The recipe for Key West Rum Cake in the Dec. 4 edition of the Food Section was incomplete. The corrected version follows: KEY WEST RUM CAKE (10 to 12 servings) Fine dry bread crumbs 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 ounces semisweet chocolate 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/2 cups sugar 4 eggs graded "large" 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 7 ounces (2 cups) toasted pecans, broken into medium-size pieces FOR THE RUM SYRUP: 1/2 cup water 2/3 cup sugar 2/3 cup light rum 1 tablespoon lime juice Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Butter a 13- or 14-cup capacity tube pan and dust all over with fine dry bread crumbs (use your fingers to crumb the tube), invert the pan over paper and tap lightly to shake out excess crumbs. Set aside. Sift together the flour, the baking powder and salt and set aside. Place both of the chocolates in the top of a small double boiler over warm water on moderate heat. Cover the pot with a folded paper towel (to absorb steam) along with the pot cover. Let stand over the heat until the chocolate is almost all melted, then stir until completely melted. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until soft. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and then the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly incorporated after each addition. Then, on low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated. With your finger scrape the beaters and then replace them, unwashed, in the mixer. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Remove 1 cup of the batter and place it in the small bowl of the mixer. Add the baking soda and the melted chocolate and beat until mixed. Use a spoon to place the chocolate batter in the bottom of the pan. With the bot
Let's review for a second. What purpose were cookbooks supposed to serve? In their original incarnation, before restaurant-cookbook link-ups, before complex carbohydrates, before cute angles, cookbooks had one main purpose and that was to tell readers something they didn't know about cooking.
It was assumed that there would be recipes, and that those recipes would have some redeeming value. It was hoped that they would work.
And now look how things have branched out. A cookbook -- tiny, brightly colored, paperback -- about the yolks of eggs, and also about the white of eggs, separately. A cookbook -- called "Are Salami and Eggs Better than Sex?" -- demanding a fleeting moment of time and a one-word answer. Cookbooks of the masochistic genre. In this category goes Martha Stewart, better than whom nobody could hope to be. Who has her looks, her elan, her smokehouse, her heart-shaped copper tray? And finally, cookbooks that serve as an excuse for the author to put in writing the most intimate details of his or her psychoanalysis, usually in the introduction and often involving grandmothers.
What's happened? Think back to the "Joy of Cooking." As one woman who actually sells books for a living says, "Why would you ever need another cookbook?" It has recipes that work, useful information, and it's all in black and white. No angles, no four-color photos dripping with charm.
What's happened is, in a word, money. Publishing houses have discovered the enticing possibility that cookbooks can be best sellers. "Frugal Gourmet" has sold about half a million copies, which is better "numbers" than all but the most lurid novels. "Frugal Gourmet's" editor, Maria Guarnaschelli of William Morrow and Company, points out that that's more than "Passages," more even than "Mommie Dearest." "The Silver Palate Cookbook" sold -- and is still selling -- approximately 1 1/2 million copies. At $10 a copy, 10 or 15 percent for the authors and negligible production costs (paperback, no photos, two colors) the publisher has done quite well.
As a result, publishing houses are willing to take chances on more cookbook titles than ever before. One Silver Palate can make up for a lot of remainders. Authors, agents, publishers, book stores "float" the books out there, not having much of a notion how to predict which will hit and which won't but willing to play the odds.
So the numbers have multiplied steadily. Last year, for example, there were about 250 entries for the major cookbook prizes called the Tastemaker Award. That number was about double what it was the year before. These inflated numbers, brought about by the best-seller syndrome, says Guarnaschelli, mean that "every single editor in town is doing cookbooks." Not all of those editors know anything about food, or about the things that make a cookbook useful.
So in this mad tossing of manuscripts to the winds in hopes they come down best sellers, it's easy for everybody to lose sight of the basic, original function of cookbooks. The other thing that goes out the window is the workability of the recipes.
It doesn't occur to most people opening up a cookbook for the first time that a recipe might not work. And when it doesn't work, there is chagrin and self-blame. But most of these recipes aren't tested by anyone but the author and his or her friends and loved ones. Authors with cooking schools -- a fairly common occurrence -- get their students to test them. A few publishing houses have independent testers to try all their recipes, which costs money and therefore affects the bottom line. Guarnaschelli, who also works with Elizabeth Andoh and Julie Sahni, authors of two outstanding new cookbooks, says that making sure everything works takes a lot of the author's and the editor's time. Both Andoh and Sahni spent about a year reworking details after the manuscript had been submitted for the first time.
But some cookbook authors can get away with obscure, difficult or even useless recipes because the reader gets instead some kind of uplifting or edifying information. These books are taken to bed and read, and may never become all splattered with chocolate mousse like the others.
Elizabeth David's recipes are nothing but nice suggestions, but she is a goddess of information and uplift. Her words are wonderful, her ideas treasures. Richard Olney has provided inspiration for some of today's best cooks -- the Chez Panisse crowd, for example -- but his recipes are difficult to use. The most recent in this genre are the Chez Panisse books, which present food in such an original way that readers are tempted to rush forth into the kitchen, gather what's there and cook something wonderful. But any recipe for potato salad that includes the instruction, "Thinly slice as many black truffles as you can afford . . . " is not going to make its way into daily life.
One of the keys to success publishers have found lies in the category called gift books. A spokesperson for Olsson's Books and Records estimates that these books now account for about half of all cookbook sales. They are the coffee table books -- big, glossy expensive things that may or may not include useful recipes or information (and would look just dreadful splattered with tomato sauce anyway). And there are the cute little books about strawberries, or muffins, or cookies.
The trends in new cookbooks this year seem to reflect a rampant split-personality pattern. On the one hand there are the healthful food books, either blatantly diet-oriented or gently directed toward a healthier outlook. On the other hand are the books filled with heart-stoppingly rich, depraved, gooey desserts. Out of over 100 new books this season, about one quarter want to feed you sugar.
Many new books want to sell you American food, and these often are the snazziest, four-color jobs with paper so smooth you could ice skate on it. One of these, "Glorious American Food," has finally broken the $50 barrier. It is lovely, and it is well written.
And there is a lot of ethnic cuisine around -- some of it fairly obscure. Paul Kovi, who co-owns the Four Seasons in New York, has written a paeon to his native Transylvania. Everyone who glances at this book guffaws, but it is a scholarly, lyrical work about a much beloved and now lost country. Still, the great majority of recipes are useless as such. They put one in mind of a certain school of French novelists who write so they can't be read. With Kovi's recipes you begin to get into metaphysical questions like when is a recipe not a recipe? Where, for example, would you get two cups of wine must? Who knows what fieldfares are and why are they mixed with blueberries? Where can I find a goat bladder?
In this year's harvest there is at least one great one-liner, in a book called "The Anthropologist's Cookbook." It's in a "note" and it says, deadpan, "in part because human meat is almost totally lacking in vitamin B, this book contains no cannibal recipes."
And then there is what may become the biggest bestseller of all when it comes out next year. It's called "How to Write and Publish a Classic Cookbook," and it will tell incipient cookbook authors everything they need to know about picking a theme, finding an agent, developing promotional materials and counting the money.
Here are some of these season's outstanding new works -- the ones that will either get mousse-stained or taken to bed for a good read, or maybe both:
"An American Taste of Japanese Cooking" by Elizabeth Andoh (William Morrow and Company, $24.95): This is a work of scholarship that will also end up satisfying the purely culinary desires of true Japanese food lovers. Elizabeth Andoh spent eight years studying classical Japanese cooking with the masters in Japan. With that as background she went on to gather bits of lore and technical and philosophical advice from Japanese friends and relatives (her husband is Japanese) and then to synthesize it all into a minutely researched and lovingly written cookbook that will probably become a classic.
Andoh's idea was to translate, in the true sense of the word, Japanese cooking and presentation for American sensibilities. She hasn't avoided difficult ingredients -- the kelp is there, along with the bean pastes and other exotica -- and she hasn't tried to sell anybody on a new Nippo-American cuisine. But there are a few marriages that take advantage of the best of both worlds. The grilled lamb, for example, calls for a leg of lamb, which Andoh points out would be too big for most Japanese home ovens. The glaze, however, is definitely Japanese.
Most of the recipes seem to be purely Japanese, however, and often are accompanied by bits of that sort of holistic Japanese philosophy that relates food to everything else in life.
"Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts" by Maida Heatter (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. $25): You'd think Maida Heatter would have run out of desserts by now, but that would be wrong. This collection does show signs of reaching a bit -- there's a tomato soup cake here, for example, and a peanut butter candy recipe from her publisher's publicity person's aunt, for heaven's sake -- but then there are also some kind words about real chocolate pudding and assorted cobblers.
Heatter's style is to hover over the cook, cajoling, instructing, correcting, nudging, then shouting "huzzah" when it's all over and the thing has come out right. Nobody can beat her for complete recipe instructions. This book ranges from the seriously down to earth -- blueberry cobbler, for example -- to the seriously yuppie. Heatter has actually managed to procure a recipe for the famous David's cookies, and it's right here in these pages.
"Chez Panisse Desserts" by Lindsey Remolif Shere (Random House, $17.95): The Chez Panisse cookbooks, beginning with the "Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook" and ending with this latest by the restaurant's pastry chef, have introduced Americans to a new way of thinking about food. Read Alsins, legumes, fruits and vegetables. She is also a proponent of less salt and sugar and more exercise, and she has footnotes about cancer, hypertension and heart disease that make the most unreconstructed eater want to fall immediately into line.
The book is 700 pages long, with assiduously prepared and very useful charts and graphs and as much clearly written information as you're ever likely to need about food and the body. There are about 300 pages of recipes that represent tasteful ways of carrying out the new mandate. Haute cuisine they aren't, but neither are they crazily evangelistic as some "diet" recipes are. Brody has been criticized for not including calorie and nutrition counts with each one, but she's probably right when she says that such counts are so variable and complex that they are always misleading. In any case, she's trying to get you to make a general change in your eating habits, not count calories.
