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September 2013 Cookbook of the Month, SMOKE AND PICKLES: Pickles & Matrimony and Veggies & Charity

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the September Cookbook of the Month:

Pickles & Matrimony pages 160 - 185
Veggies & Charity pages 186 - 217

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  1. Collards and Kimchi (page 200)

    Heat lard or bacon fat (I used bacon fat) and cook chopped onions (I realized too late that I was out of onions so substituted shallots) until they begin to color. Add cubed country ham and cook until crispy, but not too brown. (My pan started to scorch, so I didn’t get quite to the crispy part.) Add cleaned and chopped collard greens, chicken stock (Better Than Boullion for me), and soy sauce. Cover and simmer for about half an hour, stir in some apple cider vinegar and then the kimchi (I used a store bought kimchi that was labeled “medium spicy” but packed a good bit of punch). I made this to serve as a side with his T-Bone Steak with Lemongrass-Habanero Marinade on page 67 as suggested ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9152... ).

    Wow! What an explosion of intense flavors. I just adored this. He says it also goes nicely with roast lamb or fried chicken. Not sure about the former, but think it would be absolutely brilliant with fried chicken.

    This was my sixth recipe from the book and I’m beginning to think Edward Lee is a genius along the lines of Yotam Ottolenghi. So original, so unexpected, so good.

    15 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      "I’m beginning to think Edward Lee is a genius along the lines of Yotam Ottolenghi." Wow, that is very high praise! The salad you reported on in the other thread looks and sounds fantastic.

      1. re: LulusMom

        I am inclined to agree with Joan. I've tried many of the recipes (since I didn't have last month's COTM, I got an early start), and most are winners.

      2. re: JoanN

        This looks like a good way to use up some of the 6 packs (!) of Trader Joe's kimchi that I bought.

        1. re: JoanN

          [Collards] and Kimchi, Pg. 200

          In our case it was Beet Greens and Kimchi but that was all right because the intense flavor from seasonings and kimchi created a most delicious and satisfying finished dish. The bunch of greens was large. I used only the leaves and some small and tender stems, saving the large stems for another application. The other substitution was diced pancetta for country ham. The rest of the ingredients remained the same. I used only 2 cups of homemade chicken broth, and Trader Joe's Korean Napa Cabbage Kimchi.

          TJ's kimchi was mildly spicy with a little kick back that gave a pleasant after taste. I loved it for the taste and because it's just a simple fermented vegetable combination. w no preservatives. That will be a larder staple from now on. FWIW, I removed the kimchi from the package to a canning jar and it's sitting in the fridge awaiting my fork.

          1. re: Gio

            I had no idea TJ's had kimchi! I'll have to go in search of that. Thanks for the tip!

          2. re: JoanN

            My turn on this one...I don't have the book, so got the recipe online here:

            This was Edward Lee meets TJs. I used a bag of TJ's southern greens blend (mustard, turnip, collards and spinach), diced pancetta and TJ's kimchi a la Gio, and boxed chicken stock. I bet it would be even better with a spicier kimchi from Koreatown and great stock, but even with my shortcuts it was delicious! Served it with some grilled baguette to sop up the extra juices, as well as a simple grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce.

            Leftovers will likely find their way into a frittata with some extra kimchi.

            1. re: mebby

              We picked up some collard greens yesterday and plan to make it again with all the recommended ingredients. And that kimchi seemed OK to me. I had intended to add a little more heat via red pepper flakes or picapepper sauce but decided it was fine as is.

              1. re: Gio

                Yes, agreed. I've used the TJ's kimchi before and it is FAR better than the jarred stuff I previously got at my local high-end supermarket. I kept having to refill my mise en place because I kept picking off bits of the kimchi with my fingers while cooking :) But given that I live in L.A., which I believe has the largest Korean population outside of Korea and a thriving Koreatown, it seems silly not to avail myself of some of the varieties there.

                That said, I wouldn't hesitate to make exactly the same way again because it was great as is.

                1. re: mebby

                  I'm definitely going to be trying the TJs kimchi. I'm often amazed at how good their stuff is, and it is good to know this is an option. I love the bulgogi recipe in Gourmet Today - this might be a nice, easy side.

                  1. re: mebby

                    Yes, we are large consumers of TJ's kimchi. My husband is Korean and so we eat a fair amount of kimchi. The Trader Joes is the best we can find locally for sale. It is not as good as the made in-store kind my Mom can bring down form Baltimore, but it's better than our other local options (including the made in store options from our local Korean market.

              2. re: JoanN

                Collards and Kimchi, page 200

                We LOVED this. In truth, we love collards and kimchi and we have a fondness for country ham, so this is not surprising. But I think this dish really show's Edward Lee's genius (yes, Joan, you are correct, he does have genius!!).

                I live in the South and my husband is Korean, so these are all things that we know and love but I would have never thought to have put them together like this. But this is a dish that is an instant classic in my book, one that I will make over and over.

                One note about the recipe... it calls for 10 oz of chopped country ham. I was using a very pricey artisanal country ham and probably only used 2 ounces. I thought that was about right though, for the amount of collards. More than that, and I think it might have been too salty for us.

                I served this with Lee's Potato stuffed roast chicken, rice, and nori. This dish stole the show. I would have been happy to just eat the collards and kimchi and rice. So good!

                1. re: JoanN

                  Collards and Kimchi Pg. 200

                  This was made to go along with the Miso Smothered Chicken and I thought the slight acidity of the dish did very well with the richness of the miso smothered chicken.

                  I did have to go with Kale as I couldn't find any Collards, so the simmer was a bit shorter but I do think that the Kale worked very well. I also couldn't find any country ham so I had to go with what he calls a city ham (or wet ham I believe). I had to really crank the heat to get it to brown as it is by its nature wetter than dry cured hams, but I thought it still worked pretty well.

                  On the whole I am sure this dish would be better with the proper ingredients, but for a Canadian who had trouble accessing some of the ingredients I was very happy with this dish of braised southern/korean inspired greens.

                  I must admit I also love Kimchi and the store bought variety I got was actually quite good.

                  On the whole a definite winner for me.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Collards and Kimchi, p. 200

                    Last week, the CSA haul included collards, so after reading all the raves for this recipe, I knew what they were destined for. My major departure from the recipe was to skip the ham, or any substitute product. I used a combo of olive oil and butter to sauté, and just continued on with adding the collards after the onion was sufficiently softened. My bunch of collards was quite small, just over a half pound before trimming, so I adjusted things down proportionally. They were sufficiently tender after 20 minutes of simmering. As things finished up cooking, I browned a smoked chicken sausage, which I sliced up and added to the pot, turning this into a hearty and delicious one-dish meal.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      I too made this dish last night -- a half recipe because my bunch of collards was on the small side. I didn't have any ham so subbed a few strips of bacon for the porky element. And I messed up my proportions so I ended up with more onions and cider vinegar than chef lee intended. We did enjoy this, as expected, and I'd like to try it with the country ham if I ever run across any. [I may just try subbing prosciutto instead].

                    2. re: JoanN

                      Collards and Kimchi, page 200.

                      I was so pleased to find collards in the CSA this past week, so I was finally able to jump on this bandwagon. I purchased TJ's kimchi for the first time, and it was quite nice. Perhaps not as spicy as some I had, but perfect for this dish. I didn't have lard, and I didn't have ham, so I cooked chopped bacon, used the bacon in place of ham, and used the drippings in place of lard.

                      This was a wonderful dish with a great balance of spicy, sour, and salty. Even some sweetness in there from our slightly sweet onions. It's definitely a do-again, and I will probably use bacon again.

                    3. Edamame Hummus (page 199)

                      Finely chopped shallot and garlic sautéed in olive oil until soft, shelled edamame are added and cooked for 2 minutes, then a mixture of water, tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt, and ground cumin is added and all is simmered gently for 6 minutes. The whole thing is tossed into a food processor and pulsed until you have a “thick, crumbly puree.” This can be kept warm until ready to serve, or served at room temperature.

                      Since I was serving this as a side with Vietnamese Lamb Chops ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9152... ), I kept it warm. It was a bit runnier than I’d expected, but noted that it firmed up as it cooled.

                      I made the full recipe since he says that it’s a great snack served with raw vegetables, and that’s just what I did the next day. This was interesting served warm as a side; it was just outstanding served room temperature as a dip. It was so flavorful and satisfying, I ended up making a meal of it, although that had no been my original intention. This is going to be made often around here (and has, in fact, been made two more times since this report was first written at the end of June).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: JoanN

                        I can't wait to try this hummus. It's just moved up on the list.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          I'm looking for kids lunch box snacks. I'll shall try this!


                          1. re: JoanN

                            Edamame Hummus p. 199

                            After sauteing the main ingredients and then simmering them for 6 minutes as directed in the book, I used a stick blender to puree the mixture with great success.

                            I served the hummus at room temperature. Although it still tasted great when warm, the runny texture wasn't appealing to me. I chopped up veggies to dip in the hummus and also had crackers and tortillas. All of them were great vessels for the hummus.

                            Overall, this was a big success and a must make again. I served it to my mum and her partner during their visit and they requested the recipe. I also served lobster dip that evening and the hummus was the star of the 2 dips.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Edamame Hummus, p. 199

                              I'm rather embarrassed to post about this one as it took me two tries. Who needs two tries to make a batch of hummus, she asks, sheepishly.

                              I followed the recipe to a tee--or so I thought. But after processing the whole shebang, my puree was not “thick and crumbly,” only slightly thickish and very, well, grainy--quite unappealing. Then I realized my mistake. I'd misread the recipe and not started out with *cooked* edamame. Duh. Surely couldn't take this to the game-watching party we were headed to.

                              After a quick trip to the grocery store for more edamame, I tried again, this time cooking the edamame according to the package directions (and then a good bit longer as I was determined to soften up those babies) and proceeding with the recipe as has been described above. This time it was pretty creamy, a little runnier than usual, but I liked the texture.

                              I spooned it into a shallow bowl, added a puddle of olive oil, a few squirts of lemon juice, a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper, and a few bobs of bourbon-pickled jalapeño for garnish. Brought pita wedges along with it.

                              Not much to add--except that it was a hit. I feared it seemed a little pedestrian among all the other dishes at the party, but people kept saying that it was the best hummus they’d ever had, etc., commented on its lemony-ness, and then seemed completely pleased to learn it was edamame hummus. Not a smidge left in the dish after less than an hour.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Edamame Hummus, p. 199

                                One more happy report on this dish. I took a cue from Musie and blended it in the pot with an immersion blender. I held back on the amount of salt, and found upon tasting after it was blended that it didn't need more. When warm, I found the tahini flavor quite dominant (though I used more like 1/3 cup than 1/2), but after it hung out in the fridge overnight and came back to room temp, the lemon came through more and it seemed better balanced. Terrific as a dip for vegetables.

                              2. Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños (page175)

                                Jalapeños are cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and pickled for 3 days in a mixture of white vinegar, bourbon, honey, coriander, salt, yellow mustard, and bay leaves.

                                I should have tasted the jalapeños before pickling them. Mine were so unbearably hot I could barely eat a small piece of it, even being sure to eat neither rib nor seed. I had to throw them away. But I would definitely try making them again, making absolutely certain the jalapeños were edible first. I’ll bet they’d make a great cocktail garnish.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños, p. 175

                                  Mine are hot, but definitely edible (for me, anyway; DH wouldn't even try one). So far I've only eaten a few pieces with some cold pork loin, but I see a pulled pork sandwich in their future. (I can't say, however, that I can really taste the bourbon, which I was looking forward to.)

                                  The FM vendor told me that the lovely red, orange, and yellow jalapeño-shaped chiles were “just like jalapeños,” and they do seem so (though maybe they're milder than Joan's jalapeños). So I decide to sub these colorful babies in for the regular green ones. And they really are pretty.

                                  I wanted to reduce the recipe and learned the hard way (what I’m sure you smarter cooks already know): you can’t cut liquid amounts in half just because you are halving a recipe! Actually, I cut the peppers called for to 5 ½ oz and cut the liquid by half, and still had to quickly make extra pickling liquid. Otherwise, this, like most of Lee’s pickle recipes was very easy.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños, p. 175

                                    I made these exactly as directed. I used jalapeños with very smooth skin (stressed peppers are said to be hotter) and mine have a healthy kick to them.

                                    The flavor is really complex. Another keeper!

                                    1. re: meatn3

                                      I've really been enjoying the jalapeños!

                                      Aside from eating them as is I chopped some and added them to the stuffing for a poblano casserole and they really added terrific flavor and just the right amount of heat.

                                      I think they would be a killer addition to pimento cheese!

                                    2. re: JoanN

                                      That's too bad that you threw them away. The longer they sit, the milder they get. I do a traditional soy sauce/sugar/garlic version with serranos and the first few days I start coughing when I open the jar. After another couple days in room temperature, they mellow out to just the right spiciness.

                                      1. re: soypower

                                        I didn't throw them away until after they'd been in the fridge about a week and a half and they were still inedible. I used the jalapenos from the same batch (along with other chiles) to make the Hot Sauce that accompanies the Honey-Glazed Roast Duck and that was edible only when thinned 1:1 with water.

                                        These were beautiful looking, smooth-skinned, but unusually large jalapenos that I bought at an Asian market. I don't recall ever having had a jalapeno that hot. At least I didn't have to throw out something with a bunch of expensive ingredients in it.

                                    3. Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise (page 176)

                                      Peeled peaches are sliced into wedges, packed into a glass jar, and covered with champagne vinegar, water, sugar, salt, star anise, chile peppers (he calls for Serranos but I didn’t have any so substituted a habañero) that has been brought to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Jasmine tea bags are added to the jar and removed after day one. The peaches are ready in two days and keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

                                      He suggests serving these with any kind of fatty pork dish or with lamb or goat, or on a cheese plate with an aged sheep’s milk cheese and crusty bread.

                                      I served them with some of the Pulled Pork Shoulder that didn’t find it’s way into sandwiches.

                                      These were great; really a perfect foil for the pork. I made only half a recipe and that was a mistake. Will definitely make a full batch next time since I could just eat these right out of the jar. That said, I can’t wait to try them with the cheese. Hurry up while there are still fresh peaches around. These are just so easy and so good I’m sure I’ll be making them for years to come.

                                      28 Replies
                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise, p.176

                                        Perfume in a pickle jar! I just wanted to add to Joan's excellent report that the fragrance emanating from this jar is just lovely.

                                        I made a whole recipe, as written, but I think my peaches were a tad riper than what would be ideal for pickling. I ate a few straight from the jar and served some on a pâté plate last night, to raves from one particular guest. Although I found them delicious, I think that the next time I make them--and there will be an again--I will use two teabags instead of three and cut back on the star anise as well. I'd prefer those flavors to be just slightly more subtle. (My guest thought they were perfect as is--and copied the recipe to take home.)

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          I'm stealing your photo. So much more appealing than mine, and more accurate as well.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Thanks, Joan--that tickled me as I am known for my extremely poor photography skills. The lighting in my fridge must be just right.

                                            Any ideas about what to do with the leftover pickling liquid?

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              Most pickle brines can simply be reboiled for two minutes and reused. With this brine, it sounds as though you might want to refresh a smidgen and use a fresh tea bag.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                I just did exactly that and just added some fresh peach slices. Didn't use a fresh tea bag, though, since the brine still had plenty of jasmine aroma. (That may be because I used two tea bags for half the recipe.) Not ready for tasting yet so I don't know how the two batches will compare or if I'll even notice the difference.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Coming back to report that putting fresh peach slices in second-time-around brine made for a significantly more intense peach slice. Everything about it was more: more heat, more anise, more vinegar. Still good, but different and not at all subtle. They were fine for me, but I’d make a fresh batch of brine if I were serving these to company. Curious if those of you who tried this had a similar or different experience?

