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


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4 hours ago, Anna N said:

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Not a chance in hell that I’m going to eat a tuna salad but a salmon salad with some LGD was doable. As for the olives, I have to agree that even someone who doesn’t like olives would tolerate these. I don’t know if that is a compliment or not. 
 

I don’t want to be the one person who is being disagreeable but truth be told I am not convinced that LGD is even close to being life-changing. The mint comes through loud and clear but not much else. I will try it on a couple of other things before I conclude that my taste buds are not up to the task.

I find this whole discussion about the LGD fascinating. Vivian Howard has a lot of recipes that sound great and a lot that don't. She combines flavors and ingredients in unexpected ways, and sometimes I think her recipes are over complex or just plain bizarre, with ingredients that fight each other. Soon maybe I will get up the energy to make some LGD, just because you all have me so curious, but I have to say that the combo of mint and anchovy doesn't make me want to run to the market. No complaints about Castelvetrano olives (aka Nocellara) though. I'm lucky they are available in bulk in these parts and I love them.

 

There are a few of her recipes I have in regular rotation, and others that I've saved and  can never decide to commit to making. Vivian herself is sort of hypnotic with her cornfed beauty, her cheerfulness and her wonderful accent; a perfect blend of appealing and annoying all at once. 

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Eat Your Books tells me that my cookbooks have 120 recipes that call for both mint and anchovies. Quite a few are green sauce/salsa verde type things somewhat similar to LGD.  Of those mint-anchovy green sauces, only LGD also has olives.  
There are 10 other mint-anchovy-olive dishes but they're a mix of salads, a soup, pizza, black olive tapenade, lamb stuffing, etc rather than sauces.

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I hate trying to convince people to try to like things that they don't, but I'll just suggest those of you that dislike olives make sure to try salt dried black olives before ruling them all out :)

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~ Shai N.

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10 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Oh, I don't doubt you for a minute and am impressed at your willingness to give it a try.   I've been enjoying how easy it is to add a punch of flavor to different things with a spoonful of LGD but if that flavor isn't one that appeals, it's not all that helpful, no matter how easy it is!  

I'm thinking that I follow the basic formula mentioned - with the same form of onion, olives, capers, anchovies - and switch up the high note herb from mint to one that I know Anna likes. I'm also thinking how I could make a low Fodmap version of the same with the greens of green onion in place of the onion, maybe some garlic oil which is low Fodmap and the original herbs. 

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25 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I had grand plans of freezing some the R Rated onions today

 

I wonder if one could dehydrate and salt the onions enough so that they are shelf stable (or at least fridge stable) for a long while. I wouldn't mind cooking down a huge batch of onions and having caramelized onion concentrate at hand to throw into dishes.

Edited by shain
Silly English (log)
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~ Shai N.

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3 minutes ago, Shelby said:

Imma have to get more onions.  Again.

If you made it through high school science then you’ll understand that onions refuse to obey the Law of Conservation  of Matter — matter is neither created nor destroyed. 75% of raw onions disappear when they are subjected to caramelization. If we could get inside black holes we would be struck by the enticing smell.  😂

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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So I stirred a couple of tablespoons of LGD into this leftover hash while it was reheating hoping that a little heat would bring out more of the nuances of the LGD. Nothing doing. MINT. MINT. MINT. 

 

Don’t misunderstand. I like mint. Lamb without mint sauce is  like ... well make up your own comparison.  But if all I’m going to get is mint then I might as well just chop up some mint and save all those other ingredients. I don’t know. Maybe it’s my taste buds that are at fault. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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27 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Don’t misunderstand. I like mint. Lamb without mint sauce is  like ... well make up your own comparison.  But if all I’m going to get is mint then I might as well just chop up some mint and save all those other ingredients. I don’t know. Maybe it’s my taste buds that are at fault. 

 

I don't think it's a fault at all. And I don't think the taste buds get either the credit or the blame.  It's possible that you have some special taste buds but your average person's taste buds are pretty much limited to the sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami.  A lot of the mint flavor comes us through the olfactory receptors which can detect an enormous range of compounds.  I'd say you're just better at sensing the mint flavor compounds than many of the rest of us are.   I can taste the mint in LGD but more as a fresh, cooling taste, nothing that comes close to MINT, MINT, MINT range.   You're way better at sensing it, maybe perceiving mint compounds that I don't even have receptors for - you're just especially good at mint! 💚🍃💚

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2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

I'm thinking that I follow the basic formula mentioned - with the same form of onion, olives, capers, anchovies - and switch up the high note herb from mint to one that I know Anna likes. I'm also thinking how I could make a low Fodmap version of the same with the greens of green onion in place of the onion, maybe some garlic oil which is low Fodmap and the original herbs. 

@Kerry Bealyou are the best friend ever. Won't you be my neighbor? Oh wait, on Saturday I decided not to move to Canada just yet.

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14 minutes ago, blue_dolphin said:

You're way better at sensing it, maybe perceiving mint compounds that I don't even have receptors for - you're just especially good at mint! 💚🍃💚

😂 You are sweet but it did occur to me that it’s possible that somebody might find mint (or any other taste) more prominent than someone else. I expect there is still a great deal to be learned about taste. I have just been sampling Harold McGee’s new book Nose Dive in which he spends more than 600 pages exploring our sense of smell. Perhaps his next book will be 600 pages on taste. We don’t know what we don’t know!

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I think we're all correct.  Some of us taste things differently.  I also think that some mint is more minty than other mint.

 

All this talk about LGD forced me to make jammy eggs.  A spoon full of scalloped potatoes to go with.

 

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With apologies to Howard, I would use.this (or any) recipe as a template, adjusting quantities of various flavor elements, or swapping out ingredients that run counter to one's palate.    LGD is a perfectly good concept that can/should be tailored for our individual uses.    There is no final exam on authenticity in your own kitchen.   And Vivian will never know.

 

For Anna, I might sub basil for half the mint, or swap it out completely.    For my taste, I'd probably swap out mint for dill which works fabulously with capers, anchovy, lemon and friends. 

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9 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I think we're all correct.  Some of us taste things differently.  I also think that some mint is more minty than other mint. 

 

va

 My experience is that some mint, especially from the grocery store, is vile. My local independent garden center always has an assortment affording me a  reasonably priced fresh source. The different varieties are fun to play with.  

Edited by heidih (log)
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of interest probably only to me :

 

I did a Blitz this AM @ rocheBro , a local family owned chain 

 

that's a fine store to shop at    

 

its more expensive than Stop&Shop  which is more expensive than MarketBasket

 

@ RB's  the olives in question , whole are $ 6.79.

 

Target , w free delivery , alas whole , $ 4.49.   

 

Walmart $ 4.59  pitted , but only pick uip

 

variations like this inter3est me , simply as economics and Market forces at work.

 

Ill get a couple offers fr0 Target

 

RBro's has some very nice Shubbery , but I digit think to look for the other ingredients

 

on this Blitz.   if they have fresh mint , Im guessing they do , it will be in a standard ' fresh ' bunch

 

not in a plastic packet.

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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

With apologies to Howard, I would use.this (or any) recipe as a template, adjusting quantities of various flavor elements, or swapping out ingredients that run counter to one's palate.    LGD is a perfectly good concept that can/should be tailored for our individual uses.    There is no final exam on authenticity in your own kitchen.   And Vivian will never know.

 

Oh, I think Vivian would love to know as she encourages playing around with the recipe.  Your comment above basically paraphrases her header notes for the recipe!  

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My library has this book on order, I put it on hold - first dibs! Having used the Amazon "Look Inside" feature, I'm interested...being able to look the whole book over will be helpful since I'm considering it as a potential gift.

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"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I don't taste the mint in my batch of LGD, it is in there and the scent of mint was almost overwhelming when I made the LGD. I get a mix of flavors and what I pick up most is the acidic notes of brine, lemon, and vinegar. From what I have seen and read of Vivian Howard she would encourage everyone to make their own versions of the her "master" condiments.

 

Today I made her LGD tuna salad but left out the celery and used Ortiz tuna. I really like the use of LGD with the tuna. Very different from my normal tuna salad.

 

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57 minutes ago, BeeZee said:

My library has this book on order, I put it on hold - first dibs! Having used the Amazon "Look Inside" feature, I'm interested...being able to look the whole book over will be helpful since I'm considering it as a potential gift.

 

Yes. I bought the Kindle version of the book for myself, but after I've made more things from it I plan to make up little jars' worth of some items (LGD, the tomatoes) as Christmas gifts. I might accompany them with a copy of the book, if I think the recipient would use it. I might buy a copy of the book "just in case" for the recipient, and then keep it if she doesn't want it. ;) 

 

I just had LDG three ways at lunch: in the chicken salad I made, as a dressing for some chopped lettuce, and as an augmentation of last night's deli potato salad. I agree with the comments above that adjustments can and should be made. I added a touch more vinegar and found it more to my tastes.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"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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6 hours ago, Anna N said:

If you made it through high school science then you’ll understand that onions refuse to obey the Law of Conservation  of Matter — matter is neither created nor destroyed. 75% of raw onions disappear when they are subjected to caramelization. If we could get inside black holes we would be struck by the enticing smell.  😂

 

 

That may be one of the most brilliant hypotheses I've ever read.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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6 hours ago, Anna N said:

If you made it through high school science then you’ll understand that onions refuse to obey the Law of Conservation  of Matter — matter is neither created nor destroyed. 75% of raw onions disappear when they are subjected to caramelization. If we could get inside black holes we would be struck by the enticing smell.  😂

 

 

True. But sadly, our wfi signal wouldn't be able to escape, so we'd never be able to confirm that phenomenon here on eG. 

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"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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21 minutes ago, Alex said:

True. But sadly, our wfi signal wouldn't be able to escape, so we'd never be able to confirm that phenomenon here on eG. 

Not so. The latest mathematics/physics advances suggest information MUST get out of black holes. It may be delayed for a few billion years (I think it depends how old the hole is)

So take heart everyone making caramelized onions, if Anna's hypothesis is right (i suspect it is) then we are all stinking up the universe😂

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51 minutes ago, Alex said:

 

True. But sadly, our wfi signal wouldn't be able to escape, so we'd never be able to confirm that phenomenon here on eG. 

Only @Duveldemands photographic proof. The rest of us would take it on faith.😂

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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So I had to make an attempt at making my own LDG. No worries it was discussed with @Kerry Beal so she is fully aware that I am doing this.
 

We agreed that we can be friends and still come at recipes from entirely different perspectives. I lived with her for six weeks at a time for many summers so I know her cooking style. She considers a recipe to be merely a suggestion and will happily play loose and fast with it without ever trying it the way it is written. I, on the other hand, consider it to be as precise as most prescriptions, at least the first time I try it.

 

After casually discussing the recipe with her today I gleaned that some of this loose and fast activity occurred in her kitchen as she was making the LGD.  Nothing atomic mind you. She didn’t attempt to replace the  anchovies  with smoked trout or the lemon juice with Everclear. But there was some hanky-panky going on. 

 

My daughter was going to be passing a grocery store today and it offered to pick up anything I needed and I asked for only flat leaf parsley and mint. Everything else I had in the house (much of it thanks to Kerry Beal).

 

A couple of observations: two medium, my guess, shallots and two cloves of garlic completely absorbed 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. I had assumed they would have room to swim around.  
 

The mint from my supermarket, which was wonderfully fresh, came in clamshells containing 20 g each, not one half an ounce each. May not sound like a big deal but when you get two of them and use all of the mint you are using 25% more than the recipe calls for.  
 

One bunch of parsley would have translated to one and a half to 2 cups packed had I used it all. There is a reason for using weights! One can argue none of this is particularly important and you may be right but I’m not going to find fault with something if I haven’t done my best to follow it as precisely as I possibly can. 
 

I have always aspired to be an intuitive cook but it is never going to happen in my lifetime. Just so that you understand that I may not agree with Kerry‘s method but I envy her willingness to go her own way.  But I know how long it took me to get 2/3 of a cup of olives by carving around that pit and I know that Kerry will admit that she has the patience of a gnat. We shall see. I am going to give it time to ripen before making a judgement call.  
 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Looking forward to your next taste test, Anna.  My mint was exactly 1/2 an ounce in each clam shell.   I do recipes both ways....Like Kerry, sometimes I wing it more, but if there is a recipe like this one with an ingredient that I'm not super in to, I measure.  I, too, wish Kerry was my neighbor...she's just the best!

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