Part 2 of The Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Project
We made our first big mistake on the Cover-to-Cover Project with Team Food & Wine.
You see, with assigning so many recipes, we didn't take the time to read every single one of the recipes ahead of time. This quickly become apparent when we received an email from Valerie about her assigned dish, which was a cocktail:
"The recipe for Aged Negroni sounds interesting but it takes a month of being aged in an oak barrel…"
Yes indeed, we assigned six members of Team Food & Wine aged cocktail recipes that require a "One 1-liter oak barrel" and a month's worth of time. Instruction #1: "If the barrel is new and dry inside...."
Hilariously, Team Food & Wine seemed more than game for the challenge, and had already started discussing ways to improvise this process. Needless to say, we let them off the hook with other recipes.
That's not to say that there weren't some seriously challenging dishes in the issue. Here are all the recipes in the 2012 issue, as cooked and photographed by Team Food & Wine.
Give them your kudos and let us know what you're going to make out of this issue.
STARTERS & SOUPS
Apples on Horseback
"The online recipe is more detailed than the one in the magazine, and I apparently should have looked at the online version before I made these appetizers. The flavor combination is wonderful, but I believe my cheese was too thick and my apple slices too big, so the pancetta ripped when I wrapped everything up. It is also impossible to brown the pancetta on all sides when you're using a toothpick instead of a rosemary sprig. I would be interested in coming up with another appetizer that uses these ingredients, though!"
Pork and Kale Soup with Sizzling Puffed Rice
"I followed the recipe with no substitutions. I am visiting my daughter. She is in the Navy and has eaten many strange things from all over the world. I think she got 2-3 bites in before she put her spoon down. She is now grilling some salmon.
This was awful. The puffed rice cake did sizzle very very briefly-the flavor was dry cardboard, the broth part of the soup reminded me of when I forced my younger brother to eat mud pies and he threw it at my face, the pork-not remarkable, the kale-bitter, the sweet potato tasted like a boiled sweet potato. So, I guess the sweet potato was good!"
Creamy Piquillo Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Chicken
"This is flavorful and a perfect autumn soup. The hummus gives the soup a creamy texture and the piquillo peppers provide the flavor. Overall, this recipe is quick and simple, great for a weeknight meal."
Green Goddess Dip with Crudites
"At first I was a little off put by the amount of mayo and crème fraiche in this dip, and the hubby was also not excited about the anchovies. But the herb flavors really shined through and the dip had a perfect hint of umami on the taste buds. This would also be amazing as a dressing for all sorts of salads-- my inner goddess is quite satisfied (anyone who has read 50 Shades of Grey would know that I could not resist that reference!)."
Mussels on the Half Shell with Curried Crumbs
"I would've skipped over this recipe had it not been assigned to me ... and glad it was. Amazing & delicious! Very easy, the most important thing is to make your own coarse breadcrumbs (I used toasted baguette) and good curry powder. Served as a main course with basmati rice and sautéed bok choy, drank a crisp Bordeaux alongside. Fabulous. Will make again, for sure!"
Miso-Infused Cream Cheese Spread
"This recipe was super easy and would be perfect for a party as it needs to be made a few days ahead and then left alone to 'infuse.' Not being particularly enthusiastic over miso soup, I found the miso surprisingly sweet and delicate in aroma. I ended up not using the entire eight ounces so maybe I'll get creative and make something else with the remaining tablespoons.
Tip for sourcing the miso: you definitely need to visit a store that offers more variety than the typical 'International Foods aisle' as there was no miso to be found in either East Nashville Kroger. So I made the hike over the river to Whole Foods and found it in the produce cooler. I did use reduced fat cream cheese and didn't notice a lack in flavor that I typically observe with the low fat version.
All in all, this recipe is a decent sophisticated alternative to the standard cream cheese spreads found on most party tables."
"The idea of healthy linseeds in a delicious, crunchy crisp was exciting and I was prepared to love them, but reality didn't meet expectation. It may have been because I couldn't get potato starch in Bali and used corn starch instead but I don't think the starch was the problem. The linseeds just didn't seem right for an appetizer or snack that should taste yummy. Not to worry, though. Another day, another recipe..."
SALADS, VEGETABLES & FRUIT SNACKS
"There are only two things you need to know about thee apple sandwiches: 1. They're easy and snackable, even if the horizontal slice gives you a bite of core, and 2. They taste exactly like you would expect--almond-y, granola-y, and apple-y. On the whole, entirely as expected: tasty, but a little disappointing."
Fall Vegetable Giardiniera
"Fellow bittens: I offer you an Autumn Kitchen koan: What is the sound of Fall vegetables brining and pickling in a refrigerator? The zen simplicity of this recipe, Food & Wine Fall Vegetable Giardiniera, makes the snap and zing of the results even more pleasurable."
Roasted Carrot and Red Quinoa Salad
"I loved the experience of being assigned a recipe that was different from one I would normally choose on my own. Although I am a very competent cook, making a spice mix and using it in multiple steps of the recipe was new for me. This lent the salad an incredibly rich and complex flavor. I had tried quinoa once before and was disappointed. The quinoa in this recipe was infused with the flavor of coriander, paprika, cumin, ginger and other spices and took on a nutty and interesting 'personality.' The dish ended up looking and tasting rather festive. I am thinking that it would be a welcome addition to my thanksgiving or Christmas holiday table."
Fennel and Citrus Salad with Mint
"This was a simple recipe and Gluten Free too! Came together very easy and took about 15 minutes to put together, once all ingredients were prepped. Good salad for the spring and summer, not a favorite for fall and winter (but that's a personal preference). Went great with breaded (Gluten Free of course) chicken and most likely will try as aside dish with poached fish."
Fennel and Citrus Salad with Mint Recipe
Farmers Market Chopped Salad
"This turned out much better than I expected. If I was a Green Bay Packers fan I would be tailgating with this salad every weekend as all of the ingredients are Green and Yellow. The dressing was light and perfect for the salad combination. My only concern was the golden beets started to turn gray. Having never used golden beets I would research in the future to avoid the discoloring. Loved fixing something out of the box for my family who all loved it."
Baked Ricotta with Roasted Tomatoes and Cucumber Salad
"Although this is rather rich, it is delicious and relatively simple to make. I used homemade ricotta, which too is easy to make. I think it would work out well presented as a shared dish, perhaps preferred, since it is so rich. I topped it with a reduced balsamic glaze.
The salad was a nice complement to the cheese. The recipe didn’t call for rinsing the cucumbers after salting them – I suggest doing so. The roasted tomatoes are decadent, but a step that could easily be skipped. The salad needs to be bright and refreshing, simply use the tomatoes fresh. I served with sliced bread. Tearing into chunks would give a nice rustic feel to dish. I will make this again."
Ham Steak with Sauteed Apple and Onions
"My husband, 14 year old and I all thought it was a great, homey weeknight meal. I already had everything needed for the recipe except brandy and ham steak, so I bought apple brandy because of all the other apples in the recipe. The recipe was simple to follow and came together really quickly. Before making it I was skeptical about the rosemary and ham combination, but it was really good. We had sourdough bread and pea pods with it. I would definitely make it again, especially now since I have a bottle of Calvados to use."
Beef Tenderloin with Parmesan-Prosciutto Crisps
"This recipe was simple yet challenging. With the help of my beautiful cousin, we gathered a few people and held a class on the basics of beef tenderloin. The goal was to be creative, to cook the tenderloin to perfection, have a divine meal, and, of course, have fun. The tenderloin was rubbed with balsamic vinaigrette then seasoned with a salt & pepper olive oil blend. The prosciutto crisps were pan fried instead of cooking it with the tenderloin. The demiglace was made from stock, mushrooms, apple and spices. The whole meal complemented each other and left us speechless. Thank you for bringing people together to the table."
Pork Chops with Charred Vegetable Puree
"Oh my was this good. I made this for my husband and parents on Sunday evening but found it to be a recipe that could pretty easily be made on a busy weeknight as well. The puree was so simple and flavorful we all agreed that it would be good on almost anything, and I think I will try a version of it on pasta some time. A few notes, first, when roasting your vegetables, the garlic should be removed after about 20-25 minutes, at 30 minutes my garlic was bordering on too tough to use. Secondly, if you have an aversion to lemon, this may not be the recipe for you, it was definitely the predominant flavor."
Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips
"I substituted carrots for parsnips, which was good as it kept the dish from looking too beige. This was easy to prepare, but we would have liked a bit more kick, such as mustard in the sauce or peppers in the vegetables. I served it over rice, which it needed to sop up the juice."
Grilled Hanger Stank with Garlic Brandy Butter
Melissa and Jonathan
"My only substitution was margarine for butter because we keep kosher. While others will want to use real butter if possible, I cannot imagine how the taste could possibly be improved upon - my family agreed this easy, quick dish was restaurant quality."
Curried Lamb Potpie
Colleen and Jay
"We loved this recipe -- even our 11 and 12 year old boys. If you are going to call it a curry, it could use a LOT more curry. Or, you could just call it a fall potpie and eat it as is. You'll also need to cover the edge of the crust during baking. The veggies were great. Because of overlapping parenting duties, we used a pre-made pie crust, and it worked fine."Curried Lamb Potpie Recipe
Honey Glazed Spareribs
"I was a last minute fill-in for this project and just got off the plane en route to a ferry to one of the Gulf Islands off the coast of Vancouver Island when I got my assignment. First stop, airport magazine shop to find this month's Food & Wine.
Then asked the cab driver to take me to: Second stop a kitchen store to buy a pressure cooker; Third stop grocery store (would they have all the ingredients on the Island?) Fourth stop the ferry.
The logistics were the hardest part of making these ribs. Turns out practically any grocery store will have the ingredients. Our cabin didn't have any measuring devices, but the amounts were easy to estimate. It was nerve racking using a pressure cooker for the first time (are the ribs burning in there in all that extra honey I mis-measured?). I forgot about the sauce reducing on the stove top after I took out the ribs and it burned while I was trying to take the perfect picture. But they were great, as is, without the extra sauce. I would totally make them again; this time at home, after work. Which is funny, you'd never think that making ribs on a work night would be the 'easy' alternative."
Veal Ragu with Porcini
"The veal ragu with porcini mushrooms was delicious - hearty but not heavy, the meat tender and falling apart -- just full of earthy fall goodness. I don't own a pressure cooker, so I browned and braised the veal in my dutch oven; total cook time was about 3.5 hours. I served this with a simple polenta, flavored with butter and milk. I'll definitely be making this one again!"
Grill Beef Ribs with Smoky Sweet Barbecue Sauce
"This recipe was super easy already, but I made it even easier by doing the simmer-in-Coke step in a slow cooker on low for about 5 hours (could have taken them out sooner and they'd have been fine, longer and they wouldn't have held together). The sauce is a cinch to pull together, and since the recipe makes way more than I needed for my 3 lbs of meat I'll be able to save the rest for next time. We don't have a grill, but the broiler was listed as an alternate and that worked just fine. The verdict? Not bad! Definitely sweet, definitely smokey. The charring was a nice touch. I probably won't make it again with short ribs (my husband is not a fan of them) but the sauce would probably work really well with all barbecue-friendly cuts of meat. Substitutions I made: Used short ribs since they were much easier to find (and only 3 lbs instead of 15!). Used a 1 tsp Chipotle powder instead of pure Ancho powder."
Zinfandel Braised Lamb Chops with Dried Fruit
"If you are a lamb person, then I would recommend this recipe. It's very easy to make and I found all of the ingredients at one store. Unfortunately, I'm not much of a lamb person, I've only eaten it a few times. And while this recipe did not convert me into a lamb eater, I thought the sauce was very tasty. I would make this again and substitute beef for the lamb."
Sausage Burgers with Mustard-Thyme Sauce
"The Sausage Burger was robust with flavor. The Mustard-Thyme sauce was a perfect pairing with the dijon mustard and herb giving it a little kick!"
Braised Chicken with Apples & Calvados
"This was absolutely delicious! We would never think to combine apples & mushrooms, but the combination worked really well, with the mushrooms giving the whole dish a nice richness, but not so much to overpower the perfectly cooked chicken. The apple cider & chicken stock come together to make a wonderful sauce, with a nice little twang from brandy. We served it over this warm quinoa salad to soak up every drop of flavor!
The only changes we made were to use all bone in, skin on chicken breasts to eliminate the need for different cooking times, and subbing regular brandy for the calvados, since we already had a bottle. We'd definitely make this again!"
Beef and Radish Rolls with Buttermilk Dunk
"When I was assigned this recipe, the DC area was in its approximately 5th month of summer heat (hello, Mumbai??) and the idea of a refreshing lettuce wrap sounded great. I found the recipe online, purchased some deli roast beef, and made this very simple dish. The quickie verdict – pretty good for a light summer meal or nosh with drinks.
It was only later, when I finally purchased F&W at an airport on my way home from a business trip that I realized the rolls were conceived as a way to use up leftovers from a beef tenderloin. Ah-ha. Yes indeed. The rolls would have been elevated to a whole ‘nother plain if tenderloin was used. As it happened, in between my first experiment and actually reading the magazine, I made the dish again – using leftover strips of flank steak. Not surprisingly, the quality of the beef directly correlates with tastiness.
So, in summary, here are my thoughts:
- Use good beef leftovers. But, frankly, if I had leftover tenderloin, I’d go instead with a salad using spring greens, toasted nuts, and blue cheese. Or just eat it at room temp without adornment.
- The recipe calls for greenleaf lettuce. It was ok but I’d use butter lettuce next time. Butter lettuce is softer, thus easier to roll up, and has a milder taste. Not sure what they were thinking.
- The Buttermilk Dunk: It was too runny. I suggest reducing amount of buttermilk vice mayonnaise as you end up with more dunk than needed anyway.
- This isn’t a precious recipe. If you happen to have celery seed on hand but no celery salt, feel free to mix seed and kosher salt in a 50/50 blend.
- Chances are you’ll end up with leftover brined radishes. They taste really good in tomorrow’s sandwich, salad, or even a marinated salad with cucumber, tomato, steamed red potatoes, etc."
POULTRY & EGGS
Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Arugula
"I was excited about this recipe because making poached eggs always makes me feel like I’ve cracked some secret chef code, when it’s actually pretty simple! I use this method and it works every time. I really liked this recipe and would definitely make it again. It was definitely one where fresh ingredients from the farmers market made a big difference. I cut it the recipe in half, and used about 3 tablespoons of butter. I thought the hollandaise could have used more seasoning -- I would add more salt and pepper next time as well as the chives in the picture, but not listed in the recipe. It was my first time making hollandaise and it came together really easily. The arugula added a little spiciness and the bacon added a crunch. I’ll definitely add this recipe to my brunch list!'
Smoked-Duck Salad with Walnuts and Raspberries
"This salad balanced the rich, smokiness of the duck with toasted walnuts and sweet raspberries. The addition of bits of crispy duck skin cracklings made this a fabulous meal. I needed to make one change from the original recipe. After 15 minutes in the oven, the duck skin was still flabby. I ended up baking the skin for nearly 30 minutes and was delighted with the crispy bits."
FISH & SHELLFISH
"Although this recipe would not ordinarily catch my eye while enjoying a good issue of Food & Wine, I knew this would be the perfect chance for me to step outside my comfort zone. I do not have a pressure cooker and instead soaked the dry Great Northern beans for almost a day before bringing them to a boil and then simmering them for about an hour. I then added the remaining ingredients and extra water per the recipe and simmered for another hour. I opted for Italian tuna in olive oil instead of trout, and although it isn't the most beautiful end product I've ever seen, it was a great dinner and the flavors of the garlic and rosemary complemented the tuna and olive oil wonderfully. Even if you can't stomach smoked trout, I'd recommend giving this a go with the tuna or simply serving the stewed beans as a side to a main dish!"
Grilled Black Cod with Red Wine Miso Butter Sauce
"This recipe was delicious, although it is hard to go wrong with a stick of butter, shallots, and red wine. We wanted to drink the sauce. More to the point the soft texture of the fish was complemented by the sauce, and the slightly wilted greens added a great texture. Downside: the sauce is not pretty on the white fish, and black cod is a bit allusive on the east coast and goes by many names (butterfish, sablefish) that also belong to other fish too. I settled on an Arctic Cod steak from HMart that was close to all the descriptions. It was, as promised in the recipe, fast and easy."
Poached Salmon Salad
"This is a quick, weeknight poached salmon salad recipe made more interesting by a unique dressing. The dressing used poaching liquid, shallots from the poaching, and horseradish together with some pantry staples for a quick but flavorful dressing. While we wouldn't buy a bottle of wine to make this recipe again as it isn't particularly special, we'll keep the dressing tricks handy for making other salads."
Potato-Quinoa Cakes with Smoked Salmon and Beets
"Delicious! A bit labor intensive with generous portions. Two thumbs up from our 15 year old. Latkes with a Ph.D. BTW, this recipe didn't make it into the published magazine."
Wild Salmon, Orzo & Arugula Pesto en Papillote
"Overall, I am not impressed. I enjoyed the [previous salmon and pesto] recipe posted on your blog much more. The pesto had no nuts in it! It was a little bitter. My husband and daughter liked it, I thought it was just okay. If I had the choice, I would make the salmon with walnut arugula pesto."
Scallops with Grapefruit and Bacon
"This dish was a bit of a mixed bag. Instead of bacon, I used roasted portobello and shiitake mushrooms, which were earthy and rich, but didn't mesh well with the scallops and grapefruit (though they were fantastic with the side dish of roasted fingerlings and leeks). We loved the sauce with grapefruit juice, white wine, and butter, and the scallops themselves were delicious, but together the grapefruit and the scallops were a little bit strange. The scallops we get here in coastal Maine are so fresh that to dress them up in any way almost feels like we're doing them a disservice. If I had the meal to do over, I'd put the grapefruit on the salad, sear the scallops simply as I usually do, and use the white wine sauce as salad dressing."
PASTA & RICE
Cannelloni with Walnuts and Fried Sage
"Definitely a dish to make on a rainy weekend when you have time to stay in the kitchen. I spread it over three days ended up making made the sauce one night and prepped the rest on another night and cooked it the day after that! I didn't have time to make my own pasta so I used imported dried pasta tubes, which came out great. The meat sauce/ricotta mixture was delicious and I am always a sucker for bechamel. Though I love walnuts, I think the walnut sauce overpowered the dish. Next time I would just finish the dish with the fried sage leaves and leave out the walnuts."
Fregola, Corn and Cherry Tomato Salad
"We liked this recipe, but we’d like it more as a late summer dish. Corn and cherry tomatoes are already out of season where we live. The dressing looked too acidic, but was delicious. We felt it wanted more textures, so we added some raw corn. That was delicious. Next time I will serve it on endive."
Fusilli with Asparagus, Zucchini and Basil-Mint Pesto
"This is a delightful earthy dish, like a hybrid pesto-primavera. The basil's richness is offset nicely by the freshness of the mint in the pesto. The added textures of the asparagus, zucchini and spinach were the highlight for me. I was unable to get my hands on spinach fusilli (the only substitution I made) but I am not sure the dish really suffered without it."
Ricotta and Fontina Stuffed Shells with Fennel and Radicchio
"The recipe was a lot of work for little reward. I was surprised at the lack of depth in taste despite such flavored ingredients. Needed the addition of garlic to truly enjoy."
SANDWICHES, FLATBREADS & TAMALES
Beef, Broccoli Rabe and Provolone Panini
Christina and Tiffany
"We would like to start by thanking Mother Nature (Chicago Fall) and broilers for ensuring that what may have been a rather easy recipe to recreate became quite an adventure.
But, without hesitation, this sandwich was awesome! We followed the instructions as described -- making only minor (intentional) substitutions: pepper jack cheese vs. provolone and a multigrain demi baguette vs. the suggested roll types.
Then there was the one unintentional alteration: topless sandwiches, as we broiled vs. grilled -- rather, we undoubtedly over-broiled and burned the heck out of the roll tops -- to which we decided (voila!) perhaps we needed the low-carb version?!
The sandwiches were extremely tasty and, even without the roll tops, satisfyingly filling. Note: of course, the recommended bottle of Tempranillo was a fantastic addition and certainly helped sooth our sadness over the charred tops."
"My assignment was tamale dough. I added my own leftover chicken to create chicken, goat cheese, and caramelized onion tamales. I’ve always wanted to make homemade tamales, but I found them somewhat intimidating. These were a lot easier than I thought, and I will definitely try them again. They were a big hit with my neighbors and my family."
Chicken Tamales with Tomatillo and Cilantro Salsa
"I had a lot of fun making these, and they turned out delicious, but I'm not sure I'll be making them again due to the time they take (6 hours according to F&W, 8 hours according to me) and the trip to three different stores to find the ingredients (I still ended up substituting vegetable lard for 'pure pig lard' as called for in the recipe, which turned out fine). However, these are some of the best tamales myself and my tasters have ever had. We thought the tender and buttery corn masa contrasted really nicely with the fresh green flavor of the salsa. We also found these tamales to be far less dense and heavy than most of the ones served in restaurants, which was a pleasant change."
Chicken Tamales with Tomatillo and Cilantro Salsa Recipe
Brussels Sprout, Pancetta and Parmesan Flatbreads
"I cut this recipe in half (well, mostly in half - I took some liberties on the topping ratios) to accommodate a dinner for one while my better half was out of town, substituting prosciutto for pancetta (called for thinly sliced pancetta, so we're getting to the same place, right?). I loved the salty kick from the parmesan/prosciutto combination, and it wouldn't have been a bad idea to just eat the carmelized onion/thinly sliced sprouts/salty hammy goodness WITH CHEESE combination as a 'salad'...but then I would have missed the crunch from the crust! Also, anyone who can actually shape dough into a 13x15 rectangle, as suggested, has the kitchen gods on their side - mine was much more...rustic. Great dish that would make a fantastic appetizer for a dinner party, or really a pretty stellar dinner for one...who can't stop sneaking extra bites."
Red-Velvet Cake Balls with White Chocolate
"This was a fun recipe to try...at first. Once it came time to dip and decorate the cake balls, they lost their charm. The white chocolate was clumpy and required frequent reheating, finally seizing to the point where it no longer melted. I used M&Ms and red icing to make blood shot eyes, which was labor intensive and frustrating for a not-so-artsy person like me (my "helpful" 3-year-old was also quite distracting). In the end, I only dipped and decorated 10 of the 35 cake balls. At least they tasted good!"
Shaker-Style Lemon Bars
"Firstly, I was excited to try these lemon bars because the recipe calls for using a mandoline, which we rarely use but own mainly due to Clay and Zach's coverage of various recipes on TBW :) Also, I love shortbread and lemon, so this felt like a match made in heaven. In spite of how excited I was to use the mandoline, we had a bit of trouble using it here because the lemon we had on hand had a really thick rind. We ended up slicing it as thinly as possible with a knife and that worked out okay for us; the filling was pretty to look at and delicious to eat. A substitution that didn't work out as well was our baking it all in our only 9X9 pan, which happens to be made of pyrex, instead of the 9X9 metal pan specified. As you can in our photo, our bottom crust got a bit too dark, dry, and crumbly as a result. These bars are still tasty, though, and in the right pan I bet they would be perfect!"
Chocolate Hazelnut Squares
"The author of this recipe is quoted as saying 'with little kiddos around something bite-size is more practical.' If you have little kids, frosting individual brownie-like portions on all sides is not very practical (unless you tie them up while you do so). This recipe was pretty time-consuming and I don't think the time estimates were very accurate. It was very tasty, but I would either make it as a cake or in a mini muffin pan to save on time!"
Apple Blintz Hand Pies
"I prepared the Apple Blintz Hand Pies and they are DELICIOUS! They were easy to prepare, flakey and delicious! Highly recommend for anyone who loves apples and wonderful light pastry!"
Fallen Toasted-Almond Souffles with Poached Pears and Prunes
"I have to admit the title of my recipe was intimidating, because I usually cook more rustic foods but in the spirit of the challenge I was up for trying something new. I did not have all the ingredients on hand, but most of the ingredients were readily available and after a quick trip to the store I was ready to go. The recipe was not nearly as complicated as it sounds, but it did take me about 20 minutes longer than the estimated cooking time. Honestly if I made it again, I would skip the blanching, toasting,and chopping of the almonds and just buy a bag of almond pieces to grind up. The souffle itself was relatively easy and with fallen in the title of the recipe, there was no pressure for it to rise perfectly. Mine took only about 12 minutes to cook instead of the 17 the recipe called for.
Overall, I think the souffle was absolutely delicious; nutty and light with just the right amount of sweetness. The poached pears and prunes were tasty, but the souffle was the star of this dessert."
Milk Chocolate and Earl Grey Budino
"This was terrifically tasty -- rich with chocolate and made elegant with the Earl Grey -- and incredibly easy. However, I found the texture to be a bit plasticky the first time I made it; for the second batch, I reduced the cornstarch by 1/3 with good results. I'll absolutely make this again -- but for four, not six as suggested."
Fudgy Pecan Streusel Bars
"The good news: This is an easy 1-2-3 recipe and its likely you'll have all of the ingredients in your panty. If you love chocolate, these bars have a lot of chocolate.
The bad news: These cookies were not very interesting."
Mixed Berry Snack Bars
"These mixed berry bars are tasty, but nothing special. They taste a bit like the old Pepperidge Farm sandwich cookies with the jam and the hole in the top cookie. The recipe was easy to follow, and the preparation time is accurate, though I found rolling the balls for the top crust a bit tedious.
Two changes from the published recipe
1) I substituted homemade raspberry jam for the seedless preserves called for in the recipe (I'm proud of my jam which is why there is a jar of jam in the picture)
2) Parchment paper is your friend. Even with the parchment, the bars were difficult to remove from the pan without crumbling."
Black Mission Fig Clafoutis
"Very easy recipe -- blender made the process very quick -- custard was delicious -- not such a fig fan, but could imagine this with sweet juicy plums or apricots."
SAUCES & CONDIMENTS
Tomato Cilantro Salsa
"Incredibly easy, yet the flavors rich and complex. Served with grilled fresh swordfish...Amazing. Since tomatillos aren't the easiest commodity in the Northeast, opted to make a quadruple batch, froze in individual containers to enjoy later. Be careful of the serranos...not all are the same size....We had some 2 inches and some 4 inches, so you have to use your judgment! We roasted them all, but added only a few at a time.....We brought a container to brunch at a restaurant to give to some friends, it ended up being opened and slathered all over everyone's eggs.....and it was gone!"
Best Ever Marinara
"Food & Wine's Best-Ever Marinara is terribly easy to make and pretty darn delicious. Although canned tomatoes are used, this sauce tastes fresh and flavorful and would pair nicely with a number of pasta dishes, especially pasta stuffed with cheese.
Yummmmmmm..... Because of the recipe's simplicity, it's perfect for a weeknight pasta dish!"
Savory Apple Compote
"This recipe reminded me very much of what being an American ex-pat in Britain is like. The names are a bit different and the ingredients come in different varieties, but the essence of the thing is oh-so-very-much alike. Instead of empires and vidalias (which I miss terribly!), I used Braeburns and a sharper-flavoured shallot.
Unfortunately, I was suffering from what's called 'fresher's flu' at the time I made this and was having serious issues smelling and tasting anything. Trusting my instincts, I felt the proportions in the recipe left some of the supporting ingredients to be entirely over-powered by the apple, so I doubled the ginger and the sage.
My fiance and I really enjoyed the compote (or chutney as it would probably be called in the UK) over pork loins cooked in brown butter and smoked garlic. However, because I was worried about my impaired senses and, of course, chutney is best with at least a day to amalgamate, I tried it again a couple days later, UK style, over some vintage cheddar and a slice of local artisan baguette. I have to say I was so enthusiastic about it I was tempted to skip a tai chi class just so I could continue eating it. I will definitely be making this again!"
Pickled Red Onions
"WOW. These are little bursts of sweet tart and crunchy! Very quick and easy to make."
Chile Rojo Salsa
"The salsa was not too difficult to make -- just different. We do not eat things too hot, so we were pleasantly surprised that it was very mild. The texture was very different from the normal tomato-based salsa. Of course it must be eaten with or on something, so I bought frozen beef and bean buritos on which to serve it. I also made some guacamole to help garnish the plate in the picture."
Pomegranate and Tequila Cocktail
"Overall this drink was delicious and a hit with the friends I tested it on.
The pomegranate syrup added flavor, sweetness, and a pretty deep pink color to the drink, and the lime and bitters helped keep the drink from being overly saccharine.
A couple notes:
- I underestimated how many limes to buy, and had a slightly smaller amount of juice (1 cup) than recommended. If I make this again, I would make sure to use the full amount to better balance the pomegranate syrup.
- The recipe said to whisk together the pomegranate juice and sugar, but I found that slight heating was needed to get all of the sugar to dissolve.
- Also, I used angostura bitters since I could not find orange bitters, and I think it worked just fine."
Hard Cider Sangria
"The citrus in Food and Wine's Hard Cider Sangria brings out the best of the apple flavors from the cider, brandy, juice, and fruit. I really enjoyed the sangria on its own and with a dinner of roast chicken and butternut squash. I would definitely make the drink again for a fall party -- it's a fun twist on both thecider and sangria!"