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September 2013 Cookbook of the Month: SMOKE AND PICKLES by Edward Lee

Welcome to the September 2013 Cookbook of the Month. This month marks the seventh year of COTM. Thank you to those who started the tradition and to those that have kept the tradition alive all these years. Cheers!

To view the history of COTM and how it works, please visit this link:

To view the nomination thread, please click here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/912427

To view the voting thread, please click here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/913375

Here is the announcement thread : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/914253

Please use this thread for general discussion on our September 2013 Cookbook of the Month, Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. Feel free to discuss which recipes to choose, how you think the whole cookbook process is going, ingredient sources or any general comments about the book.

To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below. If you are the first to report on a recipe, please reply to the original post. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

Here are the links to the reporting threads for:

Rice and Rémoulade; Bourbon & Bar Snacks; Buttermilk & Karaoke http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915278
Lamb & Whistles; Cows & Clover; Pigs & Abattoirs http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915280
Birds & Bluegrass; Seafood & Scrutiny http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915281
Pickles &Matrimony; Veggies & Charity http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915279

Below are the recipes that are available online (Thanks to Gio and tcamp for finding a few more. I did not include the scribd link because those are included in the list from EYB).

Eat Your Books (EYB) has links to all of the recipes below. http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

Imperfect Bowl of Rice
Master Recipe For Perfect Rémoulade
Rice Bowl With Beef, Onions, Collards, Fried Egg, and Corn Rémoulade
Rice bowl with lamb and aromatic tomato-yogurt gravy
Orange lamb-liver pâté
Darkly braised lamb shoulder
Simmered lamb shanks with cashew gravy
Pulled lamb BBQ
Cinnamon-honey roast leg of lamb
Roti with sliced lamb leg (or a recipe for using leftover lamb leg roast
)Clarified butter/ghee/drawn butter
Vietnamese lamb chops
Fried Shallots
Rice bowl with beef
Lime beef salad
Miso-smothered chicken
Fried trout sandwiches with pear-ginger-cilantro slaw and spicy mayo
Panfried catfish in bacon vinaigrette
Yellow squash soup with cured strawberries
Collards and kimchi
WTF potato salad
Jalapeño spiked bourbon julep
Jalapeño syrup
Bourbon sweet tea
Tobacco cookies
Tobacco water
Chess pie with blackened pineapple salsa
Sweet spoonbread soufflé
Cornbread sorghum milkshake (or, "breakfast")

Grilled Kalbi http://www.savorsa.com/2013/07/griffi...
Curry Pork Pies http://www.saucemagazine.com/blog/?p=...
Jasmine Peach Pickles with Star Anise http://tinyurl.com/ojdqczo
Adobo Fried Chicken and Waffles http://tinyurl.com/kqv2t5n

Happy cooking, y’all!

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  1. FYI, the braised brisket with peach bourbon glaze recipe is available on Bon Appetit and epicurious as well: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/brai...

    1. Thanks for the great job and the warm welcome BigSal!!

      Here's a link to three more recipes from the book:

      Quick Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños

      Spinach Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Bourbon Vinaigrette*

      Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Peach Glaze


      *Note: EL provides a recipe for Lamb Bacon in the book and that bacon is used in the Spinach Salad. The recipe link above uses regular bacon.

      1. Welcome to September. Seven years! Wow.
        Nicely done BigSal.

        7 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            Hard to believe. And I want to thank you all, posters who are no longer with us (at least on the boards) and those who are more recent participants. You and COTM have expanded my horizons and led me to places I’d never have discovered without you. It’s been a great seven years. Looking forward to the next seven.

            1. re: JoanN

              Ditto to JoanN's words and sentiment behind them.

              Oddly enough, the last song to the musical, wicked, is coursing through my brain. Essentially, we may not have always agreed, but our lives are better because I knew you.


              1. re: JoanN

                Agree totally with JoanN and beetlebug. I've had so much fun, eaten many many good and great meals and learned so much because of COTM. Thanks everyone, for the fun and companionship.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I wish some of those people would come back. I miss them. So happy for the newcomers though!


                  1. re: JoanN

                    I have to echo the sentiments of all--thank you Joan, BigSal, and ALL the COTM members who have enriched my life since I first joined as a newbie in Feb. 2011. I have felt warmly welcomed from my first posting and it's been a great ride ever since!

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Ditto. I haven't been participating very long and I don't always get to participate every month for various reasons, but the months I have done, I've learned a ton. I know May's COTM (Mexican Everyday) really expanded my horizons for sure. And, even when I don't participate I still enjoy reading the threads.

