Recipes: Holiday Cookbooks 2007

Here's a sampling of recipes from the cookbooks featured in "The Seasoning of Seasonings," a guide to this year's cookbook picks.

Turmeric Squid with Tamarind Sauce

Squid i i
Squid

From Where Flavor Was Born, by Andreas Viestad

This is calamari Asian-style, with lots of temperament and fresh flavors. The sweet-and-sour-tamarind sauce makes the dish light and fresh-tasting, so it is perfect as a snack or an appetizer.

Serve with salad or steamed vegetables. This recipe also works well with fish instead of squid; a similar dish with sea bass is common in Thailand.

Serves 2 as a main course

2 tablespoons tamarind pulp or 2 to 3 teaspoons tamarind paste

1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar, or more to taste

1 tablespoon fish sauce, or more to taste

1/4 cup water

2 to 3 dried chiles, plus a few chiles for garnish

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon powdered turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 pound cleaned squid, bodies sliced, tentacles left whole

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Fried onions or scallions for garnish (optional)

In a small pot, combine the tamarind pulp or paste, sugar, fish sauce, and water and bring to a boil. Remove the tamarind seeds if you used tamarind pulp. Add the dried chiles and boil over low heat for 15 minutes, or until you have a smooth sauce. Adjust the sauce for sweetness and saltiness with more palm sugar and/or fish sauce to taste.

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, turmeric, and cardamom.

Heat oil in a deep fryer, or heat at least 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet over high heat. Working in batches, dredge the squid in the flour, shake to remove excess flour, and add to the hot oil. Fry until golden and crispy, and drain on paper towels. Garnish with dried chiles and fried onions. The sauce can be either served on the side or poured over the fried squid.

Variation: This dish can be expanded upon by including vegetables. Typical Thai vegetables would include spring onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and bell peppers or mild chiles. If serving with vegetables, toss the vegetables in the hot sauce and serve with the squid on top.

From Where Flavor Was Born, by Andreas Viestad. Copyright (c) 2007 by Andreas Viestad. Published by Chronicle Books. Reprinted with permission.

Crispy Pan Fried Shrimp with Tamarind Glaze

Tamarind Shrimp i i
Tamarind Shrimp

From Modern Indian Cooking, by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna


SERVES 6

1 pound medium size fresh shrimp, cleaned, shelled, and de-veined

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

4 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon tamarind paste

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Salt to taste

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

Using a clean kitchen towel, pat dry the shrimp and set aside. Mix ginger and garlic with cumin powder. Add tamarind paste, cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, flour, and salt. Blend 2 tablespoons of oil into the mixture. Transfer to a bowl, add the shrimp, and toss well to coat evenly, cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours for best results.

Heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the marinated shrimp and cook for a minute on high heat. Turn over the shrimp and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning the shrimp occasionally for uniform cooking. Sprinkle lemon juice and Thai basil and serve hot.

From Modern Indian Cooking, by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. Copyright (c) 2007 by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. Published by Silverback Books. Reprinted with permission.

Mustard Potatoes with Dill

Mustard Potatoes i i
Mustard Potatoes

From Modern Indian Cooking, by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna


SERVES 6

1 pound potatoes, diced

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 dried red chilies, whole

1 tablespoon Madras curry powder

6 cups dill, rinsed and chopped

Salt to taste

Boil the potatoes in a saucepan, over medium high heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the mustard seeds, and the whole chili, cover and briefly allow the seeds to pop. Stir in the potatoes with the curry powder and sauté until fragrant. Add the dill, cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and serve hot.

From Modern Indian Cooking, by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. Copyright (c) 2007 by Hari Nayak and Vikas Khanna. Published by Silverback Books. Reprinted with permission.

Sauteed Cauliflower

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters


4 servings

This is tasty as a side vegetable or served as a pasta sauce, tossed with large noodles.

