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August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Pistachio and Lemon Cake, p. 79

Guests mean an excuse for dessert. So glad for that as this is an amazing cake! Moist crumb, with a crunchy exterior, nutty, and, since I subbed coconut oil for 1/4 of the cup of olive oil, a barely detectable hint of coconut. This is similar to the olive oil-almond cakes I love, but better.

A cake pan (I used an 8-inch) is lined w/parchment and oiled. I ground 3/4 c. of pistachios in my grinder, then mixed that w/ a cup ea. of stale bread crumbs and superfine sugar (I just whizzed the regular stuff in my grinder), 2½ tsp baking powder, and zest from a lemon. The oil is mixed with four lightly beaten eggs and then stirred into the nut-crumb mixture and turned into the pan (it is a drab green color at this point; maybe you can tell from my photo), which goes into a COLD oven. The oven gets turned on to 350F and bakes, according to Henry, for 50-55 minutes. In the 8-inch pan, mine took more than 60 minutes.

Since I was serving this w/fresh peaches, ice cream, and salted bourbon caramel sauce (overkill), I did not make the lemon glaze (which may have brought out the flavor of the lemon zest, undetectable in my cake) or top it with additional pistachios. Quite honestly, this cake is perfect all by itself. An easily portable cake, it would be great for gifting. Lovely for breakfast, too. It did not suffer a bit into the next day.

This is also very easy, as cakes go. A word of warning if you're not a careful recipe reader: like other recipes here, there's no indication when ingredients (three, in this case) are to be divided so I had squeezed juice from two lemons before realizing that was meant for the glaze I wasn't making. Duh.

1 day ago
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

The Good Cook. Yes, pretty much the the same model except this club is mainly online Every now and again the club has a "bundle sale" with good deals, but I don't find the selection to be all that great most of the time.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

Too bad Lulu's not old enough to drive! You could read in the car ; )

No time yet to really sit with it, but the photos are gorgeous.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

The Way to Cook is a great book, so much more approachable (for me) than her classic MAFC. Whenever I want a really decadent side, I go straight for her Scalloped Potatoes Baked in Cream (and gruyere). Swoon worthy.

I'm ignoring the part of your post that mentions a book I do not own. Completely.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I succumbed after reading a discussion on the COTM nom thread. (I think Gio was the culprit there too.) Mine arrived yesterday (cost me $7; looks as though it has never been touched). I hope to have some time to sit with it today.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Green Beans with Sicilian Bread Crumbs, p. 140

Even after reading CMCooks's review, I wasn't prepared for how fabulous these were. We had these as a side to lamb chops (from the recipe in "My Bombay Kitchen," w/pomegranate molasses marinade, my new favorite). And what a felicitous pairing that was. I ended up spooning the crumbs over the lamb chops too.

I toasted the breadcrumbs in oil then added the pine nuts, garlic and anchovies (alas, I discovered we had no raisins at the last minute) while the water boiled for the beans and then finished the dish (beans tossed w/ lemon, EVOO, and chopped mint) as my husband grilled the lamb chops. Total cooking time for a meal that felt quite elegant: literally minutes.

This is a superb treatment for green beans, even without the raisins. A hit indeed!

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Israeli Chicken, Take 2

I made this again, this time starting out with a largish baking dish. The finished chicken still wasn't nearly as dark as that in the book photo, but darker than my first batch. No matter: this super-easy prep was, again, absolutely delicious. I served it with regular couscous and more of Henry's eggplant with miso.

Next time I'll try an even larger dish, in search of that dark, caramelized look that eludes me so far.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Glad you liked it, Caitlin. I made it again two nights ago, with the long thin Japanese eggplants. We liked them every bit as much the second time around.

Aug 17, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

How I Wrote an Entire Book on Banh Mi

Consider yourself an enabler! I've ordered it.
Actually, I was one of those folks who said "a whole book on banh mi--hmm, do I really need that?" But yes, yes I do. I can see that now.

The first time my husband and I were in Paris together, we had banh mi for almost every lunch. So I have many happy banh mi memories!

I can't wait for this to arrive.

Aug 16, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
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How I Wrote an Entire Book on Banh Mi

Me too.

Aug 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What are you making/baking with coconut oil?

It's great for granola. Carrot cake. An orange cake that calls for olive oil. I used a mix of it and butter to make blonde brownies once. I've sauteed shrimp in it as well.
And now I have some more ideas after reading this thread.

Aug 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What are you making/baking with coconut oil?

That sounds fabulous!

