vrai-lean-uh

Cooking, eating, making sweeping pronouncements

Posts tagged insane epicurious reviews

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I haven’t tried this recipe yet but have made many similar, my tip for a time saver is using fresh eggroll wrappers from the supermarket instead of lasagna noodles, just use as is.

Ahhh! The reviews keep getting better and more insane!

(Again, in reference to the Swiss Chard Lasagna with Ricotta and Mushrooms. And sorry for any confusion, I myself made this last night,* and it was really good. I did not sub in eggroll wrappers.

I don’t know that I would call it The Successful Chard Recipe, in that the chard is hidden under a lot of cheese and noodles and bechamel and mushrooms, but I would definitely recommend making it.

* My ears have been so messed up all the misuse of ‘myself’ that I had to look this up to be sure it was correct EVEN THOUGH I ALREADY KNOW IT’S CORRECT. For those of you interested, ‘myself’ is an intensive pronoun here. Otherwise, ‘myself’ can be correctly used as a reflexive pronoun, and if you are unclear on what that means, for God’s sake, google it before just randomly sticking ‘myself’ in a sentence because you think it sounds smart. Please do not comment that the English language is evolving and changing and mention Shakespeare, because you know what? Shakespeare is dead and when you use ‘myself’ when you mean ‘me,’ I do not think you must be one of the great writers of the English language, I think you have somehow failed to become fluent in your native tongue.)

Filed under insane epicurious reviews

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I, too, prepped everything the day before, so assembly was a snap. Amazing results! Definitely worth the effort. I used skim milk, low-fat ricotta, and no-boil lasagna and it turned out great. Also used half chard, half Tuscan kale; added a splash of truffle oil to the mushroom mix. A keeper!

I made Bon Appetit's Swiss Chard Lasagna with Ricotta and Mushrooms last night. It was really good.

Next time I will greatly increase the amount of swiss chard, probably by 50% at least.

However, I will never, ever make this using skim milk, low-fat ricotta, and no-boil lasagna. I find the whole idea upsetting.

Oh! And! Truffle oil does not need to go into every recipe with mushrooms or that you want to have taste “fancy.” I am so sick of eating dishes that seem like they should be great and then BOOM truffle oil all over everything. Lay the hell off the truffle oil.

(Source: epicurious.com)

Filed under lasagna swiss chard insane epicurious reviews

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Why use mustard to make mayo? This is almost a hybrid of mustard and mayo. You can cook the egg with the vinegar, wine (or water), and salt until it starts to bubble. Then it will be hot and you can mix it in a blender and pour it out as soon as you are done. It wil solidify in the fridge.

An amazing, amazing* epicurious review of a pretty straightforward recipe for homemade mayo.

* By amazing, I mean insane.

Filed under insane epicurious reviews mayonnaise

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Simple to make, but I would be interested in finding a way to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in the sugar and flour.

I love reading epicurious recipe reviews.  For one, they sometimes impart genuinely helpful information (Line your cake pan with parchment, for instance, because the cake tends to stick.  Or the sauce is really runny, so consider using less stock.  Things like that.)  But even better, it gives me a chance to peruse a literary sub-genre I like to call “insane epicurious reviews.”

Some recipes have a greater percentage of insane reviews than others.  The raspberry buttermilk cake, for instance, had not very many insane reviews.  Maybe it’s because bakers are more apt to follow a recipe?  Or people are more likely to attempt crazy adaptations when they’re making dinner?  I don’t know.  But it did have the above recipe review.

First of all, reviewer, grammatically, I think you want to be talking about the number of carbohydrates.  Second, there is no way for a home cook to reduce the number of carbohydrates in a given amount sugar or flour.  Perhaps you are suggesting you would like to reduce the number of carbohydrates in the cake as a whole?  Perhaps you could try doing that by not making cake.  Perhaps a crumble or a cobbler would suit you better?  Or maybe some whole fruit?  A nice baked apple?  In other words, stop trying to ruin a perfectly good cake recipe with your craziness.  But thanks for sharing said craziness in a public forum.

Filed under insane epicurious reviews cake buttermilk

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Trust and Buttermilk Salad Dressing

I was flipping through a magazine today and came across feature on “revised” salads that included a waldorf with bibb lettuce, apples, celery, grilled chicken, almonds, and creamy buttermilk dressing.  Bibb lettuce is one of my favorite lettuces ever (I have favorite lettuces, and I will not be ashamed) and I love apples in salads.  In addition, I’ve never made buttermilk salad dressing, so I was all excited. 

Except: the dressing recipe features “1/4 c. soybean oil mayonnaise.”  I don’t…I don’t understand why you would do that. [ed: False alarm people, I checked my jar and it turns out Hellman’s is soybean mayonnaise.  There are probably fact-checking-related lessons to be learned here but I’m leaving the post as is.]

It turns out that I’m sort of a hard liner when it comes to mayonnaise.  Apart from homemade, Hellman’s is the one true mayonnaise.  This is just how it is.  If you are going to go to the effort of making your own salad dressing (which is not a ton of effort!), why would you use jankety fake mayo and run the risk of the whole thing tasting weird?

Making a recipe requires trust.  I have to believe you are not leading me astray, that I will not end up with something gross at the end of all this.  Are you the kind of recipe writer that tells me I can substitute applesauce for butter in my brownies?  Do you buy low fat cheese?  If so, I’m willing to allow that there’s still a chance your recipe for buttermilk dressing is wonderful, but honestly, the risk is just too great.  Magazine buttermilk recipe lost my trust with the weird mayonnaise.  Happily, epicurious and the former Gourmet magazine came to the rescue. I’m going to use the dressing from this recipe for red leaf lettuce, watercress, and cucumber salad with buttermilk dressing instead.**

** By the way, this is one of the reviews from that recipe: “I made this recipe and made a few adjustments for a Mexican twist and think it’s great: Instead of tarragon, I added a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/2 cup) and popped all dressing ingredients in food processor. Then, for salad, I sauteed some canned black beans (1/2 cup), red onion, and one chili peper [sic], with some pureed tomatoes (1/4 cup). Once that cooled I topped the bed of lettuce with it, sprinkled shredded lo-fat sharp cheddar and poured dressing over it. Served with blue corn tortilla chips and it was cool veggie taco salad!”  I have not been able to formulate a comment to this, so I’m just sharing it with the community here.

photo of The Waldorf, Revisited from Body + Soul magazine

Filed under salad dressing mayonnaise insane epicurious reviews Why do you want to ruin my life Conde Nast?

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French Onion Soup

French onion soup is spectacularly ugly.  Gourmet published a thing on French Red Onion Soup that made the soup look medium-edible, but that’s just because of the bread and nice bowls.  And because Gourmet could make anything look delicious.  Plus, you’re not actually seeing much french onion there. 

It is tasty though.  I sometimes buy a big bag of onions at Costco for just this purpose.

This is the recipe I use, pretty liberally adapted from this one from Bon Appétit:

French Onion Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter (give or take)
  • 6 onions sliced thinly
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • a mix of beef and chicken broth (I add more beef than chicken, and because I usually freeze broth in 2 cup increments, that means 4 cups beef and 2 cups chicken.  The original recipe calls for canned.  This is ridiculous.  If you have homemade broth, that is better and you should use that instead.)
  • 1 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • slightly stale or toasted bread for each bowl (you want something crusty and chewy like sourdough, do not use the sandwich bread that comes in rectangles and doesn’t go bad ever.  It will be too squishy.)
  • 1 cup grated gruyere
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan

1. You’re going to need more than one heavy large saucepan for the onions, I usually need at least two, and they need to be 12” probably.  If you don’t mind caramelizing onions all afternoon, you could do it in stages.  It’s better if the pans aren’t non-stick.  I read somewhere that you “don’t need to worry about crowding the skillet with too many slices; the onions will eventually cook down.”  That’s sort of true and sort of not.  6 onions sliced are just not going to fit in one large skillet.  You’ll make yourself crazy trying to make that work.

2. Melt butter in the saucepans over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until very tender and brown, about 45 minutes.  Keep the heat low enough that they don’t get crispy.  Stir occasionally until the onions start to darken, then stir every minute or so to keep them from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan.  You want the onions to be fully caramelized, so very soft throughout and brown (darker than “golden” or “honey-colored”, and again, no crispiness).  That may take more than 45 minutes.

3.  Pour the wine into the largest pot or the one that seems to have the most brown stuff (the fond) stuck to the bottom.  Scrape the bottom to incorporate all the brown stuff into the wine and onions and simmer until the wine is reduced to a glaze.  If your skillet is big enough, transfer all the onions to that skillet, or transfer everything to one larger pot. 

4.  Add the broth and mustard.  Simmer for 20 minutes or so.  Taste, and season with salt and pepper and maybe more mustard.  I usually add an extra 1/2 teaspoon or so.

5.  Preheat broiler.  Ladle soup into bowls.  Top each with a slice of toast and grated cheeses.  Put the bowls onto a sturdy rimmed pan (it’s easier to get them in and out of the oven and protects the oven from any boil-over) and broil until the cheeses melt and bubble and get brown on the edges.

p.s. Some of the reviewers of the recipe linked above suggest adding sugar to the onions.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?  Don’t add sugar to the onions.  They caramelize on their own.  God.

Filed under Why do you want to ruin my life Conde Nast? soup insane epicurious reviews

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Scallops

Occasionally scallops go on sale.  Which means, automatically, even if they’re only on sale by 50 cents a pound, we buy them and eat them that night. They were on sale today, so we had scallops tonight.

I try to avoid cooking with heaps and heaps of butter on a regular basis, honestly.  However, when we’re having scallops, often I make this balsamic brown butter sauce (via epicurious.com, originally from Bon Appetit).  The recipe is for swordfish, and I think I’ve made it once with swordfish.  If I remember correctly, I accidentally overcooked the fish and it was basically inedible.  I have a much better track record with scallops.

Anyway, the sauce is really good, and it’s great on scallops, and the whole shebang cooks in about ten minutes.  I often really quickly saute some spinach to have on the side, which just turns into a vehicle for sopping up more balsamic brown butter sauce.  It says the tomatoes are optional, but they cut the richness of the sauce really nicely.

Some reviewers have mentioned a separation issue with the sauce.  What I did that seemed to work:

  1. Make the sauce at the same time that you’re cooking the fish, so you don’t have to reheat it.  Reheating stuff that has a potential for separation seems sort of risky.
  2. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and honey together first, then add them to the browned butter while whisking.

Finally (even though I know you’re not reading this), Epicurious Reviewer from MIssion Viejo, if you replace the butter with olive oil, you no longer have a brown butter sauce.  You now have a vinaigrette.  That you seem to have marinated the fish in.  I would say at that point that you made a dish related to, but actually entirely different from, the one in the recipe.  Which makes your four fork rating irrelevant.

Filed under I want to eat this all the time butter insane epicurious reviews