Caitlin McGrath's Profile

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Cranberry Sauce?

This apple-cranberry crumb pie uses whole-berry cranberry sauce and is very good. I like to add some chopped walnuts to the crumb topping.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

about 2 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

*May/June 2010 COTM - GOURMET: Salads and Vegetables

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bitters, p. 632

True story: Yotam Ottolenghi pointed me to this recipe. I was flipping through the brand-new Plenty More and noticed that the headnote for a (much more involved) sweet potato recipe said it had been inspired by a recipe in GT, so I looked it up. (Funnily enough, Ottolenghi's recipe is available on Epicurious, and this one is not.) Anyway, I decided to try this one for Thanksgiving, and I have to say, it's a very good bet that a new T-day tradition has just been born, because it's really, really good.

Three pounds of sweet potatoes are peeled and cut into wedges lengthwise. Per the recipe, each potato is to be cut into six wedges, but because my orange-fleshed "yams" were long and slender, I halved them crosswise and then cut each half into four wedges. A cup each of fresh orange juice and bitter orange marmalade are heated to melt the marmalade, then salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of Angostura bitters are added and the sweet potatoes are tossed with the mixture. It's all put in a buttered baking dish in a single layer and baked for half an hour, during which it's stirred a couple of times, then for another half hour without stirring, though mine was sufficiently done in 50 minutes. During baking, the liquid reduces significantly, and the dish rests for 10 minutes out of the oven to let the glaze thicken. I made this ahead, early in the day, then moved it to a smaller dish, in which it was reheated (covered with foil) and served, which worked perfectly.

I'm not much a fan of sweet potato dishes with added sugar, because the potatoes are sweet enough, but this is something different. This, from the headnote, is entirely apt: "The unusual combination of bitters and orange marmalade adds counterpoint and depth to sweet potatoes. These baked wedges aren't sticky and sweet; rather, they are just slightly caramelized and very sophisticated." Just delicious, definitely different, and not at all overly sweet. Also an excellent choice for a make-ahead dish for holiday feasts and/or entertaining because they reheated beautifully. Only caveat is, what with the high-temp baking and the juice/marmalade mixture, my baking dish will need a lot of soaking.

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

Green Beans with Sicilian Breadcrumbs, p. 140

I made these for Thanksgiving, using finely chopped almonds instead of breadcrumbs, and currants instead of raisins. I blanched and shocked the beans earlier in the day, and tossed them in a skillet with olive oil right before dinner to reheat. I didn't have the mint, but no matter - they were just delicious. The only person who wasn't crazy about them was my mother, and (not coincidentally, I think) she was the only one who knew there were anchovies in the prep, and she doesn't care for them if she can taste them as such. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to make this recipe without them if I wanted something vegetarian (or was serving it to my mother). There's lots of flavor from the other ingredients.

about 6 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Need a great green bean dish!

I don't use a recipe, just mix together finely grated (microplaned) lemon zest, finely chopped garlic, and finely minced garlic.

about 16 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

I made this for the first time this year, and based on your post, biondanonima, I reduced the port to 1 1/3 cups. I also reduced the granulated sugar to 2/3 cup because I don't like it too sweet. Both the liquid amount and sweetness were perfect with those changes, I thought.

about 16 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

I did make the cranberry sauce with port and figs, and it's very good, though I don't know that I like it better than the red wine and ginger one.

No gelato; I didn't really have the time, and it seemed like overkill alongside the whipped cream, for our small party (though we had a last-minute addition).

about 16 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

So, she told me what all is in her mincemeat: Apples, raisins, currants, an orange and a lemon (the whole fruits, including peel), turbinado sugar, dark rum, spices. It gets put through a meat grinder (the hand-cranked type that clamps on to the counter, which she's had for many decades). She makes it several days ahead so it can marry/mellow.

about 16 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Christmas Baking 2014

Something ginger snappy or similarly spiced would be great with eggnog, I think.

about 21 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? November 2014 edition (part two)!

I believe the base is made with graham crackers or digestives, rather than flour, no? There are certainly GF versions of those available that one could use.

What are you baking these days? November 2014 edition (part two)!

