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Joined: November 14th, 2009


Latest review:

September 22nd, 2019

Bourbon Apple Pear Sauce from I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking

Very nice take on applesauce. I made it to use up some overripe pears, and it worked just fine. It's also amazingly easy, and using the microwave means no worrying about whether the fruit's going to scorch. read more >


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hipcook's Reviews


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15 recipe(s) reviewed. Showing 1 to 15Sort by: Title | Date | Rating

The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor

By Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Clarkson Potter - 2009

9th September 2012

Austin-Style Brunch: Greens and Eggs Migas : page 188

A very pleasant fry-up of eggs, onions, and tortilla chips. The technique of adding the eggs to the hot onions (and then topping with cheese) makes this a very forgiving recipe.

A few notes - I like the serving suggestion that migas could be served with a bowl of greens, but "atop a bed of greens" didn't work for me. (The greens overwhelm the eggs.) A cup of chili would also be very nice, as they serve it at the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin. Actually, I bet there's a lot of leftovers which would pair up well with migas for breakfast the next day.

Think of the balance of onions, eggs, and tortillas as a guideline, not a rule. We found 6 medium eggs to 3 tortillas to be about right, but the "medium" onion was too much (for me, by a little, for my wife, by a lot). The recipe calls for 8 large eggs, so that's no surprise.

Making your own tortilla chips is cheaper than buying them, and what's more, now I have tortillas to cook with, not a pound bag of chips to snack on without thinking. That said, using store-bought chips won't hurt anything and will save time.

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1st September 2014

Brandied Plums : page 232

After 24 hours in the fridge, we broke these out, and my wife said "it tastes like Christmas." The mix of brandy and cinnamon and plum does taste like something you'd expect to find on a holiday table. I wonder how it would hold up as a fruitcake ingredient. (In fact, I imagined it as a special Christmas-stocking candy.)

Of course, all the talk of Christmas makes me wonder if the recipe would have to change to make them store well. We'll pay attention as we nibble the jar down over the next few weeks... for science.

In the meantime, I'm wondering how to pair them. Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream seems obvious, as would a shortcake. I'm tempted by the idea that these might work in something like a clafouti or even an upside-down cake.

I made a half-batch, and frankly, it doesn't save enough work to be worth it. The Lees are right; make two jars and, if you won't use them, give them away.

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14th December 2009

Buttermilk Fresh Cheese : page 93

I had no idea that soft cheese was either so easy to make or so delicious. This recipe takes you from having cold milk to a delectable, rich, salty-tangy ricotta-like cheese in under half an hour. I'm just stunned, and looking for opportunities to show this off. (And no one will judge you if you scrape the cheesecloth clean as a cook's treat...)

I tried the lemon zest variant, which smelled outstanding, and married well with the pecan-crusted treatment. A drizzle of honey really brought out the zing of the lemon; it was a hit on a dessert buffet.

A few notes - the Lee brothers think this recipe takes 8 minutes of cooking; I think either their definition of "medium" heat is higher than mine, or my fridge is colder than theirs, because it definitely took longer than that for curds to develop for me. That said, I also feel sure I cooked it longer than necessary, hoping to see cottage-cheese size curds which never developed. The curds will be fine, but the cheesecloth will catch them.

I also have to admit that I didn't have whole milk on hand as called for, but I did have whipping cream. I don't know if 1 cup cream + 3 cups of 1% milk = 1 quart of whole milk or not - but it works fine for this recipe.

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A light and spongy cake, still very moist, and packed with vanilla flavor. A phenomenal base for almost any kind of dessert sauce you could imagine putting on it. The only problem is that a dessert this small and light is either for the end of a big meal... or you want to eat all 8 of them yourself.

(Also, the Lee Brothers' nonstick pans must work better than mine - I didn't grease the pan and they stuck monstrously.)

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18th April 2016

Carrot and Turnip Slaw with Dill : page 130

I slapped a partial recipe together in a little bit of time before dinner, and it was pretty pleasant. Once the red wine actually penetrates the carrots and turnips, the sweet notes of all three become very interesting and complex. I'll definitely return to this following the recipe more closely (and allowing a more proper amount of time to marinade).

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I made this with ham hock meat instead of chorizo, which I suspect was a mistake. The combination of sauteed greens and poblanos is pretty nice, but this recipe seems to be counting on the spice and fat from sausage, and the ham hocks' salt and smoke just isn't cutting it. I also prefer my greens very vinegary, and the 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe don't lend enough brightness for my taste.

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I don't think my attempt went quite right, but I'm giving this a good rating for promise. I initially thought the sauce was a little too minty - 8 springs of mint, at least from my garden, is powerful. But it's a pleasantly delicate sauce, not heavy like it looks.

I've found that steelhead trout can almost always stand in for salmon, so that's what I used for this recipe. It didn't quite work, and I don't know if that's because of the fish itself, or because I didn't char the skin hard enough, or what. It was good - what's wrong with a recipe that boils down to "salt, pepper, broil" - but not great. But I'm going to cheat my rating up because maybe that's cook's error.

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28th February 2011

Gran's Flank Steak : page 202

As a rule, I trust people when they name a dish after a family member. They way I see it, any honorable person will bring their A game when they play under Gran's flag... and for that matter, I want to know if you're not honorable.

I'm here to report that the Lee Brothers are proper Southern boys who wouldn't let you think bad of dear old Gran. This is a fabulous marinade which I see becoming part of my regular rotation. The bourbon-soy combination makes for a smoky taste which you'd swear came from a barbecue, and then it reduces to a delicious pan sauce. It's clearly superior to any London broil I've had.

About halfway through dinner, I realized I was hungry for a crusty sandwich roll. I'm thinking this would be a fantastic sandwich au jus (perhaps with lettuce, caramelized onions, and maybe a bit of brie or mayo).

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27th November 2009

Lemon-Glazed Sweet Potatoes : page 151

Seems like a promising recipe, even if I had something of a cooking fail. (I forgot to mix the brown sugar and spices with the lemon juice before pouring the whole mess over the sweet potatoes - so mine were kind of sweeter on one side and lemony on the other. Weird, but good enough.)

Sweet potatoes in my world are usually either baked in their jackets, or mashed, so this recipe of baked slices minimally spiced was a revelation. They maintain some structure and texture, and a good amount of clear sweet potato flavor.

They did hold pretty well overnight - I made these the night before Thanksgiving and served them on the day.

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21st September 2014 (edited: 21st September 2014)

Lowcountry Pousse-Rapiere : page 40

Take a dry sparkling wine (like a cava or a prosecco), and add a plum-infused brandy syrup. Crisp and refreshing, this is a drink which could play many parts - a summer cocktail, an aperitif or a dessert drink. The brandy, plum, and cinnamon, though, evoke Christmas. This is a drink that whispers "God bless us, every one." And it certainly helps the brandied plum recipe from the dessert section pay off.

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22nd June 2013 (edited: 22nd June 2013)

Mint Julep Panna Cotta : page 245

Light and refreshing, and easy to boot. The milk and mint flavor suggests a faint drizzle of chocolate sauce. Ours were silky almost to the point of lacking structural integrity, and took more than the stated 1.5 hours to set up; I suspect the answer in both cases is that our ramekins are deeper than they are wide. A different shape might set up firmer (or I might use the whole packet of gelatin powder next time).

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15th March 2010

Pork loin chops with mushroom chutney : page 196

I only made the mushroom chutney; the chops look like a pretty basic preparation so there seems like no reason to doubt it. I really enjoyed the chutney, although I find the prunes are really the dominant flavor, with the earthiness of the mushrooms a distant second. It would be an excellent compliment for pork or chicken (or maybe even fish) - unfortunately, I served it with beef, and the flavors seemed to fight. I'm wondering if cutting the prunes way, way back would let the mushrooms and beef pairing work better.

One warning - the recipe says to use a 12" skillet, and I tried this in my 10", and just barely did everything fit. I also needed to cook it a lot longer than the recipe says to get the sauce to reduce. Seriously, use a 12" or bigger pan.

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23rd February 2011

Red Rice Salad : page 136

It's not really fair to make a dish like this right after 4 inches of snow falls. Satisfying but light, we had fun imagining what cook-out food it might go with. (We're thinking grilled chicken or shrimp.) It's light and cool, but with pleasant acidity and a hit of herbs. It worked just fine as a way to use up some leftover rice and an open can of chopped tomatoes. I'm looking forward to making it with fresh ingredients this summer.

Now all I have to do is get to the thaw.

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3rd July 2013

Rice Pudding Pops : page 237

Imagine the end of a summer meal in the south. You want just a little something for dessert, something comforting, reminding you of home, but nothing too heavy. Something you could savor slowly on the porch swing, maybe with a beer or cocktail.

That's what the Lee brothers have cooked up with this frozen rice pudding pop. It's a novelty act, with a texture that's not quite popsicle, not quite ice cream, and certainly no longer pudding. Eventually you realize how the cold is muting the flavors... on the 2nd or 3rd pop. But what the heck - it's hot out, and you have a treat simultaneously refreshing and satisfying.

One tip - this recipe claims to make six 4-ounce pops. I made twelve 2-ounce pops, and easily had enough for another 6. If you don't tell anyone about this and stash the leftovers in the fridge, you can have sweet cool rice porridge for breakfast.

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29th September 2013 (edited: 29th September 2013)

Sweet Potato and Okra Fritters with Garlic Buttermilk Dip : page 86

I enjoyed the flavor of these fritters. The sweet potato base works nicely with the vegetal okra and pungent onion. The technique was a trick though... the process was easy enough but I'm still not sure if I was trying to get more of a potato pancake thickness or a hush puppy. (Presumably the answer is "in between.") Obviously, this affects the texture and cooking time. I probably will try again to see if I can get a more consistent product.

The dipping sauce is just a mix of buttermilk, sour cream, and a microplaned clove of garlic. I don't know why this isn't on the table every night.

One kitchen note - you're going to purge liquid out of the sweet potato and chop okra. You will get wet on this ride.

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