Peckish Sister's Profile

From: Central, FL USA

Joined: December 11th, 2010

About me: I have always liked to cook, particularly breads, fruits, vegetables, vegetarian, poultry and lamb dishes. After marriage we cooked together progressively more difficult dishes with him doing the meat, grilling and frying, and I did the "dough" and the same type of things I had before. After children we started cooking more simply. After discovering the cause of my frequent migraines was an evolving long list of chemicals and odd ingredients, I began getting back to cooking from basic ingredients, and found I could be well again. I also try to cooking from what I can get in season at the ever present fruit and vegetable stands.

Favorite cookbook: America's Test Kitchen / Cooks Illustrated Books

Latest review:

February 29th, 2020

Ratatouille from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America's Most Trusted Cooking Magazine

This family favorite is the only way I have been able to eat eggplant, perhaps because it it salted, any excess moisture squeezed out and then roasted at a high temperature. If I am in a real hurry I use... read more >

recipe reviews (463)
book reviews (18)
useful review votes (418)

Peckish Sister's Reviews

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20 recipe(s) reviewed. Showing 1 to 20Sort by: Title | Date | Rating

The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook

By Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Cook's Illustrated - 2009

3rd December 2011

Best Shortbread : page 675

I was curious to see how this recipe compared to that of the Barefoot Contessa. There were major differences with the addition of oats, powdered sugar and cornstarch. The directions and pictures were very clear. Baking the shortbread in the collar of my 9.25” spring form pan opened on a rimmed baking sheet did not work for me as the fit was so tight it did not open any. When the short bread baked it wrinkled and flaked off in places as it had no where to expand. It might be a little trickier, but next time I would place the bottomless spring form on my largest un-rimmed baking sheet. I substituted rolled barley for the oats (food sensitivity). I had a hard time getting them ground into flour, ending up with lots of hard bits even when I sieved it. It was my own fault as I used a small food processor instead of the specified coffee grinder or blender. However, it is hard not to like real butter short bread. I love the shape of it, it tasted great and I will definitely make this recipe again.

useful (3)  

25th February 2012

Blueberry Scones : page 428

I like that the blueberries are added last and that you can use frozen blueberries without turning the entire dough blue-grey. This was a very interesting way to work the butter by grating frozen sticks halfway, leaving the handles to be put away for another use. I am not always a fan of citrus peel, but I liked the addition of the grated lemon peel here. I cut the long rectangle into 3 perfect 4” squares instead of 4 - 3”squares so I ended up with 6 very large scones. This dough was too soft for me and it would have turned out OK if I had used my scone pan. My next mistake was to remember that I had not brushed the tops with butter and sprinkled on the extra sugar after they had been in the oven for 1-2 minutes. I thought it would be all right to pull the pan out and do this, but apparently the dough had already warmed up so that the final product looked awful, spread out and leaking butter. But they still disappeared in a hurry and there was a little fighting over the leftovers in the freezer. I will look forward to making this recipe again and doing it right – there are still a lot of blueberries in the freezer.

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You may have everything on hand for this except the arugula. I used the bow tie pasta option. This can be whipped up quickly. My arugula was a bit bitter, but tasted great paired with the sun-dried tomato pesto and the creamy goat cheese on top. I like that each person can add s much or as little goat cheese as they like. Next time I will add more of the pasta water (it is done to taste) to the pesto as it was very thick on the pasta.
This is a great quick and easy pasta dish. It was remarked that it would be great around Christmas with the red of the pesto, the dark green of the arugula and the bow ties just seem to emphasize that theme.

useful (1)  

20th January 2012

Charcoal-Grilled Rack of Lamb : page 371

We used a double recipe of this marinade on a charcoal-grilled butterflied leg of lamb (for that grilling technique see The New Basics Cookbook – Butterflied Leg of Lamb P 469). It has all the flavors I want when cooking lamb – garlic, fresh rosemary, also fresh thyme and olive oil. This turned out to be the best tasting leg of lamb we ever had. The flavor really penetrates much more than all of those times I spent forever sticking slivers of garlic into a leg of lamb. I wanted to review this recipe before I forgot (again) where it came from because that would be tragic.

useful (1)  

27th October 2012

Congo Bars : page 478

These are based on a blonde brownie recipe that contains a substantial amount of butter and brown sugar. To make Congo bars you add carefully toasted unsweetened coconut shreds to chopped pecans, chocolate and white chocolate chips. My son says they are now his favorite cookie.

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12th March 2012

Cream Scones : page 427

I had extra cream on hand and these were the easiest scones that I have made in a long time. I was happy to have the currents on hand that the recipe required; they gave just the right amount of sweetness to the scones. This was a very wet dough and once again I was saved by the scone pan forming 8 perfect scones. This is a perfect recipe to whip up in a hurry if you have cream and currents on hand.

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22nd March 2012

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta : page 204

We were looking for a garlicky pasta recipe to use with precooked Langostinos and adapted this recipe. It makes a perfectly seasoned sauce with a total of only 5 tablespoons of fat/oil. We barely heated the langostinos at the end. I caught myself throwing away the
langostino juice, tasted it and the flavor was phenomenal so I substituted what I had been able to save for clam juice. The flavor is also from vermouth, the garlic and lemon juice. We will definitely do this again the right way with raw shrimp.

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23rd February 2012

Glazed Maple-Pecan Oatmeal Scones : page 431

I was curious to see how these compared to the Barefoot Contessa’s. I am hoping to find some oatmeal recipes that taste OK with rolled barley (mine is rather thick) as a substitute. Unfortunately I forgot to omit the sugar, but was craving maple, so threw in the maple syrup anyway. I was very grateful that the recipe only made 8 scones and also that I had a scone pan (King Arthur) for the gooey dough that resulted. I managed to make a circle of dough, cut it into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter using just a little bit extra flour for the spatula and pizza cutter. The recipe was not clear on the maple-pecan variation on whether or not to glaze and add the 1 TLBS of sugar since there was a maple glaze applied after baking and cooling. I added the milk/cream/egg glaze but skipped the sugar and the maple glaze. I needed to cook them longer as with the wet dough, it took longer to get done in the middles of the larger scones. The end product looked like scones thanks to the scone pan, but tasted more like muffins. The maple flavor was not pronounced without the maple glaze. Regardless, they did taste excellent and may be the best tasting product with the rolled barley substituted for the oats. I think if you took the option with quick oats, it would be a drier, more manageable dough. I was a little worried about the extra toasted rolled grain on top, but the wet glaze added on top seemed to soften them up just enough.

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25th November 2011

Grill-Roasted Turkey on a Charcoal Grill : page 100

This brined smoky turkey was just right. We had a bird on the smaller end of the range (12 – 14 lbs) and it barely fit in our Weber grill. We skipped using the V-rack as it would have interfered with the lid. The amount of coals was perfect. On the last “leg” of cooking it took the longer period of time. I like that cooking the turkey this way frees up the oven for all the other cooking. This is about the third time we have done it and having the temperatures in the 70s helped. We have had trouble keeping the charcoal going when the weather has not cooperated (cold and windy).

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17th April 2012

Molasses Spice Cookies : page 459

The best part of this recipe was that the spiciness of the cookie meant that I was satisfied with only one! The ginger flavor was nice and strong, I used unsulfured molasses, so that flavor did not overwhelm, and the ground black pepper added to the spicy note. I found it easier to shape the cookies by dropping the dough directly into the container of sugar from 2 spoons without first rolling it around on my hands as it was a very wet dough. A third spoon was used to make the transfer to the cookie sheet. You were admonished not to overbake and so I underbaked them as directed, but thought that they tasted too raw in the middle. It could be the humid Florida factor. This is a flavorful, pretty cookie and I will bake it again.

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13th November 2011

Pasta Puttanesca : page 196

This recipe turned out OK for me. I have made it better before using another recipe. I probably shouldn’t have substituted and then overcooked the angel hair pasta (for the spaghetti). I also skipped the fresh parsley as my plants look a little sad. However I had everything else on hand and will give this recipe another try.

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22nd March 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies : page 465

Very good peanut butter cookies, but they were more soft than chewy. The directions were excellent. I did not have extra-crunchy peanut butter, so I decreased the peanut butter from 1 cup to 2/3 of a cup and increased the roasted salted peanuts that you grind up from 1 cup to 1 ½ cups. My son thought they were the best peanut butter cookies ever. I made them smaller than suggested and was able to get away with not dipping the fork into ice water every time.

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15th December 2011

Rosemary Focaccia : page 630

This crispy, chewy, delicious simple Focaccia was really liked by everyone who tried it. I made 4 loaves (two recipes worth in separate bowls). It did take the whole day, but was really worth it. I usually throw more toppings on my Focaccia, but was content to use my garlic-infused olive oil and fresh rosemary from the garden. Even though the bread tasted oily, it was only on the outside of the bread. This recipe had much less oil than many of the recipes I have tried where the bread is very tender. I loved this bread, but don’t recommend it if you also suffer from TMJ!

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6th November 2011

Sticky Buns with Pecans : page 438

OK, so it took me 6 ½ hours of near constant activity to produce one pan of totally amazing pecan rolls. The first time I made this recipe using the cookbook for that year of the TV show, I went out and bought the pan specified, a tall sided non-stick 9X13” metal pan. Making these for a bake sale was not one of my better ideas as you will want to keep and eat them yourself after all of that work. In addition to making the dough, filling and caramel glaze for the pan, you also make the pecan topping separately. Unfortunately I let them over bake a little and then went to sleep after turning them out of the pan and so they did not get covered on a timely basis, and so were a little dry. But these were still quite spectacular with all of that sticky caramel and crunchy pecans on top and they brought a very good price individually at the bake sale. Well worth the effort if you hanker for an amazing pecan roll experience.

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24th July 2018 (edited: 24th July 2018)

Stuffed Peppers : page 182

Using red, yellow and orange peppers makes these stuffed peppers a dish even skeptics really like. I made a triple batch, one regular with no changes, one vegan substituting chopped Portobello mushrooms for the ground chuck, and one batch Paleo using vegan cheese. Allow several hours for prep or have help, worth the effort. I found 4 peppers stayed upright nicely in my large circular, deep pyrex casserole dishes.

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I made this hot, curry paste and coconut milk dish for my family, knowing that it would be so hot I would not even be able to try one bite. They absolutely loved it, fighting over the leftovers. I liked that it was full of vegetables and the fresh lime juice, basil and mint added at the finish were appreciated.

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23rd March 2012

Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies : page 464

Crisp and chewy around the edges and a rich fudgy chocolate center. These rich chocolate cookies are different from anything I ever ate before and are a revelation of what chocolate cookies can be. Timing and following the directions as to when to take t the cookies out are essential. I walked away from the first batch and they cooked all the way through and were just plain cookies. The rest turned out perfect. I do make my cookies smaller than they do and so cooked them for about 2 minutes less.

useful (1)  

27th February 2012

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake : page 515

Chocolate satisfaction in every bite. I made this straight forward elegant cake for a special teenager’s birthday. (I hate making frosting and icing cakes.) You just have to schedule enough time to bake the first layer, then enough chilling time for that and the subsequent mousse layers. My only problem came with unmolding. It had chilled enough, but my springform pan doesn’t have as much give as I would like and whichever direction I used to get the cake through was the wrong choice. I had unsightly streaks through all of the layers (on the outside). It was a real disappointment to me that it did not look like the picture, but everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

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23rd February 2012

Walnut Crescent Cookies : page 476

Oh the bitterness of all those rich walnuts! This recipe has an additional cup of ground walnuts in addition to the 1 cup of finely chopped nuts. Now I know what I spent hours peeling those walnuts for in The Pie and Pastry Bible recipes. To a New England palate, I do not think the bitterness may be as overwhelming (having grown up there myself). The son I made the cookies for loved them. One positive factor is that you will not eat too many at one time. They also wait until the cookie is cool to dust with powdered sugar. One of my favorite parts of the Russian Teacakes was the repeated rolling while warm in powdered sugar so that it made its own icing. I will go back to my Betty Crocker recipe for Russian Tea Cakes.

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18th April 2012

Wilted Spinach Salad : page 22

This is my favorite wilted spinach salad. I like the dressing, it is minimal and brings the only problem to the salad; I never get enough wilting. This may be exacerbated by my tendency to sneak in more spinach. I think the solution is to add the spinach to the dressing in the pan. By the time I scrape all the dressing out of the pan and onto the spinach, it has already cooled quite a bit. I also have one boiled egg per person if you are having this for a meal.

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