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blue_dolphin

Cooking with Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden

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17 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

This is the Onion and Pancetta Tart from Six Seasons p 352.

 

 Thanks very much for this, @blue_dolphin.

 It was not even on my radar. I don’t “do” pastry. But I have also been trying to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I had no pancetta and I had no gruyere but I did have bacon and I did have cheddar.  I didn’t even have a 10 inch tart tin but I did have a 9 inch and what’s an inch between friends?   And so I found myself this morning making this dish.

 

I reduced the sugar as you had done, looked up how to do the fraisage technique and before I knew it,  I was making pastry. It went so much better than I expected. I did not quite understand what I was expected to do with the edge of the crust and I suspect if I had understood it better I might’ve had a neater result. But all in all I am quite pleased with myself and don’t think that I will be quite as afraid of pastry in the future. Who knows I might even attempt puff pastry one day. 

 

I did  think that the tart could’ve used more filling. 

 

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23 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

This is the Onion and Pancetta Tart from Six Seasons p 352.

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The crust is a walnut vision of the Pecan Dough on p 49 and it's buttery and delicious. I was afraid that the full 5T of sugar would make it taste more like a shortbread cookie than a savory crust so I went down from 5T to 2T and was happy with it. I tend to leave pie crust to the doughboy but this one really makes the tart so I'm happy I made it, even though it is very tender and crumbly.

I was tempted to use a pie pan but the thin tart pan was a better choice as unlike a quiche, the filling is mostly onions with just one egg yolk, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 2 oz gruyere cheese -  just enough to hold the onions together. I used a very large onion and should have quartered instead of just halving it before slicing to minimize the long onion strings that annoyed me when trying to make nice slices but otherwise, everything worked well.

 

That is a lovely thing. As one who can very nearly eat her weight in a pissaladiere, I suspect this would be a real pig-out for me. 

 

All the more reason to try it.

 

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14 hours ago, kayb said:

That is a lovely thing. As one who can very nearly eat her weight in a pissaladiere, I suspect this would be a real pig-out for me. 

All the more reason to try it.

 

It is a very tasty thing as is and will be fun to play with - maybe add some kalamata olives, or diced pear and brie, or little cubes of roasted squash and blue cheese or.....

I can say the leftovers (should you have any :D) are good at room temp or rewarmed in the CSO - I did one slice for 3 min on steam-bake @ 350°F to warm it nicely.

 

Last night's dinner was the Cauliflower Ragu from Six Seasons p 189.  Or, since I failed to follow the recipe WRT cooking times, it was a variation on the Cauliflower Ragu.  It was very good and I would make it again.  

I like the concept of cooking most of the cauliflower with onions, garlic, red chile,  white wine and rosemary until it becomes a sauce.  The rest of the cauliflower is added later and cooked until very tender, at which point, the pasta is added and finished with butter, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.  

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The saga of my failure to follow directions:  I chopped the onion, cauliflower and cauliflower leaves, heated the olive oil and tossed in the smashed garlic and red chile flakes.  Then I went to get the "unoaked white wine."  Hmmm.  I have a lot of wine on hand but not much white.  I found a lightly oaked Chardonnay and some Champagne, both fairly expensive bottles and neither of which were what I wanted to drink with this.  The pinot noir I planned to drink would have turned the cauliflower pink and I wasn't sure how it would fare during the fairly long cooking time. I have both vermouth and sherry on hand but didn't like the idea of either in this dish.  I finally settled on a dry rosé.  I figured 1/2 cup of rosé probably wouldn't impart all that much color to all that cauliflower.  By the time I returned to the kitchen, the garlic and chile flakes were looking awfully dark so I pitched them and started again.  Once everything was in the pan, I adjusted the heat to a low simmer and flounced off to the other room with a glass of chilled rosé and a tiny wedge of yesterday's onion tart and dove into the recently published "France is a Feast" featuring the photographs of Paul Child.  Sigh....what beautiful photography!  Sigh....what is that delicious aroma of deeply caramelized onions?  Sigh....am in in France?  Oops!  I was supposed to be popping into the kitchen occasionally to stir the cauliflower while it cooked for about 25 minutes.  It is now almost an hour since I set everything to simmer :(!   

I investigate and find that thanks to a nice heavy bottom pan and a low simmer setting, the onions are nicely caramelized and any cauliflower touching the bottom has turned a nice golden brown but nothing tastes or smells burned.  

So I continue and the dish ends up tasting delicious.  It's much more of a brown color than the recipe in the book but still has the almost disintegrated cauliflower sauce with more tender cauliflower.  

Someday, I'll try it again per the recipe. 

 


Edited by blue_dolphin to add book link (log)
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On 1/13/2018 at 12:51 PM, Anna N said:

 Thanks for sharing your experience with this. I still think I might give it a go since our tastes are not necessarily identical. xD I am especially enamoured of James Beard’s iconic onion sandwich and one of the options for using this mayo is with spring onions to make the sandwich. 

 

I followed up on that suggestion in Six Seasons and used spring onions I bought at yesterday's farmers market and the Artichoke Mayonnaise p 42 for this take on James Beard's onion sandwiches:

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I should have made one with regular mayo for a side-by-side comparison but in any case, they were tasty little fellows!

 

I also finished off some vegetables by trying a couple of recipes.  Burnt Carrots with Honey, Black Pepper and Almonds p 294.

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I don't particularly care for cooked carrots but was curious about the method of roasting them until they are very dark brown, then cutting them into chunks and marinating briefly with white wine vinegar before they get drizzled with honey, dotted with butter and returned to the oven until they are fully tender.  Served topped with chopped, toasted almonds.  

This recipe is in the "late season" carrots section so I expect it would have been better with larger carrots than the smaller spring carrots I had.  Glad I tried it.  Probably won't do it again.  

 

Another curiosity for me was the Fried Cauliflower with Spicy Fish-Sauce Sauce p 194.  The recipe calls for deep frying the cauliflower florets (not breaded or battered, just dropped into the oil) until they are dark brown.  I don't usually deep fry things so I made a variation with roasted cauliflower instead.  Overall, I thought this was OK but not an enormous upgrade over the deliciousness that results from a lovely fresh cauliflower, sliced and roasted to golden brown with olive oil, salt & pepper.  That's pretty great right there, in my book.

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After frying (or in my case, roasting) the cauliflower is tossed with chopped fresh garlic that's been soaking in olive oil and some of the Spicy Fish Sauce Sauce p 43.  As suggested,  I made the sauce the day before so I could taste and adjust it before using.  I'm glad I did as it's really salty so I held back on salting the cauliflower.   Also, the sauce has quite a bit of garlic in it so I'm not sure the additional fresh garlic is necessary.  I tried it both ways and preferred it with less fresh garlic added to the cauliflower.  

I had some of the chopped, toasted almonds handy so I tossed some of them with the cauliflower and found the crunch to be a good addition.

Perhaps the deep frying brings more crunch and magic to the dish but I probably won't try that.  

 

Here are the ingredients for the Spicy Fish Sauce Sauce

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I used serrano and manzano chiles in the sauce.  The recipe says to use a mix of colors.  Not sure why - you can see the colors in the photo below but they all turn sort of brown after sitting overnight.

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This morning, I made the Roasted Fennel with Apples, Taleggio Cheese and Almonds p 157.  I like this one a lot.

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This recipe also includes fennel sausage (or as I substituted, Italian sausage plus fennel seeds) which gets crumbled and browned.  Sliced fennel is shallow steam/sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic and chile flakes.  Sausage, fennel, thin apple wedges, chopped, toasted almonds, fresh thyme and some of the Taleggio cheese all get turned into a baking dish and topped with more cheese, dry breadcrumbs p 30 and dotted with butter, then baked.  

I loved all the textures in this dish and would certainly make it again.

 


Edited by blue_dolphin to add link (log)
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34 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

 

I followed up on that suggestion in Six Seasons and used spring onions I bought at yesterday's farmers market and the Artichoke Mayonnaise p 42 for this take on James Beard's onion sandwiches:

Very nice. 

 

 I’m not much of a fan of fennel. And Taleggio has so far eluded me even from a very well-stocked cheese store. 

 

 On the other hand I do love cooked carrots so I may attempt that recipe some point.

 

 You have obviously been very busy and I am thoroughly enjoying your hard work vicariously. 

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@blue_dolphin  that fennel and apples would be a fabulous side dish for any holiday meal. I would love it for Thanksgiving!

 

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12 hours ago, caroled said:

@blue_dolphin  that fennel and apples would be a fabulous side dish for any holiday meal. I would love it for Thanksgiving!

 

I agree.  It's kinda rich with the sausage and cheese but with just the fennel and apples, it's not heavy and starchy.

 

Next up for me is the Kale and Mushroom Lasagna from Six Seasons p 314.  I really liked it but will make some adjustments. Like most lasagne recipes, it's better the next day so don't hesitate to make it ahead.

I've made enough lightly sauced lasagne recipes (like my favorite lasagne al pesto) using no-bake pasta to know that getting the moisture level right is a balancing act. Other reviews for this recipe confirmed that might be an issue here so I made a "tester" lasagna in a loaf pan. I often do this when I want to try out flavor or sauce combinations and find that 1/3 of a recipe designed for a 9" x 13" pan will make up nicely in a standard loaf pan. Makes plenty to serve 2 - 3 and can easily be baked in the CSO or other toaster-type ovens.

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The layers here, starting from the bottom are:  velouté, noodle, mushroom (duxelles), sautéed kale, noodle, ricotta + lemon zest, noodle, velouté and finally grated parmesan. 
I baked it at 375°F, covered with foil for the first 30 min, then an additional 15 min uncovered to brown the top.   The recipe itself fails to mention a specific temperature or whether it should be covered or not.
Three changes I will try next time:
1. The kale layer wasn't as delicious as it could have been. Maybe my fault for under salting. I will use my customary method of blanching the leaves in boiling water, chopping and then sautéing in olive oil with a bit of garlic and red chile. 
2. All the umami-rich parmesan went on top. I'd add a sprinkle between the layers, or at least on top of the kale. The flavors did blend better the next day, but I'd still like to give them a head start.
3. I thought the velouté was too thin, so I cooked it down to reduce it. My mistake, the thinner sauce would have added needed moisture to the dish. I'll also consider making a bit more sauce.

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Two more kale recipes from Six Seasons.  First up is The Kale Salad That Started It All p 309.  

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Not the best kale salad I've had but quick and easy.  Dressed only with crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and chile flakes and topped with Pecorino Romano and the Dry Breadcrumbs p 30.

I'd play around with this recipe again.  I'm wondering how it would taste with some of the vinegar-soaked raisins used in the recipe below. 

 

The next recipe is titled, "Wilted Kale, Alone or Pickled on Cheese Toast"  p 311.  I liked this a lot.  

I don't understand the title.  Golden raisins (regular specimens here) are plumped in white wine vinegar for an hour and eventually tossed with kale that's been sautéed with garlic and a generous amount of olive oil - 1/4 cup oil/8oz kale.  This is to sit for another hour or two so it seems to me the kale is getting pickled whether it goes on toast or not.  It's suggested that more olive oil be added to the kale/raisin/vinegar mixture at this point. I did not do so.

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Next, we are to spread grilled bread (toasted, here) with a thick layer of the Whipped Ricotta p  37 (ricotta, blended with olive oil, salt and pepper), top with "a juicy mountain of kale" and toasted walnuts and finish with yet more olive oil.  I used my Misto to dispense the smallest drizzle of olive oil,  but I don't think it was necessary.  

As I said, I thought this was quite good. The regular raisins almost blend into the kale, color-wise, so I'm sure the golden raisins would have made for a nicer visual, but either way, after marinating in vinegar, they bring a nice punch of sweet-sour flavor. 

I've had mixed feelings about that whipped ricotta.  Tasted on its own, I was dismayed that I'd wasted lovely homemade ricotta and made it all heavy and oily.  It turned into a lovely sauce in the Pasta with Broccoli & Sausage p 179.  I found it unappealingly heavy again in the Farro & Roasted Carrot Salad p 291 but I liked it here on the toast.  That said, I don't think I'd make it again just for this dish and would likely choose one of the suggested alternates - fresh sheep or goat cheese.  I think a plain ricotta would be good, too.  I'll try that as I have some in the fridge.

The main thing I'd do differently concerns the kale. The recipe says the leaves should be torn into big pieces.  If you're going to put this on toast, it would be better to chop it smaller, unless you have razor-sharp teeth that can cut through that "juicy mountain of kale" without having stray leaves landing on your chin and/or nice clean shirt :$. I knew this, but followed the recipe anyway because I was being a sheep xD

 


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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Raw Winter Squash with Brown Butter, Pecans and Currants (I subbed walnuts and raisins for those last two items) from Six Seasons p 377.

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The recipe calls for using a vegetable peeler to shave the squash into thin ribbons but suggests a thin julienne as an alternative.  I decided to try both to see what I liked. That would be the julienne, though that would make it more of a slaw,  it's what I would do if I make it again. 

Currants (raisins in my case) get soaked in red wine vinegar for at least 30 min, that mixture is then tossed with the squash, scallions and red chile, seasoned and tasted before adding the brown butter p 36, olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, mint and toasted pecans (walnuts here). 

I'm not totally head-over-heels in love with this as a main-dish salad. I ate it for my lunch today and tried adding a bit of feta or ricotta but neither of them were quite right.  I think it would make a very different,  fresh-tasting side dish at Thanksgiving, maybe substituting dried cranberries for the currants. 

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On 1/28/2018 at 1:59 PM, blue_dolphin said:

Two more kale recipes from Six Seasons.  First up is The Kale Salad That Started It All p 309.  

IMG_6972.thumb.jpg.e9ee94e614ef1c759c546b3a5e61e0b3.jpg

Not the best kale salad I've had but quick and easy.  Dressed only with crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and chile flakes and topped with Pecorino Romano and the Dry Breadcrumbs p 30.

I'd play around with this recipe again.  I'm wondering how it would taste with some of the vinegar-soaked raisins used in the recipe below. 

 

 

 

Sounding quite similar, my intro to kale salad was from Melissa Clark's 2010 "In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite". I'm the kind of nut job that keeps the book on my nightstand in case I need a quick read to fuel sleeplesness/drive inspiration!  It must be Lacinto/dino/ kale & not the springy stuff. Raw garlic - well my friends give me a pass cuz they like my cooking. A top 10 on the crave list

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kale.JPG


Edited by heidih (log)
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49 minutes ago, heidih said:

 

Sounding quite similar, my intro to kale salad was from Melissa Clark's 2010 "In the Kitchen With a Good Appetite". I'm the kind of nut job that keeps the book on my nightstand in case I need a quick read to fuel sleeplesness/drive inspiration!  It must be Lacinto/dino/ kale & not the springy stuff. Raw garlic - well my friends give me a pass cuz they like my cooking. A top 10 on the crave list

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Excellent connection!  When Melissa Clark first wrote about that recipe in the NYT in 2007, she describes her experience with the dish at Fanny's, as prepared by Joshua McFadden, author of Six Seasons - full circle!

 

Edited to add:  In Six Seasons McFadden credits that write-up, "... But once it got written up in the New York Times, the world seemed to have an unending hunger for kale salads!"


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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 No matter how hard I tried and no matter which variety of kale was involved it is off my list forever. I admire those of you feel otherwise. xD

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1 hour ago, kayb said:

With you, @Anna N. Can't find anything in it to like.

 

 

Well, lucky for you two, I've finished my big bunch of kale so I, at least,  won't be forcing you to look at any more kale dishes for a while xD

There's a kale pasta sauce p 312 that will make an appearance when I get some more but it won't be for a while as I've got a couple of winter squash recipes on deck.  Next up for me, after that, is another polarizing vegetable - CELERY xD!

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Today, I made the Winter Squash & Leek Risotto from Six Seasons p 378 for brunch/lunch.  I wasn't sure I'd go for the sweetness of the squash here but it was pretty good.

I made the made the broth with all the trimmings from the butternut squash and leeks in the Instant Pot but cooked up the risotto as written. Next time, I will adapt the rest of the recipe for the IP.
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I was hungry and scarfed up my bowl without taking a photo.  This is my second helping and you can see that it's not as "brothy" anymore.  Still tasty though.

Looking forward to arancini!

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The kale bandwagon leaves me in the dust. I don't find any variety good to eat raw. The somewhat more delicate Tuscan kale is okay in soups, but to my taste it doesn't improve on the always versatile swiss chard, which I like not only for soups but sautéed with garlic, on pizza, etc. And, for those who have been convinced by marketing ploys that kale has superior nutritional value than other greens, go look it up; it's a middling leafy green when it comes to calcium and vitamins, with the exception of high marks when it comes to vitamin C.

 

So if you love the taste of kale go for it. I like spinach for a gratin, baby collards as a vinegary side and chard for most everything else. One vendor at the Berkeley Farmers' Market used to have baby Russian Kale.. When it was tiny it was quite good in a saute of mixed greens, but I haven't seen it recently. As for dark greens right now I'm totally into Choi Sum--sort of a cousin of bok choi, but the leaves are darker and tastier. Great in any stir fry or tossed into Asian soups.

 

That risotto looks lovely.


Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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38 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

The kale bandwagon leaves me in the dust. I don't find any variety good to eat raw. The somewhat more delicate Tuscan kale is okay in soups, but to my taste it doesn't improve on the always versatile swiss chard, which I like not only for soups but sautéed with garlic, on pizza, etc. And, for those who have been convinced by marketing ploys that kale has superior nutritional value than other greens, go look it up; it's a middling leafy green when it comes to calcium and vitamins, with the exception of high marks when it comes to vitamin C.

 

So if you love the taste of kale go for it. I like spinach for a gratin, baby collards as a vinegary side and chard for most everything else. One vendor at the Berkeley Farmers' Market used to have baby Russian Kale.. When it was tiny it was quite good in a saute of mixed greens, but I haven't seen it recently. As for dark greens right now I'm totally into Choi Sum--sort of a cousin of bok choi, but the leaves are darker and tastier. Great in any stir fry or tossed into Asian soups.

 

That risotto looks lovely.

 

 

Given the choice, other than the salad I remarked on earlier, I would never prefer kale over other more flavorful and texturally pleasing greens.  I could eat Swiss chard daily....but that whole juicing trend is driving the market these days. I was behind a guy at the store couple days ago and he had this interesting green on the path (ya know that rolling thing). I leaned over to read the tag: dandelion! but it had dark leaves and maroon veins like beet. I asked bout taste - and the response "I don't know I juice it"  I didn't scream...

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2 hours ago, heidih said:

 

Given the choice, other than the salad I remarked on earlier, I would never prefer kale over other more flavorful and texturally pleasing greens.  I could eat Swiss chard daily....but that whole juicing trend is driving the market these days. I was behind a guy at the store couple days ago and he had this interesting green on the path (ya know that rolling thing). I leaned over to read the tag: dandelion! but it had dark leaves and maroon veins like beet. I asked bout taste - and the response "I don't know I juice it"  I didn't scream...

Amazing self restraint!

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4 hours ago, heidih said:

 

Given the choice, other than the salad I remarked on earlier, I would never prefer kale over other more flavorful and texturally pleasing greens.  I could eat Swiss chard daily....but that whole juicing trend is driving the market these days. I was behind a guy at the store couple days ago and he had this interesting green on the path (ya know that rolling thing). I leaned over to read the tag: dandelion! but it had dark leaves and maroon veins like beet. I asked bout taste - and the response "I don't know I juice it"  I didn't scream...

 

I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of cooked greens -- any of 'em, from spinach on down. But I did cook some mustard greens for New Year's Day, a nod to tradition and for my daughter the greens-eater. Have to confess they were less objectionable than collards or turnip greens or poke sallet or kale or spinach or...

 

Got mustard by virtue of the fact they were the ones I could get in the smallest quantity.

 

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I'm curious why kale would be a good choice to juice--it's so tough and fibrous. Does the fiber break down in a super powerful juicer or blender? Not that I'm about to try it. I prefer my vegetables with a bit of a bite.

 

Mustard greens are really good pickled. My brother grows it just so he can pickle it. Punchy! Nice as a side for Asian foods or alongside grits or mac n cheese. 

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41 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

I'm curious why kale would be a good choice to juice--it's so tough and fibrous. Does the fiber break down in a super powerful juicer or blender? Not that I'm about to try it. I prefer my vegetables with a bit of a bite.

 

 

 

Have no inclination towards juicing but the ones I hear about do have the mega blenders.I could be wrong but they may be just getting the juice and losing the fiber- bozos - bezos/bozos  oops


Edited by heidih (log)

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As I continue to try to get your minds off that dreadful kale, here is a variation on the Fontina-Stuffed Arancini from Six Seasons p 379.  Edited to add that this uses the Winter Squash & Leek Risotto on p 378 that I posted yesterday. 

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My modifications were to use a soft blue cheese instead of fontina and to use my usual method of flour -> egg -> panko -> olive oil spray -> bake instead of frying first, then baking. They are not as golden brown as they would be with frying. That can be helped by toasting the bread crumbs before dipping but I was too lazy :$.  Served with Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Butter & Onion.

 

I'm very happy with these. I love the combination of blue cheese with winter squash and the simple tomato sauce was the perfect partner .... with a glass of pinot noir


Edited by blue_dolphin (log)
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Braised beef with lots and lots of onions. Sorry I have the Kindle edition so I don’t have a page number.

 

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 If there’s a better use for storage onions I don’t know what it is. I just had a tiny taste because like any braise I bet it’s going to be even better tomorrow. 


Edited by Anna N (log)
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Cream of Celery Soup from Six Seasons p 150. Not my favorite celery soup, but I enjoyed it.  

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I used a very leafy celery the size of a baseball bat from the farmers market so I put the trimmings, a big bunch of leaves and part of an onion into the Instant Pot with half homemade chicken stock and half water to make a quick stock.

Tasting the soup, after puréeing but before adding the cream, I thought it was a bit bland and needed a shot of acid so I added some white balsamic vinegar to the raisins and gave them a few minutes to sit before adding them to the rest of the garnish ingredients.

The book allows for quite a generous amount of the garnish and I felt that the sweet-tart raisins, slightly bitter celery leaves and toasty walnuts really added a lot to the soup.

 

Another celery dish:  Celery, Apple & Peanut Salad from Six Seasons p 149. I thought this salad was fresh tasting and fun to eat with the crisp celery, sweet-crunchy apples, salty roasted peanuts and a nice level of fruity heat from the manzano pepper I used as the "medium-hot fresh chile" called for in the recipe. It's lightly dressed with just a bit of lemon juice and olive oil so the flavors of the individual ingredients really shine and each bite is a little different, depending on what's on your fork. 

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I left the skin on the apple for color but otherwise made this according to the recipe. 

 

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