November 2023 COTM - DINNER IN ONE

I think maybe this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/portobellos-chickpeas-and-tahini/

Joe Yonan introduced it here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2020/09/27/a-stuffed-portobello-only-food-writer-nigel-slater-could-design/

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Thanks for your reports! I have a quite strong soy allergy and tofu is out for me. I find the reviews useful, however, and always appreciate the photos of your very beautiful and varied pottery collection.

You aren’t missing anything with the tofu in this book. Melissa Clark really is clueless about it.

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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND POTATOES with Harissa, Yogurt, and Toasted Almonds - p. 49

LLM has already described the process, so I’ll just note where I deviated. I used the Mina harissa, which is more a sauce than a paste, and I used way more than called for. I used six heaping tablespoons, half spicy, half mild. My herbs for the finish were dill and cilantro. For the almonds, I decided to use smoked almonds, just to add a little more flavor. For the yogurt, I used Kite Hill plant-based yogurt, half Greek and half regular.

This dish is reminiscent of one in the Ali Slagle book that was COTM last year. That one used broccoli and tofu, and they were tossed in harissa after being cooked. I might prefer that dish to this one, but I did like this one as well. I would definitely continue to use the much larger quantity of harissa in the future. I feel like it could have used even more than what I put in there.

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December voting is here:

LEMONY BAKED RICE with Artichokes, White Beans, and Caramelized Leeks - p. 158

Well, this was fun. We had a 45-minute power outage in the middle of cooking this. What’s supposed to happen is that you slice up some leeks, and put them in a baking dish with some oil, pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. You pop this into a 400-degree oven and roast until the leeks caramelize, about 25 minutes. Shortly after I put the leeks in the oven, the power went out. So I just left them there in the oven while I went about finding flashlights and camp lanterns. When the power finally came on, I checked the oven and to my surprise, the leeks were browned and fairly crisp. The oven stayed hotter than you might expect. Yay! So I let the oven get back to 400 and carried on. You then add basmati rice to the baking dish, along with cooked white beans (she calls for canned, I cooked from dry in the IP), and marinated artichokes. My artichokes were not marinated, they were in brine, but they were very nice tiny ones and very tender. You pour boiling water in the dish, seal with foil, and bake for another 20-22 minutes. After 20 minutes, I checked the rice and there was still a lot of liquid left, so I baked an additional 10 minutes. That was sufficient. The dish is finished by squeezing over some lemon and stirring in parmesan and herbs (I just used dill).

This was quite good, and I would make it again. A few changes for next time would be to decrease the liquid a bit, and up the cooking time a bit, but not by a full 10 minutes. Also, I would use a different rice. I used the extra-long grain basmati that I get at the Indian market and use for my Indian cooking. But that’s not really a great choice here, because the beans and artichokes are heavy and just break the rice. If I used basmati for this in the future, I would use a standard supermarket basmati. I normally keep a small amount of this around which I store in a canister actually labeled “cheap basmati.” I use it for recipes that call for basmati, but I don’t think really feature the characteristics of the rice, and therefor are a waste of my good basmati.

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One day early, because I’m headed out of town tomorrow, here is your December reporting thread:

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Sounds delicious!

CARDAMOM SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE p. 228
I finally got this cookbook from the library and made a cake instead of dinner. I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. The first day this was okay, but the cardamom flavour really developed over time. It’s not as spongy as a similar cake made with oil, but a little more substantial. Delicious with a hot beverage.

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I made this today and also really liked it. I couldn’t find the large couscous so used pearled barley. Fennel wasn’t very nice at the store so just used carrots and celery, along with the other veg. I can tell I’m going to have to add more broth, as it’s quite thick even when freshly made.

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I’ve been struggling to participate lately (travel, life–no complaints), but I enjoyed this lovely soup.
CURRIED SWEET POTATO AND LENTIL SOUP WITH CRISPY COCONUT CHIPS (p. 222)


I’ve never seen any need to cook lentils in a pressure cooker or Instapot. I adapted as I would cook any soup–saute onions first, add aromatics, and so on. My garam masala is a melding of Nik Sharma and Vishwesh Bhatt’s recipes.
This was sweet from the sweet potatoes but really nicely balanced. I only had shredded coconut, and I could have toasted it slightly longer but was scared I’d burn it. If you are a coconut fan, obviously go for it, but it is optional.

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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER and POTATOES with Harissa, Yogurt, and Toasted Almonds, page 49

This is a vegetarian version of her Harissa Chicken from Dinner which is probably my favorite sheetpan supper. MelMM and LulusMom have described this well, so I will just say that I enjoyed this. I prefer the chicken version, bit this is a great option when you want a meatless meal with winter vegetables.

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ROASTED MUSHROOMS WITH CRISPY POLENTA AND PARMESAN, PG 165

I didn’t have polenta, so I just made the roasted mushroom portion of the dish. I used a combo of maitakes and creminis and the roasted mushrooms were delicious. I served the mushrooms over pappardelle pasta and it was a very satisfying meal. I’d like to try this again with polenta.

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SAUSAGE BAKE with Crunchy Potatoes, Red Cabbage, and Caraway, page 36

I made this 3 times last month and I think this will be in regular rotation in the winter months for me. I always have cabbage and potatoes on hand in the winter. This was so easy and also easy to scale down to serve 1. I cooked more cabbage and like Mel, I used green cabbage as that is what I had on hand. The first time I made this, my onions (I used yellow rather than red) were completely charred. Also, my cabbage was pretty much done after the first 30 minutes. The second time I made this, I adjusted the timing and did the initial roasting for 20 minutes rather than 30 minutes.

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She has a similar recipe in Dinner, just the sausages, cabbage, and caraway - no potatoes (or onions, I think). I love it, and serve it over polenta. Very cozy on a winter night.

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I will have to look that one up.

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PUFFY SPOONBREAD w/ CORN, CRAB, & ROASTED RED PEPPERS (p. 166)

I got so excited about the corn and crab in this that I sort of forgot how much I dislike very cooked eggs. Luckily it was a big hit with LLD. This is sort of like a quiche, sort of like a frittata. I don’t love either of those things except when they have cheese in them, which sort of masks the eggy flavor/texture. First you make a cornmeal mixture with salt, hot water, cornmeal, buttermilk, melted butter and eggs. Add baking powder. Fold in the crabmeat, red peppers, corn, cilantro, and scallions. Pour all of this into your pan and bake. Easy peasy. It was fine - this is all on me not liking eggs very much, and somehow blanking on the fact that this meal is about eggs.

Having a problem adding the photo - will try later.

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I think you could adapt the idea more to your liking by making a recipe of Jiffy Cornbread corn pudding and adding the crab, red peppers, etc. It’s not eggy and would be delicious. I always sub frozen sweet corn for the canned kernels. Also note that if you don’t eat pork, you’ll want to get the vegetarian version of Jiffy as the regular contains lard.

https://www.thekitchn.com/corn-casserole-22948834#post-recipe-214910001

Personally I would sub minced jalapeño for the cilantro.

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Hmmm, that does sound better, thank you. (and I’m freaking out slightly about the lard in Jiffy - I don’t buy it but can easily imagine doing so without thinking about it, if I needed something quick). Personally I think cilantro, jalapeno’s, and lots of cheese, and I’d be fine with a crab cake on the side.

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I also contemplated mixing cream cheese, mayonnaise, and Old Bay/Cajun seasoning into the crab and making it a layer on top or middle.

Maybe try with Krab first?