                  2. Another great beginning, Sal. Thanks very much for organizing everything so well.

                    What a comforting. warm, and welcoming place the COTM boards are. My thanks and praise go out to to all the superb home cooks from whom I have learned so much. I too echo Joan's remarks and hope to have seven more wonderful years of exploration and culinary education. Happy September, Everyone!

                    1. So, essential question here... what bourbon are folks stocking for this month? Clearly, I can't imagine one of the wildly expensive brands, but want something that gives me a good chance for success. Thoughts?

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: smtucker

                        I've been using mostly the Kirkland brand bourbon from Costco, although at one point I ran out of it and used Wild Turkey (what I use for bourbon Manhattans and what I'll probably use for the Kentucky Mule).

                        Woodford Reserve is my sipping/on the rocks bourbon and I'm hoping not to have to dip into that to cook with. Frankly didn't notice any difference between the recipes cooked with the Kirkland and the Wild Turkey, but the recipes themselves were very different. I believe he says somewhere in the book that he uses bourbon for it's smokiness factor. I think the cheaper stuff is just fine and won't impact the recipes in a negative way.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Your costco sells hard liquor? Now I am jealous!

                          1. re: smtucker

                            I *think* the Waltham Costco sells hard liquor.

                            1. re: beetlebug

                              Oh that store is totally nutty. Scares me. Those are some mighty intense shoppers! Think I will stick to my side of the city. :-)

                              Thanks for the tip though.

                        2. re: smtucker

                          G brought home Jim Beam, white label, to use for these recipes. I had asked him for a "good" bourbon but not something expensive. (Actually, I said, "not rot gut") I think it will be fine.

                          1. re: smtucker

                            I am using Old Crow. I had it on hand, because my grandmother loves it and my other alternative was Jack Daniels. I didn't want to get out in the rain to get another alternative.

                            1. re: smtucker

                              Like JoanN, Woodford Reserve is my sipping bourbon of choice (Knob Creek runs second). For recipes I usually use Jim Beam.

                              1. re: smtucker

                                You reminded me that I should pick up a bottle of Evan Williams. Very respectable bottom shelf bourbon. My cold winter drink is bourbon and ginger ale with a twist of lemon so I don't get to use the Woodford Reserve that my husband adores. It's only for sipping.

                              2. It's disappointing to note that all the recipes that are supposed to available on-line at Scribd. are actually Not available. Only those on the first page can be viewed. The next pages cannot be turned.

                                1. Just stopping in to say hello to Chowhounders, and to see how COTM is going!? I FINALLY have internet in my lovely (almost complete) remodel. Yet, no countertops, sinks, stovetop, or oven (dishwasher, but I could live without this, I think). I'm hoping to rejoin the Homecooking community soon. In all honesty, I'm exhausted! Why does this remodeling make a person so tired..physical or mental? hmmmm
                                  Keep up the good work! I can't wait to cook from this book when I have my new kitchen!

                                  1. Just got word from the library that my copy of the book is due back in a couple of days. Tried renewing it but someone else has put it on hold. Disappointing.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      When that happens to me I just photocopy everything that I want to make again, that other CHs have reviewed well, or that looks good/like it has potential before returning and staple the pages together, with a copy of the book's cover on top.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        That is what I'm doing this afternoon as my book has been recalled by the library.

                                    2. A neat little, short & sweet, video trailer with Edward Lee...


                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Thank you for this, Gio. I had a crush on him even before I heard his voice. Now, I'm head over heels. Good thing he's not in Manhattan or I'd be stalking him.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          I liked him a lot on Top Chef. He seems very relaxed and comfortable in his own skin, always an appealing trait in a person.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            He was on Top Chef at a time when I was TV deprived and now season nine is available neither on Netflix nor Hulu. Wonder what that's about? Would binge watch it if I could, but I can't.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Joan, Amazon Instant Video is your friend...binge away!

                                              1. re: mebby

                                                We are all enablers, be it cooking shows or cooking books. We need a 12-step program, after we buy next month's COTM. :-)

                                                1. re: mebby

                                                  Unfortunately, I have Apple TV and AIV isn't available on that platform. Maybe it's better that way. Sometimes crushes are best indulged from a distance.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    I will say I was really rooting for him that season, so your crush might emerge unscathed. And these are the instances where I download onto my laptop and haul it around the house pretending to clean and fold laundry while watching. OK, now done enabling :)

                                                    1. re: mebby

                                                      weeee! Girlie talk on the COTM thread!

