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TAUNTON'S AUGUS T / SE PTE M BE R 1 996 NO.

16

FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO COOK

How to Grill
Tex-Mex Style

New Ideas for


Potato Salads

Zucchini at Its
Flavorful Best

Z esty
Homemade
Ketchup

Prof essional
Style Ranges

Making Rustic
Rosemary
Flatbread

$4.95 CAN $5.95


09

1 64904 1
The good things in life never really change.

We just

continue

to offer your family



f.1-
a lot more of them.

Available at the deli counter.

Made with tradition. Made for today.


' '
46
''' Gentle knead
'
.- . ing is the key
to crisp rose
mary flat
bread

fine AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 ISSUE 16

OKING
D E PA R T M E N T S

8 Letters 72 Basics
Understanding eggs; Cleaning mushrooms;
great garlic gadget bringing home the right
bacon
10 Q&A
Salt's role in baking; 76 Flavorings
the facts on feta Mustard, from subtle
to scorching
14 At the Market
Choosing and using 78 Food Science
eggplant Taking the fear out
of frying
16 Notes
Mail-order tortillas; 80 Reviews
an oversized spatula T he art of preserving

18 Technique Class 83 Advertiser Index


Turning out an omelet
84 Calendar
22 Kitchens for
Cooks 89 Recipe &
Professional-style
Technique Index
ranges for the home
89 Nutrition
26 T ips Informatioil
Warning for hot pots;
90 T idbits
the $2 baking stone
Exploding desserts

Fine OxJking (ISSN 10725121) is published bimonthly by The Taunton Press, Inc., Newtown, cr 06470-5506. Tel. 203/4268171. Second-class postage is paid at Newtown, CT 06470 and at additional mailing offices.
GST paid registration #1232 10981. U.S. distribution by Cunis Circulation Company, 433 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack, NJ 07601, and Eastern News Distributors, Inc., 1130 Cleveland Rd., Sandusky, OH 44870.
52 Zesty Ketchup from Your Kitchen
by David Page & Barbara Shinn
As vibrant as salsa-and just as easy to make

54 Crisp and Fragrant Chicken Bastila


by Kitty Morse A sweet and savory filling is wrapped
in phyllo for this classic Moroccan dish

58 Pickles by the Pint by Andrea Chesman

Turn a few cucumbers or a small bunch of beans into


crunchy pickles with little time and effort

CANNING BASICS-KEEP THE JARS HOT

AND PACK THEM TIGHT 60

62 Master Class: Stuffing a Loin of Lamb


by David Waltuck Roll the meat around a savory
spinach-sausage stuffing and brown the bones to
make a heady sauce

67 Cool Sorbets, Intensely Flavored


by Darren Deville T he right proportion of sugar is the

ARTICLES secret to silky-smooth sorbets

On the cover: Peaches with Dried-Cherry Shortcake, "Taste Summer's


Sweetness in Peach Desserts," p. 48.

30 A Tex,Mex Menu from the Grill Cover photo, Mark Thomas.


These pages: top left, Todd Bryant; bottom left, Ben Fink; above, Alan Richardson;

by W Park Kerr T he vibrant dishes of "border cuisine" below: Scott Phillips (top and bottom right) and Kathryn Kleinman (bottom left).

are alive with chiles, fresh vegetables, and lots of smoke


from the grill

36 Potato Salad Grows Up by Dorette E. Snover

Match Yellow Finns, Red Bliss, and fingerlings with 14


market-fresh ingredients for potato salads of substance Choose eggplant
that are firm
and heavy for
41 A Guide to Sweet, Tender Zucchini their size
by Loretta Keller Transform summer's most abundant
vegetable into soup, side dishes, fritters-even noodles

46 Making Rustic Rosemary Flatbread


by Leslie Mackie Infused with fresh rosemary and
rolled parchment thin, these crisp, fragrant breads
satisfy impatient appetites

48 Taste Summer's Sweetness in Peach


Desserts by Sally Small & Kathleen Stewart
Bigger size and a sweet, subtle fragrance signal
the most succulent fruit of the season

Postmaster: Send address changes to Fine Cooking, The Taunton Press, Inc., 63 South Main Street, PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 064705506. Printed in the USA.
Insalata di Nod Ciccati

O nly Bertolli, Italy's best-selling,


best-loved olive oil, could bring out the true,
subtle flavors of such delicious foods as
Insalata di Noci Ciccati .
Of course foods like this are appreciated
not only in Italy, where Bertolli has been
made for over 125 years, but here, where
families like yours have made it the
best-loved olive oil in America today.

Bertolli Insoloto di Nocl Ciccoti


3 Tbsp. Bertolli Extra Virgin 6 cups torn mixed solad greens
Olive Oil (select at least 3: aru gu la,
2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts radicchio. curly endive. romaine)
1 Tbsp. mild red wine vinegor 112 cup thin strips yellow or
(or fresh lemon juice) orange bell pepper
1/8 tsp. so 112 cup finely sliced, trimmed
Freshly ground black pepper fresh fennel. when in season
to taste Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for
shaving over the solad (OpHonal)
1. Combine the olive oil and walnuts in a small skillet. Heat, stirring
over very low heat just until walnuts are warm. Remove from the
heat. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. salt and pepper.
2. Combine the salad greens with the bell pepper and fennel
(if available) in a salad bowl. Add the walnut dressing and toss
the salad well. Divide the salad among four plates.
Optional. using a vegetable peeler. peel wide strips of the
Parmigiano-Reggiano over each salad. Garnish with
additional walnut pieces. Serves 4.

RECIPE BOOK OFFER!


To get your Bertolli Olive Oil Recipe Book containing 25 delicious recipes
and money-saving coupons, send $2.00, check or money order, for postage and handling to:
Bertolli Nutrition Center, P.O. Box 555FC, Gibbstown, NJ 08027.
IF You WANT IrTo BE BErIEl .
Ir BEITER BE BooOLu.
LETTERS

cEoKING
If you'd like to share your Paper or plastic: the Great garlic gadget
debate continues Regarding Susan Asanovic's
thoughts on our most I couldn't pass up the opportu advice to Americans to stop
nity to join the debate on the depending on gadgets to peel
recent articles or your food use of disposable zip-top plas garlic (Fine Cooking # 14, p. 6) , EDITOR

tic bags in the past few issues of I'd say Ms. Asanovic is a little Martha Holmberg

and cooking philosophies, Fine Cooking. A comparison of tightly wound. I use a lot of ART DIRECTOR
Steve Hunter
paper and plastic shows that garlic, and I've mainly used MANAGING EDITOR
here's the place to do so. each is similar in its degree of the smash-with-the-flat-side Jan Newberry

environmental harm, though of-a-knife method for peeling, ASSOCIATE EDITORS


Dana Harris
Send your comments to in different ways. What people which I found it to be tedious. Joanne McAllister Smart
don't consider about plastic I ttied the E-Z-Rol that was ASSISTANT EDITOR

Letters, Fine Cooking, is that even though it's made reviewed in Fine Cooking # 1 2 , Amy Albert

from crude oil, the oil isn't p. 1 8 . I p u t i n three cloves, COPY/PRODUCTION EDITOR
li Agen
PO Box 5506, Newtown, being extracted to make plas rolled it, and out popped per ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR
tic bags; it's being extracted to fectly naked cloves, intact, Annie Giammattei

(T 06470-5506. make fuel. Plastic is a byprod ready for mincing, slicing, or ILLUSTRATOR
Rosalie Vaccaro
uct of the waste from making roasting. I love it. And it takes
EDITORIAL SECRETARY
fuel. In a way, you can say that up less room than the brick Kim Landi
plastic is good, as it makes use Ms. Asanovic suggested. RECIPE TESTER

of what would otherwise have How about an Internet ad Abigail Johnson Dodge

to be disposed of dress? CONTRIBUTING EDITORS


Paul Bertolli, Shirley O. Corriher,
But no matter how you -Debora Buccieri James Peterson, Molly Stevens,

look at it, plastic can't follow Minneapolis, MN Rosina Tinari Wilson

the natural, renewable PUBLISHER


Christine Arrington
cycle of the earth the Editors' note: You can reach
CORPORATE CIRCULATION DIRECTOR
way paper can. It took us at our new Internet address: Douglas Newton

millions of years for the finecook@taunton.com. MARKETING SECRETARY


Larisa Greiner
earth to produce the oil
from which plastic is Understanding eggs ADVERTISING MANAGER
Tom Leihbacher
made, and there 's no Everyone I work with loves NATIONAL ACCOUNTS MANAGER
way a plastic bag will my Italian cream cake, but I Paul McGahren

tum back into oil when was unhappy with it because ADVERTISING SALES COORDINATOR
Nancy Crider
you put it back into the the middle would fall a little.
FINE COOKING:
earth. But with proper The frosting covered it, so I HOW TO CONTACT
Telephone: 800-283-7252
management, trees can was the only one who knew. 203-426-8171
be a never-ending re When I read "The Amazing Fax: 203-426-3434
newable resource, and Culinary Powers ofEggs (Fine
" E-Mail:
paper returned to the Cooking #14, p. 76) , I learned America Online: flNECOOKNG
CompuServe: 74602,2651
earth does biodegrade. what the problem was. When Internet: finecook@taunton.com
For this reason, paper is su I made the cake last week, I SUBSCRIPTIONS:
perior to plastic. didn't whip all the whites sep Orders: 800-888-8286
Customer Service: 800-477-8727
I've concluded that as long arately as the recipe instructs.
Advertising Sales: 800-283-7252 x547
as plastic bags are being made I nstead, I put three whole
from waste, we might as well eggs and two yolks in the bat TAUNTON TRADE COMPANY:
Retail Sales: 800-283-7252 x265
use them when they're the ter. I beat the remaining two
Copyright 1996 by The TauntonYress, Inc. No
best tool for the job. But we whites separately and folded reproduction without permission of The
Taunton Press, Inc. Fine Cooking is a registered
Fine Cooking welcomes article need to move towards using them into the batter to lighten trademark of The Taunton Press, Inc.
proposals from our readers. We products that are made from it. The cake didn't fall at all, Subscription rates: u.s. and possessions, S26 for
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acknowledge all submissions, return renewable, biodegradable ma but rose up evenly in the pan other countries, S32 for one year, S52 for two
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to Fine Cooking, PO Box 5506, author, Sustaining the Earth -Mary Bayles, (Subscription, Editorial, or AdvertiSing), The
Taunton Press, 63 South Main St., PO Box 5506,
Newtown, CT 06470-5506. (Morrow, 1994) Columbia, SC Newtown, CT 06470-5506.

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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 9
Q&A
Have a question of general Why does a baker nating or altering the amount Choosing an extra
need salt? of salt in a recipe has its most virgin olive oil
interest about cooking? Why do most of my baking marked effect in breads and There are so many extra
recipes ask for the addition other yeast-raised items. virgin olive oils out there.
Send it to Fine Cooking, of 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt ? Salt helps the glutens in How do I choose a good one?
Since I try to keep my salt flour bond more tightly. It's -Meg Perry,
PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT intake to a minimum, 1'm these bonds that trap gases Broadview Heights, OH
always tom about whether produced by the yeas t. A
06470-5506, and we'l l try to to add the salt or not. Is it salted dough rises more slowly M ag g i e Blyth Klein replies:
a necessary catalyst to the bu t is less slack and thus Not all extra-virgin olive oils
find a cooking professional baking process? Does it higher rising. A dough with are created equal. The very
bring out flavor? Or could less salt will tend to spread best of the imported oils use
with the answer. I do without it? more (especially if it isn't olives that were grown on the
-Violet Devries, baked in a pan or form) , thus same estate as the mill where
San Diego, CA limiting its potential to spring they were pressed. Such oils
up as it bakes. are often labeled something
Tom M c M a h o n r e p l i e s: Salt in baking is used in like prodotto nel frantoio ("pro
Salt's primary role in bak much lower proportion to duced at the olive mill") . But
ing is to give flavor; how other ingredients and with when I see the words "bottled
ever, it also has an impor a lot less room for variation by," I tend to infer that the
tant and complex effect than in cooking. In breads, for olives were grown and pressed
on doughs, especially on example, the usual amount of somewhere other than at the
gluten structure. Elimi- salt is equal to 2% of the estate. A well-chosen blend of
weight of the flour; variation oils from other areas might be
above or below that amount an enjoyable, high-quality oil,
is quic kly apparent in the or it might not be up to the
taste of the finished bread. standard of the bottler's re
Since salt means cookies, gion. Italian law allows any oil
cakes, and bread that are long bottled in Italy to be labeled
on flavor, using the small "product of Italy," even if the
amount the recipe calls for is oil comes from another coun
well worth it. try. This isn't necessarily bad,
Tom McMahon is the executive but expect to pay less for such
director of the Bread Baker's an oil, and expect it to be un
Guild of America. He is also exceptional in quality.
the project director of the You can deduce a lot by the
National Baking Center at the price. If you're paying as little
Salt helps baked goods spring up Dunwoody Institute in M in as $9 a quart for extra-virgin
as they bake. neapolis. olive oil, it cannot possibly be

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10 FINE COOKI G
"Ci JACQUES TORRES"Ci DEAN OF PASTRY ARTS "Ci JACQUES TORRES"Ci DEAN OF PASTRY ARTS "Ci

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AUGUST/S EPTEM B E R 1996 11


Q&A
first-rate. To be sold here at couple of these products that Smoothing gumbo After the roux is incorpo
that price, the olives can't be we've run across, the Caj un When I make gumbo, some rated into the stock and
the variety that produces the Smart Bar and the Nonion, times the roux doesn't incor everything's in the pot, let the
most complex and fruity oils, either ofwhich you can find at porate into the stock. Why gu mbo simmer a long time
picked by hand, carefully a good kitchen-supply store. would this happen? and skim it frequently. This
handled, and processed in a Both do a decent job at re -Paul Dudenhefer, will give you thick and flavor
clean, mechanical mill. moving smells left by the odor Blacksburg, VA ful gumbo. If it still isn't thick
The most expensive extra causing sulfur compounds enough, add a touch of file
virgin oil isn't necessarily the found in onions and garlic. Jamie Shannon replies: Roux powder.
best, however. An oil's quality The manufacturers claim (fat and flour cooked over Jamie Shannon is the executive
has a lot to do with how old it that a stainless-steel alloy heat) has a special role in chef at Commander's Palace in
is and how it has been stored. floats molecules on the bar's gumbo. While it's usually used New Orleans.
Oil doesn't deteriorate rapidly, surface and that there 's a to thicken soups and sauces, in
but younger is better. Unfor greater attraction between gumbo roux is used more as The facts on feta
tunately, most producers don't that surface and the sulfur a flavor enhancer than as a Should feta cheese be creamy
date their oils. compounds than there is be thickener. Having said that, a or crumbly? Does texture
A final tip: don't buy any tween your skin and those well-incorporated roux is key have anything to do with
oil that has a hint of copper compounds. Rubbing your to good gumbo. If you have a freshness? Does feta always
color-that indicates oxida hands on a stainless-steel sink resistant roux, there are sev come from sheep milk?
tion caused by storing the oil works, too. (For information eral solutions. -Kevin Atwood,
in sunlight. on the Nonion, call SK Enter Many Cajun recipes start Burleson, TX
Maggie Blyth Klein, author of prises, 4 1 2/443- 1 3 7 7 ; for the with the instruction " First,
The Feast of the Olive (Chron Caj un Smart Bar, write to make a roux." This is espe The Cheesemakers of Ch ic
icle, 1983) , is a co-owner of Oenophilia, PO Box l7 1 1 S , cially important when making ory F a rm rep ly: Feta is the
Oliveto, a restaurant in Oak Chapel Hill, N C 2 75 1 6- gumbo . Roux is the base to most common example of
land, California. 7 1 1 S.) which all the other ingredients brine-aged cheeses, which are
This rule of attraction are added . Make it first, di submerged in salt water for
Gadgets that grab sounds plausible, but we've rectly in the gumbo pot, and days, weeks, or even months
garlic odor found no hard-core scientific add the vegetables and stock before sale. The consistency
1've heard about a product explanation for it. Julia Child's to it. Never attempt to add the of brine-aged cheese relates
that removes garlic odor from method of rubbing a table roux to the stock: it will clump to the length of time it has
your hands. It's a small block spoon of salt between your and float like little dumplings. aged in brine. Cheeses that
of metal that you rub between palms and rinsing is effective, Don't burn the roux. have remained in the water
your hands. How can I find as is good old soap and water. When you cook roux for a longer are softer and cream
it, and why does it work? Nancy Pollard owns La Cuisine, gumbo, keep the heat high ier, while those aged for a
-Norman Lee, a kitchen-supply store in Alexan and stir the roux constantly. shorter time are crumbly.
San Francisco, CA dria, Virginia. Shirley Corriher The high heat creates the fla Longer-aged cheeses are j ust
teaches food science and cooking vor and dark color a gumbo as " fresh" as younger ones,
Nancy Pollard and Shirley O. classes and is a contributing needs, but if the roux goes since the salt brine inhibits
Corriher reply: There are a editor for Fine Cooking. from mahogany to black, it's spoiling. Younger brine-aged
burned and there's no saving cheeses have a simpler, milk
it. It will leave flakes and ier, less fermented flavor.
specks in your gumbo, as well Fe ta can be made from
as a bitter flavor. sheep, cow, or goat milk. The
Keep the pot hot. When original Greek feta was prob
the roux is done and you're ably made from pure sheep or
ready to add the vegetables, goat milk, or a blend of the
don't turn down the heat. two. Countries outside of
Add the vegetables (this will Greece-the United States,
reduce the temperature of Israel, and France, to name a
the roux) , followed by the few-all produce high-quality
liquid. The vegetables need fe ta cheese made from all
high heat to caramelize, and three milks.
the heat also helps the roux The Cheesemakers of Chicory
incorporate with the vege Farm produce fine European
tables and finally into the style farmstead cheeses in Mt.
Rubbing a metal bar removes garlic odor from your hands. gumbo liquid. Hermon, Louisiana.

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AU GUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 13
AT THE MARKE
T

Choosing
and Using
Varieties of The large, purple Western

Eggplant
eggplant is the one most
often found in American
markets.

N ot so long ago, when you


went shopping for egg
plant there was only one kind:
keep one for
more than a
day or two, put it
the familiar dark-purple, pear in a plastic bag and
shaped vegetable known as store it in a cool (not cold)
Western eggplant. Today, well spot. Eggpl ant de teriorate
stocked produce markets offer quickly in both hot and cold
eggplant in colors that range temperatures. Although egg
from jet black to pale ivory, plant are available year
with shades of purple, pink, round, they're at their best
and even green stripes in be from mid- to late-summer.
tween. Some eggplant may be To peel or not to peel is a
the size of a small watermelon, matter of preference. Some
others no bigger than a people like the taste and tex
marble. And alongside the fa ture of the skin, others find it
miliar pear-shaped ones, you'll unpleasant. Most agree, how
find eggplant that are long and ever, that the thick , tough
thin, fat and squat, and others skin of white eggplant is best White eggplant and
that are perfect ovals. discarded. white-and-violet varieties
No matter which type of Cooks are also di have a mild flavor and
e g g p l a nt you buy, c h oose vided on the issue of firm flesh. Cooked, their
one that's firm to the touch. salting eggplant before flesh is creamier and less
If you press gently on the flesh cooking to purge some bitter than that of purple
of a ripe eggplant, it will of its j uices. Some claim eggplant.
bounce back. If a dent re that salting makes eggplant
mains, the eggplant is old.
Compare eggplant of the
same size and choose the
heaviest one. Purple
eggplant should
have a glossy skin;
white eggplant should
show no hint of yel
low-a sign of age.
An e g g p l a n t at its
peak won't stay that way
As an eggplant
for l o n g .
grows old, its skin begins to
wrinkle and its flesh turns
from fim1 to flabby. Ifyou must

14 FI E COOKING
Tiny Southeast Asian
eggplant, sometimes called
pea eggplant because of
their diminutive size, may
be purple, green, red, or
orange. They taste quite
bitter and are often used
for making pickles.

less bitter; others say it's a A good match for strong


waste of time. If you're frying seasonings. Eggplant's rela
eggplant or using it in a recipe tively bland taste and rich tex
that includes a lot of oil, a ture provide a fine backdrop
preliminary salting may pre for assertive flavors like garlic,
vent the eggplant from ab
sorbing too much of the fat. If
you do choose to salt your Press gently on
eggplant, be sure to rinse it
before cooking; otherwise, the flesh of a ripe
your dish is likely to be un Thin, dark.purple Japan
palatably salty. eggplant and it ese eggplant and the
long, thin, lavender
will bounce back. Chinese variety have a
sweet, smooth flesh and
a delicate (and delicious)
chile peppers, and lamb. In skin. Because they cook
its native Asia, you'll find quickly, these Asian egg
eggplant in Japanese tem plant are a good choice
puras, Chinese stir-fries, for stir.frying.
and Southeast Asian cur
ries. In Provence, eggplant is
essential to the vegetable stew
ratatouille. Cooks in Lebanon
p uree roasted eggplant to
make the spread known as
baba ghanouj, while Italian
restaurants all over America
have built their reputations
on eggplant parmigiana.
However you prepare egg
Italian eggplant are small, p lant, be s ure you cook it
dark, and round or pear thoroughly. Few foods are as
shaped. Their skin is more unpleasant to eat as spongy,
tender and their flesh more undercooked eggplant.
delicate than the larger
Western eggplant. Jeff Dawson is the garden
director for the Kendall Jack
son Winery in Santa Rosa,
California.

AUGUST/SEPT EMBER 1996 15


NOTES

Fresh, even when moistened with and handling.) My advice is however, it's a bit of a luxury,

authentic, hot oil, dipped in a mole verde to order a few packages and but those who bake often wiU
sauce, and rolled up with freeze some so you always certainly get their money's

mail-order shredded chicken and aged


Monterey Jack.
have these great tortillas on
hand. The company also seUs
worth. The Giant Spatula
is available from The King

tortillas The success of the tor


tillas, as well as that of the
1 0-year-old company, is due
fresh masa. For more infor
mation or to place an order,
call the H arbor Corp. at
Arthur Flour Baker's Cata
logue (800/82 7-6836) .
Judith Sutton, a food writer
to the owners' devotion to 800/88 1-7040. based in New York City, has
traditional Mexican methods Liz Dobbs has cooked in various worked as a cook and pastry
for making authentic tortillas. restaurants in New York City. chef at several Manhattan
The masa for their white corn Currently, she consults for a restaurants.
tortillas is made fresh daily Mexican restaurant in her home
by stone -grinding white dent town of Sag Harbor, New York.
corn that's been cooked and
soaked in limewater. The lime James Beard
softens and dislodges the
Giant spatula restaurant
for big jobs picks
hard-to- digest kernels from
the huUs. Many tortilla man
ufacturers in this country cut
corners by using masa harina, When I tried out this new Since 1 986, when the James
an instant dehydrated mix oversized spatula from The Beard Foundation opened its
made from masa. Although King Arthur Flour Baker's Cat doors, some of the finest chefs
I've used this mix at home alogue, I learned that some have passed through the
to make adequate tortillas, times bigger is indeed better. Beard House kitchen, prepar
Maria & Ricardo's tortillas With a lO-inch-square alumi ing memorable meals that
are more tender, puff up num blade set into a plastic showcase their talents. Now
higher, and have a deeper handle, the spatula is handy the Beard Foundation has
corn flavor. for moving cookies-a half compiled a restaurant guide
The flour tortil las are just dozen or more at a time-to so the rest of us can seek out
as impressive as the corn . cooling racks. It also makes these same chefs and sample
Tortillas from Maria & Ricardo's Heated on a flat grill, they moving a glazed cake from its their culinary prowess.
Tortilla Factory can be made from gently toasted on the outside, wire rack much easier. But I The James Beard Founda
flour, whole wheat, white corn, and while the inner layers stayed found it most useful when tion Restaurant Guide con
blue corn. moist, almost melting in my making pie crusts. I can lift up tains more than 600 in-depth
mouth. Their flavor held up the whole crust, center it over restaurant listings, each pro

F inding good tortillas east of


the Mississippi is no easy
feat, so I was delighted to dis
to a southwestern green chile
stew as my family used the
tortiUas to sop up every last
my pie pan, and just slide it off.
If the spatula cost $ 1 0 or
less, I'd recommend it to any
viding the chef's name as well
as his or her signature dishes.
Subtitled, "An Insider's Guide
cover the mail-order tortillas drop. The company also one who has ever turned out to America's Most Celebrated
from Maria & Ricardo's Tor makes whole-wheat flour tor a batch of cookies. At $ 1 7 .25, Culinary Talents," the 1 66-
tilla Factory in Boston. The tiUas, with a sweet, nutty fla page directory also in
fresh aroma of the tortillas vor that's quite addictive, and cludes some restau
struck me as soon as I opened blue corn tortillas, which I rants outside the
the box. When I pulled the also liked. United States.
tortillas out of their resealable Maria & Ricardo's tortillas The guide is
bags, they fe lt light and contain no preservatives or available by mail
supple-not heavy and stuck cholesterol, are low in sodium, and costs $ 1 0, plus
together, which can be a sign and are kosher. They come in tax, shipping, and
that tortillas are weeks old. many sizes and may be frozen handling. To order, caU the
Cooking with these tor for up to two months. A pack The perfect J ames Beard Foundation,
tillas is a pleasure. The corn age of twelve corn tortillas tool for moving 2 1 21675-4984.
tortillas don't faU apart, and costs $ 1 . 29, and ten flour tor pie crust. This extra-large spatula Joanne Smart is an associate
their flavor comes through tillas are $ 1 .99 (plus shipping makes transferring dough easier. editor for Fine Cooking.

16 FI E COOKING
Details.
The perfect career
takes a combination
of know-how and
hard work.
You supply the hard

Accredited programs
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Arts, Culinary Arts

months.

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AUGU ST/SEPTEMBER 1996 17


TECHNIQUE CLASS

Turning
Out a
Rolled
Omelet
A rolled omelet is a perfect
example of how a little
technique and care can trans
form the simplest ingredi
ent-eggs-into a satisfying,
even elegant meal. With a bit
of practice, a rolled omelet is
easy to make, which is why it
works so well for breakfast, A colorful filling turns an omelet into an impromptu dinner. Sprinkle the filling down the middle just before folding.
brunch, or-my favorite-an
impromptu supper with a Use a fork to mix the eggs or cream to make the eggs just before cooking. If you add
salad, a hunk of bread, and until the whites and yolks are fluffier and, in the case of the salt too early, it will draw
a glass of wine. combined but not foamy. cream, a bit richer. Go right out the moisture of the eggs,
Two- or three-egg ome Though room-temperature ahead, but you'll find that causing them to dry out.
lets are the most manage eggs whisk to a greater vol the effect is slight and that a Picking your pan. You can
able.A six-egg omelet for two ume, keep your eggs cold for well-made omelet can be fluffy knock yourself out finding,
or more people can become safety's sake; the difference in and creamy when made with seasoning, and caring for a
unwieldy. I find it easier to volume is minimal. eggs alone. special heavy-gauge alumi
make individual omelets, using Some chefs add two or Seasonings, including salt num pan specifically made for
two or three eggs per person. three teaspoons of water, milk, and pepper, should be added omelets, but I've been happy

Creating creamy curds with constant stirring

Heat the oil and butter over high Pour the mixed and seasoned eggs Rapidly stir the eggs with the back Stop stirring while the center is still
heat until the butter's audible into the hot pan. A two-egg omelet of a fork while shaking the pan to moist. Spread the eggs out in the
bubbling subsides. Even a nonstick fits nicely in a six-inch pan. break up large curds. Continue pan with the back of the fork. Lower
pan needs a little fat to keep the scrambling until the eggs start to the heat and allow the omelet to
eggs from sticking and to add flavor. set, 20 to 30 seconds. cook briefly undisturbed.

18 FINE COOKING
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TECHNIQUE CLASS

Rolling and serving the omelet

Use a fork to fold the near edge of With the pan tilted, bang the Invert the pan and turn the ome You can shape the finished omelet
the omelet to the center. If you've handle to coax the for edge of the let, seam side down, onto the further with a fork or a spatula.
added a filling, it should follow the omelet up the side of the pan until it plate. Use a fork to help guide the You can also brush the omelet with
length of the fold so that you have falls back onto itself. Use a fork to omelet. a little butter for a nice sheen and
some in every bite. give it that extra push, if necessary. added flavor.

and successful making omelets whisk to create small curds for T h e " r o l l " i s actu a l ly omelet. The heat of the omelet
in my good-quality nonstick a creamy, not clumpy, omelet. more of a fol d . You want to is enough to melt cheese but
aluminum pan. Choose a pan Keep the eggs in constant fold the near edge away from not to cook most raw ingredi
with a heavy base and sloping motion, shaking the pan and you toward the center of the ents. My favorite fillings in
sides, six to eight inches across stirring with the fork, until the omelet, and then fold the far clude herbs, cheese, sauteed
the top, depending on how eggs begin to set, about 20 or edge toward you to the center. mushrooms, steamed aspar
many eggs you're using. 30 seconds, depending on how The first fold is best ac agus, diced peppers, lightly
A m i x of b u tter a n d o i l many eggs you're cooking and complished by lifting the edge cooked shellfish, smoked fish,
gives y o u flavor and a high the intensity of the heat. with the fork and folding it and ham.
smoking point. You can use Stop stirring while the over. The second is achieved You can keep the filling to a
butter alone, but you have to center of the omelet is still by manipulating the pan, as single item or combine a few,
be careful not to let it burn. moist; this allows the omelet shown in the photos above. but remember to exercise re
I like to heat a teaspoon of to set neatly. If the eggs aren't Once you've slid the fin straint. You don't want the 'fill
vegetable oil over high heat evenly distributed in the pan ished omelet onto your plate, ing to overwhelm the subtle
and then add about a tea at this stage, spread them out you can neaten its shape with flavor of the eggs.
spoon of butter. Another op with the back of the fork, and the fork or a spatula. Two ways to fill an ome
tion is to use clarified butter, let. The most common way,
made by mel ting unsalted The heat of an omelet can melt and the one shown here, is
butter and pouring off the best for cheese and chopped
liquid, leaving the milk solids cheese, but it isn't enough dry ingredients. Add about
behind. Clarified butter gives two tablespoons of these while
you the flavor of butter with a to cook raw fillings. cooking the omelet, just before
higher smoking point. folding. For wet fillings, such as
Add the eggs when the then use the fork to neaten JAZZ I N G U P T H E O M ELET ratatouille or seafood New
fat is hot and emits a slightly and loosen the omelet's edges. WITH F I L L I N G S burg, slit the finished, rolled
nutty aroma. If you're not sure I usually let the omelet set After mastering the plain omelet lengthwise down its
if the fat is hot enough, add a this way for another 30 sec omelet, you might want to center and then spom Y4 cup
drop of egg: it should hiss onds or so. This lets the out liven it up a bit with a filling. of the filling into the pocket.
when it hits the pan. side of the omelet brown The key is to plan ahead, be
V i g o r o u s sti r r i n g a n d slightly yet keeps the inside cause once you start cooking, Molly Stevens, a Fine Cook
s h a k i n g cooks t h e o m elet moist. If you find you like a there 's no time to stop and ing contributing editor, is a
evenly. A fork, held flat so as slightly more cooked omelet prepare a filling. chef/instructor at the New
not to scratch the pan's sur or one that's a little looser, ad Have the filling ready and England Culinary Institute in
face, works better than a just the time accordingly. warm so it doesn't cool the Essex, Vermont.

20 FINE COOKING
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1 , 1 50z can EDEN Organic Black
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1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 ,2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 medium red or green pepper,
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1 ,2 tablespoons lime juice
Combine all of the above
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AUGUST/SEPTEM BER 1996 21


KITCHENS FOR COOKS

Professional
Style Ranges
for the Home
C hicken stock is bubbling
on a back burner next to
a s low- cooking pot roas t,
with burners that heat up to
1 4,000 or 1 7 ,500 Btu will re
turn the water to a boil more
while up front, tomato sauce quickly than a conventional
simmers, and the water for range, which burns only 4,000
the gnocchi is just about to to 10,000 Btu.
boil. One of your guests wants Conventional ranges are
tea, and you need to start 30 inches wide, 24 inches
sauteing vegetables. deep, and have four burners.
It's moments like these Generally, the distance be
when you need more burn tween the centers of the ftont
ers-that set many home and back burners is 9 inches
cooks to dreaming about own tight quarters if you're saute
ing a professional-style range. ing up front and simmering in
A spacious cooktop, more back. Professional-style ranges All professional-style ranges for the home have plenty of insulation-they
burners that throw more heat, can be as small as conven can nestle right next to kitchen cabinets without risk of heating them.
and two ovens are some of the tional ones, but typically are
reasons active cooks often opt 36 to 60 inches wide and professional-style range with wide. The model you choose
to install professional- style 30 inches deep, with 1 2 inches a six-burner cooktop. may depend on whether
ranges. With all the power and between the center of each you're replacing your current
size of their restaurant counter burner. EVALUAT E P E R F O R M A N C E range or rebuilding the entire
parts, these ranges maintain the Many of these ranges are mar kitchen, your space con
features a home cook needs. CONSIDER HOW YOU keted seductively-don't be straints, and the options you
COOK taken in. Efficiency and per want.
Y O U ' L L G ET B ETTER H EAT Investing in a range like this formance should be your first Some features are stan
AN D M O R E S PACE means laying down a fair priorities when shopping for a dard. All are lit by an e lec
One reason cooks love high chunk of change ($2,400 to professional-style range. tronic ignition system. Most
volume ranges is that they de $7,500) , so it's important to Will your biggest pans fit on have easy-to- clean, remov
liver more heat, which means ask yourself the right ques the cooktop? Measure the dis able drip trays and individ
faster, more accurate cooking. tions. tance between the centers of ual grates. Professional-style
These ranges are fueled by Do you often cook for six or each burner: 12 inches means ranges should have ventilated
natural gas, the most respon more? Ifyou do, you'll likely get it will accommodate several hoods. Few have self-cleaning
sive heat source; some manu good use out of a professional big pans at a time. ovens.
facturers offer electric ranges style range. Do the burners throw a wide G a s burners styles. Most
as an alternative. Gas heat How often do you use the range of heat? Consider Btu: restaurant-style ranges have
is measured in Btu (British cooktop? Most home cooks How high will the burner open-flame burners, except
thermal units) . The more Btu spend 7 5 % of their kitchen flame go for fast, high-heat for Thermador ana Dacor,
your range can deliver, the time working on the cooktop sauteing? How low will it burn which have sealed burners.
faster it will recover heat. Heat and 2 5 % using the oven. If for slow, long simmering? (Wolf offers them on its
recovery is best understood by you cook in your oven more 30-inch model.) Open-flame
boiling water for pasta. Add than that, hang onto your WHAT'S ON T H E MARKET? burners provide a central
the pasta to the water, and the conventional range and buy Several brands of professional flame around which burns a
water temporarily stops boil a convection oven, rather style ranges are available. circular or star-shaped flame ;
ing. A professional-style range than spend lots of money on a Sizes run from 30 to 60 inches sealed burners provide just

22 F I N E COOKING
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1 , 1 5oz. can EDEN Organic Navy or
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1 ,14oz can artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon EDEN Extra Virgin
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1 clove garlic, pressed
2 whole green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food
processor and blend until smooth.
Variations: Enjoy adding these
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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 23
KITCHENS FOR COOKS
the circle of flame . With a of the oven. Its flame goes with the flick of a switch. For I N STALLAT I O N REQU I RE S
sealed burner, there's less through the entire surface, me, one of each is ideal. A PROFESSIONAL
heat loss from flame to pan, casting a wider, more intense G ri d d l e s a n d g ri l l s . You To install a restaurant- style
and they're easier to clean. expanse of heat. can have a griddle installed range at home, you'll need one
But a sealed burner's flame Convection ovens. Radi for $400 to $600, but I don't electric plug for the electronic
can't be turned as low as an ant ovens (the type found in think it's worth the money. A ignition system and another
open flame, so for very low most conventional ranges) built-in griddle heats up for the convection oven, as
simmering you'll need a heat have a heating element at the slowly, and it takes up two well as a gas-pressure regula
diffuser. Dacor's new model bottom of the oven. In a con burners' worth of space . A tor. The range's gas inlet pipe
comes with its own diffusers. vection oven, a fan wrapped portable griddle is less expen must match the Vz-inch gas
Dynasty offers a separate with a heating element at the sive and can be stored when inlet pipe that comes into the
sinm1er burner, as does Ther back of the oven bathes the you don't need it. house . If your range uses a
mador. Thermador's clicks on entire oven with circulating Grills, on the other hand, 1-'4-inch pipe, you'll need a re
and offevery 45 seconds. I pre heat, eliminating the need to are worth the space, easy to ducer to bring the two to
fer gas burners that maintain a rotate pans or change racks use, safe, and clean. Most gether. And the ventilation
constant low flame without during cooking. Convection manufacturers offer grills as system must be installed prop
having to click on and off. ovens, which cost $500 to an option, for $400 to $700. erly. For efficiency and safety,
Beyond these basics, there $ 7 50, can't be beat for fast, Other options. These in it's essential that a professional
are many options available on even baking and browning, clude wok rings (under $ 1 00) , do the installation.
professional-style ranges. but circulating air can disturb and a s tainless - s teel back
I nfrared broilers. Several delicate pastries and pull too splash with a high shelf ($250 Certified kitchen designer Don
manufacturers offer an inte much moisture from some to $500) . While I don't find a Silvers is a consultant and a
rior infrared broiler ($500 to foods. Most professional- style wok ring is necessary, I'm teacher at UCLA. He's the
$ 7 50) . While conventional ranges have one radiant oven partial to my shelf and the author of Kitchen Design
broilers provide a u- shaped and one convection oven. space it offers for frequently with Cooking in Mind (NMI,
flame, an infrared broiler is Many have ovens that change used utensils and setting down 1 994) and is on the Internet
a ceramic plate on the roof from radiant to convection hot pots. at sildesigns@aol.com.

F EAT U R E S OF P R O F E S S I O NAL-STY LE RAN G E S


OPTIONS
Manufacturer/ Btu Sealed Individual Radiant/convection Interior infrared Backsplash/ Wok Grill Griddle Approximate
sizes available per burner burners grates oven switchover broiler shelf ring base price
Dacor 30-inch to 1 5,000 # n/a
48-inch*
DeS 30-inch
to 1 5,000
500-1 5,000
#
n/a
$2800
36-inch 500-1 5,000 # $4400
48-incht 500-1 5,000 one each oven $5200
Dynasty 30-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000** # n/a
36-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000** S $3850
48-incht 1 ,000-1 5,000** n/a n/a n/a
60-incht 1 ,000-1 5,000** n/a n/a n/a
Five-Star 30-inch 400-1 4,000 # S $3000
36-inch 400-1 4,000 S S $3850
48-incht 400-1 4,000 S S $5000
Garland 30-inch
36-inch
48-incht
to
to
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1 5,000
1 5,000
1 5,000
$2980
$5550
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60-incht to 1 5,000 $1 2,900
Thermador 30-inch 3 75-1 5,000 $2400
36-inch 375-1 5,000 $ 3 750
48-incht 375-1 5,000 $ 7350
Viking 30-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000 $2575
36-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000 $39J5
48-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000 $ 5 1 50
60-inch 1 ,000-1 5,000 $6925
Wolf 30-inch 500-1 6,000 $2 1 00
37Y.-inch 1 , 1 00-1 7,500 $3800
48-incht 1 , 1 00-1 5,000 $6500
48Y.-incht 1 ,200-1 7,500 $6700
59Y.-incht 1 ,200-1 7,500 $ 7 700
* = cooktop only # = convection oven only t = double oven ** = simmer bumer available (500 to 1 ,000 Btu) S = standard

24 FINE COOKING
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Cook pasta according to package
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TIPS

you dissolve the yeast in it. As Microwave fruit


for the cooked potato, you for more juice
can discard it or cut it into To get the most juice from cit
thin slices to use as a pizza rus fruits, heat them in the
topping. microwave for 25 seconds or
-Lana Baziuk, so before squeezing.
Warning for hot pots Toronto, Ontario -Dee Ford,
After removing a pot from the Louisville, KY
oven, I always wrap a hand Store herbs for long
towel around the handle. This refrigerator life The $2 baking stone
ensures that if anyone tries to To keep herbs, I sprinkle them There isn't much that can
pick up the pot, he or she lightly with cold water, wrap beat the taste and texture of
won't get burned. them in a paper towel, put fresh breads and pizza crusts
-Howard Goldberg, them in a plastic bag, breathe baked on a ceramic oven
Manalapan, NJ into the bag to blow it up, and stone, but why pay $20 or $30
seal the bag tightly. The extra for a stone, or close to $40 for
Roll dough precisely air seems to give the herbs a a ceramic tile kit? You can get
with a template booster shot of energy. the same quality ceramic tile
When you have to roll out pie -Doris Davlin, and line an entire level of your
crust or pastry dough to a spe Pauma Valley, CA oven for about $2.
cific size, draw the shape you I use brown unglazed ce
want on kitchen parchment Grapefruit knife for ramic kitchen tiles, sold at
or waxed paper. Use the paper easy bagel cutting home improvement stores for
as a guide on the bottom or When cutting a bagel, I use a about 30 cents for each 8-inch
top of your dough when roll curved, serrated grapefruit square. When I make pizza or
ing out. knife. By using a sawing mo bread, I lay the tiles in the
-Lisa Jung, tion, the curved blade helps oven before heating it. It's an
San Rafael, CA keep the bagel in place and extremely cheap, easy way to
easily cuts it in half. make delicious baked goods.
Potato water for -Linda Sclafani, When the tiles cool, their size
pizza dough New York, NY and shape allow for easy
When I make my own pizza cleaning and quick-stacking
dough, I like to use warm No-stick grating storage.
Do you have a clever way to potato water to proof the Before you shred cheese with -Joshua Finkler,
yeast. The starchy water a hand-held grater, spray the Champaign, IL
peel vegetables, line a cake helps create a wonderfully grater with cook
chewy crust, and the potato ing spray or rub it
pan, or keep herbs tasting adds a phenomenal amount with a little oil .
of flavor. To make potato This will prevent
fresh? Write to Tips, Fine water, use any type of potato the cheese from
(I like Yukon Gold) . Chop the sticking and slow
Cooking, PO Box 5506, potato into large pieces, put it ing down the job.
in a saucepan with just a bit -Mary Jane
Newtown, CT 06470-5506. more water than your recipe Kaloustian,
calls for, bring it to a boil, and Northville, MI
Or send your tip by e-mail; let it simmer for at least
20 minutes. The water will be
see p. 8 for Fine Cooking 's cloudy and may have small
pieces of potato floating in it.
I nternet, America Online, Strain the water and measure
it; add more plain water if
and Compu Serve addresses. necessary to get the amount
required for the dough. Let Unglazed ceramic kitchen tiles are a
We pay for tips we publish. the wa ter cool to tepid before cheap and effective alternative to expensive baking stones.

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AU GUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 27
TIPS

Thaw food quickly 3 0 minutes or so (just fold


without gimmicks over the paper) , and the paper
You can thaw frozen foods also makes it easy to carry the
quickly with a heavy alumi garlic to the waiting pan.
num frying pan. Fill the pan -Joanne Bouknight,
with hot water and wait a Cos Cob, CT
minute or two for the pan to
warm. Pour out the water and Paint scrapers in the
set the frozen food in the pan. kitchen
When the pan cools, repeat I use a paint scraper to cu t
the heating process with hot and scrape dough, to scoop
water and turn the food over up diced and chopped ingre
to thaw it from the other side. dients, and to clean dough
Aluminum is an excellent from the work counter when
heat conductor that quickly I'm finished baking.
transfers its stored heat into -Bill Moran,
the frozen food. This method San Diego, TX
works just as well as those ex
pensive thawing trays adver Save cheese rinds
tised on television. Don't throw out the hard rinds
-Robert Ponsi, Grate frozen butter to thaw it quickly. of parmigiano reggiano. Save
Eustis, FL them whole in a plastic bag to
use the next time you want
Render fat in the Grate frozen butter it's completely submerged, to make a brothy soup. Added
microwave To quickly soften frozen but until the water reaches the to soup, the cheese rinds fla
For years I rendered beef and ter, grate the butter onto a I -cup level. Pour offthe water vor and thicken the broth.
chicken fat on the stove, a plate. It will soon soften to and you have the shortening Best of all, simmering the rinds
process that takes a lot of time room temperature. you need. in the hot liquid softens any
and careful watching. Now I -Suzanne Campodonico, -Janet Morgan, cheese that's left on the rind.
put about Y4 cup of chopped Menlo Park, CA Charlestown, RI When the soup is finished, fish
beef suet, chicken fat, or pork out the rinds and use a paring
fat in a I-cup Pyrex container, Techniques for Garlic press for knife to scrape off every bit of
cover it with plastic wrap, and rolling dough candied ginger the costly cheese and add it
microwave on high for 1 min When rolling dough, always I like to use candied ginger in back to the soup.
ute. Then I give the container roll from the middle away syrup for baking and desserts, -Linda Wertz,
a quarter-turn and repeat the from you, and then from the but the sticky balls are messy to Weatherford, TX
process until the fat liquefies. middle toward you. Never roll chop. I use my garlic press for
I let the liquid fat cool before the pin from side to side. To the job; the ginger presses into A second use for
straining, and then store it in roll evenly, give the dough a very thin strips which almost your tea ball
the freezer. It keeps indefi quarter turn and continue vanish in cookies and cakes. I use a mesh tea ball to apply a
nitely, and it's easy to portion rolling. Also, only roll just to They're good in stir-fries, too. light, even dusting of confec
the amount you want to use. the edges, never past them; -Ruth Richman, tioners' sugar to pastries and
-Jeanne E Schimmel, this would make the edges too St. Peters, Prince Edward Island cakes. My tea ball has a 5-inch
Hobe Sound, FL thin and more likely to burn. handle that opens the ball
-Barbara Pepper, Waxed paper for when squeezed. I plunge the
Oil measuring cups Salinas, CA quick garlic chopping opened ball into the container
Before measuring honey or I don't like cleaning cutting of powdered sugar, close the
molasses, coat the inside of Use water to boards. If I only have to chop ball, and withdraw. I then
your measuring cup with a measure solid fats a few garlic cloves for a dish, I hold the ball over the pastry
thin film of canola oil. The Here's a quick and easy way to fold a 1 6-inch piece of waxed and tap the handle against my
sticky liquid will slide out and measure solid fats without paper twice, lay it on the cut free hand. It's easy to control
leave a perfectly empty meas mess. If your recipe calls for ting board, and chop my garlic the amount I'm applying, be
uring container and nothing V4 cup solid shortening, fill a on top of the paper, turning cause the sugar stays put until
to scrape out. liquid measuring cup with the paper instead of my knife. the ball is tapped.
-Janet C. deCarteret, water to the Y4-CUp line. Add The waxed paper is also a -Meg Houston,
Bellevue, WA the shortening, making sure handy place to store garlic for Lyme, NH

28 FINE COOKI G
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MENV

Chiles Frios
(Guacamole in
roasted green chiles)

+
Grilled Chicken
Salpic6n
with a chile-spiked
lime dressing

+
Grilled Pico de Gallo
(Chunky vegetable salsa)

+
Grilled Pineapple
with Butter-Rum Sauce

6
.
A 1eMex Menu
from the Grill
The vibrant dishes of "border cuisine"
are alive with chiles, fresh vegetables,
and lots of smoke from the grill

BY W. PARK K E R R

Marinated chicken
gets shredded and
seasoned with a chile
I live in EI Paso, which, for those of you
who are geographically challenged, is
spiked lime dressing on the border of Mexico, and I mean on
(left) for Grilled the border: stroll ten minutes from down
Chicken Salpic6n, the town, cross a little pedestrian bridge, and
main dish of this Tex suddenly you're in another country.
Mex menu. Spirited Sharing the border with Mexico has
Grilled Pico de Gallo led to lots of cross- cultural traditions
(above), an unsurpass down here, especially when it comes to
able salsa, accompa food. Border cuisine is a special type of
nies the smoky chicken. food that you'll only find in west Texas,
Guacamole cools the southern New Mexico, and Arizona. It's
tongue. Stuffed into not Santa Fe food, nor is it the Tex-Mex
roasted mild green of restaurant chains with lots of gloppy
chiles to make Chiles cheese and mushy beans. Our food is
Frios (right), it can be cocina del pobres-cuisine of the poor
eaten with a fork like a which, in my opinion, is one of the rich
side dish. Even dessert est, most exciting cuisines you could be
comes off the grill. For lucky enough to eat.
Grilled Pineapple with
Butter-Rum Sauce O PE N -AI R MARKETS I N S P I RE
(bottom right), hot, THE MENU
juicy, tangy pineapple M y inspiration for cooking border cuisine
slices are paired with a comes from the open-air markets in
buttery sauce and Juarez, the city across the border from EI
vanilla ice cream. Paso. I go over early on Saturday morn
ings to take my pick of the fresh fruit,
chiles, vegetables, and herbs overflowing
from the stalls that line the narrow, wind
ing streets. The market buzzes, not just
with the pitches from the vendors, but
with the technicolored displays of limes,
melons, papayas, chiles, cilantro, and
cactus pads, and the smoky-sizzly smells

AUGU ST/S EPTEMBER 1996 31


of the street food that's cooked and shopping is what I make for dinner. I do A trio of bright accents: cilantro,
served on the spot. have some consistent tactics, however: garlic, and lime. The vibrancy that's typ
I think the stal l owners are the real Two chiles are better than one. And ical of border cuisine comes in part from
culinary geniuses of our region. They t h ree are even better. If you're not what I call "accent ingredients"-garlic,
take that-morning fresh ingredients , familiar with chiles, you may think they lime juice (fresh-squeezed only; Realime
apply very few techniques (a chop here, a just add "heat," but in truth, chiles also need not apply at my house) , occasionally
peel there) , and then add a kiss of smoke offer a broad range of flavors, from grassy tequila, and lots and lots of fresh cilantro.
and char from their portable mesquite to smoky to fruity. While growing up in El Paso, I didn't
fired braziers to make delicious stuff: The heat level of chiles varies, too. know there was life without cilantro.
salsas, burritos, fresh salads-the kind of Anaheims (or long green chiles) are quite Back when chefs in other parts of the
dishes that I immediately go home and mild, while chiles de aTbol and skinny country still thought cilantro was a zodiac
try to recreate on my backyard grill. This sign, we were eating it in breakfast, lunch,
kind of casual, outdoor food is, of course, and dinner dishes.
great for entertaining, since in El Paso, My cooking isn 't about
we throw our guests out in the back yard T H E G RI L L IS T H E P LACE TO B E
the minute they arrive. tongue-scorching heat. AT S U M M E R PART I E S
For this menu, I've picked a few favorite
WHAT'S IN T H E B O R D E R PANTRY? I want the chiles dishes for entertaining, my goal as a host
As I said, border cuisine is simple but always being to spend the least time in
vivacious. The mainstay is lots of fresh to hold hands with the the kitchen and the most time with my
produce. A border cuisine "starter kit" guests, actually eating my own food.
would include: other flavors in a dish. The main dish is smoky chicken in
+ red, ripe tomatoes, H aas avocados, a tangy vinaigrette. My grilled chicken
onions, garlic, bunches of cilantro, juicy salpic6n is a variation on a traditional bor
little Mexican limes; serranos do add some BTUs. But my der dish of shredded boiled beef brisket
+ lots of different chiles: dried red chiles, cooking isn't about tongue - scorching, dressed in a tangy sauce. For the grilled
fresh green chiles, chipotles (dried, intense heat. I want the chiles to be a chicken version, you get to do most of
smoked red j alapenos) , fiery chiles de condiment and to peacefully hold hands your cooking outdoors on the grill. I be
arbol, mellow, fleshy poblanos; with the other flavors in a dish. I often lieve that God meant for people to own
+ stacks of fresh flour and corn tortillas grill or roast them to transform the sharp gas grills, but charcoal grills are allowed,
and pots of pinto beans-not black beans naiVete of a raw chile into a more com too. I like a really big smoke finish on my
(except in trendy restaurants) ; plex and balanced flavor. meat and poultry, so I grill the chicken
+ a great abundance of fresh Mexican I also find that a good way to cook with the lid closed, preferably over some
fruits, for desserts and drinks. with chiles is to incorporate more than mesquite or hickory soaked in cheap
While there are typical ingredients one type. Because they each have a dis bourbon. I pour a little marinade onto the
in border cuisine, the cooking itself is tinct flavor, you can get a real symphony grill, too, just to increase the smokiness.
improvisational. Whatever is freshest of rounded chile flavor when you use two A chunky salsa that works l ike a side
and most appealing the morning I go or more varieties in one dish. dish. I serve the chicken with a great

Border food is unimaginable without ripe toma A cook at one of the market stalls demonstrates Sacks of beans, ground chiles, and dried shrimp
toes and fresh onions. her technique for making tortillas from scratch. (camaron) are plentiful in the markets of Juarez.

32 F I E COOKI G
Make it chunky. Grilled to a smoky smoothness, the vegetables in this salsa are best cut into big pieces.

Chile peppers: staples of the border pantry


Pinkie-size serranos vibrant, hot,
Jalapenos are hot are hot but with a and sharp
but manageable. grassy character. flavor.
They may be
green or red.
Chipotles, very hot
smoke-dried jala
penos, are easiest Plump poblanos are
to find canned mellow and fleshy;
in adobo sauce.
roasted.
chiles are great to
stuff and have a mild
to medium heat.
grilled vegetable salsa that's so chunky it the tomatoes, onion, garlic, scallions, cilan
resembles a ratatouille. Salsas are key in tro, lime juice, and jalapeno, and mash with
a fork until blended but still fairly chunky.
border cuisine, and there are a million
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
versions, but most are based on toma
toes, which provide a wet, saucy compo Spoon the guacamole into the chiles. Serve
chilled or at cool room temperature.
nent. Grilling the ingredients caramel
izes the sugars in the vegetables and gives
G rilled Ch icken Salpicon
them a delicious smoky-sweet flavor.
Serve this dish with a stack of warm, fresh
G u acamole soothes the burn. Gua
flour or corn tortillas (see Notes, p. 1 6).
camole is a suave, cool foil to all the spice Serves eight.
and smokiness in the other dishes. For this
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves,
menu, I suggest stuffing the guacamole
pounded slightly to flatten
into roasted long green chiles. People can
FOR THE MARINADE:
eat it with a fork like a side dish, or scoop Juice of 2 limes (about 3 Tbs.)
it onto other things. cup olive oil
The fruit dessert isn't loca l . My des
y., cup tequila
y., cup orange marmalade
sert-grilled pineapple with butter-rum 3 large cloves garlic, minced
sauce-can also be cooked entirely on 1 canned chipotle chile, pureed (optional)
Salt to taste
the grill (except for the ice cream) . I must
FOR THE DRESSING:
admit that the recipe has nothing to do
cup fresh lime juice
with border cuisine. When I was a kid, cup olive oil
my parents went to New Orleans and ate 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced fine
1 serrano, seeded and minced fine
bananas Foster; we've been e nj oying
1 fresh poblano, roasted, peeled, and chopped
variations ever since. So the dish is really Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Heat the butter-rum
a 1 960s suburban El Paso thing. FOR THE GARNISH: sauce on the grill as
1 large ripe tomato, cut in -inch chunks you cook the pine
2 large ripe Haas avocados, cut in -inch
Chiles F rios apple and the only Roasting enhances
chunks, tossed in lime juice
(Guacamole in long green chiles) cup lightly packed chopped cilantro leaves reason you'll have the flavor of chiles
To fix the chiles up to a day ahead, oil and 1 small bunch chopped scallions (green parts to go into the kitchen and makes them easy
grill them, and then store them in a zip-top only) is to fetch another to peel. Once roasted,
bag, but don't peel the chiles until you're 1 small red onion, chopped
Handful of radishes, rinsed and sliced bottle of tequila. put the chiles in a
ready to use them. Yields 4 cups; serves eight.
paper bag to steam
8 Anaheim or long green chiles, the longest and In a nonreactive container, combine the
for about 10 minutes
fleshiest possible, with a secure stem chicken with the marinade ingredients. Swish
Olive oil to combine. Marinate about 2 hours at room and their skins will
4 ripe Haas avocados temperature or 4 hours in the refrigerator. slip right off.
4 Roma tomatoes, halved, seeded, and chopped
coarse
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions (white and green parts), chopped fine
.. cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes (about 3 Tbs.)
1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grill and peel the chiles. Heat the grill or


the broiler. Lightly brush the chiles with oil,
grill on high heat until very blackened and
blistered, turning frequently, about 1 5 min.
Seal the blackened chiles in a paper bag, a
heavy plastic bag, or foil, and leave them to
steam for at least 1 0 min. Right below the
crown, start peeling away the skin, taking
care not to rip off the stem.
With a paring knife, make a vertical slit from
the top of each chile to about Y2 inch from
the tail and remove the seeds. Be sure to
leave the ribs in, or the flesh will come with
them. (These ribs aren't that hot.) Set aside.

Make the guacamole. Peel and pit the avo


cados and put the flesh in a large bowl. Add

34 FINE COOKING
1 fresh poblano melted. Bring to a simmer and let cook for
4 jalapenos (a mix ofred and green, if possible) about 1 0 min. longer, stirring occasionally,
1 0 plum tomatoes until the sauce is slightly syrupy and coats
1 0 to 12 scallions the back of a spoon. Keep warm.
2 large onions, halved crosswise
8 medium tomatillos, papery husks removed Heat the grill, making sure it's clean, and
Olive oil brush or spray it with a touch of oil so the
3 cloves garlic, chopped pineapple doesn't stick. Grill the pineapple
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar slices until warmed through and caramel
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
ized, about 1 0 min. each side.
Toss the poblano, jalapenos, tomatoes, scal Serve immediately, in rings or chunks, with
lions, onions, and tomatillos with a few the warm sauce and ice cream, if you like.
splashes of olive oil in a large bowl until the
vegetables are well coated.
Heat the grill. Arrange the vegetables on the
grill, clustering them to make controlling
the heat easier. Cook them, turning fairly
often, until lightly charred and softened. If
flames start to spit, squirt some water on
the coals. When done, take the vegetables
off the heat and let them rest until cool
enough to handle.
Seal the blackened chiles in a paper or heavy
plastic bag (or foil) and leave to steam at least
1 0 min. Peel the chiles, pull off the stems,
and remove the seeds. Cut the chiles and the
other vegetables into chunks (the tomatoes
will be mushy). Toss in a large bowl with the
Heat the grill. Grill the chicken until just garlic, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Adjust the
done, about 5 min. per side. Set aside until seasonings and serve at room temperature.
cool and then pull it apart into long shreds.
While the chicken is marinating or cooling, G rilled Pineapple
make the dressing by whisking together the
with Butter-Rum Sauce
lime j uice, oil, jalapeno, serrano, roasted
poblano, salt, and pepper. Toss with the You can cook this sauce by putting the pan
shredded chicken. right on the grill, or make it ahead and reheat
it while you grill the pineapple. Serves eight.
Just before serving, gently toss the chicken
with the garnish ingredients. Mound the 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
salpic6n in a lettuce-lined bowl and serve at 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
cup Meyers or other dark rum
room temperature or slightly chilled.
A pinch each of nuteg, cinnamon, allspice
Oil or spray oil for the grill Park Kerr and his Chihuahua, Maximillian,
8 slices, 1 inch thick, very ripe fresh pineapple,
G ri lled Pico de Ga l lo cored if not totally soft in the center enjoy border cuisine at their home
in El Paso,
For this recipe, aggressive cooking is the Texas. Kerr founded the El Paso Chile Com
In a small saucepan, cook the butter, sugar,
key. Don't be shy, grill the ingredients until rum, and spices over medium heat, stirring, pany and has written five cookbooks, in
they're buen cocido-well done. Yields 5 cups. until the sugar is dissolved and the butter cluding Chiles and Tortillas (Morrow).

(-- Tequila choices


The bold flavor of gold tequila is a good match for spicy chicken salpic6n

In the Mexican state Of the three main types of costliest, spends at least a year in with the juicy grilled pineapple
of Jalisco, just west of Guadalajara, tequila, white or silver (plata) is the oak barrels, giving it more charac dessert, savor a splash of fine afiejo
the sweet sap of the blue agave lightest and freshest tasting. In ter and depth. in a brandy snifter. Both Sauza and
(not a cactus, but a cousin to the wine terms, it compares to a The chicken salpicon with grilled Herradura make reliable varieties of
amaryllis) is distilled into tequila. Chardonnay aged in stainless pico de gallo-sweet, spicy, and all three types of tequila.
Distinctively flavored and ranging steel, as opposed to oak. Gold smoky-needs a bold tequila in Rosina Tinari Wilson, a contributing
widely in complexity, quality and tequila can be aged in wood and both the recipe and in the glass. Go editor for Fine Cooking, is a food
price, tequilas are a versatile is sometimes colored with cara for a gold, on ice or spritzed with and wine writer and teacher who's
ingredient for drinks and cooking. mel. Aged tequila (afiejo), the lime-flavored mineral water. And based in the San Francisco area.

AUGUST/S EPTEM BER 1 9 96 35


Potato
Salad
Grows Up
Match Yellow Finns, Red
Bliss, and fingerlings with
market.. fresh ingredients for
potato salads of substance

BY DORETTE E. S N OVER

M y grandmother raised me in rural Pennsyl


vania, and some of my fondest memories
are of shopping with her at a farmers' market, where
we'd buy the freshly dug new potatoes that appeared
on the stands every summer. I now live down South
with a family of my own, and I go to a different farm
ers' market, but I still crave those potatoes.
In the summer months, there are always plenty
of potato salads at my house. Over the years, I've

Unusual combina
tions of ingredients
give sophistication
to potato salads_
Here, pecans and
bacon flavor a salad
made with fingerling Low-starch fingerlings stay intact when tossed with a warm
potatoes. bacon dressing. Cayenne-toasted pecans add unexpected crunch.

37
no peeling at all. For quick cooking, cut the potatoes A sum that's greater than
into halves or quarters, or simply leave them whole parts. Roasted Vegetable
and slice them after they've cooked and cooled. & Potato Salad can be
Boiled potatoes will dry quickly if you drain them, a meal unto itself,
put them back in their cooking pot, and set the pot served warm
over low heat for just a few minutes. The cooked or cool.
potatoes will hold up better in the salad if you chill
them before cutting them into bite-sized pieces and
combining them with other ingredients.
To keep potatoes intact, be gentle-especially
when you're making a warm potato salad. I usually
mix the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl
Dry boiled whole potatoes quickly by draining them and then and then gently add the potatoes. I prefer to use my
putting them back in the pot over low heat for a few minutes. hands to do the mixing, but if you'd rather not,
stirring with a large spoon will do just fine, as long as
you do it gently.
developed recipes for many different types. I add in
teresting vegetables, unusual dressings and season F O R S U M M E RTI M E EASE,
ings, seafood, meat, and sometimes even cheese to C O O K THE POTATOES IN ADVA N C E
my salads. Far more than boiled potatoes mixed with When making potato salad in the summer, I want
a little mayo and chopped egg, they're potato salads it to be easy. Often I'll cook the potatoes early in the
that have grown up. day and refrigerate them, so my family and I can set
The potato's blandness is actually a virtue-in our sights towards a hike in the woods or a swim
these salads, it brings out the in the quarry. By the time I'm
best in a wide range of un ready to make lunch or din
expected ingredients, taking Choose low-starch ner, the potatoes are ready
potato salads from side dish to to be made into a salad that
main course. potatoes that can be part of a picnic lunch
or the centerpiece of dinner.
P I C K I N G T H E R I G HT won't get mushy
POTATO SALADS CAN B E C REAMY
The surest way to keep cooked when mixed in salads. O R D R E S S E D WITH A
potatoes intact in salads is to V I NA I G RETIE
choose the variety carefully. Potato salads can be served
The best potatoes for salads are those with a low warm or cool. Use creamy mayonnaise-based dress
starch content, sometimes called waxy or, mis ings on chilled potatoes for cold salads. Vinaigrettes
takenly, "new" potatoes. (New potatoes are simply are versatile-use them for warm or cool potato
those that are harvested young.) Common low salads. For a warm salad, I may cook the potatoes at
starch varieties include Red Bliss and Yellow Finn. the same time as the other ingredients and assemble
Others that you might find at a farmers' market in the salad warm for a quick supper dish that needs
clude blue Caribe, which turns a striking blue-violet only to be spooned over crunchy lettuces and served
when cooked, and tender, tasty fingerlings. Baking with a crusty bread.
potatoes, typically Idahoes and russets, have a dry,
mealy texture that's great for baking, mashing or
making into fries-but they tend to absorb water
and fall apart when boiled. Yukon Golds, too, tend
to go mushy in potato salads.
For a more flavorful salad, boil the potatoes
in salted water; don't wait to season them until the
salad is made. Potatoes must be salted while they
cook, or they'll taste flat regardless of how much salt
you add later on.
There's more than one way to cook potatoes for a
salad. Most often, I simply boil them, but roasted
potatoes make fine salads, too. There's no reason to
peel salad potatoes before you cook them, and most Stir it up. For even cooking and to prevent sticking, give pota
low-starch potatoes have a thin, tasty skin that needs toes and vegetables an occasional stir while they're roasting.

38
Roasted Vegetable & Potato Salad
with Oregano Relish & Feta
With its sweet roasted vegetables, this salad can be
served warm or cool. Yields 6 cups; serves four to six.

