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RECIPES FROM SOME FEATURED COOKBOOKS

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

RECIPES FROM SOME FEATURED COOKBOOKS

Creamy Carrot Soup

4 servings

Cumin and carrots find themselves together again in this dietetic but sumptuous soup that can be eaten hot or cold. Adapted from "Vegetable Love," by Barbara Kafka (Artisan); see review on Page 5.

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut across into 1-inch rounds (about 2 cups)

2 3/4 cups chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and cumin for 1 minute to release the flavor of the cumin (take care not to overheat or the cumin will burn). Add the carrots and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft. Remove from the heat.

Place the ricotta in a blender with a small amount of the cooking liquid and blend to combine. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to the blender and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the pan containing the broth and stir to combine. Add salt and lemon juice. Serve hot, or cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and serve chilled.

Per serving: 157 calories, 9 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 4 g saturated fat, 1,369 mg sodium (777 mg if using low-sodium broth), 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Pam Kendrick; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Shrimp Curry With Snow Peas

4 servings

When this beautifully colored dish is enriched with 5 to 6 ounces of frozen sweet peas and served over rice, it can easily be stretched to 8 servings. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers," by the Moosewood Collective (Clarkson Potter); see review on Page 5.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons curry powder

5 ounces snow peas, halved diagonally (about 2 cups)

3 to 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

One 14-ounce can coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, basil or Thai basil

Freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the shrimp and curry powder and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Add the snow peas and tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, still stirring constantly. When the shrimp are mostly pink, add the coconut milk, salt and lemon or lime juice and cook just until heated through. Add the cilantro or basil and adjust seasonings, adding pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Per serving: 436 calories, 28 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 30 g fat, 172 mg cholesterol, 22 g saturated fat, 488 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Arrosto Con le Mele

(Roast Pork With Apples)

6 servings

Leftovers of this dish make terrific sandwiches, especially with a full-flavored mustard. Adapted from "The Silver Spoon" (Phaidon Press); see review on Page 6.

2 1/4 -pound loin of pork, boned

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups red wine

3/4 cup vegetable stock or broth

4 whole cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard powder

2 tablespoons sugar

10 black peppercorns, crushed

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cubed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly season the meat with salt and pepper to taste. Roll and tie with kitchen string. In a saut pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and cook, turning frequently, until browned all over.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the wine and stock or broth, the cloves, mustard powder, sugar, peppercorns and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat.

Transfer the pork to an ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste and surround it with the cubed apple pieces. Pour the hot wine mixture over the meat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil; it is not necessary to seal tightly. Roast for 20 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and roast, basting frequently, for 45 minutes. Discard the foil and continue to roast for 15 more minutes, or until fork-tender. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest while preparing the sauce.

Strain the sauce into a medium pan, pressing the cooked apples with the back of a spoon. Cook over high heat until thickened and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Untie the meat and carve into slices. Place the meat on a warm serving dish and spoon the hot sauce over it.

Per serving: 265 calories, 22 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 3 g saturated fat, 74 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Two-Way Chicken

4 servings

Dark, glazed and bittersweet, this is another marvel of simple cooking from Southeast Asia. You can stop after step 2 and have a good Thai-style dish, although we recommend proceeding to step 3, which yields a terrific Vietnamese-style chicken dish. Either way, serve with rice. Adapted from "The Best Recipes in the World," by Mark Bittman (Broadway); see review on Page 6.

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger root

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat

1 tablespoon corn oil or other neutral vegetable oil

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)

In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce with half each of the garlic, the ginger and the crushed red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. (The bowl may be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

In a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. After a minute or so, when the oil is hot, remove the chicken from its marinade (discarding any excess marinade) and add it, skin side down, to the skillet. Brown it well on both sides, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary, about 10 minutes (the soy sauce will help it brown faster than usual). Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, turning as necessary, about 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, transferring the pieces to a plate as they finish cooking.

At this point, the chicken can be served hot, warm or at room temperature with the lime wedges, if desired, and garnished with cilantro. Or proceed to the next step.

Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar and the remaining garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet, along with the water. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the sauce thickens and becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the nam pla and any juices that have accumulated around the chicken. Cook for another minute, then return the chicken to the pan and cook, turning the pieces in the sauce a few times until they are nicely glazed and the chicken is hot. Transfer to individual plates and spoon the sauce on top, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 395 calories, 31 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 387 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Minted Lamb Meatballs

Serves 6 to 8 as a tapas, or 4 as a main course

Fresh mint is added to the meatballs and dried mint is added to the sauce, because the dried variety stands up better to the slow simmering. These can also be made with half ground lamb and half lean ground beef. Serve with saffron rice.

Adapted from "The New Spanish Table" by Anya von Bremzen (Workman Publishing); see review on this page.

2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 pounds lean ground lamb

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

2 large garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped ( 3/4 to 1 cup)

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, with 2 to 3 tablespoons of their juice

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 cup chicken stock or broth or low-sodium stock or broth

2 teaspoons finely crumbled dried mint

In a medium bowl, place the bread, add cold water to cover and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid, then finely crumble the bread.

In a large bowl, place the crumbled bread and the lamb, fresh mint, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the egg. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined (do not overknead). Wet your hands, then break off a piece of the meatball mixture and shape it into a 1-inch ball, gently tossing it between cupped hands to give it shape. Repeat with the remaining meatball mixture, placing the meatballs on a small rimmed baking sheet.

In a deep, 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add half of the meatballs and brown all over, 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the skillet so the meatballs brown evenly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meatballs to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

If the meatballs have released too much fat, drain off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons. Add the onion and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking until the onion is soft and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and cook, stirring, until they are thickened and reduced, about 7 minutes. Add the sherry and the chicken stock or broth and cook, 6 to 7 minutes. Let the sauce cool slightly, then transfer it to a food processor and puree it.

Return the sauce to the skillet, season it with salt and pepper to taste, and add the dried mint. Return the meatballs and any accumulated juices to the skillet and turn to coat with the sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced further, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving dish, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

Per serving (based on 8): 675 calories, 32 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 52 g fat, 177 mg cholesterol, 19 g saturated fat, 595 mg sodium (299 mg if using low-sodium stock or broth), 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Pecan Upside-Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake

This unusual coffee cake is really a cross between a fruit upside-down cake and a pecan and syrup-coated monkey bread (a rich, pull-apart bread popular in the South). The Bourbon Whipped Cream it's served with is also delicious with poundcake or spooned over a simple compote of fruit.

Adapted from Damon Lee Fowler's "New Southern Baking" (Simon & Schuster).

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus additional to grease the pan

3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 generous cup whole pecans, toasted*

1 cup southern soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily brand) or unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons bourbon

Bourbon Whipped Cream (recipe follows)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the honey and boiling water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the hot syrup into the prepared cake pan and carefully place the pecan halves flat side up in concentric circles, completely covering the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, the nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set aside. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium bowl and setting aside. Place the yolks in a large bowl and beat until light. Gradually beat in the sugar until fluffy and light. Alternately add the spiced flour and milk to the egg yolk-sugar mixture, mixing well between additions and beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and bourbon and set the batter aside.

With a clean whisk or mixer, beat the egg whites to the soft-peak stage. Fold a spoonful into the batter and then fold in the rest. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen it. Lay a flat cake plate over it, then invert the pan and plate carefully to unmold the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with Bourbon Whipped Cream.

*NOTE: To toast nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place them in a 350-degree oven, shaking the pan occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully because nuts will burn quickly.

Per serving: 398 calories, 4 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 87 mg cholesterol, 9 g saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Brenda Boykin; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Bourbon Whipped Cream

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Don't be tempted to add more bourbon -- the flavor should be subtle.

1 cup very cold heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

In a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer at medium-high speed, whip the cream until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and beat until the cream is thick, then add the remaining sugar and whip until the cream holds stiff peaks. Fold in the bourbon or vanilla extract. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using.

Per serving: 97 calories, 0 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 6 g saturated fat, 9 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

RECIPES FROM SOME FEATURED COOKBOOKS

Creamy Carrot Soup

4 servings

Cumin and carrots find themselves together again in this dietetic but sumptuous soup that can be eaten hot or cold. Adapted from "Vegetable Love," by Barbara Kafka (Artisan); see review on Page 5.

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut across into 1-inch rounds (about 2 cups)

2 3/4 cups chicken broth or low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and cumin for 1 minute to release the flavor of the cumin (take care not to overheat or the cumin will burn). Add the carrots and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft. Remove from the heat.

Place the ricotta in a blender with a small amount of the cooking liquid and blend to combine. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carrots to the blender and blend until smooth. Return the puree to the pan containing the broth and stir to combine. Add salt and lemon juice. Serve hot, or cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and serve chilled.

Per serving: 157 calories, 9 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 19 mg cholesterol, 4 g saturated fat, 1,369 mg sodium (777 mg if using low-sodium broth), 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Pam Kendrick; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Shrimp Curry With Snow Peas

4 servings

When this beautifully colored dish is enriched with 5 to 6 ounces of frozen sweet peas and served over rice, it can easily be stretched to 8 servings. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp. Adapted from "Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers," by the Moosewood Collective (Clarkson Potter); see review on Page 5.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons curry powder

5 ounces snow peas, halved diagonally (about 2 cups)

3 to 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped (about 2 cups)

One 14-ounce can coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro, basil or Thai basil

Freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the shrimp and curry powder and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, constantly stirring. Add the snow peas and tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, still stirring constantly. When the shrimp are mostly pink, add the coconut milk, salt and lemon or lime juice and cook just until heated through. Add the cilantro or basil and adjust seasonings, adding pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Per serving: 436 calories, 28 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 30 g fat, 172 mg cholesterol, 22 g saturated fat, 488 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Arrosto Con le Mele

(Roast Pork With Apples)

6 servings

Leftovers of this dish make terrific sandwiches, especially with a full-flavored mustard. Adapted from "The Silver Spoon" (Phaidon Press); see review on Page 6.

2 1/4 -pound loin of pork, boned

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups red wine

3/4 cup vegetable stock or broth

4 whole cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard powder

2 tablespoons sugar

10 black peppercorns, crushed

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cubed

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly season the meat with salt and pepper to taste. Roll and tie with kitchen string. In a saut pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and cook, turning frequently, until browned all over.

Meanwhile, in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the wine and stock or broth, the cloves, mustard powder, sugar, peppercorns and salt to taste. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat.

Transfer the pork to an ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste and surround it with the cubed apple pieces. Pour the hot wine mixture over the meat. Cover the dish with aluminum foil; it is not necessary to seal tightly. Roast for 20 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and roast, basting frequently, for 45 minutes. Discard the foil and continue to roast for 15 more minutes, or until fork-tender. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let it rest while preparing the sauce.

Strain the sauce into a medium pan, pressing the cooked apples with the back of a spoon. Cook over high heat until thickened and caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Untie the meat and carve into slices. Place the meat on a warm serving dish and spoon the hot sauce over it.

Per serving: 265 calories, 22 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 59 mg cholesterol, 3 g saturated fat, 74 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Two-Way Chicken

4 servings

Dark, glazed and bittersweet, this is another marvel of simple cooking from Southeast Asia. You can stop after step 2 and have a good Thai-style dish, although we recommend proceeding to step 3, which yields a terrific Vietnamese-style chicken dish. Either way, serve with rice. Adapted from "The Best Recipes in the World," by Mark Bittman (Broadway); see review on Page 6.

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger root

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, cut into serving pieces, or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts, trimmed of excess fat

1 tablespoon corn oil or other neutral vegetable oil

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce)

In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce with half each of the garlic, the ginger and the crushed red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and toss well to coat. (The bowl may be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

In a large, deep, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. After a minute or so, when the oil is hot, remove the chicken from its marinade (discarding any excess marinade) and add it, skin side down, to the skillet. Brown it well on both sides, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary, about 10 minutes (the soy sauce will help it brown faster than usual). Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, turning as necessary, about 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, transferring the pieces to a plate as they finish cooking.

At this point, the chicken can be served hot, warm or at room temperature with the lime wedges, if desired, and garnished with cilantro. Or proceed to the next step.

Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar and the remaining garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes to the skillet, along with the water. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the sauce thickens and becomes foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the nam pla and any juices that have accumulated around the chicken. Cook for another minute, then return the chicken to the pan and cook, turning the pieces in the sauce a few times until they are nicely glazed and the chicken is hot. Transfer to individual plates and spoon the sauce on top, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Per serving: 395 calories, 31 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 29 g fat, 34 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 387 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Minted Lamb Meatballs

Serves 6 to 8 as a tapas, or 4 as a main course

Fresh mint is added to the meatballs and dried mint is added to the sauce, because the dried variety stands up better to the slow simmering. These can also be made with half ground lamb and half lean ground beef. Serve with saffron rice.

Adapted from "The New Spanish Table" by Anya von Bremzen (Workman Publishing); see review on this page.

2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1 1/2 pounds lean ground lamb

2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

2 large garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped ( 3/4 to 1 cup)

1 cup chopped canned tomatoes, with 2 to 3 tablespoons of their juice

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 cup chicken stock or broth or low-sodium stock or broth

2 teaspoons finely crumbled dried mint

In a medium bowl, place the bread, add cold water to cover and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid, then finely crumble the bread.

In a large bowl, place the crumbled bread and the lamb, fresh mint, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the egg. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined (do not overknead). Wet your hands, then break off a piece of the meatball mixture and shape it into a 1-inch ball, gently tossing it between cupped hands to give it shape. Repeat with the remaining meatball mixture, placing the meatballs on a small rimmed baking sheet.

In a deep, 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add half of the meatballs and brown all over, 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the skillet so the meatballs brown evenly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned meatballs to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining meatballs.

If the meatballs have released too much fat, drain off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons. Add the onion and reduce heat to medium-low, cooking until the onion is soft and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice and cook, stirring, until they are thickened and reduced, about 7 minutes. Add the sherry and the chicken stock or broth and cook, 6 to 7 minutes. Let the sauce cool slightly, then transfer it to a food processor and puree it.

Return the sauce to the skillet, season it with salt and pepper to taste, and add the dried mint. Return the meatballs and any accumulated juices to the skillet and turn to coat with the sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced further, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a serving dish, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then serve.

Per serving (based on 8): 675 calories, 32 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 52 g fat, 177 mg cholesterol, 19 g saturated fat, 595 mg sodium (299 mg if using low-sodium stock or broth), 1 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Judith Weinraub; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Pecan Upside-Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake

This unusual coffee cake is really a cross between a fruit upside-down cake and a pecan and syrup-coated monkey bread (a rich, pull-apart bread popular in the South). The Bourbon Whipped Cream it's served with is also delicious with poundcake or spooned over a simple compote of fruit.

Adapted from Damon Lee Fowler's "New Southern Baking" (Simon & Schuster).

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus additional to grease the pan

3/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon boiling water

1 generous cup whole pecans, toasted*

1 cup southern soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily brand) or unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole milk

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons bourbon

Bourbon Whipped Cream (recipe follows)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the honey and boiling water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Pour the hot syrup into the prepared cake pan and carefully place the pecan halves flat side up in concentric circles, completely covering the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, the nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set aside. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium bowl and setting aside. Place the yolks in a large bowl and beat until light. Gradually beat in the sugar until fluffy and light. Alternately add the spiced flour and milk to the egg yolk-sugar mixture, mixing well between additions and beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and bourbon and set the batter aside.

With a clean whisk or mixer, beat the egg whites to the soft-peak stage. Fold a spoonful into the batter and then fold in the rest. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen it. Lay a flat cake plate over it, then invert the pan and plate carefully to unmold the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature with Bourbon Whipped Cream.

*NOTE: To toast nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and place them in a 350-degree oven, shaking the pan occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully because nuts will burn quickly.

Per serving: 398 calories, 4 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 21 g fat, 87 mg cholesterol, 9 g saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Brenda Boykin; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

Bourbon Whipped Cream

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Don't be tempted to add more bourbon -- the flavor should be subtle.

1 cup very cold heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon bourbon (may substitute 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

In a medium bowl using a hand-held mixer at medium-high speed, whip the cream until frothy. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and beat until the cream is thick, then add the remaining sugar and whip until the cream holds stiff peaks. Fold in the bourbon or vanilla extract. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using.

Per serving: 97 calories, 0 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 33 mg cholesterol, 6 g saturated fat, 9 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Marcia Kramer; e-mail questions tofood@washpost.com

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