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July COTM (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone): BEANS PLAIN and FANCY, GRAINS & THE SOY PANTRY

That's a fantastic idea, this would go great in an omelet. Much better than the hard boiled eggs, I bet!

Jul 19, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

AUGUST COTM: Voting Thread (ends 7/18)

INTO THE VIETNAMESE KITCHEN & VIETWORLDKITCHEN.COM.

Jul 16, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

JUNE Cookbook of the Month: FOODS and WINES OF SPAIN, Penelope Casas - All Recipes

Oh, you made me crave paella again! Definitely agree that browning chicken is pretty messy; I skinned the chicken (which reduced splatter), but oil still got everywhere. The chicken also didn't reheat very well in leftovers.

Jul 15, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

July COTM:(Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) VEGETABLES

Ah, I think you're thinking of jamon iberico. I had some queso iberico that I bought for June COTM. Description of queso iberico from cheese.com:

"Queso Iberico is a cheese that comes from Central Spain. It is a hard cheese made from the mixture of cow's, sheep's, and goat's milk and that is why the flavour has elements of all three. Sometimes Queso Iberico is mistaken for Manchego. The affinage usually takes from one to six months. According to its texture, it ranks among hard cheeses. It is a table cheese but could be perfectly used for grating and grilling."

Gruyere is not much more flavorful than iberico, but feta is certainly more flavorful than brie.

Jul 09, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

July COTM:(Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) VEGETABLES

Broiled Zucchini Stuffed with Gruyere and Feta (p.426)

Received summer squash in our CSA box this week, and this recipe seemed to fit the bill. After a short parboiling, centers of squash are scooped out and cooked with butter. Then cooked squash centers are mixed with eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, herbs, and flour to make the filling. Stuffed squash are then broiled.

We were underwhelmed by this dish. Substituted brie and iberico we had on hand for gruyere and feta, but I don't think that would have made a huge difference. The stuffing doesn't have much character and could really use a kick. Maybe prosciutto or pancetta for meat eaters? Also, the recipe says to broil the squash for 20 minutes at 6 inches, which seems like overkill. Cheese was bubbly and brown on top after only 4 minutes, so we baked a little while longer instead of broiling for the entire time.

Jul 08, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

July COTM (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone): BEANS PLAIN and FANCY, GRAINS & THE SOY PANTRY

Green Lentils and Spinach with Hard-Cooked Eggs and Toast (p.302)

I've been wanting to make some lentils for my baby daughter, and this seemed like a recipe that we could enjoy together with her. As it turns out, our daughter really likes it (we puree and freeze little cubes, which we then defrost and serve to her at mealtimes) -- which is great since it is quite nutritious. My wife and I thought that it was a decent enough dish, but not spectacular.

The dish consists of a few different parts that come together at the end: 1. boiled lentils (I added diced carrots) 2. sauteed onions 3. lightly sauteed spinach with garlic 4. hard boiled eggs and 5. toasted bread. The sauteed onions and spinach went well with the lentils; the contrast in texture and flavor between the stewed lentils, garlicky spinach, and slightly caramelized onions was quite nice. The eggs and toasted bread didn't add anything to the dish, in terms of flavor or balance.

For non-vegetarians, the addition of bacon would make the dish much more satisfying, and I think the lentils-onions-spinach (I probably wouldn't bother with eggs or toast) would be great with pan-fried pork chops. Photo attached.

Jul 08, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

JUNE Cookbook of the Month: FOODS and WINES OF SPAIN, Penelope Casas - All Recipes

I gave the paella a la valenciana a go tonight. I don't have a paella pan, nor is my my largest skillet oven safe, so I transferred the paella to a broiling pan before placing in the oven. Seemed to work fine, and my wife (who normally doesn't like paella) enjoyed it.

I omitted pork chop, lobster, clams and ham. Somehow, the 20 minute bake + 10 minute tent resulted in overcooked mussels for me. The quality of the chorizo makes a big difference; I used Whole Foods chorizo, which was only so-so. Next time, I'll make an effort to find better sausage. Also, I used Italian arborio rice; does anyone know how different arborio is from valencia rice?

Photos (courtesy of my lovely wife) attached.

Jun 29, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking

JUNE Cookbook of the Month: FOODS and WINES OF SPAIN, Penelope Casas - All Recipes

Oca con Peras (Baby Goose with Pears), poultry chapter, p274 F&WoS

I'm a sucker for duck, and I couldn't pass up a dish described as "the supreme dish of Catalan cookery". Per Casas' suggestion, I used duck instead of goose, since it's difficult to find a small goose. To save time and money, I decided to make the dish with 3 whole duck legs and 1 breast instead of buying an entire duck. It turned out to be a good decision, since the legs held up much better to the long braise; breast turned out tough and overly gamey. I would recommend making the dish with only duck legs.

The raisin-pine nut-roasted duck juice sauce is amazing, and the combination of flavors (duck, pear, sauce) is truly fantastic. I'm not normally a big fan of Spanish cooking outside of paella, but this recipe has renewed my faith in the cuisine. Rich and complex, full of different flavors and textures (e.g. fruit + meat + nuts + sweet + savory + duck fat = yummy).

I followed the directions pretty closely: started by roasting the duck with garlic, onion, and bay leaf; then deglazed the pan to collect pan juices. Sauted onion, garlic, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, and pears with some broth and brandy (substitution for grappa). I wanted to experiment with pears so I used 2 boscs and 2 d'anjous. In the end, I preferred the crispness of the boscs, and my wife preferred the softer/sweeter d'anjous. Added duck and reserved pan juices and simmered for a while. At the end, caramelized sugar syrup is poured over the pears.

The recipe resulted in a non-crispy skin. Because crispy skin is my favorite part of duck, I put the duck in the oven for 10 minutes. This achieved a nice skin, but resulted in a little bit of overcooked meat (especially the breast). I would recommend a shorter stovetop braise if you want to crisp the skin in the oven. Alternatively, you could move the pan to braise uncovered in the oven after adding the duck and pan juices to the saute. This second approach is similar to a Alice Waters recipe I love for braised ducks with leeks & olives: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

I wasn't able to get the sugar syrup to caramelize, so maybe adjusting the proportion of sugar to water would do the trick? Nonetheless, a great dish for my first ever Chowhound post and COTM effort :-) Photo attached.

Jun 24, 2008
iandoh in Home Cooking