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Allegra_K's Profile

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September 2015 - COTM Announcement Thread

I just received notification that A Gracious Plenty came in through the inter-library loan, and I get a full three weeks with it--how exciting!

Aug 31, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Crispy Potatoes with Hot Sauce - Patatas Bravas, p.30, MKIS

I already have a great bravas recipe (the one from TNST, as it happens) so I was a little worried that this would disappoint, as so often occurs when testing out new recipes for an already tried-and-true dish. This one was hard to resist after qianning's glowing review above, and I am very pleased to report that there is a new favourite go-to recipe on file. This is a keeper!

It caught me off guard when I discovered that the sauce, once prepared as per the recipe for 'basic tomato sauce' on page 10, does not get cooked any further. I did add in all the ingredients for the bravas sauce while the tomato sauce was still piping hot. I had some already cooked squashed garden tomatoes in the fridge (my freezer stash was left to thaw overnight by a careless seven year old and I had to salvage them quickly!) so I scooped up a very heaping cup-full in place of the freshly chopped. The skins and seeds were in those tomatoes, but I can never waste a single shred of home-grown goodness anyway; it all pureed nicely in the blender. The sauce ended up pretty thick, and didn't exactly dribble -it glopped- onto the plate, despite some thinning.

At first taste it seemed like there was too much pungent vinegar, but after a cooling rest it mellowed out and was just right. In fact, it was perfect. Spicy, tangy, smoky--incredibly flavourful. I attribute at least a portion of success to the quality of the tomatoes, but I wouldn't hesitate to use good canned ones for the rest of the year. It was superb.

My biggest beef is that the recipe doesn't make enough! I did a double batch (with extra spuds, too) and we have no leftover sauce. Served with a side of allioli.

Side note: I mistakenly left the crushed garlic cloves in the serving bowl - much to the chagrin of the ten year old who fished out and ate what he thought was a drowned potato. Hah!

Aug 31, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Catalan Toasts - Pan Catalan, MKIS-p.58

Yep, I'm reviewing toast. But I feel like the world needs to know about this, so I am putting my silly browned bread review out there on the www to spread the word to those who don't know about this.
Crusty bread slices, broiled. Cut garlic clove rubbed over top. Grated tomato flesh. Beautiful, flavourful olive oil. Jamon (optional, to me).
Of course, this is the most wonderful time of year to be enjoying such simplicity with the glorious bounty of ripe summer tomatoes. I've eaten this for breakfast every day for a solid week, and will happily do so until the end of the season. It is, in my mind, the most perfect way to start off the day; a cup or two of coffee alongside equals summertime bliss.

ISO Soft Shell Clams Winnipeg

I asked at the Portuguese Fish Market if they stocked fresh seafood and was told that they do not, so I didn't bother inquiring any further. Darn it!
I did, however, leave with an armload of delicious cured meats, so it wasn't a complete bust. The owners were very friendly and enthusiastic. I will definitely be heading in there again, and next time I won't be able to resist the cheese counter!

Aug 29, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2015 [OLD]

China Moon--I found this one at a thrift store. Any good?
Marcella's Italian Kitchen was discovered nearby, and since I wasn't going to stand in line for just one item, I wound up getting both...

Aug 29, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2015 [OLD]

Oh, I just passed this one up at the thrift store! Silly me.

Aug 29, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

Uncured Olives-A Winnipeg Search

India Spice House?

Thanks. I'll ask around at Tehran Market next time I head to that strip mall. I may also inquire at DeLuca's and the other Med market, but those certainly wouldn't be cheap! Mind you, a delicious (cured) olive is a priceless and hard-to-find item in these parts...

Aug 27, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

ISO Soft Shell Clams Winnipeg

Funny, it's the savory clams that made me lust for soft shells. Maybe I'll give them a try--thanks!