                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                  Seems like they don't put the Top Chef shows on netflix or whatever else. Drives me nuts as I missed the first 2 (?) seasons.

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              I admit to watching him on Top Chef, and I just like the guy. It seems that this video includes many of the same "scenes" as the still photography in the book, so they must have been carrying around two cameras.

                                              Thanks for finding this.

                                            3. The October nomination thread is up. Find it here. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/916065

                                              1. JoanN suggested I pop in to tell you about a wonderful experience eating at Lee's Louisville restaurant, Milkwood. Normally I would post this in the Chowhound city-centric pages, but it seems fitting here given how you're focusing on his food right now. My husband and I stumbled in after seeing the restaurant was mostly empty after having been slammed earlier by the pre-theater crowd. The food was amazing---inventive, fresh, delicious, vibrantly flavored, and a good value. We were one of three tables around 8:00pm on a Sunday.

                                                The current menu was very similar to this one, but it had a few more dishes on offer: http://actorstheatre.org/wp-content/u...

                                                We started with cocktails; I had the "Navy Tattoo" with rum, grapefruit and rosemary. It was tasty but needed more acid to balance the sweet, so I asked for a lemon wedge. My husband had the "Southern Expansion" with bourbon, fennel, and honey.

                                                I often find servers have the best recommendations because they know the menu well, so we went with the dishes ours suggested. To start, the "Octopus Bacon" appetizer with smashed potatoes, sour cream, kalamata olives, and jalapeno puree. Our server said Lee cuts the octopus thinly, dries/smokes and then fries it. This dish was amazing---umami galore. Not fishy.

                                                For the mains, we shared the smoked brisket and grilled mortadella with pickles, garlic jam, biscuit crumbles & MILK gravy and the seared scallops and pork belly with cucumber, watermelon, and curry oil. The former was total "man food," and my hubby raved. The scallops had a nice sear (so dark, I think there was a soy-based product involved, or maybe Maggi). The curry was subtle and went surprisingly well with the freshness of the fruit and veg. The "garlic jam" on the beef tasted of caramelized onions and sweet roasted garlic, and was quite tasty as well.

                                                Dessert was quite the show stopper. It was listed on the menu as sorghum and grits ice cream (which I think was sourced from the local Comfy Cow, as someone else recommended we try it there) with coconut cake, coffee syrup,croissant, berries. The cake was missing, but we didn't miss it, as there were abundant pieces of butter-fried pretzel croissant (which seems to be a Louisville thing). The sorghum ice cream had a strong molasses-like note that complemented all the other components. The fruit was perfectly ripe and sweet. We loved it.

                                                In addition to the fabulous food, service was great, and it was a pity that the restaurant was so empty. If I lived in Louisville, I'd be a frequent diner at Lee's restaurant. When we left, I saw the chef sitting at the bar. I wanted to buy the cookbook and ask for his autograph but ended up being too shy. I didn't want to bother him at the end of a boring/disappointing shift.

                                                ETA: Here's an article on Milkwood that captures the experience more articulately than I can: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%...

                                                Photos of the meal:

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                  Thank you so much for your lovely report.

                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                    I'm drooling. I wish I live in Louisville.

                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                      Many thanks for the review of your experience, Christina. From your description and pictures I can tell the food and everything else must have been sensational!


                                                    2. Where is everyone buying their sorghum? I haven't been able to find it--even in my local health food stores. Is this a southern staple that's just not readily available up north? I've been substituting organic barley malt syrup, and I believe I noticed that someone else had as well. Can anyone tell me how one differs from the other?

                                                      Yes, I know I can buy it online. But I'm wondering whether or not it's worth it.

                                                      12 Replies
                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        I can get a pricey tin at my Whole Foods in CA.

                                                        1. re: emily

                                                          Couldn't find it at my WF in NYC. Maybe I was looking in the wrong place. Or maybe they were just out of it. Was too impatient to ask. My WF is a zoo.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            If I know I have to look for something at WF, I call them to see if they stock it. And, if they do, I ask which aisle. This way I know where I'm going once I hit the store. They've always been very accommodating. I usually call (and shop) early in the am before it gets crazy packed.

                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                              Excellent advice. Thank you. I'll call them next time I'm headed in that direction.

                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                              I found this one in the baking aisle:

                                                              Here's a NY-made sorghum syrup that you may be able to get at the Tucker Square Greenmarket:

                                                              1. re: emily

                                                                You're an absolute doll, emily. Never occurred to me to look for it at the farmer's market and Tucker Square is only two blocks from my apartment. You know where I'll be on Saturday morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  Thank you again, emily. Just back from Tucker Square farmer's market where I bought 12 ounces of sorghum syrup for $6--not bad for farmer's market prices.

                                                                  And I did a taste test with the barley malt syrup I'd substituted for it. Was surprised at how very different they are: in color, texture, and flavor. The barley malt syrup isn't as dark, is much thicker, and has a slightly bitter back taste. The sorghum, as probably everyone but me already knows, is like a less sweet honey. I've done nothing more than taste it and I'm loving it already. Now, to try it in recipes.

                                                                  And just once more: Great big thank you. It would never have occurred to me to look for it there.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Glad you were able to get it! :)

                                                                    1. re: emily

                                                                      Is "sorghum molasses" the same as the "sorghum" that Edward Lee calls for? My Whole Foods had a display with sorghum molasses from a producer in Harrisonburg, VA and I bought some. I used it in the pork chop recipe, but wasn't sure if this was what he meant.

                                                                      1. re: stockholm28

                                                                        It's my understanding that sorghum molasses is sorghum syrup cooked down to a thicker consistency. All he says in the book is that the juice is slowly boiled until it "turns into a sticky amber syrup." He also says "there are many different grades and varieties" so I'm sure that what you bought is fine. Certainly better than the barley malt syrup I was using before I found the sorghum syrup.

                                                                        1. re: stockholm28

                                                                          I'm no expert, but it's my understanding that they're the same thing, just referred to by different names in different parts of the country.

                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                            Thanks. I had a hard time finding it and then one day it was featured front and center in Whole Foods. It made me wonder if their buyers were following the COTM :).

                                                          2. I'm really enjoying this book. Almost every recipe interests me. The only one I can't wrap my brain around is the recipe for tobacco cookies.

                                                            I lived in middle Tennessee for several years, The recipe just brings back too many memories of the locally popular vice of chewing tobacco...so unappealing to me.

                                                            1. This may be a dumb question, but here goes. I have some Scotch whiskey downstairs that I bought to make something from my Scottish cookbook at Christmas. Is it still OK to use? And can I substitute it for the bourbon that is called for in this book? I don't drink other than the occasional glass of wine at dinner parties, so my liquor cabinet is there purely for cooking purposes.

                                                              22 Replies
                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                Your Scotch will last for years. Use it. However, the flavor is different than bourbon. I find bourbon to be sweeter and silkier than Scotch whisky. Scotch is more smoky.

                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                  I wouldn't sub it. The signature smokiness would dominate. We have a gorgeous bottle of a high end peaty scotch that I am afraid to use in cooking and nobody in this family likes single malt scotch. Bourbon or Irish whiskey is our poison,

                                                                  1. re: Berheenia

                                                                    You're correct Berheenia, I should have clarified. Should have said do not substitute it for bourbon. By use it I meant drink it...

                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                      Thanks Gio and Berheenia. I'll head over to the liquor store & see what sort of Bourbon I can find.

                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                        Hi there Geekmom, I know nothing about Bourbon and I found the selection at my local BCL to be pretty slim. They were either very expensive or cheap and there didn't seem to be much in the middle. In the end I just went with Jim Beam, which they seem to have at all BCLs, plus it was the only one I had ever heard of. Have used it just the once but seemed fine in cooking. Hopefully I haven't scandalized any of you Bourbon officianados.

                                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                                          Ooh good to know, thank you delys77. I wonder if I should stop by the Cambie St. flagship store to get a better selection.

                                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                                            Jim Beam is a very serviceable main stream bourbon. I wouldn't want to use an expensive bourbon for mixing with other stuff (including in a recipe). Another option is to go with Irish whiskey which is a lot closer to bourbon than scotch.

                                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                                            This is actually kind of funny/ironic since the book assumes I have access to all kinds of regionally specific foods like pork cracklings ("available at any gas station!") and yet he specifically calls out his decision NOT to use gochujang in any of his Korean-inspired recipes, since it would be hard to get - I can think of a half-dozen places within walking distance of my house where I could buy that, but I have absolutely no idea where to get sorghum syrup or pork cracklings... even ham hocks are hard to track down around here.

                                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                                              That really is funny. And it is true - pork rinds are available around here at any gas station. That said, we took a trip to the beach about a week ago, and we stopped at a gas station that had the largest selection of pork rinds I've ever seen in my life - bbq, sour cream and onion, etc. etc. I had no idea anyone bothered with flavored pork rinds!