                                                  And as long as I’m here, last night I had the last of the peaches with the famous Southeast Asian Turkey Burger from “Gourmet Today.” I had the burger with the sauce, but without the bun and herbs. Outstanding pairing. Not that these peaches don’t go well with a lot of things, but this was just brilliant.

                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                      Not Joan but I'm here to say YOU HAVE TO TRY THESE. And yes, it is the first one of the two.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Thanks, I will! Do you serve them as directed, drizzled with the sauce and topped with piles of herbs?

                                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                                          Well, I do the drizzled sauce and the herbs, but I know that others have had success without the bun. I could live without the bun, but not without the sauce and the herbs - they really add a lot. They're easy and they are really incredibly good (if you like an Asian flavor-profile). Ever since I first made them they've been in pretty heavy rotation around here.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            I simply served them with steamed brown rice with the sauce and herbs.

                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                      I had a significantly different experience, but I didn't actually reboil the brine, I just shoved more peach slices into it, so that's a rather different thing than pouring hot brine over the peaches. As noted below, I had previously pulled the chile pieces from the jar, and this time I didn't peel the peaches. Upon tasting the new slices today, they really screamed PEACH! in a way the original did not, but I'm sure that was probably as much my not heating the syrup as not peeling. The other flavors took a back seat, and in fact I shoved another teabag in before returning the jar to the fridge. When I finish these, if there are still local peaches to be had, I'll try reboiling the brine and adding more to see how that is.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        I think my main takeaway lesson here is to remove the hot pepper much earlier in the game, perhaps as soon as day three. And I'll try not peeling the peaches since I don't think I'd mind the skin on in the least. Unfortunately, further experiments will have to wait until next peach season.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    Thx to you and Joan. That never even occurred to me.

                                            2. re: JoanN

                                              Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise, p.176

                                              Wow! I'm so stoked that so many people have made this, and so many other recipes, already.

                                              For my version of this, I used a good loose leaf jasmine tea, and strained the brine before adding to the jar. I used red Thai chiles. I've been getting peaches every week all summer from my CSA, and they tend to come a bit crisp but soften within 48 hours, so this recipe is perfect if I use them the day I get them. The perfume of the jasmine tea is an amazing compliment to the peaches. This is one stunner of a pickle!

                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                I think I'm going to have to buy some peaches at the farmer's market next week. All the reports sound great!

                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise, p.176

                                                I'm happy to see all the raves, because I just put a half recipe in the fridge, and now I'm really anticipating trying them in a couple of days. I had to buy peaches at the store, because there is no such thing as an underripe peach in my CSA box or local farmers' market, which is normally a good thing!

                                                I did have to make two unplanned changes. I'd forgotten about the chile, so I ended up using a quartered jalapeño as that was the only fresh kind I had. And I didn't check my pantry stores, and emptying the sugar bag yielded only half the amount I'd need, so I made up the rest with turbinado sugar. Like Joan, I used two tea bags.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  I've been as pleased with these as everyone else. I was happy with the level of flavor from the star anise and jasmine, but I pulled the jalapeño pieces out after a few days because, while didn't make them too spicy in the too-much-heat sense, I thought the heat kind of overwhelmed the other flavors, including that of the peaches.

                                                  After I ate all the peach slices, I also cut up more and shoved them into the remaining syrup, though not as firm/underripe as the first batch. I decided not to peel, in the interest of preserving as much peach flavor as possible. I haven't tasted yet, so I'll have to see how that worked out.

                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                  Help my fellow COTM-ers. The only Jasmine tea at my local Korean market is a loose tea. Would someone be willing to weigh their Jasmine Tea bag and tell me how heavy [light] it is? Grams would be great. I have the peaches...

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      According to my scale, one teabag, Twinings, contains 1.5 grams of loose tea.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        The two of you are GREAT! Thank you so very much.

                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                      I also made these last week. I've had them on the side of quite a few dishes ... some barbecued chicken and the brined pork chops from this book. They are a nice change.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise (page 176)

                                                        I made these too! I used half the amount of peaches but full amount of brine since I'm a household of one and Lee gives these a 3 week shelf life.

                                                        My only changes were to use half champagne vinegar (frosted bottle had looked full) and half pear vinegar. My serrano's were green rather than the red in the book's photo.

                                                        Really nice with a mild kick which makes them rather addicting! I'll have plenty of brine left and plan to reboil and use them with plums. This one is a keeper!

                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                          My peaches were very much enjoyed but went mushy a little earlier than Lee noted.

                                                          I strained the brine and reboiled it. I added Asian pears. Fantastic! I used part of another (bosc iirc) pear too. Tastes nice but the Asian pear has a better texture and seems to have taken on the brine better.

                                                        2. re: JoanN

                                                          I was debating whether to post this at all, but I just haven't been as enamoured with these peaches as the rest of you. My batch tastes like gussied up canned peaches (very sweet and soft peaches in a syrupy liquid, made punchier with vinegar and spice). Perhaps my peaches were too ripe for pickling? They seemed green enough when I was slicing them up, but they are quite soft in the brine.

                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                            Mine didn't become soft until they had been in the brine for more than a week, maybe a week and a half. And I certainly wouldn't have equated the sweetness level with canned peaches, which make my teeth hurt. But I do see what you mean. Perhaps a lot has to do not only with the ripeness of the peaches but with the variety as well.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            Pickled Jasmine Peaches with Star Anise (page 176)

                                                            I too found these a bit too sweet for my tastes, but I really like the subtle flavorings. I bought more under-ripe peaches to make a second batch with less sugar, but just didn't get to it. We will be having a peach caflouti for dinner tonight!

                                                            The peaches that I used might have been too sweet for this preparation. There seem to be a number of varieties being grown locally, but no one is bothering to name them at the farmer's market. I will try this again next summer. I think this is worth further investigation!

                                                          3. I am planning to make this week
                                                            pineapple-pickled jicama,pickled garlic, and pickled coffee beets
                                                            I wonder if I can us instant coffee in place of the beans?

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: jpr54_1

                                                              I just prepared the
                                                              Pineapple-Pickled Jicama
                                                              page 172

                                                              I used canned pineapple in own juice in place of fresh

                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                I enjoyed the results last night with roast cornish hen

                                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                  I made the edamame and hummus this morning.
                                                                  I added more garlic and water.
                                                                  it was delicious

                                                                  i think i will add some dried jalapeno to a small amount of the mixture-to kick it up a notch

                                                            2. Okra Tempura w/ Remoulade, p. 198

                                                              Tempura is my favorite prep for fried vegetables, and this recipe with the fabulous remoulade (reported in designated thread) really makes for a delicious way to eat fried okra. Even the okra hater-in-residence loved these. I made ½ recipe of batter (1/2 c AP flour, 1/3 c cornstarch, ½ tsp baking powder, 1 egg yolk, 1 c club soda) and used it to batter probably ½ pt okra (gorgeous small, slim pods from that morning’s FM). Fried, they didn’t look quite as lovely as those in the book’s photo, but I’d wager they tasted as good.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                Okra Tempura with Rémoulade, p. 198

                                                                I had to play around with this a bit. I used rice flour and potato starch instead of all-purpose flour to make the recipe gluten-free. I also used a whole egg instead of egg yolk. I had fantastic tender, tiny okra from my CSA. Great way to cook okra, great sauce to dip it in.

                                                              2. i had dismissed this book on my wish list (on the pretext that i had too many on the list). i just put it back on the list thanks to these glowing reviews. THANKS ALL!!

                                                                1. Pickled Rosemary Cherries, p. 194

                                                                  I love pickled cherries so I decided I had to try these (I've gone a little pickling crazy with this book).

                                                                  A half recipe: 1/2 c. rice vinegar, 1/4 c ea. water and sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp (didn't reduce the amount here) black peppercorns are brought to a boil. The liquid is cooled for 10 minutes and poured over a pound of pitted fresh cherries and a sprig of rosemary.

                                                                  Very nice cherries, with rosemary in the background, not overpowering. I served these on a pâté plate, where they worked to foil the richness of the chicken liver. Again, one of my guests was crazy about them.

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                    I had really wanted to make these, but I missed the boat, because cherries are over here, long gone from the farmers' market, and no longer to be found in stores, either. Next year.

                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                      Pickled Rosemary Cherries, page 194.

                                                                      I'm glad I grabbed a big bag of bing cherries before the brief season ended. They lodged themselves in a couple of jars using this recipe. Very easy and doesn't take long, as nomadchowwoman describes. I'm not sure if I used too much rosemary, as each jar got a sprig of our fragrant garden rosemary, but the flavor was quite strong. No complaints about that, however; I love the aroma each time I open a jar.

                                                                      These cherries are great with duck, with pork, and with lamb. To tell the truth, I've eaten a few of them on crackers spread with goat cheese. Yum.

                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                        Pickled Rosemary Cherries, p. 194

                                                                        I really wanted to make these but missed cherry season. So I decided to try them with frozen cherries!

                                                                        I added the frozen fruit straight from the freezer to the cooled brine. The texture lacks the crisp snap of fresh, but they are far from the mush spectrum.

                                                                        My batch tastes more of pepper than rosemary, so I think I'll tuck in a few more sprigs and see if the balance changes. They are intriguing but I'm not as enamored with them as I am with the peaches.

                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          Variation: Odd Unexpected Love Child of Pickled Cherries and Pickled Peaches

                                                                          I was feeling smug that it looked as though I would have completed three pickle recipes from this book within an hour.
                                                                          So I set the brine for the cherries on the stove and proceed with prepping the peaches.

                                                                          The phone rings with updates regarding this years family drama...I resume my pickle prep somewhat distracted. I tuck the peaches in the jar and go to get the brine. I forgot the star anise! I add it, bring to a boil, let cool. Now I tuck the rosemary in with the peaches and pour the brine over them. I immediately suspect there is something very wrong with this mix. I quickly check the recipe - oops - and pour the mix into a strainer.

                                                                          I salvage the peaches and make the correct brine. I make the correct brine for the cherries. All is well except I have this brine oddity.

                                                                          So I keep the interloping star anise in it and pour it over a pint of blueberries. In for a penny, in for a pound...so I figure I'll tuck in some rose geranium leaves instead of rosemary...

                                                                          They turned out really nice! At this point I like them better than the cherries!

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            Way to save meatn3! A true Chowhound home cook if ever there was one.

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              Thanks! (blush)

                                                                              Every time I have a moment of feeling self congratulatory of how well things are going it immediately falls apart. One of these days I'll learn. :-)

                                                                              But accidents often lead you in an unexpected direction - so it's all good!

                                                                            2. re: meatn3

                                                                              Just a note to report that the blueberries have maintained their "pop" and keep getting better!

                                                                        2. Quick Caraway Pickles

                                                                          Sorry, no page number, I'm working from an iBooks version, and the page numbers don't match.

                                                                          This is a quick pickle, made with vinegar rather than fermented. Now, I'm a fermented pickle snob, so I was skeptical about this one, but I'd already made a bunch of fermented pickles from my CSA cukes, and then I got more, and just needed to get them processed and put up, somehow.

                                                                          You heat a mixture of cider and rice vinegars, water, sugar, caraway seeds, red pepper flakes, and a cinnamon stick. You just pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, which have been sliced and packed into a jar (or jars). Then you put them in the refrigerator. The recipe says the pickles will be ready in four hours, and will keep for up to three days. I think they need at least 24 hours. I also know that they are good for far, far longer than three days. Just sayin'.

                                                                          Mr. MM is nuts about these pickles. The caraway seeds are what makes them a bit different. They also have a kick from the chile flakes, but I always put chile in my pickles so that's not anything new here. I've made three batches of these so far. The last batch, I made something like 8 pints, which we've been noshing on ever since. Definitely a repeat recipe in our household.

                                                                          1. Curried Corn Griddle Cakes with Sorghum-Lime Drizzle

                                                                            This is simply a corn pancake, with some fresh corn kernels in it, and spiced up a bit with some curry powder, cayenne, black pepper, and scallions. A very simple syrup is made to accompany it, which is just sorghum molasses mixed with butter and lime juice and zest.

                                                                            Oh, man, are these good. I think the author is right when he says in the headnote that corn and curry are a natural pairing. The tastes just go. And the sorghum-lime syrup is so simple but is absolutely brilliant. Goes great with these pancakes and could be a dipping sauce for almost anything.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                              Had I not read your report, I wouldn't have tried these. Now on they go to the ever-growing list.

                                                                            2. Southern Fried Rice

                                                                              I like to make fried rice. I make it often. But this version was completely new. It worked well for me this summer to use up CSA produce, when I'd gotten fresh black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, scallions, and bell peppers in my box. The other vegetables included in this stir-fry are onions, jalapeños, and garlic.

                                                                              I changed the technique just a bit to match my standard fried rice technique. I have the advantage of a high-heat, outdoor wok, and this recipe is written for a skillet. There is also a ham broth involved, to be mixed with the egg, which is made from ham trimmings. I made mine using smoked ham hocks (and had extra left over for the freezer). The seasonings were soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and oyster sauce. I used them as written the first time I made this. The second time, I decided I wanted a little more heat than just the jalapeños provided, and used some of Fuchsia Dunlop's chile oil.

                                                                              This recipe was, for me, part of a larger change in the way I think about making Asian, and more particularly Chinese, dishes. I really enjoyed the use of distinctly Southern ingredients in a fried rice, and especially when those ingredients lined up nearly perfectly with my CSA box. I have also increasing been wanting to use more local, seasonal produce in my stir-fries. The first version of this that I made, pretty much as written, was a bit bland for my taste. But it made me feel free to play with the recipe and my fried rice and stir-fries in general. Subsequent versions, which I adapted a bit more to my own taste, were excellent.

                                                                              1. Butter Beans w/Garlic, Chile, and Celery Leaves, p. 212

                                                                                This recipe really intrigued me. I've only ever prepared butter beans one way and never had them with tomatoes. Lately, I've been able to get fresh shelled beans at the FM so I picked up a pound and made these a few days ago. Actually, I'm not sure these are true butter beans or whether they are baby limas (they're smallish, but bigger than the baby limas sold in the frozen food section); we don't always call things by the same names down here.

                                                                                You start by cooking 1/4 c chopped bacon and rendering the fat, then add 1 c ea chopped onions and tomatoes and a (minced) garlic clove and cook for five minutes (I probably went for about 10, as I wanted the onion to soften more). Then you add: butter beans, 1 c ea chicken stock and water, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 T butter. It's all brought to a boil, and then Lee suggests simmering for about 30 minutes, but it took a little over an hour for them to achieve my ideal of tenderness. (To that end, I had to add another cup of chicken stock as they were drying out.) Finally, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon is added and the beans are garnished with celery leaves. I tried them with, preferred them without. I also thought the beans were better on the second day. They're pictured here, in the pot, and on the second go-round, served w/a fried soft shell crab (w/a dollop of Lee's "perfect remoulade").

                                                                                While these won't replace my regular butter bean recipe, which we like better, they are very tasty, and I can certainly see making these again.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                  Butter Beans with Garlic, Chile, and Celery Leaves, Pg. 212

                                                                                  In an attempt to get through our half-share of CSA produce I made a substitution of the main ingredient for this recipe, using Romano beans instead of butter beans. I think it worked just fine. The beans were sliced to about the same size as largish butter beans would have been. The cooking time was a little longer because Romanos are denser than butter beans.

                                                                                  The rest of the recipe was followed as written and the finished dish was quite tasty. In fact it reminded me of a Mediterranean recipe and was a good side dish for Pepin's tenderloin medallions in port wine and herbed potato salad from Raising the Salad bar.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Yes, you've put your finger on it; it is similar to some Mediterranean bean dishes. I couldn't quite place it. In fact, a FM vendor (who is Turkish) makes a delicious cold bean salad, with gigantas (which are probably more akin to true butter beans than what I used) and tomatoes, though no bacon, that has a similar flavor profile.
                                                                                    I can see how this would be really good with romano beans.

                                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                      You know, I was tempted to use pancetta instead of bacon but thought one big sub was enough. I do have dried gigantas in the pantry so could use them another time.

                                                                                  2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                    Butter Beans w/Garlic, Chile [and Celery Leaves], p. 212

                                                                                    I had never cooked or eaten butter beans before, but I have often seen them for sale at the farmer's market. They seem to have quite a following, so I was curious to get some and try this recipe.

                                                                                    We made this tonight, but it turned out it didn't go too well with the rest of dinner (the Spicy Pork Rice bowl). I should have read the reviews as I agree that this had much more of a Mediterranean flavor profile, rather than Asian. My husband actually asked "so what makes this Korean?" Nothing, really. I did leave out the celery leaves because I really dislike the flavor of celery.

                                                                                    This was a nice dish. It didn't wow us, but it grew on us. I have to admit, after reading NCW's review, I'm not sure I cooked it long enough. The butter beans were very creamy inside, but still had a bit of a tough skin. Not overly so, but definitely had some resistance to the teeth. The flavor was subtle but very nice.

                                                                                  3. Fried Green Tomato-Cilantro Relish, p. 216

                                                                                    This recipe caught my eye the first time I flipped through the book. I decided I just had to make it - if only I could lay my hands on some green tomatoes! Well, one day last month, I was telling a friend about the recipe, and the next day he brought me a bag of green tomatoes from his backyard plants so I could make it (and then split it with him).

                                                                                    Green tomatoes are sliced 1/4" thick and fried in batches for a couple of minutes on each side, then onion and garlic are cooked until translucent. The tomatoes are then to be finely chopped, but I did more like a very small dice (less than 1/4") because there was a whole heap of tomatoes to chop and I'm not the fastest chopper in the land. In the bowl with the tomatoes goes the onions, chopped cilantro (just 3 T., despite its starring role in the title), Dijon mustard, a tiny 1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar, a bit of sugar, ground fennel and cumin, and salt and pepper.

                                                                                    This is tangy, savory, and delicious. In the head note, Ed Lee says, "I don't even know what to specifically recommend eating with this relish, because the list goes on and on." He does go on to make some suggestions, but here's what I ate it with: A spoon. Pan-fried smoked chicken sausage. Grilled cheese sandwiches made with spicy pepper jack (actually, not with the grilled cheese, but a thick layer inside it).

                                                                                    If you've got end-of-summer tomatoes that aren't going to ripen (or your friends do), you probably want to make this. But maybe ignore where he says go ahead and double it because it keeps a couple of weeks, because the yield was WAY more than the 2 cups he indicates. Granted, mine may not have been chopped as fine as he intended, but I probably used closer to 2 lbs tomatoes than the 2 1/2 called for, and my yield was near 4 cups.

                                                                                    1. this thread is killing me. I ordered the book today!

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: meatn3

                                                                                        With all this pickling I wondered when you were going to pop in.

                                                                                      2. WTF Potato Salad, Pg. 210

                                                                                        The story goes, Chef Lee's neighbor, upon tasting his first forkful of the Chef's newly concocted potato salad, declared , "WTF, this is good." And so it stands for all eternity. (I suspect he didn't use just the letters) The fact is that it is very good indeed. This is no ordinary potato salad, with no ordinary dressing.

                                                                                        Ten ingredients for the dressing and thirteen for the salad. The dressing combines a mayo/sour cream mixture with garlic, lemon juice, Dijon, hot sauce, paprika, cumin and S & P. I juggled the salad ingredients a bit but nothing too drastic, omitting HB eggs, subbing hickory smoked bacon for country ham, and using the alternative to pickled okra - cornichons. Best to make the dressing first and let meld covered in the fridge till needed. I steamed small red potatoes w the peas, rendered the bacon, sauteed hydrated dry shiitakes. When you read the actual recipe you will see this was a deviation, but the remaining ingredients were exact. The salad contains a flavorful amount of different vegetables to augment the potatoes and the end result is seriously delicious.

                                                                                        A note from the Chef states that the potato salad can be made a day ahead, if possible, so that that the dressing be absorbed into the vegetables and thus the flavors will be "more harmonious." I also served grilled spicy hot Italian sausages and a napa cabbage stir-fry from Irene Kuo's "The Key to Chinese Cooking." This was a fabulous meal!

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          Love the name, sounds like your efforts did it justice Gio.

                                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                                            Welcome home, Delys ! Yes, the salad was very tasty and he's right about letting it sit in the fridge. Two days later when we hauled out what was left over the the flavors had pleasantly combined and it was just as wonderful as the original..

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Good to know, I haven't had a potato salad in a long while and a WTF potato salad sounds like the right one ha ha.

                                                                                        2. Summer Squash Soup and Cured Strawberries, p. 190

                                                                                          I found the link to the recipe here:


                                                                                          This was an easy soup to put together and quite delicious. Onions, yellow squash and thyme are sauteed together, vegetable stock is added, and the mixture is simmered until the squash is fully softened. Everything is then pureed in a blender with some sour cream, then chilled. I did use homemade veggie stock; I have not found a supermarket brand that I cared for and try to always keep some in the freezer.

                                                                                          While the soup chills (but no more than an hour before serving, per the recipe) strawberries are tossed with equal amounts of kosher salt and sugar to cure. At serving time, the soup is topped with a few berries and freshly ground pepper.

                                                                                          My husband liked the soup chilled whereas I thought it was a bit tastier after just being pureed and still lukewarm. But it was lovely either way, as the combination of little strawberry bites and the flavor of thyme was wonderful.

                                                                                          Oh - the color of the soup in the link is a very pretty yellow, but mine ended up (from the thyme) being a bit more green. Delicious, nonetheless.

                                                                                          1. Spicy Napa Kimchi p. 169

                                                                                            Making kimchi is not difficult, but it does require setting aside some time and a second fridge is helpful if you live with a non-kimchi eating spouse. My “stinky foods” (like kimchi) have been relegated to the refrigerator in the basement.

                                                                                            On to the recipe, quartered napa cabbage sits in a salt water brine for 2 hours. I mixed the water and salt first to dissolve then added the cabbage and used an otoshibuta (drop lid) to make sure the cabbage was submerged. Not in the recipe, but it is helpful to taste the cabbage after sitting in the brine to make sure that is salted enough. It should taste salty, but pleasantly so. Rinse and drain the kimchi. I let mine drain for at least an hour. Then cut the cabbage into 2” pieces.

                                                                                            The “guts” (chopped onion, Korean chili flakes aka gochugaru, grated daikon, microplaned ginger, grated ginger and fish sauce ground up in the food processor) are mixed into a cooled paste made of water, sweet rice flour (mochiko) and sugar (be diligent about stirring the mixture otherwise it will be full of lumps). Add the chopped scallions and mix thoroughly with the cabbage. This sits at room temperature for a day and then gets refrigerated until it reaches the level of fermentation that you like.

                                                                                            I found the recipe to be ok. The flavors were there, but muted. I love kimchi in its many stages. Having fresh kimchi is the main reason I make it myself, but I also like it pungent and sour. This kimchi was not tasty fresh, but was better after a week. In retrospect, I think there was *a lot* of sweet rice flour in this recipe - significantly more than what I’ve seen elsewhere (my go to recipe uses 3 T compared to Lee’s ¾ c). This could account for the muted flavors.

                                                                                            Pictures of the process and finished dish. (Ed Lee’s kimchi is on the left and my usual is on the right.)

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                                              Do you know how long kimchi lasts in the fridge? I'm interested in making some, but there are only two of us, and we would only use a little bit each time. The amount you get in side dishes in Korean restuarants.

                                                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                                                Kimchi will last several months in the fridge (some say indefinitely), but the taste changes the longer it sits getting more sour. I'd start with a half recipe and see how long it takes the two of you to go through it. Even a half recipe is 2 qts (8 cups). If it gets to be too much to eat as a side, you can make a ton of dishes with it (stews, pancakes, mandu, etc).

                                                                                            2. Pineapple-Pickled Jicama (page 172)

                                                                                              Jicama and red and yellow peppers are cut into matchsticks and layered in a jar with the juice of a pineapple (blend chunks of pineapple with vinegar and water, strain out the juice, and simmer with sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved), star anise, crushed red pepper, cloves, and mint sprigs and is ready the next day.

                                                                                              I served this as recommended with the Miso-Smothered Chicken ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9152... ), although he says he also serves it with Asian BBQ or as part of an hors d’oeuvres platter (which I’m not so sure about).

                                                                                              This was quite delightful; a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet. I’m beginning to take to his lightly cured fruits and vegetables as a salad alternative. They’re very unexpected and refreshing and really do complement his recipes.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                Are the red peppers hot peppers? I'm not able to figure out what makes this a little bit spicy?

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                  I edited my post to add crushed red pepper to the list of ingredients layered with the jicama and bell peppers. Thanks for the heads up. It's either too early in the morning or I had too many Kentucky Mules last night. Probably both.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                    Of course I could have gotten up and looked at the book too - thank you for being so nice about it! Go back to bed, and thanks for the help.

                                                                                              2. Spoon-Bread w/ Kale & Bacon, pg. 204

                                                                                                I'm a sucker for any kind of cornbread/johnnycake/spoon-bread/spider-bread, this one most definitely included. 1/3 recipe made just enough for a 6" CI skillet, which was all gone when the two of us finished dinner.

                                                                                                I used yellow cornmeal (good quality white is hard to get around here) and cut way back on the bacon (we were having this with a pork chop!), and it all worked out fine. The kale flavor is just marvelous with the corn meal, at some point I'm going to try this sans bacon, bet it would still be very good.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  Happy to read your report on this. I was thinking of doing the same thing - making a 1/3 recipe in a single small CI skillet. Glad this worked for you.

                                                                                                2. Roasted Okra and Cauliflower Salad, p. 198

                                                                                                  This comes together pretty easily, and while subtler than some of Lee's punchier dishes, its earthy and tangy flavors made for a delicious - and healthful; the whole thing has 2 tsp olive oil - side. I don't get how it would serve 6 to 8, though, with only a pound of the combined vegetables, unless part of a big spread.

                                                                                                  Small cauliflower florets and halved-lengthwise okra (mine from my farmers' market were slender but rather long, so I halved them crosswise as well) are each tossed with olive oil, ground cumin, and salt, then roasted. They go in a bowl and get tossed with chopped roasted cashews (I subbed almonds), a few thinly sliced dried apricots, and orange zest and juice. He makes a point to have you keep it warm, and says to serve it in warmed bowls. Due to timing issues, I served it at room temp, and liked just fine it that way.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    Love.This.Salad. Who knew, roasted okra!? I already roast cauliflower all the time, this was a great step up into a more composed dish.

                                                                                                    I've made it three times now -- the first time w pecans, the rest w roasted cashews which were much better in the salad even tho I love pecans. The dried apricot slivers and orange zest made it perfect for winter. I've tossed it in with baby arugula too - great healthy but exciting lunch.

                                                                                                    I like a pinch of chili flakes, I don't think the recipe calls for it.

                                                                                                  2. Cardamom Ambrosia Salad with Blue Cheese (Feta) Dressing, p. 194

                                                                                                    I kind of liked the idea of a tangy/savory dressing over fruit. Blue cheese and I aren't friends, but I had some Greek feta that needed using, and it also works well with fruit, so I used it instead. The dressing is mashed blue cheese (feta), buttermilk, sour cream (Greek yogurt), a smidge of sugar (omitted), and salt (omitted on account of salty cheese) and pepper to taste. The fruit salad part is a grapefruit, two oranges, two Anjou (Asian) pears, two Champagne mangoes (I had no mangoes), chopped dates, grated fresh (frozen) coconut, slivered almonds (the photo shows sliced, but the recipe calls for slivered and that's what I used), and some ground cardamom (I ended up adding a bit more than called for).

                                                                                                    Instead of tossing the fruit and dressing together, I kept the two separate and spooned some dressing over each serving of fruit. It wasn't pretty like the artfully styled photo, but it did let things hold up a bit better. Overall, I did like the effect of the tangy/tart/salty dressing against the fruit, and the mix of crunchy and soft textures, though I won't rush to repeat it. I also have little idea of with what this could be served as a side (but I don't hail from the land of ambrosia salads). I ate it for breakfast, all on its own save for a mug of strong black tea.

                                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                      I always thought of ambrosia as a dessert. Is that crazy? Do others serve it as a side dish? Not that I've ever served it - but I feel like I had it as a kid as a dessert. Anyway, very interesting report.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        I don't know the answers to your questions, only that it's in the vegetables chapter (despite, you know, not containing any), and that he says "feeds (x people) as a side."

                                                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                          A quick google search told me that it was a fruit salad, and one said a perfect side at a bbq, another said it was a dessert salad (not a term you hear often). But I get the impression most serve it as a side salad so I guess putting it in the vegetables chapter makes some kind of sense.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            I used to see this in the '60's. By that point it seemed to have morphed into a dish frequently made with canned fruit. Kind of a thrifty homemakers way of making something fancy with a maraschino cherry. That was the same period where a canned pear half stuffed with cottage cheese and topped with a maraschino cherry was popular as a "salad".

                                                                                                            This link is interesting:

                                                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                          It's always been served as dessert in my family, where it's been made for generations. This ambrosia recipe is where Lee (and some other "Southern" chefs) gets it wrong. Ambrosia is an old Southern dish. The oldest recipes I find are in creole cookbooks from the early 1900's, but I know it goes back further than that. Even in 1910, one cookbook calls it a "classic creole dessert." The old versions are, as you would expect, always made with fresh fruit (either oranges alone, or oranges and pineapple) and fresh coconut, with just a little bit of sugar, and sometimes some wine. And that is how it has always been made in my family, and still is. I had never seen this modern monstrosity made with canned fruit (and sometimes things like marshmallows), until I moved to NC, and it showed up at an office potluck. I was stunned, and horrified. And I'm even more horrified when I see in some "Southern" cookbook that this is what ambrosia is, and that it needs "reinventing". No, that's not what it is, and it doesn't need reinventing. It needs rediscovering, in its original form, which is one of the most beautiful, classiest desserts I have ever come across.

                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                            I think I've mentioned this before but curiously, my mother served Ambrosia as a dessert just as you described, Mel. Fresh orange, pineapple, coconut - my father had coconut opening duty. I have no idea where she found the recipe but she and her friends were all very adventurous cooks. I haven't made it for years but it's how I've made in the past.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                              I think you have mentioned it. Where was your mother from? It's a labor intensive recipe. My dad was always given the job of grating the coconut, and used to make jokes at the table about how much of his knuckles might be in the ambrosia.

                                                                                                              I'm fine with people getting creative with traditional dishes, but it helps to understand the original first.

                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                Don't laugh now, but my mother was born in Andria, Puglia, Italy. She grew up in Trieste, Italy and moved Boston MA as a teenager. I think she or one of her friends must have eaten Ambrosia either at a restaurant or somewhere, discussed it with the other friends, and then they were off and running. They were all quite wonderful home cooks!

                                                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                              Not part of my heritage and, in fact, only had it served to me once. But this discussion interested me enough to look it up on The Food Timeline ( http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq.html ). Scroll down a bit to see a list of recipes and when they were published. I found it especially interesting that one recipe states "You must not use canned cocoanut [sic]" and James Beard said "moist canned coconut is the best for this."

                                                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                            Huh. So, it's a savory fruit salad?

                                                                                                            This is on the list of dishes that intrigue me from the book, but I can see why it might be difficult to figure out what to serve it with. Sure doesn't sound like something I could pass off as dessert!


                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              In defense of it being served as a dessert, it doesn't often have the cheese in it. It is usually a very sweet and kind of weird thing with marshmellows and sour cream and lots of sweet fruit.

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                Not only is the cheese not traditional, neither are the marshmallows. See above. It's an old, old recipe.

                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                  Totally believe it and am very interested.

                                                                                                          3. Pickled Corn-Bacon Relish, page182

                                                                                                            To start with, I made omissions and substitutions, so my review is not exactly what you would get. His instructions first. Cook bacon until crisp and then drain. Then you cut the kernals off the corn cobs and combine with red and orange bell peppers and red onions in a bowl. Cover with water for 10 minutes and drain. Combine apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, fennel seeds and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring so that the sugar and salt dissolve. Throw the veggies into the boiling saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Then jar.

                                                                                                            I skipped the bacon. I also skipped all those bell peppers since I just don't like them. I subbed lima beans... which I realize sounds odd, but when I was a kid I remember limas and corn being ready in the garden at the same time and we would have succotash. Oh did I love succotash. But no farms grow lima beans anymore, so I used frozen baby limas.

                                                                                                            This man does love his sugar! This relish is sweeter than I had expected straight from the jar. So I made savory johnnycakes from the leftover polenta [night 1 of darkly braised lamb] and served with both chopped kimchi and the corn relish on the side. This was the perfect foil for the corn relish. The kimchi was almost ignored completely in favor of bite after bite of corn cakes with corn relish.

                                                                                                            The lima beans were perfect in this relish, and we certainly didn't "miss" the bacon. In the future, I would reduce the amount of sugar and double the red onion [this was locally grown, not the more powerful commercial variety.] But that is just to my taste. My Southern husband thought the sugar/tart balance reminded him of that place that used to be home.

                                                                                                            1. Parsnip and Black Pepper Biscuits, p. 206

                                                                                                              I was immediately intrigued by this recipe, because it uses parsnip puree as the liquid for the biscuits, whereas I've only otherwise seen recipes that incorporate mashed or grated vegetables. To make the parsnip puree, peeled and chopped parsnips are sauteed in butter until tender, the pan is deglazed with water, buttermilk and honey are added, and all is simmered for 5 minutes. The buttermilk broke as soon as I added it, but I figured it would reincorporate when blended, and it did. The mixture is blended, with extra water added as necessary to make a smooth puree, and goes in the fridge (I did this the day before I made the biscuits).

                                                                                                              The biscuits are made like other baking-powder biscuits, with butter cut into flour, baking powder, and salt; he then has you stick the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes before proceeding. He calls for AP flour, but I used equal weights (4 oz per cup) AP and whole-wheat pastry flour. I know that's likely heresy to southerners, but it's a sub I'm quite comfortable with, and since WW resists gluten development and the pastry flour is similar in weight to AP, I wasn't too worried about lack of tenderness. The recipe requires 1 cup of parsnip puree, and Lee tells us that the remainder can be stored for a few days. I had upwards of 1 1/2 cups and I could tell it would need to be thinned a bit before incorporating, so I crossed my fingers and decided to go ahead and make a double recipe (biscuits in the freezer sounding like a better bet than puree languishing in the fridge). So I added enough buttermilk to make it 2 cups and proceeded. Though he says the recipe makes 10 to 12 2-inch biscuits, my double recipe yielded 28.

                                                                                                              The upshot: These are mighty fine biscuits, very light, tender, and flaky. He has you roll the dough out, fold it in thirds, and roll again before cutting out the biscuits, a method I've seen but not before used for biscuits, which not surprisingly (given its common use in laminated doughs like puff pastry and croissants) helps produce wonderfully flaky layers. As for the parsnip aspect, it is all but undetectable; same with the freshly ground pepper in the dough. So much for the "floral, spicy, and complex" promised in the head note. Of course, he also says that biscuits can be bland without gravy (and that these aren't), to which I say, if a biscuit's bland without gravy, it's not a very good biscuit!

                                                                                                              While I don't think I'll likely use this recipe as-is again, given that the parsnip fussing didn't give much payoff, I'm absolutely glad I tried it, both because I now have 20 little (mighty fine, if not parsnippy) biscuits in my freezer ready to be baked a few at a time, and even more because it sold me completely on the folding technique.

                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                I learned the folding techniques some years ago, and it is brilliant! I fold in thirds five times and always get great puff.

                                                                                                                Too bad there wasn't more parsnippiness in the biscuit. Lots of additional work for no additional flavor. They are beauties though!

                                                                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                  Am I correct in assuming you're referring to puff pastry and not biscuits with the folding five times? Because that seems like a lotta working the dough for biscuits.

                                                                                                                  I've never made puff paste or the like myself, but am very familiar with the five "turns" (with interstitial chilling), having witnessed it every December 24 while growing up, as my mother prepared her only-on-Christmas Danish pastry, a wondrous braided wreath, each strand of which contains an almond-cheese filling.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Nope. I am talking biscuits, and you are hardly working the dough at all! You pat, you fold. No rolling. See Alton's instructions here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                                                                                                                    He has changed the recipe since it was first posted. I use the original one but the technique remains the same.

                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                      Ah, got it. The patting certainly makes a difference in the amount of working it. This recipe is the first time I've rolled biscuits vs. patting. Good to know, thanks.

                                                                                                                2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                  Gorgeous, Caitlin! I'm trying to reach through the computer screen to get one.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Parsnip and black pepper biscuits - p 206

                                                                                                                    See Caitlin's excellent description of how to make these biscuits above. I'm glad that you mentioned that your buttermilk split when you added it to the pan with the parsnips, Caitlin, because that happened to me too and because I'd read your review I wasn't alarmed.

                                                                                                                    I ended up making my puree in the morning, refrigerating through the afternoon and then having my daughter make the biscuits in the evening while I took care of the main course for dinner. By the time the puree came out of the fridge, it was more like a thick paste, so we had to add more liquid to our biscuit dough to moisten it up.

                                                                                                                    Although geekgirl followed the instructions carefully, our biscuits (while flaky, moist and yummy) didn't rise much, and didn't really taste of parsnip or pepper. If I make these again, I'll be adding quite a bit more pepper (perhaps crushing whole peppercorns in the mortar & pestle, instead of grinding it) and I'll try to figure out how to make the biscuits higher and puffier in the oven. I often find that my scones don't rise, so I think it's probably user error or my crappy electric oven, and not a problem with the recipe.

                                                                                                                    Overall -- this is an interesting use of parsnips but I wish the finished product tasted more parsnippy.

                                                                                                                  2. page 178
                                                                                                                    PICKLED COFFEE BEETS
                                                                                                                    i just put the beets and spices,etc. into a jar to pickle.
                                                                                                                    i won't know the results for 4 days.
                                                                                                                    liquid smells good-we will see

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                      I bookmarked that one and look forward to hearing about your results! The combination of ingredients really appeals to me.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                                                        i will be tasting them this evening

                                                                                                                      2. Bourbon-Ginger Glazed Carrots p. 215

                                                                                                                        Sauté carrots in butter to soften, then add brown sugar and minced ginger and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Deglaze with bourbon and orange juice until reduced and syrupy. Finish with salt and pepper.

                                                                                                                        Seemingly pedestrian, we weren't expecting much from this dish, but we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it. The spicy kick of ginger and the buttery, brown sugar glaze envelopes the carrots with its finger-licking goodness. Regretfully, we only made a half recipe. There weren’t too many carrots left by the time the Potato-Stuffed Roast Chicken was done resting.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                          Thank you for this, Sal. We are cooking while on vacation over the next couple of weeks, and I tucked this recipe in my veg folder the other day. I'm really looking forward to it now!

                                                                                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                            This is on the short list as soon as I can find decent carrots. Yours look--and sound--great.

                                                                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                                                                              Bourbon-Ginger-Glazed Carrots, p. 215

                                                                                                                              Not much to add to what BigSal has written. I too made a half-recipe. These were nice and ginger-y, but a tad sweet for my taste. Still I liked them very much; my husband really loved them. I'll make them again, but I'll cut back a little on the brown sugar.

