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September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Roasted Chicken with Za’atar "Stuffing," p. 247

Following blue room and Gio, used four bone-in thighs set atop the "stuffing" (cubed ciabatta, za'atar, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, OO, s & p). As per their advice, I just moistened the mixture w/OO (the bread absorbed a fair amount of drippings from the chicken). I overcooked the chicken a bit trying to brown it, but it was still delicious, the stuffing so wonderfully seasoned.

about 3 hours ago
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Romaine Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette, p. 250

Simplicity itself--romaine, onion (red in my case), lightly dressed with a vinaigrette of top-notch ingredients. We also liked this very much. And it made me feel much better about the big way in which I was otherwise deviating from my calorie/carb reduction plan.

about 11 hours ago
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Deviled Eggs w/ Smoked Salmon, p. 249

My husband liked these better than I did. The salmon was overpowering to me (perhaps because I used my own gravlax instead of true smoked salmon, I don't know). Otherwise, I followed the recipe (even the suggested boiling technique, which made for very hard-to-peel eggs; should have followed Joan's lead). The filling was thick and not as creamy as I would like. I guess I do want mayo in my deviled eggs.

about 11 hours ago
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

I've gotten a lot of deals from TGC as well. And while the website has been a problem the whole time they were revamping it and since the rollout of the new one, I was, until the last couple of orders, getting books I ordered. And they used to respond to inquiries.

But they must be having some serious issues of late. While I get lots of e-mail advertising from them, they simply do not respond to inquiries made on their site. (After now 5 queries about an Aug. 1 order of books supposedly in stock, I still haven't heard a word.) I too have pre-ordered the Malgieri and Berenbaum. I guess we'll see if they ever come.

about 11 hours ago
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

The veggies look pretty, and very healthy. Funny, I had not even noticed this recipe, but you've got my attention with the vinaigrette, which would certainly heighten the allure of even the humblest vegetable.

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

[Drum Fillets] w/Thai Spices and Coconut Rice, p. 76

I couldn't do the whole snapper, or any whole fish, as my husband has a debilitating phobia of fish bones. So I made some adjustments and used drum fillets--and they were delicious.

I halved the recipe for the basting sauce--about 2½ T avocado oil (instead of canola), generous 1½ T coconut milk, ½ T ea. grated ginger and crushed coriander seed, sliced garlic, chile flakes, grated zest and juice of a lime (and a sliced keffir lime leaf as I had some fresh ones: is anything more fragrant?) --and used about 3/4 Lb. drum fillets. I poured the sauce over the seasoned fillets and baked them in a 400F oven for 14 minutes, at which point they were perfect (YMMV). To finish, they were topped with a chiffonade of cilantro and basil.

Not exactly a roasted fish dish, more of a braise--but we really enjoyed this, and I can imagine giving a similar treatment to shellfish--shrimp, lobster, scallops--or even chicken. (Next time, I might finish the dish under the broiler, for a little color.)

For the rice (which served as a base for the plated fish), I followed the recipe (rice, lemon grass, coconut milk, cilantro, s & p, lime juice) except that I used brown jasmine rice and added a little chicken stock at the end to get the desired creaminess. I could see this as an accompaniment to any number of aggressively spiced proteins, esp. grilled meats.

Given the major deviation, from whole fish to fillets, I didn't have really high expectations and was prepared for my "experiment" to fail. What a lovely surprise!

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

Lucky you!

Oh, and give yourself plenty of time for a visit to Kitchen Arts & Letters; if you're anything like I am, you'll have to be dragged out.

Sep 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Beautiful!

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

I gave the Forkish book as a gift to a friend (who was trained as a baker in her youth); she tells me it is an excellent book for "serious amateurs". I do own a copy, but have never really cracked it. (My amateurishness is serious, but I don't think that's what she meant.)

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 4-6 (Birth of a Dish, Teamwork, Catch and Cook) Reporting Thread

Lovely to look at, for sure, and I'd think the perfect accompaniment to the jerk chops. I've looked, and I don't think I've ever come across a green papaya locally.

Sep 14, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

Recent Eats in Asheville: Cucina 24, Rhubarb, Storm, Sunny Point Cafe

Seven Sows was on my list (still is, even more emphatically now).

Sep 14, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Southeast

Recent Eats in Asheville: Cucina 24, Rhubarb, Storm, Sunny Point Cafe

Yes, I know some chefs feel that way--but I've never run into a streak of them this way. (Otherwise I'd carry a small container of salt with me.) And I've been to lots of nice restaurants that put salt on the tables. People taste salt quite differently (my husband and I are a good example of people with completely different salt tolerances), not always as some chef might think they are "meant to." I just don't think that I--or anyone--should have to forfeit enjoyment of a meal when a shake of salt would make a difference.

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

Please let us know if you get the book. I ordered using bonus points on Aug. 1--so far, no books, no response to my inquiries.

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

How I Wrote an Entire Book on Banh Mi

I've now made the Hanoi Chicken--so simple and delicious--and the Sri Lankan Black Curry, as well as carrot and daikon pickle (and my cheater's version of sriracha aioli). Had the Hanoi Chicken w/said pickles, aioli, cucumber, and cilantro in lettuce wraps. Excellent (though I did miss the bread). We ate the curry with brown rice (I didn't shred that time); were I too serve it that way again, I'd cut back on the mace and cloves. With the leftovers, however, I did shred the chicken and cook the sauce down as the recipe suggests--and made banh mi (after I broke down and picked up a loaf of New Orleans-style "French bread," which is much more like a Vietnamese banh mi roll than a true French baguette). The condiments balanced the pronounced flavors in the curry. Next on my list: chicken sausage patties, grilled lemongrass pork, crispy drunken kitchen. And probably giving up on carb control!

I enjoyed your segment on "The Splendid Table" last week, AN.

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

I have a couple of pre-orders as well. I wonder if those will ever show up. I agree that the selection is worse than ever. Ever since they did away with their old (user-friendly) website (a year and a half ago, I think) and suspended access to bonus points--and customer service--they seem a complete mess. The new website is awful.

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

Recent Eats in Asheville: Cucina 24, Rhubarb, Storm, Sunny Point Cafe

I always eat at Cucina 24 when in Asheville. A less-than-stellar experience was inevitable at some point. Despite two-day advance reservations, we were ushered to one of the worst tables, across from the warming lamps, which blasted heat at my back until I moved my chair so that I was sitting right beside my husband and partially blocking the servers' pathway. The restaurant was busy, and our wait for someone to bring water/take a drink order was very long. Had the food been terrific, I probably could have forgiven that. I'll start with what *was* excellent--large sea scallops, perfectly seared, with chanterelles, corn, and leeks (I think). I was thrilled with this dish, which mitigated my annoyance at having to send back my salad, which I couldn't believe they served--slimy, decaying "baby lettuces." Yuck. My husband's carbonara was a tangle of pasta and cream sauce, no pancetta in sight and no detectable cheese (not offered upon serving, either), lacking in salt, too (and, as was the case in every restaurant except Sunny Point, no salt and pepper on the tables. Is this an Asheville thing these days?) Bland, utterly forgettable--so unlike previous pasta dishes I've had here. We also ordered the fried squash blossoms (described as tempura battered with romesco "sauce"). What arrived were more akin to torpedo-shaped hush puppies: squash blossoms, filled with a stiff romesco paste, were completely encased in a thick layer of breading--hardly a good treatment of delicate squash blossom. My husband enjoyed his dessert--cake of some sort, w/blackberries, I think, and an interesting ice cream.

I really wanted to eat dinner at Rhubarb, but like most restaurants that weekend, only available reservations were either 5:30 or 9:45, so we decided to try it for lunch, which turned out to be brunch (read: limited menu). We tried some of the brown sugar-benne popcorn. Delicious, of course. My husband deemed his Monte Christo sandwich (never my thing, anywhere) excellent. And my omelette--tender and light, with wild mushrooms and leeks--would have been superb had it only been well-salted. Again, no salt on the table. I would have asked for it but our server didn't reappear until we asked someone else for our check. I will give Rhubarb another try for dinner, but given the accolades, I was somewhat underwhelmed.

When we couldn't get in for dinner at any places on my list (even with some early planning--I didn't realize it was going to be Labor Day weekend), we went to Storm on a glowing rec from someone who'd just been. We started with the delicious "local liver pâté," served w/arugula and mustard. My husband's lamb burger was fabulous, as were the accompanying french fries, which I was glad didn't need salt or pepper (again, none on table). I ordered the goat cheese gnudi (w/chanterelles again! yippee!), which I enjoyed though the dish was a little cluttered with chiles, egg, a drizzle of sauce of some kind (pepper jelly?). I also had the kale salad, pretty good as kale salads go. Service was very spotty, especially once it started raining (we were seated outside, at the host's insistence because, she convinced us, the restaurant was "loud and rowdy"). We ran inside, half-finished wine in tow, and left our mostly finished dinner on the table. All that aside, this meal was the most enjoyable of the three so far.

We also had great cheeseburgers and fried okra at the always reliable Farm Burger, and a terrific breakfast at Sunny Point (which gets extra points for the free coffee while waiting, super service, and salt and pepper on the table!). We had standard (perfectly cooked) egg breakfasts, with delicious local sausage, wonderful cheese grits and really light biscuits w/really good jam.

Overall, not our best eating experience in Asheville, but not horrible either. I can't wait to go back--so many places I want to try (including The Admiral, which so far eludes me).

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Southeast
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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? September 2014 edition!

Just curious as to whether you or others are having problems with TGC.

I placed an order on Aug 1 (all supposedly in stock). Still haven't rec'd them and have gotten no response to two inquiries (one well over a week ago) except for the canned "we'll get to you in the order your e-mail was received." The website lists my order as "processing"--but it also lists all my past orders (books long since received) as "processing." Anybody know what gives there?

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Grilled Pork Chops with Jerk Spices p.279

These were really good. Like blue room, I subbed the wimpier jalapeño for the scotch bonnet. And I used a mini FP rather than a mortar & pestle to chop the aromatics. I also reduced the amount of oil for the chili-garlic oil by about a third. We really liked how that oil along with a few squeezes of lime on the finished chops really popped the flavors.

I used rib chops (no particular cut is specified in AE), marinated 1½ hours (like br, I'd marinate longer next time), and grilled the chops for 7 min/per side, which was probably a minute more per side than perfection for these particular ones. Delicious nonetheless.

Sep 13, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Thank you, LN. I do have the book!

And, you and blue room have inspired dinner tonight: pork chops are thawing.

Sep 12, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Shrimp in Coconut Curry Sauce, p. 273

I made this last night, and mine looked more similar to blue room's than the photo in the book. i think mine was a little creamier even though I thinned it with a little chicken stock after straining it. (I skipped a photo as one of our guests always raises her eyebrows when I start taking photos of dinner!) I used all the suggested ingredients (have a huge patch of lemon grass and several basil plants still thriving in my "garden.")

I concur w/blue room completely. Delicious. After cooking from Burma, Smoke & Pickles, Pok Pok, etc., I had to laugh as I was going out to buy Thai red curry paste and Madras curry powder, but later I was smiling at how relatively quickly and easily this came together. I might cut down a tad on the curry powder next time (mine was very pungent), but I'l happily make this again.

Served with brown basmati rice and a salad of arugula, watermelon, red onion, feta salad dressed with a spicy lime dressing, this made for a superb meal. Not a shrimp left.

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Ot again--but I've been meaning to ask about the tuna confit. Any particular recipe to which you can point me?

Sep 12, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 10-12 (Craftsmanship, Tradition, Cayman Cookout) Reporting Thread

Oh gosh. How am I going to stay off potatoes???

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Yes, that does sound wonderful. I've been avoiding potatoes too, but what a good reason to make an exception.

Sep 12, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

White Wine-Citrus Spritzer p. 211

I'm not a big fan of wine spritzers, but after thumbs up from Joan, Caitlin, and stockholm for these, I had to try one . . . or two. Okay, three. (Which is my problem with spritzers--I end up drinking more than I would if I were sticking to wine.)

I happen to like Aperol though bottle has been neglected for a couple of years. And I love lemon. (This lemon syrup is really good; I can see keeping a supply of it in the fridge for all manner of cocktails.) So I really enjoyed this drink. I did tweak the second one by reducing the syrup to a generous half ounce and upping the Aperol to 1½ ounces and I liked the slightly more bitter drink even better.

Very refreshing. Utterly--maybe too--drinkable.

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

What a gorgeous debut: that is one lovely tomato salad.

Welcome to the fun!

Sep 12, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

Yes indeed. Thank you. This is on my list once the temperatures drop a bit, and I certainly appreciate your comments. I'll look forward to your revisit too.

Sep 09, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
1

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

I'm hoping to try this one this weekend. Sure looks and sounds delicious.

Sep 09, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 1-3 (Big Flavor, Star Ingredients, Farming the Sea) Reporting Thread

Seared Salmon and Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette, p. 51

Super easy, especially if, like me, you skip the pea shoots. (I'm sure they'd be great, but I never see them around here. I would have cooked the peas in the recipe, but discovered I had none in the freezer just before dinner.)

So I whisked the vinaigrette: olive oil (¼ c), lime juice (3T), soy sauce (2T), grated ginger (1T), minced garlic (½ tsp), s & p. Then my seasoned salmon fillet went into a screaming hot large cast iron skillet, for about 2 min. per side (although ER suggests 1½), at which time it was about perfect and looked very much like that in the book photo (I wouldn't have minded it slightly less done, but DH balks at rare-ish fish.) I just spooned the vinaigrette over the salmon and served it with a green salad and an asparagus-mushroom sauté.

Wow, is this very easy vinaigrette delicious. DH said this was his favorite of my various sauces/vinaigrettes for salmon, and I'm inclined to agree--loved the ginger and lime here. This dinner took no time and felt really special. (I forgot to take a photo, but you know what seared salmon looks like.)

Sep 09, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

So does mine. Explains a lot, I guess.

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

Chicken Paillard with Tomatoes, Fennel and [no] Olives, p. 203

Although there are lots of appealing recipes in this book, I've been hard-pressed to find many I feel like making while it's sweltering outside. But after reading all these reviews, I overlooked our general dislike of chicken breasts and pounded a couple of them--probably a little too thinly as they were cooked in 10 minutes.

I made 2/3 recipe of topping for two breasts, which seemed about right to me. I followed the recipe except that I left out the olives as my husband does not like them (and I do only in small doses) and used golden raisins (and really liked the raisins in this prep despite my initial reservations).

These were very good, especially as we are low-carbing and I am trying to change the read-out on my bathroom scale. With veggie sides, they made for a nice light meal. But DH (who has no scale issues) suggested these would be better if the chicken were breaded!

Sep 09, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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