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Joined: November 14th, 2009


Latest review:

July 14th, 2019

Clafouti (Cherry Flan) from Mastering The Art of French Cooking, Volume One (1) (Vol 1)

It is a delicious baked custard, but I found my cherries lacking in flavor. I wish I'd taken the step to soak them in a liqueur (like the next recipe in the book states). Or maybe just a little cinnamon... read more >


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hipcook's Reviews


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232 recipes reviewed. Showing 1 to 50Sort by: Book Title | Date | Rating | Recipe Title

Website: 101 Cookbooks

www.101cookbooks.com
 

28th April 2012

Green Soup with Ginger

An excellent soup. The ginger and sweet potato add a subtle depth without overwhelming the character of the greens.

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Website: About.com: Thai Food

thaifood.about.com
 

25th April 2011

Real Thai Chicken Satay

Very nice satay marinade. I was making this for a child's birthday party, so I used approximately 7 tablespoons of brown sugar to balance the mild heat (the recipe calls for 5-6, which would have been fine for the adults). It was a big hit.

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Website: All Recipes

allrecipes.com
 

21st September 2014

Fried Artichoke Hearts

Why have I not seen these before? They should be a staple of appetizer menus! Well, it says they're an appetizer, but we put them on sub rolls with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and remoulade for a vegetarian po' boy sandwich. (The brine of the artichokes, and their texture, is somewhat reminiscent of a fried oyster.)

I used panko bread crumbs, which didn't stick as well as I'd like - next time, either a finer crumb or I'll look into the battered recipes. I also only used enough oil to come about half-way up an artichoke heart. The timing stayed consistent, it was just 2-3 minutes per side.

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Website: All Recipes

allrecipes.com
 

23rd April 2017

Fondant Potatoes

Chef John's blog and video point out that you really should use russets on this recipe, and sure enough, I think Yukon Golds were too waxy to get a good crust. That said, it's a really neat approach - potato cylinders are fried on one side to make a crust, and then braised in stock to complete cooking and add flavor. (I also suspect that the second side should get a longer fry than I gave it - but that's the side that's going to be in the braising liquid so I don't know if it matters.) It's more effort than just baking up some home fries, but I'm interested enough to try it again.

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Alton Brown's Gear For Your Kitchen

By Alton Brown
Stewart, Tabori & Chang - 2008

Tater tots, bacon, blue cheese, cream of mushroom soup and meat. It seems ridiculous, but everyone I've served it to enjoyed it. And what's not to like? We usually substitute ground turkey for ground beef, and up the thyme and garlic a bit.

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18th January 2015

Potato Leek Soup

A pretty good take on the classic. Warm, smooth, and refined. I found it needed salt; that probably depends on how much is already in the stock you use.

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Website: America's Test Kitchen

www.americastestkitchen.com
 

Terrific meatballs. I'll definitely be using the technique of mixing panade with meat in the food processor, not by hand. These seemed to pay off my labor better than other meatball recipes I've tried. (The recipe also makes enough meatballs that I can get 2 or 3 meals out of it.)

The sauce is fine, but forgettable. I'll probably just open a jar in future. That may be a comment on the quality of my supermarket crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce.

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BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes

By Shirley O. Corriher
Scribner - 2008

These are amazing cookies. Make me rethink what a 5-star rating should mean cookies. Lie to your wife and tell her they're too burnt to eat cookies.

How to describe them? Imagine a pecan pie in truffle form. Small, chewy balls of pecans and sweetness, with the perfectly addictive balance of salt.

The only problem with the recipe is that Shirley says they're "better made several weeks ahead." I don't doubt this is true for a minute. I do doubt that there are more than 10 people on earth who could let 40 of these survive in their house for a week.

(I'll also point out that they were so good warm, crunchy on the outside and still a bit gooey in the middle, that I seriously thought about devouring the whole batch then and there, pancreas bedamned.)

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14th January 2013 (edited: 14th January 2013)

Serious Stuff Gingerbread

Shirley does it again! The texture on this gingerbread cake is about as perfect as I can imagine - moist and springy, chewy without being tough. It's dead easy and quick to make. Spice-wise, it is indeed "serious stuff" - my 5-year-old finds it "funny tasting." I was using blackstrap molasses and I'm glad I ran a little short; I think that flavor might have gotten excessive for my taste.

I'm tempted to play with sauce or icing options on this one, but the right play might be to stay simple and go with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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The Bob's Burgers Burger Book: Real Recipes for Joke Burgers

By Loren Bouchard, Bob's Burgers, Cole Bowden
Universe - 2016

18th July 2018

New Bacon-ings Burger

Solid recipe for a basic bacon cheeseburger. I do like the burger technique in this book.

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Solid advice on how to make a good burger. I think my burgers have been too thick, not wide enough, and overworked, and following these steps may be helping.

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For some reason, I didn't love these kale chips. They were crispy but maybe a little too much so; seemed a little grainy as they broke up in my mouth. (Maybe early season kale is different than late season kale?) That said, they did add a nice crunchy texture to the burger.

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These were fantastic burgers. The shredded gruyere and caramelized onions made a fantastic rich creamy topping. Flavoring burgers with onion soup mix is kind of a throwback... but honestly, it still works.

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I want to like the idea of this burger. But the directions for making chile rellenos were entirely too vague for me to follow successfully. They were greasy, the cheese leaked, it was a mess. Maybe if I learn to make a chile relleno first I'll come back to this recipe. The cumin in the burgers was a hit though.

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1st March 2019

Sit and Spinach Burger

Nice enough burger. (I used arugula instead of spinach, which was fine.) The instruction to reduce the lemon juice and red wine vinegar with the burgers is odd; it keeps the burgers from browning and the sauce gets lost. I wonder if it wouldn't be better mixed in with the greens.

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28th May 2019

Totally Radish Burger

The radish-cucumber sauce is a neat idea. I disagree with the recommendation to use a microplane grater; we wanted a slightly larger grate to give more texture. This would be a great condiment on a more flavorful burger (like a lamb burger, or something with more heat); on a standard ground beef burger it added freshness but not a lot of zing.

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Website: Boston Globe

www.bostonglobe.com
 

10th March 2019

Colcannon

We're doing a winter CSA box, which is bringing a lot of winter veggies into the house which we don't actually buy by choice very often - turnips. rutabagas, and so much kale. We know we like colcannon and planned to make some for a St. Patrick's Day party, and my wife found this version which has the kale standing in for cabbage and adds some other root vegetables to the potatoes.

I'd have liked it with some bacon or ham, and I think it could use a little more dairy than we used. But I really liked the mix of veggies.

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Buttermilk

By Angie Mosier
All Day Press - 2013

9th October 2016 (edited: 9th October 2016)

Spicy Ethiopian Cheese Curds

Fresh buttermilk cheese is a wonderful thing - a very slight bit of effort for an appetizer which always impresses. I've tended to serve fresh cheese on the sweet side, but this goes spicy with ginger, jalapeno, and pepper. It was a big hit as both a dip and a topping for chili. We liked it with more ginger than originally called for.

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Most of the recipes I've seen for fresh cheese call for a mix of buttermilk and whole milk. This one calls for straight buttermilk, with half-and-half added at the end to moisten the curds. Simple and delicious.

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Website: Cafe Delites

cafedelites.com
 

25th February 2019

Cajun Butter Steak Bites

Basically a blackened steak recipe, made in bite-size portions. This was a hit in my house, though we found using a commercial Cajun seasoning and slightly less meat than called for led to being significantly over-salted. I'll be more moderate next time. The garlic butter at the end was a good touch.

We served them like little lettuce wraps, just putting each bite inside some spring-mix size lettuce leaves. They'd be nice on a flatbread or in a tortilla too, or maybe atop some rice.

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Website: CD Kitchen

www.cdkitchen.com
 

This is a fun take on chili - relatively mildly spiced, so that the flavors of lamb and black bean shine through. I've made it with both ground lamb and stew meat; stew meat is better but, to me, it's less chili-like. (That might just mean I need to cut the stew meat smaller.) I find it benefits from significantly longer cooking than the recipe calls for to reduce the broth. In another printing (in the Washington Post ages ago), I found the suggestion that it should be garnished with lime, which is a terrific suggestion. A little acid really wakes this dish up.

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Chesapeake Bay Cooking

By John Shields
Broadway - 1998

14th November 2009

Maryland Panfried Chicken

The recipe I use for my "old family recipe" fried chicken. Shhhh... don't tell anyone! Although with some crowds, I up the garlic and hot sauce in the marinade, it's just about perfect - flavorful, with a serious, crispy crust. It looks darker than the Colonel's - you might even think it's overcooked - but don't worry, it's delicious. This is the recipe that taught me I like making fried chicken just as much as eating it.

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25th April 2010 (edited: 25th April 2010)

Juan Kelly's Crabmeat Tapas

A nice take on crab salad - mild and not too mayonnaise-y. The addition of diced hard-boiled eggs is interesting. The filling repurposes nicely - we served it as a dip with slices of baguette, and then again as a topping for a cheese omelet.

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1st December 2010

Chesapeake Oyster Stew

A relatively simple and very rich recipe for oyster stew; it's our family "go-to" recipe. Feeds a crowd - I frequently find myself scaling it down. I need to remember to use a light hand with the cayenne pepper; its lingering heat becomes overpowering easily.

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I think of thyme as pork's best friend, but this recipe shows that sage might be a close second. I found the garlic flavor was a little lost, given the effort of studding the ham with slivers. We had a smaller ham than called for (4.75 lbs) and found the 20 minutes per pound timing turned out a well-done roast - a few more minutes would have made it downright dry. A brine, or a closer eye on the roast, would have been nice.

The apples worked very well; reviewed separately.

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1st January 2014

Fried Apples

Growing up, when my parents went out for the night, we'd often get Stouffer's escalloped apples as a dinner treat. This recipe doesn't have the same thick, syrupy sauce as the frozen one, but it does feed that same memory for me.

It's a more grownup recipe - there's no sugar added past the apples and cider, but if you pick sweet apples, that's plenty. I could have a lot of fun playing with the size of the apple slices; a thin slice might be "like a spiced apple sauce" as described; I used rather thick chunks of apple (one chunk to the bite) to a heartier effect.

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21st September 2014

Remoulade Sauce

Very nice remoulade sauce. The green onion and celery add a freshness which works well.

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The Commander's Palace New Orleans Cookbook

By Ella Brennan, Dick Brennan
Clarkson Potter - 1984

24th December 2010

Jambalaya

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, substituting about a pound of smoked Polish sausage, a pound of gator, and a pound of crawfish tails, for the 4 and a half pounds of meat otherwise called for. (I also used 1/3rd of the hot sauce, so my 3 year old would eat it.) I think it did miss the flavor of the ham, frankly. But the sauce is excellent, hearty and heady with herbs and spice. Definitely will keep experimenting with this as a base.

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24th December 2010 (edited: 24th December 2010)

Milk Punch

I am not a fan of egg nog, but this is a pretty pleasant alternative for a holiday cocktail. The Brennans say to serve it ice cold, but given that it's basically milk and vanilla with some booze, I think warmed up it would make a lovely Christmas nightcap.

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29th November 2015

Pecan Pie

Really, this is a 5 for the pie filling, which is delightfully reminiscent of a New Orleans praline. Nuts, butter, and of course sugar, but not that cloying gelled filling which so many pecan pies have. (A friend suggests this may only be because it hadn't been refrigerated between baking and serving, and she could be right.) But a 3 for the oil-based pastry crust, which shrank surprisingly during the blind bake and was a little thicker on the bottom than we expected.

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31st March 2016

Bananas Foster

I am truly shocked at how easy this classic dish is. My caramel technique needs work, and this dish comes together fast so mise en place is essential, but I will be returning to this recipe.

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10th March 2019

Gumbo Ya Ya

Terrific recipe. Should go into my frequent rotation. I didn't let my roux go quite long enough, and I would have liked a little more of that deep dark flavor, but I bring this up because even with a roux that was more milk chocolate-colored than brick, it was in the right neighborhood. The flour on the chicken also lightens the roux and adds thickening - I found it took ~7 cups of stock, not 6, to get the desired consistency and even then it got gloppy when cold.

Similarly, I think there's room to be more aggressive in the seasonings. As written it was fine, but I noticed people adding hot sauce and salt and black pepper at the table. Again, that depends on a lot - the stock, the degree to which you season the chicken, personal preference.

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The Cookbook for Kids (Williams-Sonoma): Great Recipes for Kids Who Love to Cook

By Lisa Atwood
Weldon Owen - 2011

Pretty darn good fritatta, really, especially for a "cooking with kids" book. I did make a half-recipe... except for the bacon, which I left at its normal proportion. (Which might mean this recipe should call for some salt and pepper in its normal proportions.)

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It's a yogurt parfait; it's as good as your yogurt and berries are. But it's also a dish my kid can put together entirely on his own, and experiment a little with plating artistically. So points for that.

(Don't tell Williams-Sonoma, but we found that my highball glasses are just about the perfect size for a yogurt parfait.)

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1st August 2018

Biscuit-Wrapped Hot Dogs

It's "pigs in a blanket"; there's not much to it. But heck, it was fast and let me cook with my kid. (His review was that he'd rather figure out how to do corn dogs at home.)

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Dead simple, but a pretty pleasant summer dessert. I might do a large chop instead of a slice next time; as the bananas cook they can become a little chewy (especially if they're not perfectly ripe yet).

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Website: Cooking

cooking.nytimes.com
 

A quick dish that's a good combination of flavors. The recipe could be more specific in places; when I make this again I'll be careful to keep the heat closer to medium, and to chop the kale a little smaller than I did this time. I also might have enjoyed a little more anchovy and garlic, and less pepper, but obviously those are portions which might change dish to dish and person to person.

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Cooking from the Heart: 100 Great American Chefs Share Recipes They Cherish

By Michael J. Rosen, Richard Russo (Foreword)
Broadway - 2003

13th August 2012

John's Cure

Reasonably good cure. I used it on ribs and found it a bit too salty for my taste, but my family thought it was fine. Nothing revelatory here, but for a cure, that's not a bad thing.

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13th August 2012

Plum Barbecue Sauce

This was a big hit in my house! I had to do a fair bit of improvising due to the lack of ingredients like tamarind sauce and plum vinegar at my local mega-mart, but the overall flavor worked as a not-too-thick barbecue sauce with a distinct fruity note. It was good on ribs, but I bet it would be terrific with poultry (or a larger cut of pork).

I'm still trying to decide what I think about the fact that this is a sauce which requires a lot of ingredients and a lot of chopping. It makes a lot of sauce - I'll probably make it in a pot, not a pan, next time - so perhaps the work pays off in volume.

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Website: Cook's Country

www.cookscountry.com
 

"Crash Hot Potatoes" from the Pioneer Woman Cooks website are a standing favorite in my house. This recipe puts a massive amount of salt into the boiling water for the potatoes and brushes them with malt vinegar before and after roasting, evoking the flavors of a good salt-and-vinegar potato chip. And suddenly, one of my favorite potato preparations becomes my absolute favorite, hands down, undisputed King of Potatoes.

As usual, I cheated - it's just so much faster to microwave the potatoes and boil them, and salt before they go into the oven. I probably need a heavier hand with the salt. I also used gold potatoes instead of red (because I prefer them), and cider vinegar instead of malt (because it's what I had). Malt vinegar probably would be better.

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Website: Cook's Country

www.cookscountry.com
 

4th October 2016

Grilled Sugar Steak

Steaks are dry-brined with a mixture of 4 parts sugar to 3 parts salt. Fun technique and one I'll be using again. Note to self: the amounts of rub listed really do assume thick steaks; thinner steaks need significantly less rub. (Which should have been obvious, but wasn't.)

I made it under my broiler, which was fine, but I didn't get quite the caramelization I was expecting and it did a number on my cast-iron grill pan.

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Cook's Illustrated
(Nov/Dec, 2004)

 

30th November 2009

Roasted Brined Turkey

A pretty nice, basic technique for brining and roasting turkey. After a couple of years of trying to infuse the turkey with various flavors of fruits, spices, and bacon, a straightforward turkey-tasting-turkey was a nice return to roots.

I do think they estimate too little time for cooking the bird, or they assume it's a lot closer to room temp than mine was when it went in the oven. The important thing to remember is, brining is designed to make the bird tolerant of being "overcooked".

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Cook's Illustrated
(Mar/Apr, 2008)

 

26th December 2009

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

Steaming the potatoes instead of boiling them really does seem easier. I have to admit that I wimped out at the idea of getting out the food mill, and just used the potato masher. It turned out OK, but I do think breaking the potatoes more would have helped them be fluffier. (Also, I note that the butter and milk are added separately, instead of together like every other mashed potato recipe I know.)

All that said, there's nothing but potato flavor in this recipe. Fine, if that's what you're looking for, but I like mashed potatoes rich with dairy and other flavors. (If I wanted potato flavor, I'd eat them baked.) So for me, it's more a recipe that illustrates a technique, than a finished dish.

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Cook's Illustrated
(Mar/Apr, 2010)

 

27th January 2010

Better Beef Stroganoff

We participated in the testing phase for this dish, and it was an interesting take. The flavors are definitely lighter and more distinct than the beef stroganoff of my past... it's a classier, more refined dish. It bears almost no resemblance to stroganoff a la college cafeteria, that's for sure!

Or, put another way, if you _like_ stew-like beef stroganoff, this isn't it. I do prefer a heartier approach, and I already have an easy recipe for that from the Fagor pressure cooker manual, so while this is a good and pretty easy recipe, it won't be going in my personal heavy rotation.

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

6th August 2010 (edited: 6th August 2010)

Teriyaki Stir-Fried Beef with Green Beans and Shitakes

Nice combination of flavors, straightforward stir-frying technique. I might increase the ginger next time.

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

There's not a lot to this recipe - get thick-cut pork chops, brine them, cook on a 2-level fire. I found the timing a little short, but I was cooking on a windy day at about 60 degrees F, so my grill was cooler than it will be in July.

But it's a 5-star recipe for me, because these pork chops were every bit as good as any I've had in a restaurant. Tender and juicy with a nice smoky flavor (and a hint of the BBQ rub I used for a spice). I'm always afraid that pork on the grill will either be shoe leather or burnt on the outside, raw in the middle, but with this technique, I see how some of my summer nights will shape up.

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

6th August 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

I was impressed with how high these pancakes were. Admittedly, I like my pancake batter a little stiff, but this batter hit a sweet spot of being workable and still substantial. The flavor is creamy and sweet, if a bit plain. The method of putting the batter on the griddle and then adding berries is the only way to go.

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

1st December 2013

The Best Sweet Potato Pie

This is a very refined, light and custardy sweet potato pie. It has good sweet potato flavor, with a strong hit of bourbon and an eggy-milky sweetness which reminds me of egg nog. I'm partial to the rustic, dense version of sweet potato pie, but this uptown version is definitely a recipe I'll make again. A friend suggested it was lacking pecans, and we agree - a layer at the bottom of the pie would be a fantastic surprise.

(Disclaimer: this is not a review of the pie crust, because I used store-bought.)

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

Good technique here for pan-seared shrimp, with a variety of glazes. We've tried all 3, and the chipotle-lime is our favorite - tropical and sweet, with just a bit of spice. Could serve as a great appetizer, an ingredient in shrimp tacos, or as a main course on its own.

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Website: Cooks Illustrated

www.cooksillustrated.com
 

Every year, at Christmas or Thanksgiving, my wife says "we could make glazed carrots" and I say "we don't have a glazed carrots recipe" (meaning "I don't really like cooked carrots.") And she says "yes we do, the Cook's Illustrated one" and I say "I have no memory of what you're talking about." And then we make this one, and the strong hit of ginger balances the rosemary really well and gives needed complexity to its restrained sweetness.

And I say "you were right, honey, these are really good."

And she smiles, knowing I'll forget about them before next year.

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