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August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Succulent pork belly with soy and star anise - p. 186

I noticed this recipe when I was first flipping through the book and was pleasantly surprised when our meat CSA sent us pork belly for the month. Our pork belly piece was only 1 1/4 lb, so I used that and then threw in some shiitake mushrooms which Henry suggests to extend the dish, keeping the broth the same.

After cutting the pork belly into chunks (I went a bit smaller than her recommended 2" cubes on the chunks) and boiling and rinsing the pork, the pork simmers in a mixture of dark soy sauce, rice wine (we were out, so I used sherry), rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, star anise, garlic cloves, red chiles, and sliced scallions for a couple of hours. My chiles were a little on the mild side, so I put in two. I didn't really notice much heat in the dish, so I think if you want spice, you might want to increase it even further, but the broth was so rich, I didn't mind at all. I added the mushrooms in during the last half hour.

She then suggests scooping out the pork to intensify the broth, but it already seemed salty enough for our tastes, so I left it alone. I served over noodles as a kind of pork belly soup. She suggests stir-fried greens on the side. I could've sworn I bought bok choy for it, but couldn't find it and instead mixed in some blanched haricot verts.

Overall, a lot of flavor for very little effort (as promised!). The mushrooms seemed like a great addition because they really soaked up all of the rich flavors in the broth and provided a nice bit of variety with the pork belly.

Aug 15, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
2

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Turkish lamb kofta with [pluots] and yogurt p. 183

blue room's review caught my eye and when we received a pound of ground lamb in our csa this month, I figured it was a sign. It's past cherry season here and I didn't stock up, so I originally intended to try Henry's suggestion of using apricots instead. I later realized that apricot season came and went while I was traveling, so I went with two varieties of fresh pluots as well as dried apricots. The color wasn't quite as nice as cherries would've given it (more orange than deep red), but the flavor was great. I went on the light end of the sugar due to blue room's comments and we thought it was just right.

The last lamb meatballs I made were Ottolenghi's lamb meatballs with barberries from Jerusalem and I'll give those an edge for flavor, but this recipe uses ingredients I'm more likely to have on hand or readily available (barberries and dried figs requiring slightly more planning ahead).

Aug 12, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Asian pork balls [with chile dipping sauce] - p. 199

blue room's mouthwatering reports reminded me that I hadn't reported on a dish from a few nights ago. I scaled down these meatballs from 2 1/4 lb of pork to 8 ounces so that we wouldn't end up with a large amount of leftovers. The meatballs are made by combining ground pork, chopped bacon, garlic, ginger, red chile, lime zest and juice, chopped scallions, and chopped cilantro. I scaled all of the other ingredients accordingly, except for the chile (the mr. likes things spicy) and lime zest (down to half a lime). She suggests frying them, but warns that they tend to fall apart unless you chill them for an hour or so beforehand. Rather than patiently wait or deal with the frustration of crumbling meatballs, I opted to oven roast the them instead. My bacon was on the fatty side, so I rendered off quite a bit of fat that way. Finally, Henry suggests that the pork balls are just as good tossed with noodles and hoisin sauce, so that's what I did, skipping the chile sauce and adding in some bok choy for a bit of green. The bacon flavor dominated the pork balls giving them a very smoky taste that worked well with the hoisin and noodles. Another good, quick and easy meal from this book. I especially like that this one calls for ingredients I almost always have on hand. The portion sizes do seem a bit overly generous though. Using roughly 1/4 of the recipe, the two of us had enough for dinner plus a little bit leftover.

Aug 10, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

The original recipes uses a pan with simmering water, but her revised version allows you to just heat the skillet on low heat and pour directly in the skillet. No need for water or a separate pan.

I really enjoyed the class. She's so down to earth!

Aug 06, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: Food from Plenty

Crispy-skinned salmon with Vietnamese caramel sauce - p. 152

Great, low-effort meal! Pan-fried salmon is paired with a quick Vietnamese caramel sauce. The hardest part was trying to determine when the sugar had caramelized. After you soften some ginger and garlic, she has you add soy sauce and light brown sugar and cook until you smell caramel. The scent of ginger, garlic, and soy completely overwhelmed the smell of the sugar for me and obviously it was too dark to tell by sight, so I guestimated. After it's caramelized, you add some fish sauce and water followed by tamarind and lime juice. The resulting sauce is incredibly flavorful. I was worried it would overwhelm the salmon, but the sweet and tangy flavors worked well together. She suggests serving with boiled rice and stir-fried greens. I opted for some farro with stir-fried bok choy mixed in. It was a great way to return to COTM and start on this book.

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

I thought I'd report back for those who (like me!) lacked proper equipment to tackle this. I attended Andrea's Asian Dumpling class in SF this past weekend. For the rice batter, she gave a recipe different from the book because the one in the book isn't very homecook friendly with the setup. The new recipe adds wheat starch to the batter (3/4 tsp salt, 20g wheat starch, 30g tapioca starch, 160g rice flour with 1 cup water whisked in and then left to bloom for an hour and then an additional 1 1/3 cups of just-boiled water and 1/4 cup canola oil whisked in). The new batter can then be poured straight into a lightly oiled skillet over medium-low heat. Once it's cooked, invert the skillet and bang it out. Most of the class still had trouble with getting the rice sheet out in one piece, but this method seems far less finicky than the original. I'm so impressed with the people who had success with this the first time around!

Aug 06, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

May 2014 COTM - My Bombay Kitchen: Fish and Seafood/Meat and Poultry

I'm glad you made it work for you. It is very quick and the lime juice sounds like a nice touch.

May 07, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

May 2014 COTM - My Bombay Kitchen: Fish and Seafood/Meat and Poultry

Fish in Coconut Milk, p. 105

I used the lazy coconut milk, so this was a very quick dinner, albeit not quite as flavorful as what I usually think of for Indian cooking (having not had much exposure to Parsi). To make, chiles and curry leaves are sizzled in oil. She suggests 3 to 6 green chiles. I used 6 Thai bird's eye and the dish was still fairly mild to us, although I think this batch of chiles lacks heat and the heat did become a bit more pronounced towards the end of the dish. Then finely chopped onion and garlic is browned and cooked until softened. Turmeric is added and then the thin coconut milk. My can of coconut milk wasn't separating very nicely, so I just poured in the full can. She suggests 3 - 4 cups of liquid in all, but that seemed excessive and I wanted the flavor a bit more concentrated, so I just used 1 can. After the mixture simmers for a bit with some salt, she has you add the thick coconut milk and then the fish. I was using very thin Dover sole fillets, so I let the sauce simmer until it became a beautiful sunshine yellow. The fish are added and simmered until the fish is cooked. The fish was wonderfully moist. Don't forget some rice to soak up the sauce. We enjoyed it, but I can't help but compare it to a similar dish in 660 Curries that had a lot more going on (the halibut with coconut-mustard sauce).

May 04, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

May 2014 COTM - My Bombay Kitchen: Soups/Eggs/Salads

Cucumber and Ginger Salad, p. 218

I made this to go with the fish in coconut milk. It's quick, simple, and refreshing. Halved and thinly sliced cucumber is dressed with lime juice and salt. Chopped ginger is mixed in. I microplaned some frozen ginger without peeling it. Using the microplane seemed to help it mix evenly into the salad. Shredded mint is listed as optional. I included it and it seemed like a nice addition to a very simple salad.

May 04, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? May 2014 edition! [through May 31]

Agreed! Herbfarm is great. His newer book, Herbal Kitchen, is also very good and benefits from a more enticing layout.

May 04, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? [Through April 30, 2014]

I strongly second the meatballs and beehive and to add a few more. We made the fontina and mushroom pizza this week and it was outstanding (used our own pizza dough, next time I might increase the ratio of mushrooms to cheese a bit as it was a lot of cheese. The recipe did seem to be missing a roasting temp for the mushrooms though.). We really liked the flavor combination of the pork skewers, gouda, and apricot mustard, although the method of making the skewers was a bit of work for me. I also liked the rigatoncini with ricotta and orange zest quite a bit (would break up the sausage more to incorporate it into the dish a bit more though). The burrata with asparagus, pine nuts, and golden raisins is also very nice with a bit less oil.

DK, I'm eager to hear your report when you receive it.

Apr 11, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

Nominations for May 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM)

I had not heard about the Cheesemonger's Seasons. Thank you for mentioning it! It looks great. We made the fontina and mushroom pizza from his other book Monday night and it was outstanding. It would be nice to have them as a pair for COTM once they've been out a bit longer.

Apr 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

March 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Stir: Mixing it up in the Italian Tradition: On the Side Pg. 261-288

Steam-Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Herb Vinaigrette - p. 268

I made this a couple of nights ago, but never got around to reporting on it. I don't have much to add to smtucker's thorough review except that the modifications are spot on for reducing the oil and vinaigrette. I had a full bundle of asparagus and drizzled the olive oil on as I normally would (~<1 tbsp). Against my better judgement, I poured all of the vinaigrette on the asparagus and it was simply too much and oily. Half would've been plenty. For the herbs, I used a mix of parsley and fennel fronds because that's what was on hand and it worked very well.

Mar 22, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

COTM: Which one was your most successful?

I've had good luck with the chicken and seafood dishes as well, but for some reason I always find myself drawn to the lamb. Without the cardamom and turmeric though, the options get a little limited. My mom can no longer have cardamom or cumin along with a very long list of other ingredients, so Indian is definitely off the list for the next time my parents visit (which is sad because it worked well with my dad's need to have gluten-free food!).

Mar 14, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

COTM: Which one was your most successful?

You're welcome! I should add the basil and peanut pesto shrimp recipe to that list as well. And now for some reason I'm craving Indian food.

Mar 14, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

COTM: Which one was your most successful?

I had that problem when I first bought it as well. The layout is just overwhelming at first. I think it sat on my shelf unused for at least six months, but now it's my standard go-to when we have people over for dinner. We even used it for our welcome dinner for out-of-town guests at our wedding.

Some simple recipes that might get you started:
Cardamom-Scented Chicken with Ginger and Garlic
Cashew Chicken with a Cilantro Sauce
Lamb-Almond Dumplings in a Tomato Cream Sauce
Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Ginger and Garlic
Buttery Basmati Rice with Spinach and Onion

Mar 14, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” by Suzanne Goin

Albacore crudo with avocado, cucumber, and ruby grapefruit - p. 137

For AOC, this was a pretty quick dinner and no cooking was involved. The avocado puree was excellent and a nice contrast to the grapefruit-cucumber salsa. I was a little concerned the grapefruit would be too sour, but it really worked in the dish.

To make the salsa, grapefruit is mixed with diced shallots and lime juice. After those flavors have time to mix, olive oil and diced jalapeno and cucumber are added to the mix. I think I would've been okay with only 1/2 or 2/3 of the amount of olive oil.

An avocado puree is made of avocado, lime juice, salt, and a bit of oil.

To plate, the avocado puree is smeared on the plate and topped with watercress (I used arugula because I had some that was on its last legs in the fridge). Sliced tuna seasoned with lime zest, salt, and pepper is spread on top, then topped with the cucumber-grapefruit salsa. The final garnish is a bit of sliced cilantro which I forgot on the cutting board, but I'm sure would've been a nice addition.

Mar 10, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

March 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Stir: Mixing it up in the Italian Tradition: From the Sea (175-204), Chicken, Duck, Goose (205-232), Beef, Pork and Lamb (233-260)

Braised (Goat) Shanks with Winter Root Vegetables - p. 255

Last month, our CSA gave us a lone goat foreshank, but this month, they finally decided to send its match, so I thought this might be a good candidate for using them. It's a fairly standard shank recipe. The shanks are browned and removed, then aromatic vegetables are added (carrot, celery, and onion). Red wine is used to deglaze the pan and make a base for the braise. Then chicken broth, bay leaves, rosemary, and peppercorns are added along with the shanks. When the shanks are done, skim the fat, strain, and reduce the braising liquid to a glaze.

The meat came out moist and full of flavor. The rosemary was a very nice addition to a standard braise. I didn't follow her suggestion of making it ahead of time, so skimming the fat wasn't terribly successful. It was also just a lot of liquid, so it did not want to reduce to a glaze very quickly. I may've cheated a bit and added some cornstarch.

The most unique thing about this recipe is that instead of braising the vegetables with the meat, she chooses to cook them separately (fried in butter with a bit of water) to retain more of their "individual character." In theory, this sounded like a great idea. In reality, they ended up just seeming like an after thought. I cooked a mix of beets, potatoes, and celery root (ignoring her suggestion to separate the beet so the other vegetables wouldn't turn pink). Perhaps I've been spending too much time with AOC and its intricate pairings, but they just didn't seem to add much to the dish. I think I would've preferred the same vegetables roasted with some rosemary and garlic or else some creamy polenta or mashed potatoes. Overall, a very good dish, but next time I'll skip the vegetable preparation is favor of something else.

Mar 10, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

Cooking from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” by Suzanne Goin

Balsamic-glazed brussels sprouts with pancetta - p. 245

This is a relatively simple side dish compared to the other dishes I've made so far in the book. The balsamic vinegar adds a nice depth of flavor to the dish and sets it apart from other brussels sprouts recipes. I wish I'd had just a slightly higher quality for the dish though as some bites were just a bit too vinegary.

To make, brussels sprouts are browned in olive oil and butter with a bit of salt and pepper. Diced pancetta is then added to the pan and cooked until the pancetta starts to crisp. Then diced shallots and garlic are added. Next balsamic vinegar joins the mix. Finally, veal stock is added until it is reduced to a glaze. I used duck in place of the veal, but chicken is also suggested as an alternative.

Mar 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

Cooking from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” by Suzanne Goin

(Petrale Sole) with Saffron Potatoes and Blood Orange-Meyer Lemon Salsa - p. 143

Goin suggests that sole is a good substitute for scallops in this dish and our seafood box gave us an abundance of sole, so I decided to test it. Although the salsa requires a bit of chopping, this recipe is doable on a weeknight. The components include a citrus salsa, boiled potatoes, and grilled scallops.

For the scallops, she calls for skewering them on rosemary sticks and seasoning with meyer lemon zest and chopped rosemary. If you're using fish, you'll only need a branch of rosemary to have enough for the marinade. She suggests calls for grilling the scallops, but my sole was so thin that grilling was not an option, so I pan-fried.

For the salsa, finely diced shallots are soaked with champagne vinegar (I used white wine vinegar) and salt. Meanwhile, 2 meyer lemons are cut into a 1/8" dice. Despite her very detailed instructions for cutting the lemons, she doesn't mention anything about the seeds. I did my best to remove those as I went. My lemons were not nearly as precisely diced as she outlined. Two of the blood oranges are cut into segments with the third retained solely for its juice. The citrus is mixed with the shallot along with olive oil, mint, salt, and pepper. 1/2 cup of olive oil seemed like a bit much and I think it would've worked fine with only half as much. I really liked the mint in the salsa when I found it and would've also been happier with significantly more mint in the mixture as the 1 tbsp just didn't seem to go very far.

For the potatoes, saffron is first soaked with warm water. Meanwhile, olive oil is heated in a large Dutch oven. Onion, thyme, crumbled chile, salt and pepper are then added and cooked. Chopped potatoes are added to the mix and left to sear in the hot oil. After the potatoes are nicely coated with the onions, the saffron water is added and the potatoes are cooked until tender and the potatoes are glazed. Mine may have been a little more towards soupy than perfectly glazed. Mine also were not as beautifully yellow as the photo. The red onion darkened the color to a less attractive brown.

To assemble, the potatoes are placed on the plate. Followed by a scattering of dandelion greens or arugula (I used arugula). Those are them topped with fish and then the salsa. On their own, the potatoes were a bit heavy, but the salsa and peppery arugula really brightened them. I was a little skeptical about having the lemon rind in the salsa, but I didn't mind them at all in the finished dish. I would happily repeat this dish, cutting down a little on the olive oil in the salsa and maybe increasing the mint.

Mar 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

Cooking from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” by Suzanne Goin

Alaskan Black Cod with Kabocha Squash, Golden Raisins, and Pedro Ximenez - p. 128

I've resisted buying Sunday Suppers at Lucques over the years, but so far I'm really enjoying this book, so I might have to cave and add it to the collection as well.

The timing on this recipe wouldn't be bad for a weeknight if the squash puree was made ahead of time. The recipe does call for a ridiculous amount of butter and cream though, so perhaps it's best if it doesn't become an every day meal. The components of this dish include a squash puree, wilted Swiss chard, fried cod, and a sherry raisin butter sauce.

To make the squash puree, kabocha squash is roasted with thyme until tender and pureed with brown butter, heavy cream, and sage. She calls for peeling the squash before roasting, but I found it much easier to do so after it had roasted. She also calls for pureeing in a food processor in batches, but our food processor is on the small side, so I used the blender instead. I had no difficulty pureeing in the blend and as a bonus, I was able to do it all in one batch.

For the fish, you're supposed to marinate it with lemon zest, thyme, and parsley for at least 4 hours or overnight. I missed that and was only able to marinade for an hour. After marinating, the fish is seasoned with salt and pepper and fried. Sadly, I lost most of the skin when I flipped the fish.

For the Swiss chard, the chard is sauteed with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper until tender.

Finally, for the sauce, golden raisins are soaked in boiling water, drained, and then soaked in a mix of Pedro Ximenez and dry sherry for half and hour. I just used sherry. This mixture is then combined with brown butter and a bit of salt and pepper and cooked until the sauce emulsifies and a bit of sage is added.

The sage in the sauce and puree really helped to balance out the sweetness of the dish, but the dish overall is a bit on the sweet side. The squash puree is incredibly rich. My husband, who is not a fan of squash at all, complimented it many times. The puree and greens also make for a nice color contrast on the plate.

Mar 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

March 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Stir: Mixing it up in the Italian Tradition: On the Side Pg. 261-288

Creamy (Cream Cheese) Polenta - p. 286

I went ahead and made this with the added cheese (although a local cream cheese instead of mascarpone) and the full amount of butter. It was ridiculously rich and creamy. Polenta on its own is already good enough that I'm not sure it needs all of the additional fat, but if you're looking for an over the top indulgence, this one is very good.

Mar 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

March 2014 Cookbook of the Month - Stir: Mixing it up in the Italian Tradition: A Passion for Pasta (111-175)

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Anchovies, and Pistachios - p. 123

This dish surprised me by how richly flavored it was for such a quick dish.

To start, pistachios are roasted and chopped.

Butter is browned. It seemed like an obscene amount of butter (1/2 cup), but I went ahead and used the full amount. Cauliflower florets are then cooked in the butter for a minute or two. Then anchovies and garlic are added to the mix. I made a half recipe and only used 2 anchovy fillets. I found the anchovies a little on the overly assertive side in this dish, but I'm not the biggest fan of them either and it did work nicely with the red pepper flakes. Once the anchovies dissolve into the butter, chicken broth is added and the cauliflower cooks until tender. I wish she had given guidance for how reduced the broth should be. It seemed a little soupy to me even though I let it reduce for a couple of extra minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta. I was using dried pasta with a 9 minute cook time. The recipe would've gone a little bit quicker had I started the pasta before the cauliflower I think. Before draining the pasta, she has you reserve a bit of pasta water, but I didn't need it at all. The drained pasta is then mixed into the cauliflower along with parsley, parmesan, and red pepper flakes.

The pasta is then served and sprinkled with toasted pistachios and more red pepper flakes. She also calls for a drizzle of a tbsp of oil on each serving, but the pasta was already rich enough that I didn't think it needed more. I liked this very much, but I would've been happy with just a bit more cauliflower relative to the amount of pasta.

Mar 09, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

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

Shanghi Soup Dumplings - p. 59

I made the mistake of trying these on the same day that I attempted the rice sheets (see other thread), so my soup dumplings weren't very soupy and instead were more like plain pork dumplings for various reasons of rushing through these while steaming up my apartment making rice sheets. This report will focus more on the closed satchel.

My largest change to this recipe was making a stock using a duck carcass I found in the back of the freezer in the slow cooker. I ended up with a very gelatinous stock even before the agar-agar was added. Due to timing issues with the rice sheets, I rushed the final chilling of the stock and rather than having cubes just mixed a fairly jello-ish stock into the pork. When cooked, I didn't get the same burst of soup because it was too mixed, but it was still good.

My biggest struggle with this recipe was the satchel shape. Having made the Nepalese vegetable and Tibetan beef dumplings a week ago (which I never reported on due to a work trip and being uncertain what to report - we both liked them, but not nearly as much as the fish dumpling or LOP dumplings and there wasn't much sichuan), I knew the shape was problematic for me. Attempting it the same night as the rice sheets was a disaster. The steamy apartment air just made the dough too difficult to work with.

I had plenty of filling left over from last night's failed dumplings, so I decided to make another attempt today. She notes the filling doesn't keep well, but mine had firmed up very nicely overnight, so I thought it was worth trying. The dough is slightly different than the main dumpling recipe, using bread flour as well as all-purpose and a little oil. She notes it makes the dough more elastic and I think it helped for forming the satchel. Like the regular dumpling dough recipe, it's very easy to work with even without a food processor.

I think I watched her video at least a half dozen times trying to put these together: http://www.asiandumplingtips.com/2010... . My difficulty with the satchel shape is that I seem to squeeze the filling out while doing the pleating. At the end, I became more confident in stretching the dough upwards and pushing the filling down, rather than letting the filling push out towards the side. I still don't seem to be able to get nearly as much filling as I should be able to into a wrapper and closing it is often problematic as the filling pushes towards the opening and makes it harder for the wrapper to stick.

The good thing is that even with the difficulty in closing these (in the picture the middle ones were the earliest and some weren't closed at all), they all steamed up very nicely. In the future, I may stick to half moons, but I'm glad I gave this one another shot.

Feb 17, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
1

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

Thanks. This looks very similar. A-K mentions temperature issues. I wonder if I'd have better luck poaching with a metal pan that's the right size. I'm not sure I'm enough of a glutton for punishment to test that theory though!

Feb 17, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

I realized while I was on her website today that I really should take advantage of being in SF currently to take one of her classes. She has one at the end of February that's already sold out, but I'll have to keep an eye on it and try for another.

Feb 17, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

Beef and Orange Rice Rolls - p. 157

While the rice sheets themselves were a real headache, I greatly enjoyed the filling on these (NB the book has a typo in step two and references "How to Make Rice Sheets" on page 215 instead of 155).

To make the filling, orange zest, sugar, salt, white pepper, baking soda, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, and oil are mixed together. Then finely chopped scallions and minced beef are mixed in. She says to mix your own beef so it isn't too finely textured and clumpy, but I had a surplus of ground beef, so I went ahead and used that instead. The meat mixture melds for 30 minutes and is then rolled into the rice sheets before being steamed. Sweet soy sauce is poured over the rolls. She also suggests chile garlic sauce for dipping which would've been a nice addition, but I forgot about it.

The flavor of these rolls was great with the hint of orange and salty-sweetness of the soy sauce. I'd make these again, but only if I could use pre-made rice sheets next time.

Feb 17, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

February 2014 Cookbook of the Month-- ASIAN DUMPLINGS: Mastering Gyoza, Spring Rolls, Samosas, and More: Translucent Wheat and Tapioca Starches;Transformations of Rice

Rice Sheet Batter - p. 154

My other half is away for the weekend, so I thought Sunday would be the perfect day for dumpling projects. Sadly, this recipe was not terribly successful for me and my project day was a little bit more frustrating than I had hoped. I do feel a little bit better though now that I see there's a 3 star review for this recipe on EYB.

The batter for the rice sheets comes together very easily. Just whisk together rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch, salt, canola oil, and water and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

Nguyen gives you a choice of then cooking the rice sheets by steaming or poaching. Ideally, you should have a square baking pan to do this. We only have rectangular or circular pans, so I opted to use one of my smaller (and less rectangular) baking dishes. Ideally it would also be metal, but I tried to make it work with a very thin Corningware as all of our metal pans are huge.

The pan is preheated either in the steamer tray or floating in a pan to poach. The lid to my steamer didn't quite fit with the pan in it, so I also covered with a towel and it seemed to heat very nicely. Batter is then ladled into the pan to cover the bottom by about 1/8 inch and left to cook for 5 minutes.

For my first noodle sheet, it still seemed a little soft, but wasn't sticking to my finger (the test she suggests), so I removed it from heat, let it cool for a couple of minutes, and then tried to remove the sheet only to end up with a gloopy blob. For subsequent rice sheets, I let it cook for significantly longer (12 - 15 minutes) assuming that my heating system/pan wasn't working very well and my noodle sheets may've been a bit thick. These worked much better, but I still occasionally lost portions of the sheet. (After my first complete miss, I made a second batch of batter.)

I somewhat assembled my dumplings with a few occasional tears while folding when they must've cooled for a bit too long. For cooking, I decided to give a bit more than the 5 minutes of steaming because my rolls were over-sized due to pan issues, tearing, etc. The end result was that some of the rolls just seemed to fall apart entirely. The flavor of the rice sheet was great, but presentation left a lot to be desired.

I'd be very interested to hear someone else's experience with making these. Next time, I'll just buy the sheets!

Feb 17, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

January 2014 Cookbook of the Month, GRAN COCINA LATINA: THE FOOD OF LATIN AMERICA: Fish and Seafood; Poultry; Meat

Aunt Carolina's Roasted Red Snapper in Green Sauce (El Pargo en Salsa Verde de la Tia Carolina) - p. 625

I was traveling for the first half of the month, so sadly haven't been able to participate much. This was my first recipe from GCL after receiving it for Christmas and I'm very happy to report that it was a success. I made one major modification to the recipe and used rock cod fillets that we had in the freezer instead of a whole snapper.

To make, the fish is rubbed with mashed garlic, salt, and bitter orange juice (or half lime juice and orange juice which I used), covered with onion slices, and left to marinade for at least two hours. Mine was probably less.

A green sauce is then made by blending together parsley, cilantro, onion, garlic, hard-boiled egg yolks, almonds, jalapeno, capers, green olives, sherry, cider vinger, and salt. Half of the green sauce is then cooked in olive oil with a bit of broth added at the end.

Parboiled potato slices are used to line a baking sheet. Those are topped with the onions from the fish marinade and then the cooked green sauce. The recipe then calls for the whole fish being placed on top of the potatoes and cooked for 45 minutes at 400. My fillets were thin, so I baked the potatoes and onions separately for 30 minutes. Then, the recipe calls for pouring the uncooked green sauce on top and cooking for another 10 - 15 minutes. I added the fillets at this point and cooked for 10.

The sauce on this dish was outstanding - bright with a bit of sourness and a nice depth of flavor. It worked really well with the potatoes. Likely because I didn't use a whole fish, the fish itself didn't add much to the dish (she describes the potatoes as drenched in fish juices), so I'd like to try it again with a whole fish.

Jan 22, 2014
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking

December 2013 Cookbook of the Month, ALL ABOUT ROASTING by Molly Stevens: Beef & Lamb; Pork

Thank you for mentioning using this recipe with ground duck! We both loved the ground duck burger recipe in Big Small Plates, but found ours were way too soft for grilling. I think this method of cooking could work quite well with the BSP recipe. We made the stuffed mushroom and cheese variation of this a couple of years ago and really enjoyed how juicy they were. I need to make those again sometime.

Dec 11, 2013
TxnInMtl in Home Cooking
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