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Announcement Thread: November 2014 COTM "THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE: A DISCOVERY OF THE FOODS AND FLAVORS OF AFRICA"

They just look *too* different in shades to be the same recipe, it seems, but I really can't see any other explanation. The one below the recipe looks like it is lacking the tangle of onions. Perhaps one photo is that of the exact recipe, and another is an on-location type of the same dish but a different cooks' version.

Oct 25, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? October 2014 Edition.

Tempting indeed! In honour of the upcoming COTM, I am definitely going to read "Soul of a Chef" and will more than likely peek at his other cookbooks. I wasn't aware of this latest release.

ETA: I meant "Yes, Chef"....

Oct 24, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Announcement Thread: November 2014 COTM "THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE: A DISCOVERY OF THE FOODS AND FLAVORS OF AFRICA"

I have a burning question that has been perplexing me for all the years I've owned this book. On p.131, there is a recipe for stir-fried beef stew, with a photo to the left of what I assume is the same dish. On the opposite page there is a photo underneath the recipe of another stew heaped atop a plate of injera that I cannot, for the life of me, find the recipe for. I have painstakingly searched every single recipe within this book to match it up, and it seems nonexistent.
Am I losing my mind here? I think I need a fresh set of eyes to help me locate this missing puzzle piece.
On the other hand, I made the recipe for the beef stew the other day and it didn't look much like the one in the proper picture at all. Some reviews on amazon complain that this is a common occurrence, so perhaps this is just a case of embellished photograph syndrome, a la "Italian Grill".

Oct 24, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Wow! That's the lowest price I've seen--the last time I looked they were starting at around $90 and going upwards of $250...

Oct 21, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Black hole, indeed!
I've been happily reading Wolfert's book since my Georgian feast and cross-referencing recipes. I've been pushing it to be a cotm every once in a while. Must become more assertive!
Another lovely book that is full of Georgian recipes is Von Bremzen's "Please to the Table-the Russian Cookbook". I am currently fascinated with it and wish it weren't so difficult to find (read:expensive) in book-land because I think it would make a great cotm!

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month November 2014

Just settling in to watch the show for now. I have Hakka on request from the library and look forward to seeing which book appeals more for November.
I just had to double check that it is, indeed, November looming over us. Yikes!

Oct 18, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Thanks! I also adore this china, as much for the find as for the pattern. It's a J&G Meakin set from (I think) the forties that I found at an online classifieds listing--12 place settings, plus serving-ware, for $15! Some pieces are noticeably well-loved but that's part of why it's so dear to me--I love that there is a history to it. The elderly woman I bought it from told me she received it as a wedding gift and it was her first set of dishes; she seemed very pleased to see the set going to such an enthusiastic recipient.

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Satsivi - Chicken in Walnut Sauce, p.382

The headnotes tell of this cold and creamy Georgian sauce, which is featured at every feast over varying meats and vegetables. In CR's incarnation it unites chicken pieces blanketed with the luxurious blend.

A whole chicken is poached in a simple bath with parsley, bay leaves, and s&p. The chicken is left to cool and removed from the bone and cut to small pieces; meanwhile the remaining broth is boiled down to a mere 2 cups. Meanwhile, the sauce consists of onions fried until "very soft", to which is added garlic, ground or finely chopped walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, coriander, paprika, and cayenne. After fragrant, the reduced chicken stock is added until a creamy sauce forms, adding in cider vinegar (2-3T) and pomegranate molasses, cooking for just a few minutes longer. Once the sauce is cooled, it is poured atop the awaiting chicken.

CR mentions that there is something very Persian about this dish, so perhaps that was why I kept expecting it to taste like fesenjan; instead it was decidedly more like the famous Turkish walnut sauce. That did not dilute my fondness for this recipe, however. It was rather splendid--the subtle flavour of the warm spices with the slight tang of the vinegar (I used the higher amount called for) played with the richness of the nuts and was very nice indeed with the chicken.

A few points: I had ground up some walnuts in a fp to a fine crumb and would have preferred it even less coarse-I doubt I would enjoy the texture of chopped nuts in here at all. The pomegranate molasses was virtually undetectable and so I would likely increase it a tad too--although every other recipe I searched curiously did not contain this ingredient at all. Also, I had preference to the dish served at room temperature rather than cold. The sauce improved in flavour after sitting overnight. The chicken could easily be subbed with b/s bits if one has a great stock on hand.

