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August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Greetings all!

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

A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry

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  1. Spiced Pork Chops with Ginger and Mango Relish (page 320)

    The chops are marinated (she says for a couple of hours; I marinated mine for more like six) in peanut oil, lime juice, red chile, garlic, and ginger. The marinade is scraped off, the chops are cooked over high heat until browned then over low heat until cooked through. Just before they’re done, you add the marinade to the pan and reduce it a bit to glaze the chops.

    For the mango relish, you sauté grated garlic and ginger in peanut oil and add whole grain mustard. Lime zest and juice are tossed with sliced mangoes, then the garlic/ginger/mustard mixture is stirred in along with shredded green and red chiles (I used jalapeño and banana), sugar, s&p, and coarsely chopped cilantro.

    My changes: I used less oil and eliminated the sugar, but otherwise followed instructions. Or tried to. There were some things I just didn’t understand, and some things that just didn’t work. The ingredients list for the relish calls for “10 garlic cloves, grated” and “1¼ cups peeled and grated ginger root.” I was making half a recipe, but that’s a helluva lot of ginger. Grating all that on a Microplane was a PITA. I thought about using the larger holes on a box grater, but in the instructions she says to “heat the oil in a skillet and add the grated garlic and ginger pastes.” So I assumed the finer grating, which did create a paste, was what she was calling for. Then you sauté the two pastes until “it smells cooked and no longer raw.” Maybe it was because I used a teaspoon rather than a tablespoon of oil, but my pastes clumped and when the clump began to stick to the non-stick pan, I removed it from the heat. When I added the mustard and then put it in the bowl with the mangoes, it pretty much stayed in clumps. Stirring didn’t help; I had to get in there with my hands to try to mix everything up.

    Another problem: in the ingredients, she says the chiles for the relish should be “shredded.” Frankly, I’m not even sure exactly what that means. I sliced them very thinly, tasted one, realized the jalapeños were too hot, and minced the chiles for better disbursement through the relish.

    After all that, the garlic and ginger still tasted raw, the ginger was overwhelming, and the relish was harsh and unbalanced. She says in the intro that guests gobble this up and go back for more, so clearly I did something wrong. I hope anyone else who tries this has better luck with it than I did. In the meantime, I’ll stick with the mango relish from “Thrill of the Grill” that I’ve been making for years.

    The chops, by the way, were just fine. I had frankenchops from the butcher (couldn’t even eat a whole one) and they took 15 minutes after searing to reach the 145F I was aiming for.

    Not an auspicious intro to this book for me, unfortunately. (Looks pretty good, though, doesn’t it?)

    ETA: Subsequent to my writing of this report, there has been a discussion on the voting thread of the perhaps incorrect conversion of ginger from the UK to the US editions of this book. The UK version of this recipe calls for 120 grams (4.5 oz) of ginger for the relish. That’s still an awful lot, but probably not 1¼ cups shredded. I’m not going to be in a hurry to try the relish again, but will be eager to read about it if anyone figures out a way to make this palatable.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      The plates looks delicious! This is my first DH cookbook. I haven't cooked anything yet, but I wonder by your description if there will be some conversion and "lost in translation" issues. It will be interesting to follow along, regardless.

      1. re: JoanN

        Thank you for the great review. I will be cooking from the same book and will pay attention to quantities specified in recipes and hopefully there will be few conversion issues. Good to know.

        1. re: JoanN

          It does look beautiful! Bummer that it was such a difficult recipe to follow and the results were disappointing. Hopefully this is an outlier.


          1. re: JoanN

            Your photo does make me want to try the recipe--especially after a disastrous pork chop dinner last week (read: I can't cook friggin' pork chops 90% of the time, even with "heritage" pork!). But I will definitely be mindful of the amounts and instructions with this book, and when things sound screwy, default to my instincts. (It took me a long time to get to the point where I'm comfortable doing that.)

          2. There is an interesting review of the cucumber and yogurt soup on the Serious Eats website:


            1. Teriyaki Salmon [minus pickled vegetables] and Sesame Seeds, p. 60

              So the fish component is especially quick and easy: salmon fillets are marinated for a half hour in soy sauce (1/4 c), mirin (2 T), and 1 T ea sugar and dry sherry. Nothing to grate or mince. Then you're meant to bake the salmon in its marinade for about 12 minutes at 350F. Since it's sweltering here, we used the gas grill, with the temp controlled at 350, and these fillets (which weren't very thick) were done in more like 8 or 9 minutes. I then sprinkled on the black sesame seeds I miraculously had on hand.

              Nice and not all that different from the typical salmon in soy sauce-based marinades. Nothing spectacular but perfect for a quick dinner. I'm sure the pickled veggies would have elevated this dish a notch or two, but as this dinner was truly thrown together at the last minute, I opted instead for a quick stir fry of the napa cabbage (recipe courtesy of "Burma") languishing in the crisper.

              1. Scallops with Ginger, Soy, and Scallions (page 209)

                This is a variation of the Porgy with Ginger, Soy, and Scallions on the same page.

                A few matchstick slices of ginger are placed in the bottoms of scallop shells, scallops are placed on top of the ginger, sliced scallions are scattered over the top, and soy sauce is poured over all. While the scallops are steaming, you fry up the rest of the ginger matchsticks along with thinly sliced garlic. This is drained on paper towels and scattered over the finished scallops. A drop of sesame oil is added at the end.

                I used Costco frozen scallops and although I dried them well, they did exude some liquid, clouding the sauce. Doubt it made much of a difference in flavor, but I suspect it would have been more attractive with dry scallops. The timing on steaming the scallops, 6 to 8 minutes depending on size, was spot on. Mine were on the large side, and 7 minutes was perfect. The crunchy garlic and fried ginger was a lovely addition. This isn’t going to replace seared or butter-basted scallops for me, but it was an agreeable change of pace and could be an impressive first course for an Asian meal. I served it with stir-fried lettuce and pea shoots. A very satisfying dinner.

                5 Replies
                1. re: JoanN

                  Porgy with Ginger, Soy, and Scallions, Pg. 209

                  Except we used striped bass, the catch of the day from our CSF. All I can say is that it was delicious and we enjoyed it. The timing was off for us, though, because the large fillet was thicker than the one DH had I guess. Ours took closer to 11 minutes to just come to translucence. I honestly think the jullienned vegetables and the finishing hot oil would be good with any steamed fish. I served it with a simple saute of Summer squash and Vidalia onions, along with corn on the cob. Sunshine on a plate.

                  ETA: I served the fish on a bed of arugula and that gave the dish a little bit of zip-a-dee-doo-dah.

                  1. re: Gio

                    I had to look up porgy (only known to me from the musical) - which is sea bream, apparently. You learn something new every day. Sea bream and Bess doesn't have quite the same ring to it...

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Well I did know what a porgy is but when I looked at the EYB index it listed Bream, w ginger, etc. Looking for that title in the book's index gave me apoplexy. No Such Listing. If I hadn't read Joan's preview we'd have made another recipe. So thank you, JoanN!

                    2. re: Gio

                      Porgy (Rockfish) with Ginger, Soy, and Scallions, p. 209

                      I scored a very fresh rockfish fillet at the farmers' market today, and used it to make a reduced portion of this. Soy sauce, rice wine, and superfine sugar (I skipped the latter) is mixed, and some is poured over the fish, along with slivered ginger, which is left to sit for 15 minutes. The plate of fish is set in a steamer basket and steamed for 7 minutes, then left covered off heat for another minute. More ginger and slivered red chile (I used a Fresno) are sizzled in oil. The fish is topped with julienned scallions, the hot oil and ginger and chile, and more of the soy mixture.

                      My fish would have been better with a little less time in the steamer (or skipping the minute off heat) because it was a bit overcooked, though not fatally so, but perfectly enhanced by all its additions. Photo shows half the large fillet and accoutrements.

                  2. Salmon barbecued in newspaper with dill and cucumber sauce, p 122, UK Edition

                    Wowser! This is very good, looks amazing, is relatively easy and your friends will think you're a top chef!

                    I managed to find exactly the size of salmon requires - a four pounder - at a local fishmonger. It wasn't wild, sadly, but farmed in Scotland. This dish would obviously be better (but way more expensive) with wild fish, or even better, sea trout.

                    Anyhow, you rub your big fish with olive oil inside and out, season well and stuff the cavity with slices of lemon, chopped spring onion and soft herbs (coriander and parsley). Lay the salmon on eight double pages of broadsheet newspaper, with more lemon, spring onion and herbs on top and underneath, then wrap the whole thing up in the newspaper and tie with string. Put the whole thing under the tap so it's soaking wet and lay on your hot and smouldering grill. Cook for 20 mons each side - I let mine go a little longer because by the end ithe coals weren't terribly hot in my little Weber. It was perfect - very moist as she says with a delicate flavour from all the herbs and spring onion, or scallions as I believe they're called in the US of A.

                    The sauce is perfect with the fish - Greek yoghurt (or Turkish in my case) mixed together with olive oil, shallots, finely chopped, de seeded and peeled cuke, dill, capers, gherkins (cornichons) and a squeeze of lemon.

                    Definitely event cooking, as the note says. My friends think I'm a genius! And perfectly cooked leftovers for weekday lunches (although not as much as there should be given this serves ten and we were only five). Try this while it's still summer!

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      Sounds wonderful! We call them spring onions, too, I think. And, yes, scallions. Or green onions. Or, weirdly, I've recently heard them called table onions.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I've heard everything except table onions.

                        gg - sounds like an amazing meal. Just read about the ice cream (which i assume went with these other things) and all of it together sounds perfect.

                      2. re: greedygirl

                        gg, your meal sounds stupendous. lucky guests!

                        1. re: Westminstress

                          Thanks all. Two of them were newish friends who hadn't been over for dinner before. They were almost embarrassingly complimentary!

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          Why, oh why, can't I have a little Weber in my NYC apartment? I want to make this!

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Joan, do a house swap with me and you can make it in my garden while I drink cocktails in NYC!

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              Sigh. If only one of you were obsessed with college hoops and I could get in on this ...

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Long way to go to get access to a grill, but very appealing nonetheless.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  New Orleans during the winter anyone? Grill included!

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    I can definitely be persuaded! Love that city. London in the winter, not so nice.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Well, I love yours too. I've been in January once and summer a few other times. Summer's definitely better, but I found lots to do--and eat--in January! (On the other hand, I wouldn't wish New Orleans in summer on anyone.)

                              2. Persian salad, p14, UK Edition

                                There were edible flowers in little packets at my farmer's market for a couple of quid, so this beautiful salad was the obvious choice. The salad was comprised of spanking fresh, organic mixed leaves from said market, chopped cuke ( peeled and de seeded), radishes, dill, basil, parsley, mint leaves and the flowers. The dressing is EVOO, white balsamic (I love this vinegar), a squeeze of lemon and seasoning. A very nice, quite subtle vinaigrette.

                                So lovely to look at and very good to eat. Freshness is key. I would probably cut back on the dill next time, just because it's not my favourite.

                                1. Israeli Chicken with [quinoa], harissa-grilled peaches and mint, p. 136

                                  Despite a few problems, this was fantastic. My husband said "don't just say you're going to make this again. MAKE it again. Put a giant neon bookmark on that page." I will, I will.

                                  The chicken: I was exacting about halving all the ingredients, but next time I'll make the full recipe as I suspect halving could have been part of the problem. But Henry also stipulates a pan in which the chicken thighs "fit snugly," but in the book photo, the thighs are definitely not snug in the pan, and they look far more appetizing and caramelized than mine (dutifully snugged) did (as evident in my photos: I include both a before and after).