                                                                                                                              I'm not a fan of candied sweet potatoes, but I'm thinking this treatment, with less sugar, might be a nice variation to try at Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                            2. Pickled Garlic in Molasses Soy Sauce, p. 181

                                                                                                                              This was another recipe I cut in half: the peeled cloves from two heads of garlic are rinsed in water and submerged for five days in white vinegar. At that point, the pickling liquid--1 c ea. soy sauce and water, 3/8 c rice vinegar, and 1/4 c ea. sugar and molasses, 1 jalapeno--is brought to a boil, then removed from heat and left to rest for fifteen minutes before being poured over the garlic. Jalapeno is added. All is covered tightly and refrigerated for at least six days.

                                                                                                                              This was just kind of "meh" to me. I'm not sure why I expected the garlic to soften in the pickling, but of course it didn't. While the dark liquid itself tasted nice, it didn't really penetrate the garlic cloves--at least not after a week. I ended up with firm cloves that tasted a bit vinegary, but nothing special.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                Hm that is too bad NMC. Firm vinegary garlic really doesn't sound appealing.

                                                                                                                              2. Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese with Pork Rind Crust

                                                                                                                                I believe this can be found on page 202 of the book; I found the online recipe here:


                                                                                                                                I've always ignored mac & cheese recipes which include squash because I was afraid they would be overly sweet, but I saw kabocha at Whole Foods and gave this a try. Glad I did; the kabocha was only mildly sweet, and was a delicious addition to a dish that can sometimes turn out to be a two-dimensional "macaroni with cheese".

                                                                                                                                The most time-consuming part of the recipe was peeling and cubing the squash as it has a very thick skin (I later learned that microwaving it for a couple of minutes makes it easier to cut). The cubes are roasted until tender, then pureed with chicken stock (I used canned low-sodium), milk, butter, and a blend of Colby, sharp Cheddar, and Pecorino Romano cheeses. Because of the large quantity of ingredients I used my food processor rather than the blender, and I also warmed the milk to tepid to help everything incorporate. Salt, pepper, and fresh nutmeg are pulsed in (I reduced the salt to 1 1/2 tsp. and used kosher, and upped the nutmeg to one teaspoon). The squash puree is added to 12oz. of cooked macaroni and the mixture is poured into a baking dish. The recipe mentions using a 9x12 dish with 4" high sides, but it all fit in my rectangular 9x13 pyrex casserole. Crushed pork rinds and sesame seeds are sprinkled over prior to baking. I did use closer to one cup of "snack aisle" pork rinds (there is a "see note" next to the 5T crushed pork rinds line-item in the recipe I used but the note was omitted, so I don't know if anything else was suggested. The store-bought were not overwhelming at all).

                                                                                                                                The dish bakes up golden, dense and hearty, with a delicious crunchy crust. The squash flavor doesn't dominate but instead melds with the cheeses, with an especially nice tanginess coming from the Pecorino.

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                  Wow Leslie, that looks very tasty.

                                                                                                                                  I have done something similar with cauliflower in the past and I thought the results were very good. Squash seems like an ideal candidate for this type of treatment.

                                                                                                                                  I have to say I am now super curious about this snack aisle pork rinds. Next time I am in the US I intend to partake.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                    Thanks! Cauliflower sounds like a good idea, as well (I know my son would love it with cauliflower). I think, but am not sure, that pork rinds are pork cracklings that have been "puffed" via deep frying...a lot of crunch but not a ton of flavor.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                      Thanks Leslie, it does sound like it would add an interesting texture.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                        Do you have Funyuns in Canada? Those are basically the same texture, but made with some sort of onion product/flavor.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                                      delys, when I was doing the Atkins diet a lot of Canadians on the Atkins forums said you CAN actually buy them here. You just have to be willing to hunt a little, I guess. Apparently you can sometimes find them at 7-11 or at Mexican grocery stores.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                        Lol I haven't been to 711 in years, but I think I might give it a try. I'll report back.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: lesliej

                                                                                                                                      Kabocha (Acorn) Squash Mac 'n' Cheese [with Pork Rind Crust], p. 202

                                                                                                                                      A few weeks ago, a very large (just shy of two pounds) acorn squash showed up in the CSA share. While I know it doesn't have as nice a flavor or texture as kabocha, it needed to be used. And while macaroni and cheese isn't something I'm much inclined to make, it suited the needs of this particular dinner. Instead of using Lee's peeling/cubing/roasting instructions, I just roasted the halved squash cut-side down on an oiled silpat-lined baking sheet and then scooped out the flesh. Normally, I'd sub fresh breadcrumbs or panko for the pork rinds (because, apparently I don't "have any sense of what's good in this world," per Lee), but in this case I was making dinner for someone for whom, thanks to recent oral surgery, eating little crispy-crunchy bits is painful, so I left them off. Oh, and I used non-fat evaporated milk because I had it in the pantry, and vegetable broth in deference to my vegetarian guest.

                                                                                                                                      We enjoyed this, and I agree that the squash didn't dominate. It did add a bit of sweetness, which made me wish I'd added a bit of mustard, dry or prepared, to the sauce. I made the full recipe, but only baked half; the rest is in a pyrex dish in my freezer, awaiting another day.

                                                                                                                                    4. yesterday i bought the tahini paste for the edamame hummus.

                                                                                                                                      what brands of the paste do you usually use?

                                                                                                                                      is there a difference in the taste?

                                                                                                                                      1. Lardo cornbread -- p 208

                                                                                                                                        This is another one of those excellent "Edward Lee crams in as many forms of saturated fat as he possibly can" recipes (see my previous review of the rice pudding!). It was a cold and rainy fall day and I had no plans for the afternoon and some lardo in the fridge, so how could I pass this one up?

                                                                                                                                        To make the cornbread, you whisk together 2c each of cornmeal and all purpose flour, along with a tablespoon each of kosher salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Meanwhile, melt 4 tbsp of butter and set aside to cool. In another bowl, mix 1/4 cup corn oil (I used canola), 3 large eggs and 1 large egg yolk, 2.5 cups of buttermilk and the cooled melted butter. Mix together wet & dry ingredients, then fold in 6oz of grated aged cheddar cheese and 6oz of finely diced lardo (the box suggests you could also use a similar amount of fat trimmed off a country ham). Heat a 12" cast iron frying pan on the stovetop, coat the bottom with a tablespoon of corn oil and then pour your batter in and let it cook on the stove for 2 minutes before you pop it into a 400F oven for about 40 min.

                                                                                                                                        This yields a humongous, golden, fragrant pan full of rich cornbread with a salty, crispy bottom. The cheddar melted away into the batter as it baked, but the bits of lardo remained behind, adding some nice little nuggets of fatty, salty and smoky flavour in our cornbread. The bread itself is moist and has a lovely crumb. I made a separate, small pan of lardo-free cornbread for the vegetarian family member and that was delicious on its own. It seems to me that this cornbread would be a great accompaniment to a big pot of chili, served to a crowd.

                                                                                                                                        1. Kabocha Squash Mac n cheese with pork rind crust (pg. 202)

                                                                                                                                          I really liked this as well and it was another huge hit with my dinner guests. I'll note that whenever I need a kabocha squash, there are none to be had. WF had signs up but nary a kabocha in site. I finally asked them to take down the darn signs because it was just irritating me. I used a butternut squash instead.

                                                                                                                                          Another pet peeve - the recipe calls for 12 oz of pasta. I used the 16 oz and upped the rest of the ingredients. Who wants 1/4 lb of pasta leftover? I also used cavatappi because that's my favorite mac and cheese pasta shape.

                                                                                                                                          Summary - Cube and roast the squash. Add the squash to whole milk, chicken stock, cheddar, colby and romano cheeses and blend. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and mix it all together. Transfer to a baking dish. Crush up pork rinds and sprinkle on top with black sesame seeds. Cover with foil, bake for a bit, remove the foil to let the top brown.

                                                                                                                                          Since I had a veg at the table, I used pork rinds on half the dish. The other half, I used panko. I really liked the pork rinds and thought it could have used a bit more. This was my first time eating pork rinds and I'm a believer. It's crispy bacon so for me, what's not to like? Anyway, the squash taste wasn't overtly discernable but it did add a different dimension. I also liked the combo of cheeses.

                                                                                                                                          This paired really well with the brisket with bourbon peach glaze.