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August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Other Books and Online Recipes

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews for recipes pulled from Diana Henry books other than those identified in the main thread (Pure Simple Cooking/A change of Appetite/Food from Plenty). You may also use this thread to post on any recipes you have found online. That said, if the online recipe does note that it is from one of the three books with their own thread, please post your review there.

Remember to review the thread in order to ensure you reply to the original post on any recipe you are reviewing to make sure all the comments are grouped together.

As per usual the Chowhound Team would like me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes is a violation of the author's copyright. Any posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Harissa from Salt Sugar Smoke. This is one of my all time favorite condiments. You can use it as a spicy ingredient ( in kebab, brushed on chicken before baking) or eat it along side cooked fish, rice, labne, etc. I've only ever had it jarred. Never fresh.

    Harissa Is pretty trendy right now so there are a lot if recipes around. Most recipes call for a roasted red pepper or charred tomato to cool it down but not this recipe.

    Dried guajillo chilis, red chilis (I used red jalapeƱos), garlic, cilantro, toasted spices, olive oil all blended up. Very oily (it's supposed to sit under a layer of oil to preserve) but very amazing. Really not that spicy at all - my peppers must have been mild. Next time will try spicier chilis? We ate the harissa on ritz crackers right after I made it it was so good.

    this weekend I'm going to make the harissa honey chicken wings from Balaboosta with it. I have a good feeling

    I stole the harissa on a spoon idea from the book...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Siegal

      I just made a harissa from SPICE by Ana Sortun. She suggests Urfa peppers. Fish without a Doubt calls for baklouti chiles which I have never seen locally. Clearly the peppers used determine how fiery the heat is.

      I have always loved Harissa, so may have to try every single variation presented by authors that I trust.

      The spoon is really quite lovely.

      1. re: Siegal

        There is a mistake in the US version of the book for this recipe, in the amount of oil called for. The US version calls for 1 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for storing. The UK version calls for 100 ml of olive oil, which is about 3.4 fl. oz, or under half a cup. If you use the amount of oil in the US version, the recipe will not fit in a half-pint jar, as it says it will. And I find the flavors will be muted by all that oil. If you use the lesser amount in the UK version, the flavors will be brighter, and the recipe will fit in the half-pint jar. Clearly a mistake in translating the recipe from metric to US measurements. And that is why I prefer to by the UK versions of books by UK authors.

        1. re: MelMM

          Yes it seemed very oily! But my oil rose to the top so I can scoop less oily harissa out from underneath it. Next time I will use less.

      2. I thought link to this thread might also be helpful

        1. Pesto alla Trapanese - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 51

          I first learned of this Sicilian spin on basil pesto, from the city of Trapani, in a thread here on CH a couple of years ago (and then wrote it up for the erstwhile CH Home Cooking Digest). It's made in the food processor in the usual way, with everything but the olive oil and grated cheese chucked in and pulsed while the oil is drizzled in. In this case, "everything" is 4 chopped plum tomatoes (but I used the sweet and flavorful Early Girls I had from the farmers' market), 4 pieces finely chopped sun-dried tomato (mine were small, so I used 6), 3 cloves garlic, 2.75 almonds (she calls for blanched; I used unblanched sliced, what I had on hand, and only around 2 oz), leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, and "a good handful" of fresh basil. After, 2 oz grated pecorino is stirred in. She calls for 2.5 oz (5 T) olive oil, but I added a bit at a time, and stopped at 3, which got me a loose paste texture (perhaps I'd have needed more for the same texture had I used the full measure of almonds). I also added pepper, but not salt, feeling the cheese made it salty enough.

          I stirred around half of the batch into a half pound of whole-wheat penne, along with a few generous dollops of ricotta loosened with a bit of hot water. The remainder went into the freezer. I like this pesto quite a lot. I realized that a recipe in last month's COTM, Radically Simple, which I've made a couple of times in the past, is probably inspired by the Trapanese variety, but the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh oregano give Henry's recipe a more complex flavor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Just an update: The remainder of the pesto was defrosted, gently heated with a splash of white wine to loosen it, and tossed with fresh vegetable and ricotta ravioli (summer squash with corn, and fresh pea with mint) from a local pasta shop. Worked wonderfully with the summery vegetable fillings, made a delicious dinner (and lunch today) with green salad.

          2. Lemon and basil ice cream, p52, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons

            I love an excuse to make ice cream in my fancy Cuisinart ice cream maker. This one's a winner. Totally delicious. You do have to make a custard though, with milk infused with basil and lemon rind, egg yolks and sugar. Once it's cooled, add lemon juice and lightly whipped cream and churn.

            As sinfully good as you might expect, with a beautifully fragrant note from the basil. A perfect end to a summer meal. Sigh.

            1 Reply
            1. re: greedygirl

              So happy to read your report. I've had my eye on this recipe since the first time I flipped through the book, and was thinking of making it this month, especially since our CSA box is including lots of basil lately.

            2. Greek Herb Pilaf with Shrimp and Feta - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 44

              This is a a fairly simple rice dish made truly vibrant with bunches (literally) of parsley, dill, and mint. Add in a bit of lemon juice, salty/creamy feta, and sweet sauteed shrimp, and the result is an absolutely delicious dish.

              I made a two-thirds recipe, more or less. Start by rinsing basmati rice and leaving it to soak for an hour if you have time. I just let it soak while I prepped the pilaf ingredients. Saute chopped onion in butter and olive oil till softened, then add chopped fresh tomato and garlic and cook till the onion's translucent. In goes the rice, half the fresh herbs, salt, and fish or light chicken stock (I used shrimp stock). Let boil until you can't see the liquid, then wrap the pan lid in a tea towel, cover, and cook on lowest heat for 20-25 minutes (20 was enough since I'd soaked the rice). Right when the rice is finishing, saute shrimp in olive oil, then season and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Add more lemon juice to the rice, along with the remaining fresh herbs and a glug of olive oil (you're also meant to add chopped kalamata olives, but I forgot to buy them when I was at the market). Serve portions of the rice, and top with the shrimp and crumbled feta.

              As I said, this was just delicious, even missing the olives. I mixed it up on my plate before eating, so I could have a bit of feta in each bite. To me, my two-thirds recipe, which was about a cup of rice, made plenty of rice for four servings, though the half pound shrimp only enough for two, but I guess it would depend on appetites and how much rice you want to eat in any given meal.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                That looks yummy! Might be a good dish for me to make on Saturday for some picky eaters plus a pescatarian.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Oh yay! I have this on my must-make list. I realized a few days ago that I won't have as much opportunity to cook in August as usual what with LulusDad being away for 10 days, and L and me taking a weekend trip away. But I know I'll be using these books for a long time. And this looks soooo good.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I think/hope this will be a hit chez LLM, but you might want to make a note to increase the shrimp a bit from 3/4 lb, as I know you like to have 3+ portions, and as noted in my report I think it's slightly long on rice but short on shrimp for 4.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      I did notice that. I think it is part of her healthy attitude in the book, although I have to say, I think of shrimp as a fairly low-fat, healthy protein myself. You know my tastes really well, and I agree, this sounds like it will be a hit here.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I hadn't really thought she was focusing on healthy in this book vs the regional inspiration, but who knows, you could be right. Personally, if I was looking for most healthful, not to mention lower calorie, I'd tend to think less than 2 oz (raw) white rice in a serving, while opting for a larger portion of shrimp than 3 oz.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          You're absolutely right - I was confusing it with A Change of Appetite. All these books sitting around must be making my head spin a bit.

                2. Salad of Middle Eastern Grilled Chicken, Bulgur, and Pomegranates - Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, p. 115

                  This was a repeat for me; I loved it the first time around, and knew it would suit my purposes well this week, in that it is equally good just made and warm, and at room temp (so a great make-ahead, e.g., for lunches or a picnic dish). I did alter a bit from the recipe based on what was at hand (and it's supposed to have more greenery than this batch did, but again, that's to do with what I didn't have) and personal preference.

                  First step is to marinate boneless, skinless breasts (thighs) in olive oil (I halved to no detriment), pom molasses, honey, and ground cumin for a couple of hours (what mine got) to overnight. Then make the bulgur by sauteeing onion and garlic, adding bulgur and chicken stock (water), and simmering till the liquid's absorbed, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the chicken - she has you using a grill pan, but I baked the thighs in their marinade and lifted them out. To make the salad, the bulgur is mixed with the sliced chicken, toasted and chopped walnuts (almonds), pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries), lots of chopped parsley and cilantro (I didn't have the latter, so subbed some mint), and there is meant to be watercress but I had neither it or a suitable alternative (last time I used baby arugula). The whole is dressed with lime juice, harissa (which I probably doubled from the 1/2 tsp listed), a wee bit of honey, and olive oil (which I again halved).

                  This is such a terrific, delicious combination of flavors and textures. Even with the shorter marinating time, the chicken picks up a ton of flavor and the pom molasses/honey/cumin combination is great (quite complex), and complemented well with the tart/slightly spicy lime-harissa dressing. Add in the crunch of toasted nuts, tart-sweet pops of dried cranberries (dried cherries would be another good alternative to pom seeds), and all the fresh herbs, and it's a really wonderful dish, one I'll definitely keep returning to. With all that going on, using water instead of stock didn't seem to mean any great loss of flavor. Like many bulgur dishes, you could easily sub couscous or quinoa, too, I think.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Looks and sounds fantastic. I've got this on my list - thanks for the review (and the picture, which is making my mouth water).

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Quick question for Caitlin (or anyone else who may have made this salad). How do you think this would work if I subbed couscous (either regular or Israeli) for the bulgur? I'm planning to make it next week, and I have both those items in the pantry and my family is more used to them (not that I shy away from having them get used to new things).

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Regular couscous would be a fine sub. Since you'd be letting it rehydrate off heat once you add the stock instead of cooking over low heat as with the bulgur in the recipe, I'd just make sure to saute the onions a bit more, until they're translucent, before putting the couscous in.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Thanks so much Caitlin. I did figure it would need a bit of tweaking, but good to know couscous should work.

                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Salad of Middle Eastern Grilled (roasted) Chicken, Bulgar (couscous) and Pomegranates (p. 115 Crazy Water, Bitter Lemons)

                        Thanks so much to Caitlin for pointing this one out - and she's right, it is a winner. She's done a great job of describing the recipe so I'll just go into the changes I made. I marinated my chicken breasts for over 24 hours and then roasted them at something like 425 for 20 minutes. Eureka! Finally, nice tender chicken breasts. I subbed baby spinach for the watercress and probably added more parsley and cilantro than asked for. I used couscous instead of bulgar and it was great. I sauteed the onions/garlic until soft, then put the couscous in and lightly toasted it. Then poured boiling chicken stock over it and let it sit for 5-6 minutes. This was added to the spinach/herb/pomegranate/walnut mixture and the heat slightly wilted the spinach. I tossed this with most of the dressing, then sliced the chicken and laid it out over the salad on each plate. Beautiful. At first no one thought they needed/wanted the yogurt that is suggested for serving, but I figured I'd give it a try and in the end everyone could see the idea of it. I think it would be good with or without the yogurt. Really delicious dinner. I'll be making this one again.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          The only D. Henry book I own is "Plenty" and thought I could get through the month without buying another. Ha ha.
                          The shrimp and chicken in this thread (you and Caitlin M. I think) are especially tempting.

                          1. re: blue room

                            You know, I thought the same thing for a long time, which is sort of insane since I love Med. flavors. And then I'd read Caitlin's reviews from it on the "cooking from" thread and think "ok, I really need to get this one" but held off until this month. It's a paperback. Go for it!

                        2. 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.

                          1. Pasta with Anchovies, Pine Nuts (walnuts), Currants and Saffron (p. 89 Crazy Water)

                            This was fine. I am wondering if the 2 ounces extra pasta that I put in could possibly have made the difference between a nice enough pasta and a great one, but I doubt it. I think 2 oz. of currants and 2 1/2 oz. of milk soaked anchovies just isn't enough BANG for my tastebuds. And I don't think I could taste the saffron (1/4 tsp. soaked in hot water). I did love the sauteed fennel that is part of this.

                            Basically you make a sauce of cubed fennel sauteed in olive oil, add pine nuts (I subbed walnuts), garlic, olive oil, the plumped currants, soaked anchovies, fennel fronds, finished with the saffron in water, chopped parsley and pepper, then add the pasta and fried breadcrumbs. Somehow there just wasn't enough of the tasty things for me (although in getting some of Lulu's leftovers I noticed that her bowl had more than mine did, and was more enjoyable). I felt like soaking the anchovies took the bite out of them (to the point where no one at the table could taste them) and red pepper flakes were needed. Not a bad meal but not a special one either, sad to say.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LulusMom

                              This sounds very similar to a Marcella Hazan pasta dish from Essentials, which I believe Caitlin has made as well, same ingredients except it also has sardines and tomato paste. (I don't remember if it has anchovies). You might want to check that one out, I recall it being good.

                            2. Roasted Peppers in Olive Oil from salt sugar smoke

                              My husband loves roasted peppers - if I want to make him happy I roast peppers for him. Lol.

                              The recipe is pretty straightforward but there is one thing different than all the other recipes I made. White balsamic vinegar. I actually never heard of this before so when I read the recipe my brain said white distilled vinegar. So that's how I made it. It tastes a little blah so I added some sugar ( I'm sure if I used balsamic it would have covered this) and it came out fine.
                              Long story short - do not make this with regular vinegar. I will have to search out this white balsamic and try again.

                              1. Eggplants with Mint (Crazy water, p. 82)

                                DH's head note says simply: Sweet, sour and Sicilian - and that really does pretty much cover it. You are supposed to grill 3 sliced, oiled eggplant/s (I roasted 2) and make a dressing of white wine and balsamic vinegars, garlic, sugar, olive oil and torn mint. When the eggplant comes off the heat you pour the dressing over it and let it sit so that it soaks in. Serve at room temperature. I liked these a lot. Other family members looked askance, but I noticed that they finished every bit of it on their plates (and LulusDad had seconds). A very nice side to M. Clark's merguez burgers with harissa mayonnaise.

                                1. Bulgar and Spinach Pilaf with Labneh and Chili Roast Tomatoes (Crazy Water, p. 132)

                                  I could have sworn someone else had reported on this one.

                                  This is fabulous. Not a quick meal to put together, but well worth every step. I started the labneh two days before. Then yesterday around noon I roasted the plum tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic, harissa, brown sugar and salt and pepper. She says they'll take 40-45 minutes. Mine took longer (and I then reheated them for a while in the oven while making dinner, so they'd be really melty and hot). A chopped onion is sauteed until soft, garlic is added for a few minutes, then the bulgar and stock are brought to a boil, lowered for 15 minutes, then covered and left to sit for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile (and I cheated on this part and just used frozen chopped spinach) you saute spinach in a bit of olive oil. Once the bulgar is ready you add the spinach too it. Put some torn mint leaves down. Add the tomatoes and more torn mint. Break up the labneh and put that over the tomatoes. Quickly fry 2 thinly sliced onions until brown with some crispy bits. Add cinnamon and brown sugar and finish with a bit of lemon juice. Cover the whole thing with these onions. I was worried that a) it might be too sweet, and b) my meat eating husband would not be thrilled. Well, it wasn't too sweet thanks to the harissa and the savoriness of the bottom layer, and b) my husband *loved* it. It was chewy and creamy, savory and absolutely delicious. Served sourdough bread on the side and that was plenty. Takes time, lots of steps, but so worth it.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    I've wanted to make this one ever since helen_m mentioned it in the cooking-from thread as her very favorite DH recipe, although every time I read it, I'm daunted by the number of pots and pans required (ergo, dishes to wash). But your report reminds me that I really should try it anyway, while decent tomatoes are still around.

                                    Here's the recipe: http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/600522

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I thought of you while making it, because I knew it was the sort of thing we both really like. I kept up with the dishes (thank goodness) as I went along, probably because there was enough time to do so. I should have mentioned that I made and served it from one of those paella-like pans. This made clean up easier - the onions and bulgar all in that one pan and not having to be transferred. Once the spinach pan was emptied into the bulgar one, I wiped it out and added the onions to that. And once I had dumped the tomatoes onto the bulgar, I was able to wash that out while the onions cooked. All the little bowls full of chopped or sliced or whatever'd stuff I washed while waiting for various things to cook. But you're right - not a quick process.

                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                      I've never had/made bulgar, but we like barley -- would that be OK? or not a good idea .. ?

                                      1. re: BangorDin

                                        Well ... I think the only time I've ever cooked with barley was having it in soup, so I'm probably not the best person to ask. I do think couscous would work well, although it wouldn't have quite as much of the nice chewy/nutty thing going on. Still and all, I think it would work well. But I'm sorry, I really can't answer for how barley would work.