Clean the leaves from:

1 large head or 2 small heads of cauliflower

Remove the base of the stem with a small, sharp knife. From the top down, cut the cauliflower into 1/4-inch slices. (If the cauliflower is large, cut in half for easier slicing.)

Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat:

2 tablespoons olive oil

Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the cauliflower with:

Salt

Let the cauliflower sit until it starts to brown a bit before stirring or tossing. Cook, continuing to stir or toss until the cauliflower is tender, about 7 minutes total. Don't worry if the cauliflower starts to break up; that is part of the charm of the dish. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Finish with a drizzle of:

Extra-virgin olive oil

Variations:

When the cauliflower is a minute or so from being done, add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Garnish with a handful of Toasted Breadcrumbs (page 63).

A classic Italian dish adds the parsley and garlic along with chopped salt-cured anchovies and capers, hot chile flakes, and coarsely chopped olives. This is delicious on pasta.

Sprinkle with fresh-ground cumin, chopped garlic, turmeric, and chopped cilantro during the last few minutes of cooking.

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters. Copyright (c) 2007 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter. Reprinted with permission.

Red Rice Pilaf

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters


3 to 4 servings

Sauté the rice to a light brown color for a nuttier-tasting pilaf.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Add and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes:

1 small onion, diced fine

Stir in and cook for 5 minutes:

1 cup long-grain rice, rinsed and drained

Add:

2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 small tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped fine (or 2 plum tomatoes, canned or fresh)

1/2 teaspoon salt (less, if using seasoned broth)

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

Stir and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in:

1 1/2 cups chicken broth or water

Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cover tightly. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations:

  • After the rice has been cooking, covered, for about 7 minutes, strew over the top of the rice vegetables such as green peas, cut green beans, or small florets of cauliflower or broccoli. Cover and continue cooking until the rice is done. Let rest for 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir together the rice and vegetables.
  • Add pieces of boned leftover roast chicken or roast or braised pork before covering and cooking the rice for the last 15 minutes.
  • Omit the tomatoes and increase the cilantro to 1/4 cup.
  • Use basmati rice; soak in water for 20 minutes and drain. Sauté diced onion and add to the rice with a generous pinch of saffron threads. Cook for a few minutes more and add the broth or water and salt, and cook, covered, until done.

From The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters. Copyright (c) 2007 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter. Reprinted with permission.

Cranberry Orange Roast Chicken

From 2500 Recipes, by Andrew Schloss


Use the ingredients from either recipe for Traditional Roast Chicken, and add:

1/4 cup orange marmalade

3 tbsp whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 tbsp minced orange zest

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cider vinegar

Dash hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

Follow either recipe for Traditional Roast Chicken. During the first half-hour of roasting, combine marmalade, cranberry sauce, orange zest, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and hot pepper sauce. During the last 40 to 60 minutes of roasting, baste chicken 2 to 3 times with this sauce.

Roasted Chicken

About these recipes: The first two recipes below are for ordinary roast chickens — both the smaller chickens often sold as fryers, and the larger chickens, usually called roasters. Both can be roasted, and the 48 recipes that follow are all based on whichever chicken you want to use.

Traditional Small Roast Chicken

Vegetable cooking spray

2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in the roasting pan and spray the rack with cooking spray. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Trim off visible fat. Combine salt and pepper, and rub into the walls of the interior cavity of the chicken. Run your fingers under the skin of the breast and legs, separating it gently from the meat underneath. Rub half the oil over the meat under the skin and the rest over surface of the skin. Place chicken, breast side down, on the rack and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and turn chicken breast side up. Roast for 45 minutes, until skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 170 degrees F to 175 degrees F. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serves 4.

Traditional Large Roast Chicken

Vegetable cooking spray

2 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 whole chicken (5 1¿2 to 8 lbs)

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in the roasting pan and spray the rack with cooking spray. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Trim off visible fat. Combine salt and pepper, and rub into the walls of the interior cavity of the chicken. Run your fingers under the skin of the breast and legs, separating it gently from the meat underneath. Rub half the oil over the meat under the skin and the rest over surface of the skin. Place chicken, breast side down, on the rack and roast for 45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F and turn chicken breast side up. Roast for 45 to 90 minutes (depending on size), or until skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 170 degrees F to 175 degrees F. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serves 6 to 8.

From 2500 Recipes, by Andrew Schloss. Copyright (c) 2007 by Andrew Schloss. Published by Robert Rose. Reprinted with permission.

Peng's Home-Style Bean Curd

(Peng jia dou fu)

From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, by Fuchsia Dunlop


Like General Zuo's chicken, this dish is the creation of one of the most famous of all Hunanese chefs, Peng Chang-kuei, who has lived in Taiwan since he fled the Chinese Mainland at the end of the Chinese civil war. Although it was invented in Taiwan, its Hunanese roots are plain to see in its rich, savory taste and the pairing of black bean and chili, and, of course, because it's a variation of the traditional home-style bean curd on the previous page. Mr. Peng, who started making it in the late 1960s or 1970s, never intended to serve such a humble dish in his restaurant. "I used to sit at the front of the restaurant, and although the customers knew my name they didn't recognize me," Mr. Peng told me when I met him in 2004. "One day I was hungry, so I called my chef over and asked him to make me some bean curd, giving him detailed instructions on how to cook it. I ate it with a bowl of rice, mixing them together as I went along. Every customer who entered the restaurant had to pass by my table, and soon someone asked a waiter if they could have the same dish, which wasn't on the menu. The dish arrived, and another customer saw it and wanted some, too, and soon it spread like a rash over the whole restaurant. In that one day, we sold 23 portions of 'Peng's home-style bean curd!'" Like many of Peng Chang-kuei's dishes, this one has been imitated far and wide: Not long ago I saw it on the menu of a fashionable restaurant in Hong Kong. The version below is my attempt to re-create the dish as I was taught it by the head chef of Mr. Peng's current restaurant, the Peng Yuan, in Taipei.

Ingredients:

3 oz. lean pork, thinly sliced

1 tsp. Shaoxing wine

1/4 tsp. salt

1 block firm bean curd, drained (about 1 1/4 lb.)

3 scallions, green parts only

2 fresh red chilies

1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic

3 tbsp. black fermented beans, rinsed

1 cup stock

1/4 tsp. dark soy sauce

Salt

3/4 tsp. potato flour mixed with 1 tbsp. cold water

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. chili oil (optional)

1 cup peanut oil for deep-frying

1. Put the pork in a bowl, add the Shaoxing wine and salt, and mix well; set aside.

2. Cut the bean curd into oblong slices, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the scallion greens and chilies into thin diagonal slices, discarding the chili seeds as far as possible.

3. Heat the oil for deep-frying over a high flame until it reaches 350 to 400 degrees F. Add the bean curd in 3 or 4 batches, and fry until the slices are just tinged with gold; drain and set aside on kitchen paper.

4. Pour off the oil, reserving 3 tablespoons. Clean the wok, then reheat it over a high flame until smoke rises, add the reserved oil, and swirl it around. Add the garlic and chilies and sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the pork, and as it becomes pale, throw in the black beans, stirring all the time. When all is hot and fragrant, pour in the stock, add the bean curd and dark soy sauce, and bring to the boil.

5. Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes to allow the flavors of the sauce to enter the bean curd. Add salt to taste, if necessary.

6. Add the potato flour mixture and stir as the liquid thickens, then stir in the scallion greens. Finally, stir in the sesame and chili oils, if using, and serve.

Vegetarian Version: Vegetarians can omit the pork and use a vegetarian stock.

From Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook, by Fuchsia Dunlop. Copyright (c) 2007 by Fuchsia Dunlop. Published by W. W. Norton. Reprinted with permission.

Roast Belly of Pork with Apple Sauce

Roast Pork i i
Roast Pork

From The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall


Serves about 8

I love to roast a belly of pork because it's so fantastically forgiving. The rich seams of fat keep the meat tender and juicy, no matter how long you cook it for. So I tend to concentrate on getting the crackling right and find the rest just falls into place.

I don't like the convention of apple sauce with a very lean pork joint, such as leg or loin, because I find the tartness overpowers the delicate flavor of the meat. But for a crude, fatty cut like this, it is perfect. The citrus juice and zest keep the sauce aromatic as well as tart.

Pork belly may not be the easiest cut to find in the U.S. It will help if you have a relationship with a good, responsive butcher who can save you the belly meat before it gets turned into bacon.

The thick end of the belly (last 6 ribs):

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh thyme leaves

The apple sauce:

4 or 5 large Granny Smith or other tart cooking apples

A squeeze of lemon juice

Grated zest (no pith) and juice of 1/2 orange

1 to 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (to taste)

Score the skin of the belly with a sharp knife (a utility knife is surprisingly handy) and rub with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves, getting the seasoning and herbs right into the cracks. Roast in a hot oven (425 F) for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F and cook for roughly another hour, until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a skewer and the crackling has crackled to an irresistible golden brown. If the crackling is reluctant, whack up the heat again, as high as you like, and check every few minutes till it's done.

To make the sauce, peel, core, and slice the apples, tossing them with the lemon juice as you go. Put them in a pan with the orange zest and juice and a first sprinkling of sugar. Cook gently until the apples break up into a rough puree, then check for sweetness and adjust to your taste. Keep warm (or reheat gently to serve).

Remove the crackling from the pork before carving, then cut the joint into thick slices. Serve each person one or two slices with a good piece of crackling, and bring the apple sauce to the table. I like to serve this with mashed potatoes, not roasted ones, as there's already plenty of fat and crispiness on the plate. Some simple, lightly steamed greens such as Savoy cabbage, spinach, or curly kale will help to ease your conscience as you lap up the lard.

From The River Cottage Meat Book, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Copyright (c) 2007 by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Published by Ten Speed Press. Reprinted with permission.

Pasta and Chickpeas with Plenty of Parsley and Garlic

Pasta and Chickpeas with Plenty of Parsley and Garlic

From Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen, by Deborah Madison


This is one of the simplest dishes you can make. The pasta and chickpeas are tossed with a big lively bunch of parsley that's been chopped with lots of garlic and sage. For pasta, I like the organic whole-wheat shells made by Bionaturae in Italy. Its flavor is not grimly "healthy," but it is robust enough to stand up to the chickpeas. There are lots of ways to play with this dish — see the variations — and it's vegan if you don't add the cheese.

A Primitivo from Puglia, or its cousin, a Zinfandel from Sonoma, would be a good wine to serve.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to finish

1/2 large onion, diced

a few pinches of hot red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can, preferably organic, liquid reserved

1 big bunch of flat-leaf parsley, the leaves stripped from the stems

3 plump garlic cloves

small handful of sage leaves

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

3/4 pound whole-wheat pasta shells

freshly grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

2. Heat the oil in a wide skillet and add the onion and pepper flakes. Cook for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas. While they're warming, chop the parsley, garlic, and sage together, then toss a third of it into the pan. Season well with salt and pepper, add a little water or chickpea broth to the pan, and cook slowly, adding more liquid as it cooks away.

3. Salt the pasta water and cook the pasta. When done, drain and toss it with the chickpeas, the rest of the parsley mixture, and extra olive oil to taste. Taste for salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Grate some cheese over the top and serve with additional pepper flakes.

Start the water boiling for the pasta. Heat and season the chickpeas, cook the pasta, and put the two together.

Variations

• In summer, cut up a few garden tomatoes and add them at the very end.

• Enliven the dish with some grated lemon zest.

• Dark green (Le Puy) or black (Beluga) lentils are delicious here. If you have some cooked, add them to the chickpeas or use them in their stead.

• Mild ricotta or more pungent slivers of ricotta salata are both good in this pasta.

From the book Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen by Deborah Madison. Copyright (c) 2005 by Deborah Madison. Published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

Little Milk Breads (Petits Pains au Lait)

From Savory Baking from the Mediterranean, by Anissa Helou


Pains au lait, like baugettes, are made all over France. But while it's hard to make a good baugette in a home kitchen, homemade pains au lait are just as good as commercial ones — or even better, if made with the best flour, butter, and milk. In France, they are primarily used for sandwiches, but they are served plain with meals.

Makes 6 Individual Breads

1 1/4 teaspoons (just over 1/2 package) active dry yeast

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature

2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and shaping

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons fine kosher salt or sea salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1. Disolve the yeast in the milk and stir until creamy

2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add the yeast and butter to the well and, with fingertips, gently and gradually mix with the flour until well incorporated. Knead briefly to make a rough ball of dough.

3. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for about 3 minutes. Invert the bowl over the dough and let rest for 15 minutes. Knead for about 2 to 3 minutes more, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly floured clean bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour. Fold the dough, cover again, and let rise for 1 hour more. The dough should have doubled in volume.

4. Return the dough to the work surface and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Gently shape each piece into a ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Shape the pieces into batards about 8 inches long. Press down on the ends to flatten them slightly and transfer seam side down to a nonstick baking sheet, or to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone pastry mat, leaving at leasr 2 inches between the pieces to expand as they rise and bake. Cover with a wet but not dripping kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F.

5. Uncover the breads and let their surfaces dry for about 5 minutes. Brush with the egg yolk mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden all over; check after 10 minutes, and if the breads are coloring too fast, reduce the heat to 350 F. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature, or reheated.

From Savory Baking from the Mediterranean, by Anissa Helou. Copyright (c) 2007 by Anissa Helou. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks. Reprinted with permission.

My Chocolate Pudding

Pudding i i
Pudding

From Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich


This has been my chocolate pudding for close to a decade, with the recent addition of 10 seconds in the food processor at the finish. The pudding is a little richer, more bittersweet, and a little less starch-bound than the pudding I grew up with, but it is definitely more pudding than pot de creme or custard. The set is soft and the texture both dense and light. Even when chilled, it "spoons" beautifully, so to speak. The processor step, with my thanks to Dorie Greenspan for a sensational idea, adds a silken dimension and lightness to the texture. You can vary the intensity of the chocolate flavor by choosing a more or less bittersweet chocolate, ranging from 50 percent cacao on up to 70 percent or so. You can also increase or decrease the sugar to your taste. Whipped cream on top is very nice.

serves 6 to 8

2 large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup (1.1 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer natural)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 pinches of salt

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I like to use a 70 percent bittersweet),chopped medium-fine

SET THE FOOD PROCESSOR near the stove. Have a whisk, a heatproof (silicone) spatula, and a ladle on hand. In a medium bowl (preferably glass or crockery, because it is heavy and will stay put when you whisk in the hot pudding), whisk the eggs thoroughly. Set the whisk and bowl near the stove. In a medium heavy saucepan, mix the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Pour about 1/3 cup of the milk into the pan and whisk to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk. Heat the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring with the heatproof spatula, until it begins to bubble around the edges. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady low boil and stir constantly for 2 minutes, sweeping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat.

Ladle about 1 cup of the hot mixture gradually over the eggs, whisking constantly to prevent scrambling. Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and whisk vigorously to blend. Set the pan over low-medium heat and whisk for just 30 seconds, without simmering or boiling, to be sure the eggs are hot enough. Off the heat, add the vanilla and chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted.

Scrape the pudding into the processor and process for 10 seconds. Divide the pudding among the cups or ramekins. Let cool and serve, or chill before serving.

EQUIPMENT

Six 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins or 8 smaller cups

From Pure Desert, by Alice Medrich. Copyright (c) 2007 by Alice Medrich. Published by Artisan. Reprinted with permission.

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