"The Enlightened Cuisine" by Rene Verdon (Macmillan Publishing Company, $19.95): Verdon, chef to two democratic presidents (Kennedy and Johnson) and now owner of San Franciso's Le Trianon restaurant, has some new ideas about presenting classic French cuisine. They aren't always the "light" ideas implied in the title, but they are clever and instructive.
Verdon has decided to give us some lessons, and although his choice of major topics seems a little arbitrary he has done something very reasonable, which is to propose basic recipes -- for vinaigrette, say -- with variations. He is outstanding on the little sauces and flavored butters that add to plainer dishes, as he is on garnishes and decorations. He has also included some recipes for the radicchio and duck breast crowd, along with a few stodgier but still wonderful old classics like cream puff swans. This is a book composed with care, designed to guide the cook, not intimidate.
"Farm Journal's Homemade Breads" by the food editors of Farm Journal (distributed by Doubleday and Co., Inc., $16.95): Look at this book and you can practically smell sweet, yeasty stuff billowing and puffing in the oven. It's the kind of thing grandma used to do, but the people at Farm Journal have also made a happy leap into the 1980s with whole-grain recipes, instructions for freezing, then baking, and "coolrise" techniques.
This book is as sophisticated as it is comfortingly homey. It starts with quickbreads -- no-rise coffeecakes and muffins and the like -- works its way through yeast doughs from white bread to bagels and Danish pastry, and ends with things that are "baked" outside the oven -- pancakes, rosettes, doughnuts. They've found a nice balance here, and the recipes never leave you wondering what to do next. It's a user-friendly book, guiding you gently to do the right thing, but never pushing you around.
"Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking" by Julie Sahni (William Morrow and Co., $22.50): Here is a beautifully conceived, written and edited cookbook. If you don't know about Indian cuisine, a large proportion of which is vegetarian, there couldn't be any better place to start than here. Even the introduction, which for once tells a personal story that's actually interesting, is an artful combination of lecture and anecdote -- the kind of thing a great professor would tell his students to warm them up to the topic at hand. Then, the recipes take you into tiny villages, up mountains and down sacred rivers, to the kitchens of Sahni's relatives and friends.
Sahni is able to take advantage of the current discovery by Americans of the health aspects of inevitably low saturated-fat vegetarian diets while at the same time moving lightyears beyond bean sprouts and granola to a refined, subtle world of interesting colors, textures and flavors. She has written appreciatively of the local eccentricities of the various parts of India. She's introduced Americans to the little known dumpling dishes that are high on any Indian's list of favorite foods, but which are usually neglected here in favor of the more-familiar, richer Moghul-type food.
And she's produced recipes that work. Sahni's recipes are tested not only by herself and by her students (she runs a cooking school in New York) but also by independent, paid testers. This is the kind of book that, if you are at all interested in Indian food, leaves you dizzy, wondering where to start.
"The Best of Shaker Cooking" by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller (Macmillan Publishing Co., $19.95): You could make the argument that Shaker cooking is the real American cuisine. The Shakers have remained unadulterated by the waxings and wanings of popular culture, and their cuisine is simple, luscious and deeply satisfying. If this cookbook is any guide, they have made no concessions to modern preoccupations with health. A portion of these recipes is taken up with breads and desserts, and there is lots of cream and butter listed. On the other hand, the Shakers were a couple of hundred years ahead of their time where herbs are concerned. The Shakers have historically depended on herbs for medicine, for cooking, and to sell, and you'll find uses here for herbs that seem strikingly modern. Some of them -- rose geranium rolls, for example -- could almost have come out of California in the last five years. Chervil, tarragon and basil are just part of life for the Shakers.
The recipes, while in some cases retaining their original offhand quality -- "mix all together and bake," for instance -- have all been enhanced with modern instructions for today's methodical cooks.
"Kenneth Lo's Chinese Cooking School" by Kenneth Lo (HP Books, $19.95): Somebody finally had a new idea in cookbooks, or at least an old idea exceptionally well executed. Lo has designed his cookbook so that the reader is warned ahead of time, with illustrated instructions, about the ingredients and techniques of Chinese cooking. Then, with each recipe, he's listed how long it will take you to cook it, what it's general character is, what cooking method you'll use, how to fit it into a menu and how many people it serves.
By this time you're thinking there is lots of regimentation in this book and no fun, but that's wrong. First of all, it's beautiful -- glossy, as cookbooks are these days, and graphically appealing. The recipes go way beyond stir-fry that and stir-fry this, and into roasting meat, steaming dumplings, braising noodles. There aren't any Americanizations, either -- if the dish calls for lotus leaves, then you'll have to find yourself some lotus leaves. Washington is blessed in this way, however, and you should have no trouble. The four-color photographs are inspirational but not so wildly out of touch with the average cook's artisitic ability that they frustrate.
"The Italian Baker" by Carol Field (Harper and Row, $19.95): If ever there was a comprehensive book, this is it. Field didn't just look around at a cute bakery or two on her vacation; she poked and prodded both the obscure and the famous among Italian bakers to learn their secrets, got up in the middle of the night to observe, hung around cafes and bars and walked the streets, watching Italians eating bread in all its forms.
And the forms! Everybody knows about pizza and everybody knows about the solid peasant loaves, but who's heard of the spiced and sweetened, slant-topped Easter bread that they eat in the Roman port of Civitavecchia? Who knows what real bread sticks taste like? What about the festive bread with zabaglione zigzagging through it? Field has included all the traditional breads, but has also ventured into new territory -- the herbed and whole-grain breads of more recent invention. Of these, the rosemary bread is particularly appealing, but then so is the tomato version. There are desserts here, too, and even recipes that use up stale loaves or crumbs.
Field has worked out all her recipes for hand kneading, mixer or food processor, and there is no sense of disappointment implied if you are in a hurry, either. This book is like a travelogue and baking textbook put together -- a sort of working vacation. TORI NO ISOBE' MAKI (Seashore Chicken Swirls) (Makes 30 swirls)
This is a classic Japanese appetizer meant to be served on its own or in a boxed collection with other bite-size savories.
6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 medium egg, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons shiro miso (light fermented bean paste)
2 tablespoons finely minced scallions or chives
1 teaspoon sake' (Japanese rice wine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon usukuchi shoyu (light soy sauce)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 full sheets yaki-zushi nori (toasted paper-thin seaweed)
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Soy sauce for dipping (optional)
Cut the chicken into 1-inch chunks and put them in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse-process to chop the meat fine. Add the egg and fermented bean paste, and process to incorporate. Add the scallions or chives, rice wine, salt and light soy sauce and process to a fairly smooth paste. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the mixture and process until combined.
Spread 1 sheet of seaweed out on a clean, dry surface. Arrange the seaweed so that one of the shorter ends faces you. The rougher-textured side of the seaweed should face up. With a spatula or butter knife, spread half the chicken mixture evenly on the seaweed, leaving a 2-inch border clear on the far side. Gently roll the seaweed away from you, as you would a jelly roll. Don't roll too snugly, since the seaweed shrinks a bit when saute'ed and might open up. Seal the far edge with a drop of water or oil, and let the roll rest, seam side down, for a minute or more. Repeat to make another roll.
Lightly oil a skillet and warm it over medium heat. Sear the rolls, seam side down, then shake the pan to keep the rolls moving. Saute' for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking frequently. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for 6 to 7 more minutes. The rolls should be firm when cooked through. Let them cool completely on paper towels. Cut each roll into 15 slices, exposing the swirl pattern on each piece. Serve at room temperature, with soy sauce for dipping if you wish.
Note: If you want to make Seashore Chicken Swirls several days in advance, cover the cooled rolls snugly with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate. Slice the rolls while still chilled, but bring the slices back to room temperature before serving. From "An American Taste of Japan" by Elizabeth Angoh KEY WEST RUM CAKE (10 to 12 servings)
This is from the southern tip of Florida, where it is called Pirate's Cake. It is similar to a pound cake but the top is dark, semisweet, candylike chocolate and the bottom, which is light colored, is flavored with almond and loaded with pecans. The entire cake is drenched with a powerful rum syrup. The combination of flavors is sensational, and when you cut into the cake you will be surprised and delighted to see what the chocolate mixture did. Also, it keeps well.
Fine dry bread crumbs
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs graded "large"
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
7 ounces (2 cups) toasted pecans, broken into medium-size pieces
FOR THE RUM SYRUP:
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup light rum
1 tablespoon lime juice
Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven. Butter a 13- or 14-cup capacity tube pan and dust all over with fine dry bread crumbs (use your fingers to crumb the tube), invert the pan over paper and tap lightly to shake out excess crumbs. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, the baking powder, and salt and set aside.
Place both of the chocolates in the top of a small double boiler over warm water on moderate heat. Cover the pot with a folded paper towel (to absorb steam) and with the pot cover. Let stand over the heat until the chocolate is almost all melted, then stir until completely melted. Remove the top of the double boiler and set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until soft. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and then the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until throughly incorporated after each addition. Then, on low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula and beating only until incorporated.
With your finger scrape the beaters and then replace them, unwashed, in the mixer. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Remove 1 cup of the batter and place it in the small bowl of the mixer. Add the baking soda and the melted chocolate and tap lightly to shake out excess crumbs. Set aside.
Use a teaspoon (a regular teaspoon -- not a measuring spoon) to place the chocolate batter in the bottom of the pan. With the bottom of the spoon spread it to make a rather smooth layer.
Mix the pecans into the remaining cake batter and place the batter, with a teaspoon or a tablespoon, evenly over the chocolate layer. Smooth the top.
Bake for 1 hour in a 325-degree oven until a cake tester inserted gently into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup. Stir the water and sugar in a small saucepan over moderate heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Let boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand until almost completely cool. Then stir in the rum and lime juice.
When the cake is done, do not remove it from the pan. Spoon or brush the syrup over the hot cake until it all is absorbed.
Then, while the cake is still hot, place a flat cake plate over the pan and, holding the plate and pan firmly together, turn them over. Now remove the pan and let the cake cool.
Do not try to cut the slices too thin, as they will crumble. From "Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts," by Maida Heatter PEAR AND WHITE CHOCOLATE BOMBE WITH WARM CHOCOLATE SAUCE (10 to 12 servings)
FOR THE PEAR SHERBET:
3 to 3 1/2 pounds ripe juicy pears
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Kirsch, Pear William, cognac, armagnac, or brandy to taste (optional)
2 cups White Chocolate Mousse (recipe below)
FOR THE WARM CHOCOLATE SAUCE:
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
6 tablespoons whipping cream or cre'me frai che
1 1/2 teaspoons Chartreuse
To make the pear sherbet, quarter, core, and peel the pears and cut in rough slices into a non-corrosive saucepan. Add water, cover, and cook over low to medium heat about 10 minutes, or until the pears are heated through -- this will keep them from turning brown when you pure'e them.
Pure'e the pears in a food processor or blender or put them through a strainer. Mix in the sugar while the pure'e is hot and stir until the sugar has dissolved and you can no longer feel the grains between your fingers. Add a few drops of the flavoring of your choice to taste. Chill and freeze according to the instructions accompanying your ice cream maker.
Chill a 1 1/2-quart bombe mold and line the bottom and sides with an even 3/4-inch layer of the slightly softened pear sherbet. Return to the freezer to harden while you make the mousse. Flavor the mousse with a little Pear William or armagnac and pour it into the center of the mold. Freeze until hard enough to cover with the remaining pear sherbet and freeze again until hard. Unmold onto a chilled serving plate, wrap with plastic, and return to the freezer until serving time.
To make the chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt them with the water and butter in a small heavy pan over hot water or over very low heat, stirring. Stir in the cream until smooth; using cre'me frai che will result in a richer tasting sauce. Stir in the Chartreuse, adding it to taste: remember that it will also be flavoring the cream. Reheat to serve.
Serve with a pitcher of the Warm Chocolate Sauce to drizzle over the slices, and accompany with cookies. WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (Makes 1 1/4 quarts)
9 ounces white chocolate
3/8 cup milk
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, or to taste
Chop the chocolate and melt it carefully over warm water, then stir to smooth it out. It will be well melted and smooth at about 104 degrees, or when it feels slightly warm to the touch. Warm the milk to about the same temperature and whisk it into the chocolate, just until it is smoothly mixed.
Whip the cream until it makes a slight rounded shape when dropped from the beater; it should not stand in peaks or the mousse will be grainy. Warm the egg whites slightly by swirling them in a bowl over warm water or above a gas flame. Beat them with the cream of tartar until they hold softly rounded peaks when the beater is withdrawn. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture, being careful not to overmix. Then pour the mixture over the whipped cream, add the vanilla, and fold them together quickly. Taste and add more vanilla, if you like, then pour into sherbet cups or parfait glasses. From "Chez Panisse Desserts," By Lindsey Remolif Shere ZUCCHINI FRITTATA (6 to 8 servings)
8 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced or crushed
4 egg whites
4 whole eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt, if desired
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Dash hot pepper sauce or pinch cayenne
1/2 cup grated parmesan, divided
Place the shredded zucchini in a dish towel or several layers of cheesecloth, and squeeze out as much liquid as possible (gather the ends of the towel and twist hard).
Heat oil and butter in a large oven-proof skillet (preferably nonstick), and saute' the onion and garlic for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini, and cook the vegetables over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the zucchini is just tender. If any liquid collects in the pan, pour it off.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the egg whites, whole eggs, milk, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, hot pepper sauce or cayenne, and 2 tablespoons parmesan. Add this to the zucchini mixture, and cook the ingredients, stirring them often, until the eggs begin to set.
Sprinkle the frittata with the remaining parmesan, and place the pan under the broiler (if it fits) or in a 500-degree oven until the top of the frittata is lightly browned (this just takes a few minutes, so stay with it to be sure the cheese does not burn). Let the frittata stand for a few minutes before slicing it into wedges. From "Jane Brody's Good Food Book," By Jane Brody CRAYFISH SALAD WITH CHICORY AND RADDICHIO (4 first course dinner servings or main course luncheon servings)
1 pound live cray fish in shells, uncooked (12 to 16 crayfish to a pound)
FOR THE COURT BOUILLON:
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
6 peppercorns, cracked
Salt to taste
2 cups dry white wine
1 quart water or light fish stock
FOR THE SALAD:
1 head chicory lettuce
1 head radicchio
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:
1 teaspoon pommery mustard
1 tablespoon xeres vinegar
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons fresh whipped cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cook live crayfish in a large pot of bouillon, covered, for 2 minutes. (Make the bouillon by placing the onion, carrot, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, pepperorns, salt, wine and water in a large pot.) Bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes, cool.
After cooking crayfish, remove meat from tail. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature.
Wash chicory, removing green part of leaves. Use only the white part. Dry lettuce in a lettuce spinner. Wash radicchio, dry, and arrange like petals of a flower on edge of each salad plate.
Prepare vinaigrette dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Toss chicory with vinaigrette. Mix in crayfish tails and arrange in center of salad plate. More dressing may be made and added to lettuce, if desired. From "The Enlightened Cuisine" by Rene Verdon STEWED DUCK WITH OLIVES (2 servings)
4 to 5 pound duckling, such as Long Island or a 5 to 6 pound female muscovy
Salt and pepper to taste
1 carrot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon flour
3 cups good quality burgundy
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1/2 cup green cocktail olives, blanched*
1/4 pound mushrooms, quartered
Wash and dry duck; remove neck, wing tip, and first joint, and any loose fat; reserve. Season inside of duck with salt and pepper. In a shallow roasting pan, place duck breast side up and roast in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes without basting. A large amount of fat should have melted from duck.
Remove duck from pan and cut into serving pieces. Cut breast meat from bone; remove skin and remaining fat.
Make sauce base while duck is roasting or ahead of time. Cut neck into several pieces, put some duck fat into a pot large enough to hold wine, add neck and wing pieces, gizzard, and heart, and brown with sliced carrot, onion, celery, shallots, garlic, parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. Remove excess fat, stir in flour, and cook for several minutes. Add wine and chicken stock, cook until reduced by one half, and strain.
In a heavy skillet heat butter, add cut up duck, and brown lightly on all sides. Pour brandy over duck and flame. As soon as flame has subsided, pour strained sauce base over duck.
Add blanched olives and quartered mushrooms, cover, and simmer until duck is tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes, pasta such as noodles or spaghetti, or wild rice. A green vegetable or small turnips may be served on the side.
*To blanch olives, start them in cold water; boil for 1 minute. Change water if olives still taste salty, boil for another minute and drain. Adapted from "The Enlightened Cuisine" by Rene Verdon CRACKED WHEAT CASSEROLE BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
Cracked wheat adds a chewy texture and nutlike flavor to these whole-wheat casserole loaves.
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups cracked wheat
1 cup milk
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
2 ( 1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 tablesoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups stirred whole wheat flour
In a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring water and cracked wheat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in milk and butter; let cool until mixture is very warm (120 to 130 degrees).
In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar, salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour.
Using mixer at low speed, gradually beat cracked wheat mixture into yeast mixture until well blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Increase speed to high; beat 2 minutes more.
Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in remaining 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole-wheat flour until mixture is well blended and forms a stiff batter. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Using wooden spoon, stir down batter. Turn batter into 2 well-greased 1 1/2-quart casserole or souffle' dishes. Let rise, uncovered, until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Immediately remove from dishes. Cool on racks. From: "Farm Journal Book of Breads, (Farm Journal) PEAR BREAD (Makes 2 loaves)
3 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups finely chopped, peeled pears
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
Into a large bowl, sift together first 6 ingredients. Stir in pears; set aside.
In a small bowl, using mixer at high speed, beat sugar, oil, butter and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until thick and lemon-colored.
Add sugar-egg mixture to dry ingredients; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into 2 greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans.
Bake in a 350-degree oven 55 to 60 minutes, or until loaves are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove; cool on rack.
Wrap each loaf in foil. Let stand, overnight, in cool, dry place before serving. From "Farm Journal's Homemade Breads" PALAK MOONG (Whole Mung Beans and Spinach in a Spicy Tomato Butter) (4 to 6 servings)
Cooking beans or lentils with fragrant greens is a common technique throughout India. In this version from New Delhi, the beans and spinach are first cooked with turmeric and then laced with a highly fragrant and spicy mixture of chilies, tomatoes, fresh coriander, and garam masala.
1 cup whole mung beans (sabat moong)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups water
3/4 pound fresh spinach (or 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach)
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
FOR THE SPICY TOMATO BUTTER:
4 to 5 tablespoons clarified butter or light vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
3 hot green chilies, minced
2 medium-size red ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
Pick, clean and wash the beans in several changes of water. Put the beans in a deep saucepan along with the turmeric. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours. The beans should cook slowly to develop a creamy softness, as well as to remain whole and plump.
While the beans are cooking, snip the stems off the spinach leaves. Rinse in several changes of water until all the sand is washed away and chop fine (if you are using frozen spinach, defrost thoroughly).
Add the spinach to the beans, mix thoroughly until the greens wilt, and continue cooking, covered, for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in salt to taste. Keep the dal on a lower simmer while you make the spicy tomato butter.
Heat the clarified butter or oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the cumin seeds. When they turn dark brown (about 12 seconds), add the onion. Fry the onion for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring constantly until golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, and chilies, and fry for an additional 2 minutes. (If seasoning seems to be browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium.)
Add the tomatoes and continue frying until the tomatoes are cooked and the contents of the pan look thick and pulpy. The fat will separate from the pulp. Pour the entire mixture over the dal, add the garam masala, and blend well. Let the dal simmer, covered, for 5 minutes before you serve it. From "Classic Indian Vegetarian And Grain Cooking," by Julie Sahni APPLE PANCAKES (Makes 10 to 12 pancakes)
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (for buttermilk pancakes, substitute baking soda here)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups whole milk (for buttermilk pancakes, substitute buttermilk here)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 to 1 cup peeled, finely chopped apple
Butter or oil for greasing griddle
Sift flour with other dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add eggs and milk and beat to make smooth. Add butter and apples. Stir well. Grease a hot griddle for the first batch. Generally, greasing is not necessary after that if the recipe contains 2 tablespoons or more of fat. Griddle is at proper heat, if when tested with drops of water, it sizzles.
