Caitlin McGrath's Profile

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Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

Possibly so, but it's also probable online recipes ID mention which book they're from, if they're from a book. It seemed to me that because we're voting on an author month, vs. particular books, including online sources might be apropos (and would also increase accessibility for those who don't have easy access to her books).

about 3 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Pasta, Fish

Roasted Halibut (white sea bass) with Tomatoes & Saffron Vinaigrette, p. 156

What a difference a few weeks makes. I posted elsewhere in this thread at the start of the month that tomato season wasn't quite in swing yet here, and now the farmers' market is bursting with great tomatoes. Also found at the farmers' market, a couple of thick fillets of very fresh white sea bass, which I used here.

It is, as CMCooks says, easy to assemble: Place chopped tomatoes and cherry tomatoes in a pan (I followed the above advice and used a baking dish), season with S&P, lay fish on the tomatoes, pour over a vinaigrette of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, minced scallion whites, cilantro basil, saffron, S&P. Let sit for a few minutes, then roast. It's a huge recipe meant for eight and calling for 4+ pounds of tomatoes and 4 pounds of fish. For my pound of fish, I used a bit more than a fourth of the tomatoes called for, a fourth of the oil, a third of the vinegar, and all of the scallions, cilantro, and basil (she only calls for 2 T of each). My fish also took longer, but there was no harm to the tomatoes.

I have to agree that little effort returns a dish full of flavor, and is a great way to highlight summer tomatoes, which, mingled with the vinaigrette, make a delicious sauce for firm white fish.

about 3 hours ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
2

Which Varieties Make the Best Apple Butter?

If you're making a spiced as well as sweetened apple butter, it might make a bit less difference (heavy spicing obscuring some nuances of different varieties). That said, there will also be regional preferences based on availability. For me, Gravensteins are the ultimate for sauce and butter, but hard to get if not in CA/on the west coast.

1 day ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

If we end up doing DH month, might we want to include online recipes? There are many, some from her books, others from her newspaper, etc. columns. EYB has links to 205: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

1 day ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Blueberry Buckle

I really like the lemon blueberry buckle from Rustic Fruit Desserts, which adds a nice tang. I think it's a bit heartier than the light-and-fluffy version you describe, but my preference.

Recipe paraphrased here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7952...

1 day ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

While I agree with Gio that that structure has worked well in past cases, for a potential Diana Henry month, I think it would make more sense to go with a book/thread scheme. The trouble with doing chapter/thread divisions is that her books are arranged in a bunch of different ways (e.g., some by season, some by ingredient, some by dish type) and that would leave us individually sorting categories in ad hoc ways that could easily lead to overlapping or scattered reports on various threads.

I'll go out on a limb and suggest that a Diana Henry month could be practically limited to four threads, one each for Pure Simple Cooking, A Change of Appetite, and Plenty, and a catchall for the remaining books. It just doesn't seem as if that many people own or are as interested in, or libraries carry, her other books, so they'd likely garner fewer reports.

1 day ago
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
7

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

A dear friend is having a big birthday bash (a picnic) next weekend, for which I am pledged to make two largish cakes. So as not to make myself completely crazy next week, I got a head start by baking two tallish 10-inch yellow cakes (All-Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake from RLB's Cake Bible, a full recipe twice), headed for the freezer. They will be halved horizontally, sandwiched with strawberry preserves and sliced strawberries, and the whole covered with chocolate icing.

Eight of the resulting dozen egg whites went in the freezer, and I'll use the remaining for an almond dacquoise layer, which will be sandwiched with ganache between two 9x13 chocolate cake layers, all covered with icing flavored with almond extract.

Jul 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
4

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

I suggested, when dkennedy asked upthread, that her new book, A Change of Appetite, and Pure Simple Cooking, are good places to start. In the nomination thread, greedygirl thought those two, plus Plenty (or Food from Plenty, as it's known in the UK) would be best bets for COTM, and I'd agree, based on the recipes and their probably being the most library available. I don't have Plenty, but have looked through it, and like ACOA, it's arranged seasonally, so easy to pick out summer-appropriate recipes.

Jul 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? July 2014 Edition, Part 1! [old]

Impressive! I hope you have a bunch of eaters with sweet teeth around.

Jul 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

DK, are you thinking of TDQ's Cooking from “Family” Focused Cookbooks thread? If so, it's here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903234

Jul 19, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Canning/Pickling/Preserving/Smoking

Yes, I agree it's a shame they did away with the tags on Chow features. It's a useful feature, and I could see it working well for threads if, say, the OP could tag his or her posts.

Jul 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk
1

Canning/Pickling/Preserving/Smoking

Here's an example of tagging and how it works - in the SE link below, to the left of the photo there's a list of words (bitters, cocktail ingredients, cocktails, DIY vs buy, grapefruits), each of which is a category relating to the featured article/recipe, and also a clickable link that'll take you to a page (essentially search results) that lists all the other things on the site that are similarly tagged.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Jul 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk
1

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

D'oh. Would've been helpful to include a link to the recipe, as I intended to do: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Jul 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

I'd recommend Diana Henry's new book, A Change of Appetite, as a starting point. It's arranged by season and is full of fresh, simple dishes perfect for summer. I've only made a few thus far, and they've all been great. I've cooked the most from Pure Simple Cooking (which is also the one with the most reports on the cooking-from thread), and I'd also recommend that one for its solid array of excellent dishes. As a bonus, it's a slim paperback which is easy to get into, and doesn't cost a lot or (crucially) take up much shelf space. The other DH book I have is Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, which is similarly sized and also full of appealing recipes; those I've made have been very successful.