1 lb. Red Bliss potatoes, cut in rough %-inch


cubes (about 6 cups)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 2-inch sticks inch thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin, slices cut in half crosswise
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin, slices cut in half crosswise
1 lb. okra, bias-cut into -inch slices (about 2 cups)
1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia), sliced y" inch thick
1 head garlic, cloves smashed and peeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
y" cup chopped fresh parsley
tsp. salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 5 oz.)
FOR THE RELISH:
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
2 Tbs. chopped scallions
y" cup lime juice
y" cup honey
y" cup extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 3 75F. In a very large roasting pan or
ovenproof ski l let, toss the potatoes, eggplant, peppers,
okra, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, parsley, salt,
and pepper. Roast, stirring often, until evenly browned,
50 to 60 min.

Make the relish while the vegetables are roasting. In a


l a rge serving bowl, mix the herbs, scallions, lime juice,
and honey, and then whisk in the olive oil in a slow
stream. Add the roasted vegeta bles and the feta and
toss. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Tiny Potatoes with Bacon


& Cayenne-Toasted Pecans
This salad tastes best when the potatoes are tossed with
the hot bacon d ressing and left to sit for an hour while
the flavors develop. You can reheat it to serve it warm;
I like it best that way. Yields 6 cups; serves four to six.

FOR THE PECANS:


cup pecan pieces
y" tsp. salt
'l8 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE POTATO SALAD:
2 lb. fingerlings or tiny new waxy potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
FOR THE DRESSING:
5 strips bacon
cup minced scallion
y" cup dry sherry
y" cup apple-cider vinegar
1 tsp. mustard seeds, crushed
1 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
cup canola oil

Toast the pecans. Heat the oven to 350F. In a small


bowl, toss together the pecans, salt, cayenne, and
butter. Spread this mixture on a baking sheet and toast
until browned, about 15 min. Set aside to cool.

I n a l a rge pot, cover the potatoes with salted water.


Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender,

39
Potatoes are mild
companions that
bring out the best in
the ingredients with
which they're paired.

A fork makes quick


work ofjuicing
a lemon, and mixing
the dressing in the
serving bowl means
there will be fewer
dishes to wash.

15 to 20 m i n . Drain and pan-dry them. When they're


cool enough to touch, slice or halve them (depend i ng
on their size). Set aside.

Make the hot bacon dressing. Saute the bacon i n a


deep skillet over med i u m heat until crispy. Transfer the
bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving the bacon fat i n
t h e pa n . W h e n t h e bacon is cool enough t o hand le, chop
it and set it aside. Pour all but 1 tsp. of the fat from the
pan, add the scallion and saute over medium heat until
softened, 4 to 5 min. Remove the pan from the heat and
whisk i n the sherry, vinegar, mustard seeds, honey, and
parsley; combine well. Whisk i n the oil in a slow stream .

Pour the warm dressing over t h e potatoes, sprinkle


i n the bacon, and toss gently to coat wel l . Let the
potatoes rest for about 1 hour so the flavors can
deepen. Toss i n the pecans, taste, and add salt and
pepper if needed.

Potato Salad with Seafood


& Sweet Corn
This salad is best prepared a head of time so that the
flavors can blend. Yields 6 cups; serves four to six.
1 lb. Yellow Finn potatoes
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
cup mayonnaise
cup finely chopped dill pickle
2 Tbs. finely chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
1 tsp. Tabasco
y" cup chopped fresh dill
Kernels from 2 medium ears yellow or white corn,
cooked (about 1 cup)
l-2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked, and chopped
(about 1 cup)
6 oz. backfin crabmeat (about 1 cup)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

I n a large pot, cover the potatoes with salted water.


Bring to a boi l a n d cook until the potatoes are tender,
1 5 to 20 m i n . Drain a nd pan-dry them. Refrigerate
them until you're ready to assemble the salad.

I n a large serving bowl, com bine the lemon ju ice,


mayonnaise, pickle, onion, Ta basco, and d i l l . Peel the
c h i l led potatoes and cut them. into %-inch slices. Add
the potatoes to the bowl, along with the corn, shrimp,
crabmeat, salt, a nd pepper and toss gently until well
combined with the dressing. Taste and add salt a nd
pepper if needed.

Land and sea. Shrimp, crabmeat, and sweet corn make an easy and satisfying main-dish Dorette Snover, a food writer, makes her potato salads
potato salad. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

40 FINE COOKING
A Guide
to Sweet,
Tender
Zuc chini
Transform su m mer's
most abundant
vegetable into sou p,
side dishes, fritters
even noodles

BY LORETTA K E L L E R

M y friends plant gardens every spring,


and brown paper bags full of zucchini
find their way to my doorstep every August.
Since there's a tendency to look on zucchini
as being big and bland-the dumb jock of the
vegetable patch-I'm never sure if my neigh
bors have too many squash or not enough
ideas. Either way, I'm happy to be the recipi
ent: I think the fastest-growing vegetable in
the garden is also one
Finger food fit for of the most versatile in
a king. Batter-frying the kitchen.
zucchini and its "Baby" zucchini are
blossoms coaxes out de licious j ust barely
the sweet tenderness cooked or batter-fried;
of both. young zucchini are per-
Make way for tomatoes. Hold your knife parallel to the work Slip tomato slices in between the layers to make "fans. " If you
surface to cut flat, even layers in the zucchini. have Japanese eggplant an hand, slide in slices of them, too.

fect for quick sautes and for roasting whole; and Don't forget the flowers. The radiant yellow
those king-size squash are great for pureeing flowers that grow on the zucchini plant are also
into soup or for grating into long, slender noodles. edible and have a delicate squash-like flavor of their
With so many ways to appreciate zucchini's delicate own. Try them sauteed and folded into omelets.
texture and sweet taste, homeless squash are always They also look lovely floating on top of a bowl of
welcome guests at my house. soup, but I like them best lightly battered and fried
(see recipe , p. 45 ) . Look for the flowers at farm
ZUCC H I N I IS SWEET WITH ANY S EAS O N I N G stands or pluck them from your garden, but take
Zucchini's mild flavor works well with both intense only those that are closed and fresh looking. If you
and subtle seasonings. Its sweetness is a delicious pick them from your vegetable patch, keep in mind
backdrop for fresh herbs. This that the female flowers (those
vegetable is made for basil, with enlarged bases) are the
oregano, and tomatoes, and it The ideal zucchini ones that give birth to baby
loves the garlic and ginger of zucchini. Picking them means
a stir-fry. is slender and four to you' ll limit your harvest of
G ood zucchini comes in full-grown squash.
s m a l l packages. Young zuc six inches long, with S o m e z u c c h i n i a re o n ly
chini is zucchini at its best. fit for the county fair. As for
For most recipes, the ideal thin skin, tiny seeds, the gargantuan, one-foot-plus There's beauty in
squash is one that's still slen zucchini you sometimes see simplicity. The
der and measures four to six and sweet flesh that's at the end of August, bigger summer garden 's
inches long. These zucchini isn't better. As zucchini grow, simplest, most
have thin skin, tiny undevel tender but firm . their sugar turns to starch, the copious offerings
oped seeds, and sweet flesh seeds mature , and the flesh make an elegant
that's tender but firm. becomes tough and woody. casserole.
At the grocery store or in the garden, look for While unchecked zucchini can grow to truly im
finn, medium-green zucchini that are j ust slightly pressive lengths and girths, these squash should only
pliable. Gently scrape the skin with a fingernail; it be on your table as centerpieces.
should wrinkle easily. Refrigerated in a loose plastic
bag, zucchini will last about three or four days. WELL-CO O K E D ZUCC H I N I IS N EV E R B LA N D
If a zucchini is between seven and ten inches A zucchini is mostly water, which is probably why
long, it usually has darker, tougher skin and larger it has a bad reputation for being bland and soggy.
seeds. I recommend that you cut these older zucchini That's how it turns out when it isn't treated properly,
in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon before but if you give zucchini the cooking it deserves, the
you cook them. results are delicious.

42 FINE COOKI G
thick and rounds sliced about Y4 inch thick work
well. These shapes are slender enough to cook fast,
but sturdy enough to retain their texture.
Roasted. Tiny zucchini can be tossed with olive
oil and quickly roasted whole, and medium zucchini
are wonderful halved and roasted with herbs and
Parmesan. I also like to stuff zucchini by making
several long, lengthwise slits, into which I slip slices
of tomato. Then I bathe them with white wine and
olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake these "stuffed"
zucchini on a bed of sliced onions, garlic, and thyme
(see recipe, p. 44) . You can also hollow out zucchini
and stuff it with cheese, rice, meat, savory bread
crumbs, or even its own grated flesh.
G ri l led. Thick slices of grilled zucchini are deli
cious eaten hot or at room temperature. Just cut the
zucchini lengthwise into Yz-inch slices, brush the
slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper,
and lay them on a hot grill. Zucchini gets soggy if it A zucchini's size and
stays on the heat too long, so be sure the grill is fairly shape determine the
hot and watch the vegetables carefully. best way to cook it.
Batter-fried. Fried zucchini, simply salted and For most recipes, a
served piping hot, is a real treat. Baby zucchini and slender squash is ideal.
zucchini flowers can be dipped in the batter whole;
larger zucchini should be cut in 3 -inch sticks. When
you slip the battered vegetables into the hot oil, don't
overcrowd the pot or the zucchini will be greasy.
Cut into "noodles." Zucchini noodles are prob
ably my favorite use for zucchini that are overgrown
but still less than 1 0 inches long. When you slowly
push a long zucchini against the julienne blade of a
mandoline, you get dozens of beautiful green and
white "noodles. " To avoid the seeds, rotate the zuc
chini as you go. When you get close to the seedy
core, throw it away and reach for another zucchini.
Quickly blanch the noodles and toss them with a
dressing-they're delicious cold or hot. You can
even mix the zucchini noodles with cooked Iinguine.
(Recipes on the following pages)

There are several ways to help zucchini avoid Give zucchini time
a watery fate. When cooked quickly at high heat, and space. When you
this squash is crisp and sweet. Stuffed zucchini needs bake them slowly with
more cooking time, but if given enough space, its enough room in the
water evaporates in the oven and the results are pan, zucchini fans are
melt-in-your-mouth tender. When you batter-fry or meltingly tender.
blanch zucchini, salt it before cooking. Salt forces
water out of the vegetable, which means the zuc
chini stays crisper and cooks faster.
Here are some of my favorite ways to prepare
zucchini:
Sliced and sauteed. Quickly sauteed in olive oil
with a pinch of sea salt and a few thyme leaves, zuc
chini is a fast and delicious side dish. To saute
zucchini, you need to slice it in shapes that cook well
over fast, high heat. Two-inch sticks about Yz inch

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 43
Zucch i n i -Tomato Fans
This casserole makes a beautiful presentation. If you can
find tender Japanese eggplant, i nsert slender slices of
them along with the tomatoes. Serves four as a side dish.
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
3 large cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or Y2 tsp. dried)
2 medium tomatoes (4 oz. each), sliced y., inch thick
2 medium zucchini (7 oz. each)
4 bay leaves
3 Tbs. white wine

Heat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9x1 3-inch baking


dish.
In a small bowl, toss the onion and garlic with 1 Tbs.
olive oil, % tsp. salt, % tsp. pepper, and the thyme.
Spread the mixture in the baking dish and set aside.
Cut each tomato slice in half to form half-moons and
sprinkle a pinch of salt on both sides of each tomato
slice. Set aside.
Make the zucchini fans-Trim the stems of the zucchini Play that mandoline. Slow, smooth strokes result in long,
to about % inch. With a thin, sharp knife, slice the zuc slender zucchini noodles. Don 't have a mandoline? You can
chini in half lengthwise. Lay the cut sides down on the also cut these noodles with a knife.
work surface.
With your knife parallel to the work surface, make three
slices, % inch apart, in each zucchini half from the end Cu rried Zucchini Soup
to just below the stem without cutting all the way
I like to garnish this soup with a swirl of creme frafche
through. Gently lift these fan-like layers and sprinkle a
or sour cream flavored with lime juice and zest. Yields
pinch of salt between each layer. Slip two tomato slices
8 cups; serves six to eight as a first course.
in each slit and insert a bay leaf in the top section of
each zucchini fan. 6 Tbs. olive oil
Carefully arrange the fans on top of the onions. Drizzle 5 zucchini (about 2 lb. total), trimmed and sliced
into half-rounds
the vegetables with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and
3 medium onions (about 1 lb. total), peeled and
the white wine; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the sliced thin
dish with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove the foil and 3 large apples (about 1 Y2 lb. total), halved, cored,
cook until the zucchini is tender, another 25 to 30 min. and sliced thin
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thin Blanched forjust a
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
minute and tossed
1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 or 2 serrano chiles, seeded and chopped fine with pesto, zucchini
About 1 0 cilantro stems noodles are trans
2 Tbs. mild curry paste (or l Y2 tsp. curry powder) formed to a pasta-like
5 to 6 cups chicken stock, homemade or
dish.
low-salt canned
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
2 tsp. salt

I n a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.


Add the zucchi ni, onions, apples, and carrot and cook
without browning until the onion is soft and translucent,
about 1 5 min. Add the garlic, ginger, chiles, cilantro
stems, and curry paste. Continue cooking, stirring often,
until all the ingredients are tender, about 20 min.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high
heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the
vegetables and the apples begin to fall apart, about
20 min. Add the lemon juice and salt.
Remove the soup from the heat to cool slightly and
then puree in a blender or food processor-in batches
Full of flavor and colored a brilliant chartreuse, Curried Zuc if necessary-until very smooth. Reheat the soup just
chini Soup is finished with a swirl of creme fralche. before serving. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

44 FI E COOKING
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the zuc
chini and blanch until just tender, about 1 min. Drain
the zucchini thorough ly.
To serve hot-Toss the zucchini with the dressing and
serve immediately.
To serve cold-Rinse the zucchini under cold water and
drain very thoroughly before tossing it with the dressing.

Mi n t & Basil Pesto


This pesto is delicious tossed with hot or cold noodles,
zucchini or otherwise. Yields 1 cup.
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic
Salt
cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
2 Tbs. toasted pistachio nuts
Y3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
y., tsp. brown sugar
4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
y., tsp. freshly ground black pepper Zucchini is fast and
In a food processor, blend the olive oil, garlic, and a flexible. "The fastest
pinch of salt almost smooth. Add the basil, mint, pista
growing vegetable
chios, and cheese; blend until the herbs are chopped fine
in the garden is also
but not pureed. Dissolve the brown sugar in the vinegar;
add it to the pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. one of the most ver
satile, " says author
Batter- Fried Zucch i n i & Their Blossoms Loretta Keller.

This batter creates a coating that's both tender and


crisp. Serves six to eight as an appetizer.
2 eggs
1 bottle (1 y., cups) good-quality beer or ale
1 cup all-purpose flour; more for dredging
1 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne
Peanut oil for deep-frying
24 baby zucchini or 3 medium zucchini
24 zucchini blossoms

Zucch i n i "N ood les" For the batter-Beat the eggs and beer together. Whisk
in the flour and cornstarch; the mixture should have the
Toss these slender zucchini noodles, hot or cold, with a consistency of pancake batter. Add the vinegar, salt, and
pesto (see the Mint & Basil Pesto recipe, right) or a vinai cayenne. Set ade.
g rette and serve them as a side dish or salad. Or combine
them with cooked linguine for a delicious summer sup In a tall pot, heat 3 inches of peanut oil to 3 75F.
per. Yields 4 cups cooked noodles; serves four as a side dish. Leave baby zucchini whole; cut medium zucchini into
sticks about 3 inches long and V2 inch square. Dredge
4 large zucchini (about 10 oz. each) the zucchini in flour. Trim the flowers from their stems
1 tsp. salt
and remove the thistle-like protrusions at the base of
To slice by hand-Trim the ends of the zucchini and each blossom.
cut them lengthwise into V4-inch slices. Stack the slices Plunge the baby zucchini or zucchini sticks into the
and slice lengthwise again into %-inch strips to make batter and use a slotted spoon or coarse strainer to
noodles. Work your way around the pulpy, seedy center remove them . I mmediately drop the zucchini into the
of the zucchini, which should be discarded. hot oil in batches. As soon as they surface, quickly batter
Slicing with a mandoline-Adjust the mandoline for the blossoms and add them to the oil. Don't overcrowd
the julienne blade. Slice the zucchini on the mandoline the pot or the oil temperature will drop. Gently move
the squash in the oil so that they cook evenly and don't
i n slow, smooth strokes to form long, slender noodles.
stick together. When they're crisp and golden brown
Rotate the zucchini after every two or three passes to
(after 3 to 5 min .), remove the zucchini and blossoms.
avoid the seedy core. When you've sliced the zucchini
Drain them on a cooling rack set over paper towels.
on all sides, throw the core away.
Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
Pile the zucchini in a colander and carefully toss it with
the salt. Set the colander in the sink and let the zucchini Loretta Keller is the chef/owner of Bizou in San
drain for 30 min. Francisco .