Hiya, GHG, good to see you around. I took a brief look through Flavor Flours at a bookstore yesterday, and from what I saw, xanthan gum is called for in recipes with short, but risen doughs (scones, biscuits, certain cookies), but not cakes or crusts (or most cookies). A bit of cream cheese is called for in a number of recipes, and Medrich admits in the intro that this is probably helpful in part due to the stabilizers in commercial cream cheese, though she didn't set out looking at it from that direction.

Best Seasonal/Holiday Trader Joe's Items.... for 2014

As long as you know said coffee drinker enjoys flavored coffees. (Personally, I can't stand them.)

What are you baking these days? November 2014 edition (part two)!

David Lebovitz has a chocolate-cherry fruitcake recipe that is excellent. You could certainly sub your selection of fruits for just the cherries and/or nuts, etc., and use the booze of your choice (it was great with ingredients as specified and dark rum). It's moist, squidgy, and keeps well.

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/11/...

Left My Refrigerated Preserves Out

Absolutely.

Need a great green bean dish!

I'm a big fan of green beans with gremolata, either the classic lemon zest/garlic/parsley, or orange zest, sometimes with other fresh herbs.

Another thing I do that is always received well, is to saute mushrooms, then toss with green beans, chopped toasted hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, and sherry vinegar.

In either case, I blanch or steam and shock the beans, then toss in a skillet with a bit of olive oil to reheat.

Nov 26, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

Splitting it that way wouldn't work, because posts in the existing thread, which covers four chapters and several hundred pages, aren't arranged in chapter/page order, but in chronological order of reporting, and jump all over within the chapter scope. The only way I can see splitting the existing thread is to divide at approximately the halfway mark (in number of posts). That could be confusing, or at the least would require diligence, because people would have to check both threads for previous reports. Not impossible, but perhaps worth polling people about on the announcement thread?

Nov 24, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Preference for Napa or Savoy Cabbage?

Yes, it's an accurate photo. And yes, I've previously determined that it's the same as what's called Chinese cabbage or Chinese leaf in the UK.

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

No, my mother's mincemeat is vegetarian, as you said, apples, raisins, spices, dark rum I think (she prefers that to brandy). No meat, and no suet.

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

I am having dinner with my mother and her husband, a small party of just four, and she and I are sharing the cooking. She'll do the classics she always does: Dry-brined roasted bone-in turkey breast (she decided a whole bird is just too much), gravy, stuffing with apples and sausage made with multigrain rosemary bread, pumpkin pie, mince pie.

My contributions will include some new and some not:

Cranberry sauce; I may try the port-fig recipe people love, and if not, it'll be with red wine and candied ginger.

A baked sweet potato dish with orange juice, bitter orange marmalade, and bitters (a departure, as in the past I've always just baked the potatoes whole, as my mother always has).

Green beans with almonds in a Sicilian-style prep with garlic, raisins or currants, and anchovies.

Shaved fennel salad with oranges, red onion, pomegranate seeds, and a citrus dressing.

And I might need to make that fabulous ginger honey gelato from Dolce Italiano that JoanN introduced me to, to go with the mince pie.

Nov 22, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

I have been eyeing that persimmon and pomegranate salad recipe. It won't be on the Thanksgiving menu, but a definite possibility for a holiday dinner next month.

Nov 22, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Local source for Bulk Callebaut Chocolate

Yes, but it's 500g. They carry 72%, 54% (labeled "dark"), and milk, as well as the latter two with almonds. They're around $5 each.

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

This was another instance of a recipe where the instruction to season to taste with salt comes at the end of the preparation, so I did what made more sense to me, seasoning during cooking.

Your Thanksgiving Menu for 2014

The ones with dried cranberries and balsamic sound good, but maybe not for Thanksgiving, when there are already cranberries on the table?

The hash with caramelized shallots sounds great to me, and I think might hold okay if you packed the sprouts and shallots separately and topped the dish before serving. Or you could adapt and make the shallots but roast quartered Brussels sprouts instead of cooking as in the recipe, but still pack separately. In that case you could use olive oil instead of margarine (I think olive oil would work well for the shallots, too).

Nov 21, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

Warm Eggplant-Butternut Squash Salad, p. 86

Here in my household, we are deep in what I think of as the Great Winter Squash Onslaught, the time of year wherein the weekly CSA subscription we share seems to include some variety of winter squash in almost every box - so I'm always looking for something other than my fallbacks to do with it. (There is a springtime counterpart: the Great Potato Onslaught.) This recipe yielded a rather different winter squash dish than others I've made, and it is a delicious one.

