Ah, I remember a great anecdote from a stay in Japan where one of my fellow exchange students attempted to eat some plain rice in sight of her roommate, who chastised her that plain was how poor people ate it, and practically chased her around the room with an egg to crack over it (as said friend, grossed out by the idea, ran with the bowl above her head).
I probably would've been, too, although by the end of my stay, I was converted- even enjoying a surprisingly delicious izakaya dish of chicken with raw egg yolk as a dipping sauce (much to the horror of my mother back at home, who is disturbed even by a runny poached egg).
Just gorgeous and stunning. After some intensive hunting for something to do with a bevy of beets I had, some sort of cracker dip sounded appealing, but I couldn't stand the magenta pink color of most recipes. One look at this picture and realizing the black tahini helped achieve it, and I knew I had to give it a shot, even with my misgivings about adding anything to hummus (I'm a purist).
And it was good. Very sweet (that's beets for ya), but utterly delicious and addictive. The beautiful velvety plum color got more than a few admiring comments.
My only complaint is that the recipe for the tahini leaves a lot leftover- but no other recipes to use it up in! Heck, there's even a few black sesame seed dessert recipes here on Serious Eats that could've been linked to the post.
So it seems like there are a couple of things going on with this post- the most egregious being the lack of clarity with the recipe. Did Hopkinson's book version separate out the list of ingredients beyond "To Serve" into their requisite recipes for Ginger Syrup and Sesame paste, or is it just as bad and confusing in print? I think I've sussed out that there's supposed to be a recipe for a sauce here as well, with the mirin and soy sauce and lemon juice, etc., but who really knows? I'm a bit appalled that Caroline Russock/an SE editor took a look at this and thought it was fit to publish.
Secondly, it's unclear why the extra steps for the sesame paste and the ginger syrup are needed. Sure, I can concede that a sweet, lemon-zesty syrup might act differently in a recipe than minced ginger by itself . . . but is it really necessary for it to steep overnight? Are we really expected to believe that full flavor extraction couldn't be done in a few hours? And would it really have been impossible to scale down the amounts to give a more manageable excess amount of syrup? When it comes to the sesame paste, I can't even try to come up with an excuse- the recipe makes tahini paste, nothing special about it. There's no reason to grind up your own when store-bought is identical.
Thirdly, this is obviously not authentic, and moreover, is vegetarian. Which isn't a problem- in fact, what drew me to the recipe was the lack of specialty meats (Chinese sausage, Chinese bacon, dried seafood) that would require a special trip to an Asian foods store. I don't mind inauthentic, but after steaming for an hour and a half, it was gooey and still not set. More steaming. Same. Threw it into the oven with something else that was cooking. Browned, crunchy top; same gooey, not-set texture beneath. Googling other recipes for turnip/radish cakes reveal they typically include some cornstarch, which doubtless might've helped it set. Why was this left out here?
But finally, all said and done, I threw the pan in the fridge in frustration, went to bed, and came back in the morning. The browned, baked exterior helped to keep it in one piece (almost like a casing; I imagine it would've fallen apart otherwise when inverting), but it refused to fry up properly, instead leaving little bits of itself stuck to the non-stick (!) pan. I finally ended up treating it like its name- a paste- smashing and scraping it up to get as much browning as possible. A drizzle of soy sauce, and to my mouth it went.
And it was . . . not bad. Pretty tasty. Then again, I'm sure shoe leather fried in sesame oil and drizzled with soy sauce would be tasty, too- and not half as much work.
So I suppose making this wasn't a total bust, but that was primarily because of saving graces unrelated to the recipe itself (using up my CSA's root vegetables, having a tasty syrup to augment a Domaine de Canton cocktail to soothe my frazzled cooking nerves). It wasn't worth all the work that was involved, at all, and I pity Hopkinson's recipe being here, as it certainly doesn't make me want to purchase the book.
Made this tonight and it was great! Although I would caution that it's really only good hot . . . once it starts to cool, it starts to return to graininess and seems less flavorful. I'd definitely keep it hot and ladle a bit at a time throughout whatever I'm eating it with. But it does also start to develop a "skin" on top in the pot unless constantly stirred, so perhaps some plastic wrap pressed to the surface might do the trick?
To be honest, I chose this recipe specifically for that gorgeous picture- all the others I'd found for "Russian salad"/"Salad Olivier" looked basically like boring smashed-up potato salad. I even went to extreme lengths to pull out the ruler whilst cutting up the veggies, the better to get a uniform size (although I will note that I wonder if those in the picture are actually 1/2"- they seem a bit smaller and closer to the peas). And dang, those jewel-like beets on top are just gorgeous.
But gosh, looks aside, you were not lying about its deliciousness. It's ridiculous- it's so plain!- but oddly addictive. Both myself and my mother ate multiple helpings on consecutive days until it had disappeared. I did swap out half the mayonnaise for sour cream, but that's only because I'm not a huge mayo fan.
Basically, I'll definitely be making this again!
These are incredibly delicious- savory but so bright and lemony! I kind of just want to always have a container on hand for snacking . . . they're that addictive.
The recipe didn't specify, so I added the liquid from the mushrooms into the mix, so mine wasn't a paste, either- didn't seem to affect the flavor.
I'll definitely be making these again; hopefully next time with fresh marjoram.
This dish is absolutely delicious, far moreso than I thought it would be- the vegetable puree coated the rice with fantastic color and flavor. The only issue I had was like you- the beets were still not fully cooked through, even in spite of me cutting them into smaller dice. I'm thinking they might benefit from a par-boil (perhaps in the water that's brought to a simmer in the first step?) prior to adding them to the pot to finish with the rice.
I wish the picture did this dish better justice, because it was fantastic.
Yes! I got a Vitamix for Christmas (thanks, mom!), and the ability to make hot, silky smooth soups from cold/room temp ingredients in a blender is kind of blowing my mind. I've still been too reticent to use raw potatoes (microwaving them first), but I definitely need to give this a try.
How did this review not mention how it looks like a poached egg topped with hollandaise?
Like someone else said, I'm actually charmed by the odd limp McDonald's fry amidst all the crispy ones . . . it's not to be avoided, but slurped up happily. That said, if someone tried to give me a bag of only those, I'd be disappointed.
I just bought a Nature Box subscription for a friend's birthday last month . . . dang, I wish I'd had that 50% off the first box code then!
As smooth as possible and very lemon-forward.
I make a batch, throw 'em in the freezer, and then take two every morning to defrost in the microwave.
Cold cereal and milk when I have time to sit down for breakfast in the morning.
@Dandbuilder It's basically just fresh ricotta (well, technically paneer, since it's made from milk, not whey- just milk + heat + acid until it forms curds, then drained), and then add half-and-half or heavy cream to the desired texture.
Sundays are usually my day to cook stuff for the rest of the week, so I can't be arsed to make something amazing for myself. However, I did make homemade cottage cheese to use up some probably-gonna-expire-soon milk (remarkably easy and so delicious), so it's cottage cheese and tomatoes on toast. And microwave mug cookie for dessert.
I've never had a problem with the microwave . . .
I feel like mine isn't very well-stocked? A few times I've gone there because I've seen that some obscure ingredient I need was found by someone else at their local Trader Joe's . . . and I then spend an embarrassing amount of time scouring the aisles looking in vain.
Total fun for snack foods and trying new stuff, but I just don't do that very often.
Although I will say it's the only place near me that has mochi ice cream, so that's strongly in its favor.
Savory tends to be more appealing, but then again, I also love a good dutch baby pancake with fruit, too, which made me realize I couldn't completely discount the sweet stuff.
Then again, fruity-based breakfast stuff (with yogurt or cottage cheese, fruit cups, etc.) seems in its own category apart from serious sugar bombs like donuts, syrup-drenched french toast and pancakes, and other pastries.
Not eating it feels wasteful to me. But sometimes I'll work on the crust while I'm eating the rest of the slice, so that it's just a bite at the end, rather than a whole big pizza bone staring me down.
Absolutely delicious! Escarole isn't stocked at my local store, so I subbed in some kale with no complaints . . . and it was quite fun doing the meatballs this way with a helper, too. They were fantastically light and flavorful.
I usually do the same in a double boiler, but I need to try Kenji's immersion blender version , because it sounds way faster and easier (and the mayonnaise emulsion by the same method works perfectly for me).
As someone who understands Taco Bell's crappiness and sometimes craves it, I didn't mind the Salisbury steak filling, but the openness of the steak stack was unexpected and terrible . . . it was super-messy.
Taco Bell, you have the grills to seal your stuff shut into neat and tidy bundles. Do it.
I totally know what you mean about "plenty of". I usually get hungry and lip-licking when it's followed with "crusty bread", as in "serve with plenty of crusty bread", because it usually indicates that it's got a delicious sauce or broth perfect for dipping.
I'll also be pretty into stuff described as "buttery" or "tangy", or where one component of a dish is on "a bed" of something else.
As someone who makes absolutely delicious food about 75% of the time and creates dismal failures the other 25%, I tend to go for "safe" when I'm trying to impress others. I personally like the humble panini- more impressive than the basic grilled cheese, eminently customizable, and hey, you really can't go wrong with crispy-buttery-oozy, can you? And there's very little work involved, too. Paired with a fancy salad or soup, and it seems way nicer than it has any right to.
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