                                  This is a very easy dish to put together. Skinless chicken thighs are slathered with "hot" mustard (no English mustard here, so I used dijon), fitted snugly (or maybe not) into a pan, sprinkled with dark brown sugar, salt, and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and orange juice, and popped into a 375F oven for 20 minutes.

                                  When they emerged from the 20 min. bake, they looked lovely but seemed to be bubbling in a lot of liquid. I probably should have poured off some. I turned and seasoned them with salt and pepper and the remaining dark brown sugar. Back in they went for 15 minutes. When they emerged after that, most of the good color on the bottoms had disappeared into the pan juices, and instead of "dark gold," the whole dish looked rather wanly light gold. So I transferred them into a larger gratin dish and stuck the whole thing under the broiler, then removed the thighs and reduced the juices a bit stovetop. I never got the color I wanted, but the chicken was still absolutely packed with flavor--a little tangy, subtly sweet.

                                  The salad: Peach wedges were tossed in a mixture of harissa and olive oil. Instead of dragging out my massive ridged pan for a small portion, I "grilled" them on a small cast iron griddle (so no ridge marks). With no suitable grains in the house, I subbed quinoa, which got kind of gloppy in the boiling/steaming. I had planned on toasting it--and should have as it didn't toss very well with the peaches. So I mixed them gently with the quinoa, mint leaves, a generous squeeze of lemon, , and a drizzle of EVOO. Delicious!

                                  For all the issues, I highly recommend this. Don't be put off by my review, which I realize is substantially longer than the recipe.

                                  Note: as I was cleaning up, I couldn't bear to part with those juices so I mixed them with the leftover plain quinoa; it made the most delicious savory "pudding." Somehow, I restrained myself from eating it on the spot. It will be lunch today.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    Israeli Chicken, Take 2

                                    I made this again, this time starting out with a largish baking dish. The finished chicken still wasn't nearly as dark as that in the book photo, but darker than my first batch. No matter: this super-easy prep was, again, absolutely delicious. I served it with regular couscous and more of Henry's eggplant with miso.

                                    Next time I'll try an even larger dish, in search of that dark, caramelized look that eludes me so far.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      My turn on the Israeli Chicken. I loved ncw's husband's statement: "don't just say you're going to make this again. MAKE it again. Put a giant neon bookmark on that page." My husband completely agrees that too many times it takes forever for the "rotation" to come around on some of his favorites. He also loved this chicken and also wants me to MAKE it again (quoting mr. ncw). I liked it. Lulu thought it was too sweet (and I used English hot mustard ... go figure), although I noticed that she ate it clean off the bone. Definitely an easy, tasty meal. I used Israeli couscous and instead of peaches I roasted cut up butternut squash and added the harissa and lemon juice and mint to that. Liked it a lot that way too.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Glad you and Mr. LlM liked it. As for the sweetness--although I didn't think it tasted too sweet, I think I might try cutting back on the brown sugar next time anyway. But I'll probably never get that dark color I'm coveting without it. How did your final dish compare to that in the photo, color-wise?

                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                          Mine looked pretty much like yours did, I'd say. And with the sweet comment, LulusDad and I were flabbergasted. In the end what I figured was that since the brown sugar is sort of sprinkled over the chicken, maybe she'd gotten a piece where I'd be a little heavier handed than I had with the rest. She *really* loved the Israeli couscous - asked for "more lentils." Huh? And LLD also said he loved the nuttiness that toasting the couscous first gave it.

                                      2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        Israeli Chicken with Moghrabieh (Whole wheat Israeli Couscous), Harissa-griddled Peaches and Mint (p 136, UK edition)

                                        When I saw NCW's and LLM's review and the use of peaches, this dish moved to the top of the list of a very long list of recipes to try from ACOA.

                                        I thought this was excellent. I was afraid it might be too sweet with the brown sugar and orange juice, but it was nicely balanced and really moist considering it uses skinless thighs. My mustard options were Dijon and German, so I went with Dijon. This definitely will be repeated and I like LLM's idea to use sweet potatoes which would make it a fall/winter friendly dish.

                                        All in all, a great start for my first Diana Henry recipe and I look forward to trying more.

                                      3. The Nominations Thread for September 2014 is up:


                                        With the new site format, not sure how obvious this will be, so I am posting the link on several other COTM threads. If you think there is some spot I've missed, or a better way to get word out, please let me know.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: qianning

                                          That's such a good idea, Q. Good Thinking. Nothing is the way it seems.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Thanks G. Don't want to over-saturate, but figured this might be a situation where a little advertising was good idea.

                                            1. re: qianning

                                              You were right on the money. Yay!

                                          2. Can one of you good folks with the UK edition of this book look at the Beetroot and Poppy Seed Loaf Cake (in the Spring section, I think) and tell me what volume is given for the two oils, and perhaps also the weight of the flours? Just want to compare with the US ed. on the oil (and prefer to have weight for flour, anyhow). Thanks in advance!

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              I'm at work right now but can look for you later. I've also made this cake and it's delicious!

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                Thanks, that would be swell, and glad to hear your endorsement, as I thought the recipe sounded very good.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  Hi Caitlin. Home finally and the recipe calls for 100ml (3.5 fl oz) of hazelnut oil and 200ml (7 fl oz) of olive oil. For flour, it's 150g (5.5 oz) of wholemeal and 50g (1.75 oz) of whole meal spelt.

                                                  Happy baking!

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    Thanks so much! I finally got a moment to compare with the US ed. The flour weights look right for the volumes they've used (but I will use the weights). They've rounded up both oils (to 4 and 8 fl oz, which accords with standard US cup fractions), and I will certainly not go with that, as the cake already has a great deal of oil for its size in the original, IMO. I'm an inveterate tweaker, anyway.

                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Beet and Poppy Seed Loaf Cake, p. 80

                                                I made this right at the end of August, and completely neglected to report. I made some adjustments (and some tweaks) from the recipe in the US edition, to good effect. Really, what's missing from the recipe title is Hazelnut, because th cake definitely tastes of hazelnut, between the hazelnut oil and the nuts themselves.

                                                It's a pretty straightforward recipe: eggs, brown sugar, hazelnut and olive oils, vanilla, orange zest, whole-grain flour, leavening, poppy seeds, chopped hazelnuts, grated beets. With thanks to greedygirl, I used the weights she noted for the flour; I didn't have spelt flour, so used 200 g of whole wheat pastry flour. I cut the olive oil by half, using 100 ml each hazelnut and olive oil, and replaced it with 1/2 cup buttermilk. I also increased the hazelnuts from the measly 2 T called for to 1/3 cup or so. I skipped the glaze, and you can bet I skipped the candied beet slices.

                                                The cake was extremely moist and very tender, just the right amount of sweet (I don't like things super sweet), and I loved the hazelnut flavor. The grated beets baked into moist, dark, sweet bits that were not readily identifiable as beets in either color or flavor. In fact, no one who tasted the cake guessed it had beets. A couple of people thought maybe it had dried cranberries or cherries, but couldn't really place the flavor. Made me think that I should make a cake I put together a couple of years ago again, a bundt cake with grated beets, carrot, and zucchini, with ground hazelnuts and browned butter. The beets didn't disappear so much in that one.

                                              3. P. 142 Lamb Scottadito with Summer Fregola

                                                I am off to a late start. After coming off of “Radically Simple” cooking I was a bit intimidated with some of the ingredient lists in this cookbook. However, I have now wrapped my head around a couple of these recipes and I have begun to pre-plan and prep…making it easier to cook a meal from this lovely cookbook after work.

                                                I dove right in with this recipe for lamb and couscous. I made this right after work so I did not have many hours to let the lamb marinade…more like 30 minutes but it was still very good! I used fresh oregano and crushed my red pepper flakes to draw out more flavor due to the short marinating time. I grilled the lamb on the BBQ and served it medium/medium-rare.

                                                The Fregola was quick cooking and the assembly was easy. I used the parsley which was the recommended substitute for basil and served my dish with a side of green beans. It was great! We licked the lamb bones (thank goodness it was just a little dinner at home)!

                                                I recommend this dish!

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: CMCooks

                                                  Marvelous looking plate, and the recipe sounds delicious. Going right on my list.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Thanks Gio! Hope you enjoy it.

                                                      1. re: CMCooks

                                                        Drooling. Add me to the list of those who are going to make it ASAP.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Thanks JoanN, I highly recommend this dish! Enjoy!

                                                        2. re: CMCooks

                                                          Lamb Scottadito [with Summer Fregola], Pg. 142

                                                          Oh my these were Fabulous. What flavor, what perfect timing to produce rare juicy succulent lamb. We marinated seven small but thick organic lamb loin chops on the bone for the full 2 hours, and reduced the crushed red pepper flakes to 2 teaspoons because our RPF is Very Hot. This was just right for us: spicy without blowing our heads off which G thought would happen if we used the 3 1/2 Tablespoons called for. They were cooked on the indoor grill pan. We'll definitely make the chops again using the cutlet/chops in the original recipe.

                                                          Instead of the fregola, for which we were going to sub couscous, I served spicy slow cooked black-eyed peas. (cayenne, cumin, garlic, bay, S & P). That more than made up for the reduced heat of the chop marinade. Great pairing. Radish Olive Anchovy and Parsley Salad on page 70, and the inevitable corn on the cob were also served. Another wonderful meal from Diana Henry.

                                                          1. re: CMCooks

                                                            Lamb Scottadito with Summer Fregola (Farro).

                                                            I was only so-so about the lamb. Unfortunately, I didn't read Gio's post before I made these. I cut back on the hot pepper (She calls for 8 UK tsps and I cut this in half) and still thought there was way too much heat in this dish. It overpowered the lamb. I should have cut back even more on the red pepper flakes.

                                                            I substituted farro for the fregola as she suggests this as a possible substitute if you can't get fregola. I liked the farro dish with the lamb as it balanced out some of the heat.

                                                          2. P. 140 Pollo Alla Diavola with Green Beans and Sicilian Bread Crumbs

                                                            Another hit!

                                                            To save time, I marinated the game hen a day ahead. Since its been hot in So Cal, we decided to use the BBQ again, this time we used the rotisserie attachment and we roasted the hen in a covered BBQ on medium/low heat for approximately 45 minutes. The flavor was great and I think the additional time in the marinade worked out well.

                                                            However, the green beans were definitely the star of the show. The textures and flavors in this side dish were amazing – savory, sweet, crunchy, soft…it had it all. In fact, my husband and I fought over the last bit of green beans and bread crumbs.

                                                            Tips…you are essentially shallow frying the bread so make sure your pan is hot and the bread sizzles a little when you add it to the pan. It should brown nicely this way. Also, once the bread has started to brown, lower your heat and add the other goodies. She is right…the pine nuts do brown fast so watch them carefully. Also, I made a little well in the center of the pan when I added my anchovies and smashed them up quickly in the extra olive oil. It helped break them up. It also pays to have all your ingredients prepped for this side dish as it comes together fast! …lastly, I did not have basil so I used parsley…it tasted just fine.


                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: CMCooks

                                                              Green Beans with Sicilian Bread Crumbs, p. 140

                                                              Even after reading CMCooks's review, I wasn't prepared for how fabulous these were. We had these as a side to lamb chops (from the recipe in "My Bombay Kitchen," w/pomegranate molasses marinade, my new favorite). And what a felicitous pairing that was. I ended up spooning the crumbs over the lamb chops too.

                                                              I toasted the breadcrumbs in oil then added the pine nuts, garlic and anchovies (alas, I discovered we had no raisins at the last minute) while the water boiled for the beans and then finished the dish (beans tossed w/ lemon, EVOO, and chopped mint) as my husband grilled the lamb chops. Total cooking time for a meal that felt quite elegant: literally minutes.

                                                              This is a superb treatment for green beans, even without the raisins. A hit indeed!

                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                Glad to hear you liked the beans too! I think I am going to make these for Thanksgiving this year.

                                                                1. re: CMCooks

                                                                  Based on this thread, I made the beans last night with crushed almonds in place of bread crumbs (no crumbs on hand plus spouse is eating low carb until his blood sugar drops further). Outstanding. BTW, if you are out of bread crumbs, crushed almonds with the garlic and anchovy is delicious as well.

                                                                  1. re: HillsofBeverly

                                                                    Great idea! Thanks. I will try this as we are about to embark on a low carb effort--again. (Always seem to fall off that wagon.) Crushed almonds won't seem like sacrifice at all.

                                                                    1. re: HillsofBeverly

                                                                      Just wanted to come back and say I tried this a few nights ago, subbing in the crushed almonds for breadcrumbs. Delicious!

                                                              2. Chicken and Fennel with Honey, Mustard, and Orange, p. 74

                                                                This is very simple to put together, with a handful of ingredients that add up to a pretty delicious result.

                                                                I made a half recipe, using four chicken thighs and one very large fennel bulb. Bone-in chicken thighs, with or without skin (I skinned them) go in a pan that accommodate everything in a single layer (a 9x13-in dish accommodated my half recipe's ingredients). Orange juice and zest, honey, whole-grain mustard (I used Dijon), and olive oil are combined (I halved the proportion of honey so it was equivalent to the amount of mustard) and two-thirds is poured over the chicken, which is sprinkled with salt and fresh thyme leaves (I used fresh oregano because I had that). Into the oven for 15 minutes, after which it's basted and wedges of fennel are added, along with the remaining OJ mixture, the whole roasted for 30 minutes more, with intermittent basting. At the point where the fennel went in, there wasn't really sufficient liquid to baste, and I wondered whether it would have been better to double it, but as roasting progressed, it increased and I was able to turn the fennel in it, ending up with tender, glazed pieces as she suggests, and a nice amount of sauce.

                                                                I was happy with my decision to halve the honey, as I found the sauce/glaze well balanced, with the flavor of orange in the forefront, and not too sweet. While thyme is certainly the obvious choice to pair with chicken and orange, the fresh oregano worked well. Henry suggests serving this with the pilaf on the same page, but I chose a more restrained route and rounded out my plate with sauteed zucchini, spooning the sauce over it as well, but I'd say it'd definitely be a good call to have something like rice or pilaf to absorb it, or bread to mop the plate because it is very tasty. Overall, a meal with a pretty high return on a modest amount of effort.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  Glad to hear it works well with less honey.

                                                                2. Japanese Eggplants with Miso, p. 188

                                                                  My eggplants weren't exactly Japanese ones, but they were small and thinnish. I halved them lengthwise, scored the flesh, brushed it with peanut oil, and then baked them in my toaster oven at 350F. After about 25 minutes, I covered the dish with foil and baked another 20 or so, then took it out and spread the sauce over the tops and popped it back in to bake another 6-7 minutes. (I had to adjust cooking time b/c my eggplant weren't the long, thin ones.) Once done, toasted sesame seeds were sprinkled over the tops.

                                                                  While eggplant was baking, I toasted the sesame seeds (1 T) and made the sauce--2 T ea. white and brown miso paste, 2 tsp light brown sugar (I used dark), 3 T mirin or dry sherry (sherry for me), and 1 T sake, 1/2 tsp togarashi are mixed and "gently" heated. (I also misread the recipe and stirred in 2 T peanut oil--meant for brushing the eggplant flesh--but that didn't hurt anything except for adding unnecessary calories!

                                                                  We liked this a lot (so much so that I grabbed true Japanese eggplants when I spied them at the FM yesterday, so I can do these again tonight). The flesh gets creamy and the miso sauce adds delicious flavor. Bonus: this is one of the easiest eggplant recipes I've encountered.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                    Japanese Eggplants with Miso, p. 188

                                                                    I made a half recipe, using only white miso (had it on hand, but no brown), mirin, and sherry instead of sake. Because I was using only the sweeter white miso, I skipped the sugar. The result was deliciously salty-sweet-savory, with tender and creamy flesh as nomadchowwoman says.

                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                      Glad you liked it, Caitlin. I made it again two nights ago, with the long thin Japanese eggplants. We liked them every bit as much the second time around.

                                                                  2. Japanese Ginger and Garlic Chicken [minus smashed cucumber], p. 63

                                                                    After reading the reports on this dish in the "Cooking From . . . " thread, I decided to use the 2 oz guideline on the ginger instead of the 2/3 cup. As I was making half a recipe, I weighed out an ounce of ginger, peeled it and then grated it and two cloves a garlic and mixed it with a scant 2 T soy sauce, 1½ T ea. sake and dk. brown sugar, ¼ T brown miso, and ½ tsp togarashi. Four skinless thighs, pricked and slashed a bit, and the marinade went into a zip-loc bag, got a nice massage, and then sat in the fridge 45 minutes before--and here I deviated from the recipe--I stuck the thighs on the outside grill and discarded the marinade. After 30 minutes (with the grill regulated at roughly 350F), they were done.

                                                                    We loved these. This is an excellent marinade that I do plan to make again (especially since I have all this miso paste to use up). I skipped Henry's smashed cucumbers and went with a simple cucumber/tomato/red onion mix (as well as blistered green beans and Henry's eggplant with miso) for sides. A great meal for a minimal investment of time and effort.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                      Oh, man! does that look good. Making note.

                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                        Good to read, Nomad. It's on my list for the next chicken recipe. This week-end with any luck.

                                                                        ETA: Looks like both recipes you reported on will be made on Sunday. Thanks for taking care of That for me...

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Japanese Ginger and Garlic Chicken [Smashed Cucumber], Pg. 63

                                                                          Finally got a chance to cook this recipe last night, plans having been thwarted at the week-end. We pretty much followed the recipe including using almost the full amount of ginger. We cheated, though, by using organic jarred minced ginger something I've wanted to try. Four chicken leg quarters were separated into drumsticks and thighs. We used sake in the marinade, no togorashi so used a combo of ground cayenne and a few cracked Szechuan peppercorns. In spite of all the spice involved we thought the dish flavorful but not exceptionally spicy. The chicken was perfect.

                                                                          While I do like a smashed cucumber salad, Fuchsia Dunlop's in particular, we elected to make a tomato/Vidalia/cucumber salad with a pseudo Japanese dressing. Steamed broccoli was a side dish. I'd make this again.

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            Based on this thread, I made the chicken last night (have a ton of miso at any time, always looking for new ways to use it). I feared that the marinade would be too salty but it was not. Delicious flavor (I could taste the miso) and I'll make it again, though I'd still love to knock down the salt level even further.

                                                                        2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                          Japanese Ginger and Garlic Chicken
                                                                          We enjoyed this chicken tonight, a half recipe. Since I don't have the book I got my instructions here, careful to use a reasonable amount of ginger! The small amount of miso I didn't have was replaced by a small amount of porcini powder.
                                                                          Not sure if that is an outrageous substitute or not, but the end result was better than good.

                                                                        3. Pistachio and Lemon Cake, p. 79

                                                                          Guests mean an excuse for dessert. So glad for that as this is an amazing cake! Moist crumb, with a crunchy exterior, nutty, and, since I subbed coconut oil for 1/4 of the cup of olive oil, a barely detectable hint of coconut. This is similar to the olive oil-almond cakes I love, but better.

                                                                          A cake pan (I used an 8-inch) is lined w/parchment and oiled. I ground 3/4 c. of pistachios in my grinder, then mixed that w/ a cup ea. of stale bread crumbs and superfine sugar (I just whizzed the regular stuff in my grinder), 2½ tsp baking powder, and zest from a lemon. The oil is mixed with four lightly beaten eggs and then stirred into the nut-crumb mixture and turned into the pan (it is a drab green color at this point; maybe you can tell from my photo), which goes into a COLD oven. The oven gets turned on to 350F and bakes, according to Henry, for 50-55 minutes. In the 8-inch pan, mine took more than 60 minutes.

                                                                          Since I was serving this w/fresh peaches, ice cream, and salted bourbon caramel sauce (overkill), I did not make the lemon glaze (which may have brought out the flavor of the lemon zest, undetectable in my cake) or top it with additional pistachios. Quite honestly, this cake is perfect all by itself. An easily portable cake, it would be great for gifting. Lovely for breakfast, too. It did not suffer a bit into the next day.

                                                                          This is also very easy, as cakes go. A word of warning if you're not a careful recipe reader: like other recipes here, there's no indication when ingredients (three, in this case) are to be divided so I had squeezed juice from two lemons before realizing that was meant for the glaze I wasn't making. Duh.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                            I've got this one marked too. Glad it was a success. I love a plainish cake (possibly because I'm too lazy for fancy decorating).

                                                                          2. Scandi Salmon Burgers with dill and tomato sauce (p. 118)

                                                                            These got mixed reviews. I liked them but would say that compared to many of her other recipes, the results maybe aren't worth the amount of work. Cutting a pound of salmon into 1/8 inch squares is tedious (or at least felt so yesterday). Anyway, you do that, cook a finely chopped onion in some butter until soft and then add that, chives, mayonnaise, yogurt, S&P and put in the fridge to get cold. Then take it out and mold into burgers and let get cold again. Meanwhile make the sauce. Now I didn't like the idea of having the tomato in the sauce, so I skipped that part of it and just served some nice tomatoes on the side. Anyway the sauce without the tomatoes is a delicious mix of Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chopped dill, and garlic. My broiler doesn't work so I simply cooked these at a high temp for about 5 minutes (they're supposed to be broiled for 2 minutes and then cooked at lower heat another 2. They're very delicate, so it is imperative to oil your baking sheet. Served on rye bread with the sliced tomatoes and some sliced cucumbers on the side. Again, I did like them - just not sure they're something I'd bother repeating.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              There's nothing I like better than a good salmon burger, also see no reason to put tomato on it.
                                                                              I wish you were one of the posters who use photos--would love to see those eighth-inch cubes, the whole pound of them :)

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                Oh, they were soooo tiresome. When she tells you to cut them into 1/8th cubes she says "but don't be pedantic about it" but still you want the burger to come out right. If you're more patient than I am (quite likely!) and love salmon burgers, these are worth a try. And yeah, leave the tomato out of the sauce - makes no sense to me. Like adding ketchup or something.

                                                                            2. Mackerel (Bluefish) with Hazelnut Picada, pg. 212

                                                                              Despite trying to burn the house down while cooking this, we ended up with a very nicely cooked piece of fish, that we enjoyed thoroughly. Maybe an adrenaline burst helps the appetite?

                                                                              Anyway, this is one of those make a topping, cook the fish separately, add the topping to the cooked fish dishes that we like a lot. The topping is a mix of pan-fried bread crumbs, toasted hazelnuts, orange zest, garlic, parsley and sherry vinegar. DH's trick for removing the skin from the toasted hazelnuts, i.e. put the hazelnuts straight out of the oven into a kitchen towel and rub the skins off, didn't quite work. I still had to haul out the paring knife to get enough skin off. Too bad because peeling hazelnuts is my least favorite chore--was really hoping this trick would work. But still the topping once assembled is tasty, a bit like a loose stuffing. One thing though, I'd've preferred it with a little less sherry vinegar, and perhaps a bit of orange juice added.

                                                                              Meanwhile, the mackerel fillets are supposed to be pan-fried. By the time I got to the fish store they were out of mackerel, but had some gorgeous bluefish. So I decided to use the FWOD broiling method for the thicker bluefish fillets. Must have got my pan and broiler too hot--the minute the skillet went under the broiler there was a big burst of flames. Amazingly, though, once I turned off the oven and closed the door and upped the exhaust fan, the darn fish cooked perfectly and only had a little smokiness to it, about the same as grilling would produce. So proceeded to top the fish with the orange juice (more accurately a the juice from a mineola) and the picada. And consumed it with gusto.

                                                                              1. P. 292 Cranberry Beans and Kale with Anchovy and Rosemary Sauce

                                                                                A wonderful side dish! I used canned beans and it was very easy to assemble. I think this dish would make a nice accompaniment to poultry. Not sure how big of a difference using homemade beans would make as the sauce has a ton of flavor. I also recommend using fresh rosemary leaves, preferably the more tender leaves, and chopping them up a little before putting them in the mortar. Since the elements of this dish are soft (wilted kale and beans), I think dry rosemary would be a bit harsh and you may get a bite that feels like you just bit into a twig…just my two cents here…also the fresh rosemary added a nice subtle herby flavor. As for the chili called for the in the recipe, I used crushed red pepper, just a sprinkle, and it was fine. Lastly, I served this over some buttered quinoa. Delish!

                                                                                1. Turkish Spoon Salad with Haydari, p. 101

                                                                                  I failed to read this recipe thoroughly before starting to make it, and that caused my results to be less beautiful than the picture in the book, but we still liked it just fine. The oversight on my part is that you are asked to drain the Greek yogurt for the haydari for 24 hours, so it becomes very thick like cream cheese. Oops. By the time I noticed this, I'd already mixed the ingredients together, so I just plowed on. We would have to make do with a thinner yogurt.

                                                                                  The haydari is Greek yogurt (which is already strained and thick) drained for 24 hours, then mixed with dill, garlic, green chile (I used serrano), and salt. Mine was thinner because I didn't drain it, but still good. I found 1/4 tsp of salt as called for in the recipe not to be nearly enough. I used more than that, and wasn't even using the full amount of yogurt.

                                                                                  For the salad, well, this is an intense use of summer veg. Diced tomatoes, cucumber, romano peppers (I used red bell here), shallot, parsley, mint - all tossed in a dressing of pomegranite molasses, harissa, white wine vinegar, and a hefty dose of olive oil. What's not to like?

                                                                                  I would certainly like to make this again with the thicker, drained yogurt. But we enjoyed it quite well as we made it. The recipe calls for serving with flatbread, so I made a gluten-free flatbread topped with za'atar to accompany it, and to make a vegetarian meal, I also marinated some tofu in pomegranite molasses, harissa, and soy sauce, and cooked it on a griddle.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                    I am too lazy/disorganised to strain my yoghurt so just buy labneh from a local store. Your meal looks great. Turkish tofu might catch on!

                                                                                  2. Tomato, Melon, and Cucumber Salad, pg. 86

                                                                                    Made this because I had everything on hand, including most especially a piece of musk melon that needed a home. The dressing is supposed to be--white wine vinegar, peanut oil, olive oil, mint leaves, dijon mustard, sugar, s&p all whizzed together. I alternate between having an open bottle of white balsamic or of white wine vinegar, currently it is the balsamic, so I used that and eliminated the sugar. Also, had just finished off my peanut oil, so used canola. And finally, DH calls for olive oil not evoo, so that's what I used, and was pleased with the result--evoo might be too assertive here. The rest of the salad is just halved cherry tomatoes, chunks of melon, and diced cucumber. Feta cheese is optional--I added about an ounce chunked to my half recipe.

                                                                                    Thai salads notwithstanding, as general rule we don't quite like sweet/savory fruit/veg salads, but gosh, we both loved this. It might be because we had it with some very simply grilled lamb chops--s&p, a little crushed garlic, end of story--and the minty dressing from the salad, as well as the other flavors, just went perfectly with the lamb.

                                                                                    1. White Fish, Saffron, and Dill Couscous Pilaf, p. 54

                                                                                      This lives up to the head note's claim in terms of being quite fast and easy, but I found it underwhelming. Onion, garlic, and a few crushed cardamom pods are sauteed, whole-wheat couscous is stirred in, and the pan set aside. In another pan, fish stock and a small amount of saffron are brought to a boil and reduced to bare simmer, then white fish fillets (ling cod) are added and poached very briefly before being removed and broken into bite-sized chunks. The stock is brought back to a boil and poured over the couscous. The fish is placed on top, and the pan is covered with foil and a lid and left to sit for 15 minutes. To finish, lemon juice, fresh dill, and chopped pistachios (sliced almonds) are added. And the whole is strewn with rose petals if you're following the recipe, which I did not in this respect. I did include some minced preserved lemon peel, one of her suggested variations.

                                                                                      This wasn't bad; it was perfectly all right, but not very exciting. The mild flavor of the firm white fish called for gets a bit lost in all the couscous, which itself isn't highly flavored. The recipe includes a quarter cup of dill, which sounds like plenty, but could easily have been doubled as it didn't stand out, either. DH suggests making this with mackerel, hazelnuts, and cilantro instead, and also adding dried fruit in place of rose petals (which themselves I don't see adding much but prettiness), so there are ways the dish could be punched up, but there are better combinations out there, so I doubt it's something I'll bother to make with tweaks.

                                                                                      1. Bulgarian-griddled courgettes and aubergines with tarator (p 106, UK edition)

                                                                                        This was a delicious treatment of eggplant and zucchini.

                                                                                        You make tarator by pulsing 1 slice of course country bread, 2 garlic cloves, and 100g walnuts in a food processor while slowly adding 100ml olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. You then stir in salt, pepper, 150g Greek yogurt, and 2 Tbsp of chopped dill.

                                                                                        The eggplant and zucchini are sliced to 1/8 inch thick, brushed with olive oil on both sides, and grilled. I did mine on an outdoor grill rather than in a grill pan as she suggests.

                                                                                        You spoon some of the tarator over the vegetables, drizzle with olive oil (I skipped this) and top with some extra walnuts and dill.

                                                                                        I loved the tarator. It would be a great dip by itself with some pita chips.

                                                                                        1. (Raspberry) and Red Wine Gelatins, p. 233

                                                                                          Now, this is jello for grownups. And so very good. College-kid jello shots are to this as vodka and fruit punch is to, well, a nice bottle of wine. Red wine (Pinot Noir, in my case), sugar (not a lot), water (not a lot), gelatin, and berries (the recipe calls for blackberries, but I ran into a sale on organic raspberries). That's it. The wine is only gently heated - just enough to dissolve the sugar and gelatin - so the finished dessert retains its essence, as well as its alcohol. In the eating, most of the sweetness comes from the berries, with the jelled wine a complex counterpoint. Would be a lovely finish for a warm-weather dinner party - sophisticated, light, and summery.

                                                                                          I had to do a bit of improvising when it came to the gelatin. Henry calls for sheet gelatin, which I gather is more readily available in the UK than in the US, where it's a specialty item. But I know sheet gelatin comes in different strengths and sizes, as well as varying by country, so how to convert "5 large or 10 small sheets" without knowing what's standard in the UK was a bit of a head-scratcher. I finally decided to scrap converting and just determine how much powdered gelatin would be needed to set the liquid in the recipe. Going from the info on David Lebovitz's site (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/04/...), which says one packet (around 2 1/2 tsp) will softly set 3 cups of liquid, coupled with Henry's head note saying that you need more to set alcohol, I used 4 1/2 tsp for the 2 cups wine plus 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar, softening it in 1/2 cup of the cold water and stirring this into the rest after heating to dissolve the sugar. It worked out fine, but I'd use 4 tsp gelatin next time for a slightly softer set. I'm not sure why, but though the softened gelatin dissolved readily, when I added it the mixture got a bit cloudy. Oh, well; if the result isn't quite as nice to look at as if it were clear, it certainly doesn't detract from the flavor.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            Oh I just saw this! Thanks for including the science for this beautiful compote/Jello for grownups. I too want to be sophisticated and light, soon. It seems to me that raspberries are a better choice than blackberries.

                                                                                          2. Hot Chile-Ginger Stir-Fried Squid, p. 213

                                                                                            This is a light, bright, and zingy dish that was just what I needed today. Once you've prepped the squid and aromatics, it's done in a flash.

                                                                                            I made this once before, prior to Diana Henry COTM, and as with the previous time, I made half the amount of squid (1 lb rather than 2), but used the full amount of everything else (except oil), and I recommend that ratio. As a note of practicality, unless you've got a very large wok, I can't imagine effectively stir-frying 2 lbs at once; 1 lb works for me in a 12-inch skillet, but more would be too crowded.

                                                                                            On to the recipe: Stir-fry sliced garlic and chopped lemongrass, ginger, and chile for a minute. Add squid (cut into rings) and stir-fry another minute. Lower the heat and add chopped scallions, lime juice, fish sauce, and superfine sugar, salt, and pepper to taste (I skipped the sugar mostly from laziness) and cook another 30 seconds. You're meant to finish with chopped cilantro or mint, but I lacked the first and my mint was rather tired.

                                                                                            This is just delicious. It's popping with flavor, with heat, freshness, and umami, plus the tartness of lime. Healthful, too! In the interest of keeping it light, I had tonight's serving as a warm salad on a bed of baby spinach, but rice would also be a natural pairing, of course.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                              You make it look (and sound) effortless. Not to mention fabulous. I am squid-shy--can't seem to cook it to anything but rubber. But I have some in the freezer; maybe I should try this. Love those flavors.

                                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                If you follow her timing, where the squid is only in the pan for a minute and a half, it is perfectly cooked and very tender. I say go for it.

                                                                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                That's beautiful, and oh the shape I (we all!) would be in if we ate like this every day!

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  Looks great, Caitlin. Adding it to my list.

                                                                                                  Was just reading a squid stir-fry recipe in "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge." Young says "It is best to use a small quantity of raw squid for stir-frying. More than 8 ounces of raw squid crowds a 14-inch wok, which releases moisture creating a braise rather than a stir-fry." So you did well with one pound in a 12 incher. Good to know you can up the amount of squid a bit and still stir-fry rather than braise.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                    I'd say the pound is pushing it, but it's in so briefly before you add liquid (fish sauce and lime juice) that it worked out okay.

                                                                                                    By the way, leftovers work wonderfully as a cold salad.

                                                                                                2. Citrus Compote with Ginger Snow, p200

                                                                                                  After seeing a rave review for this on EYB, I had to try this. This is a very nice, light, flavorful dessert.

                                                                                                  The "snow" is a granita made from 155g sugar, zest from two limes, 40g ginger (peeled and chopped)' and 600 ml water. You bring to boil, simmer 2 min, cool, strain, add juice of 3 limes and freeze.

                                                                                                  The compote is made from grapefruit and orange segments and you make a syrup made with the extra juice from the citrus, sugar, water. and lime juice.

                                                                                                  You top the fruit with the syrup and granita.