Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CCC May 2014

So...I went a little bit crazy and made all of the recipes this month.  I don't plan on making a habit of this, but we do eat a lot of vegetables and I was very excited to try out my new cookbook.  Overall, Paul and I both think that this cookbook is a winner.  One recipe didn't seem to work (likely my fault), but all of the other ones were relatively easy, came out well, and were interesting takes on vegetables.  I also find it so helpful that the recipes are written in weights.  I've owned a kitchen scale for a while now, and once you get used to it it feels so much easier than getting out the measuring cups and spoons.  It's less dishes to clean, too!  I do keep needing to look up the celsius-fahrenheit conversions for the oven temperatures, but I'm starting to know those by heart as well.  

The first recipe I made from the book was the Roasted Aubergine Boats.  We had them for a Friday night dinner along with cod in coconut curry sauce (I used this recipe but replaced with yogurt with coconut milk) and my very favorite Baked Spinach.  The boats were good, but nothing spectacular.  They were quick and easy, though, and I could see making them again later this summer when eggplants are in season.

Next, I made the Asparagus Pizza with some fresh asparagus that we got in our CSA share.  Paul is very particular about pizza and I knew that this one wouldn't live up to his very particular standards (his dough uses a combination of yeast and sourdough started and has to be made several days ahead of time), so I told him just to pretend that this was a flat bread.  This crust didn't live up to Paul's, but it was much easier, and made a delicious "flat bread."  The crust was thin and chewy, white pizza is my favorite, and I loved that the asparagus cooked directly on the pizza.

The pizza was good, but I think the Spring Onion Galette was better.  Just for fun, I made the rough puff pastry recipe that was in the book.  I think I rolled it too thin and it didn't puff quite as well as store-bought puff pastry, but it was still absolutely delicious and I like that I made it myself.  (Although I don't like that now I know just how much butter is in puff pastry.)  With a combination of red and white spring onions from our CSA share, and some hard goat's cheese, this galette was delicious.  If it was healthier, I could definitely see myself making it a lot more often.  As it is, this is definitely going to be a special treat in my kitchen.

I wanted to make sure that we had plenty of vegetables to go with all of the butter, so with the galette I made Stir-Fried Cauliflower and the Greek-style spinach from another one of my favorite vegetable cookbooks.  I LOVED this cauliflower.  I think I could have eaten the whole bowl myself.  I loved the spices, the jalapeno, and the sesame seeds.  It was also relatively quick and easy.  This is definitely something that I'll make again.

I usually try to avoid things that feel trendy, but I love the tapas/small plates/mezze style of eating this is so popular right now.  It can be a lot of work, but it's always fun and interesting to have a whole bunch of small things to eat.  One night I added some grilled asparagus, pita, and halloumi cheese to four of the smaller vegetable items and called it dinner.  The most substantial part of the meal was the Quinoa with Courgettes and Onion.  I've taken French and am familiar with a lot of the English vegetables names (like aubergine) but Courgette was one I had to look up.  I was pleased to see that it was zucchini.  We enjoy zucchini, and in the summer when Paul and our CSA both grow it, I'm always looking for more ways to use up zucchini.  This was a quick and easy dish that we both enjoyed.  I (stupidly) forgot the pine nuts in the toaster oven.

Next time I'll have to remember them!  On the side, I made the Lemony Guacamole and Carrot Hummus.  I think the Carrot Hummus was our favorite recipe of the month.  I wasn't expecting much from it, but we both thought the flavor was incredible, given the short list of simple ingredients.  I'll definitely be making this one again.  The guacamole I have less to say about.  It was good, but as far as I'm concerned any kind of simple, homemade guacamole is good. 

When I put the Radishes with Butter and Salt down on the table Paul asked if they were for the blog.  I asked Paul if he really thought I would make something like this on my own.  He laughed.  These were surprisingly good, but definitely nothing that I would put together for myself, and probably not something I would have selected from a cookbook on my own.  Paul mentioned that butter wasn't exactly the healthiest pairing for a radish.  I pointed out that radishes were a very health pairing for butter (much healthier than bread!).   

Until recently fennel was one of the very few vegetables that I refused to eat.  I still don't love fennel (and still can't stand black licorice), but I'm slowly learning to eat it.  I still like it much better when it's cooked, though.  Raw fennel has a very strong flavor to me.  As raw fennel goes, though, I thought the Fennel and Goat's Cheese was a very nice recipe.   Marinating the fennel in lemon juice really helped the flavor.  I served this with some of the smoked sablefish that we made, and the Pea and Parsley Soup.  I was very pleasantly surprised by the soup.  I used homemade chicken stock which helped a lot, but I thought it was great flavor from just frozen peas and parsley.  I'll definitely make this one next winter, when we need a touch of spring.

Right before we left on vacation I made the Courgette and Rice Filo Pie and the Rocket, Fennel, and Puy Lentil Salad for our dinner.  I had a really  busy day planned, so I mixed the filling ahead of time and then quickly made the filo crust, filled it, and put it in the oven before dinner.  I think this was a major mistake.  After sitting for a few hours the salt had drawn a lot of moisture out of the zucchini.  I probably should have just drained off the water, but I thought  the extra liquid might be necessary to cook the rice so I just stirred it all together and put it into the crust.  It didn't really work at all.  After the pie baked the rice had barely cooked at all, and there was tons of liquid left on the bottom of the dish.  The flavor of this was alright, but barely-cooked rice does not have a great texture or flavor!  I'm also not sure if I would have liked this even if the rice had cooked.  It just seemed to need more flavor.  I'll be very curious to see if you all had better luck with this recipe.  The salad, on the other hand, we liked.  Lentils are inexpensive, quick, and healthy, and every time I make them I wonder why I don't make them more.  I liked the idea of using them in vegetable salad, especially since Paul had arugula ready in the garden.


  1. Wow! All ten recipes - kudos to you, Jora! I had the same problem with the filo pie. Next time I will use cooked rice and squeeze out as much moisture from the zucchini as possible. Have a fabulous time on your vacation!

  2. Hi Jora, beautiful blog, your amazing re-creating all the recipes. I'm really enjoying this cookbook.

  3. I'm so impressed that you made all ten! I also love all the other foods you served alongside these dishes. I'm bookmarking the link to the cod recipe - sounds fantastic!

  4. I can't get over that you made all the recipes too. I had intentions to make 4 and I only made 2 on time. I'm excited to hear that the carrot hummus is really good. I plan on making that tomorrow. My husband is very particular about pizza crust too so good to know that he should stick to his tried and true recipe and we'll just top it with the asparagus.

  5. How impressive! Wasn't this fun? I didn't get to the carrot hummus, so I'm very happy to hear that it was a favorite. I also skipped the filo pie, thinking that it wasn't the healthiest... (not that the puff pastry was!). And now I really just have to try that cauliflower!! Wonderful post!

  6. Jora, thank you so much for participating in the CCC - I truly appreciate your participation and, of course, your enthusuiam! I truly enjoy seeing all the pictures of all your lovely dishes and I am more than impressed that you made everything from scratch, including stock and doughs! Kudos for that! The Spring Onion Galette was my absolute favorite this month and so was the Courgette and Filo Pie - but when I made it a second time, I used pre-cooked, left-over rice and squeezed all the liquid out of the courgettes, a true winning recipe with a few adjustments. The Radishes with Butter and Salt are always a winner at our house, the Aubergine Boats were nice and it is always great to have another recipe for aubergines on hand. The Quinoa we loved too.I diid not get to the Pea Soup but I am planning to, yours sounds and looks wonderful! And so dooes the Fennel and Goat´s Cheese - love fennel and will have to make that recipe for sure. You are the only one that magaged to make all ten recipe - I went up to eight and added the carrot hummus as a "plus" for the LYL for the June recipes.
    Thank you, again, it is truly a pleasue to have you join us!
    Have a wonderful vacation!

  7. Jora, you definitely have earned the blue ribbon this week. I am more-than-impressed that you could knock off all these recipes this month. How wonderful. I am very appreciative of your comments on all the recipes I did not make and will keep them in mind as I forge ahead. I definitely am going to make the carrot hummus since you both liked it so much. You needed to take a vacation to just rest from all your veggie cooking. Nice job.