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Cooking from "My Paris Kitchen"

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#1 SobaAddict70

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 10:40 AM

I bought

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something I've been eagerly awaiting from Kitchen Arts & Letters today.

Now, I rarely cook from cookbooks, but I'll make an exception for this one. I have my eye on a few things, such as the coq au vin and cassoulet, but the things I want to make the most are probably all of the vegetable dishes in the book.

It's probably too late for me this week (because what I get from USGM on Saturday generally sets the tone of menus for the next 3-4 days), but I'll be keeping some things in mind for down the road. Roast lamb with braised vegetables is an idea, ditto for the shakshuka.

What will you be making?

#2 Anna N

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 12:18 PM

Thanks so much for starting this topic.

I have followed David Lebovitz' blog forever. My interest in cooking tends to be much more on the savory side than the sweet side so although I enjoyed his blog his books had little appeal. Until this book. It's been on my wish list on Amazon.ca ever since it was possible to put it on the list. Yesterday I ordered the Kindle edition.

I rarely pay much attention to a book's cover but this one has everything going for it. That pan! For years I dreamed of owning a pan like that. There were enough of us to make use of a pan that large. And I once had the strength to lift it! I could imagine the light glinting on that shiny copper. But the years went by, the kids left home and now I barely have the strength to lift up my coffee cup! But I learned. Polishing copper is not all it's cracked up to be. When the kids leave home you don't have to pick out the peas. And someone else came into my life and showed up at my door one day with this:image.jpg
The twin of David's lovely pan but without its issues. This one is stainless steel -- no polishing required! And it works on my beautiful induction range. It's still heavy but with the help of towels very similar to the ones in David's hands I manage. How could I not attempt that cover dish as my first foray into My Paris Kitchen.

From reading David's blog I was easily able to determine that this is the mustard chicken. I had all the necessary ingredients in the house and so it became my Saturday project.

I followed the recipe closely dispensing with measuring spoons, a move I am sure David would support.

Everything went smoothly until it was time to brown the chicken. Chicken that is wet from being slathered in mustard does not brown well! It was a challenge to keep it from scorching and ruining the frond which David says is so important to the dish. But that was the only glitch.

The finished product is not pretty but what it lacks in beauty it surely makes up for in flavor. To me it epitomizes the appeal of French cooking. The ingredients are simple but they come together in such a way that the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts. If you get a chance make this dish. You will not regret it.

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David suggests serving it with a celeriac purée. Damn. I sent the leftovers home with the kids last night.
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#3 Anna N

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 03:32 PM

I had time for one more recipe today so I tackled the Salted Olive Crisps.

From the outset this recipe had my skeptical molecules all aquiver. 140 grams of flour in a 9 inch loaf pan? I bake a lot of bread and it usually takes 500 or so grams of flour to make a loaf. This batter looked very forlorn in the bottom of the pan. And sure enough the resulting "bread" was barely 1" high. Judging from the photo his appear to be much closer to 2-2 1/2". So, did I do something wrong? The recipe could hardly be any simpler. There's not much in terms of a leavener to provide loft. Just 1/2 tsp of baking soda. Mine is fresh and active. (I tested it to be absolutely sure and it fizzed like a catherine wheel.) Or should the pan size be 8x4?


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Anyway I soldiered on. I found that a chef's knife worked better for me than a serrated bread knife but that may say more about my knives than about the recipe. Apparently either David or I
can't eyeball 1/4" as my yield was 20 not 40. And somebody is surely mathematically challenged since 9"/1/4" ought to yield 36 n'est-ce pas?

They took much, much longer than the suggested 30-35 minutes to bake the second time. Close to an hour. This may be attributed to thickness of slices or perhaps water content of olives. My oven temperature is right on the mark.

In conclusion then I would suggest you avoid this recipe. Not because it is inaccurate but because if you make these salty, crispy, nutty bites I fear for your waistline. With a negroni in one hand, a few salted olive crisps in the other I feel no need whatever to make dinner. I will however need another negroni. A votre sante.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#4 SobaAddict70

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 04:25 PM

Very nice, Anna.

The book is a joy and a pleasure to read.

Might do the omelette aux fines herbes (page 133) as part of tomorrow's brunch.

#5 SobaAddict70

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:44 AM

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A little brown, but tasty nonetheless.

Oh well, can't be perfect all the time. :P

This was a 2-egg omelette made in a 10" skillet.
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#6 Anna N

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 10:29 AM

Tasty looking omelette.

I hope others will soon join us.


Pain D'Epices
The recipe for spice cake in the book is not the same as the recipe on his blog. It dispenses with the rye flour the butter and the orange zest.

It's a dull, dreary Sunday morning here so I rather fancy filling my house with the aroma of all the spices in pain d'epices. Pretty sure I have no anise so I'll toss some fennel seeds into the mortar and smoosh them. Fortunately I have a whole bottle of just purchased buckwheat honey and the rest of the ingredientsk.

Oh, oh! No cinnamon! How is that possible?

Interlude while I drive to the supermarket for cinnamon.

The initial mixture of heated honey, sugar etc. into which one dumps a cup of flour gave me the heebie-jeebies having ruined countless gravies by dumping flour into hot liquid where it instantly forms lumps of utterly indissoluble glue. Why would the laws of physics be suspended for David Lebovitz? I read the instructions again and added flour to the hot mixture. The laws of physics held.

I continued on with preparing the remaining ingredients while the gloop cooled.

The house smelled heavenly. Things moved along nicely. I baked the loaf until it was starting to draw away from the sides of pan and easily passed the toothpick test.

I took it out of the oven (it looked quite lovely) and left it to rest on a rack for the required 20 minutes.

This was turning out to be very satisfactory Sunday. The trip to the supermarket to get a few ounces of cinnamon only cost me $64.23. And I now had more ingredients to try a few more recipes from this book.

So when the timer beeped and it was time to turn the loaf out of the pan on to the cooling rack I moved with confidence toward the kitchen. Here is what I found!

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It has since sunk even further to where there is a definite chasm in the center of the loaf to rival the Grand Canyon.

Perhaps now you skeptics will believe me when I say I am not a baker and you bakers will perhaps offer some explanation of what went wrong. Of course without the recipe that might be difficult. And if I gave you the recipe David would have to kill me.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#7 Anna N

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 01:49 PM

Spiced meatballs with Sriracha sauce

I had to make some adjustments to this recipe. My supermarket is afraid to package ground lamb in 1 pound packages for fear all the customers will run in the other direction. What appears to be 1 pound of ground lamb at $8.77 is in fact only .362 kg of lamb. That translates to about 13 ozs. I defy even Mr. Google to find a recipe that calls for 13 ounces of lamb.

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The only adjustments that I really need to make involve scant measurements of the spices. This is cooking not baking. Chasms deeper than the Grand Canyon are unlikely to appear in my meatballs If I use a quarter rather than half a teaspoon of something.

Now if you have been reading My Paris Kitchen as I have this is where you are going to see that David Lebovitz must have met Walt Whitman in another life. Remember Walt?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes".

For here David instructs you to toast the fennel, coriander and cumin seeds together but in another recipe he insists they be toasted separately because the coriander takes longer. Sigh.

As someone who makes a lot of Indian food I will toast them separately.

So the meatballs are finished and no major catastrophes occurred. I did not make harissa even though David has a recipe for it. I have tubes, tins and jars of the stuff so it seemed a bit redundant to make more. I also replaced the cilantro with parsley. Cilantro is never welcome at any of my parties.

I opted for the oven method of cooking them.

The recipe does not call for a panade or anything else to lighten up the meat so I mixed it very gently and formed the meat balls with a light hand. I also used ground lamb with a fair amount of fat (you can see it in both the uncooked and cooked balls) which helped prevent them from becoming alleys. They are spicy and yet still lamby. They will make a fine emergency stash in my freezer.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#8 SobaAddict70

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 03:03 PM

Well, I rarely cook meat so doing the lamb will be quite an adventure.

The recipe doesn't seem so daunting.

Famous last words, right?

#9 Anna N

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 03:27 PM

Well, I rarely cook meat so doing the lamb will be quite an adventure.The recipe doesn't seem so daunting.Famous last words, right?


I seriously doubt you will have any issues whatever. I do think that meatballs, any meatballs can be challenging without something like milk-soaked bread to prevent them from becoming tiny cannon balls. But David is a much more accomplished cook than I am although his skills lie more on the sweet than the savory side of the kitchen.

Here's where I worry. Having been a recipe tester I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of making unconscious adjustments to make up for any deficiecies in the recipe (just as the recipe developer does) and these don't make it into the published recipe. Then you and I come along and the recipe that has been tested and re-tested and tested again doesn't produce the results it should. My instinct on these meatballs was to add a lightener (and I will next time) but then I wouldn't be testing this recipe would I?

I WANT this book to succeed for David but I know the copy editing is not up to scratch so I worry that some of the recipes might also suffer from rushed editing.

Dig in there and enjoy checking it out. I'm betting you'll have some great eating as your reward. I'm anxious to see what you do with the vegetables.
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#10 gfweb

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:24 PM

I'm surprised that you found errors so fast. From his blog, it seemed as though it was proofed past all reasonable chance of failure.

 

Greatly enjoying your efforts.

 

Might even have to buy the thing....



#11 Anna N

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:48 PM

I'm surprised that you found errors so fast. From his blog, it seemed as though it was proofed past all reasonable chance of failure.

Greatly enjoying your efforts.

Might even have to buy the thing....

And I'm sure he'll be mortified by some of them, such as

As a café barman once told me, pushing a bowl of half-eaten pretzels down the bar my way, "Violà......"

Or

After describing a salad "Drink this with a fruity red wine..."

These things happen. Remember the first printing of Modernist Cuisine? After reading proof after proof our eyes see what our brain wants to see.

Glad you are enjoying but hope you do buy the book and participate. It is so enlightening to see a variety of takes on a recipe.

ETA

I have the Kindle edition. I am assuming these same errors are in the print edition but don't know for certain if this is the case.

Edited by Anna N, 13 April 2014 - 06:55 PM.

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#12 SobaAddict70

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 09:42 PM

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Herb mayonnaise.

This will sit in the fridge overnight; it's part of the recipe for œufs mayo (page 103).

I subbed tarragon and parsley for the chervil, and Meyer lemon juice instead of the lemon juice, because that's what I had on hand. Otherwise as written.
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#13 SobaAddict70

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 09:49 PM

By the way, these two recipes, omelette aux fines herbes and œufs mayo (at least with respect to the mayonnaise part) have gone off without a hitch.

#14 hjshorter

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:21 AM

Anna N and Soba, thanks for reporting on your efforts. I've moved this to the top of my list, although it will probably not supplant my beloved Parisian Home Cooking
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#15 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:39 AM

13839767154_c2ebfddfe9_z.jpgHerb mayonnaise.This will sit in the fridge overnight; it's part of the recipe for œufs mayo (page 103).I subbed tarragon and parsley for the chervil, and Meyer lemon juice instead of the lemon juice, because that's what I had on hand. Otherwise as written.

I appreciate that the mayonnaise makes just a cup. So many recipes seem to make enough for a marching army.

Yesterday after dinner I prepped the marinade for the lamb shanks needed for the lamb tagine. Today I hope to tackle that and try my hand at the naan bread with Laughing Cow Cheese.

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Just cut into the pain d'epices (it was supposed to rest for 24 hours) and it is quite obviously not cooked through in the centre so I shall repeat that recipe at some point.

But in the spirit of waste not, want not I have cut around the undercooked centre and bagged up the rest. I have frozen it until I get around to trying his Belgian beef stew with beer and spice bread. The bread is an ingredient in the stew.
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#16 Smithy

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:20 AM

That's a clever way to rescue a disaster, Anna. I'm surprised no baker has come along to say something like "your bread collapsed because it was overmixed" or "looks like you needed less xxx" or (you can tell I don't know the answer). I hope you figure it out and let us know.

Naan with Vache qui rit! Lamb tagine! I look forward to the results!

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#17 SylviaLovegren

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:45 AM

How about some pain d'espice biscotti? 



