Part 5 of The Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Project
When we first made the decidion to expand the Cover-to-Cover Project to several magazines, we knew there was one that would be on the extreme end of the scale. The October 2012 issue of Saveur is a doozy. To celebrate the magazine's 150th issue, the editors compiled a definitive list of 101 "classic recipes."
But if you're familiar with Saveur, you know they didn't stick with "classic" dishes from the American table. Oh sure, there's a recipe for Buffalo Wings, and New England Clam Chowder, and Baked Alaska. But the list also includes dishes like Chawanmushi, Hongshao Qiezi, Coquilles St-Jacques, rösti and Djaj Mqualli. You know, those classics.
Team Saveur was ready! Armed with exotic ingredients and unfamiliar recipes, they churned out a wildly impressive global buffet. Way to go, Team Saveur!
Which of these "classic" dishes do you want to make?
Any "classics" you think were omitted?
Let us know in the comments!
EGGS AND BREAKFAST DISHES
"It turned out to be a delightful buttery-orangey-boozy dessert. I had so much fun with this challenge and I am now cured of my fear of making crêpes!" Read more on Jamie's blog.
Bacon and Egg Pie
"This dish was simple from the beginning, so I was sure to use the best ingredients possible. Free-range eggs, organic ketchup, good quality bacon, and the best puff pastry I could find. It was easy to put together within minutes, which was nice, and also meant my young children could help in the kitchen.
It took a lot of willpower not to add tomatoes, cheese and some fresh spinach to the mix, but I knew it was not meant to be a quiche. I really wanted to love this breakfast on Sunday morning. But the combination of ketchup and Worcestershire made it sweet in a strange way. And while the puff pastry made for an ultra flaky and delicious pie, the eggs left whole meant cooked whole yolks that weren't appealing or tasty.
I am not sure if I will ever make this recipe again, at least not without substantial modifications. Would I recommend this savory pie? Not over a good quiche recipe made with puff pastry."
"A quick one-skillet dish, Classic Joe's Special may not be the most memorable meal but it is perfect for a weeknight dinner. The dish seems to want for additional seasoning and some sauciness when served with bread, but the beef, spinach, and egg are well-balanced in proportion and complementary in taste. Overall, this is a comforting but light dish that could easily be added to any cook's arsenal and modified for dietary preferences."
"This recipe made me face three of my culinary fears: Cooking whole artichokes, making hollandaise sauce and poaching eggs. I am happy to say that in the end I successfully conquered all three culinary fears and will not be intimidated in the future! I was also lucky to receive some farm fresh eggs from a friend this week so this recipe was a great way to showcase the beautiful eggs. The yolk from the poached egg and the hollandaise sauce mixed to form an extremely rich topping to the buttery soft artichoke hearts. The salty kick from the shaved ham and the anchovy was a welcome addition as was the fresh tasting crunch from the fried asparagus.
There was one component of the dish that I had to leave out since I am not a Rockefeller, and that was the shaved black truffles, I imagine you could probably substitute in a drizzle of truffle oil and get the same effect at slightly less cost. Was this dish delicious? Yes. Will I make it again - probably not. I will certainly make components of it again but it was extremely time consuming for a normal busy weekend day but the perfect dish for a rainy sunday brunch like we had today."
CHILIS, SOUPS AND STEWS
Suan La Tang (Hot and Sour Soup)
"I followed this recipe almost exactly with only 3 changes: Instead of white wine vinegar (I was out) I used white balsamic fig infused which really added a nice pop to it. I also browned the pork in the pot before adding the liquids -- helped burn off the brandy a little and seasoned the pot nicely. I did not like the way my cayenne pepper smelled, so I used a little Baharat seasoning instead, which also added to the flavor. Do not skip the brandy. It was a perfect touch. I really liked this and plan on adding it to my monthly meal plans."
"Saveur described this dish as a 'Caribbean culinary import' from colonial days in Philadelphia. It is a rich stew of pork, beef, onions, pepper, potatoes and collard greens. I was expecting to cook something magical! Unfortunately, this dish did not live up to expectations. While it was rich and tasty, it wasn't particularly spicy, nor all that memorable.
My biggest criticism lies ultimately with the recipe and its obvious flaws. I wanted to be as true to the recipe as possible, but the recipe seemed a bit out of whack to me on first read; still, I dutifully brought the recipe with me shopping and procured all the ingredients.
The first point of skepticism was with the amount of beef stock needed for the dish. The recipe calls for 16 CUPS! That's a lot of stew, but it did indicate this is a recipe from a restaurant. However, the meat in the dish was only 12 oz of pork and 12 oz of beef, for a total of 1 1/2 pounds of meat. Added to that was only one onion, one lb. of potato, one cup of scallions, and one pound of chopped collard greens. Clearly, the 16 cups of stock was going to be way too much. In cooking the dish, this became very clear that the recipe was either a mis-print or a miscalculation. I ended up adding only 6 cups of stock and that was still more than needed for the amount of meat and vegetables. Even with 6 cups, this recipe called out for at least double the amount of potatoes.
My second point of skepticism was with the prep for the meat. The recipe calls for pork & beef shoulder which is first salted and allowed to sit for one hour (to draw out some of the juices and presumably help tenderize the meat). The recipe then instructs you to cut the meat into 1/4-inch cubes. 1/4-inch ?? !! Seriously? I tried very hard, but even so, my cubes were at best 1/2 inch, and probably many were bigger. While the small pieces did make for a more tender meat, it was a lot of extra prep that didn't yield enough bang for the buck.
The final dish was both too "beefy" and too salty than needed to be, even though I used a low-sodium beef stock and didn't add any additional salt to the final dish. A much better choice would have been 4 cups of low-sodium beef broth and 1-2 cups of water added as necessary.
Ultimately, I think the combination of the beef, pork, potato and collard greens was rich & satisfying, especially in combination with the seasoning of onions, pepper and allspice. If I were to make this dish again, however, I would switch out the beef stock for a combination of beef broth and water, double the amount of potato, and increase the amount of habanero chile to give more of the heat that the recipe promises."
Bigos (Polish Pork and Sauerkraut Stew)
"Confession: When I got my assignment I burst out laughing. Sauerkraut is my worst nightmare.
Revelation: This stew is delicious. The flavor base is aromatic and complex -- porcini mushrooms, wine, bacon.....
I used one giant jar of sauerkraut which was slightly less than the recipe specified. However I decided it would not matter -- like any stew, I think this dish is open to interpretation.
It was a lot of fun and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone."
"I was assigned Mulligatawny - It was awesome! Great taste, texture and just the right amount of heat. I have my own recipe for Mulligatawny but will make this one from now on. As you can see from the photo I forgot to garnish it with yogurt! I didn't have Aleppo pepper, Jalapeno or dried chiles de arbol. I substituted 3 green Thai chilies and 2 tsp powdered chiles de arbol."
"This soup came together simply enough, but unfortunately, it didn't turn out as I expected. It's not that this was bad — it's just that the pungency of the bacon and thyme kind of made it taste like I'd put beef stock in my tomato soup. I will definitely try making this again, if for no other reason than it's so simple and that anything drizzled with enough creme fraiche is delicious, but I may forgo the thyme and reserve the bacon for crumbling on top."
Bobotie (South African Meat Pie)
Irene and Larisa
"My daughter, Larisa, and I prepared the bobotie recipe from October’s issue of Saveur. This is an exotic dish we never would have even known about, let alone tried, had we not been involved in this exciting adventure. We prepared the bobotie according to recipe with the exception of the almonds, due to a nut allergy. We did, however, add the nuts individually to those who are not allergic in the household. The dish came out flavorful – savory, tangy with bits of sweet golden raisins throughout. It really is a dish with a lot of complexity. Ground lamb shoulder and a custard crust help make the dish a satisfying full meal in itself. The only downfall to the dish is that it has a couple difficult to find ingredients (freshly ground lamb and tamarind paste) and it can be quite the costly meal. Overall, this dish is recommended for the adventurous carnivore looking to try a new South African meal."
West African Peanut Stew
"Jambo Bwanas (do they speak Swahili in West Africa?)!
Although not a recipe I would have chosen, my husband and I enjoyed this dish -- he even said I should make it again. Our kids, not so much -- mostly because of the eggplant and okra. I couldn't find the fenugreek seeds, but there was only 1/3 t, so I don't think it made too much difference. Only major change I would make is to double the amount of chicken. Lots of stew left over with no chicken in it. I might also switch out the okra, maybe replacing it with….peas?"
"I was very excited about my assignment for Team Saveur, but a little worried since some of the chilis I knew were going to be hard to find up here in the Great White North. I went to Toronto's legendary St. Lawrence Market and managed to get dried Pasilla peppers, pickeled Serranos and dried Anchos. The green chili powder was a bust.
This recipe comes together really fast and is super flavorful. Between the heat of the chilis and the zing of the enchilada sauce and the tartness of the tomatillos everything works. The only slightly strange thing was the breakfast sausage -- which initially I loved, it was sweet, had a different (mushier) texture from the pork, but upon further acquaintance it just kind of got weird. I will make this again, though probably lighten it up and take out the sausage."
Salmorejo (Spanish Tomato Soup)
"This is a delicious cold soup. The addition of the minced egg and ham really makes this dish special. The only change I would make would be to reduce the amount of salt."
New England Clam Chowder
"Classic Clam Chowder recipe. Four primary ingredients -- salt pork (bacon), onions, potatoes, clams. Proportions in this recipe seem just right. Used supermarket cherrystone clams, which had a slightly forward taste; if I were doing again, I'd use primo clams from a first-rate fishmonger. Also, the recipe calls for ¼" dice on the potatoes -- way, way too small for what we are used to in New England Clam Chowder."
Doro Wot (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)
"This dish was excellent. With some effort, I was able to locate the spices needed in the recipe. When I removed the chicken, to reduce the sauce, I tasted it and thought it was too hot. To my surprise, the sauce mellowed as it reduced. The Ethiopian spice mix (Berbere), is the main flavor, which is complex and well worth the effort of finding. I served it with rice and Ethiopian green beans. Enjoy!"
Carbonnade (Flemish Beer and Beef Stew)
"I made the carbonnade tonight to my family's delight. The ingredients were quite easy to find at a single grocery store (albeit a "fancier" store than the "run of the mill" variety), including the specific Belgian ale recommended (Ommengang Abbey Ale). This ale gave a nice depth to the dish, along with the fresh herbs, and isn't everything better with a few slices of bacon?!?!
I served the carbonnade with egg noodles and Rosy Swirl Bread. My 12 year old son said "this is good". My 15 year old daughter said "very tender meat". My husband was complimentary as well, murmering something about me being the best wife in the whole world. :) I will definitely make again. It has such wonderful layers of flavors and a nice way to serve a chuck roast."
Caribbean Oxtail Stew
"Great flavor - smelled divine. While I didn't eat any of the meat, my co-workers did.
However, I would make again substituting the oxtail.
Only change I made was I used corn starch instead of flour.
Was really good. Thank you for allowing me to cook for you. It was adventurous."
SALADS AND APPETIZERS
"I'm a big fan of muscles and clams casino (BACON!), but never have I eaten or cooked oysters. This was a fairly easy recipe to put together and fancy enough appetizer to make for our 19th wedding anniversary dinner, before digging in to the main course of lobster ravioli.
The texture of the bread crumb mixture was smooth and after broiling had the perfect crust just like a twice-baked potato, which gave way to a very herb-flavored, creamy filling. Personally? I found I was not a fan of oysters...but it could be how this cook prepared them." Read more on Kelly's blog.
"There's not much to dislike about these guys! Deep fried wings tossed in butter and hot sauce. I made them for a group that came over on Sunday for the football game and they were a hit! Crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside. Everyone liked that they weren't battered and so weren't as dense and heavy as many buffalo wings can be.
The only comment people had was that they could have been spicier so next time maybe ill add some additional hot sauce to the sauce. All in all a good classic wing recipe. They were super easy to make despite needing some coaching on the art of deep frying- --special thanks to Chris for stepping in as sous chef and teaching me the ins and outs of how to fry me up some chicken!"
Aloo Samose (Indian Spiced Potato Pastries)
"I had never made any kind of dumpling or hand pie or anything that of that nature before and it was actually fun to make them! I made 2 versions: one with the garam masala and one without since I don't tolerate cinnamon very well. My husband ate the ones with the garam masala and said they were good, but maybe a bit bland. I found mine to be the same ... good, but maybe in need of a bit more spice. The chutney was good, but it overwhelmed the other mild flavors. When I ate the Aloo Samose with the chutney, the flavor of cilantro was the only flavor I could taste."
Cong You Bing (Scallion Pancakes)
"The flavour for me was reminiscent of perogies. If I were to make these again I would make them smaller, more appetizer-sized. I reduced the amount of sesame oil."
"Overall ... this was a good salad when I first tasted the final product. But....I felt it needed a little more salt that what was said on the recipe and well, needless to say...I must have put way too much! Because I ruined it. Boo...."
Poireaux Vinaigrette (Marinated Leeks with Herbs)
"I was disappointed. I'm a fan of leeks and was excited to use them in my assignment. Since the leeks are just cooked in boiling water and then drained, the vinaigrette seems to the key to the overall recipe. When I read the Saveur ingredients I questioned the use of peanut oil for the vinaigrette, but went with it. Overall I thought the dish was a bit bland. With all the work of cleaning and cooking the leeks I might substitute David Lebovitz's recipe for French Vinaigrette the next time. His recipe is delicious."
FISH, MEAT AND VEGETARIAN MAINS
Schnitzel à la Holstein
"My lovely and surprising recipe was Schnitzel à la Holstein. This is a recipe I had meant to make in the future. I have had various Schnitzel recipes, but none as wondrous as the 'à la Holstein'. The sauce was along the lines of a Piccata -- without the wine, but it was great just having the lemon tang all by its lonesome, which hung out quite nicely with the salt of the anchovies and capers. My happy basted egg on top; served to tie all the flavors into a joyous marriage.
My only minor variances were using specifically Panko breadcrumbs and using about twice the amount of capers. Next time, I would use half the flour and and half the egg/milk mixture, as I had a sizable amount of both left."
Kibbeh (Beef and Bulgur Wheat Meatballs)
"This was my first time cooking Middle Eastern food, and my first time deep-frying something at home. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this recipe! The only alteration I made was using pre-ground lamb instead of grinding my own. The seasoning was perfect (I was a little scared of the tablespoon+ of salt, and sumac which I had never cooked with before) and the crunchy shell provided great texture. They were a bit dense and large (they were nearly impossible to make smaller, stuff, and seal completely), but had great flavor and were fun, easy, and surprisingly quick to prepare.
Three of us ate the whole batch! I would definitely make these again."
Chawanmushi (Japanese Egg Custard)
"Chawanmushi is a savory steamed egg custard that is traditionally served as a Japanese appetizer. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't very appetizing at all. To be fair, I'm not a fan of most egg custards in general. It's a textural issue, and this texture definitely had issues. In a word: quivering. This recipe does, however, deliver when it comes to flavor. It's also pretty simple to prepare if you substitute dashi powder for the homemade broth." Read more at Julie's blog
"They do not hold together in oil. I put in freezer for one hour. No luck. Definitely crash and burn. (There is no binder in this mixture. Maybe using canned chickpeas, which seem mushier, would do the trick.) But even though messy, they taste great. Nice and spicy. But eat it with your eyes closed."
Coquilles St-Jacques (Gratinéed Scallops)
"(I substituted baby portabella for button mushrooms and sweet white
wine for the vermouth.)
This dish was quick and easy to make but looked and tasted like a
gourmet treat. Each ingredient shined through and the perfect bite was
rich, buttery, and smooth with the sweetness of the scallops,
earthiness of the mushrooms, and creamy nuttiness of the gruyere
shining through. This one is sure to become one of my go-to recipes
when I want to treat myself to something special."
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
"This is a meal with very few ingredients. My initial reaction is this could be a weeknight meal for a busy family.
I used a whole free range organic chicken and cut it into 8 pieces. It took me a long time to find vermouth in the liquor store. (They only had one brand “Martini” and that’s what threw me off; vermouth was written in teeny tiny letters on the label.)
Peeling 40 cloves of garlic took about 20 minutes! Waaay too much time for a weeknight meal. Halfway through my peeling, DH says to me “you know you can buy whole peeled garlic..” Argh!
Oh well, I’m glad I did it with local organic garlic for this occasion. Not sure if I consider this a weeknight meal any longer!!
The whole family loooved it! I especially thought the tarragon added another dimension and depth to the dish. This could easily be a weeknight meal if the garlic cloves were pre-peeled. I will for sure make this again and I have enough vermouth to make this at least 10 more times!"
Djaj Mqualli (Chicken, Olive, and Lemon Tagine)
"This was fairly straightforward to make and tasty, though nothing exceptional. I skipped the saffron because of my very sad medical student budget and I couldn't find preserved lemons so I just swapped in regular lemons. All of the chicken skin stuck to the pan while I was browning it and I might have spent less time caring about that if I'd known that all of the chicken was going to fall off the bone anyway during the baking process. I served it over brown rice (with a side of broccoli) and it was a nice, comforting meal, and relatively cheap after omitting the saffron and preserved lemons.
I thought the lemons added a nice brightness, but if I made this again, I might add the lemons and olives before the baking process so the sauce tastes a little bit less like boiled stock. I was a little surprised at the seeming lack of Moroccan flavor I was expecting, but that made the leftovers a little more versatile -- my sister and I used them for filling in crepes with goat cheese the next day. I'll keep this recipe in the rotation!"
Laab (Thai Pork Salad)
"The Laab was REALLY delicious and REALLY easy to make, despite involving a lot of ingredients. I made a few substitutions with the herbs and onion,and because ground pork is hard to find in Florence, Alabama, I bought a tenderloin and ground my own. Will definitely make this again!" Read more at Amy's blog
Braciola (Italian Beef Rolls in Tomato Sauce)
"I made one substitution, which was for the raisins. What mom of two little boys doesn't have raisins always? This one, as it turns out. I chopped up some dates in their place and realized you cook this so long, whatever it would have been would cook down to nothing anyway. Prunes, apricots, anything would have worked to bring in a little sugar.First and foremost, this made my house smell heavenly. Truly. This is the ultimate winter-y, I have parents/siblings/buddies coming and want to have a very tasty and pretty easy dinner to throw together and forget about. My husband and I both enjoyed the flavor, which I admit I was hesitant about. I'm not a sweet (raisins) with meat kind of gal, but this worked great. I admit I added a bit more of the red pepper, but that's because we like things spicy and mmmmmmmmmm that sauce was good enough to sop up with the garlic bread. The meat is not a prime cut, which makes this very affordable, but not ... elegant. I'm not sure I'd serve this for a dinner party, but I don't have very many of those anyway!All in all a solid, easy, and affordable meal."
Spaghetti Alla Primavera
"The Spaghetti ala Primavera was delicious but I did tweek it. I used fresh snow peas rather than frozen peas and added red bell pepper. Also, I substituted the wheat pasta water for the cream. Asparagus isn't a fall vegetable, so I replaced it with more broccoli. I ground the nuts so they would brown more quickly and add an earthy autumn undertone to the dish. This is an easy dish to prepare and adapts well to all seasons and various diet choices."
"In a word? YUM. I halved the recipe and adjusted cooking times accordingly for a total hands-on time of about 60-90 minutes, plus another 45-50 to bake, yielding 8 healthy portions in a 9x13 pan. The dish takes a bit of time but isn't difficult, and with adequate planning will wow your dinner guests with its inviting aroma and complex flavor.
I made the following substitutions/amendments:
- Sub lamb for beef
- Sub apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar
- Sub red potatoes for russets
- Sub Kefalotyri and Kasseri for Graviera (both Greek cheeses)
- I didn't boil the potatoes, just sliced them thinly (1-2mm?) and layered them as directed.
- I didn't fry the eggplant, just sauteed in a bit of olive oil in a hot cast iron skillet until it was golden brown."
Blanquette de Veau (Veal in Cream Sauce)
"WOW. It was fun & it was very, very good. I'm not really a creamy, saucy, French cuisine kind of guy, but this was excellent. Not hard to make, it just takes time (about 3 hrs. plus prep) and focus. Although a couple glasses of Sauvignon Blanc while cooking didn't hurt. In fact, it was a wonderful pairing for the meal."
Saag Paneer (Spinach with Fresh Indian Cheese)
"This dish is something that we would normally just order in. I know most people can't just order anything their hearts desire, but living in Brooklyn, it has become a habit -- and perhaps a bad habit. This was fairly easy to make, although we bowed out of making our own cheese because we had too much help in the kitchen and wanted to reduce mess.
What we found was that it really pays off to make the dishes that you would normally just order in. The difference is amazing! This is the best saag paneer I have had in years. I suspect that it is because every ingredient is so fresh that made the difference, which may or may not be the case at a restaurant. My friend in charge of chopping the pepper didn't remove any seeds, which made it a bit to hot for some people, but not for him! I would really recommend removing all the seeds, but this is really a great dish, and easy too! I am definitely going to make a list of all the things from the magazine that I would normally order in, and make them all."
"I think this dish came out great. Very different from the usual fried rice. Eating with the cucumbers is key, gives a great contrast. I used a bit more shrimp paste (1 tbsp instead of 1 tsp) and found I needed a bit more water in the Cuisinart to make it into a paste.
Be warned, the shrimp paste is VERY fragrant, stinks up the kitchen but good."
Kasha Varnishkes (Pasta with Buckwheat Groats)
"When I first read the recipe and saw that it called for a cup of chicken fat or canola oil, I was thinking, “Wow this is going to be one greasy mess!!” But decided that we would give it a try with canola oil (I can’t imagine how may chickens I would have had to cook to render a cup of fat).
Happily, by the time I actually came to make the recipe, someone had written a comment on the Saveur page (thank you deepdish) to say the recipe was incorrect and it was actually 4 tablespoons of fat. WHEW.
Anyway the recipe was so-so. As a vegetarian meal when the cupboard is pretty empty it would be fine but this is not something I would recommend. If I made it again I would seriously up the onion quotient and perhaps cook them for less than the recommended 40 minutes."
"Adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, will now be in our family's monthly rotation. Basically, it is very tender chunks of tangy marinated pork pan-seared after being slowly braised. Rich with clean, simple flavors, your family and guests will love it. It takes some forethought because of the marinade time, but it is very easy to make and really delivers a punch. Bravo!"
Char Siu Bao (Chinese Roast Pork Buns)
"I'm fortunate enough to live in Atlanta where we have plenty of international grocery stores. While searching the Asian section for wheat starch and Hong Kong flour I stumbled across a Bao flour mix. The bao mix worked like a charm and once rolled out and stuffed, my boyfriend and I engineered ourselves a steamer (not wanting to steam one bun at a time in our rice cooker) which also worked great! The end result is not much to look at, but they tasted great!"
Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
"I think this recipe was really simple, but it demonstrates how with so few ingredients you can get really beautiful flavors. As an Italian recipe I was surprised it did not include basil, but in the end it wasn't necessary. I used it with some Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs, and it was a flavorful combination!" Read more on Alan's blog.
Risotto alla Milanese
"How cool is that the Italian girl gets risotto as her recipe. The main difference between this risotto and the one I usually make is the mount of rice and liquid. I prefer a very runny, Venetian style risotto. This recipe is stiffer then what I'm used to making. I wasn't wild about the bone marrow either. It lent a beefy after-taste to the dish. I think the bone marrow was meant to lend an unctuous quality to the dish. I much prefer finishing with butter."
"I made the tomato sauce and the cheese filling ealier in the day to spread out the prep. Don't be tempted to skip making your own pasta. The result is more like a crepe than a standard noodle and it makes for a lighter dish (a feat for manicotti!). The combinaton of smaller quantities of mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta made for a fluffier, less dense filling. Overall, the manicotti is well balanced and satisfying but won't put you into a food coma."
Pescado en Escabeche
"My dish was a great success! It was super easy to make and tasted wonderful. I had a tasting panel of ten and everyone loved this dish. It was familiar, yet unusual, the fish and vinegar reminding us a little of Fish and Chips, and/or Vinegar Chicken.One caveat? It looks nothing like the photo in Saveur -- and I don't know how it could. With flour-dredged fish, fried garlic and onions and peppers, I can't see how one's dish would be pristine, with glass clear olive oil bathing the fish.Of note: I used halibut, as swordfish was not available to me. Lots of fun guys - it was great to try something totally new to us!
Abby and David
"Abby and I have a go-to shepherd's pie recipe, so this was a real test. The Saveur recipe was delicious. The layers of flavor from browning the lamb, caramelizing the tomato paste, and then reducing the red wine were incredible. It was a little heavier on tomatoes than our standard, but using lamb instead of our usual ground beef made this version something special."
Lynne and Steve
"In the 1960s, Life Magazine had a series called Great Dinners. Lynne’s mother, a wonderful cook who still loves to collect and try new recipes, made the sauerbraten from the January 1968 issue with gingersnap gravy, Alsatian sauerkraut prepared with white wine and gin/juniper berries cooked slowly in the oven, potato pancakes and homemade applesauce. It became a family tradition, prepared for special occasions such as birthdays, family gatherings after an Ohio State football game, formal dinner parties with friends, or at midnight for the neighborhood men during their monthly poker game. Though Lynne has probably eaten this meal over 50 times and Steve over 20 times, we had never prepared it.
When we checked the list to find which dish from Saveur we were to prepare, Lynne was delighted at the serendipity of being assigned sauerbraten.
Sauerbraten, a German pot roast, is a perfect October dish. The sourness of the meat contrasts with the sweetness of the gingersnap gravy. Like other pot roasts, the meat is a little dry and benefits from the sauce. It made the house smell fabulous twice -- once when preparing the marinade and again while baking.
The preparation does take time as the meat marinates for 5 days and is in the oven for 2 ½ hours. The hands-on time is probably 2 hours -- 30 minutes to prepare the marinade and 1 ½ hours to brown the meat and make the gravy.
It would also be delicious served with braised cabbage and boiled noodles, boiled potatoes, or dumplings. With our family, however, it wouldn’t be complete without the potato pancakes.
We’ll definitely be making this again."
Grillades and Grits
"I was a little skeptical about this recipe. I've made grillades and grits before, but never with tenderloin. And the thought of well-done tenderloin was a little scary. My butcher couldn't believe it when I asked for slices 1/4 inch thick -- he even showed me a piece to make sure it was what I wanted. I was lucky to have homemade chicken stock on hand, peppers from the farmers market and thyme and parsley from our herb garden. The recipe was easy to prepare, the meat was tender and delicious, and so I'd give the recipe 5 stars. That said, next time I'd leave the vegetables a lot chunkier and put in about twice as many of them."
General Tso's Chicken
"General Tso's Chicken was for dinner tonight. First, I halved the recipe and that made the proportions tricky. The dish was much less sweet and sticky as compared to the restaurant version and that was a good thing. My tasters said it needed more heat. Perhaps the chiles that I used were too mild or too few All in all, a success!
One note, deep frying is a messy business for a home cook and there was LOTS of cleanup."
Garides Saganaki (Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta)
"Quick thoughts on this dish: Husband and son who ate it thought it was good and gobbled up a handful of shrimp each. My son remarked that it tasted minty -- prob from the ouzo. I liked the tomato/feta part, but I would try to find another way to serve this with something else in it (maybe roasted veggies). I did make myself try a bite of a shrimp (see below), but I still am not a fan.
Subs: Couldn't locate head-on shrimp that were big enough for this dish. Probably best -- not sure I would have made it through the prep stage as the legs were challenging enough (see below).
Challenges: I left myself open to any recipe in this challenge, but I'm actually not a big meat/seafood eater (primarily vegetarian). But because the rest of my family is more omnivorous, I figured I'd make anything. The shrimp dish I was assigned, however, did prove to be a challenge for me. I don't like shrimp (to eat, see, or touch), and the deveining/shelling process was a little touch-and-go for me,. But I made it through, barely, and with a lot of squealing and yucking.
Fun: This recipe involved fire. As a known klutz who has caught my hair, a yoga mat, dish towels, and other various household items on fire, I was a bit worried. But also excited. Lighting the ouzo on fire and then dumping it over the dish was thrilling and made me feel like a chef -- I only wish someone in my family had been there to see me in action. Actually, probably better they weren't because I did manage to catch the oven mitt I was using on fire. More squealing and flapping (and throwing of the oven mitt) followed. I escaped unscathed (and even had time to snap a picture of the flaming dish).
Overview: This would make a fun appetizer for a party. The flaming bit is worthy of an audience, and as long as you don't use too much hot chile, it would be appropriate for adults or children. The ouzo flavor is noticeable, so probably worth plunking down the cash to buy some (although it would be nice if they would sell these liquors in smaller bottles). The other ingredients are easy to find and few in number, making this easy to throw together and riff on in different ways."
Pan Bagnat (Provençal Tuna Sandwich)
"Pan Bagnat, while it has an array of fresh flavors and great composition, is a touch too heavy ... especially on the fish. If it had a sweet side or perhaps a touch less fish, it would definitely be a a sandwich to repeat (...if i didn't take quite as long to make, anyway!)"
Murgh Korma (Creamy Chicken Curry)
"This was the very first curry that I made entirely from scratch, and while it did take a little time, it was 'easy' cooking and the results were superb. In the past I've always reached for a pre-made curry paste or powder, and while I've made many fine curries this way, the layering and complexity of flavors achieved by starting with whole spices as in this recipe yielded a far superior dish. I would make this again just for the way it's aroma permeated my entire home....the smell of the caramelized onion paste cooking is about as good as it gets. Two thumbs way up!"
"I admit not being thrilled when I received my assignment, even when I found out what Colcannon actually was. But in the spirit of camaraderie, I decided to embrace my heritage (surely there is some Irish in there) and see just what I could do with mashed potatoes. When my grocery store did not have savoy cabbage (my favorite), I chose lacinato kale, as I had read that other greens are sometimes used in colcannon. It was a perfect choice, and did not get bitter at all, even when I made up a vegetarian shepherd's pie and baked it with the colcannon on top.
"Because mashed potatoes are not something I ever make, I actually did learn something new from the project, and I would definitely turn to this creamy, rich recipe when I make them, especially with the addition of greens to make it healthier."
Rösti (Swiss Hash Browns)
"My first instinct when I saw this recipe was that it was TOO simple: Potatoes boiled, peeled, grated, pressed and fried in oil and butter with a bit of salt. My family has been striving to eat vegan for health reasons but I kept thinking this recipe needed some added bacon or Emmentaler cheese. While I am sure some added bacon and cheese would taste pretty yummy, I was surprised by the delicious simplicity of this recipe--golden and crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I only had a 12-inch non-stick pan instead of the 9-inch that the recipe called for and it worked just fine. We paired the rosti with a green salad and topped it with a romanesco sauce. Yum!"
Ful Medames (Stewed Fava Beans)
"I had to look around to find canned Fava beans and eventually found them at a middle eastern specialty store. The dish came together easily but resembles dog food. It tastes a bit like refried beans but the lemon and garlic add a nice freshness. It would probably work well as a dip or spread with naan or pita bread. Overall, probably not worth the effort to source out the fava beans."
Gan Bian Si Ji (Dry-Fried Green Beans)
"Definitely not a dish I would have chosen myself but it was quite tasty. As a farm girl at heart, I typically like my green beans boiled (with lots of salt and butter) within an inch of their lives. These were still very crisp but delicious. The mix of Chinese ingredients was very well balanced and I will definitely use it in future dishes."
Hongshao Qiezi (Red-Cooked Eggplant)
"My first thoughts upon seeing which recipe I was assigned were "Crap. It's in Chinese," followed very quickly by "Crap! It's eggplant! I hate eggplant!"
But I persevered and having made a few changes and substitutions (notably, less anise and less hot chili oil) I dug in. While this won't convert me to eggplant anytime soon, the sauce is absolutely amazing and would be fantastic with any sort of sauteed greens. The sauce itself is also incredibly easy and one I will be coming back to again and again."
"The gougeres were very easy to make. My 5 ½ year old did most of the work while I supervised! We followed the instructions exactly and they came out light and golden brown. Even with all the eggs, they came out light, airy, and moist. The gruyere cheese added a salty, nutty taste that would be a perfect as an hors d’ oeuvre or to accompany a meal. Once cooled to room temperature, they are not as savory as they were when they were fresh out of the oven. But they were saved by a few seconds in the microwave."
DESSERTS AND SWEETS
"Making baklava felt more like crafting than cooking, but was fun and a great excuse to use phyllo dough, something I hadn't been brave enough to try before. The flavor is mild, but sweet and crunchy and all around lovely. The ingredient list is basic: blanched almonds, lightly flavored simple syrup, and unsalted butter. The finished product is definitely a classic, simple and gorgeous dinner party-worthy dessert. I did run out of room in my dish before using all of the pastry and filling, but I noticed that it cooked down quite a bit in the oven. Next time I might consider filling the dish over the top or using a 3" inch deep pan. Baklava is maybe not the best thing to create with a toddler underfoot, but it was fun to conquer my ingredient anxiety and participate in the CTC Challenge.
The baklava tastes better as it sits (on counter or in fridge). Definitely make this at least 24-48 hours before you plan to serve it. The flavor deepens to a rich caramel given the time. On day one I liked it, but thought it needed extra flavoring (cardamom?), but today, day 4, it is perfect as is. Wow, it's good there were leftovers."
"I made the clafoutis dessert for Sunday night family dinner. It was incredibly easy to put together, and lacking any fresh cherries, I used brandied cherries I had canned earlier this summer -- which I think made it even tastier. This is a delicious dessert with a baked custard texture that contrasts nicely with the cherries. I would definitely make it again!"
Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissants)
"Although this recipe was very time consuming with so many steps of rolling, folding, and chilling, it was not difficult. I enjoyed the challenge of working with this type of dough for the first time, and the results were sinfully delicious!"
Crumb Coffee Cake
"I've been baking long enough that this is the sort of recipe I'd ordinarily skip as too easy and boring. I baked my cake in a loaf pan instead of the 8x8 pan prescribed so I needed less than half of the crumb topping. The batter was extremely thick and almost dough-like so I added a little extra milk. (I know this is supposed to be a terrible thing to do but it worked!) The cake part was moist but, as I suspected, rather bland with nothing more than a teaspoon of vanilla for flavoring. The delicious pastry-like cinnamon crumb had to work overtime to bring some flavor. While I could see this cake going a spicier route and being delicious, I wouldn't bake it using this recipe again."
"I made Baked Alaska -- and i will do it again! I did change the recipe slightly -- the recipe was for a lemon flavoured base, but i omitted the lemon juice and lemon zest, and instead added 2 tablespoons coco powder, and 2 tablespoons coffee. I used espresso ice-cream instead of the strawberry. This change was just based on personal taste, I'm sure the lemon and strawberry would have been great too -- but i love coffee ice-cream!
It happened to be one of my best friends' birthday a few days before this deadline, so i decided to make her baked alaska as a birthday cake - also I needed a few people over to witness my culinary skills (and take the pictures, and eat some of it!)
At first i was very excited for the challenge of making the Baked Alaska, I am first a baker, and second a cook. Then I realized how little experience I have with meringue, and even less with ice cream cakes (let alone ice cream that goes in the oven!) I started to worry, but proceeded with my challenge.
The cake worked beautifully (and wasn't difficult at all!). I was really proud when the meringue spread perfectly on the ice cream, and looked just like the picture! I baked it and it was nicely golden, with the tips of the meringue a deeper shade of brown. Of course I couldn't leave well enough alone and heated a little overproof bourbon on the stove, poured it on the cake and set it on fire. Who needs birthday candles when the whole cake is on fire? The flame went out when the bourbon burned off.
The cutting was a little difficult, as the meringue started to slide off the ice cream, and the ice cream was melting quicker than we thought. I had to scoop the meringue onto the cut pieces, and it tasted great -- but as impressive as the cake was while intact, the presentation once plated wasn't beautiful.
I have a few things i will try next time to fix this.
1) freeze the ice cream longer, and in the deep freeze (not my fridge/freezer combo.)2) skip the fire part (since it takes a few minutes, and that is melting time.)
3) freeze the cake again once the meringue is spread ( I do not know if this would work, or ruin the meringue, but i would be willing to try it.)
All in all I would consider this a success, one I will repeat again. (Thanks to Amber, Kathleen, Ashley, Erin and my Dad for being the willing testers!)"
"Could you really go wrong with butter, brown sugar and white chocolate baked into a bar cookie? I'm a devoted baker - and known for my Brownies - but have never made Blondies. This is a delicious recipe. The bar is sweet and chewy, but not gooey, and the flavor a cross between caramel and butterscotch. 25 minutes was magic in my oven and this recipe can make many more than 12 -- I trimmed the edges (my favorite bite) and cut into 24."
"I never knew chocolate mousse was so easy to make -- at least, it is if you substitute a hand or stand mixer for the whisking called for in the recipe, like I did. I had a little trouble getting the egg whites stiff enough until I looked up additional tips online and switched to a narrower bowl and added a few drops of lemon juice. Also, the recipe calls for too much salt. I would use half the amount it calls for. Still, this is a good recipe to add to the repertoire."
"Seriously, this cake is SO easy to make -- 7 ingredients, 6 of which I had on hand, and I whipped it up in less than 20 minutes using my stand mixer. If I had to choose a drawback, it would be that the recipe would have required more attention if I hadn't used my stand mixer, as the recipe instructs us to beat the batter for 5-6 minutes, at two different points.
But it is well worth it -- the result is like eating a pillow of butter and sugar! I ate mine plain and then threw some berries on top, because I had them in the fridge. But wouldn't it be fun to slice up a banana and make a peanut butter drizzle to make it a true Elvis-esque dessert?"
Chocolate Chip Cookies
"Chocolate chip cookies, a classic! Who doesn't love them? It's been ages since I had a homemade chocolate chip cookie so obviously this was a great excuse to have one.
In the interest of full disclosure, here are the things I did not do:
1. Creating the rectangles, flattening them and all that jazz. I was pressed for time -- and more importantly, c'mon! These are chocolate chip cookies! I did however, chill my bowl of cookie batter because I find it easier to scoop them out once the batter has hardened up a bit.
2. Use a round cookie cutter. Half the joy of making chocolate chip cookies is scooping them out with a regular old spoon and plopping them on the baking sheet. Don't take away my joy, Saveur.
All that being said, these cookies were quite good, buttery, chewy, and not too crunchy (I am not a crunchy chocolate chip cookie fan). We enjoyed them with ice cream and alone. If I made them again I would try and get them flatter, these would make an excellent cookie for ice cream sandwiches. As a technical aside, I easily halved this recipe, something I always appreciate with a recipe."
Rum Raisin Ice Cream
"Saveur's recipe yields a decadent ice cream, a creamy custard filled with plump, rum-soaked raisins that burst in the mouth. Rich and boozy, this ice cream is not for the faint of heart, but it is, I can assure you, absolutely delicious! One bite, and you'll understand why so many consider rum raisin a classic American ice cream.
This was actually my first batch of egg-based ice cream, as I am a firm convert to the method developed by Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, which uses cream cheese rather than eggs as the protein. (And yes, her ice creams are truly splendid.) That said, I know recipes calling for eggs often instruct you to temper the yolks with the heated dairy to prevent them from curdling. This is not one of those recipes. Thus, be sure to carefully watch your simmering pot! Other than that tricky step, the recipe is simple and straightforward."
"I am not usually someone who bakes. I make dinner and buy dessert. But for the challenge I was assigned a dessert I had never even heard of. These were pretty simple to make and tasted delicious. I would have liked some more information on browning the butter. I think I had it too hot so it took a lot less than 5 minutes."
"These are delicious and were a huge hit with my boyfriend (my tasting panel). The cake is light and has a great vanilla flavor and the chocolate coating is luscious without being overly rich. As you can see from the picture, I only coated half of them in coconut as the boyfriend is not overly fond. Also, a couple of notes I found on the recipe. Despite going to two different stores, I could only find sweetened coconut which worked just fine, though I wonder how they would have been without the extra sweetness. Also, the recipe indicates that the sugar and egg whites should be whisked until soft peaks form. I began using a whisk and then changed to an electric hand mixer. Had I not, I have a feeling I would still be whisking. Or my arm would have fallen off by now.
These are a bit labor intensive with all the different steps, and a bit messy when rolling them in the chocolate and coconut, so I don't know that I would make them very often. But they were tasty and worth the effort in the end."
Sweet Potato Pie
"I must admit that desserts are not my forte. But rather than complain, I decided to bite the bullet and do the pie. Besides, my husband was dying for me to make it. I did tweak the crust.. it’s a wetter dough using Cook’s Illustrated’s vodka piecrust. (It can’t be beat.) Usually, when I DO make a pie, the crust shrinks, the filling either overflows or leaks to the bottom, or the crust just isn’t big enough, or I don’t roll the crust thin enough or the pan is too big or too small. But this time, as Baby Bear would say, the pie was just right! Now I hadn’t tasted it yet, but it looked pretty good, the color is amazing and though the crust isn’t artfully crimped it wasn’t horrible looking.
I will say I used a lot of dishes for this simple pie...a lot of dishes which is always a turn off for me. It’s now 2:00 p.m., and I started about 10:30 a.m.....the pie is cooling and beckoning...
Later: We’ve been eating the pie all weekend. Mostly just because it was there. My grandchildren, ages 12, 10 and 8 all tried it (after I lied to them and told them it was pumpkin) and none of them liked it. My husband said it was “fine...” which isn’t exactly a huge vote of approval.
I just don’t think it’s very interesting...it needs more spice...some zap of something. Surely the folks of Crawfordsville, Georgia deserve better! I wouldn’t make it again."
"Saveur's classic Butterscotch Pudding evokes thoughts of warm, caramelly rich pudding. The recipe is very simple -- heat cream and flavorings and pour into a blender with butterscotch chips, blend and chill. I skipped the caramel layer on top, it seemed like overkill, and instead added unsweetened whipped cream."
"Because of dietary restrictions, I needed to make this dish dairy-free. I've learned how to use natural substitutes without much sacrifice to taste and texture. The tart came out beautifully, but the taste was just OK. I think the rind from a whole lemon was a bit much. Another change I would make is to swap out 1/2 of the butter for shortening for a flakier crust. It was good, but a bit too dense. Overall, I'm giving this recipe a rating of 5. Some of points off for the instructions -- they could have been more instructive."
Leo Lindy's Cheesecake
Whitney and Stephen
"Okay, thoughts on Leo Lindy's cheesecake. It was delicious! Both my
husband and I are admittedly not cheesecake lovers (not that we'd turn
it down, mind you!), yet we both thought this cheesecake was great!
You can really taste the fresh lemon and orange zest in this
cheesecake, without it being overpowering. The same is true of the
vanilla bean seeds in the crust -- I was skeptical about using the
vanilla bean, but you really can taste it, and it's amazing! Also,
this was the first time I've used my springform pan with such success
-- it popped out perfectly. We'd definitely make this again.
Important safety tip: when you first put the cheesecake in the oven,
it's at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Um, make sure you don't have any
spills on the bottom of your oven, or they will DEFINITELY burn and
smoke at 500 degrees, possibly setting off your smoke alarm and making
your cat go insane! Not that that happened to me or anything. :)"
Leo Lindy's Cheesecake recipe
"The recipe was for 8 soufflés (6 oz) but I did 4 LARGE ones (because there are 4 of us in my family). They were very good but I thought a bit eggy. That is most likely because they were too big! Great lemon flavor and quite easy to make. I would absolutely serve them to company but I would suggest a crème anglais to go along. Perhaps a raspberry coulis, but to me that is dull."
Peanut Butter Cookies
"These peanut butter cookies were easy to make and the results were delicious. They are not as sweet as other recipes I have tried, but they are very light and fluffy. They were a definite hit with my children."
Chocolate Egg Cream
"I was excited to be assigned the chocolate egg cream, since I used to live up north but never tried one. Especially since now as a Floridian, I can not buy one here!
I followed the recipe exactly -- even using whole milk so as not to water it down. End result --no real foamy top as you can see and a very mild flavor. Disappointing!!"
"When I saw what I was assigned I was so happy. I LOVE chocolate cake, and this coincided with a coworker's birthday, so I had an office full of people who could tell me what they thought.
Making the cake was no problem. My only issue was removing one cake from one of the three pans. It sort of partly came out, which I thought was weird, but allowed me to sample the cake that remained in the pan, and it seemed a little dry...
Making the icing was also easy. The only issue I ran into was assembly. The icing was fudge consistency but no matter how long I sat there with the cake cleaning up the sides the icing never fully set, which is ok if you are going to eat it immediately, but I was not. So I covered the cake and the next day took it to work, when I uncovered it a pool of icing had formed all the way around the cake. Everyone ate it and enjoyed it, but I couldn't help but feel like the cake was dry, or needed something. Maybe having the icing run out didn't help, but its consistency wouldn't have helped the moistness, since it's not a buttercream. I can only think that the cake layers really needed only 20-25 minutes, I stead of 30. And I have checked my oven temp, it's spot on. Or maybe it was something I did, I've never made an icing quite like that one before."
Major Grey's Chutney
"I was leaving on a trip to Arizona to visit my best friend and make pickles. We just changed the plan to make pickles AND chutney.
We followed the recipe exactly. Chutney isn't something either of us eats on a regular basis or even wonders about, but in the spirt of the challenge we gave it our best. I brought mangos in my suitcase from Florida (and knives and wine) and was glad for all three once the pickling day was underway. The rest of the list of ingredients were readily available in the West Valley of Phoenix. It was a lot of chopping and strange combinations (raisins and vinegar??), but the result was good on wheat thins and had a deeply sweet & sour finish.
We all agreed you couldn't eat a bowl of it, but as a condiment in small quantities to cut through something very speecie-spicy it was a good idea. The recipes yielded 3-12.5 oz jars and enough left over for tasting."
Mostarda di Frutta (Spicy Mustard and Fruit Preserves)
"Holy wow! We loved this condiment. For such little effort, the rewards were high.
I was not in the mood to boil meats, so I served it with a roast pork loin, then again with roast chicken thighs, then again with sliced Asiago Fresco. Today I will spread some Mostarda on toast and top with thick sliced bacon. An additional encore will be made on our Thanksgiving table, especially since I am not a big fan of cranberry sauce, homemade or otherwise.
As for the recipe itself, I tried looking for the fifth paw on the cat, but there was nothing wrong with, or nothing to improve upon in this recipe, though I didn’t bother to halve the cherries. It was not spicy at all and the Granny Smiths were perfect as they didn’t fold under the pressure. Nutshell: make this recipe, now! Hurry! and enjoy."
- Quiche Lorraine
- Chana Masala
- Chap Chae
- Chicken Liver Pate
- Senate Bean Soup
- Canh Chua Cá
- Tex-Mex Enchiladas
- Beef Stroganoff
- Espàrrecs amb Vinagreta
- Steamed Blue Crabs
- Monte Cristo
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Tortilla Espanola
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Nanaimo Bars
- Boston Cream Pie