Aug 27, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

Uncured Olives-A Winnipeg Search

Greetings, fellow Winnipeg hounds. Another ISO post (someone's gotta keep these prairie boards moving!)...
Some years back I stumbled upon flats of fresh green olives at Superstore. It was not on my radar at the time, but I wouldn't mind trying my hand at basement-curing one of these days. I haven't seen them anytime since, but I haven't been actively looking. Where (and when) would a person possibly be able to locate these beauties, if such a possibility existed?

Aug 27, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - EGGS, MILK, CHEESE, BEANS, POTATOES, RICE, PASTA, VEGETABLES

Stunning!

Aug 27, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

You have perfectly articulated my feelings towards purple peppers.

Aug 26, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Zucchini, Bell Pepper, and Onion Jam - Pisto, TNST, p.29

This was a fabulous way to use up a surplus of zucchini. The colours were lovely, the texture was a perfect jammy consistency for slathering over crusty bread, and the flavour was so summery and wonderful, luscious and sweet. A superb showcase of a few simple, just-ripe ingredients.
While I also prefer the samfaina from Mediterranean Harvest, I was very, very happy with this less-labour-intensive dish. I have a pile of leftovers--this will be just marvellous next to eggs, or in a sandwich, or....

Aug 26, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - EGGS, MILK, CHEESE, BEANS, POTATOES, RICE, PASTA, VEGETABLES

Roasted Baby Artichokes with Cognac, p.369-TNST

This was a nice little side for dinner last night that would also make for a great selection in a tapas spread.

I used frozen regular-sized artichokes cut into wedges. I, too, had a hard time getting a good colour and had to roast for a longer period than called for-despite patting completely dry. Von bremzen has the cook pack the artichokes snugly into a dish, so no wonder they didn't brown up.

I preferred these warm over room temperature, but they were pretty swell, with a nice subtle flavour of the cognac beneath the nutty-astringent crispy artichokes.

Aug 26, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Eggplant Stacks with Tomato Jam, TNST-p.42

What a lovely combination of flavours and textures here. This was a treat.

For the fabulous tomato jam I ended up using tiny currant tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, due to having a sudden excess of wee tomatoes that had split on the vine from a deluge of rain. I did not peel them (can you imagine?) but rather mashed them up a bit before cooking. My microwave is mostly used to soften palm sugar....and make tomato jam? It worked. I had to strain the jam a bit both before and after cooking, but sopped up the extra juices with bread, because I did not want to lose a drop of it. Because the tomatoes were already sweet, I cut all the sweeteners in half. The jam was wonderful. I could -and maybe did- eat it with a spoon.

Like greedygirl, I cut the anchovies in half--an entire piece was just slightly too overpowering. Those salty guys melded beautifully with the meltingly tender eggplant, the sweet-sour tomato jam, and the bite of the vinegar; with a few shavings of cheese to temper the acidity, it was just excellent.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

Scallops with Garlic Cream and Tomato Jam (TNST, p. 218)

Wow, wow, wow. I have nothing to add here--for once, I am speechless. This is exquisite.

August 2012 Cookbook of the Month, Planet Barbecue: Beef, Veal, and Game, Pork, Lamb and Goat, Ground Meat

Wow, you've been on a roll! It all sounds excellent.

Aug 24, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Also lovely!
I have a question....when I was in the Malaga area earlier this year, I never once saw gambas al ajillo on a menu, rather gambas al pil pil. I imagine this is the same thing, just a regional variation on the name?

Aug 24, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

And I will never tire of this photo! Glorious.

Aug 24, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

ISO Soft Shell Clams Winnipeg

Thanks for the reply! I haven't been checking the prairie boards often due to the woefully stagnant activity as of late, so I missed this. I shall check out your recommendation and see what I can come up with. Fingers crossed.

Aug 24, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

Thanks! Do you have a particular favourite, BC?

Aug 19, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

I had no idea there were so many different Chez Panisse books out there. Which of these titles are we voting for? I see that herby mentions we'll select afterwards (were it to win) but are there any main contenders? I won't be able to look at *all* the books to decide on a vote, and don't want to choose based on a cookbook that might not even make the cut.

Aug 19, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

Those companion threads have even worked out pretty well over the years, and continually get updated with new write-ups. I appreciate them for those times when I feel like reviewing a special recipe that hasn't yet been a cotm, or for the occasions when access to the particular selection du jour isn't readily available.

Aug 18, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

ISO Soft Shell Clams Winnipeg

Another ingredient quest awaits! Forgive what may or may not be an obvious answer to my question--this prairie dweller knows naught about the distinctions between quahogs and steamers-- but are soft shell clams available around these parts? Where would one locate these bivalves short of purchasing online and using a wallet-emptying shipping service?

Aug 17, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

Look at that, Greedygirl, you are the maestro of a chorus of wistful sighs!

Aug 16, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

If you heard a long and lustful sigh coming from afar, that was me.

Aug 16, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

Thanks, Gio! I noticed that amazon.com has some inexpensive used copies, but the vendors do not ship to Canada. Darn it! I'm going to put in an inter-library loan request and see if that comes back with any leads.

Aug 16, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
1

September 2015 COTM - Voting Thread

Used and not particularly cheap, either, unfortunately. I'm interested in learning about southern cooking -of which I am woefully ignorant- but would have to rely on the internet and the kindness of fellow hounds for recipes.

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - TAPAS, SOUPS, GAZPACHOS, SALADS, BREADS, EMPANADAS

Lentil Pot - Potaje de Lentejas, MKIS p.97

This is a hearty and filling lentil stew that makes for a quick, tasty weeknight meal.
Lentils (pardina for me) are cooked alongside tomato, onion, green pepper, carrots, roasted garlic, and seasoned with bay leaves and cloves (if not using morcilla, add an extra pinch of cloves, pepper, pimenton, and cinnamon). Eventually, in go the potatoes, pimenton, cumin, black pepper, cayenne, and sausages (chorizo and the optional morcilla, which I am having a hard time finding). Just before serving, sherry vinegar is stirred in.
This was a pretty standard, well-received dish. I halved the amount of vinegar and thought it was plenty. This is one of those meals that benefits from an overnight rest, so of course the leftovers were mighty fine.

Tried and True Recipes from David Thompson's "Thai Food" #2

Red Curry of Oyster Mushrooms and Tofu - Curry Cuisine

This cookbook is a collection of curry recipes from around the world divided up by country (and sometimes region);the Thai recipes are David Thompson's, so here I am.

While at the grocer I picked up fresh tofu, water spinach, and oyster mushrooms without a plan in mind, and they all needed to be used up quickly, so imagine my delight when I discovered this recipe! It fit the bill perfectly.
This is a tart, sweet, and salty curry--the liquid has a generous amount of tamarind paste in it, and a good portion of sugar as well. The curry paste is a bit of a dull mustard seed colour, in part because I kept to the lower end of the chile amount suggestion, but also because of the volume of krachai and galangal - which predominated its resinous qualities into the curry, but was tempered and rounded out by the coconut milk.
I can't even remember the last time I made a curry paste, so I was to be found gleefully huddled over the mortar & pestle, rhythmically pounding away the afternoon, with much pausing to inhale the intoxicating aromas wafting up from the bowl. That's my idea of a good time!
This one was split 50/50 at the table. The mister was not a fan, "too sweet, too sour", but this is what I enjoyed about it. The textures played beautifully together. Another complaint was "not enough fish sauce" and it is just now that I am realizing that there is no fish sauce in this recipe, it is in fact completely vegetarian.
Anyway, I will happily make this again--good thing, 'cause I have enough paste for two more meals. I may add fish sauce to appease the masses. Maybe. It was plenty good without.

Aug 16, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

August 2015 COTM: The New Spanish Table & My Kitchen in Spain - SEAFOOD, POULTRY, MEAT, GAME

I recently purchased a potted black mission tree in a fit of romanticism - oh, to have access to a multitude of figs whenever I wanted! So far, it's been overwatered, underwatered, sunburned, kicked over, and plucked of leaves. No squirrels yet, but if it miraculously makes it long enough to set fruit (make no mention of my brown thumb), I'm sure the squirrels will get to it, too!