I did make a few tweaks to proportions based on instinct, and instinct served me well. Squash (the remaining quarter of a small pumpkin and a smallish butternut) is cut into 1" cubes and tossed with olive oil and sumac (I added salt), and roasted. After 15 minutes, cubes of eggplant, also tossed with olive oil and sumac, go into the oven to roast until both are done. He calls for 2" cubes of eggplant, which I thought an awkward size (not bite-size), so I made them 1" also, and I did not peel. I used a good deal less oil than called for, 4 T total for roasting, rather than 7 T. Ginger, garlic, red chiles (I used fresno), and lemon (lime) zest are sauteed in olive oil until fragrant, after which honey and water are added and it all simmers for 5 minutes. Here I ran into one of those pesky editing issues: The recipe calls for a 3" piece of ginger, "peeled and sliced." As the ginger is cooked relatively briefly and part of the dressing, simply "sliced" didn't seem appropriate, so I minced, and I stopped when I had around 1/4 cup, which was not the whole piece. He also calls for 1/3 cup honey (along with 1/2 cup water), which sounded like an awful lot of sweet, so I used 1/4 cup honey and 1/3 cup water, which turned out to be just right. Once the squash and eggplant are done, they're tossed with baby spinach, parsley, the honey mixture, and lime juice. I used a lot more than the 1 1/2 cups spinach he calls for and because of timing issues the vegetables sat for a bit before I put it all together, so the spinach didn't thoroughly wilt. That was fine. I also used the juice of one lime only, not two; I tasted as I went and found the flavors well balanced, so I didn't add more.

It wouldn't have occurred to me to pair winter squash with eggplant, but this dish worked very well for me. Once roasted, the two vegetables have a similarly soft texture, but are different enough in taste (savory eggplant, sweet squash) that it doesn't feel like too much of one thing. The seasoning and dressing are really, really good - flavorful, spicy and savory from the aromatics, sweet from the honey, and tart/tangy from the sumac and lime. Ultimately, I found the combination of flavors complex and irresistible. It was great warm, but leftovers were also excellent at room temp.

Thanksgiving with Ottolenghi sides?

If you're looking for something green on your table, the baby spinach salad with dates and almonds from Jerusalem is a brilliant combination of flavors (everyone I've served it to can't stop talking about it), and would complement duck very well.

I also agree with smtucker that the snow pea and green bean dish with hazelnuts and orange in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook is a bright, delicious dish that would supply some crunch and freshness.

Nov 20, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Spice Blends; Condiments; and Desserts

I made David Lebovitz's dukkah when My Paris Kitchen was COTM (his is made with hazelnuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, and toasted spices, but without the fresh herbs), and used it on roasted cauliflower (a recipe in the book). I still have quite a bit of it, and based on some discussion in this month's threads, last night I used it to coat rock cod fillets, which I pan-seared and served with a squeeze of lemon juice. I'll definitely be doing that again with white fish, as it was delicious and almost no work.

What are you baking these days? November 2014 edition (part two)!

That looks tremendous. (I will be right over for my serving!)

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

Definitely use the old threads. Even with books with already long threads, it's never been an issue when revisiting, but it would be problematic to have reports split up in old and new threads, when people want to refer to them later or add updates.

Nov 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving--how many side dishes do you make for small groups?

For four adults, we'll have stuffing (so integral I don't even think of it as a side), a sweet potato dish, and two vegetables, probably green beans and a fennel salad, plus gravy and cranberry sauce, of course. My family is atypical, in that we don't serve mashed potatoes (or any white potatoes) for Thanksgiving.

Nov 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving side: Not heavy, possibly acidic or citrusy?

Shaved fennel salad is my suggestion, as well. With orange or grapefruit, finely sliced red onion (soak in cold water for a half hour to tame its bite), nuts or no nuts, pomegranate seeds for pops of color and tart flavor. A citrusy vinaigrette is here, too. I skip the cheese for Thanksgiving, with all the other rich stuff.

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Fish; Poultry; and Meat

I had a similar reaction to the use of ground cumin paired with whole coriander and mustard seeds when I made the Spicy Tilapia Stew (and I ended up using cumin seeds, instead).

Nov 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking