Recipe Review: Leek and Potato Galette with Pistachio Crust


This savory galette from Bon Appetit 2016 makes an elegant dinner party appetizer.  It features a unique crust made with ground pistachios (ground with a blender).  The dough is easy to make using a food processor or mixer, and the dough is very easy to roll out.  Inside the galette is a spread of garlic, goat cheese, and dill that is topped with thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes and sauteed leeks.  There is a nice balance of flavors with the tangy goat cheese, dill, potatoes, the pistachio crust, and a drizzle of honey after baking.

Level of difficulty: medium

Cost: about $10-15

Time: about 1 hour active time, 2.5-3 hours total including refrigerating dough for one hour and baking for 40 minutes

Deliciousness: 3 of 5 stars

Make again: yes, maybe trying a different filling

Link to recipe here.

Breakfast in LA: Sqirl, Huckleberry, Eggslut, The Larder


LA has a number of great breakfast spots.  My favorite is Sqirl, run by Chef Jennifer Koslow.  At Sqirl they serve unique grain bowls that are savory, brightly acidic, herbaceous, and deliciously well-balanced.  I really liked their signature dish, the sorrel pesto rice, which comes with tangy goat cheese, pickled radishes and a runny egg.  Another delicious grain bowl is their crispy rice with herbs (add an egg and sausage).  Here in the Bay Area we have $4 toast, and at Sqirl they make an incredible avocado toast with creme fraiche and pickled carrots, and a brioche toast with homemade jam and ricotta.  They also make some specials, salads and sandwiches for lunch, and baked goods (cakes, cookies).  As in LA, one must drive there (on Virgil near Silver Lake), and I have always been able to find neighborhood parking.  There is seating both inside and out, and usually a line (get there early). Several of Chef Koslow’s recipes have been published in a feature in Bon Appetit, and a cookbook will be published Fall 2016.

Another of my favorites is HuckleberryI have been baking regularly from Chef Zoe Nathan’s beautiful cookbook before I tried the actual restaurant, which is a bright and cheerful place in Santa Monica.  They have a display case with all of their delicious baked goods, and one can also order breakfast dishes, salads, and sandwiches.

Eggslut is located in the bustling downtown LA food hall Grand Central Market.  They make egg sandwiches and their signature coddled egg on top of potatoes that is poached in a small glass jar.  Delicious.

I am a big fan of Chef Suzanne Goin and her collection of restaurants in LA.  The Larder, in Hollywood, serves up delicious breakfast fare and baked goods in a casual atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

Recipe Review: Soy-Glazed Chicken with Asparagus and Scallions


Soy-glazed chicken with asparagus and scallions

Soy-glazed chicken with asparagus and scallions

This is a fast, easy, good recipe from Bon Appetit May 2014.  Chicken is marinated in a teriyaki-like sauce that contains toasted anise seed, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and lime juice (a little expensive because of the great lime shortage of 2014).  The chicken is marinated for 30 minutes up to overnight, then baked with the marinade in a 450 oven.  The recipe states that after roasting in the oven, the sauce thickens into a nice glaze.  However, in my experience, the sauce burned almost completely.  However, the chicken still came out moist and flavorful.  Asparagus and scallions are roasted at the same time and accompany the chicken nicely.

Level of difficulty: easy

Cost: about $10

Deliciousness: 3 of 5 stars (good)

Healthy: yes

Time: about 15 minutes active time + marinade time and roasting time of 30 minutes

Make again: maybe

Link to recipe here.

 

Recipe Review: Bon Appetit’s Ultimate Lobster Rolls


Ultimate Lobster Roll

Ultimate Lobster Roll

The June 2013 issue of Bon Appetit had a feature written by Michael Paterniti, entitled “Consider the Lobster Roll” and an accompanying recipe, “Bon Appetit’s Ultimate Lobster Roll.”  The title recalls David Foster Wallace’s piece in Gourmet, “Consider the Lobster,” an existential treatise, complete with multiple hilarious footnotes, on the ethics of eating lobster at a summer lobster festival in Maine.  This article contained a history of the lobster roll, all of the considerations – the bun, the dressing, the amount of meat, and a chronicle of the author’s assignment of tasting the many permutations of lobster roll served at seafood shacks up and down the coast of New England.  By the way, where can I sign up for that job?

OK, on to the review of “Bon Appetit’s Ultimate Lobster Rolls.”  I think it’s a great recipe that gets everything right.  The lobster meat is dressed in a light amount of mayonnaise and lemon, with celery for crunch and chives for color.  Bon Appetit knows that the bun is critical.  It has to be a New England style hot dog bun, where there is no crust on the side and can therefore be toasted crispy in butter.  If one can’t get the New England style buns, then cut the sides off of regular hot dog buns.

Cost: market price for lobster

Level of difficulty: One needs to steam, crack, and extract the meat from the lobster, and then the rest is easy

Time: about an hour

Deliciousness: delicious (4 of 5 stars)

Make again: yes

Link to recipe here.

Subscribe to Bon Appetit here.

Recipe Review: Spiced Salmon Kebabs


Spiced Salmon Kebabs

Spiced Salmon Kebabs

Bon Appetit has a couple of winning recipes in the June 2013 issue.  The Spiced Salmon Kebabs are fresh, healthy, easy and perfect for summer.  Salmon pieces are threaded on bamboo skewers, alternating with thin slices of lemon, which adds bright acidity and complements the spice mixture of cumin, sesame seeds, oregano, and red chile flakes.  Instead of grilling, I put the kebabs in the broiler for 2-3 minutes, then flipped them over for another 2-3 minutes.  This is also perfect timing to broil some pencil-thin asparagus on the side.

Time: about 20 minutes

Cost: about $12

Level of difficulty: easy

Health: pretty healthy

Taste: great (3.5/5 stars)

Make again: yes

Link to recipe here.

Recipe Review: Cherry and Plum Bruschetta


Cherry and Plum Bruschetta

Cherry and Plum Bruschetta

Another winner from June 2013 Bon Appetit magazine.  This is a sweet take on bruschetta.  Cherries and plums or nectarines are macerated with a little sugar, olive oil, vanilla, and a pinch of salt.  Whole milk (not skim) ricotta is sweetened with a little bit of sugar.  The ricotta and macerated fruit go on top of a toasted baguette slice for a perfect summer dessert bite.

Time: about 20 minutes

Cost: about $9

Level of Difficulty: easy

Deliciousness: delicious (4 of 5 stars)

Make again: yes

Link to recipe here.

Recipe Review: Chawan Mushi with Shrimp and Spring Peas, Herbed Pea Sauce (Spring is Here!)


Chawan Mushi with Shrimp, Spring Peas, Mushrooms

Chawan Mushi with Shrimp, Spring Peas, Mushrooms

Chawan Mushi is a Japanese steamed, savory egg custard made with dashi broth and eggs.  Bon Appetit April 2013 has a great recipe that adds fresh spring peas, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms.  Spring peas are now in season, and are worth the extra work compared to frozen peas.  The peas, mushrooms, and shrimp are first individually steamed in a bamboo steamer.  The egg custard is made by mixing eggs with a dashi broth.  Dashi is a Japanese stock made from dried kombu (seaweed) and shaved bonito flakes that imparts a lot of umami.  Instant dashi granules are available in Japanese markets.  When the eggs and dashi mixture is steamed, it produces a very light, flavorful custard, punctuated by the shrimp and vegetables.  Great recipe!

Cost: about $5-10 (one needs to buy dashi granules) for six servings

Level of difficulty: not too difficult, but requires bamboo steamer and multiple steps of steaming peas, mushrooms, shrimp, and then the chawan mushi

Time: about 1 hour

Deliciousness: excellent (4 out of five stars)

Health: pretty healthy

Make again: definitely

Link to recipe here.

A good recipe in the accompanying feature on spring peas is the Herbed Pea Sauce.  It is simply blanched fresh peas, sauteed in butter with scallions, parsley, lemon zest, and chives.  It is a nice, easy accompaniment to meat or fish such as sauteed tilapia.   Link to Herbed Pea Sauce recipe here.

Sauteed Tilapia with Herbed Pea Sauce

Sauteed Tilapia with Herbed Pea Sauce

Recipe Review: Roast Chicken with Kimchi Smashed Potatoes


Roast Chicken and Kimchi Smashed Potatoes

Roast Chicken and Kimchi Smashed Potatoes

Kimchi, the Korean fermented vegetables with red chile, add a pungent, spicy kick to roast chicken and potatoes in this recipe from Bon Appetit March 2013.  This recipe uses the best method to pan-roast chicken thighs.  Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are placed in a frying pan skin side down until the fat renders and the skin is golden and crispy.  The thighs then finish cooking through by roasting in the oven along with the potatoes and kimchi.  The whole dish is finished with arugula and a simple vinaigrette made from the kimchi pickling liquid, rice vinegar, and oil.  A good, simple, weeknight dish.  Leftovers are not as good as just-cooked, because the texture of the chicken changes.

Cost: about $15 for 4 servings

Deliciousness: good, three out of five stars

Time: about 45 minutes

Level of difficulty: easy

Health: fairly healthy (except for the chicken skin)

Make again: no

Link to recipe here.

Recipe Review: Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu


Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu

Rigatoni with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragu

This recipe was on the cover of the Pasta February 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.  A soffritto of carrots, celery, onion, tomato paste forms the base of this ragu with Italian sausage and ground pork.  The sauce is slowly simmered for four hours, making it a good Sunday afternoon project.  However, I thought the deliciousness was in the good, not great range.  It does not beat my previous favorite version of a spicy Italian sausage tomato sauce from Andrew Carmellini (Rigatoni Pugliese).  At what point does one stop trying new versions of the same basic recipe and stick to what they know is really good?

Cost: about $10

Servings: 6 – 8

Taste: three out of five stars (good)

Time: five hours (one hour active time)

Level of Difficulty: not difficult, but time-consuming

Nutrition: fresh vegetables and tomatoes, but lots of pork

Make again: no

Link to recipe here.

Link to Rigatoni Pugliese review here.

Recipe Review: Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze


The Old-Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake recipe I made from the Cakes & Ale Bakery (Decatur, GA) feature in Bon Appetit September 2012 was really successful, so I tried another recipe from the feature, Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze. Chef Wolitzky replaces some of the butter in a typical pound cake with cream cheese, which is supposed to make the cake moist and rich.

The recipe gives volume-based quantities for citrus zest and juice.  In practical terms for the zest I used one navel orange, one lime, and two small lemons.  For the 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp lemon juice I needed three small lemons.  The orange and lime used for zest have sufficient juice that one doesn’t need additional fruit for juicing.

The icing was quite thin initially.  I had to reapply it several times over before it started to solidify and stay on the cake.

The cake had a bright citrus flavor and was not overly sweet.  However, in my hands the cake came out slightly dry.  For a lemon cake I prefer Tartine Bakery‘s Almond-Lemon Tea Cake recipe.  It is much richer, with a batter made with butter and almond paste and a crunchy crystallized citrus glaze.

Time: about 4.5 hours total time, including one hour baking and one hour cooling

Difficulty: not very difficult. A stand mixer is helpful.

Cost: about $8

Deliciousness: good, 3 out of 5 stars

Nutrition: well, aside from the cake flour, sugar, cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar, there is some healthy citrus.  Good for scurvy.

Worth making once: yes, but I would rather choose Tartine version

Would I make again: no

Link to Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Citrus Glaze recipe here.

Link to Tartine Almond-Lemon Tea Cake recipe here.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: