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Cooking with "This Will Make It Taste Good", by Vivian Howard


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From the R-Rated Onions chapter in This Will Make It Taste Good,  I made the Once-a-Week Roasted Chicken with Sweet Onion Cauliflower Purée p 60

Vivian has a number recipes in the book where the chicken is roasted on top of something else like rice, grits, bread, etc. where the chicken drippings make those things quite delicious. 

In this case, the lucky victim is cauliflower cut into 2"-thick steaks.  Once the chicken is done, the roasted cauliflower is puréed with milk before being returned to the roasting pan which has been de-glazed with R-rated onions.  

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My gracious that cauliflower purée is amazing. It's like the the lightest, most luxurious mousse that just happens to be a big umami bomb, too! Kinda like a rich brown gravy mousse.  Not sure I should be eating chicken-fat saturated cauliflower on the regular but it's very good.  The chicken itself won't replace my fave Zuni Café roast chicken but I didn't have to work around a loosely wrapped raw chicken in my fridge for days either so I give this a win. 

 

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Squash in Its Raw Wonder p 162 from the Citrus Shrine chapter in This Will Make It Taste Good

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This is a raw summer squash salad in which thin slices of summer squash are first marinated with scallions, lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and strips of salt-preserved citrus rind.  The recipe calls for lemon, I used orange.  After a 15 min maceration to soften the squash strips, olive oil, fresh oregano, Niçoise olives (I subbed kalamatas) and shavings of Parmigiano are added to finish. 

Maybe because I used the wrong olive variety, I didn't find they added anything to the salad and would have gone with toasted salted almonds or another nut.

Very nice light side dish to serve with something rich.  I had it for lunch with the most basic of chicken sandwiches. If I was better at channeling Max Halley, I could have put it IN my sandwich!   

 

Two from the V's Nuts chapter that I rolled my eyes at - who goes through the trouble of making crispy, crunchy spiced nuts and then puts them into a sauce or soaks them in milk to make ice cream?  But with a bag of walnut V's Nuts that wasn't as fresh as it used to be, I went ahead and made this Very Versatile Smear of Stuff p 279.  The recipe is subtitled, "Spiced Pecan, Sun-Dried Romesco,"  and in addition to the nuts, it includes sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, fresh herbs (I used basil & parsley), olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano.  My only adjustment was to add more garlic and to stir in a bit more lemon juice after I tasted it. 

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So far, the only thing I've smeared this on has been some crusty bread.  It's very good.  Trader Joe's used to sell a sun-dried tomato pesto in their refrigerator case.  I really liked that stuff and miss it.  This is a perfect sub and I look forward to using it in lots of ways.  I used to freeze that TJ's stuff and am sure this will freeze nicely, too.  

 

I don't have an ice cream machine so I adapted Kim's Invention Ice Cream p 275 to make these spiced walnut popsicles

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Steeping toasted nuts in cream or milk is a pretty common in paleta recipes.  They usually soak for a short time and then purée some or all of the nuts into the dairy before freezing.  For her ice cream, Vivian steeps the spiced nuts overnight and then discards them.  I did the overnight steep, puréed in some fresh spiced nuts, added a little maple syrup instead of sugar as the sweetener and then stuck some more on the outside for decoration.   I have to say the flavor of the spiced nuts comes through very nicely and the contrast between the spicy/salty nut topping with the creamy pop is appealing. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

Squash in Its Raw Wonder p 162 from the Citrus Shrine chapter in This Will Make It Taste Good

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@blue_dolphin, really beautiful dish and photo. Did you use a mandoline on your squash? Too bad the Kalamata olives didn't add much to the dish.

 

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Just now, MokaPot said:

 

@blue_dolphin, really beautiful dish and photo. Did you use a mandoline on your squash? Too bad the Kalamata olives didn't add much to the dish.

 

Yes, I have an Oxo V-slicer which is quite mandoline-like. A vegetable peeler would work fine, too. The olives weren't bad at all but the flavor and texture were too similar to the rest of the salad to add much contrast.

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I used some of the chicken I roasted on Monday to make the Chicken Salad Worth Discussion p 216 from the Herbdacious chapter of This Will Make It Taste Good

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It has cucumber and red onion that are quick-pickled and added separately.  I had pickled shallots that I'd already made from another book so I used them and added some pickled Fresno chilies for color, though the heat was a good addition.  Vivian tosses cooked chicken breast chunks with lemon juice and black pepper, a nice trick for adding flavor. The mellow Herbdacious makes friends with the pickled vegetables in a way that pesto wouldn't do as nicely.  If you've got a bunch of pickled stuff on hand, this recipe could certainly accommodate to use what's available. 

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More leftover chicken so I decided to try Wrapmagic p 304 from the Sweet Potential chapter of This Will Make It Taste Good.  This is pretty good.  Kind of a salad-stuffed burrito crossed with a quesadilla.

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Not a fan of the wrap, in general.  Those waxy wraps add little beyond containment (and sometimes fail at that) and have as many calories and more fat than a slice of nice bread.  But Vivian's description intrigued me so I bought a package of green wraps and gave it a try.  Not disappointed.

I used kumquat Sweet Potential and subbed baby kale for arugula, apricots for grapes and lemon juice for orange juice. No panini press so I put a cast iron skillet on top. Probably didn't need something that heavy - mine def looks more smooshed than the book photo but it didn't do any harm and the two crispy sides make this better than any wrap I've had. 

 

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13 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@blue_dolphin

 

what is a waxy wrap ?

Everything I've ever seen or been served as a wrap has a waxy texture when chilled as most wrap sandwiches are served.  Not that different from a cheap, un-warmed flour tortilla

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Well, since I had those green tortillas, I decided to try Hippie Burritos p 87 from the Can-Do-Kraut chapter of This Will Make It Taste Good. 

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This basically a riff on a bean burrito, made with lentils.  Vivian uses diced kielbasa, I had some exceedingly dry salami that I diced and cooked along with the lentils to soften it up.  The "salsa" made from sauerkraut, diced apple, onion, parsley, mint, lemon, hot sauce and honey is quite a nice little condiment that I'm making note of to try with other things.  I wasn't sure about this but ended up enjoying them. 

 

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6 hours ago, Maison Rustique said:

That looks delicious!

 

Thanks - sun-dried tomato and roasted cauliflower are great partners!

 

I made another jar of Little Green Dress this morning.  There was still some remaining in my last jar but I'd forgotten to date it so I decided a fresh jar was in order and I'm glad I did as it looks and smells much livelier than the stuff I tossed. 

Then made myself a Gas Station Focaccia breakfast sandwich - a riff on the recipe for Gas Station Biscuits that's in the LGD chapter.

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Added a fried egg - yolk too runny for neatness but we don't worry about that down at the gas station 🙃

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  • 2 weeks later...

Deep Run Summer in a Bowl p 17 from the Little Green Dress chapter of This Will Make It Taste Good

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I really like all the components of this dish - fresh, buttered corn, sweet/tangy tomatoes and cucumbers lightly pickled with Little Green Dress - but on a hot day, I wasn't totally in love with it as a hot dish. Assuming perfect summer produce is available, I'd prefer to have a platter of room temp sliced tomatoes topped with cool LGD cukes with ears of sweet corn on the cob on the side. That said, cooking the tomatoes down and seasoning with sugar, salt and sherry vinegar and warming the corn with butter and salt would certainly perk up less than perfect specimens and once it cooled down to room temp I quite enjoyed it.  Tossing sliced cukes with LGD is a trick worth remembering for a quick side.  I had this with toasted baguette slices spread with some of the Very Versatile Smear of Stuff p 279 which is now my favorite recipe for sun-dried tomato pesto.

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6 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

Deep Run Summer in a Bowl p 17 from the Little Green Dress chapter of This Will Make It Taste Good

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I really like all the components of this dish - fresh, buttered corn, sweet/tangy tomatoes and cucumbers lightly pickled with Little Green Dress - but on a hot day, I wasn't totally in love with it as a hot dish. Assuming perfect summer produce is available, I'd prefer to have a platter of room temp sliced tomatoes topped with cool LGD cukes with ears of sweet corn on the cob on the side. That said, cooking the tomatoes down and seasoning with sugar, salt and sherry vinegar and warming the corn with butter and salt would certainly perk up less than perfect specimens and once it cooled down to room temp I quite enjoyed it.  Tossing sliced cukes with LGD is a trick worth remembering for a quick side.  I had this with toasted baguette slices spread with some of the Very Versatile Smear of Stuff p 279 which is now my favorite recipe for sun-dried tomato pesto.

I'm literally drooling right now.  You have such a way with food.

 

It's funny...an hour ago I got Deep Run Roots out and began leafing through it.  It's that time.

 

And I'm already overrun with squash lol.

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7 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I'm literally drooling right now.  You have such a way with food.

 

It's funny...an hour ago I got Deep Run Roots out and began leafing through it.  It's that time.

 

And I'm already overrun with squash lol.

I did think of you when I peeled the tomatoes for this 🙃

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8 minutes ago, Shelby said:

At least my legacy here will be for that cause 😁

think of you every time I do not peel one ;)

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Watermelon Mint Gimlet p 314 using Watermelon Sweet Potential p 296 from This Will Make It Taste Good

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I love using the Sweet Potential syrups in cocktails and I didn't want to let summer go by without making watermelon Sweet Potential so I could try this cocktail. Just a small batch - 400g melon cubes + 300g sugar + a thinly sliced lime. No surprise really but I was still amazed at how much the watermelon cubes shrank as their liquid was drawn out into the syrup. Sorry I didn't take before and after photos. The cocktail is delicious. I dialed the syrup back to 1/2 oz as I've done with most of the cocktails in the book. The cubes of preserved watermelon used as a garnish are almost like crisp little watermelon candies. Not something I'd want to eat a ton of but a sweet and surprising little cocktail garnish.

Not sure what I'll do with the rest of the Sweet Potential. Maybe add it to the rest of the fresh melon for a batch of popsicles.

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  • 2 months later...

We're working our way down through our refrigerator and freezer contents. Last night I roasted a whole chicken over a bed of par-cooked rice. The rice finished in the oven with the chicken juices. It came out pretty well, although the chicken may have roasted too long.

 

This morning's brunch was some of that chicken-flavored rice, with a very small bit of chicken. I wanted the rice juicier. I considered butter, then looked through the condiments in our refrigerator. Behold! I had a tiny container - about 2 tsp's worth - of Little Green Dress that had been hiding among the other condiments. I mixed it into the rice.

 

Oh, my. I think I'll have to make more of that, soon. So much for emptying the refrigerator!

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/24/2021 at 11:42 AM, blue_dolphin said:

A Little Green Dress/Parmesan toastie topped with a boiled egg and more LGD

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Edited to add that this was very good.  I'm contemplating another 🙃

Edited February 24 by blue_dolphin (log)

That looks so good. 

Just found my copy last night that had gone missing a while ago. LGD ingredients on hand. Soaked garbanzos on the stove for some dips. I've made LGD a few times. Really good with cilantro stems added. 

This book needs to go back onto my bedside table. A nice winter project. My bookmark is on page 12, 😂

I clearly remember that day when I ordered from SupermarketItaly jars of olives (pitted) and capers. 

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Interesting olive choices. The Frescatrano are Greek. From MisfitsMarket. Using them today being a 12-21 expiration like Misfits usually has---most groceries do not want dates too close to use-by dates. Said to be similar to the Italian casteveltrano.

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