#18 SobaAddict70

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:48 AM

Just tasted the mayonnaise I made last night. It has a hint of shallots that dances on the tongue; it will go wonderfully with the eggs, and maybe some spring lettuces I bought at USGM this weekend.

Most recipes for mayonnaise call for only the egg yolk; this recipe uses a whole egg. Seems like there's a "lightness" that's not usually present. I think this will be my default recipe for mayonnaise going forward. Aioli is another matter entirely, as I prefer using a mortar and pestle instead of a blender for such things.

#19 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 07:39 AM

How about some pain d'espice biscotti?


That would have worked, I'm sure. I'll keep it in mind. Thanks.
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#20 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 07:45 AM

Just tasted the mayonnaise I made last night. It has a hint of shallots that dances on the tongue; it will go wonderfully with the eggs, and maybe some spring lettuces I bought at USGM this weekend.Most recipes for mayonnaise call for only the egg yolk; this recipe uses a whole egg. Seems like there's a "lightness" that's not usually present. I think this will be my default recipe for mayonnaise going forward. Aioli is another matter entirely, as I prefer using a mortar and pestle instead of a blender for such things.


I am guessing you made the mayonnaise in a blender if you used a whole egg? The only time I've had success with making mayonnaise is when I have used the immersion blender (see Serious Eats). Shall try that method using a whole egg. Not today though. I already feel I have too many balls in the air as I deal with my usual Monday bread baking as well as cooking from "Paris".
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#21 SobaAddict70

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 07:59 AM

I am guessing you made the mayonnaise in a blender if you used a whole egg? The only time I've had success with making mayonnaise is when I have used the immersion blender (see Serious Eats). Shall try that method using a whole egg. Not today though. I already feel I have too many balls in the air as I deal with my usual Monday bread baking as well as cooking from "Paris".

 

Yes, it was with a whole egg.



#22 SobaAddict70

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:05 AM

I nearly made the leeks last night but I don't have a steamer set up, although I realized just now that maybe I could have cooked them in barely simmering water.  Some adjustments have to be made for kitchens that are, ahem, minimalist for lack of a better word.

 

For instance, I only recently acquired a blender, food processor and tart pan.  (I'm slowly branching out into baking.)

 

The recipes I've chosen to start out with are the ones that I can reasonably handle without too many complications.


Edited by SobaAddict70, 14 April 2014 - 09:05 AM.


#23 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:18 AM

I nearly made the leeks last night but I don't have a steamer set up, although I realized just now that maybe I could have cooked them in barely simmering water.  Some adjustments have to be made for kitchens that are, ahem, minimalist for lack of a better word.
 
For instance, I only recently acquired a blender, food processor and tart pan.  (I'm slowly branching out into baking.)
 
The recipes I've chosen to start out with are the ones that I can reasonably handle without too many complications.


I have a very small kitchen and a very limited budget but due to the kindness of others (esp. one other) there are few toys I don't have! But for steaming it's hard to beat a "petal steamer" that takes up little room.
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#24 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:34 AM

Indian cheese bread

Before I could make naan I realized I was out of clarified butter. The easiest way to get some clarified butter is to use the oven. I put a pound of butter into an enameled cast iron casserole dish and let it melt at 250°F. An hour or so later and my supply of clarified butter was replenished.

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While that was happening I had the yeast, water, sugar and flour mix resting for 30 minutes in my Thermomix.

After I added the other ingredients, kneaded for five minutes, I had a lovely soft dough.

I let it rest for another 30 minutes and then divided it into six pieces.

Here's one naan rolled out, the cheese added, the dough folded over and re-rolled.

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Obviously my pan was not quite hot enough. The recipe suggests covering the pan with a domed lid but my two lids are both flat, one lid fits all, Ikea finds. But the resulting bread made a fine breakfast.

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Certainly if I were to repeat this, Laughing Cow cheese would not be my choice. But David gives other options. I am picturing a creamy blue.

I repeated this without cheese. David did warn that you need to have your windows open to do this. I am a big chicken when it comes to getting pans smoking hot. But trust me on this. You need to see some smoke before the naan hits the pan.

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Who needs cheese?

I need to take the weight off for a bit and then finish up the bread I usually bake on Monday for my granddaughter. After that I shall tackle the lamb tagine.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#25 chemprof

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 10:00 AM


I have the Kindle edition. I am assuming these same errors are in the print edition but don't know for certain if this is the case.

 

I'm so glad y'all are doing this.  I just bought the book and I've not gotten to the recipes yet.  I will say, regarding Kindle editions - I have the Kindle edition of Pepin's "The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen" and there are a number of errors, especially in the recipes (some of them look like issue with OCR scanning).  Also, reading David's blog post on "The Making of the My Paris Kitchen" will make anyone appreciate the difficulty of putting together something like this error-free! (http://www.davidlebo...tchen-cookbook/)



#26 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 11:19 AM

I'm so glad y'all are doing this.  I just bought the book and I've not gotten to the recipes yet.  I will say, regarding Kindle editions - I have the Kindle edition of Pepin's "The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen" and there are a number of errors, especially in the recipes (some of them look like issue with OCR scanning).  Also, reading David's blog post on "The Making of the My Paris Kitchen" will make anyone appreciate the difficulty of putting together something like this error-free! (http://www.davidlebo...tchen-cookbook/)


Please join us! Many cooks can only improve this venture.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#27 heidih

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 01:36 PM

Looks like Serious Eats will be cooking with the book this week. Here is the link to the first sampled recipe. http://www.seriousea....html?ref=title

 

I am following along with your recipes tries as this is a book I am thinking of springing for. I enjoy cookbooks that tell food stories and it sounds like this one fits the bill on that front as well. 


Edited by heidih, 14 April 2014 - 01:40 PM.

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#28 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 02:35 PM

Looks like Serious Eats will be cooking with the book this week. Here is the link to the first sampled recipe. http://www.seriousea....html?ref=title
 
I am following along with your recipes tries as this is a book I am thinking of springing for. I enjoy cookbooks that tell food stories and it sounds like this one fits the bill on that front as well.


Thank you for the link. It looks like they will be cooking some recipes that I am very interested In trying.
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#29 Unpopular Poet

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 03:18 PM

I grabbed this today -- I will hopefully have some time coming up to contribute.



#30 Anna N

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 04:03 PM

Lamb tagine

The first issue I have with this recipe is there is no discussion of whether or not to wipe the marinade off the lamb before attempting to brown it. It seems second nature to me to make sure those shanks are dry before I put them in hot oil and brown them off. If that's the plan then I think it should be mentioned. If it's not the plan, it is equally important to mention that as it is unusual.

Admittedly this is not a wet marinade but the lamb exudes a fair bit of liquid after a few hours.

Anyway if I expect to get these brown in 10 to 15 minutes it behooves me to dry them as much as possible.

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I find myself utterly unable to follow this recipe to a tee. The instruction to cook at 325 F for two hours in my oven with my pan will most certainly result in boiled lamb. There needs to be something more here. A suggestion as to how the dish should appear, i.e., barely simmering. Did anyone actually test this? And did David's oven and pan so closely match those of his testers that all came up with a delicious result at 325 F? Wow. That's impressive.

My lamb shanks were too damned expensive to risk. In my very accurate oven, with my Le Creuset Dutch oven, 280 F will maintain a shimmering simmer. Perfect for a braise such as this.

For instinctive and experienced cooks none of these things are problematic. They will make the necessary adjustments almost unconsciously. But what of the novice?

After half of the two hour braising time the meat is already beginning to separate from the bone.

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After two hours the bones were as clean as a whistle. David suggests that these be served on the bone, one per serving. I opted to serve as a stew with a side of naan.

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The lamb was tender yet still tasty and the sauce had just a hint of heat. The dried fruit took it a bit past what I prefer in terms of sweetness and made me wonder about the teaspoon of honey called for.

I would have been happy to serve this to an informal gathering of friends and family. But was it out of the ballpark? No I don't think so.
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

"It either works fine or not, but what the heck. This is bread, not birth control." Susan of Wild Yeast blog
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