After pancakes have browned, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or pass cream flavored with cinnamon, or rose water.
Variation: For blueberry pancakes add 2/3 to 1 cup berries. Serve with melted butter or maple syrup. From "The Best of Shaker Cooking," by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller BRAISED CELLOPHANE NOODLES (4 to 6 servings)
5 large dried Chinese mushrooms
4 ounces cellophane noodles
2 tablespoons dried shrimp
3 slices fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup lean diced pork
1 1/2 cups good quality stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Soak dried mushrooms in hot water to cover for 25 minutes. Drain and discard tough stalks. Cut mushroom caps into shreds. Soak noodles in hot water to cover for 3 minutes, then drain. Soak dried shrimp in hot water to cover for 5 minutes. Cut ginger and scallions into similar sized shreds as mushrooms.
Heat oil in wok or skillet. When hot, stir-fry shrimp, ginger, pork and mushrooms over medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Add scallions, stock, crumbled bouillon cube and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 4 to 5 minutes. Add noodles, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir and mix contents evenly. Continue to simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes. From "Kenneth Lo's New Chinese Cooking School," by Kenneth Lo SCHIACCIATE INTEGRALI (Makes 5 to 6 pizzette; two 10-inch schiacciate; or about 60 focaccette)
These Florentine schiacciate are simply tasty flatbreads made of whole wheat flour; top them with sweet red onions flavored with thyme or wash the tops with garlic-scented olive oil. If you bake them without buns for sandwiches; just cut them in half, stuff with slices of prosciutto and cheese, and warm them briefly. Whether you make them as big as pizzas or as small as hors d'oeuvres, you can be sure you're making the Tuscan equivalent of focacce in the stylish whole wheat variation.
2 1/2 teaspoons ( 1/4-ounce package) active dry yeast or 1 small cake (1 ounce) fresh yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lard
2 3/4 cups (approxiamately) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup less 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil for brushing
If making by hand, stir the yeast into the water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lard. Mix the flours and salt and whisk the first 2 cups, 1 cup at a time, into the yeast mixture; stir in the remaining flour mixture thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Knead on a lightly floured surface until velvety and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
If making by mixer, stir the yeast into the water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lard with a paddle. Mix in the flours thoroughly; add the salt and mix until incorporated. Change to the dough hook and knead until velvety and elastic, 2 to 3 minutes. If you want, finish kneading briefly by hand on a floured surface.
If making by food processor, stir the yeast into 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Place the flours and salt in a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Process with several pulses to sift. Place the lard on top of the flour. With the machine running, pour 1 1/4 cups cold water and the dissolved yeast through the feed tube and process until the dough gathers into a rough mass. Add the salt. Process 25 seconds longer to knead. Finish kneading by hand 2 to 3 minutes.
First Rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until puffy but not doubled, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Shaping. Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half for two 10-inch schiacciate or into 5 or 6 pieces for pizzette. Shape each piece into a ball. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface or stretch the dough over your fists to a 10-inch circle for schiacciate or a 5-inch circle for pizzette, leaving a thick edge. Place on floured baker's peels or lightly oiled pizza pans, pie plates, or baking sheets. You may need to stretch the dough, let it relax for a few minutes under a towel, then stretch it again. Brush the tops with oil.
To make focaccette. Roll the dough out thinly on a floured surface and cut out circles with a 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter. Place on lightly oiled baking sheets. Do not oil the tops. Cover with towels and let rise without any topping.
Topping for schiacciate or pizzette. Saute' 2 thinly sliced large red onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter over very low heat 15 to 20 minutes; spread the onions over the dough and sprinkle with a fat pinch dried thyme. Or saute' 2 whole large cloves garlic in 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes; brush the dough with the oil and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or rosemary or 1 tablespoon sea salt.
Second rise. Cover the dough with towels and let rise until puffy but not doubled, about 45 minutes. Dimple and stretch the dough again with your fingers. Before baking and after the second rise, dimple the focaccette with your index fingers; then oil the tops and sprinkle with a bit of fine sea salt.
Baking. Use baking stones if you have them (turn the oven on 30 minutes before baking) and place the baking pans directly on the preheated stones. Bake the schiacciate 22 to 25 minutes, the pizzette 15 to 18 minutes, and the focaccette 12 to 15 minutes, in a 400-degree oven. Serve hot, or cool on racks to room temperature. From "The Italian Baker," by Carol Field STUFFED PORK LOIN (Carne Mechada) (4 to 6 servings)
3/4 pound boned pork loin
FOR THE MARINADE:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably spanish style
1/2 dried red chili pepper, seeded and crumbled, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
FOR THE STUFFING:
3 thin slices chorizo sausage
1 hard-cooked egg, cut in half lengthwise
1 long, thin, cooked carrot, the length of the meat
2 strips pimiento
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 slice onion
1 small bay leaf
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
Butterfly the pork loin, splitting lengthwise just far enough so that the meat opens up into one flat piece. Pound lightly to flatten a little more. In a small, shallow bowl just big enough to hold the meat, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the meat and turn to coat on both sides with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat occasionally.
Place the meat cut side up on a work surface. Arrange the chorizo slices in a row down the center of the meat. Place the egg halves over the chorizo, trimming the ends if the egg extends beyond the meat. Split the carrot lengthwise and put a piece on each side of the egg, then arrange the pimiento strips on top. Close the meat and sew together with a large trussing needle and heavy thread or string, sewing up the ends as well.
In a deep casserole combine the garlic, onion, bay leaf, clove, wine, oil, water, broth, and salt. Add the meat, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 1 3/4 hours. Remove the meat to a warm platter, boil the sauce down to half, and return the meat to the casserole. (May be prepared ahead.) To serve, remove strings, cut in 3/8-by- 1/2-inch slices and pour on some sauce. This is also good at room temperature. From "Tapas, The Little Dishes of Spain," By Penelope Casas GAI PAD NAM PRIG PAO (Chicken in Roasted Curry Sauce) (4 to 6 servings)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Roasted Red Curry (recipe below)
1 pound boned skinned chicken breasts
6 scallions, white part only
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (2 cloves) finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup whole roasted unsalted peanuts
Mix the fish sauce, sugar, water, and roasted red curry in a small bowl and set aside. Lay the chicken breasts flat on a cutting surface, and slice them horizontally by holding one hand flat on top of the chicken to keep it from sliding and cutting parallel to the surface of the cutting board. Each piece will be the length and width of the original piece of chicken. Cut the chicken into 1-inch squares and set aside. Slice the scallions diagonally into pieces about 1/2-inch long.
Heat a wok, add the oil, and swirl it over the surface of the pan. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is light golden. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the pink color disappears completely. Add the fish sauce liquid and stir until it boils.
Add the peanuts and scallions, stirring until the scallions are crisp-tender and the peanuts heated through. Serve immediately or keep it warm while you prepare other dishes. Serve with rice. ROASTED RED CURRY (Makes 3 cups)
3 ounces wet tamarind or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 warm water
1/4 pound dried New Mexico or California chilies
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped garlic
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 1/4 cups (3 ounces) dried shrimp
1/4 cup shrimp paste
Soak the wet tamarind (omit this step if you are using tamarind concentrate) in 3/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes or until it is soft. Press it through a sieve, making sure to press through all the pulp you can. Scrape the outside of the sieve carefully to get all the pulp, and discard the residue inside the sieve.
Place the tamarind solution and sugar in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. (If you have used tamarind concentrate, add 3/4 cup warm water.) Remove it from the heat immediately and let cool to room temperature.
Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies, and tear the chilies to pieces about 1-inch square or smaller. Heat a wok, add 1/2 cup oil, and swirl it over the surface of the wok. Stir-fry the chilies over moderate heat until they are a deep red color and lightly fragrant, being careful not to let them burn. Remove the chilies, but not the oil, from the wok and set them aside in a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons more oil to the wok and stir-fry the garlic until it is light golden. Remove the garlic, but not the oil, from the wok and add it to the chilies.
Add another 2 tablespoons oil to the wok and stir-fry the onion until it is light golden. Remove the onion, but not the oil, from the wok and add it to the chilies and garlic.
Add 1/4 cup more oil to the wok. Add the dried shrimp and cook for about 1 minute. Then add the shrimp paste and stir-fry until the color becomes uniform and the strong odor has subsided, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the mixture, including the oil, from the wok and add it to the previously fried ingredients. Allow the fried ingredients to cool to room temperature.
Place the fried mixture and the oil in a food processor or blender and grind to a smooth paste. If it seems dry and crumbly, add more oil to form a smooth, thick paste.
Add the cooked tamarind mixture to the ground chili mixture and stir to combine it well.
Store the curry in a closed jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. It may be frozen, but since it keeps so well that is unnecessary. From "Thai Home-Cooking From Kamolmal's Kitchen," by William Crawford and Kamolmal Pootaraksa ROMAINE AND SNOW PEA SALAD (4 servings, at 93 calories per portion)
1 large head romaine lettuce
32 snow peas, ends trimmed and strings removed
1/2 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Wash the romaine, discarding wilted and damaged leaves, but do not separate the remaining leaves from the head. Pat dry before cutting the head into quarters.
Have a bowl of cold water ready. Blanch the snow peas in a quart of boiling water for 30 seconds, then drain and immediately plunge them into the cold water. When they are cool, drain again and pat dry.
Arrange the romaine quarters and snow peas on 4 large salad plates and sprinkle each portion with 2 tablespoons of Raspberry Vinaigrette. RASPBERRY VINAIGRETTE (Makes about 1 cup, at 35 calories per tablespoon)
1/4 cup cold-pressed safflower oil
5 tablespoons red raspberry vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon vegetable seasoning
Dash hot pepper sauce
Mix all the ingredients and refrigerate in a tightly covered jar for at least 1 hour before using.