Altogether, this was a nice feature at a lovely Georgian feast, and I am sufficiently piqued to explore more of this cuisine, and this recipe. I would likely try a few other versions before settling on one, but it certainly did a good job of tiding me over until next time.

Oct 18, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Lobio Tkemali - Small Red Kidney Beans with Sour Plum Sauce, p.266

This dish, according to Ms. Roden, is a favourite at Georgian feasts. The earthy beans combine with a tart and herby sauce to create an interesting combination.

For the plum sauce, slightly-underripe red plums are steamed until soft and blended in a FP with cilantro,a few sprigs of mint, cayenne, garlic, and lemon juice. Traditionally the tart plums native to Georgia would be enough to pucker but in our case we need to supplement with additional souring agents. This sauce is then mixed in with cooked red beans, and accompanied with black olives and slices of red onion.

This recipe has potential--I found it to be a little too minty (or maybe my idea of a mint sprig is larger than CR's) but it was an intriguing-enough spread that I would try it again in different proportions. Some of the other recipes that I found included coriander and fenugreek seeds, among other spices, and I would be more inclined to give those versions a whirl. It was certainly nice, though, served along the briny and the pungent suggested sides. I wonder how well this would turn out using some of the tiny wild purple plums that I can find here in lonely zone 2; I think my grocery plums were lacking a bit of finesse and should make a note for next year's crop.

Oct 17, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
2

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Ispanakhi Salati - Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranate Seeds, p.261

This Georgian salad was a nice, last-minute addition of greenery at the table.
Spinach is steamed until wilted "into a soft mass", squeezed dry, and mixed with a simple vinaigrette of garlic, cayenne, olive oil, and vinegar. The leaves are pulled apart and arranged on a large plate and sprinkled with scallions, cilantro, pomegranate arils, and walnut bits.

I used kale instead of spinach because I had an abundance of one and none of t'other. I had to twiddle with the vinaigrette proportions to make up for the assertiveness of the kale, but I thought it was a swell replacement. CR doesn't indicate which type of vinegar, so I used cider since that same one was used in another dish within the meal.

I rather enjoyed this salad, especially the contrast of sweet, bursting pomegranate amongst the peppery greens and the bright herbs.

Oct 17, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month November 2014

HAKKA
SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

Oct 16, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in 'The Ashkenazi World', pages 58-202.

With a name like "Klops", what's not to love?
Such a wonderful photo--much prettier than I was envisioning!

Oct 14, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

That is one purty breakfast spread.

Oct 13, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Thanks for the kind words--what a nice thing to discover this morning!

I agree about the lamb--while I really appreciated the texture of it, I would be able to enjoy the meat much more if it were blended with beef.

Oct 12, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the second half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 444-634.

Shalgham Helu - Turnips with Date Syrup, p.519

According to CR, this Iraqi dish is so popular that it is sold in the streets as well as made at home. It is the most simple of recipes--peeled and halved turnips simmered in (salted) water with some date syrup, cooked to tender. While it gave the turnips an attractive golden-brown glaze and a slight sweetness that made them very palatable, I don't know if I would ever find myself on a street corner yearning for a plate of roots.

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

This sounds lovely, and your photo is grand anyways, though I always find it a disappointment that eggplant doesn't retain any of its beauty upon cooking.
All of the mezze-type cold dishes are very appealing and my list keeps growing.

Oct 11, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in 'The Ashkenazi World', pages 58-202.

Blushing. Thank you, all.

Oct 11, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Kofta Mishmisheya - Meatballs in Apricot Sauce, p.398

This dish consists of spiced lamb meatballs bathed in an attractive sweet and sour fruity sauce. The recipe caught my eye right from the start and I couldn't wait to give it a whirl.

Start by soaking dried apricots in water to soften. Roden instructs the cook to use the "natural, tart dried apricots, not sweetened or honeyed", so I selected an unsulphered, unsweetened package, hoping that was the right kind. These are later added to the sauce, but first chopped onion is cooked until golden, and meatballs of lamb, cloves, allspic, and powdered dried lime --finally a chance to use this mysterious, musty-sour ingredient!-- are then browned amongst the alliums. I opted to remove the onions from the pan to prevent burning while the meatballs took on their colour. Tomato paste, water to cover, the drained apricots, and currants go into the pan with the lamb and onions, and the lot is simmered. Partway through, mash the apricots up with a fork (easier said than done!), add sugar, s&p, and lemon juice and cook to mellow. Serve with rice to achieve maximum sauce-smothering.

I found this dish to be rather pleasant. I enjoyed the sauce very much, as I am fond of fruit in dinner, but the rest of my dining companions (save for the baby--see attached photobomb) did not like this at all. But what do they know? Obviously nothing. The sauce was just the right balance of sweet and sour to me. I thought the meatballs were nice but pretty underspiced; the flavour of the dried lime almost disappeared completely, which was a big disappointment considering how highly anticipated its flavour was in this meal. I would add way more to the meat and probably some more into the sauce itself. Also, (shhh!) I have come to the disheartening conclusion that lamb is not my favourite meat in the world, and so might mix it with some beef next time. Please don't kick me out of the club.
All in all, it was agreeable. With changes it could certainly score higher. I'd give it another go. These Iraqi dishes are so alluring!

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in 'The Ashkenazi World', pages 58-202.

Gefilte Feffers - Stuffed Peppers Hungarian Style, p.168

This recipe was a lovely showcase of how a few good ingredients can do wonderful things to a dish.

The filling for these peppers is a simple, tasty mix of onion cooked with ground beef until just coloured and blended with partially-cooked rice and the humble flavours of parsley, salt and pepper, with egg to bind. They are loosely stuffed into green bell peppers and baked, covered, bathing in a wonderful tomato sauce until soft and the rice fully cooked, about 90 minutes. The tomato sauce is just as simple as the filling--browned onion, chopped skinned tomatoes (or a can), paprika, cayenne, and sugar.
I made a few changes to this recipe. I only had a single green pepper and a large bag of beautiful coloured ones from a friends' garden. The sauce may have come out a bit sweeter than intended with this change, but I thought the sauce was the best part of this recipe. It was sweet, tangy, simple, everything a good tomato sauce should be--I kept ladling the excess over the filling. I used a small tin of tomatoes and a pound of fresh ones I managed to grab before they succumbed to the frost.
I also found the mellow sweetness of the meaty peppers to be a great contrast with the more bitter of the green pepper. In future I would probably do a half-half mix of green and sweet for an optimal blend of palate-pleasing variation. I also didn't have enough ground beef to complete the recipe and so I supplemented it with another type of meat *cough (pork)cough*, which I suppose doesn't make it a Jewish food at all, does it? Nevertheless it was a tasty filling. Cooked in a clay pot, so I added extra water to the tomato sauce to compensate.
The only thing I found strange about the recipe was that the meat was cooked first before stuffing, and even with the egg addition it didn't hold together well at all. Not that it mattered in the end as it all got tangled together anyways. I served this with an extra side of rice that was just right.

I would call this recipe a win and wouldn't hesitate to make it again.

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Oh, I just made those lovelies this weekend; I was debating making the above Moroccan version but just adore the one in Food of Spain. Such a great recipe!

Oct 07, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

It was.

Oct 07, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Thanks; it certainly was a stunner in the looks department. Adding turmeric to the rice really took it over the top!

Oct 07, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the second half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 444-634.

This is is becoming a discouraging trend. It sounds like this could have potential to be a good recipe. At least the review was lovely!

Oct 07, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

I suppose I was a little vague in that respect, haha. I wasn't sure if reviewing another recipe outside of proper selection was frowned upon....
Anyway, the one I used was in the Saveur link below. The meatballs were poached in the sauce and were far more tender and flavourful, containing currants, pine nuts, and onions. The sauce itself had a much larger array of spices and a higher amount of sugar/lemon as well as tomato paste, making it far thicker and more enticing than the other recipe with a slight lingering heat that I loved.
Perhaps I shouldn't have compared them on the same day. Roden's version was okay, just not right beside the clear winner.

Oct 07, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the first half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 232-443.

Kofta Shawandar Hamudh - Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Beets, p.410

A very intriguing ingredient selection and a garden full of unwanted beets (I seem to grow them every year despite lacking a particular fondness for the root) were the factors in selecting this menu offering. I must confess some trepidation prior to embarking on dinner given the recent reviews of others', and so I turned the meal into a side-by-side taste test with another version of this dish, which may have been a mistake because one was stellar and the other not so much.

Ms. Roden's recipe contains meatballs with lamb or beef (beef in this case), cinnamon, and parsley. These get browned in a pan of golden-fried onions. Meanwhile, halved beets are cooked to tender in water to cover. The beets I used were on the large side, and I cut them into eighths after referencing the other recipe and seeing that they were indeed bite-sized hunks. The meatballs and onions are dropped into the pot of liquidy beets, which leaves all the lovely fond behind in the other pan, so I deglazed with beet water and scraped that goodness back into the fuchsia-hued pot. Lemon juice and sugar are added to the beetballs and the lot is simmered for 20 minutes. Serve with rice.

While I found the meal to be interesting, this specific recipe was a little....unexciting, at least compared to its rival. The "stew" was a watery pink mixture with minimal seasonings and while I upped the lemon/sugar to taste, it was only ever just okay. The meatballs were rather one-dimensional and dull and the cinnamon seemed out of place in the mix. It appears this is a comfort-food dish, but a very dated one that could use some more aggressive evolution of flavour. Will I make the dish again? Absolutely! Just not this recipe.

Oct 06, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2014 COTM "The Book of Jewish Food" reporting thread for recipes in the second half of 'The Sephardi World', pages 444-634.

My favourite accompaniment to Megaderra is Fattoush and a side of garlicky thick yogurt. Or better yet, use Ottolenghi's creamy recipe (Na'ama's Fattoush) in "Jerusalem" and you won't need the yogurt side!

Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month October 2014

I kept checking in more times than I'd like to admit last night to see if any surprise voters came in under the wire to eke out a winner ('cause this one seems like a bidding war to me!), and I waited, and waited for an announcement, only to realize that there was still a full day to go. Oops--more excitement for this anxious bystander!

Sep 22, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

April 2014 COTM - Pok Pok: Grilled Foods pg. 122-145, Curries and Soups pg. 146-171

Muu Kham Waan, Grilled Pork Neck with Spicy Dipping Sauce and Iced Greens, pg. 125

This was fantastic! More cotm-ers need to be aware of this unassuming recipe, so I am wholeheartedly agreeing with qianning and adding another positive review to the repertoire.
I made this with pork chops that I cut lengthwise in half. I used almost two pounds of meat (with double the marinade) and a half recipe of dipping sauce, and it disappeared from the plate instantly. The maggi sauce (that funnily enough I've also had lurking in the cupboards for years due to a purchase based solely on spousal insistence) truly is the magical ingredient here and makes the pork positively addictive even without the dipping sauce. The sauce itself is powerfully spicy, tangy and a little sweet and really a great complement to the pork. I would highly recommend a side of cool crispy greens of some kind, as that sauce is mighty potent and we all welcomed the refreshing side between bites.
I am already looking forward to making this again. A must-try!

Sep 19, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 4-6 (Birth of a Dish, Teamwork, Catch and Cook) Reporting Thread

Green Papaya Salad p.135

This was a lovely, quickly-thrown-together salad that paired nicely with the jerk pork chops on p.279.
Julienned (shredded on my end due to acute laziness) papaya and carrot get tossed with scallions, jalapeno, mint, cilantro and a tangy-sweet dressing of rice wine vinegar, mirin, ginger, lime and sugar. ER calls for a whole large papaya, but I used a half of what I considered a large one and found that the salad could have used more dressing. I wish he would have specified more with weight or measurements as an approximation.
This was really nice though, both on the eyes and the tongue; a great new way to use up a green papaya. I wouldn't mind doubling up on the liquid ingredients next time and using the excess over rice.

Sep 14, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
2

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Grilled Pork Chops with Jerk Spices p.279

We found this to be a pleasant chop recipe. The rub is very nice, albeit a little sweet; The Spouse exclaimed happily over these ones. I used two habaneros and they were rather mild (!) and so we wished to a bit more heat. I also made the silly error of using a grassy extra-virgin olive oil, which really clashed with the rest of it. Note to self: neutral is better (derp). Still and all, I would do this again.

Sep 14, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking