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Cooking From Your Books   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Saturday, March 2, 2013 4:23:15 PM(UTC)

Regardless of the arrival of March, it's grey and raining and my thoughts have returned to braising. Those thoughts led me to oxtails and as a result, the recipe from Umberto's Kitchen - "Stewed Oxtails w/Tomato Relish" (Stufato di coda di bue e gremolata).  While I experiment with other oxtail recipes, this is the one I return to.  Redolent of red wine, tomatoes, mirapoix of vegetables, garlic and fresh herbs.  It's in the oven for the next couple of hours.

While looking at the book (Umberto's Kitchen), there were several other recipes which caught my eye that I haven't tried and this gave birth to a new idea for me. 

I'm going to pick a different book from my cookbook collection each week and choose a recipe I've never tried before.  Today's oxtail dish doesn't fall into that category, but it's the springboard to launch my new initiatve.

Anyone interested in coming along for the ride and posting your results?

#2 Posted : Saturday, March 2, 2013 7:28:57 PM(UTC)

We had a similar epihpany in our household! As autumn sets in, and thoughts turn to cooking,  we realised we have over 30,000 recipes sitting on the indexed half of our bookshelf, which really means there ought be no falling back on "tried and tested" for the next few years! So to start that journey, a few days ago we tried a recipe from an Australian Gourmet recipe: February 2013, p.100 (online) Sticky BBQ beef ribs with coleslaw which was amazing, and  last night.. Nov 2010, p48 Farfalle with asparagus, creme fraiche and tarragon (also online).. delicious.. so our autumn resolution: try something new 3 nights a week!. Now with tarraon left over we're going to try Chicken Chasseur (AGT, Jan 2011, (online)).. Journey on, life's short, eat well!

#3 Posted : Saturday, March 2, 2013 8:05:07 PM(UTC)

Hi Foodelf, I love this idea and after signing up for EYB I commited to cooking from my books.  I'm also making every effort to take good advantage of the EYB notes feature and I was recently shocked to learn I've made and reviewed over 700 recipes since joining! 

At present I'm sharing my experiences on Chowhound and then posting my reviews here. A month or so ago I posted a suggestion here similar to your proposal today.  I'd love to have threads where we can all cook together or, share interactive experiences w books.  Often I read someone's review of a dish here and I'd love to post a question or follow up comment and at present we don't have a mechanism for that.  I'd also love to be able to share photos.   

I'll be keen to hear how you make out w your oxtails.  Do let us know!

#4 Posted : Saturday, March 2, 2013 8:42:16 PM(UTC)

Hello, Breadcrumbs!

Not only are we in the same country, but I see we have plenty of cookbooks in common. 

My oxtails are cooling, so I may skim any fat more easily, but I'm really looking forward to them.  I'm also keenly looking forward to selecting the recipe for the coming week.  What to choose, what to choose?

There are lots of big names in my collection and many small ones too.

I'm really looking forward to this little journey!  Like you, I'd love it if we could post pictures and connect about our experiences.

Does anything catch your eye for the coming week?

#5 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 9:28:34 AM(UTC)
I like the idea of one recipe from one cookbook a week. I had similar thoughts to yours, realizing I don't use most of my cookbooks, and was going to focus on one book a month. But I like your idea better. I am in!
#6 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 9:57:29 AM(UTC)

Well, Every Grain Of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop is the Cookbook of the Month - ("COTM") over on Chowhound so I'll be focussing my efforts on that book in the weeks ahead.  I have some beef tenderloin defrosting for a beef stir-fry, and picked up some chicken yesterday along w some freshly-made Asian noodles so I'm hitting EYB to see what other dishes I can make w the veggies and various Asian sauces I have on hand.  Tomorrow I'm heading to a fabulous Asian supermarket to stock up on supplies so I can proceed unencumbered in the weeks ahead.  Also on the menu this week, as we divert our attention from China, I'll be making a Chicken Tikka Masala from a newly acquired cookbook called The Ploughman's Lunch and the Miser's Feast by Brian Yarvin.  Finally, to accompany our spaghetti and porchetta at our weekly "Spaghetti Fridays" at casa bc, I'll be making a braised fennel from Gordon Hammersley's Bistro Cooking At Home.  Sauce for our noodles is yet to be determined.  Likely something simple to align w bolder flavours of the other dishes.  If there's enough braising liquid I may have a sauce already!

#7 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 10:12:07 AM(UTC)

We are definitely planning on adding a feature that will allow members to post their own photos of the dishes they make. I love this idea of getting members cooking more new recipes from their cookbooks - after all, opening up your cookbooks is one of the primary purposes of EYB.

#8 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 1:56:08 PM(UTC)

Pictures will be an exciting addition, Jane!

Making one new recipe a week was one of my new year's cooking resolutions -- an achievably modest goal. 

Finally created a 'made' bookmark late last year, and I'm certainly not going at Breadcrumbs' pace <g>. One reason is the frequency of old favorites in our rotation, and the number of things I cook without a recipe. But it's so helpful to be able to look over the dishes I've tried in one place, and the longer it gets the greater my confidence and feeling of accomplishment.

This week's new recipe was winter squash soup with lemongrass and coconut milk from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and it was so easy and delicious that it'll be repeated soon.  Next up, Yotam Ottolenghi's sweet potato wedges with lemongrass creme fraiche, from Plenty. (Taking advantage of the unexpected availability of lemongrass at the local-foods market).

The squash-lemongrass soup was so excellent that I wanted to put together a Thai or Thai-ish menu to complement it, for the next time.  It was SO much easier to do using EYB than flipping through my Thai cookbooks, even though there are just two of them.

[Edited to add links, per Jane's suggestion below.]

#9 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 2:37:53 PM(UTC)

This seems like a good place to share a recipe idea I had last night, inspired by EYB browsing.  It's pretty rare for me to think up dishes myself.

Last year at this time I went on a little bout of making corn muffins and corn bread, and one of my favorite accompaniments was a jalapeno jelly that is made locally. It was such an addictive taste that I had to restrain myself in order not to overdo it.

Then last night, reviewing EYB-bookmarked recipes incorporating polenta, I was drawn again to Anna Thomas' roasted squash and polenta torta, which is filled with red onion jam.  Suddenly it occurred to me how delicious a polenta torta would be with jalapeno-onion jam -- combining caramelized onions with the jalapeno jelly.  A thin layer of ricotta or mascarpone might also add a lot.

I have a batch of caramelized onions, a bag of polenta rectangles in the freezer, and a newly made container of creme fraiche, so will experiment with mini-tortas this week, and report back. I see images can be added to messages here in the forum, so may even share a pic!

#10 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 2:47:30 PM(UTC)

I'm looking forward to reading about this week's choices. 

The oxtails were glorious and I'm enjoying them too much - they're not going to last long at this rate.  But that's a success story in itself.

My choice for this week is Chicken B'stilla from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan p. 222.   I have all the spices on hand and need to shop just for the chicken thighs, cilantro and almonds.  I'm expecting great things from this recipe with plenty of leftovers to cover off office lunches and an extra dinner during the week.

I'll probably do it in two stages, the chicken and sauce on evening #1 then build and bake the B'stilla on evening #2.

I have a workshop tomorrow evening, but will be able to shop for the missing ingredients at lunchtime over at Granville Island Market. 

Hope to begin on Tuesday evening.

I plan on making this Tarte Nougat Pommes to take to the office tomorrow.  It was one of the most requested desserts I've made over the past couple of years and - so easy!

#11 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 5:04:19 PM(UTC)

So glad your oxtails made the grade; and see what you've started! As we won a 2kg tray of the best prawns yesterday the cHicken Chasseur went off the menu.. but remains as one of this weeks "sous vide" efforts!

#12 Posted : Sunday, March 3, 2013 8:15:08 PM(UTC)

Prawns, Debkellle - how lovely!  Can't wait to learn what you do with them this week!

#13 Posted : Monday, March 4, 2013 1:00:30 PM(UTC)

debkellie, how exactly does one win a tray of prawns? I s this a common thing in Oz?!  Lucky you!

#14 Posted : Monday, March 4, 2013 4:13:01 PM(UTC)

This is a great feature, I hope more EYB members join in.  Can I suggest that anyone posting about recipes and books adds a link?  It's very easy to do - open the recipe or book in another tab, highlight the URL and copy over to the Forum post by highlighting the recipe or book title then clicking the link icon in the header.  Paste the URL into the Link URL box at the top.  Then anyone interested in the recipe or book you are posting about can easily link to that page on EYB.

#15 Posted : Tuesday, March 5, 2013 4:34:32 PM(UTC)

Last night's efforts: Chicken Chasseur (sous vide). Not sure the end result  was worth the 2 hour effort (save for the learning experience with sous vide!). I don't have a sous vide machine, so just used my deep fat fryer/slow cooker, which worked well, in combo with my vacuum sealeing machine.. The method did ensure that the distinct flavours of each separately cooked item was retained (braised celery in one bag, chicken breasts in another) so his claim to "highlight the summery flavours" from doing this classic in this way was upheld, and the chicken (40 mins at 80 degrees) was realy tender and moist.. but really...

And I tried to use the hyperlink feature as Jane described, but it doesn't seem so simple!. On starting this post hyperlink buttons were  disabled (greyed out).. and I couldn't paste the EYB link into the body. but the recipe was "Chicken Chasseur" from AGT (online) at why that will paste into the body but EYB's hyperlink won't is a little strange!

How are other's efforts going?

And prawn trays: a unique Queensland concept for fund raising for charities in pubs.. whilst enjoying your sunday afternoon beverage and band, buy a ticket @$2 for the chance to win! And they became a prawn and avocado salad, with rocket, tarragon, cherry tomatoes and raspberry vinaigratette! (Quick, easy, tasty - so much less stress than Donovan's Chicken Chasseur!)


#16 Posted : Tuesday, March 5, 2013 10:14:37 PM(UTC)

I'm here with the beginning stages of my Chicken B'stilla from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.  This evening, I've marinated the chicken thighs, onions and garlic with the spices (ground coriander, cinnamon, ground ginger & saffron threads) for an hour.  Everything is now simmering in chicken stock for another hour and the fragrances are really lovely - interestingly, the top notes are the saffron, which I didn't expect.

I'm certainly glad I chose to approach the recipe in two stages; I wouldn't like to think of attempting this all in one session.  However, this way, it's not difficult at all and as I'm doing other things, it's easy to slot in the initial stages of this recipe.  After I arrived home from work, I quickly skinned the chicken thighs, threw together the spices, chopped the onions & garlic and the marinade was ready.  Everything else slipped into the routine of the evening.

I've moved the fillo pastry out of the freezer to the fridge and it'll be ready for me by tomorrow evening.

Not sure if I'll have time to shred the chicken tonight, after it cools, but I'm not worried about tackling that tomorrow before building the B'stilla.

Is this too much detail?

I really liked reading about debKellie's Chicken Chasseaur, I'm also on the fence about Sous Vide!

#17 Posted : Wednesday, March 6, 2013 9:34:23 AM(UTC)

debkellie - to insert a link like this for Chicken Chasseur you need to first highlight the text where you want the link to appear.  So I highlighted the words Chicken Chassuer by clicking at the start of the title and moving the mouse over the words.  Then the link icon appears, no longer greyed out.  You then click the link icon and you can enter the URL in the top box.

You can do the same for any link within EYB or outside.  We do prefer if the link is off EYB that it opens in a new window, which you do in the 3rd box down in the link box, selecting "Open in a new window".

#18 Posted : Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:28:38 AM(UTC)

Phase 2 of Chicken B'stilla and it's been pretty interesting.

This isn't something you can throw together on the spur of the moment, even if you've got all the ingredients for it.  But there are certainly times when I'm happy to spend lots of time in the kitchen creating a dish that takes thought and work my way through the various stages; it's almost therapy.  What made this possible mid-week, was splitting the prep over two evenings.

I'm not sure I'd do this again.  It was certainly tasty, but I'm not really convinced it was worth the effort.  I'm going to enjoy it over the next few days ... love leftovers, but - frankly, my oxtails gave me the better return.

Beginning to look ahead at my books to come up with something new for next week's Cooking From My Books

#19 Posted : Saturday, March 9, 2013 4:27:41 PM(UTC)

My pick for this week is Poulet Basquaise from Les Halles.  I have some superb canned tomatoes and a couple of peppers which will be perfect for this and I'm looking forward to another recipe from this book.  I've tended to return to the French Onion soup and a handful of other Les Halles favourites.  Everything I've tried from this book has been great!

Now I'm ready to branch out ...

Anyone else experimenting with their cookbook library this week?

#20 Posted : Saturday, March 9, 2013 6:18:04 PM(UTC)

Count me in! I just got five new cookbooks this week so should be off to a good start. First on the list will be the Zuni roast chicken with bread salad from the Zuni Café Cookbook. My other new books are Bouchon Bakery, Fuschia Dunlop's  Land of Plenty and Revolutionary Chinese Coobook, and Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Any suggestions?

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