                                                                              1. re: geekmom

                                                                                True true, I think there is a much larger Korean community in Vancouver than there are consumers of pork cracklings. That said, they do sound pretty good, I might try and find some.

                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                  Maybe we need to send a Southern care package up your way!

                                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                                    Aw, how sweet :-) The border security for food in parcels has become pretty intense lately, so they probably wouldn't let it through (indeed they might be delighted to help themselves to its contents... I'm sure that's what happened to the parcel of English chocolates that my cousin tried to send me earlier this year.)

                                                                                  2. re: geekmom

                                                                                    So true. I think it's different in the deep south of USA? I have gochujang in my fridge. I can get pork cracklings, I think (I've eaten it in pubs here). But I can't get sorghum syrup.

                                                                                    Back to the bourbon. The supermarket has Jim Bean and Jack Daniels. I went with the supermarket own brand in the end. Mr lilham declared he hates bourbon so it won't be used in any cocktails. I'm planning on making the bourbon glazed carrots, and I think after cooking like this, it really wouldn't matter if it's a cheap bourbon? I'm thinking of some christmas dessert with bourbon too.

                                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                                      I would avoid Jack Daniels as it's a Tennessee whiskey, not exactly bourbon, with a sweeter, maple-y flavor from the charcoal filtering. The flavor would be a little different but would work in a pinch.

                                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                        I'm with you Christina. I find JD to be a lot sweeter than real bourbons. Not horrible like Southern Comfort, but not as good as real TN bourbon.

                                                                                  3. re: delys77

                                                                                    Not scandalized Delys, I'm using Jim Beam myself.

                                                                            2. re: geekmom

                                                                              Not all Scotch whiskies are smoky - depending on what you bought, it may make a very good bourbon sub. What brand do you have on hand?

                                                                              1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                It's 12 year old Glenfiddich - there really wasn't much selection at my local liquor store.

                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                  In that case I'd probably go buy some Jim Beam. Glenfiddich isn't particularly smoky, but its flavor profile tends more toward fruit than the vanilla/oak flavors that are more common in bourbon. Also, it's probably about twice the price of JB.

                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                    Great - thank you very much! I will see if they have Jim Beam at my local liquor store.

                                                                            3. Here it is just about the last week and a couple of days left in September and I haven't made many recipes at all from Smoke and Pickles. I thought I'd do better than that. I do have the bourbon glazed carrots on my list though. I hope that works out. I'm thinking I may just as well look into the drinks chapter and use up the bourbon that way. At least I'll go down happy.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Glad to hear that I am not the only one that is not enthused about the book. One thing that difficult for me to deal with is the pork; I do not eat it and it seems to be in just about everything in one form or another. It also maybe a season when lighter foods are still very appealing.

                                                                                Incidentally, those carrots are on my list to make and I just picked some carrots up today with this dish in mind. Jack Daniels is a permanent resident at my home re-stocked as needed when crossing the border :)

                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                  I actually like the look of a few things in the book, but they all looked fairly involved. I also have the bourbon glazed carrots on my list, and the chicken rice bowl.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    I had to return my library copy, and I didn't end up cooking out of it except for the pickled peaches, which I didn't really care for. I do have collards and kimchi on the list for this week though, and I do expect to like them. I did find the book interesting, but the recipes were for the most part just a bit more involved than I can easily handle, and with a different flavor profile from what we normally cook (the southern part, not necessarily the korean part), not too easy to incorporate into our normal routine. With my son starting a new school this month and everyone adjusting to a new routine, I need easy recipes right now. So all in all I didn't get to participate much this month, but you know there's always next month....

                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                      For me it is far too early to pronounce an opinion on the book because I have only made 3 recipes. That said what I have made I have liked, my challenge is that I have found it very difficult to find recipes to cook from this book. Mostly because much of it doesn't seem weeknight or small family friendly, plus while I don't mind rich meals I need to intersperse them with lighter fare. I think this book may be one that I use from time to time in the future when I want something indulgent and I either have lots of time or perhaps some company coming over. Especially carnivorous and pork friendly company.

                                                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                                                      I have really been enjoying this book! I live in the South, but didn't grow up here and this book has been a great way for me to appreciate some of the Southern ingredients I have available to me. Country ham, sorghum, butter beans? Great stuff that I hadn't been taking advantage of... I can totally empathize with the non-pork eaters, though. He uses a lot of pork for flavor, (of course that is right in line with the Southern culinary tradition).