springandfall's Bookshelf

  • I don't have the 11" straight-sided pan called for in this recipe; it's an odd size. A 10" pan allows insufficient room for the chicken, but a 12" pan would make the oil too shallow. I suggest either using less chicken and a 10" pan (in which case you could reduce the amount of coating and slightly reduce the oil) or use a 12" pan and a little more oil. Not having anticipated how important this was, I ended up frying the chicken in two batches in a smaller pan. It was still fine, but there was a lot of opening and closing of the oven, trying to determine which chicken pieces were done, since they hadn't all gone into the oven at the same time.
    about Easier fried chicken from Science of Good Cooking added on January 03, 2019

  • Beansprouts are suggested as a substitute for the white radish. This is terrific. It's worth blanching them.

  • Chinese garlic chives, finely chopped, make a nice addition at the moment you add the mushrooms and bean thread noodles to the pan. They give this plain-looking dish some color but add less pungency than scallions.
    about Ground pork with bean thread noodles from Yan Can Cook Book added on May 26, 2018

  • To lighten the recipe, make 1 cup shrimp stock from the shells by simmering them in water while you prep the vegetables, then use a 5.6-oz. can coconut milk mixed with the shrimp stock, instead of a 14-oz. can of coconut milk. Also, cooking the rice right into the curry is optional; having grown up with Asian food, I prefer having the rice and curry in separate dishes. This one is good, in any case.

  • With good scallops near $20/lb., beware this marinade. It is overpowering and so thick that it does not fall away when you remove the scallops for cooking. Next time I'll use the marinade from Lucky Peach's '100 Easy Asian Recipes' (Miso-Roasted Fish), shortening the marinating time for small items like scallops.
    about Miso-broiled scallops from Best Recipes in the World added on April 27, 2018

  • This is wonderful, but I didn't like putting an empty nonstick skillet over high heat as one might heat a wok. I'd like to try this in a wok or regular skillet next time. Chinese stir-fries often feature squid and it doesn't seem to stick.

  • Had no potato chips on hand, so substituted Japanese rice crackers. It worked well. A good, straightforward recipe.

  • This is amazing if you use good chicken (leftovers from a roast or grilled chicken). I didn't have time to soak the Kamut, so I used einkorn, which offers similar bite; recipe offers lots of grain-substitution ideas. My sage plant was not in good shape, so I left it out and didn't miss it. The dish was fantastic and will make great work lunches (pack greens, chicken mixture, and dressing separately to keep the crunch).

  • Flooded with carrots from my CSA, I made this with low expectations, mainly to clean out the fridge. Most of the carrot soups I've made have been fine but nothing special. But this one was extraordinary. I'm not sure why. Homemade stock helps, as does the relatively brief cooking time. And I recently got a Vitamix, which makes a smooth, slightly foamy puree. I was out of all the garnishes (sour cream, fresh parsley or chervil), but it still tastes complex and wonderful.
    about Creamy carrot soup (Potage Crécy) from Best Recipes in the World added on September 18, 2017

  • Often, a hot (versus cold) vegetarian borscht seems to me to be missing a dimension: I keep looking for the meat, or at least the savor of meat from, say, beef broth. But this hot vegetarian borscht uses porcini mushrooms for umami and turns the trimmings of its many vegetables into a vegetable-stock base, making it full-flavored. A winner.
    about The ultimate root soup, borscht from Local Flavors added on September 10, 2017

  • In the book, this is described as a rice-noodle salad, but the ingredient list that follows calls for cellophane noodles, which are made of mung beans. Which is it? Either would be good, but 1 lb. of either is way too much for four servings: they expand.
    about Vietnamese flank steak salad from Williams-Sonoma: Salad of the Day added on September 01, 2017

  • This works well as a template for grain-and-bean salad, varying the grain, beans, and added vegetables according to what you have. Did this in a pinch with Kamut, Great Northern beans, green peppers, and tomatoes, and it was terrific.

  • This is gorgeous, but it's wasteful to discard the narrower parts of the sweet potato. Just take them out of the oven earlier than the large slices. Their thinness gives them a particularly wonderful ratio of caramelized outer edge to soft interior.

  • I undertook this with suspicion: could anything this easy taste as good as promised? It does. Having no eggplant around, and having a butternut squash that yielded 3 cups of chunks, I doubled the squash instead of shopping for an eggplant. Also, not having a 5-quart microwaveable dish that fits in the microwave, I divided this between two Corning Ware casseroles. Adjusted recipe for higher wattage of today's microwave ovens: did about 3/5 of this recipe in 20 minutes, the other 2/5 in 15 minutes. Spectacular. Kitchen smells as if you were cooking on the stove. I might buy a larger casserole dish so that I can cook this in a single round.

  • Couldn't find lotus leaves, so used baking parchment instead. The dish still turned out wonderfully - though I'm going to be on the lookout for dried lotus leaves, which would infuse the rice with its flavor and look more striking.

  • Remarkably good - does not taste like a light recipe - and at least there is no fussing with bechamel. But this is indeed time-consuming. In the future I would perhaps make double the meat-and-tomato sauce and freeze half so that making the next lasagna becomes less time-consuming. When basil is out of season, it's fine to use a couple of those pesto cubes you froze in ice-cube trays last summer (if you did!).
    about Meat and cheese lasagna from Best Light Recipe added on March 19, 2016

  • Cook's Illustrated's desire to discover something new, even in a cooking tradition as old as China's, doesn't always work. The garlic/ginger method is fussy; why not smash big pieces and toss them in oil at beginning as Chinese cooks have done for centuries? Also, why not cover and briefly steam-cook the green beans with a little extra broth after the initial searing/tossing, versus 5 minutes of active stir-frying? Overall, though, this is a tasty dish.

  • You don't have to deep-fry the tofu; it can be slowly browned in a tablespoon of oil in a wide nonstick pan (turn at least once). Much less mess - and a healthier dish that's still delicious.

  • Meatball variation (using either Bittman's meatball recipe or Cook's Illustrated issue 11) worked great. Use best possible homemade sauce and real Parmigiano for great results. You don't have to make the lasagne noodles yourself, but if you do, this is out of this world. Reminder to self: this one is bechamel-based - no ricotta, no mozzarella.
    about Classic lasagne, Bolognese-style from How to Cook Everything added on July 10, 2015

  • Had only two leaves of kale on hand and no ricotta salata, but this still turned out great - a salad-y grain dish rather than a grain-y salad.

  • If you, like me, resist buying capers for a recipe because the rest of the jar will sit in the fridge forever after, this works great with a mixture of good-quality olives instead of olives and capers.
    about Whole red snapper veracruz from Gourmet Cookbook added on April 21, 2015

  • This turned out beautifully and was simple to make. I might adjust the sweetness (down) some, though. We froze our strawberries at the height of the growing season, so they have so much natural sweetness that reducing the sugar in the strawberry coulis would have been a good idea.
    about Cream cheese pound cake and strawberry coulis from Smitten Kitchen added on November 02, 2014

  • After reading comments from readers on Saveur webpage, reduced bechamel to 2/3 recipe and added 1/2 cup pasta cooking water to assembled pastitsio to make up for lost moisture (since pasta is only partially cooked at that point). Fabulous, with leftovers for days.

  • Something is wrong with this recipe. It never thickened as promised in step 2, probably because it uses no thickening agent (such as ClearJel). Second, it instructs you to prepare four pint jars but makes enough to fill seven. As a result I'm stuck with three pints of uncanned, extremely runny "pie filling" that I have to use now or freeze, defeating the point of undertaking this. All poorly written recipes waste time and ingredients, but poorly written canning recipes often waste large quantities, in addition to hours of work at the time of year when that work is most intense. In general I've found this book to be excellent, but occasionally there is a costly error like this one. I wish the Ball website would publish corrections to errors in this book to save readers the lost time, effort, and food.
    about Peach pie filling from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving added on July 25, 2014

  • Why does this recipe call for such a large proportion of sugar compared to other berry jams? Having lucked into some mulberries but not enough for the recipe, I made this with a combination of mulberries (1 3/4 cups mashed), gooseberries (3/4 cup mashed), and currants (1/2 cup cooked). I thought the tartness of the gooseberries and currants, plus the relatively large amount of lemon juice, might balance out the sugar, but it still turned out excessively sweet, masking the complexity of the tart elements. Surely it would have been even sweeter with all mulberries, as prescribed. Since there's normally a reason for the amount of sugar in a canning recipe, I thought I should respect it here, as I've found this book to be reliable and was already varying the fruit, but I wish I hadn't. If anyone knows why mulberries require more sugar than other berries, I'd be curious to know.