Jul 18, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? July edition, part 2!

One of my favorite flourless recipes is Alice Medrich's Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte, from her book Pure Dessert. It is super simple to make (provided you've got a food processor), and has a very sophisticated flavor.

Jul 17, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? July 2014 Edition, Part 1! [old]

Jul 16, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

Avatars -- describe? u/l a pic?

Rustic plum tart with almond crust.

Jul 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk

Which is the best vanilla ice cream?

McConnell's is good stuff, though, like Straus, probably not widely (if at all) available outside California.

Jul 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in General Topics

Book Recommendation

As Always, Julia is interesting (particularly if you've read her memoir, My Life in France), and ranges far beyond food.

I also thought Climbing the Mango Trees and Yes, Chef were good and interesting reads.

Jul 15, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Food Media & News

Canning/Pickling/Preserving/Smoking

I guess I see it differently. All of the CH boards I frequent include threads about subjects of little or even no interest to me personally, but which are perfectly within the purview of the board, and I don't think of them as "cluttering up" the board. I just scroll on by to those that engage me.

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk
4

Canning/Pickling/Preserving/Smoking

I was responding to pagesinthesun's saying, about food preservation questions, "I suppose I could post to home cooking, but if this isn't acceptable for home cooking maybe it does need it's own board" by pointing out that there are many very active threads on the subject on the HC board, and they certainly delve into all facets of the subject including the science behind it and resources for doing it safely, and therefore are not unacceptable there.

I'm not sure what you mean by it being a lot more than home cooking, but there is a great deal of knowledgeable posting and sharing of expertise, resources and recipes in the threads I've participated in. I'm happy to have those threads on the HC board. Preservation can be more involved than whipping up dinner, but so is much that hounds do in their kitchens (indoor or outdoor).

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk

Canning/Pickling/Preserving/Smoking

Why wouldn't it be acceptable for home cooking? There are lots of threads on canning, pickling, fermentation, dehydrating, and so on on the HC board, some with replies in the hundreds, including many where people ask for solutions for dealing with lots of [fill in the blank].

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Site Talk

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? July 2014 edition!

I've really enjoyed the several things I've made from A Change of Appetite (and many more from a couple of her earlier books).

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Removing Oil Stains From Fabric - Any foolproof methods?

This came up in this thread (further down) a couple of years ago. Johnson's baby powder is talc, not cornstarch: http://www.johnsonsbaby.com/products/...

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Not About Food

FreshDirect CSA is pretty great (NY-Philadelphia only)

Fresh Direct is an online grocery delivery service, so it sounds like you can add their "CSA" box to the other groceries you order, where you choose your delivery time.

Jul 14, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in General Topics

Which is the best vanilla ice cream?

Don't know if it's still the case, but a few years back (when I still lived in NYC...), Ronnybrook pints were always available at Garden of Eden.

Jul 13, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in General Topics

Pickled Seasonal Vegetables: Home Cooking Dish of the Month for June 2014

These have become Perpetual Pickles! I zipped through my first jars, and because I love having quick pickles around just for snacking on (tasty, convenient, healthful), I decided to reuse the brine for both. Sliced up more cucumber and carrots and poured the (unheated) brine and its spices (minus the done-for mint sprigs) over them in the jars and let them do their thing in the fridge. I think I'll keep it up until they stop taking on flavor, but right now they're as good as the first time around.

Jul 13, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

Amen!

Jul 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Brunch, Soups

Let me know how it goes, if you try it. I've shared this recipe on CH several times over the years, and people seem to get good results.

Jul 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking

July 2014 COTM: Radically Simple - Brunch, Soups

Okay, here you go, easiest-ever, lightest cream scones. The secret to both ease and texture is that they use all cream to serve as both liquid and fat. This makes a real "afternoon tea"-style scone that you can dress up with whatever additions you like - currants or other dried fruit, citrus zest, toasted nuts, chocolate chips, herbs, etc. I like them with orange zest and dried cranberries, or toasted, chopped hazelnuts, or crystallized ginger, or just currants if planning to serve tea-style with butter and jam. Just don't use too much, no more than about 1/2 cup total is best. Any additions go in the dry ingredients. If you don't want to weigh the flour, just spoon it in the measuring cup with a light hand. I usually use a round biscuit cutter, but you can also just cut into wedges. If you want to make them savory, omit the sugar.

Cream Scones

2 cups AP flour (8 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 T baking powder (I prefer aluminum-free, like Rumford)
1 t. fine salt
[additions as you like; see above]
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, plus more as needed

Preheat oven to 425F. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in any additions with a fork. Pour in 1 1/4 cups cream and stir in with a fork until a dough comes together and the flour is incorporated. If you cannot incorporate all the flour, add more cream by the teaspoonful, but don't worry if you don't get every last bit; it's important not to overwork the dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough very gently to bring it together, two or three turns only, and pat it out to a 1/2" thick round. Cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter, or cut into wedges using a sharp knife. Bake on a pan lined with parchment or a silpat until just golden, about 15 minutes (but may be less, depending on size). This will make about 8 larger or a dozen smaller scones.

Jul 11, 2014
Caitlin McGrath in Home Cooking
1