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Improving my cooking skills (2003)


MatthewB
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I hope you don't mind a newbie jumping in to give her 2¢ worth here. The Sherry Vinaigrette dressing from the Bitter Greens with Seasonal Fruits recipe is fabulous! I don't care for fruit in my salad so just make the vinaigrette and toss it with whatever lettuce looks good at the grocery store. It's our favourite salad dressing, I make it at least twice a week. I hope you don't pass it by because of the fruit.

I've read all the posts in this thread now and would like to try to play along if I can. I made the Boeuf Bourguignon this weekend from Food & Wine magazine. Give me some catch up time and I'll be up to speed to try whatever comes next, I hope. :huh:

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Hey Barb, the more the merrier!

Heather, go ahead and make the salad with fruit. I was wrong. The celery root dish functions as mashed potatoes with a more interesting taste; my wife wasn't aware that apples were in there until I told her. I think the salad you proposed would go well, and add some texture and color contrast to the menu.

As it happened, I just made the steak and the celery root. I relied on Thanksgiving leftovers to provide our third dish, and (I add, regretfully) there were several choices still in our refrigerator.

But the steak and celery root were terrific. As I began the steak, I thought "this is really boring and dated." I briefly considered just chucking the recipe, and pan-broiling the steak as I usually do, then deglazing with wine. Besides, I thought, I don't have any real beef stock. But then I reconsidered, and went ahead using Better Than Buillon, which really worked out fine when the other stuff was added. It was tremendous fun pounding the steak with a skillet, which I'd never done before, and I was surprised how much this tenderized the meat. And the sauce was really good. Of the optional ingredients, I added a good squeeze of lemon, some fresh thyme and a dash of port.

As for the celery root, once I had it in hand I was afraid I'd accidentally come into possession of the Continuum Transponder. And I wasn't really that sure how to go about peeling it. I just went at it with a paring knife. But the dish was great. The creaminess must be seen to be believed. White rice and two-percent milk-- who knew what they could accomplish?

There's a good-looking salad containing both raw celery root and fennel on page 422 of New Way. I'll have to try that soon.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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Check out "Mastering" Volume II, page 296. "Saucissons de Foies de Volaille, Pate de Foie de Volaill, Farce a Gratin."

"This all purpose liver mixture is so versatile it can sarve as a sausage, a pate, a spread for sandwiches and hors d'oeuvre, a filling for poultry or meat, and can generally be used anywhere tou need the depth and strength of a liver accent."

I know what Mrs. Child means, but "liver accent" .....Shiver. Quiver.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Why, lookie there. Page 345, Chicken Liver Pate with Golden Raisins. She substitutes the fat with chestnut puree and egg yolks, and adds said raisins, armangac or cognac, and allspice for flavor. Sounds pretty good.

Steak Diane for us tonight, but if I can get some nice looking livers at Whole Foods I may try this.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Anyone else planning on Steak Diane?

(I could be convinced to make the liver dish as well. I'm down with liver.)

That celeriac dish from New Way has got me itching to make a full menu from the book. I'm going to propose something a little later.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I am, tonight. Our house is being inspected this afternoon, so I will have plenty of time to while away at the grocery store. Let's just hope that the local Whole Paycheck has celeriac.

Propose away, Seth. Everything in that book looks delicious, and it's one of Matthew's favorites. :smile:

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I was going to do Steak Diane and the celery root puree this weekend and have it with my last bit of Wild Mushrooms with Chestnuts and Thyme (Gourmet, Nov. 2002) from T'giving (working my way through the leftovers like you, Seth!). I'd never made it before but it turned out to be very simple and very, very good... rich (cream and Madeira) but not overly so.

For those doing Steak Diane, I'd be interested to hear about your choice of meat (rib-eye vs. NY strip, or other) and how it turned out--would you use the same cut again, or a different one?

Seems like everyone will have already made the steak by the weekend though... will there be another menu for Saturday? I could peruse my copy of ANWTC later tonight and contribute menu ideas as well, if anyone's up for it.

Erin
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I used a ribeye (one big one, split between the wife and me), and it worked out very well. But Jacques is right, there is a semicircle of fat within the meat that you have to trim away, sacrificing a strip of meat in the process. This one steak, by the way, provided adequate portions for each of us, but we definitely could've had more.

Please, Erin, propose away, as Heather said! I'll be looking at New Way tonight.

Edited by SethG (log)

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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seth, i always eat that piece of fat in the middle. i usually eat my wifes piece of it too.

sometimes my butcher will have someone order an "eye" of ribeye (I have no idea what this is called). He'll save the outer portion and sell it to me, or eat it hisself. I think that the outer portion is usually more marbled, and more flavorful.

isn't steak diane usually cooked tableside? or at least the sauce? it would be fun to try to cook it at the table, but probably too dangerous for a klutz like me.

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seth, i always eat that piece of fat in the middle. i usually eat my wifes piece of it too.

Oh, I eat it usually! Julia and Jacques advise you to trim it off (I think-- I don't have the book with me) for Steak Diane because it impedes the pounding. I'm guessing, really.

And Julia encourages you to cook it tableside, if you have the equipment.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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OK, what's next? A meal from ANWTC? Or something from J & J?

Sorry. I brought my library copy of New Way to my office, thinking I'd look it over and propose something, but I've just been too busy the last few days. I may take a look this afternoon.

Anyone care to report on Steak Diane?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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That's the exact puree, G. We really liked it.

Okay, you want a New Way menu? Here's an idea or two.

I'm thinking about simple oven-seared thick fish fillets (page 222) with a sauce-- say, the red pepper-juice sauce (page 649).

Along with that, some steam-roasted leeks vinaigrette (page 56) and one of the buttermilk mashed potato recipes, maybe the roasted garlic ones (page 78). Or a squash dish instead of the potatoes.

All three things I proposed involve use of the oven, but the garlic puree can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a couple weeks (pages 37-38). And you can put the leeks in the oven for their approximately twenty minutes of roasting en papillote, then stick in the fish while the leeks rest (the fish only takes about ten minutes), and you're done.

My menu planning sucks. Maybe the vinaigrette and the red pepper sauce are too acidic to be paired with each other? You tell me.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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My menu planning sucks. Maybe the vinaigrette and the red pepper sauce are too acidic to be paired with each other? You tell me.

seth, that sounds like a great menu to me.

maybe i'll do back to back autodidact dinners. what kind of fish do they suggest? i've been seeing some great californian halibut at my fishmonger.

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