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June 2014 COTM - My Paris Kitchen: First Courses (Entrées), Sides (Accompagnements

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

First Courses (Entrées)
Sides (Accompagnements)

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  1. Green Beans with Snail Butter, p. 222.

    This is such an easy and delicious way to serve green beans that I can't believe I never thought of it before. In fact, I have thought of it, but I was always chary with the garlic and used EVOO to sauté the 1 lb. of blanched green beans. I never just said the heck with it: just follow Lebovits' directions and slather in 4 TBS of butter to sauté 3 TBS of minced garlic (plus chopped parsley and s & p) and toss all with the beans till hot--add some drops of lemon juice, and you have a completely delicious side dish that makes even stocky supermarket green beans sublime.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Goblin

      Green Beans with Snail Butter, p. 222

      My standard prep is to saute blanched green beans with garlic butter and toss with minced sage (I believe this is a Bert Greene recipe). Copious amounts of garlic never scare me so I knew we'd like this.

      I would make this again except for steaming the green beans. Mine were a little overcooked (and also not evenly cooked). I prefer my usual method of blanching, shocking in ice water to preserve the color, draining, then sauteing w/the garlic and butter.

       
      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        Nomadchowwoman, for this recipe I blanched my beans in a pot of salted water rather than steaming them because with boiling them I can more easily guarantee they will all be cooked through at the same time. But I was surprised to find that just spreading them out on a towel to cool and dry worked fine in preserving the color and texture--I have ALWAYS thought that I had to shock them in ice water--but I thought I'd try Lebovitz' method. At least for the amount of beans I used (1 1/2 pounds) it worked.

        1. re: Goblin

          I like blanching too. I keep the blanching liquid. This time I did beans, then gai lan (wouldn't have done the other way around as the cabbage taste would not suit the beans), then potatoes. This water was poured into the crockpot with chicken carcasses, and some frozen bits (dark green tough part of leeks, spinach stems) and made a lovely stock.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            Your beans look super fresh and crisp. Beautiful. I may do these tonight with the mustard steak.

          2. re: Goblin

            Green Beans with Snail Butter, Pg. 222

            Loved this recipe as others did. Followed it to the letter (for a change). Used fresh green beans picked the morning we bought them. Was a very tasty addition to chicken roasted w orange and lime, and brown rice w onion pilaf. I can see it with asparagus as well. Actually, I secretly wanted escargot. Don't tell anyone though.

            1. re: Gio

              Where did you find such freshly picked beans? I am quivering with anticipation.

              1. re: smtucker

                LOL Connors Farm, Danvers. Our Melrose Farmers' Market opens today so that's where we'll be shopping this Summer, except for the odd times we find ourselves near the local farms.

            2. re: Goblin

              Green Beans with Snail Butter

              Add me to the fan list for these beans! Yum. I followed the directions exactly (including steaming the beans) and all worked just as described. Can't say I'll make this dish often as I'm not in the habit of dousing my beans with half a stick of butter on a regular basis. But they were very good. I had them as a side to pan-cooked steak (the NYT technique, I decided against the mustard steak) and my husband and I ate the whole pound of beans.

              1. re: Westminstress

                I served these again last night (for the third time) to my grandkids who ate every bean!!

                Maybe the nutritional positives of eating a pound of green beans can balance out using the 4 oz. of butter?
                ;-)

                1. re: Westminstress

                  A half stick of butter, indeed. We usually just steam green beans lightly when they're as fresh as the ones we had and don't even season them. But, I thought, "Just this once."

                2. re: Goblin

                  I made this to accompany chicken with caramelized shallots ( a gem and a keeper of a recipe from the DL blog). I agree with previous posters; this is very tasty. I am wondering (a bit late) why we did not include the DL blog for this month's COTM... I think it would have enhanced the month's offerings.

                3. Lemon-Pistachio Israeli Couscous, p. 237.

                  This is a side salad that could stand on its own or accompany a meat dish. Mixed together, the ingredients become greater than the sum of the parts: diced preserved lemon, chopped parsley, diced dried fruit (I used cranberries) chopped unsalted pistachios, ground cinnamon, and cooked Israeli couscous (or another small pasta.) A couple of TBS of butter tossed with the pasta add an unctuous touch. I added salt and pepper till I was satisfied and really liked this.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Goblin

                    I always love those recipes that seem greater than the sum of their parts. And honestly, I'm never good at being able to guess by reading a recipe which ones will turn out that way.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: Goblin

                      I made the lemon-pistachio (almond slivers) Israeli Couscous last night as a side to the chicken lady's chicken, along with a salad. I'm afraid I wasn't a fan. I held back on the preserved lemon, only using about half as much as called for (and I was pleased with that amount), but I felt the cinnamon overwhelmed it. Just a difference in preferences here - there was nothing wrong with the recipe. I thought the fruit was nice, Lulu didn't care for that part, and my husband liked it (and plans to eat the leftovers for lunch).

                    2. Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing (Salade de crudités rapées avec sauce crémeuse à l'ail)

                      I must say that slaws don't usually do all that well at our house because my husband doesn't like cabbage. That said, this salad with it's pungent dressing and many veggie options definitely one him over.

                      You begin by shredding about 6 cups combined of any number of veggies/fruit (cabbage, radicchio, endive, carrots, beets, apples, radishes, fennel, and the list goes on), tossed with either a mayonnaise based garlic dressing or a garlic vinaigrette, and finally topped with lovely minced parsley and chives.

                      In my case I opted for beets, carrots, fennel, apple, and some cabbage, all dressed up with the garlic vinaigrette in lieu of the mayo based dressing. The combination of vegetables was beautiful to look at and the flavours meshed very well together, especially as our milder veggie companions were joined by sweet apple and pungent garlic dressing. A great side for a BBQ or any casual affair where you need something that can be prepared in advance.

                      Definitely going into the keeper pile for us.

                       
                      5 Replies
                        1. re: delys77

                          Raw Vegetable Slaw with Garlic Vinaigrette, p. 96.

                          My turn for this very attractive side dish which is beautifully described and photographed by delys77. I used red and green cabbage, carrots, fennel, apple, beets, and avocado (which I loved for the smoothness it gave to the finished dish) plus chopped parsley and chives. I made the garlic vinaigrette to go with it and it was light and delicious.

                          There's definitely a certain amount of knife-work involved on your way to obtaining the requisite thin matchsticks of the various veggies--but you are rewarded with an attractively rustic slaw that tastes and looks very fresh and that couldn't have come out of a pre-shredded or sliced package. I served it with salmon and my new addiction from this book, green beans with snail butter, for a nice summery dinner.

                          1. re: delys77

                            Raw Vegetable Slaw with Creamy Garlic Dressing

                            Haven't been cooking with COTM recently, but I couldn't resist this one. We served it with lemon honey chicken wings and oven chips for a quick and easy dinner.

                            Toddler doesn't eat vegetables so I was basically making a salad for two. Therefore I took the liberty with my vegetables and used white cabbage, carrots, apples and beetroot only. The beetroot is precooked from the supermarket and I also used mayonnaise from a jar. The vegetables was shredded using the food processor. All these short cuts made it a very simple salad.

                            Mr lilham doesn't like coleslaw and he said this is the best coleslaw he's ever had. I really loved it as well.

                            1. re: delys77

                              I also made this salad--SO good! I used green cabbage, broccoli, carrots, black and red radish, beets, two eggs and a yellow pepper. i didn't have parsley or chives, so I subbed tarragon and arugula and green onions. I used the vinegar dressing--though I added the hard boiled yolks into the dressing. I used garlic and herb infused oil from another project.

                              This is for sure one I'll make again!

                               
                            2. Celery Root Puree (Purée de céleri-rave)

                              I love celery root puree and have made versions from Ina Garten and Dorie Greenspan, both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed. This recipe is also enjoyable but quite different from the others.

                              Essentially you warm a 50/50 blend of stock and whole milk (1% in my case) with a bay leaf and some salt, in to which go a clove of garlic and cubed and peeled celery root and potatoes (about 30% potato and 70% celery root). This gets simmered together for 30-40 minutes. You are then meant to strain the lot and reserve 2 cups of the broth. DL then suggests that you put the celery root into a food processor, food mill, or ricer, but doesn't say what to do with the potato. I'm sure the potato was just an omission, but I do know from experience the potato can't go into the food processor or it will turn into a gummy mess. I opted to put the lot through the finest plate on my ricer. While this worked I would likely not repeat this approach as it was a bit messy and the texture of the celery root was still grainier than I would like. My suggestion is to either cook the root and potatoes separately or separate them after straining and then put the potato through the ricer and the root in the processor. This is Ina's approach and I think the texture is superior.

                              In DL's recipe you can add a bit of the milk/stock mixture to the puree to loosen it, but mine didn't need this after I folded in the suggested butter/salt/pepper.

                              On the whole I would say this puree is much heavier on the celery root than other's that I have tried, and while I think this is a nice change, I do prefer the smoother flavour and texture of a puree that is closer to 50/50. That said, this was still nice and I might repeat in a case where I was looking for more celery flavour.

                              In the photo below you can just see the puree poking out from under the mustard chicken.

                               
                              2 Replies
                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  Thanks NMC, I just had some left overs for lunch and it held up very well.

                              1. Celery Root Salad, p. 105

                                I have never thought to use celery root raw before, so this recipe was a revelation to me - as are many of the ideas David passes on in this book. I used homemade creme fraiche but store bought mayo. I think homemade mayo would have elevated the results considerably. I halved the dressing recipe and still had enough to dress an entire celery root, with some left over.

                                This dish got skeptical looks from my family but everyone ended up eating it and saying they liked it. I ate the left overs this morning for breakfast. As DL advised, the leftovers were a bit limp but still tasty. Next time, I think I would combine this with another veggie to add some textural and color contrast. Perhaps carrots, or radishes. If you used all three, it would be very pretty - esp. if you used the multi color carrots available these days. The dressing would also be wonderful on a potato salad.