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

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!

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!

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.
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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!

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!

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

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

Thanks to you all for the lovely words and encouragement during this dumpling binge!

Apr 01, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

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

Vegetable and Tofu Bun Filling, p.101

Another savory stuffing recipe for the baked or steamed buns, this one different and delicious! This is an intensely-flavoured vegetarian version with satisfying hits of umami in every bite. The filling consists of pressed tofu, scallion, carrots, mushrooms (white, but I bet shiitakes would be divine) and cabbage seasoned with a healthy dose of white or black pepper, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. Quite a contrast to the other filling recipes in this book, and can hold its own amongst the meatier versions.

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

Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! I will definitely be jumping back into these ones. I am having quite a wonderful time making the filled goodies within the pages of your book!

Mar 30, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

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

Shanghai Soup Dumplings - Xiaolongbao p.59

Nothing like a culinary beating to kill the dumpling zen (and ego!). Or at least stomp on it a little...

The main reason why these were so troublesome was unfortunately completely my own fault. I was making these sans red meat (using smoked turkey leg in place of the ham in the stock) and used ground chicken for the filling, which was way too wet and sticky to work with properly. I should have used the more firm and dry ground turkey. The filling kept adhering to my thumbs as I was attempting to pleat, and no way no how was I able to push the meat mixture beneath the skins. I ended up dipping my thumb in oil to prevent sticking, but this raised another problem--the dough wouldn't stick to itself. Sigh. It wasn't until I was nearing the final batch of dumplings that I realized I had been putting too much filling within; yet another detail adding to the dumpling funk and pleating misadventure.
I did manage to get a few to work out rather well, although after steaming it appeared that most of the precious liquid leaked out of mysterious holes, leaving my beautiful little satchels sad and deflated. There was still a bit of soup left within a few pockets, at least. The flavour of the dumplings that actually worked out were absolutely wonderful, and are reason enough to convince me to give these another shot.

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

Panfried Pork and Scallion Mini Buns-- Shengjian Baozi, pg.105

Up next in the ongoing dumpling feast at Casa Allegra are these fabulous textured buns.
The filling consists of ground pork, ginger, chinese chives, white pepper, sugar, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sesame oil, and water, and unlike the other buns in this section, the filling goes into the dough raw. I followed qianning's lead with sesame oil and stock.
I cooked up half a batch and had the other half waiting when I had to leave the house before I could get around to cooking them, so into the freezer they had to go. I let them thaw and rise a bit more before cooking, and while my dough was decidedly more sticky for it, if I had planned ahead and dusted them with flour they would have been okay. The lovely pleats had disappeared with this method, though. There aren't any instructions for freezing with this recipe--I wonder what the best way to do this would be, if any? Perhaps next time I'll experiment with freezing the already-cooked buns.
Anyway, these are delightful--a lovely mix of soft and crispy. I will never tire of the pork/ginger/scallion combination, so of course the filling was a big hit. These definitely are a little greasier than the other buns, but make for an excellent addition to the dumpling spread.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy scrag end of winter March 2015 edition! [old]

Has anyone ever cooked out of Dim Sum:the Art of Chinese Tea Lunch by Ellen Leong Blonder? It appears to have solid reviews on Amazon but I rarely trust those. Would love some insight.

Mar 27, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

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

Baked Filled Buns (with Char Siu filling), p.97

I made two batches of these swell buns during a dumpling bonanza using the char siu pork filling, and a variation using the recipe for the marinade with chicken thighs (which was also quite tasty!). The filling is simple:diced meat, scallions, shaoxing wine, and cornstarch in a seasoning of sugar, white pepper, soy and oyster sauce, and water cooked to a cohesive mass.

This eggy, sweet-ish dough is another great recipe to work with, and by following the instructions I was able to get the perfect filling-to-dough ratio with no leftovers of either. The buns cooked up perfectly round and golden and looked pretty darned good! They tasted just as great. I may cut back on the sugar in either the dough or the filling next time if using that combination again, since both already had some sweetness to it, but these were just excellent and were very well received. I will be making these again.

Mar 26, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking
2

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

Steamed Filled Buns (with Char Siu filling) p.95

I spent a lazy afternoon making various filled buns that culminated in a delightful feast of dough-encased treasures. These were the first to disappear.

The easy char siu filling is made up with diced pork, scallions, shaoxing wine, and cornstarch, and seasoned with sugar, white pepper, soy and oyster sauce and cooked to an easily-heaped mass. I had made a batch of char siu pork from the recipe on p.224, and as an experiment, a batch of chicken thighs marinated in the same ingredients so that a non-red meat eating friend could also partake in testing these little treats. The chicken turned out beautifully, and although perhaps a tad untraditional, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Working with the dough recipe in the book was a real pleasure. I loved the detailed and accurate instructions that help the cook throughout the process. I made 32 small buns for each filling, and by the end I was becoming rather adept at measuring, rolling, and filling. The dough was so soft and forgiving, and pleating was much fun--in fact, I found myself grinning with nerdy giddiness from start to finish, and wish I could spend the rest of my days pleating dumplings.

The end product was just as wonderful to eat as it was to make. The enticing soft steamed bread contrasted the savoury and sweet filling and was so irresistible that the buns were gobbled up in no time and I barely have any left over. I can't wait to make these again!

(For those of you who avoid pork, I can fully attest that this recipe is perfectly lovely made with the chicken and I urge you to make it posthaste!)

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

Vegetable and Pork Wontons in Spicy Oil, p.72

I somehow found myself preparing this recipe around dinnertime on a weeknight--the hazards of reading this cookbook with an insatiable dumpling appetite! This was fabulous, and completely worth the endless whingeing I had to endure from the famished offspring as I prepared the meal.

The delicious filling consists of tender leafy greens (boy choy) blanched, chopped, and squeezed dry along with a small amount of ground pork. I made two batches, one with pork and one with ground chicken. The filling is seasoned with minced ginger, scallions, white pepper, sugar, soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and sesame oil.
The wonton skins were easy to make, but a bit time-consuming, using a pasta roller and a ruler to cut to perfect-ish 3" squares. My pasta roller doesn't fit on the edge of my counter top and so I ended up dragging an end table into the kitchen to work at, to my detriment. A ribbon of dough at eye level is irresistible to a curious toddler -- not so much to his crouching (and grouching) mother.

After finally rolling and cutting the beautiful wonton wrappers,the dumplings are filled and gently boiled. While cooking, the sauce is made: chile oil, canola oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and cilantro. This is tossed with the steaming dumplings and served immediately.

These glorious little treasures took hours to make and sheer minutes to devour. They slid down the throat easily, pleasingly, and before I could blink they were gone. They were absolutely fantastic! The filling was hearty and gingery, the dough tender, the sauce salty-spicy and luscious. I will definitely be making and eating these again.

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

Not going to echo what has already been said here, but I would like to direct you to the nifty chart on page 137 where Thompson lists quantities for ingredients. This chart came in mighty handy for me last week when I was making a quadruple batch of this very recipe and was working with monstrous shallots and coriander root shreds.

Mar 24, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

March 2015 COTM Adjunct Thread: Cooking from other Korean Books and Web sites

Spicy Pork Stir-Fry, The Kimchi Chronicles

Okay, so this may only be a Korean-inspired dish in what already is a pretty fusion-heavy cookbook, but it was really delicious.

Sliced pork is marinated in a mix of soy sauce, gochujang, rice wine, gochugaru, sugar, along with minced garlic, green onions, onion, and ginger. This is stir-fried with julienned carrot, shiitake mushrooms, red pepper, and snap peas and served with rice. I added extra veggies as I usually do, and there was still plenty of flavour to go around.
This was a very nice dish--a little salty, a little sweet (you sugar-averse folk would probably find it a bit too much) with the perfect amount of heat. The lovely sauce permeated the tender pork and just barely dressed the vibrant veggies. We very much enjoyed this meal and I will be copying this recipe down to make again.

ETA online recipe: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-reci...

March 2015 COTM: GROWING UP IN A KOREAN KITCHEN - Sections 1 & 2

Aw, shucks! Thanks, fellow food-enthusiasts!

Mar 23, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

March 2015 COTM Adjunct Thread: Cooking from other Korean Books and Web sites

Corn Fritters - The Korean Table

https://books.google.ca/books?id=OsfZ...

This pre-dinner snack was originally going to be asparagus fritters, but the members in my household managed to foil that plan mid-way through execution by stealing the blanched vegetable from the counter top when my back was turned (the jerks!). So I deferred to the recipe right underneath, which happened to be these super easy and delicious corn fritters.

Corn kernels are mixed with miso, flour and water, pan-fried until golden on either side, and served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce. While the author instructs to gently press the corn dry, I was perhaps a touch overzealous in that regard since the batter was very thick and rather difficult to spread into rounds. Nothing a little extra water couldn't fix. I added a bit of black pepper to the mix and thought a handful of green onion slices wouldn't be amiss, but this was a lovely snack to have. Everyone enjoyed it and I had a hard time keeping up with the demand. The miso added a lovely savoury-salty depth to the corn and I I now dream of grilled miso-glazed corn in the summer. It was a big hit for something so simple.

March 2015 COTM Adjunct Thread: Cooking from other Korean Books and Web sites

Dumpling Soup - A Korean Mother's Cooking Notes

Made these without the soup part yesterday and they were a delight!

The dumplings consist of ground beef or pork (pork in this case) blanched and squeezed bean sprouts, salted and drained napa cabbage and kimchi, along with bean curd, onion, green onion, soy sauce and plenty of sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper.

This cookbook doesn't have the greatest instructions and often fails to note all the ingredients in the proper sections, so one has to thoroughly read the directions before starting, but it is part of this book's charm. It helps that I have a few Korean cookbooks out from the library and could use them to refer to when needing a bit more help.

Anyway, I preferred the flavour and texture in this recipe to Hepinstall's. The bean sprouts gave a welcome crunch and there was more seasoning in the mix, making this dumpling delicious both with and without dipping sauce. I would like to try a couple more mandu recipes to see where this one stands but this version is pretty swell indeed.

March 2015 COTM: GROWING UP IN A KOREAN KITCHEN - Sections 1 & 2

Stuffed Dumplings - Mandu, pg.90

A hankering for dumplings led me to try a couple of mandu recipes last night, and as always, they were a pleasure to make and to eat.

This recipe uses ground chicken as the main meat, though the recipe indicates pork can be used instead. The filling also contains blanched and squeezed-dry oyster or shiitake mushrooms, napa cabbage, kimchi, bean curd, and pickled hot green pepper. To this is added egg, rice wine, garlic, green onion whites, sesame oil, ginger juice, and s&p.

I didn't have any fresh shiitakes so used up some wilting criminis and supplemented with a couple of rehydrated dried shiitakes. I also hadn't made the pickled peppers required for the recipe so did a lazy version and cooked a pepper with a bit of vinegar, garlic, honey, and salt to at least try to replicate the flavour. I'll just use a regular tinned pickled jalapenos next time if I am caught without. The recipe also includes instructions for making the wrappers but I used pre-made skins. Perhaps less forgiving than home-made but also a bit less work. I do need to work on my pleating skills. It's been a while and it took a bit to get a groove in. Didn't help that the wrappers were terribly misshapen and tore easily. Home-made it is next time!

Hepinstall includes instructions for steam-cooking, pan-frying and boiling the dumplings. I couldn't decide on just one so did all three! The steamed dumplings were the least-enjoyed--strange since I usually gravitate towards that method the most. The skin was a little too tough and chewy this way, at least with my lame wrappers. We served these with a soy-vinegar sauce spiked with ginger and chile oil. The dumplings were lovely--I have yet to meet one I don't like, but I did prefer the other batch I made, which contained more sesame, garlic, pepper, and kimchi.

In search of cilantro roots - Winnipeg

Thanks! It really is maddening that they are so difficult to locate in these parts. I've tried growing them but always seem to harvest too late and the roots have already gone woody.
Good to know that the produce is fine to bring across the border-I'm never certain what is allowed so never try! This is another reason I need to head to Minneapolis...I'll add it to The List.

Mar 20, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

April 2015 COTM: Nomination Thread

Yucatan seems delightful! But I already have too many expensive books waiting in line for purchase. Have you cooked from it yet?

I would also be keen to cook from THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE. (do I have too many nominations to my name? There are many excellent options-it's hard to choose!)

Mar 15, 2015
Allegra_K in Home Cooking

In search of cilantro roots - Winnipeg

If any of you lovely people ever come across cilantro with roots attached anytime in the future, would you be so kind as to alert me to the exciting news? I have been searching for eight years and -save for farmers market special requests- have only come across it once. About two years ago I stumbled upon it in Superstore and bought an armload full to stock up. I am now officially out and hope to replenish, if at all possible.
Thanks a bunch!

Mar 15, 2015
Allegra_K in Prairie Provinces

April 2015 COTM: Nomination Thread

PLEASE TO THE TABLE, please! I just bought a used copy today. The prices seem to have been coming down substantially lately.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy scrag end of winter March 2015 edition! [old]

......and I just pulled the trigger on Please to the Table, another title that has been on my wish list for too long. I have been feeling a desperate urge to own it since my library discarded their lone copy without telling me!

Korean Home Cooking by Soon Young Chung may have also made its way into my cart. Since I was there and all.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? Happy scrag end of winter March 2015 edition! [old]

I had been coveting the False Tongues book for years, but the price was always ridiculous. So it sat and gathered virtual dust in my amazon wishlist as well. I also noticed the massive drop in value, and after a bit of clicking discovered that it had been reprinted about a year ago. This is good news for more than just me, I gather! (I will also beam hearty re-issue vibes into the universe towards Von Bremzen's Please to the Table for the same reasons cited above!)

Oh She Glows was one of the websites that kept me sane while I was on the most hilariously depressing restricted diet imaginable for months on end -my baby had more allergies than I wished to count- and I actually ended up enjoying some of her recipes. However, I don't think I can ever look at a bag of nutritional yeast or eat a mouthful of quinoa flakes again without retreating to a corner and curling up in the fetal position, so I am (sort-of but not really) sad to say that I will not be purchasing that book!

April 2015 COTM: Nomination Thread

I'd be very happy to cook from THE NEW SPANISH TABLE. I've made a few recipes in there that have been repeated a number of times but haven't gotten around to more in-depth exploration.