Allegra_K's Profile

Title Last Reply

May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Tapas and First Courses Thread

This looks wonderful! I love fattoush and always want to try this recipe, but the cauliflower tends to throw me off and I end up selecting something different. Glad to hear it is a winner--I should have known, really; this book produces incredible results. It is one of my all-time favourites.

Jun 23, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

July 2015 COTM Announcement: The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean

Looking forward to this one! Already stopped weeding the garden to let the purslane grow in, and I am finally conceding that there is no aleppo pepper in my area and will be placing an order online. This should be a super month!

Jun 23, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

May 2012 COTM Spanish Month Companion Thread

Romesco - Catalan Roasted Vegetable Sauce (Tapas, Jose Andres - 95

I first heard of romesco sauce some years back on one of Anthony Bourdain's earlier tv series, and was instantly smitten with the vibrant hue and perhaps a bit of the atmosphere surrounding it-the episode featured a calçotada and an abundance of wine flowing through long-spouted porrónes. So naturally, I have been trying my hand at various versions ever since.

Andres' recipe contains roasted veggies (grilled, in this case) -red pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes- blended to a puree with re-hydrated ñoras, toasted almonds, fried bread, sherry vinegar and pimentón. It was nice and tangy, sweet and almost fruity, with savoury depth from the roasted vegetables. A solid sauce.

I love the idea of romesco, and while I very much enjoy the sauce itself, I haven't yet found "THE" recipe that sweeps me off my feet with waves of palate-tingling pleasure (shouldn't every recipe do that?!), both home-made or in a restaurant. I don't know what I am expecting, exactly....but I will keep trying different versions until the day I find the perfect one that does so. Perhaps next up will be a blend of almonds and hazelnuts, or no red pepper, or less tomatoes, or...

Jun 20, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

October 2012 COTM: 660 Curries -- Spice Blends & Pastes; Appetizer Curries; Poultry, Game, and Egg Curries

Thanks! I agree about this book. It's definitely been a good purchase that I keep coming back to.
What are some of your big successes? There are still so many to try...

Jun 20, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

October 2012 COTM: 660 Curries -- Spice Blends & Pastes; Appetizer Curries; Poultry, Game, and Egg Curries

The sauce uses (dried) leaves.
That rice--wow! I was very pleased with it, as was everyone else. I hope that it wasn't just a one-time find around here, 'cause I could happily make it my go-to.

Jun 20, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Tapas and First Courses Thread

Thanks, BC! I used pork for this recipe, and the romesco sauce was from Jose Andres' Tapas book, though I had a hard time picking any one recipe since they all seem to vary so greatly. If you end up making some, please do report back! I'd love to hear how it turns out.

Jun 20, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

May 2012 COTM: Food of Spain and Moro The Tapas and First Courses Thread

Pinchitos Morunos - Moorish Skewers, p.108 (Moro)

I could have sworn I read reviews about this recipe but cannot locate them, so forgive me if I have overlooked- though this is worth an extra mention!

These heavily-spiced delightful skewers were a huge hit during a grilled tapas-filled evening. The marinade is simple and comes together quickly--a paste of pimenton, garlic, saffron, oregano, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, and bay leaves swirled with red wine vinegar and olive oil. I marinated with the meat already threaded on the skewers, which took away some of the last minute tasks.
I grilled these lovelies over charcoal, although the evening I envisioned -leisurely flipping food over dying embers, sipping wine, frolicking children, catching up with friends- was cut short as soon as the coals were lit, due to the untimely swooping-in of a thunderstorm which left me grilling outside in the pouring rain, alone with my slowly-diluting glass of garnacha.. I was also deep-frying spuds for patatas bravas outside. Yeah, that was fun.

Broken dreams aside, these were pretty splendid. They were accompanied by grilled asparagus and green onions with a romesco sauce (as well as the aforementioned soggy fried potatoes) which paired really well together. T'was a pleasant meal.

October 2012 COTM: 660 Curries -- Spice Blends & Pastes; Appetizer Curries; Poultry, Game, and Egg Curries

Skewered Chicken in a Creamy Fenugreek Sauce, p.85

I've been ogling this recipe since the book was the cotm, and finally got around to making it. It did not disappoint.

Strips of chicken breast are marinated in a spiced yogurt sauce and after grilling are finished with a tomato cream sauce spiked with fenugreek. A pretty likable combination--layers of tart tang and luscious dairy flavoured with the mysterious bitter herb and some warm spices. I was able to prep it all ahead of time and reheat the tomato sauce just before grilling with no problems. The chicken was perfectly tender and well-seasoned, and was lovely to look at, as well. The dish will definitely be making another appearance (or several!) this season.
Served with a coconut milk veggie curry, carrot chutney, and a big bowl of the elusive recently-discovered kalijeera rice

Summer evening tapas menu--crazy easy and/or make ahead

This delicious list keeps growing--I think I need to plan my own tapas feast soon to satiate the desire!

Jun 19, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Summer evening tapas menu--crazy easy and/or make ahead

Marinated piquillo peppers from Moro (I use a few coloured roasted peppers and a small tin of piquillos) is fantastic with crusty bread.
Empanadillas de Atun from Food of Spain--I have successfully frozen uncooked and baked straight from the freezer.
Gambas al ajillo is easy and fast if you have it all ready to go--not make ahead, mind you, but it cooks quickly and is delicious and always well-received.
I second roasted almonds; there is a nice recipe in Moro with pimenton.
Manchego with membrillo, and/or dates stuffed with almonds and manchego.
Meatballs with almond sauce are always a hit around here (food of spain).
Spinach with chickpeas was a recent discovery that I really liked, and is good at room temp. The recipes from Moro and Tapas:A Taste of Spain in America (Jose Andres) are both wonderful.
Champinones al Ajillo (try the one from Food of Spain) is another good lukewarm dish.
I also adore the recipe for marinated carrots, Sevillan-style, from The New Spanish Table (Von Bremzen). Her recipe for Patatas Bravas is also very good.
If you feel up to grilling while your company is around, Pinchitos Morunos (Moro) are good, and maybe asparagus and green onions with a nice (pre-made) romesco sauce.

July 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

Yes! The Georgian cuisine is featured highly in this book--the foods we all become so intrigued by in The Book of Jewish Food.....

July 2015 COTM - Nomination Thread

Okay, I wasn't planning on nominating, but I just can't resist thirding THE COOKING OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN. It would be the perfect way to showcase summer's glorious bounty.

June 2015 COTM: VERDURA - rice & polenta, main dishes - pp 188-244

(this somehow turned into a double post)

Jun 01, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

June 2015 COTM: VERDURA - rice & polenta, main dishes - pp 188-244

Zucchini blossoms, how glorious! We just has frost this weekend (!), so it'll be a while in my neck of the woods before I can try this out, but I am filing it away in my meager stack of squash blossom recipes. It sounds lovely.

Jun 01, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy Spring has finally sprung, May 2015 edition! [OLD]

Keep us posted on your reviews for the book! This one is on my radar.

May 28, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

May 2012 COTM Spanish Month Companion Thread

To those of you who have cooked from Jose Andres' books, what type of pimenton were you using? I just made a dish of his with pimenton de la vera, but I noticed that in the translation he calls it "Spanish sweet paprika". Should I be instead using the sweet variety from Murcia? There isn't much additional info in the book regarding this spice, so I'm curious to see what others have used for the recipes.

May 18, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's PLENTY MORE

Perfect, thank you!

May 18, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's PLENTY MORE

Where did you get the wild rice from, BC?

May 18, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

May 2012 COTM Spanish Month Companion Thread

Garbanzos con espinacas-Moorish-style chickpea and spinach stew, A taste of Spain in America-Jose Andres (p77)

This dish has been haunting me since I first tasted it, and I have held off on attempting it at home because I didn't want it falling short of my expectations. The return of miserable chilly weather had me reminiscing about this stew, and so I made two separate recipes of this dish in order to increase chances of success. I needn't have fretted so, as both versions were just splendid.
This recipe combines meltingly tender chickpeas with a paste made of bread and garlic fried in olive oil, saffron, pimenton, and sherry vinegar (and the spinach, of course). The paste makes the stew thick and hearty, and is packed with smoky flavour from the pimenton and the toasty bread.
The spinach lost its vibrant colour after the ten+ minute simmer, but that changed nothing taste-wise. The only thing I did differently was to double up on the spinach, which I also roughly chopped for a more even dispersion.
This was an utterly beguiling dish. So much more than the sum of its parts, and just perfect to bring a bit of warmth on an otherwise dreary day.

June 2015 COTM: Nomination Thread

Does that all-caps declaration count as a nomination?

Cookbook of the Month March 2013 EVERY GRAIN OF RICE: Beans and vegetables of all kinds

Buttertart, I just came across this vinegar (in a Korean Market, of all places) for the first time; does this mean i should scurry back to snatch it up?

May 11, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Cookbook of the Month March 2013 EVERY GRAIN OF RICE: Beans and vegetables of all kinds

Rustic Steamed Squash with Spicy Black Bean Sauce, Pg. 222

Wow, what a fabulous dish I have been passing over time and again! I am not normally a fan of winter squash, but I always seem to have some lounging around in the pantry. I reluctantly selected this recipe as a way to use up the neglected vegetable, and I am so glad I got try it! Socks were knocked.
This recipe is great because it can easily be assembled a day or two ahead of time and simply steamed to finish. The colours and presentation are brilliant, the flavour is so vibrant and flavourful --delicate hits of ginger followed by the salty pungency of the chile bean paste, and then refreshing scallions--that I will actively be seeking out squash to make this again. I ate the whole bowl without any accompaniments and it was perfect. I highly recommend this one.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

Thanks for the info about the books! I haven't had a chance to page through them too thoroughly just yet but I am glad to hear they are both worth having. I am filing away the paella recipe for the next time I come across chanterelles.

Apr 23, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

It was about $40. Not too shabby at all!

Apr 22, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

I found the mother load of book sales yesterday, a fundraiser for the local chidren's hospital. They have a massive sale three times a year, and this is the first time I've gone for opening day. It was awesome and I will definitely be going for every event right at the beginning of the sale. The selection was insane and I had to rein myself in once my toddler and book-laden arms could no longer bear the weight of both any longer....so this is what made the cut:

-Tapas: A taste of Spain in America - Jose Andres
-From the Earth: Chinese Vegetarian Cooking - Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
-Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch - Ellen Leong Blonder (I actually inquired about this book in last month's thread; what luck!)
-Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood - Kasma Loha-Unchit
-Harumi's Japanese Cooking - Harumi Kurihara
-Culinaria Southeast Asia
-Madhur Jaffry's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking
-Marcella Says
-Curry Cuisine: Fragrant Dishes from India, Thailan, Vietnam, and Indonesia (Various authors including David Thompson and Corinne Trang)
-Mennonite Foods and Folkways from South Russia, Volumes 1 & 2- Norma Jost Voth
-The Art of Polish Cooking - Alina Zeranska
-Carmine's Cookbook (I keep reading about this on various COTM nomination threads and at $1, why not?)
-Happy Days with the Naked Chef - Jamie Oliver

All in all, a very good day, I would say.
-

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Filled Pastas;Thin Skins

Steamed Vegetable Dumplings, p 35

These beautiful vegetarian parcels were a nice, colourful addition to the spread. The filling is rather simple and comes together quickly, making for a healthy and tasty snack.
This stuffing consists of wilted spinach cooked up with dried shiitakes, carrot, pressed tofu, and chinese chives seasoned with a sauce of salt & white pepper, soy sauce, and sesame oil. I made the dough in a food processor and coloured it with turmeric for a lovely variation as suggested elsewhere in the book. It made for a splendid visual display for sure.
As far as this filling goes, it wasn't my favourite but it was still tasty. A friend who tried the dumpling variety on offer favoured these over the others, so what do I know. It certainly was quite a bit different than the meatier, less delicate, versions I've tried, so nice to add to the repertoire. I'd make these again but would tinker with the sauce ingredients a bit.

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Stuffed Buns;Rich Pastries

Spicy Potato Samosas, p.115

This was my very first attempt at making samosas, and it was a fun and delicious project to dive into.
The vegetarian filling, besides the usual potatoes and peas, contains roasted cumin and coriander, onion, ginger, garam masala, cayenne, cilantro, and lemon or lime juice. The mixture was great; just about perfect, from the toasty whole spices to the fresh acidic hit at the end. I was out of cilantro (that darned stuff never lasts as long as I wish it to!) and since my favourite samosas have fenugreek leaves flecked within, I subbed that herb in its stead.
My husband thought there was too much lemon juice in the samosas and would have preferred it completely without; while I disagree, I would suggest adding the full amount with caution. Also, 1/4 t. cayenne is not spicy to me, and I would absolutely add more chile to the filling.

Folding the samosas was tricky business. The dough was very easy to make and roll, and the folding instructions were pretty clear, but I had a hard time figuring out how to shape them anyway. My resulting pile was rather vaguely samosa-like in appearance.
As far as the frying goes, low and slow is the key to the flakiest crust. I had a hard time maintaining a low enough temperature at first, and noticed a distinct difference in dough texture once they started bathing longer in the oil. My challenge next time will be to keep the samosas frying for the full ten minutes to really get that flake on.

So I guess this means more samosa making in my near future. For science.

Served with the suggested tamarind-date chutney and mint chutney, but no additional flavour dippings were necessary.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

In the "cold cuts" chapter, five out of nine recipes call for pork *or* chicken, or are meat-free.
There is a chapter on chicken (eight recipes), one on seafood (six recipes), and the beef & pork section has a few variations that include chicken. There is also a vegetarian chapter. I'd say you'd be very pleased with the selection in this book.

I recently made her char siu pork with chicken thighs and it was irresistible, so I'd imagine many others are easily adaptable for your needs.

Err, I mean...you probably won't like it.

Apr 04, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

April 2015 COTM: POLPO, by Russell Norman

I can hardly keep up with all the wonderful reviews you are all knocking out! It's very impressive. I haven't even started making a list yet....

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy hurry up and be Spring already, April 2015 edition! [OLD]

I picked up this book from the library the other day and made the hanoi chicken, the carrot/daikon pickle, and loosely followed the sriracha mayo recipe. The chicken was fabulous! The rolls are on my radar but seemed like too much effort and ingredient sleuthing for the moment. How did they turn out?
I may also end up purchasing this book, but first I need to get Asian Dumplings by the same author. I've hoarded a library copy for the last couple of years, renewing over and over again, but they recipes are so wonderful that it really deserves a permanent space on my bookshelf.

Apr 04, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking