them over the crust and poured the custard over. This resulted in much of the cheese staying at the top, which meant it got deliciously browned. I think I had a higher volume of vegetables, because the egg/milk mixture was just enough to hold it together, rather than being more frittata-like. I was a tad worried that the dough was too thin in places, but it came out just fine.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      Caitlin that looks and sounds sensational and your report is terrific. I wish I had this in front of me right now!!

                                                                                                      I must make this! Thanks for the inspiration.

                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                        Ah, that looks spectacular! I wish I could have it for dinner without turning on my oven. I'm going to have to get this book from the library again when the weather cools, the baked dishes are the most appealing recipes, to me. (Well, the ice cream was pretty darn good too.)

                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                          While I'm finding lots of nice recipes for summer produce, I have to agree that the book deserves another look during the cooler season too. A recipe like that mushroom and greens tart would definitely be more of a fall dish in my neck of the woods, and I've seen other dishes like it that I'd like to make when the leafy greens are in season here.

                                                                                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                          Mushrooms and Greens Tart, p. 233

                                                                                                          We loved this; thanks, Caitlin, for your review!

                                                                                                          The filling was indeed savory and delicious - along with the mushrooms and garlic I used rainbow chard, a small leek rather than shallot, and mixed-up the herbs a bit with a generous 1/4 tsp. each of dried thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. I also substituted Swiss Emmentaler for the Gruyere.

                                                                                                          The olive oil pastry reminded me of a thin, tender pizza crust and was easy to work with (it might even work well for calzones). I kneaded it in my mixer with the dough hook after combining the ingredients, and used a floured pastry cloth for a final, quick kneading as well as for rolling out. I tried to time it so that my filling would be done when the dough had finished rising, but the dough was ready first so I rolled it out, lined my pan, and popped it in the freezer as is suggested in the recipe.

                                                                                                          I filled my tart pan the same way as Caitlin did - I scattered the veggies and cheeses first, then poured the custard over. In fact, all the ingredients fit in my 10"x 1" tart pan perfectly, which was nice for a change!

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                            Just want to report that the Yeasted Olive Oil Pastry (p.229) used in this recipe freezes beautifully. The recipe yields enough pastry for two 10-inch tarts, so I wrapped the second ball of dough in plastic and popped it in the freezer. When I made the tart for the second time this past weekend I just thawed the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

                                                                                                      2. Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu with Corn, Green Beans and Cilantro (website: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/hea...

                                                                                                        )

                                                                                                        Eh. I was really looking forward to this one, and with LulusDad out of town I figured it would be a nice meal for Lulu and me. But in the end I found it fine but somewhat boring. Certainly not all that spicy (which of course could just have been the particular chile I used (I used a serrano, though, not the jalapeno called for). It could just be that not having the high heat that I'm used to with gas cooking is making it tougher for me to judge when to add things or for how long to cook them, and totally my fault. Anyway, with garlic, ginger, hot pepper, soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and the tofu, corn, green beans, cilantro and scallions you'd think it would be a little more interesting than it was. Lulu thought it was fine, she said "You know I'm pickier now than I used to be, and I like it." Bah on both.

                                                                                                        1. [Kale] with Garlic and Olive Oil, Pg. 283

                                                                                                          This is a simple and typical saute of green leafy vegetables which I'm sure many of us have cooked more than once. It seems as if no one needs a recipe for it but from what I have read some people need a formula for these things and here it is. It's a cinch to make and a good way to cook many green leafy vegetables, including lettuces.

                                                                                                          I used baby spinach, increased the garlic, and hot red pepper flakes. If kale is being used simple remove the stems. Only 2 tablespoons of EVOO are used so that remained the same. Technique? What technique? Heat the oil, get the minced garlic golden, add the RPF, toss in the greens. There was no need to blanch the baby spinach, it was very fresh and tender. Cook for a couple of minutes, season w S & P, Done. Serve with lemon wedges if you wish. We didn't. Shrimp Scampi with a delectable compound butter from Fish Without a Doubt was the main along with a delicious focaccio for the juices.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            That sounds great, Gio! I will be trying it this evening. :-)

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              Thanks, Gio, for encouraging me to go out and deal with a bunch of greens that are looming large in my raised beds. I will take your advice about increasing the garlic and using the golden raisins, which I generally prefer in this sort of preparation anyway.
                                                                                                              I am enjoying this book, which seems perfect for this harvest-y time of year.

                                                                                                            2. Greens w/ Currants and Pine Nuts, pg. 282

                                                                                                              "Not the best version of this you've made", says you-know-who. I'm afraid I'd have to agree. Not quite sure my very fresh and tender beet greens needed blanching, for one thing. For another, usually i use golden raisins for this sort of dish, this time it was Zante currants; we like the golden raisins better. Still there was none left in the dish at the end of dinner....I'll pretty much take fresh beet greens anyway I can get them!

                                                                                                              1. PAN-COOKED ZUCCHINI AND TOMATOES (PISTOU) – p. 293

                                                                                                                I over-indulged during a visit to a farm market yesterday and simply didn’t have enough room in the fridge for my bounty!! An abundance of tomatoes and zucchini led me to this recipe in the COTM. I must say that this book has only let me down once this month when I’ve searched it for the ingredients I wanted to work with in EYB. (Broccoli was the issue just as an fyi…only one broccoli recipe in the book go figure!).

                                                                                                                The author explains that Pistou is similar to ratatouille and is served as a tapa in southern Spain and as a side dish in the central region. This sounded perfect to me since I needed another antipasti for my menu tonight and a side dish for tomorrow. The author’s note that the dish improves with age sealed the deal for me.

                                                                                                                Prep is quick and easy. Onions, zucchini, tomatoes, bell pepper (I used Italian frying peppers) and garlic are chopped or diced. Veggies are then sautéed in this order: onions, pepper, garlic, zucchini then tomatoes. A 5 minute simmer is called for after each addition. When the tomatoes go in, sugar and salt are also added. Ingredients are then cooked over medium-high for 10 mins until the tomatoes cook down then the heat is reduced to medium and the mixture is cooked for another 35 mins or until the veggies are “easy to mash”. At this point you season further to taste if you wish. I didn’t need to as the mixture was quite sweet and fresh-flavoured at this point.

                                                                                                                We thoroughly enjoyed the pistou served atop grilled Crostini this evening. Tomorrow I intend to serve it as a side dish. I also think it would be sensational as a pasta sauce and, leftovers permitting, perhaps we'll be able to make that happen as well!

                                                                                                                Happy to recommend this one. In case you’re interested, the recipe calls for 2lbs of tomatoes and 2lbs of zucchini for those of you with these items in abundance.

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                  Whoohooo! I am up to my chest in tomatoes right now. And zucchini isarecheap.

                                                                                                                2. Caponata, p. 276,

                                                                                                                  The notes say "this Sicilian relish combines eggplant, celery, capers, and olives, in a sweet-and-sour tomato sauce" and that describes it accurately. What the simple description doesn't convey in so few words is how rich in flavor the finished relish is, with its balance of sweet (sherry vinegar and a bit of sugar) and sour (capers, green olives --I used Picholine). The acidity of the tomatoes was perfect with the satisfying mix of roasted eggplant, chopped bell peppers and sliced celery, plus chopped onion and minced garlic.

                                                                                                                  Shulman called for roasting the eggplant until tender rather than salting it, and I thought this was a good way to prepare the eggplant. Because I had so many ripe tomatoes in this lovely time of year, I chose to roast them too, by halving them, topping with a dollop of oilve oil and some chopped garlic and thyme leaves, and baking at 400 F until they were collapsed and slightly carmelized. The recipe called for a 14-oz can of crushed tomatoes in puree; I just spooned in approx, 14 oz of my roasted tomatoes and cooked them with the other veggies.

                                                                                                                  I made it as a spread for crackers, but it would be delicious in an omelet, on pasta, or as a side. Shulman didn't specify this, but I sprinkled 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts on top of the serving dish.

                                                                                                                  All-in-all, a caponata that far exceeded my expectations

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                    That sounds delicious Goblin, thanks for drawing our attention to this one. My interest in, and aspiration to cook from this book is greater than the time I have available to do so at the moment as my travel schedule is heavy. Nevertheless, I'm hoping to get to a couple more recipes before the month ends.

                                                                                                                    This really looks like a winner and if not this month, I'll definitely tab it as a "must make" dish.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                      I hope you get a chance to make this, Breadcrumbs. I'll be interested to hear about your results. I think this book is a keeper, one that will serve you well in any month of the year!!

                                                                                                                      I must say, I am enjoying the many and varied resources for vegetarian-cookery that this book provides, a lot more than I originally expected. I really like Shulman's tasty recipes and uncomplicated style of presentation. It has turned out to be a useful compendium that will stay in my kitchen-bookshelves for easy reference.

                                                                                                                  2. Eggplant Parmesan (page 250)

                                                                                                                    I brought some fairy eggplants home from the farmer’s market and decided that although this recipe calls for large eggplant I’d give it a try since I had all other ingredients on hand including bufala mozzarella from Costco.

                                                                                                                    The eggplants are sliced into rounds and salted (I just cut the little eggplants lengthwise and didn’t bother to salt). They’re then brushed with oil and roasted in an oven for 10 to 15 minutes (or you can grill them on a pannini grill which sound like a great idea if you have one). A tomato sauce is made with either fresh or canned tomatoes (I used Pomi because I didn’t want to use all my fresh Jersey tomatoes for this) that’s simmered with garlic until cooked down a bit. She says to add slivered basil, but mine was past it’s prime so I added a cube of pesto instead. She calls for the cooked sauce to be put through a food mill, but since I used Pomi without seeds I didn’t think it necessary and didn’t bother. The cooked eggplant is layered in a gratin dish with the tomato sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan and topped with breadcrumbs drizzled with olive oil and baked for half an hour.

                                                                                                                    I made half a recipe, but I think my proportions were correct. This made a much more saucy Eggplant Parm than I’ve made in the past, but it was just delicious. And comparatively quick and easy, too. Very much looking forward to making this again with large eggplant and fresh tomatoes.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                        I made this too - it was a lot lighter than other parmigiana recipes I've tried because the aubergine is baked not fried. I didn't bother to salt either - mainly because I forgot! A very tasty dish, and not too much work as I had quite a bit of leftover quick tomato sauce.

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          Eggplant Parmesan, p. 250.

                                                                                                                          Made a half-recipe last night for a small dinner party consisting of two young children and an self-professed eggplant-hater (my son-in-law.) Well, guess who licked his plate and asked for seconds? There was barely enough for me and my husband!
                                                                                                                          Anyway, the other posters have described the method and flavors. I'll just add my comment that it was indeed delicious and full of flavor. I especially liked the tomato sauce, which was simple but with outstanding taste. I did use ripe fresh tomatoes for it, which meant I had to pass them through a food mill to remove the skins after simmering the sauce to cook it down. Since I had a leisurely afternoon to prepare my dinner-dishes, I had time to do this, as well time to as salt the eggplant slices for 30 minutes. But it sounds like salting isn't really necessary from the previous posts.
                                                                                                                          Anyhow, I think my son-in-law's statement says it all: "hey, I'm a convert!" ;-)

                                                                                                                        2. Summer Squash Gratin, p. 256

                                                                                                                          This is another of the seasonally satisfying sides that this book is full of! I've really enjoyed using Shulman's collection of recipes to use the bounty of the August harvest. In this simple dish, two pounds of sliced summer squash (Shulman suggests a mix of green and yellow and that was especially attractive) are sautéed with a chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic. 2 TBS of chopped parsley are stirred in and then 4 eggs and 1/2 cup milk are poured into the mixture, plus a mix of 3/4 cup of grated Gruyere and Parmesan. Probably you could just use one or the other. Stir all together and then scrape into a gratin dish. Bake at 375 F for 35 - 40 minutes till browned and bubbly.
                                                                                                                          Uncomplicated and delicious. Lighter than some other gratins in this book because there is no addition of cooked rice, but still very satisfying, and it holds its shape well on the plate when one cuts into it.
                                                                                                                          The subtle sweetness of the sauteed summer squash really comes through without any other distractions like additional herbs--just s & p. I added 1/4 cup of Panko crumbs (bread crumbs would be fine too) sprinkled over the top plus a few drizzles of olive oil just to give an appealing slight "crunch" to the finished dish.
                                                                                                                          The notes indicate that the vegetables can be sautéed ahead and assembled with the milk-cheese mixture just before baking, and that's how I did it, starting the evening before my dinner party. Worked just fine. This will be a keeper during summer squash season!

                                                                                                                          1. Greens and Sweet Onion Pie - p. 239

                                                                                                                            Like the greens & potato torta/galette (which is now in regular rotation on our dinner table), this recipe has been a real hit here in the Geek house. I realized after making it again last night that I hadn't yet had a chance to review it here.

                                                                                                                            You can make this with either the yeasted olive oil dough or the Greek pie crust, both on p. 229 (and very easy to make and to work with), or you can use 12 large sheets of phyllo (MRS suggests using 7 sheets as the base, 5 sheets as the lid, and of course, brushing each one with lots of olive oil). The filling is a simple mixture of 2 lbs greens (blanched in salted water, and chopped), a cup of chopped sweet onions cooked gently in olive oil with 2 cloves of pressed garlic, 1/4 cup each fresh dill and parsley; this is mixed with 4 oz of crumbled feta cheese and 3 beaten eggs to hold everything together. Season to taste, then roll out your dough, and use your filling to make a pie, which you brush with a bit of reserved egg and then bake at 375F for 40-50 min, until the filling is piping hot and the dough is golden brown.

                                                                                                                            This pie is a wonderful example of simple ingredients brought together to make something delicious, satisfying and more-ish. I've made it with both the yeasted olive oil pastry and the whole wheat variation of the Greek pie crust, and both were wonderful, though our preference would probably be for the whole wheat Greek pastry. The filling is a great balance of earthy greens, salty feta and toothsome onions. There were many happy comments as we all sat down to eat this pie last night, and I was surprised there was anything left in the dish -- everyone wanted seconds!

                                                                                                                            Another "win" from Mediterranean Harvest. This is one of my favourite cookbook acquisitions from 2013.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                              That sounds lovely! Thanks for reporting. I've been itching to try one of these tortas now that the weather seems right for it. I've been scared of the pastry (especially the yeasted pastry since it seems timing-sensitive) so it's good to hear that the greek pie dough with whole wheat flour worked well for you.

                                                                                                                              ETA: I, too, love this book! It was a complete surprise but there are so many wonderful gems in here. Please, please add your ongoing reports!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                Westminstress, I've been absolutely delighted with both the ww flour Greek pie pastry and the yeasted olive oil pastry from this book. They are surprisingly easy to work with and quite forgiving. I hope you'll report back here if you get a chance to try one or the other :-)

                                                                                                                              2. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                I have also enjoyed this book quite more than expected. I`m glad to hear this one is a winner. I`ve had similar success with the absolutely fabulous zucchini and herb pie from the same book, which reminds me--I still need to add a review for it. Such a great recipe should be shouted from the rooftops!

                                                                                                                              3. Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary, p. 290

                                                                                                                                A very simple recipe, this. Potatoes are chopped into one inch pieces, tossed with olive oil and 1 tbsp minced rosemary, roasted in a fairly hot oven until done. Very simple, but they really turned out great, and they were so easy. Next time I will up the rosemary.

                                                                                                                                1. Cabbage Gallete, p. 236

                                                                                                                                  This was delicious! A lovely winter vegetable pie. The filling is comprised of sauteed cabbage and onion, flavored with garlic, dill, and s&p, enriched with feta and eggs (two raw and two chopped hard-cooked eggs -- and I was surprised how much I loved the texture these chopped hardcooked eggs added to the finished dish. The recipe calls for the yeasted pastry, but I felt nervous about that, so I used the greek pastry crust (whole wheat variation). I was shocked how easily the pastry came together and rolled out, and it had a nice flavor despite its healthful profile. And when I folded it all into a galette shape, it was the real deal! I was certainly proud of myself! After baking the crust was a little harder than I would have ideally liked (needed a good knife to cut through it) -- could that have been because I overcooked it? Everything takes longer in my oven, and I'm not an experienced baker, so it's really hard to tell when things are "done." Anyway, have others found this crust to be a bit hard?

                                                                                                                                  Full disclosure: though my husband and I loved this dish, neither of my kids would eat it. The cabbage filling was just too much for them.

                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                    Cabbage Galette - p. 236

                                                                                                                                    Months of COTMs are being faithfully signed out of the library over at my house and gathering dust on the shelf as I continue my love affair with the unassuming and utterly wonderful Mediterranean Harvest. I feel only vaguely guilty about ignoring all these other great books... but then each time I make yet another winning dish from MH I feel justified. And my family is not complaining.

                                                                                                                                    Anyway, thank you to Westminstress for flagging this cabbage galette recipe. I've now made nearly all the galettes/pies/tortas in this chapter, and this one is the clear winner for me. I realize now that it was only a month ago that WM posted her review, yet I've made this galette three times already. My kids are addicted to cabbage right now (they're weird, but you probably guessed that from my username, haha) so it's a good way to get lots of veggies into them, and I love that I don't have to fiddle around blanching and squeezing and chopping pounds and pounds of greens - just saute the onions and cabbage while the ever-faithful yeasted olive oil pastry rises on the counter, mix in your crumbled feta, beaten and chopped eggs, season, and away you go. I've opted to leave out the fresh dill every time and it in no way diminishes the flavour of this dish. The filling has a nice mix of textures, we love the bursts of saltiness from the feta, the cabbage is slightly sweet, and the soft yeasted dough with the crispy, golden outside is always satisfying.

                                                                                                                                    Westminstress, you asked about the crust being hard - I have often had that issue with whole wheat pie crusts (did you use whole wheat, white, or a blend?), and I don't yet have enough experience to be able to suggest any way to alleviate that. Have you had a chance to try out the other pastry recipe yet?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                      That sounds really good. I'm going to have to have a look at the recipe. I have a head of cabbage from my CSA box waiting for a purpose.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                        I'm so glad you liked it! I have to say I am jealous of your cabbage-eating kids! Mine won't touch the stuff, which is really too bad considering that I love it, there are infinite ways to prepare it, and there is a lot of it to go around this time of year. Oh well, there's always next year.

                                                                                                                                        I did make the greek olive oil pastry with half whole wheat pastry flour, and that may have been the problem, as you suggest. I haven't had a chance to make any more of these pies since the cabbage gallette, but now you've inspired me to give it another go. Have you tried the Spinach and Ricotta Torta?

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                        Cabbage Gallete, p. 236

                                                                                                                                        Made this for dinner last night. This is one I doubt I ever would have made if it hadn't been for the reports here, so thanks to Westminstress and Geekmom for writing it up. I had a giant head of cabbage in my CSA box, and this got me through half of it, in a delicious manner.

                                                                                                                                        I adapted the recipe a bit to ingredients on hand. I didn't have any dill, and after toying with the idea of seasoning with fresh fennel, I opted for dill seeds instead. Which was really nice. I got a chuckle out of the choice given in the recipe between Gruyère and crumbled feta - because, you know they are so much alike. I opted for feta, which was good, but next time I think I'd like to try the Gruyère version. I also left out the hard-boiled eggs, because I didn't have enough eggs on hand to have both those and the beaten eggs in the filling.

                                                                                                                                        Even with the modifications, we really enjoyed this dish. It provides a satisfying vegetarian main dish, and a great way to use up winter CSA vegetables.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                          Cabbage Galette, pg 236

                                                                                                                                          I have been trying to get more vegetarian meals into my family. But my husband is a meat lover and one of my kids is a veggie hater so it's been challenging. I struggle to make vegetarian meals which don't just seem like side dishes. Since our family (aside from the veggie hater) generally enjoys cabbage, I thought this could be a winner for us.

                                                                                                                                          This was fairly easy to put together, although definitely more involved than a hurried weeknight kind of dish. The yeasted olive oil dough was easy to work with and came together easily. I did seek out dill to add to the filling since my husband loves dill and I thought that would help sell him on this vegetarian meal. I thought the dill really did complement the egg and cabbage, so I was glad I got it.

                                                                                                                                          The finished product looked so nice a snapped a quick picture of it. I would certainly feel good serving this to company, particularly at a luncheon or brunch.

                                                                                                                                          I thought this was really nice. I kind of wanted the crust to be more buttery and flaky (which it's not really supposed to be, I realize). Even though it is enriched with a fair amount of olive oil, it came out a little dry to me. The filling was delicious. I love cabbage and I loved the pairing of cabbage, onion and dill. My husband said "this would be great if you put a little sausage or something on it." sigh.

                                                                                                                                          I was happy to take left overs to lunch and agree that this would make a fabulous picnic dish, as the headnote describes.

                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                            Made this for dinner tonight. No dill, since someone here doesn't like it, subbed a bit of cilantro. I need to find a different herb to add a punch of flavor, or should've used more. For the crust, I used 1/2 c whole wheat flour as suggested and though I try to eat more whole grains, I wouldn't want to go any higher than 1/2 c in this recipe. I used feta and it was good here. Since so many of us reporting here thought the crust was a bit dry, I wonder if the baking time is too long? I use a thermometer in my oven and in general don't have oven temperature issues. When I peeked in at 30 minutes into baking time, it was looking and smelling done to me, but since it was only 2/3 of the specified time, I let it go another 10 minutes. So even though I pulled it at about 40 minutes it felt a tad overbaked. Perhaps 30-35 minutes could be the range to shoot for.
                                                                                                                                            The dough was very easy to work with and I liked that the filling could be prepped ahead. So I will try to make this again, as I suspect it could be a great dish for entertaining/potlucks/picnics.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                                                            I tried this a couple of weeks ago based on your description (as my library doesn't have the book) and it didn't turn out too well. I think that was mostly because I used low sodium feta (because I had it) and I possibly had too much onion as well.

                                                                                                                                            I would like to give this another go this month for the DOTM, but with normal feta this time. If anyone wants to post the actual ingredient amounts used in the recipe I'll be grateful.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ecclescake

                                                                                                                                              Ok, I gave it another go. I only used one (admittedly large) onion this time and it was much better. I think the cabbage I used last time may also have been part of the problem. It was given to us by a friend who was moving house and maybe it had been in her fridge a bit too long.

                                                                                                                                              Anyway, cabbage galette will probably be on the menu again this winter and gallettes in general will definitely be gracing out table again. I'm so pleased to have discovered this free form pie that truly is 'as easy as pie'.

                                                                                                                                          3. Tomato and Zucchini Risotto, p. 323

                                                                                                                                            This was something new to me -- a Croatian-style risotto. I made a reduced serving with one cup of arborio rice, a single zucchini, and three tomatoes. The technique is unusual in a couple of respects. You begin by creating a base sauce - onion, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes are added to the pan sequentially and cooked together for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes break down and thicken. (In my case, I shredded the zucchini so that it would mostly dissolve into the rice). The rice is then stirred into the zucchini-tomato sauce, and seasoned stock is added in the usual manner. At the end, finely chopped parsley and parmesan cheese are stirred in, along with a final ladle of stock to loosen the texture.

                                                                                                                                            I thought this risotto was quite delicious, and perfect for this time of year. I made it with early zucchini and the first tomatoes of the season, which are greenhouse grown but worked well in this dish. The delicate flavors of zucchini and tomato came through, the stock and parmesan added richness, the parsley freshness, and the texture of the rice was perfect. My kids seemed to enjoy it, which is always a challenge with vegetable-based meals. So, overall, a success.

                                                                                                                                            1. Barley Risotto with Pesto and Ricotta Salata, p. 550

                                                                                                                                              I was cleaning out the fridge/cupboards and decided to make this recipe as it allowed me to use up my barley from the pantry, onion bits & pesto in the fridge, and veg stock in the freezer, and I even had the cheeses on hand. This is a simple risotto made with barley instead of rice. It is very plain, and then at the end you stir in pesto, parmigiano, and grated ricotta salata cheeses. This dish turned out very well, the barley had a wonderful texture and went beautifully with the pesto. My kids really loved it (and they have been beyond picky lately, so this was a nice treat!). I've now made three or four of the rice dishes from this book and all have been excellent, not a dud in the bunch.