Tag Archives: Bon Appétit

2017 Cookery Project — Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

Peach and Blue Cheese Toast

An update: I made Peach and Blue Cheese Toast for the first time last year, and liked it a lot, but thought it could be better. When I made it last week, it was.

The difference was the bread. Last year, I used mass-produced bread from a neighbourhood supermarket, while this year, I used freshly made Country White from a bakery.

The moral of the story is to use the best ingredients you can. It took me a long time to realize that, no, beef bullion from cubes was not an acceptable substitute for beef stock, and that once you try Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, you’ll never use table salt again. It’s a false economy to try.

The recipe came from Bon Appétit. Using great ingredients is what moves this dish from “Good” to “Excellent”.


★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

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2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

Chicken Marbella

The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, was probably the most influential general cookbook of the 80s, and 35 years later, it’s still one of the essentials.  Just last March, Bon Appétit published an article titled “How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking”.

The signature recipe from the cookbook was the one for Chicken Marbella. Making Chicken Marbella involves marinating chicken overnight in a mixture of green olives, capers, prunes, honey, white wine, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, bay leaves*, and other stuff that momentarily skips my mind. It isn’t really complicated, but it results in a complex melding of the ingredients. The taste reminded me of Tzimmes, the stew I’d made a couple of months ago, and when I did a little research, I found that, like Tzimmes, Chicken Marbella has become a favourite meal served during Passover.

The New York Times published a brief history of the Silver Palate on the occasion of the cookbook’s 25th anniversary. You can find the recipe for Chicken Marbella at the bottom of the article.


I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.


*When my brother and sister-in-law last visited, they brought me some wonderful fresh bay leaves from the plant in their backyard in California. I used the last of them when I made Beef Bourguignon last month, so I trekked up to Giant to buy a jar from the McCormick spice rack. I was surprised to see that the 0.12 ounce jar, containing 8-10 bay leaves costed $8.49. When I looked closer at the label, I got a bigger surprise.

At that price, a pound of bay leaves would cost $754.67. I think it might be time to buy acreage someplace that has a Mediterranean climate, and start a little herb farm to call my own.

2017 Cookery Project — Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes and Shallots

The recipe for this meal of Chicken Salad with Greens, Roasted Potatoes, and Shallots comes from an old issue of Bon Appétit. I couldn’t find the recipe online, so there’s no link with this one. Sorry.

Putting it all together was a three-step process: prepping the vegetables, prepping the chicken, and prepping the vinaigrette.

For the vegetables, I peeled a couple of russet potatoes and cut them into bite-size cubes, sliced the shallots, put them on a baking dish, doused them with olive oil, and roasted them for half an hour. The chicken was dredged in flour and then pan-fried. The shallot and mustard vinaigrette included balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh chopped thyme.

When everything was ready, I plated it on a bed of watercress, and served it hot.

The chicken and vegetables would have been good on their own, but the shallot and mustard vinaigrette was what put the dish over the top.


My rating. The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

2016 Cookery Project — Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Toasts

Peach and Bleu Cheese Cheese Toasts

Lunch today came from a recipe in Bon Appétit.

A few years ago, if I’d read a recipe that told me to blanch and shock the peaches, I probably would have stared at the page for a few moments, before thumbing through the cookbook until I found something more within my comfort zone, like a recipe that began “Take one can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.” But now I know the things I know….

So I blanched and shocked the peaches, then peeled them over a bowl, to catch the peach juice. I added a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and honey. Meanwhile, I cut two thick slices of Country White bread and toasted them under the broiler. When they started to singe at the edges, I brushed them with olive oil, and scattered bleu cheese and watercress—my favourite green these days—on top of them. Then I topped that with the peaches and some of the sauce.

It sure beat Cream of Mushroom Soup.

2016 Cookery Project — Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy

Damn!  Aren’t they beautiful!  You can almost feel the crunch just by looking at them.

I got the recipe for these Buttermilk Fried Chicken Drumsticks (with Pan Gravy) from a new-to-me website called Life’s Ambrosia, which seems to have some connection with Bon Appetit and Epicurious.

The drumsticks were soaked overnight in a bath of buttermilk, onions, and garlic, then dredged in seasoned flour and fried in canola oil, and kept warm in the oven while I made the gravy.

I had two of the drumsticks for lunch today.  If I only eat two more for late night snacks, I might have one left for breakfast tomorrow, but they’re so good that I wouldn’t bet on any of them lasting the night.

2016 Cookery Project — Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Here’s the final meal from the first half of the 2016 Cookery Project.  I’ll be posting a project summary in a day or two.

I got this recipe for Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco from Bon Appétit, via Epicurious.   “Romesco” is a Spanish nut and red pepper-based sauce that can be used in the same ways that pesto can, although the two taste not at all alike.  In this meal, the Romesco was made with carrots, roasted pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and red wine vinegar, and sits at the bottom of the plate.

The salad is made of roasted carrots and baby mustard, which I’ve never tried before.  The baby mustard has a sharp, spicy taste, and a texture sort of like kale.

I browned the pork tenderloin in a pan, then roasted it.

It makes for a colourful dish, doesn’t it?

2016 Cookery Project — Filet Mignon Belmont House

This made up for the mixed results I had a few days ago, when I made gazpacho and gorgonzola toast.  (Memorable gorgonzola toast, but forgettable…whatever the other thing was.  It slips my mind just now.)

I found the Filet Mignon Belmont House recipe, which was originally in Bon Appétit, on Epicurious.   It’s pretty straight forward.  Here’s what I did:

I cut the Russet potatoes in half, doused them with olive oil and seasonings, and baked them at 450 degrees.  After 25 minutes, I added some rather elderly heritage tomatoes I had lying around, turned the potatoes over, and baked them for 25 minutes more.

Meanwhile, back on the stove top,  I seasoned the filet and cooked it in butter for five minutes on each side.  Then I removed the steaks from the skillet, let the pan cool a bit, and added beef broth, brandy, and rosemary.  I scraped up the browned bits, and reduced it to half a cup.

The sauce and the vegetables were ready at the same time.  I plated everything, spooned the sauce over the beef, and crumbled bleu cheese on top of that.

Success!