Aug 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Japanese Ginger and Garlic Chicken [minus smashed cucumber], p. 63

After reading the reports on this dish in the "Cooking From . . . " thread, I decided to use the 2 oz guideline on the ginger instead of the 2/3 cup. As I was making half a recipe, I weighed out an ounce of ginger, peeled it and then grated it and two cloves a garlic and mixed it with a scant 2 T soy sauce, 1½ T ea. sake and dk. brown sugar, ¼ T brown miso, and ½ tsp togarashi. Four skinless thighs, pricked and slashed a bit, and the marinade went into a zip-loc bag, got a nice massage, and then sat in the fridge 45 minutes before--and here I deviated from the recipe--I stuck the thighs on the outside grill and discarded the marinade. After 30 minutes (with the grill regulated at roughly 350F), they were done.

We loved these. This is an excellent marinade that I do plan to make again (especially since I have all this miso paste to use up). I skipped Henry's smashed cucumbers and went with a simple cucumber/tomato/red onion mix (as well as blistered green beans and Henry's eggplant with miso) for sides. A great meal for a minimal investment of time and effort.

Aug 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
1

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Japanese Eggplants with Miso, p. 188

My eggplants weren't exactly Japanese ones, but they were small and thinnish. I halved them lengthwise, scored the flesh, brushed it with peanut oil, and then baked them in my toaster oven at 350F. After about 25 minutes, I covered the dish with foil and baked another 20 or so, then took it out and spread the sauce over the tops and popped it back in to bake another 6-7 minutes. (I had to adjust cooking time b/c my eggplant weren't the long, thin ones.) Once done, toasted sesame seeds were sprinkled over the tops.

While eggplant was baking, I toasted the sesame seeds (1 T) and made the sauce--2 T ea. white and brown miso paste, 2 tsp light brown sugar (I used dark), 3 T mirin or dry sherry (sherry for me), and 1 T sake, 1/2 tsp togarashi are mixed and "gently" heated. (I also misread the recipe and stirred in 2 T peanut oil--meant for brushing the eggplant flesh--but that didn't hurt anything except for adding unnecessary calories!

We liked this a lot (so much so that I grabbed true Japanese eggplants when I spied them at the FM yesterday, so I can do these again tonight). The flesh gets creamy and the miso sauce adds delicious flavor. Bonus: this is one of the easiest eggplant recipes I've encountered.

Aug 15, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
4

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Beautiful!

Aug 12, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

What cookbooks have you bought lately, or are you lusting after? August 2014 Edition!

I had to stop reading these threads as my resolve has just melted away. I've pre-ordered and acquired several in the past few months.

Like roxlet (and many others, no doubt) I've pre-ordered the new Malgieri and Berenbaum.

"Fried and True" (on a whim after some discussion about it on CH; I'll probably hardly use it as I almost never fry chicken).

"My Italian Kitchen" (because I'm desperately in need of another Italian cookbook! Ha.)

"A Change of Appetite" (August COTM. I had to.)

"The Way We Ate: 100 Chefs Celebrate a Century at the American Table": a strange book. I've enjoyed reading it, it is full of lovely photos and interesting recipes, many of which I've marked (including some very good-sounding cocktails), but the title is entirely misleading. The book is organized according to decades and within those units, chefs (and that designation is loosely applied) "interpret" given years and their events, and the connections made are often quite a stretch. 1977, for example, is associated w/the release of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors." The corresponding recipe for schlutzkrapfen (which looks delicious) connects to said event because of "multiple voices or flavors, and a prevailing smokiness reminiscent of Stevie Nicks's lead." If you can get around that kind of thing, the book seems to contain several gems. It's not at all what I expected, but I don't regret buying it.

A few days ago, I ordered another four books from TGC and can't even remember what they are right now. Someone needs to ban me from the Internet.

Aug 04, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Well, I love yours too. I've been in January once and summer a few other times. Summer's definitely better, but I found lots to do--and eat--in January! (On the other hand, I wouldn't wish New Orleans in summer on anyone.)

Aug 04, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Israeli Chicken with [quinoa], harissa-grilled peaches and mint, p. 136

Despite a few problems, this was fantastic. My husband said "don't just say you're going to make this again. MAKE it again. Put a giant neon bookmark on that page." I will, I will.

The chicken: I was exacting about halving all the ingredients, but next time I'll make the full recipe as I suspect halving could have been part of the problem. But Henry also stipulates a pan in which the chicken thighs "fit snugly," but in the book photo, the thighs are definitely not snug in the pan, and they look far more appetizing and caramelized than mine (dutifully snugged) did (as evident in my photos: I include both a before and after).

This is a very easy dish to put together. Skinless chicken thighs are slathered with "hot" mustard (no English mustard here, so I used dijon), fitted snugly (or maybe not) into a pan, sprinkled with dark brown sugar, salt, and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and orange juice, and popped into a 375F oven for 20 minutes.

When they emerged from the 20 min. bake, they looked lovely but seemed to be bubbling in a lot of liquid. I probably should have poured off some. I turned and seasoned them with salt and pepper and the remaining dark brown sugar. Back in they went for 15 minutes. When they emerged after that, most of the good color on the bottoms had disappeared into the pan juices, and instead of "dark gold," the whole dish looked rather wanly light gold. So I transferred them into a larger gratin dish and stuck the whole thing under the broiler, then removed the thighs and reduced the juices a bit stovetop. I never got the color I wanted, but the chicken was still absolutely packed with flavor--a little tangy, subtly sweet.

The salad: Peach wedges were tossed in a mixture of harissa and olive oil. Instead of dragging out my massive ridged pan for a small portion, I "grilled" them on a small cast iron griddle (so no ridge marks). With no suitable grains in the house, I subbed quinoa, which got kind of gloppy in the boiling/steaming. I had planned on toasting it--and should have as it didn't toss very well with the peaches. So I mixed them gently with the quinoa, mint leaves, a generous squeeze of lemon, , and a drizzle of EVOO. Delicious!

For all the issues, I highly recommend this. Don't be put off by my review, which I realize is substantially longer than the recipe.

Note: as I was cleaning up, I couldn't bear to part with those juices so I mixed them with the leftover plain quinoa; it made the most delicious savory "pudding." Somehow, I restrained myself from eating it on the spot. It will be lunch today.

Aug 04, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
1

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

New Orleans during the winter anyone? Grill included!

Aug 04, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

That sounds lovely--and so festive.

Aug 04, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Teriyaki Salmon [minus pickled vegetables] and Sesame Seeds, p. 60

So the fish component is especially quick and easy: salmon fillets are marinated for a half hour in soy sauce (1/4 c), mirin (2 T), and 1 T ea sugar and dry sherry. Nothing to grate or mince. Then you're meant to bake the salmon in its marinade for about 12 minutes at 350F. Since it's sweltering here, we used the gas grill, with the temp controlled at 350, and these fillets (which weren't very thick) were done in more like 8 or 9 minutes. I then sprinkled on the black sesame seeds I miraculously had on hand.

Nice and not all that different from the typical salmon in soy sauce-based marinades. Nothing spectacular but perfect for a quick dinner. I'm sure the pickled veggies would have elevated this dish a notch or two, but as this dinner was truly thrown together at the last minute, I opted instead for a quick stir fry of the napa cabbage (recipe courtesy of "Burma") languishing in the crisper.

Aug 03, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM Announcement Thread

Oh, yes, let's remember to remind each other when embark upon discussions during the nomination process.

Aug 03, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

do you have other uses for this pepper?

I always grill them, outside if the grill is going, or in a cast iron pan on the stove. I usually them toss them with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and grated parmigiano. Sometimes I skip the cheese and toss them with smoked sea salt flakes. A few times, I've made an aioli for dipping them in, mimicking the way I first had them in a restaurant in El Jebel, CO, a couple of years ago. (They also tossed theirs with crumbled feta.)

At any rate, these peppers are fantastic.

Aug 02, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
1

Is it OK to melt some Crisco shortening as a substitute for oil?

My mother always melted Crisco to use as her oil (although she never made granola). I personally always use olive oil and/or coconut oil for granola, but there is no reason that melted Crisco wouldn't work if that's what you want to use.

Aug 02, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM - Diana Henry Month: A Change of Appetite

Your photo does make me want to try the recipe--especially after a disastrous pork chop dinner last week (read: I can't cook friggin' pork chops 90% of the time, even with "heritage" pork!). But I will definitely be mindful of the amounts and instructions with this book, and when things sound screwy, default to my instincts. (It took me a long time to get to the point where I'm comfortable doing that.)

Aug 02, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

Cookbook of the Month June 2013: BURMA Fish & Seafood, Chicken, Beef & Pork

Gosh, I'd forgotten how perfect "Burma" was for summertime cooking. Thanks for the prompt to pull this off the shelf, Westminstress.

Aug 01, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM Announcement Thread

Thanks! I didn't realize there was already a "cooking from" thread. That will surely help me choose recipes.

Jul 31, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM Announcement Thread

Yum--I am now officially looking forward to it. My book is scheduled to arrive today.

Jul 31, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking

August 2014 COTM Announcement Thread

As this is your last month as coordinator, delys77, I just want to thank you for your service and awesome organizational skills, herding all us cats and our nominating and voting. Have a lovely holiday!

Jul 31, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
3

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? July 2014 edition! [OLD]

Yes--keep checking LLM; you never know when a particular bookseller will just try to unload some books. I've bought so many cookbooks that way (sure eases the guilt) and they are practically always in better condition than I would expect.

Jul 31, 2014
nomadchowwoman in Home Cooking
1