Squeaky Peanut

"Dot takes on the Domestic Diva"

Return of the Hideous Salads…. December 15, 2010

Filed under: Recipe Review — squeakypeanut @ 8:43 PM
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As we near the end of the Fall portion of Dinner at Home, we are edging ever closer to the Winter of Terrible Salads section. This meal contains a terrifying harbinger of things to come…..

Meal No. 49: Roasted Parsnip and Chorizo Bites; Steamed Mussels and Clams in Smoky Tomato Broth; Orange and Endive Salad; Dark Chocolate Puddings 


I wasn’t sure how this would go down, but I figured that with Manchego cheese and chorizo it could only be but so bad, you know? As it happens, it was quite delicious!

I peeled and sliced a couple of parsnips, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them on a cookie sheet for about 12 minutes. The parsnips I got had loooong narrow tips that were pretty useless.

After the parsnips roasted, I added some sliced cured chorizo to the pan to heat it up for a minute or two. Then a parsnip slice was topped with a piece of the Manchego cheese, a slice of chorizo, and another parsnip, with a toothpick stuck through to hold it all together. Yum.

What I take issue with is that Martha says to use chorizo but doesn’t specify whether to use dried (Spanish) chorizo, or fresh (Mexican) chorizo. It is evident from the cooking directions that you would need the salami-type kind, but if someone were new to chorizo they wouldn’t know that and would probably buy the wrong kind, as even Johnsonville makes a “fresh” chorizo nowadays (that has no flavor, by the way). Then the newbie would wonder why s/he couldn’t slice it and have it be safe to eat after a minute in the oven.

Mussels and Clams:

This was my first time cooking mussels. The book says to debeard them, but I couldn’t figure out where the beard was, so I didn’t. Is it possible they came debearded? I didn’t much care. I have never liked mussels, except for some I had on my birthday at the bar at Lemaire, where the broth was smoky and full of jamon. Would this be nearly as good?!?!?!


The broth was a bit thin, but it was not offensive. The clams seemed a tad chewy but that always seems to happen in her clam recipes. At least this is not as bad as the mussels we tried at Avalon, where the sauce was weirdly bitter and horrid.

I forgot to take a photo of it. I don’t think you want me to dig the empty shells out to photograph them, do you?

The Husband has been known to order mussels, but he admitted tonight that he can’t stand to look at them when he eats them. This ended up in a tangent about how “the sea must be a very scary place….with amorphous animals…and tendrils……”

Orange and Endive Salad:

I had to visit three stores to find endive and almost gave up, but I was too curious about this salad to not make it. I did forget to get oranges so we used the one orange we had, plus two tangerines.  The citrus slices were lovingly placed upon a platter and sprinkled with cayenne; the endive was tossed with mint, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper. The two were then combined.

Good God, this was awful. It was bitter and tart and minty and oily, all at once. I had flashbacks to the salads we made last winter. Then I started twitching, which was only relieved by ingesting additional chorizo. The Husband was shocked by how bitter it was, and didn’t seem to enjoy it much, but he ate most of it. He said it needed more sweetness or some fennel.

Dark Chocolate Puddings:

I didn’t make these, since I can’t eat it. The Husband was supposed to try the recipe, but that fell by the wayside.  Instead, I made the very first dessert I made for this blog, which was the dried cherry and pear clafouti.


Last month I got the new Rachel Ray cookbook, Look + Cook. I looked at it in the store a couple of times when I was really hungry, and her fifty versions of shepherd’s pie really appealed to me. Since then I’ve made her Spanish-style chicken and dumplings, which was the best thing I cooked all year, I think.

Because I had chorizo and Manchego cheese left over, I tried her Spanish chicken and chorizo stew, with Manchego polenta. It was also completely amazing. And easy. And it didn’t take me all night, nor did it require me to make some disgusting plate of bitter vegetables to accompany it.

I know she gets a bad rap, and quite frankly I can’t stand to watch her shows, but the recipes I have tried so far are damn good. Anthony Bourdain complains that she isn’t a chef, but so what? Neither am I. 


The salad is terrible;  I imagine the pudding is likely terrible, and the seafood was just ok, but the chorizo bits made up for it.

Parsnip and Chorizo bites: A+  If you come over I may make them for you sometime.

Salad:  I gave it an F, and Mr. SP gave it a B- (What?!) so I guess that averages out to a D+/C-

Mussels and Clams:  B

Pudding:  ??

Three more to go!


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