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Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month January 2015

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO-Paula Wolfert

Dec 11, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

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

Looks fabulous! Happy to read about the winners being uncovered here.

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

Stir-fried Beef Stew, p 131

The stir-fried stew. Quite a contradictory name. Before making this, I was leaning more towards the "stew" part of the title when imagining the final outcome, but it was definitely more stir fry. Whatever it was, it was pretty tasty. I followed the recipes more or less and was pleased with the results. This was nice and spicy and full of flavour, although the photos -both of them- appear a bit misleading: the version on my plate never became such a rich burgundy (nor as turmeric golden) as the ones represented in the pictures, which is a bit of a cookbook beef of mine. Still, it made for a good dish and was happily lapped up by the household.
Served this and a few other stews over injera, and the sauce soaked perfectly into the spongy, sour bread, making for a great combination of flavours.
(Stew pictured at 9 o'clock)

Nov 16, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
2

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

Red Rice, pg.101

This was really great. A soupy rice with a tomatoey, briny base dotted with bright cilantro and spiked with chile, I really regretted not making a double batch of this recipe.

Onions are cooked to translucent and then jalapeno, shrimp powder, and garlic is added. I pounded up some dried shrimp in a mortar and pestle until fluffy, which did the trick. Chopped fresh tomatoes and chile powder are stirred in, and later, short grain rice, salt (I reduced to 1 t, which was plenty), thyme, tomato juice and water. Once off the heat, cilantro is stirred in and the cover is replaced to finish cooking and absorb some additional liquid.
As an afterthought, I added in some shrimp for the final minutes of cooking, which took this to one-dish-meal status. I would happily do it again, but would double the rice up to have enough to go around.

We loved this dish. It reminded me of a Burmese shrimp curry (I blame the shrimp powder/tomato/cilantro combination) in a good way. The rice was comforting and familiar with just enough flair to bring it out of the ordinary. It had a soft, porridge-like consistency that was very welcome on a cold wintry day, and the spice was just enough to clear the sinuses and warm the belly. I will gladly serve this again.

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO - Paula Wolfert
I know this is a long shot since most of Wolfert's recipes are so involved but I'll throw it out there anyway - even if just to build up steam for a future month (January, perhaps?)...

Nov 11, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

I have lived on the prairies for three decades and I am still not used to winter. I often fantasize about migrating somewhere warm from October to April and only returning for the glorious heat of the summer. Hibernation and self-pity is my preferred method to while away the wind-chill. *sob*

Pad Kee Mao (Spicy Ground Chicken and Rice Noodles)

Nov 09, 2014
Allegra_K in Recipes

Pad Kee Mao (Spicy Ground Chicken and Rice Noodles)

Nov 09, 2014
Allegra_K in Recipes

Nominations Thread: Cookbook of the Month December 2014

As a personal preference, I would rather not do a repeat. There are about a zillion other cookbooks and authors out in the world that need discovering, and we could use a fresh face in the cotm. That said, I am Canadian; Thanksgiving is long gone and I've never experienced the frenzy of having so many intense gatherings in such rapid succession, so never felt the need to keep December's cookbooks selection at a more tested-and-true level. If the consensus leads to a re-visit, I would much rather something be selected from the earlier years when participation was lower and therefore less likely to be an actual repeat for most of us.

How about an appetizer-type book? Is there anything good out there that exists? I could happily subsist (and often do!) on snack foods throughout December.

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

The worst offender in the dust jacket department is the UK version of "Tender" by Nigel Slater. It has a sleeve covering just a portion of the cover. I have it crammed next to a book that I use frequently and every time it gets returned to the shelf I catch the edges on that awful dust jacket and rip it a little more. It's pretty shredded about now.

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

Beautiful!

Nov 04, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

Library booksales don't count as real purchases, since you are merely helping fund new books for other library users!

A really really difficult vegan thanksgiving challenge

From what I can tell, all the vegan shortenings out there include soy -- or pea protein in the case of soy-free. I have wondered if a chilled coconut oil or palm oil would work well cut into pastry, but haven't tried that yet myself.

Nov 03, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

I am certain that it will get a good home. Anybody who deliberately purchases a 1993 copy of a cookbook featuring a mostly-unknown cuisine must know what they're doing. Funnily enough, the store owner said that until recently she had two copies of the book in stock, and was surprised at the sudden interest! The power of Chow, I tell ya.
I'm waiting on the hound to out him/herself. (Was it you, pistachiopeas?)

What cookbooks have you bought lately or are you lusting after? November 2014 edition! [old]

I was so excited to discover after a search through biblio.com that the most reasonably-priced copy of The Georgian Feast was available in my own city! I thought that was pretty fortuitous and so I went down to the bookshop a couple days later to buy it. They had just shipped it out to another customer the day before! I am convinced it was purchased by a fellow hound.

Nov 03, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

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

Those are some pretty shameful errors in this book. I can't imagine navigating this one as a novice cook!

OT, but do you have a recipe to share for your GF flatbread? My baby is allergic to wheat and life has been pretty dismal in the bread department lately.

Nov 03, 2014
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

A really really difficult vegan thanksgiving challenge

What about a nice root veggie tagine? Those warm spices would go well with any sort of thanksgiving meal.

I'm pretty sure that you matter what you cook for her, she will be absolutely thrilled and touched that another person went to such great pains to include her in the meal. I bet she doesn't get out to eat much with those restrictions.

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

In an effort to save time and ingredients, I made a half-recipe of this last week. That was a big mistake! After one Ethiopian-feast night I am almost finished with the little jar. I would definitely recommend making a full-batch as MelMM did since it is so easy (and delicious!) to use in everything. I also didn't use dried serranos--have never even seen the dried pepper before-- but instead a mixture of kashmiri chiles and cayenne.

Nov 02, 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"

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. [old]

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