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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:11 am 
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I'm beginning to think I need to take a caretaker with me when I leave the house.

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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:34 pm
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I would probably forget him too. See how I automatically think it is a "he" and that Brad Pitt would even take that kind of job? Something I this old gal is still working.

Mary


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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
Can I join the club? Got my basil all washed, tomatoes from the garden ready to be cut. Guess who forgot to get the mozzarella?

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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:27 pm 
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Foods of the World: The Cooking of India -- Text by Santha Rama Rau, recipes by Devika Teja. Mohammed Aftab, a Time-Life correspondent in Islamabad wrote the chapter on Pakistan and Bangladesh.

This book is a great read. Ms. Rau was a terrific writer and the book is filled with colorful anecdotes and reminiscences. The recipes are amazing. Apparently the trick to great Indian cooking as opposed to good Indian cooking is the willingness to use a lake of ghee in every dish. Really, though, with few exceptions this is some of the best Indian food to come out of my kitchen. I decided to throw a dinner party and just make an entire sample menu. Here's what I made:

Kesar Chaval (saffron rice) -- Best basmati rice I've ever made. I've never been a huge fan of Basmati. This stuff could change my mind.
Mattar Pannir (peas and paneer) -- This was the one (very minor) disappointment. I had cheese stuck to the pan and the result was lots of unevenly cooked, broken up cheese cubes. I will stick to my old recipe, which deep-fries the cheese in oil rather than sautéing them in ghee. I liked the larger ratio of peas to other ingredients, which lent a nice sweetness, but I didn't think it was as richly flavored.
Bharta (curried eggplant) -- Delicious and easy. It would be even better if you roasted the eggplant on a grill.
Manh Ki Dal (black lentils) -- This required a little internet research since "manh dal" does not appear to really be a thing. Most Google hits were just EYB referring to this very cookbook. Eventually, I decided that it was likely to be whole urad dal and ran with that. Wrong bean or right, an extremely tasty dal.
Pakora Ka Rayta (yogurt with fried dumplings) -- Despite a few burns from making the tiny pakoras, this was a very nice raita. Making the pakoras was like making deep-fried chickpea spaetzle.
Simla Mirch (green peppers stuffed with potato) -- The big winner of the evening. This is a great dish for entertaining. It's attractive, it can be made ahead, and it can go straight to the table. The recipe called for "Italian frying peppers" which the internet assures me are cubanelles. Maybe, maybe not, but it was clear that I would need double the amount of stuffing called for. Whatever. They were swooningly yummy in cubanelles. Next time I might use half cubanelles and half those long sweet orange peppers for even better presentation.
Adrak Chatni (ginger chutney) -- It was chutney, made from ginger, garlic, and raisins. One of my guests ate an entire puri dipped in it.
Puris -- but you knew that already.

I made a different dessert, Aam Ki Kulfi from a different cookbook. Foods of the World called for a carrot halva and I had invited a carrot-hater.

My biggest quibble with this book is that it gives no clue how to make all that food happen at once. Unlike the Chinese book, the dishes are not planned out so that they are not all requiring attention at once. Actually, there is no way to make each of these dishes start-to-finish, all-at-once, and have enough burners on a typical stove. I had to apply my own kitchen experience and a few restaurant tricks to make it come off and I was still over half an hour late getting it to the table.

All-in-all, though, I'd say if you come across this book and like Indian food, definitely pick it up.


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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:53 pm 
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JB,

Since I have all the time-life books, I'm really benefitting from you efforts ...

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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:11 am 
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Well, that one should be doubly informative since I decided to go vegetarian. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 8:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:58 am
Posts: 382
Location: Florida Gulf Coast
JesBelle wrote:
Foods of the World: Chinese Cooking

This installment of the series was written by Emily Hahn, a Midwesterner who lived and taught engineering in Shanghai prior to World War II. In fact, she spent the war in an internment camp in Hong Kong. It's definitely one of the better reads in the series. It has more depth and is less "travelogue-y" than most of the series. Ms. Hahn is passionate about Chinese food. For the requisite comparison to French food, she declares Chinese food to be hands-down better. She even likes Shaoxing wine. The recipes are by Florence Lin with help from Grace Chu. Most of the photographs were taken in Taiwan and Hong Kong, since mainland China was closed to Americans in 1967, but there a few photos done by a Swedish journalist in communist China.

Ms. Hahn included some sample menus so I decided to do an entire Chinese dinner rather than just a couple of dishes. Here is what I made --

Drunk Chicken -- This turned out very tender and flavorful. I poached the whole chicken, then used half of it for the Drunk Chicken and stuck the rest in a food saver bag for later use. It also leaves one with some very nice broth for other dishes.

Roast Pork -- This will now be my go-to recipe for Char Siu. It was super easy and much tastier than CI's. .........



Are you still happy with the Char Siu? I'm looking for a really good recipe.

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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:15 am 
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Yes, I love this recipe. I suspect part of the reason it is so good is that it isn't trying to replicate the flavor of brown bean paste with more common ingredients. I don't do the weird trick with hanging the meat that the author suggests. I just roast it on a wire rack over my small graniteware roasting pan.

Also, I really want to do another cookbook. I stopped because things got crazy for a while and kind of forgot to get back on it.


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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:58 am
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Location: Florida Gulf Coast
Thanks JB. I found the book for 45 cents and snagged it.

I'm planning to make the pork and put it in steamed buns with some pickled watermelon rind, cilantro, peanuts, and radish. We had something similar at Tchoup Chop in Orlando last week and I'd like to reproduce it. I'm going to use that char siu recipe for the pork.

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 Post subject: Re: My Cookbook Project
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 9:04 am 
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Thanks to you, SS, I remembered that I was doing this project. I should have a review on Creole and Acadian Food next weekend.


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