Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Cottage Cooking Club | August Recipes

The CCC cooking through River Cottage Veg
by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

My selections for August:

Caramelized Carrots with Gremolata
Asian-Inspired Coleslaw
  Chard and New Potato Curry
Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad

Click here for the complete list of August's recipe options.

Caramelized Carrots with Gremolata:

Carrots prepared this way is such a nice change from the old standard steamed carrots I have made in the past, and so easy (and pretty!) too.

The carrots are roasted in butter, oil, salt and pepper, in a foil covered roasting dish for about half an hour; then the foil is removed and the carrots are allowed to cook until they are brown and caramelized, about twenty minutes more; as you can see, my carrots never really caramelized, and I did not allow them to cook longer for fear of them turning to mush - I like my vegetables with some bite. 

Once the carrots are removed from the oven, they are sprinkled with gremolata - which is made up of minced garlic (I used about one and a half times the amount that was called for), parsley and lemon zest.

How easy is that?!!!

The carrots were deliciously sweet, with a little tangy zip from the gremolata.

Oh, and the scent while the carrots were baking away, was heavenly. You may want to give these a try yourself.


Whenever eggplant was the topic of conversation, I've always said I'm not a fan of eggplant. I guess I just never had it prepared in a way that it tastes delicious, as it does in this recipe, along with one other recipe I have made. I won't be saying I'm not a fan anymore! I've been converted.

Caponata is a Sicilian dish, a sweet and sour eggplant stew. Ingredients differ depending on the region.

This recipe consists of eggplant, onion, celery, garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, golden raisins (I used regular-everyday raisins), capers, olives, and parsley - along with some salt and pepper, olive oil, and even some dark chocolate - which was an optional ingredient, one of which I opted for. 

Wow! Was this ever delicious!! This coming from someone who never cared for eggplant before. Unfortunately, my husband did not care for this one; but that was OK, that meant more for me to devour. 

The day I made this I served it as an appetizer along with sliced sourdough bread. The following day (the caponata tasted even better), I had it on toasted sourdough - toasted is the way to go; and yet, two days later, I topped the remaining of this deliciousness with a poached egg - oh yeah - that was tasty.

Even if you are not a fan of eggplant, as I was once, make it sans the eggplant -  as I was tasting it along the way before the addition of the eggplant, I was thinking this would make a great sauce for pasta. 

This was the favorite of the month - hands down.

Asian-Inspired Coleslaw:


I've been cooking Asian (Chinese) cuisine for a couple of years now, and loving it. It's amazing how much better it is than take-out or dining out, so I was anxious to give this recipe a try.

This is a super quick and easy recipe. Made even quicker if you have the handy shredding tool (called a kinpira peeler) shown above, this shreds carrots in no time; and makes for quicker and easier clean up than a mandoline or food processor.

Typical coleslaw (that I grew up with) is usually made up of shredded cabbage and carrots that have been tossed with a mayo or buttermilk dressing.

Here, we have in addition to the carrot and cabbage, some sliced scallions; and the dressing is made up of rice vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic, giving it that Asian flair. 

After tossing the vegetables together, the dressing is added and left to sit for about twenty minutes to let the vegetables soften slightly. The coleslaw is then served, topped with a sprinkling of lime juice and cilantro.

If you want to make this ahead of time, you may prep everything in advance, and store the vegetables and dressing separately in the refrigerator. Just remember to toss it together ten to twenty minutes before serving, to give it ample time to soften the vegetables a bit.

I served this alongside Spicy Dry-Fried Beef, which is all I could think about. I have little recollection of how this salad tasted. I was going to make it again, since I had some leftover cabbage, however, I did not get around to it before this post was due. I'm sure it was a lovely dish - I certainly don't remember not liking it.

Chard and New Potato Curry:

I love curry dishes - so I was excited to give this recipe a try.

Curries can be either "wet" or "dry" depending on the amount of liquid used and whether the liquid is allowed to evaporate or not.

I'm guessing Hugh's may have leaned toward the dry side, for the recipe called to cover the vegetables with water (about one and two-thirds cup). I halved the recipe, and had to use three cups of water to cover the vegetables - I'm sure the pan size had a bit to do with it.

This was not the time to forget to make rice! I also had no bread to soak up all this sauce... bummer.

This curry dish is composed of Swiss chard, onion, garlic, green chile (I used a red chile from my little herb garden), ginger, new potatoes, plain yogurt, tomato paste, cilantro, nuts ( a choice of almonds, cashews or pistachios, toasted and chopped, which I forgot to add..) and a homemade curry mixture made of garam masala, mustard seeds, cumin, turmeric and cardamom pods.

I found the potatoes to have not much flavor, despite being fried in the pan along with the spices. There was no salt added other than "a pinch" added to the garlic, chile, and ginger to make a "paste." I am a firm believer in seasoning a dish along the way - not just at the beginning or end. I think if some additional salt was added to the cooking liquid, the potatoes would have absorbed this, and would have made them more flavorful. Aside from the potatoes tasting bland, this curry had decent flavor.

Hugh mentions you can make this ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it, omitting the yogurt and adding it in at the last minute after re-heating. 

I had leftovers the following day; the flavor improved, but the vibrancy of the meal diminished. I also had no issues with the yogurt already being incorporated. 

This also can be made with spinach or kale - omitting the kale stems all together and using medium or large potatoes in place of the new potatoes.

Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad:

Just a few of the ingredients for this lovely salad.

First look at the picture in the book, I knew this was going to be tasty.

When I went to purchase the ingredients for this recipe, I had my doubts to finding the slender and flavorful green beans known as hericot verts, and conceded that I would be using your standard, larger green beans.

My heart sunk as I walked the produce aisle, seeing only, literally, a handful of green beans left - not looking very appetizing at all. My spirits were raised as I glanced a bit further down, to see packaged baby blue lake beans! More than I need of course, but I was ecstatic just the same.
I eagerly gathered the few remaining items I needed to purchase- zucchini, lemon, and salad greens.

In addition to the above mentioned ingredients, the recipe also calls for a fresh red chile (which I have growing in a pot on the back deck), and optional oven-dried tomatoes. I so wanted to make the oven-dried tomatoes, I'm sure they would have been divine in this salad, however, I did not have the five hours required to make them, so I used sliced fresh tomatoes, some of the last few from our plant.

The zucchini is pan-fried in a little oil until tender and browned, then tossed with a little salt and pepper, lemon juice and the finely chopped chile. After blanching the green beans, they are tossed with the zucchini as well.

The lovely dressing for this salad is made from garlic, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon zest and juice, fresh squeezed orange juice, honey, salt and pepper, and olive oil.  

Beside the picture in the book, I chose this recipe to use some of the tahini I have had in my refrigerator for some time - apparently longer than I realized. I ended up not wanting to use it. Doing a quick internet search to see if I could quickly make up a small batch, I found that you can freeze tahini! Something I will do in the future for sure.

I ended up not making my own tahini (though simple as it may be), but substituting sunbutter (ground sunflower seeds) instead. I figured it would be close enough - it is more milder in taste than peanut butter, so I figured it should work - and it did.

Hugh assembles this salad by placing the greens on a shallow platter, and topping them with the zucchini/green bean mixture, and the tomatoes, then drizzling the dressing generously over the "whole lot".  Me, I prefer my salad greens to be tossed first with some of the dressing, then topped with the goods, and trickled with a little more dressing.

We have a tie for the favorite of the month! This salad was fabulous!

To see what recipes the other members chose for this month, head over to the LYL post for August on the CCC website, by clicking here.

We have been asked not to publish the recipes here on our blogs. We encourage you to go out and purchase the book and join us on this fun and healthy adventure!



  1. Hi Cathleen, wow! have you been busy, I sure am enjoying this cookbook, so far everything is so delicious, but that's probably because most things are in season. Anyway, beautiful pics!

    1. Thanks so much, Cherie! Seasonal produce make all the difference in the world, doesn't it?

  2. What a wonderful assortment of recipes Cathleen, and they all look fantastic. I love that you added the poached egg to the caponata....what a great idea. Funny that you couldn't remember the taste of the slaw - my very thought after eating it was that it was good, but not memorable!

    1. Thank you , Zosia! I really enjoyed the caponata in every way! My husband just looked at my write-up, and asked, "did I have that?" Apparently not very memorable at all.

  3. My your dishes all look terrific! (though I have to admit, I need to come back to that beef recipe... looks amazing!
    I too made the slaw and the caponata. My actual favorite of the month was the tomato bruchetta. The look of the tahini dressed salad is wonderful, so I will have to try that one of these days.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. Thank you, Candy! Hope your weekend is wonderful as well. :)

  5. Great choices Cathleen! I hope to get back to cooking with this group soon! My summer has been way too crazy! That salad looks devine! Have a great weekend!

  6. What great choices! Of course, it's hard to go wrong this time of year with all the beautiful summer produce around. Your zucchini salad looks very tempting. I really loved the carrots. I know I will repeat that one in the cooler months.

  7. Cathleen, it is always such a joy to read your posts - you certainly have a way with explaining each and every step for these dishes - it makes even me want to go out and get some more fresh produce right away to cook some of these recipes again. Going through all of your lovingly prepared dishes, I must say that I will have to find the time to make the Caponata this week and take pictures - the recipe is so wonderful and I love the fact that you served it the next day with sourdough bread and an egg - delicious! You even went with the dark chocolate I am planning on doing as well. Your Caramelised Carrots look gorgeous, so does the Asian-inspired Slaw which I truly enjoyed. And your large Veg Salad with Beans is a real show-stopper!
    So well done, all of these recipes - thank you very much for participating again this month! Look for the September Recipe selection later today - there are some wonderful recipes to chose from!

  8. Cathleen - loved all your photos and your thoughtful reviews of these recipes. After reading about the caponata in your and Colette's posts, I really must try it (even thought I feel I must be true to my Sicilian family's recipe). The carrots looked perfect, as did everything else. Thanks so much for this! ~ David

  9. This was a great month, wasn't it? I made four of the recipes that you did and there wasn't a dud in the bunch (for me, anyway). The carrots were an especial hit. Even our dog got excited about it, but we didn't share.

  10. Hi Cathleen, I've been cooking throughout the whole holiday weekend for festivities and have been so eager to check out this months Posts! It's been a real treat! Love your choices for the month and very nice photos. Gotta love the egg on top of the Caponata, nice use. Really enjoyed your photo display on the Asian Cole Slaw too, but then enjoyed the brightness of your of the salad, and, the carrots. Thanks for sharing! See you this month @ The Cottage Cooking Club!

  11. Our assessments this month were very similar. The coleslaw was good, but kind of forgettable, and I loved the caponata. It wasn't a surprise for me, though, I've always liked eggplant. Great idea to put a fried egg on the caponata. I'm going to have to try that next time.


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