Thursday, November 17, 2011

Their Problem is Hyperbolic Labeling

I think part of what bugs me with the ATK/CI crew is their over-inflated sense of self. They don't just publish a book of International Recipes. It has to be "Best International Recipes." They don't just publish a book of vegetables. It has to be "Perfect Vegetables." I judge them more harshly because of this than I would if the book were simply called "Vegetables," or even "Great Vegetables." If you promise me perfection, you better produce perfection. Anyway.

This'll be quick as I can make it, though I do have a number of things to catch up on. Things have slowed down on the nanowrimo front, about which I'm not happy, but it felt like things were running away from me over here, so I just want to catch up real quick, while Charlie is babbling in his crib instead of napping.

The Master Recipe for Oven Fries (pg 229) produced dried out, thin-cut fries. It was a promising concept. Their technique is to steam, then oil, then bake. I like my fries crispy on the outside and mushy on the inside. A baked potato has more moisture in it than these bad boys. Bad.

Conclusion: As far as fries go, hated them. I mean, I still ate them, but this is a terrible oven fry recipe.
Those fries look better than they were.
However, with it, I served Sauteed Shredded Zucchini with Sweet Corn and Chives (pg 315). Sweet, a little buttery, with a nice, mild oniony flavor from the chives and shallot. Yum. Seems like a good way to get zucchini into a kid, because it's sort of just in the background to the corn. Assuming your kid will eat corn, that is, which mine will not. I'll keep trying this one on Charlie. Someday, he's bound to taste it.

Conclusion: Liked it.

However you imagine Orecchiette (Penne, for me) with Broccoli, Sausage, and Roasted Peppers (pg 44) to taste is, I'm sure, accurate. I made this because it was easy. It was fine, but nothing that I'd ever crave.
I was starving. No time for a glamor shot.
Conclusion: Just okay.

Last night, I made Roasted Winter Squash with Soy and Maple (pg 309). Personally, I loved this. In the last five minutes of roasting, the cut side of the squash is smeared with a combo of soy sauce, maple syrup, and grated ginger. The result seems to amplify the butternut squash's natural flavor and sweetness, without actually tasting like soy or maple or ginger. However, Charlie spit it out and Matt hated it (hehe, that one's for you, Stacy.) From the odd motion Matt was making with his mouth, I think his problem was one of texture, not taste. He can neither confirm nor deny if he's ever had butternut squash in anything but soup form. I doubt he'd like any roasted version.

Conclusion: I loved it, and that's what counts. This can be my Matt's-out-of-town vegetable.

Lastly, when I saw all the bundt cakes that bloggers baked for Mary the Food Librarian's National Bundt Day, I wanted to play too. It was after the fact, but I baked Polenta Cake with Olive Oil and Rosemary (pg 58) from David Lebovitz's Ready For Dessert. The recipe calls for six teaspoons of minced rosemary. I used a substantial amount less, because my poor, pathetic little plant just didn't have that much to offer. The rosemary flavor in mine was there, and you'd be able to identify it, but it was nice and subtle. I may have found the flavor overwhelming if I'd used the required amount. I very much enjoyed the match-up of almond extract with rosemary. I never would have thought to put those two flavors together, but it worked nicely.
Matt insists on calling it corn bread. I think the almond throws it, so you wouldn't want to eat it with a bowl of chili, but otherwise, yeah. It's a nicer-crumbed corn bread. Like Lebovitz's Pistachio Cardamom Cake, this seems like more of a breakfast or tea sweet to me. It's not the type of thing that I want when I'm craving dessert. Still tastes good, though.

Conclusion: Liked it.


  1. I just tricked Michael into eating butternut squash the other day!! I roasted it with butter, brown sugar and black pepper (a little more than intended due to cap issues with my costco-sized black pepper container). He said he enjoyed the potatoes... muahahaha! vegetables 1...antivegetableman 0

  2. what pretension - publishing master recipes esp. when they are anything but! meh to those Bostonian know-it-all's.

  3. Hyperbole - I love that word. Seriously.
    I think that cake and I could become close friends very quickly. It would probably be over quickly too - because it would be gone...

  4. Ha! Me personally, I can't stand that guy with the idiotic suspenders and glasses. I'm not sure who I loathe more: him or Rachel Ray.