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 45
Making Rustic
Infused with fresh rosemary and rolled
parchment thin, these crisp, fragrant breads
satisfy impatient appetites

BY L E S L I E MAC K I E

Specialty grains like semolina are much


easier to buy now than they were only a
few years ago. You can find semolina in
Baker Leslie Mackie rolls the dough by hand to supermarkets, in Italian and Middle East
give the bread its homey shape and great texture. ern groceries, and in health-food stores.
If you're in a hurry, roll it out with a pasta machine. You can also order semolina by phone by
calling the Butte Creek Mill in Oregon

O
(54 1 /826-3 5 3 1 ) or Dean & DeLuca in
New York City (800/2 2 1 - 7 7 14) .
ne of the most popular breads
at my bakery is a cracker-thin A FAM I LIAR WAY T O M I X
flatbread that's fragrant with rosemary, I N G R E D I ENTS
painted with fruity olive oil, and sprinkled If you've ever made fresh pasta, you'll be
with coarse salt. I've seen customers so acquainted with the process for making Fragrant rosemary, fruity olive oil, and coarse
impatient for it that they start eating the this dough. Begin by combining the dry salt give these f1atbreads an irresistible flavor. An
bread before I've even had a chance to ingredients in a large mixing bowl and irregular shape contributes to a homemade look.
hand them their change. making a well. Into this well, pour the
With no yeast or other leavening, this water and olive oil, and then pull the dry ROLLI N G BY H A N D G IVES T H E
is a good bread for impatient bakers as B READ A B ETTE R TEXT U R E
well. A few ingredients are combined At the bakery, I don't have the time to
and briefly kneaded. The dough needs to Semolina flour gives the roll each bread by hand, so I rely on a
rest for an hour before it's rolled out, but pasta machine, running pieces of the
there's no waiting for it to rise. The rolled bread its sweet flavor, dough through the machine until they
dough then bakes for just a few minutes. reach the proper thinness. But I prefer
Because they're so thin, the flatbreads golden color, the uneven texture of hand-rolled flat
cool quickly and are ready to eat minutes breads, which usually come out wider
after they've come out of the oven. and coarse texture. and with a more interesting texture.
For the crispest flatbreads, roll the
THE SECRET I N G REDI ENT: SEMOLINA dough as thin as you can without over
Semolina flour, milled from the heart of ingredients into the wet ones with a fork working it, which would develop the
hard durum wheat, gives the flatbread its until they're all well combined. gluten and make the bread tough. The
sweet, almost cornlike flavor, rich golden Because the dough requires only a few trick is to work quickly, rolling each piece
color, and pleasingly coarse texture. But minutes of kneading, I knead right in the of dough out from the center and rotat
semolina's high gluten content means mixing bowl, which keeps me from dirty ing it slightly after each stroke of your
that the dough must be handled gently. ing another work surface. As soon as the rolling pin. If the dough starts to stick,
This is not a bread dough to slap against dough is smooth-after no more than turn it over, but use as little flour on your
the work table. Overmix it or knead it three minutes of kneading-I cover it work surface as you can get away with.
too rigorously and your flatbread will be with plastic wrap and chill it for at least Working additional flour into the dough
tough rather than crisp. an hour to allow the gluten time to relax. will also toughen the bread.

46 FINE COOKING
Rosemary Flatbread
Aim to make each bread consistently Rosemary Flatbread Put a baking stone in the oven and heat the
thin. Don't roll the edges too thin and As you roll out these breads, use as little oven to 450F. Work with one 2%-oz. piece
leave the centers too thick or the breads flour on the work surface as you can get of dough (about the size of a large egg) at
a time; keep the rest of the dough covered.
will bake unevenly. The breads can be any away with to keep the dough from sticking:
too much will make the breads tough. Flour On a very lightly floured surface, flatten a
size you like, just be sure they'll fit on your piece of dough with the palm of your hands
amounts are listed by weight (ounces) and
baking stone. The ones shown here are and roll it out as thin as possible. Transfer
by volume (cups). Use either measurement.
about eight inches in diameter. Yields about twenty 8-inch-diameter flatbreads. the rolled dough d i rectly to the stone in the
hot oven and bake until crisp and light
F lAT B REA D S BAKE FAST 18 oz. (3 cups) semolina flour golden brown, 8 to 1 0 min. Let cool slightly.
1 3 oz. (3 cups) unbleached white flour Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Once rolled, the dough goes straight into 2 tsp. kosher salt; more for the finished breads
the hot oven. An unglazed baking stone 3 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary Leslie Mackie bakes rosemary jlatbread
is essential for making crisp flatbreads. Fh cups water and many other styles
cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for the
The stone dispenses heat evenly and ab finished breads ofbread at her
sorbs moisture from the dough, ensuring Macrina Bakery
Combine the flours, salt, and rosemary.
that the breads bake quickly and crisp Make a well in the center and pour in the in Seattle .
uniformly. You can buy unglazed clay water and olive oil. With a fork, pull the dry
stones at most cookware stores or you can ingredients into the wet ones u ntil a mass
order one from King Arthur Flour Baker's forms. Knead the dough just until
Catalogue (800/827-6836) . smooth, 2 to 3 min.; be careful
not to overwork it. Cover
Transferring the dough to the baking
with plastic wrap and
stone takes a bit of practice. Use both chill at least 1 hour.
hands or a wide spatula (see Notes, p. 16)
to lay the dough onto the stone. If the
dough folds onto itself, let it bake for a few
minutes and then try unfolding it. After
you bake the first two or three, you'll get a
feel for handling the dough.
As the breads bake, they'll bubble
a n d turn a rich g o l d e n b rown .
Within 8 to 1 0 minutes, the flat-
breads are done. Cool them on
a rack, brush them with olive
oil, and sprinkle them with
coarse salt. They'll keep for
a day or two, though the
olive oil tends to become
less attractive after the
first day. If you want to
bake flatbreads one
day to serve the next,
oil and salt them
the day you plan to
eat them.

F1atbreads are rustic


breads. They aren't
meant to be perfectly
shaped. Each one looks
different, and that's
part of their charm. .;
..



..
,
.'"
.
Taste
Summer's
Sweetness in
Peach Desserts I still dream of stealing peaches from the tree in
my uncle's backyard-a summer's afternoon,
the climbing roses all in bloom, hot dust between
my toes. I can remember the feel of the warm, heavy
Bigger size and a sweet, subtle fragrance fruit cupped in my hands, the fragrance, the first
stolen bite, the sweet juice running down my chin.
signal the most succulent fruit of the
HOW TO P I C K A P EACH
season Is your mouth already watering? Summer is here
how do you find a good peach? My friends who are
peach growers have provided me with some in
sights. Peaches are drupes (a type of fruit whose
TEXT BY SALLY S MALL; R E C I P E S BY KAT H L E E N STEWART hard single seed is surrounded by soft flesh) , and
they're among the most difficult fruit to pick. The
fully developed in flavor. Sniff the peach you're con
sidering: you can smell the nectar in a riper peach.
Problem peaches. Supermarket peaches often
fail us because they're smaller, picked greener, and
stored longer. When you taste a mealy peach, you
know it has been off the tree too long and has
dehydrated in storage. When a peach looks perfect
at the store and collapses into brown rot the
moment you get it home, the orchard has suffered
from too much water-a late rain, perhaps, or too
much humidity.

COAX Y O U R PEAC H E S TO R I PE N ESS


You can ripen peaches in a brown paper bag or a
ripening bowl, but remember that peaches are a
pleasure for all the senses, not just taste. Put them in
a bowl on your kitchen table where you'll enjoy look
ing at them and they won't be forgotten. If you've
picked firm, ripe fruit with good background color at
the stem end, the peaches will soften in three or four
days, and a lovely fragrance will beckon you. They'll
keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days longer.

LATE-SEASON PEAC H E S ARE B EST


FOR BAK I N G
During the last weeks o f June, white peaches and
the early yellow varieties arrive in stores. These first
peaches of the season are low in acid and have a
clear, sweet taste that makes them perfect for eating
out of hand, but bakers should wait a month or so
before they start rolling out their pie dough. Later
An almond-paste fill varieties have a higher acid-to-sugar ratio, which
ing is a delicious foil peaches ripen unevenly on the tree, with the fruit at gives the fruit more depth and complexity. Mid
to the sweet acidity the top ripening first. Peaches must be plucked to late-season peaches can stand up to stronger ac
of the peaches. Spoon gently when the background color of the skin at the companying flavors and are the best choice for
the filling into the hole stem e nd is a warm golden yellow, or a creamy baking and using in desserts. In mid-August, start
left by the pit before white, in the case of white peaches. looking for the dark-fleshed Indian or blood
baking the peaches Picking peaches without bruising them is a peaches. Though usually smaller and not as juicy as
with a late-harvest nearly impossible task for harvesters as they stand their summer cousins, these peaches have a rich,
Riesling wine. on shaky ladders in a peach orchard. For the rest of almost berry-like flavor that's unsurpassable for
us, it's easier. Our peaches come already picked. But cooking. You can usually count on finding ripe
the rule is the same: don't pinch the peaches ! Handle peaches in markets until the end of September.
For easier peeling, them as if you were wearing white cotton gloves. Although the bulk of the commercial peach crop
drop the peaches in (The peach pickers do.) comes from California, peaches grow all over the
boiling water for 30 to C hoose peaches with your hands, eyes, and country. The trees need only some cold winter
60 seconds and then nose. The fruit should be firm. The only soft places weather to set the fruit and some hot summer
plunge them into cold will be the bruises left by other people pinching the weather to help it grow to full size. As with all pro
water. The peel should peach before you got there. A ripe peach feels heavy duce, peaches that grow closest to your home should
then come off easily. in the palm of your hand; it will give a little, feel be your first choice. They'll be fresher and will not
more voluptuous. Look for the golden or creamy have been subjected to as much handling as those
background color of the skin at the stem end of that come from a more distant locale.
the peach. Don't be duped by a provocative blush All peaches are classified as either freestone
color (varieties are being developed that are nearly or cling. The flesh of a cling peach clutches at the
90% blush) . The background color of the skin is stone of the fruit, while freestone varieties relinquish
all-important. their seed more readily. You'll rarely find cling
Size is crucial, too. Bigger is better when it comes peaches at the market: their firm flesh holds up well
to peaches. Bigger peaches seem to be sweeter, more when cooked and is prized by commercial canners,

AUGUST/SEPTE MB ER 1996 49
Toss the sugared
peaches with flour who snatch most of the clings for themselves. The and raspberries. Either of these red fruits brings a
before adding them peaches you find at the grocery or farmers' market tart contrast to the delicacy of the peaches. Al
to the tart. The flour are almost always freestones. monds, with their aromatic undertones, are also a
will thicken the juices Peach varieties are myriad and fleeting. Each delicious match for peaches. The sweet acidity of a
from the peaches variety in a geographic zone has a two-week win ripe peach cries out for the richness of cream. Serve
and help keep the dow, more or less, in the market. Depending on fresh slices with mascarpone, creme fraiche, ice
crust crisp. where you live, you'll find peaches with names like cream, or just a pour of thick, fresh cream. Caramel,
Red Haven, Elberta, O'Henry, Georgia Belle, and too, is a good match for the tartness of a peach.
Sun Crest. Learn the names of your local varieties, Bourbon, port, and sweet dessert wines, like the
as well as the names of the growers or shippers. (By late-harvest Riesling used in one of the recipes here,
law, these must be printed on the box your green- are also all delicious partners for peaches.
grocer buys.) You'll begin to find your
own favorites, and a good produce per Peaches with Dried-Cherry Shortcake
Don' t be duped son will warm to your interest. Later in the year, when ripe peaches are just a memory,
you can serve these shortcakes plain as a breakfast
by a peach with a C O O K I N G WITH P EAC H E S pastry. Serves six.
When preparing peaches for cooking, the
provocative trick is to remove the skin while keeping FOR THE SHORTCAKES:
9 oz. (2 cups) flour
as much flesh as you can on the peach. 3 Tbs. sugar; more for sprinkling
blush: it's the The best way to do this is to quickly 1 Tbs. baking powder
blanch the peaches before you peel them. y. up. baking soda
'l1 tsp. salt
background color Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While Y\ cup chopped dried cherries
the water heats, cut an X into the bottom 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
of the skin that's of each peach. Drop the peaches into the 1 egg yolk
V. cup cream; more for brushing
boiling water and cook just until the skin
important. begins to loosen, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain FOR THE PEACHES:
6 large ripe peaches, peeled and cut into Jkinch slices
the peaches and then plunge them into (about 6 cups)
cold water to stop them from cooking fur 1 Tbs. sugar
ther. The peel should slip right off. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
To slice a peach, run a small knife from stem to tip, 1 'l1 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. sugar
cutting right through to the pit. Turn the peach in
your hand, making one cut after another and let the Make the shortcakes-Heat the oven to 3 75F. In a
slices fall into a bowl. Once exposed to the air, peach mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder,
baking soda, salt, and cherries. With a pastry blender or
flesh tends to turn brown quickly. To keep the color
two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until
bright, sprinkle the slices with a bit oflemon juice. the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat the egg yolk
Pair peaches with flavors both sweet and tart. into the cream and stir this into the flour and butter mix
Peaches are especially well paired with sour cherries ture just until all the dry ingredients are moistened.

50 FINE COOKING
A cornmeal crust Turn out the dough onto a floured board and press it FOR THE FILLING:
into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. With a 2-inch biscuit 6 large ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 3f,,-inch slices
gives this tart a (about 6 cups)
cutter, stamp out 6 shortcakes. Brush the tops of the
homey look and
shortcakes with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Set them
y., cup sugar
texture. Brush the 2 Tbs. flour
on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until puffy and
surface with cream brown, 20 to 25 min. Let cool on a wire rack. FOR THE GLAZE:
and sprinkle with Cream
Prepare the peaches-Toss the peaches with the sugar; Sugar for sprinkling
sugar for a lovely set aside.
sheen. Make the pastry-With a n electric mixer, cream to
Whip the cream-Combine the heavy cream and sugar gether the butter and sugar just until fluffy. Add the
and whip until the cream holds soft peaks. egg yolks and beat until well combined. Add the flour,
Assemble the shortcakes-Split the shortcakes in half. cornmeal, and salt and continue mixing just until the
Set the bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two
peaches over the shortcake bottoms. Top them with pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest briefly in
whipped cream and the remaining shortcake halves. the refrigerator.
Make the filling-Toss the peach slices with the sugar.
Let the peaches drain in a colander before tossing
Peach Tart them with the flour. (Too much peach l iquid i n a
This cornmeal pastry is quite fragile, but don't worry if covered, baked pastry dessert can make the pastry
it falls apart when you transfer it to the pan. The dough limp. If you like, save the drippings for another use,
is easily patched, and the finished tart is meant to look such as a sorbet.)
rustic. Yields one 9-inch tart; serves six to eight. Assemble the tart-Heat the oven to 350F. Roll one
FOR THE PASTRY: piece of dough into a 8-inch round, fit it into a 9-inch
Crisp on the outside tart pan, and press it u p the sides of the pan with your
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, slightly softened
and creamy in the 1 cup sugar fingertips. Add the peaches. Roll the remaining dough
center. The almond 4 egg yolks into a 9-inch round and lay it on top of the peaches.
9 oz. (2 cups) flour Press the edges of the two pieces of dough together
paste filling bakes to a
cup cornmeal or polenta and flatten them against the edge of the pan; trim any
golden-brown crust. 1 tsp. salt excess. Brush the dough's surface with a little cream
and sprinkle with sugar. Set the tart pan on a baking
sheet and bake until light golden brown, about 1 hour.
Let cool before removing from the pan.
Baked Stuffed Peaches with
a late- Harvest Riesling Sauce
'
"
Almonds and peaches complement each other perfectly.
Here, baked in sweet late-harvest Riesling, they make a
dessert that's absolutely luxurious. Serves six.

4 oz. almond paste, preferably a firm style like 5010 brand


1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2 Tbs. sugar
1 egg white
2 Tbs. flour
6 ripe peaches, peeled, halved, and pitted
2 cups late-harvest Riesling or other white dessert wine

Make the filling-Cream together the almond paste,


butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg
white and the flour until well combined.
Bake the peaches-Heat the oven to 350F. Fill the hole
left by the pit in each peach with some of the almond
paste mixture. Put the peaches in a baking dish, stuffed
side up, add the wine, and bake until the peaches are
tender and the filling is lightly b rowned, about 25 min.
Remove the pan from the oven and, with a slotted
spoon, transfer the peaches to serving plates.
Make the sauce-Pour the liquid left in the baking dish
into a stainless-steel saucepan and, over medium-high
heat, reduce the liquid by half. You should have 1 V2 cups
liquid; drizzle some of it around the peaches and serve.

Sally Small picks her peaches in Walnut Grove, Cali


fornia. Kathleen Stewart bakes peach desserts at the
Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg, California.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1 996 51
,V
W: en we decided to take the big step of
pening a restaurant, we established a few
It takes a lot of
tomatoes to make
ground rules. Tired of the assumption held by so good ketchup. The
many chefs that French cuisine and its techniques authors prefer to use
are the standards for good cooking, we decided that canned tomatoes
our menu would feature the wonderful ingredients, for consistency and
traditions, and foods that are found in American convenience.
cooking.
The homemade ketchup we put on every table is
a symbol of that mission. Its main ingredient-
---- tomatoes-is indigenous to America, and the
condiment has become a part of
the fabric of American
cookery. On a more
practical level, our
customers love it. We
see them using it during
every meal, dunking
onion rings into it,
pou ring it on ome
lets, even spreading
it on bread for a
ketchup sandwich.
Compared to the overly
add a sweet-smoky sweet, processed product, our
flavor to the ketchup. ketchup has a zesty, fresh fla
Don't be afraid to let vor that's as vibrant as salsa
them blacken. yet right at home on a ham
burger. It's also easy to make,
requiring little more than stirring.

KETC H U P' S LO N G TRADITIO N


The origin of ketchup i s not clear. Some food histor
ians believe ketchup comes from the Spanish esca
heche, a marinade or sauce for pickling. Others say
it's derived from the Indonesian ketjap, a thick,
slightly sweetened soy sauce. Certainly, ketchup-like

from Your
condiments made from ingredients such as walnuts
and mushrooms existed in England for many cen
turies before the concept was married to the New
World's tomatoes, but there are those who consider
ketchup a purely American innovation.

Kitchen
According to the authors of
Bull Cook and Authentic
Historical Recipes &
Practices Vol. II, a
book of food
lore privately
published in As vibrant as salsa
1 968, Ameri
can ketchup was and just as easy to make
Homemade ketchup cries aut
for onion rings, but you should
also try it with omelets, grilled chicken, BY DAV I D PAG E &: BARBARA S H I N N
meatloaf, and shellfish.

52 FINE COOKI G
first used to prevent scurvy on the fishing ketches off week, we make a large batch of ketchup and seal it in
the New England coast. This early "ketch-up" was mason jars so our customers can take some home.
merely a mixture of tomatoes and lemon j uice. You may want to can your ketchup as well. It makes
Sailors got their vitamin C from the tomatoes, and a great gift, and it will last for at least a year un
the acids in the lemon kept the tomatoes from opened without refrigeration. If you don't can the
spoiling while they were ketchup, it will still last for
out to sea. Over the years, a couple of months in the
as ketchup's ingredient Charred onions, toasted refrigerator.
list expanded, people Once it's opened, you'll
on shore developed spices, and tangy capers want to use your ketchup for
a taste for it. Eventu far more than the traditional
ally, H. J. Heinz made all add character hamburgers and french fries.
ketchup a household Try it on roasted sweet pota
condiment for meats to the ketchup. toes, grilled chicken, ome
and other foods. lets, portobello mushroom
Unfortunately, the sandwiches, and meatloaf.
ketchup selection at most supermarkets is lim This ketchup also makes a great base for homemade
ited to just a few overly processed products. cocktail sauce and Russian dressing.
So about eight years ago, while working as a
chef in California, David began making his Ketc h u p from "H ome"
own. The result is a fresh, delicious ketchup
This recipe makes a lot of ketchup, but it will keep for
that's easy to make. months in the refrigerator and even longer if you can it.
The recipe is easily multiplied and divided. Yields 3 quarts.
M A K I N G KETC H U P I S A MATT E R O F
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 large onions, sliced about -?3 inch-thick
S LOW COO K I N G A N D STI R R I N G
There are just a few ingredients to prepare before 1 tsp. coriander seeds
cooking your ketchup. Charring the onions on 1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. mustard seeds
a grill or under a broiler adds a smoky com 1 cup red-wine vinegar
plexity to the ketchup. We toast the cori l.-3 cup plus 1 Tbs. packed brown sugar (l,I., Ib.)
ander, cumin, and mustard seeds before 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
adding them to bring out their flavors. The
l,I., cup capers with their brine
l,I., cup hot sauce
remaining ingredients are more traditional: the tsp. paprika
vinegar adds an acidic touch, the capers a bit of tsp. ground cinnamon

tang, the hot sauce a little heat, and the other
tsp. ground aI/spice
tsp. ground ginger
spices character. tsp. dried oregano
C a n ned tom atoes m e a n conve n ience. tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Many people ask us if we use fresh tomatoes in
tsp. ground cardamom
Salt to taste
our ketchup, and they seem a little disappointed Three 28-oz. cans whole tomatoes
when we tell them that we prefer to use canned Two 12-oz. cans tomato paste
tomatoes. We envy anyone with a big crop of gar Lightly oil the onion slices and grill or broil them until
den tomatoes to use in their ketchup, but for those blackened, about 1 5 min. per side.
of us without a bushel or two of tomatoes, a good In a small, dry, heavy-based skillet, toast the coriander,
quality canned tomato provides a consistent and re cumin, and mustard seeds over medium heat until
liable flavor. (We only use organically grown canned fragrant, about 5 min. Grind the toasted spices in a
tomatoes.) In our experience, fresh-from-the -garden mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
tomatoes don't really benefit from the long cooking Put a l l the ingredients in a deep, heavy-based, non
that ketchup requires. reactive pot. Simmer the ketchup over low heat for
about 3 hours, stirring it every 1 5 min. to break up the
Pay attention to the ketchup while it cooks.
tomatoes and to keep the ketchup from sticking to the
You don't need to hover over the pot, but a good stir bottom of the pot. The mixture should thicken.
now and again breaks up the tomatoes, distributes
Puree the ketchup in batches in a blender or food pro
the spices, and keeps the bottom from scorching. We cessor. If the pureed ketchup seems too thin, continue
believe that the more attention paid to stirring, the cooking it until it's reduced to a consistency you like.
better the ketchup tastes.
To stir the large batches of ketchup we make, we David Page and Barbara Shinn own Home Restaurant
have a special tool that looks like a canoe paddle in New York City, where David cooks many wonderful
and is available in some kitchen stores. Once a dishes, some of which taste even better with ketchup.

AUGU ST/SEPTEM B E R 1996 53


I was born and raised in Morocco. I
still have a home there and visit reg
ularly, sometimes leading a culinary tour.
I like the fact that people view Morocco
as a romantic, exotic place because that's
j ust what this North African country is.
But I don't want people to think that
M oroccan food is so exotic that they
could never make the dishes in their own
kitchens. While the food is absolutely
wonderful, it is also very straightforward.
The bastila is a perfect example of
what I mean. A wonderfully fragrant stew
that's wrapped in a delicate dough, it's
one of the most refined of Moroccan
dishes, but it is really quite easy to make.
The traditional filling for bastila (pro
nounced bahs-TEE-lah) was pigeon, but
chicken is now more likely. The chicken
is simmered in a fragrant sauce flavored

"Bastila ;s elegant yet easy to make, " says author


Kitty Morse.

with saffron, ginger, cilantro, and other


herbs and spices.
The cooked chicken is removed from
the pan and boned. The remaining sauce
is lightly sweetened with confectioners'
sugar. Other Moroccan main dishes can
be sweet, made so with prunes or figs,
for example, but the addition of confec
tioners' sugar is unique to bastila. The
sweetness complements the dish's savory
flavor without overwhelming it.
The use of softly scrambled eggs to
bind and thicken the filling is also unique
to the bastila. The beaten eggs, which
are mixed in the hot liquid until softly
scrambled, add texture but just a subtle
flavor to the filling. The filling is nestled
between sheets of a paper-thin dough,

55
which is sprinkled with a mixture of ouarka is sold in some markets in Mo
ground almonds, cinnamon, and confec rocco, it isn't commercially available in
tioners' sugar. The result is a pastry that's the United States.
savory yet slightly sweet. Prepared phyllo makes an excellent
for the bastila's traditional
s u bstitute
P H Y llO MAKES A F lAKY C R U ST dough. Phyllo, thin sheets of dough used
The traditional dough is called ouarka in M ideastern cooking and available
(pronounced WAR- kah) , frozen in supermarkets, is
which is paper-thin and Bastila owes pliable enough to shape
has a texture somewhere around the filling and
between Greek phyllo and much to the has a texture when baked
Chinese egg-roll skins. that's similar to ouarka.
Making ouarka is an art exquisite, flaky Phyllo (sometimes spelled A light coating of butter gives the dough its
that requires years of ex fila or filla) makes an easy crisp texture and great flavor. Paint on the
perience. In Morocco, the textu re of its substitute for ouarka, but melted butter with a pastry brush.
task is generally delegated you do need to take some
to freelance ouarka spe paper-thin care when working with
cialists. Seated before the thin sheets of dough. When working with phyllo, keep the
their charcoal braziers, dough. Defrost phyllo in the sheets you're not using covered with
they perform their culi refrigerator; thawing it at plastic wrap and topped with a clean,
nary wizardry, creating sheets of dough as room temperature creates moisture that slightly damp towel to keep the phyUo
thin and light as onion skins. Though may cause the sheets to stick together. from drying out. Each time you pull a
sheet from the stack, cover the remain
ing sheets with the towel.
Making the traditional Moroccan Though phyllo has a tendency to turn
brittle when exposed to air, don't be
dough called ouarka intimidated when working with it. As you
layer it to create the bastila's crust, you'll
be brushing melted butter onto it. This
not only crisps the phyllo while it bakes,
but it also keeps the sheets pliable as you
work with them. If your phyllo does tear,
simply use small, buttered pieces to patch
the rip. No one will be able to tell the dif
ference once the pastry is baked.
Shape the bastila into its traditional
round shape by cutting the rectangular
sheets of phyllo into rounds. The layers
of pastry are assembled so that the final
dish looks like a puffy, round pillow.

SAVOR THE SCENT BEFORE S ERVI NG


Because bastila is traditionally a special
occasion dish, I often serve it at the start
of a celebratory meal. The arrival of a
plump, beautiful bastila to the table never
fails to elicit murmurs of appreciation
from guests attending a diffa, a feast cele
brating a special occasion. As soon as the
bastila is served, the host quickly pierces
In Moroccan cities, it isn 't unusual to see ouarka, the paper-thin dough the crust in several places to allow the fra
traditionally used in making bastila, being prepared by freelance ouarka grant steam to escape, tantalizing the
makers. A large, round copper pan called a t'bsil dial ouarka, is set
senses of those guests seated nearby.
Bastila is also hearty enough to serve
upside down over hot coals on a brazier and dabbed with a thin, wheat
as a main course, but I suggest that you
flour dough to create small, overlapping circles. The ouarka is then deftly serve it on its own with a salad either
peeled from the pan. before or after. The varied and complex j
0..
FINE COOKING
Layers of phyl/o create the sides of bastila. Turn up the edges of the phyllo so that they A few tucks keep the bastila together. Fold the top sheets of
partially cover the filling. phyllo under the bottom ones as if you were tucking in bedsheets.

flavors don't need to be muddled with 72 sheets phyl/o dough Using a pastry brush, paint the pizza p a n o r
other foods on the same plate. 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) butter, melted baking sheet with some melted butter. Put
Confectioners' sugar and cinnamon for dusting one of the phyllo rounds on the pan and
Bastila freezes well. I often make sev
Heat the oven to 425F. I n a large, heavy brush it with butter. Repeat with two more
eral at a time, baking and serving one rounds, buttering each. Sprinkle the top
based saucepan, heat the oil over medium
and freezing the others, uncooked, for round lightly and evenly with half of the
heat. Cook the onion until translucent, stir
later use. They'll keep for up to two ring occasionally, about 8 min. Add the
almond mixture. Layer and butter three
months when frozen and can go straight more rounds on top of the first three.
chicken, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, saffron,
Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the
from the freezer into the oven. water, ginger, and cinnamon. Cover and
top of the sixth layer, leaving 1 Y2 inches of
cook over medium-low heat until the
phyllo uncovered around the perimeter.
Classic Chicken Bastila chicken is tender, 20 to 25 min. With a slot
Fold the edge of the phyllo rounds up and
ted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl
Though the filling should be thick, use a partially over the chicken mixture.
and set it aside. Simmer the sauce that's left
slotted spoon to transfer it to the phyllo, Layer and butter three more rounds of
in the pan until it is reduced by half, about
leaving any excess liquid behind. Yields one phyllo over the chicken mixture, sprinkling
1 2 min. Mix in the salt, pepper, sugar, and
7 O-inch bastila; serves six. eggs. Stir continuously until the eggs are the remaining almond mixture evenly
FOR THE FI LLING: softly scrambled, about 5 min. over the top of the third layer. Layer and
2 Tbs. vegetable oil butter the remaining three rounds of phyllo
7 medium onion, chopped fine When the chicken is cool enough to handle, and tuck the edges of all six rounds under
6 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lb. total) pull the meat off the bones and cut it into the first six rounds. Generously butter the
3 skinless chicken breast halves (about 7 lb. total) lf2-inch chunks. Return the meat to the pan top layer.
\.2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley with the sauce and stir to mix.
Y.l cup finely chopped fresh cilantro Bake the bastila until it turns a deep golden
Y.t tsp. turmeric I n a blender or food processor, grind the brown, 30 to 35 min. Sprinkle evenly and
8 threads saffron, preferably Spanish almonds coarse. Transfer the almonds to a lightly with confectioners' sugar. Sprinkle
7 cup water small bowl and mix them with the sugar the cinnamon over the top of the bastila.
7 tsp. ground ginger and cinnamon. Set the mixture aside. Serve immediately.
7 Y.t tsp. ground cinnamon
7 tsp. salt
Put 1 2 sheets of phyllo on a cutting board.
\.2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper Using a 1 2-inch round pizza pan or similar Kitty Morse lives in a casbah her husband
1,-2 cup confectioners' sugar sized circle as a template, cut the stack of built in southern California. She has written
3 large eggs, lightly beaten phyllo sheets into rounds by tracing the out
five cookbooks, including The California
side of the pan with a sharp knife. Discard
FOR ASSEMBLING THE BASTILA: Farm Cookbook (Pelican, 1994) and the
3 oz. (about \.2 cup) whole blanched almonds the phyllo scraps. Keep the phyllo rounds
Y.t cup confectioners' sugar covered with plastic wrap and a slightly forthcoming The Vegetarian Table: North
7 tsp. ground cinnamon dampened towel when not using. Africa (Chronicle, 1996) .

v Wine Choices
For bastila 's sweetness and spice, look to off-dry whites o r bubblies

Rich and fragrant, has flavors of fruit, butter, and sparkling wine delivers Chardon Deutz, and their French counter
Moroccan bastila works well with nuts-good partners all for bastila. nay flavors, but with a touch of parts, Louis Roederer or Cham
an off-dry Gewurztraminer because Louis M. Martini of Napa and sweetness. And sparklers have pagne Deutz, have more depth.
of the sweetness and spice they Hogue Cellars in Washington make pleasing yeasty flavors that They're pricier, sure-but you'll
share. Try Thomas Fogarty from fine examples. connect well with phyllo. From feel as if you're dining in a casbah.
California or anything German. But too dry a Chardonnay California, I like Wente Vineyards' Rosina Tinari Wilson, a food and
If you prefer Chardonnay, can be thrown out of balance by Brut: it's well balanced and priced wine writer and teacher, is a con
choose carefully. Chardonnay often bastila's sweetness. A good right. Roederer Estate or Maison tributing editor for Fine Cooking.

AUGUST/ S E PTEMBER 1996 57


Pickling jars at the
ready. To keep your
jars from breaking
when they meet the
boiling brine, warm
them in your canner or
in a 200F oven.

Jars of many different


pickles instead of
many jars of the
same pickle. Because
you don't need a
bushel of vegetables
to make these pickles,
you can pick those
that look and taste
best.

FINE COOKING
Pickles by P ickle-making used to be a big undertaking for
me: mountains of vegetables, stacks of jars,
steam to the rafters. So I came up with a quicker, sim
pler way to make j ust one or two jars at a time. Now

the Pint
when there are only a handful of cucumbers in my
garden that are the right size for pickling, I go ahead
and pick them. Working in small quantities also
inspires me to experiment. If I don't like the pickles
I've made, I'm not stuck with a pantry full of them.
If you can boil water, you can m a ke pickles.
Tum a few cucumbers Though there are certain steps to follow to ensure
safety, there are no great challenges to making
or a small bunch of beans into pickles. Basically, the jars are packed and processed
in a boiling water bath to seal them; then they're left
crunchy pickles with little alone for several weeks as the flavors develop. The
only hard part is waiting to eat them.
time and effort
P I C K I N G T H E R I G HT P R O D U C E TO P I C K L E
When it comes to pickles, most people only think of
cucumbers. But beets, green beans, chiles, and bell
BY AN D R EA C H ES MAN peppers also make excellent pickles, as do cauli
flower pieces, sliced Jerusalem artichokes, okra, and
green tomatoes. Some fruits, such as peaches, pears,
and apples, also pickle well.
Choose fresh, firm, young produce for better
pickles. Pickling cucumbers, also called Kirbys, are

A briefsoak in salt water benefits cucumbers and other vege


tables with a high water content. The salt draws out some of
the excess water; making a firmer pickle.

best for pickling: their skin is less bitter, and they


have fewer, smaller seeds. Don't use produce that's
been coated with wax because pickling brine can't
penetrate the wax barrier.
A cool cucumber (or bean or beet) m a kes a
crisper pickle. If you're harvesting from your own
garden, pick vegetables early in the morning (before
they've been heated by the afternoon sun) and re
frigerate them as soon as possible.

WHAT ElSE G O E S IN A JAR OF P I C K LES?


A brine made from vinegar, water, salt, and season
ings, such as garlic, herbs, and spices, turns your pro
duce into pickles.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1 9 96 59
vinegars discolor the brine and muddy the flavors. I
thought white-wine vinegar would be wonderful for
pickling, bu t it actually tastes flat.
Salt enhances the flavor of pickles. I use pick
ling salt, which is simply table salt without the addi
tives that can turn a pickling liquid cloudy. If you
can't find it, you can use any salt, such as kosher or
sea salt, as long as it doesn't have any additives.
Use seasonings to vary the pickles' flavors. Dill
is the queen of pickling herbs and the one most famil
iar to pickle -eaters. Tarragon, thyme, and basil are
other good herbs for adding flavor to pickles. You
may want to experiment with freshly sliced ginger
and strips of orange zest, as well as allspice and seeds
such as caraway, mustard, celery, and cumin. How
ever you choose to flavor your pickles, be sure to use
only whole spices: chopping them or crushing them
will make the brine cloudy.

TOOLS O F T H E P I C KLE-MAK I N G TRADE


You'll need a few pieces of special equipment for
pickling, including canning jars. The jar tops come
in two pieces: a metal screw band and a flat metal
lid. Jars and screw bands can be reused, but the flat
lids will seal properly just once.
You can process your pickles in a 7- or 9-quart
canner, or you can use a large pot, as long as it's tall
enough to allow the j ars to sit on a rack and be
covered by 2 inches of water with at least 1 inch of
space at the top to spare. If you don't have a canning
A canning funnel rack, you can set some of your metal screw bands on
makes adding the Vinegar is the key i n g redient. Vinegar not only the bottom of the pot and put the jars on top of them.
brine a splash-free gives pickles their distinct, tart taste, but its acidity A few gadgets m a ke l ife easier. A food proces
task. Boiling vinegar reduces the likelihood that naturally occurring sor saves time and cuts vegetables into uniform
is added first, followed yeasts, molds, and bacteria will spoil your pickles. pieces. A wide -mouth canning funnel keeps things
by boiling water to As long as the vinegar is 4% to 6% acetic acid (which neat and is well worth its low cost, while a timer
cover the produce. most commercial vinegars are), you can safely use it keeps you on schedule. Canning labels are good for
for making pickles. dating your pickles, but freezer tape works fine.
I like to use distilled white vinegar for my pickles.
I find it doesn't compete with the distinctive flavors PROC E S S I N G Y O U R P I C K L E S
of the herbs and spices in the brine. Cider vinegar If you only make a jar or two of pickles, you can store
contributes a rich, fruity flavor that works well with them unsealed in the refrigerator, but if you make a
sweet pickles. I've found that red-wine and balsamic lot of pickles, this isn't a practical storage solution. To

Canning basics-keep the jars hot and pack them tight


1 . Prepare the jars, screw bands, the boiling vinegar and water may 3. Remove air bubbles by slowly tightened by hand into place.
and lids. Wash them with hot, cause them to shatter. raising and lowering a chopstick or 5. Set the jars on a rack in a
soapy water and rinse them well. 2. Pack the jars tightly, and then a plastic blade around the inside of canner or pot that's half-filled
Follow the manufacturer's direc pour in the hot brine to cover the the jar. This is crucial: a trapped air with very hot water (but not
tions for preparing the lids. If the vegetables, allowing the specified bubble may shatter your jar as it boiling, which may cause the jars
jars will be processed for less than amount of headspace (the space heats. Add more brine to cover the to break). Add more hot water, if
1 0 minutes, they must be sterilized between the rim of the jar and its vegetables, if necessary. necessary, to cover the jars with
by immersion in boiling water for contents). Always be sure to in 4. Wipe the jar's rim with a damp 2 inches of water. Cover the pot,
1 0 minutes. The jars must be hot clude at least Y2 cup vinegar and cloth before putting on the lid. turn the heat on high, and bring
when you pack them; otherwise, 1 teaspoon salt per pint. Secure the lid with a screw band the water to a boil. When it starts
to the shoulder of the jar, ta mping down as you pack. I n
store your pickles at room temperature, a small stainless-steel saucepan, bring t h e vinegar t o a
you'll need to seal the j ars in a boiling boil and pour it over the cucumber slices. Top off with
water bath (see the sidebar below) . This boiling water, leaving l/Z i nch of heads pace. Process fol
inactivates spoilage enzymes that affect lowing the directions in the sidebar below.

the pickles' taste, color, and texture. Un


fortunately, the process also cooks the Pickled Beets with an Orange Accent
pickles, making them less crisp and fresh Only % cup vinegar is req u i red in this reCipe because the
tasting. The challenge is to keep your added sugar also acts as a preservative. Yields 1 pint.
pickles crisp yet safe. Zest from one well-scrubbed orange, cut into thin strips
The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2 cups cooked beets, cut into strips
1 tsp. pickling salt
has set what it says is a safe processing
Y., cup sugar
time of 1 0 minutes, and you may want to Y., cup distilled white vinegar
follow those guidelines, which will yield Y., cup water
perfectly acceptable pickles. I prefer to I n a clean, hot, 1 -pint jar, pack the orange zest a n d then
process pickles for 5 minutes, which gives the beets, leaving 1;z inch headspace at the top of the
me a crisper pickle with a brighter color. jar. I n a small sta i n l ess-steel saucepan, combine the salt,

Pickles n eed to sit for at least six sugar, vinegar, and water and bring to a boil. Pour this

weeks to develop their full flavor. Keep


over the beets, leaving 1;z inch heads pace. Process fol
lowing the d i rections in the sidebar below.
notes on what you did; the next time you
may want to increase the amount of herbs
Garl ic-Herb G reen Beans
or decrease the salt. What you must not
Basil adds a subtle, summertime flavor to beans, but tar
do is alter the proportion of vinegar to
ragon and d i l l are also delicious. Yields 1 pint.
other liquids in the brine; otherwise, you
risk spoilage. Ifyou find the pickles are too 1 tsp. pickling salt
2 cloves garlic, cut in half
sour, increase the amount of sugar. 1 sprig fresh basil (about B leaves), or two 6-inch sprigs
Make these pickles a jar at a time, or tarragon or dill
multiply them to meet the challenge of a 2 cups (about Y., Ib.) green beans, trimmed to about 4 inches
cup distilled white vinegar
big crop or the cravings of friends. Boiling water
Time's up? Get the
I n a clean, hot, 1 -pint jar, put the salt, garlic, and basil.
pickles out. The Dill Chips
Neatly pack in the beans so that all are standing upright.
author uses a jar lifter, F o r a crisp pickle, u s e s m a l l cucum bers and slice them I n a small, stainless-steel saucepan, bring the vinegar to
which is great for re thin. Yields 1 pint. a boil and pour it over the beans, Fol low with boiling
moving one jar at a 2 to 2Y., cups sliced cucumbers, about 11I inch thick
water to cover the beans, leaving 1;z inch headspace.
time. The pickles must Process following the d i rections in the sidebar below.
2 tsp. pickling salt
cool undisturbed for 2 sprigs fresh dill, about 6 inches long, or 1 Tbs. dill seeds, or
1 head fresh dill
about 12 hours. A 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
Pickled Chile Peppers
popping sound during cup distilled white vinegar I keep the spices simple because the chiles' heat intensi
Boiling water fies and tends to overpower the seasoning. Yields 1 pint.
cooling means the lid
has sealed proper/yo Combine the sliced cucum bers and l 1;z tsp. of the pick 2 cups whole chiles, not more than 4 inches long
l i ng salt. Toss wel l . Cover with cold water and let stand 1 tsp. mixed pickling spices
for 2 to 3 hours. Dra i n . 1 tsp. salt
cup distilled white vinegar
I n a clean, hot, 1 -pint jar, p u t the dill, garl ic, and re Boiling water
maining 1 tsp. pickling salt. Add the cucumber slices up
Cut a small slit in each chile to allow
the pickling brine to penetrate. I n a
clean, hot, 1 -pint jar, put the pick
ling spices and salt. Tightly pack in
the chiles, arranging them stem up.
In a small, sta i n l ess-steel saucepan,
to boil (you'll have to peek), begin have cooled, gently remove the
bring the vinegar to a boil and pour
timing. See text above for recom screw bands and test the seals it over the chiles. Follow with boiling
mended processing times. by lifting the jar by its lid. (Do this water, leaving 1;z inch headspace.
6. Remove the jars immediately over a towel to catch the jar if it Process following the d i rections i n
when the time is up. Let them hasn't sealed properly.) the sidebar a t l eft.

cool undisturbed for at least 8. Store sealed jars in a cool, dry


1 2 hours. Never tighten the bands place. Unsealed jars should be Andrea Chesman is the author of
after the jars have been processed: stored in the refrigerator and used Summer in a J ar: Making Pickles,
this could break the seal. quickly. Pickles should sit for at least J ams & More (Williamson, 1 985).
7. Test the seals. After the jars six weeks, ideally eight. She lives in Ripton, Vermont.

61
MASTER C LA S S

Stuffing a Loin of Lamb


Roll the meat around a savory spinach
sausage stuffing and brown the bones
to make a heady sauce

BY DAV I D WALT U C K
L amb is the most popular item at my restau
rant-I guess my own enthusiasm for it rubs
top of the hips. The backbone goes down the center
and the loin meat is on either side. Loin size varies
off on the customers. My latest versions have played with the animal's age and species. To serve four to
with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and North six people, buy a loin that weighs about four pounds
African themes. The rich, sweet flavor oflamb really before butchering.
shines next to strong seasonings, such as garlic, rose A leg makes an easy-to-buy alternative. You can
mary, cumin, olives, lemon, saffron, and thyme. I also make this dish using a boneless leg of lamb. Use
enjoy improvising with flavor, so a boned loin rolled the loin end of the leg rather than the shank end,
around a savory stuffing and served with a stock which has tougher connective tissue in it. When
based sauce is ideal for me. And most of the work made with a leg, this is a much more rustic dish. The
can be done ahead, j ust as we do at the restaurant final shape of your slices won't be nearly as neat and
make the stuffing, stuff and roll the loin, prepare the attractive as with the loin, nor will the meat be as
sauce-with only the actual browning and roasting buttery tender, but the flavor of the leg is delicious.
done at the last minute.
T H E B O N E S MAKE AN I NT E N S E SAU C E
A ROLLED LO I N M EA N S T E N D E R M EAT The fairly thin but intensely flavored sauce is made by
A N D A C O M PACT SHAPE reducing wine, stock, and seasonings with browned
Call your butcher or supermarket and order half a lamb bones and browned vegetables. Use the loin
saddle of lamb, boned and trimmed so that the loin bones that the butcher has chopped for you, along
and flank remain as one joined piece. You'll need the with a few pieces of the trimmed meat. If you want to
bones (chopped) and the trim for sauce, so make sure boost the flavor ofyour sauce a little, or ifyou're using
those are included. Ask for a couple of shank bones, a boneless leg of lamb, throw in a lamb shank or two.
too; they'll further boost the sauce's flavor. Use a chicken or veal stock for the sauce. You
There are two loins on every lamb. They're found might think you should use a lamb stock, but I find
below the rack and include the last rib down to the that lamb on lamb is just too strong. A mild chicken
or veal stock provides enough richness and body and
still lets the lamb flavor from the bones come through.
I give the sauce a sharp kick by adding some brine
from pungent kalamata olives. A little goes a long
way, and I find that I don't actually need the olives
themselves: they would be overkill. The flavor of the
brine is enough. But do save those olives. Cover
them with olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, and pepper
flakes. They'll taste great and keep for weeks.

A S I M P L E STU F F I N G WITH STRO N G F LAVO R S


The stuffing I use in this recipe is dead simple-j ust
chopped fresh spinach, breadcrumbs, and merguez,
a spicy lamb sausage. Making the stuffing is easy, as
you can see from the photos on p. 64, and there are
j ust a few points to keep in mind. First, be sure to

Brown the bones for a more intensely flavored sauce. Carrots,


"This is a great dish for a special dinner at home, says David
" onions, and garlic needn 't be peeled, because you'll strain the
Waltuck. "Almost all the work can be done ahead. " mixture later on.

63
Squeeze the spinach Brown the merguez (Iamb sausage) just enough to release Add the merguez to the spinach and breadcrumbs. Be sure to
completely dry; other flavors and drippings; don't cook it through. The sausage include all the tasty drippings-they'll help bind the stuffing.
wise, you'll end up will cook a second time when you brown and roast the loin
with watery stuffing. overcooked merguez results in a crumbly, dry stuffing.

squeeze all the moisture out of the chopped spinach, roast, which is important both
or you'll have a watery stuffing. Second, don't cook for restaurant and home. As
the sausage completely; heat it just enough to re with all trussing, you want the
lease a little of the natural fat, which will flavor and strings secure so they actually
bind the other stuffing ingredients. If you cook the do some good, but not so tight
sausage thoroughly at this point, it will be too dry that they pinch the meat or
and crumbly when it cooks again inside the lamb. force out the stuffing. Some
Once you've combined all the ingredients for times you hear that you should
the stuffing, let the mixture cool completely before truss tightly because the meat
rolling the loin. For safety's sake, never put warm will shrink during cooking,
stuffing into a piece of raw meat. which means the strings will
suddenly become too loose. Mold the stuffing into a
T R U S S I N G MAKES EVEN S L I C E S THAT ARE That advice isn't relevant for this dish. Since you're log that's as long as the
EASY TO S E RVE only cooking the lamb medium meat is wide.
Shape the sausage and spinach rare, the shrinkage won't be
stuffing into a log the width of The rich, sweet flavor of dramatic.
the boned loin. Roll the loin
and stuffing into as neat a cyl lam b really shines next FIN ISHING THE DISH IS
inder as you can manage. Keep T H E S I M P L E PART
in mind that the more even the to strong seasonings. Once you've made the sauce
shape, the more evenly it will and stuffing, and rolled and
cook. Tie the roll with kitchen tied the loin, most of the work
twine (I use a soft, thick butcher's twine) at regular in is done. Refrigerate the roast for 24 hours if you like
tervals-about an inch apart. There are many ways to before you cook it.
truss a roast, but for this dish, I use individual strings The cooking is done in two stages: first, a thor
rather than a continuous looped string. This method ough browning in a hot skillet (I really like the con
works best at the restaurant, where I may just need to trast between a well-browned outer crust and pink,
slice offone or two portions at a time, and I don't want juicy meat inside) , and a short roasting time in a
the trussing to unravel. The result is prettier individ 425F oven. With experience, you can tell when the
ual slices of lamb. This method also makes it easier to meat is done just by poking it with your finger, but
get the tension even throughout the length of the until you've developed that sensitive touch, use an

64 FINE COOKING
instant-read meat thermometer. The lamb should 3 sprigs fresh thyme
register 130 to 1 3 SF. 1 cup brine from kalamata olives

Servin g is easy. Let the roast rest for at least FOR THE STUFFING:
I!h lb. merguez or other spicy lamb sausage
1 0 minutes (it will keep under a tent of foil in a warm !h lb. fresh spinach, blanched, drained, chopped, and
spot for up to half an hour) , and then cut it into 0- to squeezed very dry
V4-inch slices. The medallions look prettier if they're :y., cup fresh breadcrumbs
sliced thin, but they tend to hold their shape better
tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed
if they're a little on the thick side. Snip the string
FOR THE LAMB:
with scissors after you've cut the slices. I like to serve 1 loin of lamb, boned and trimmed, bones and
this lamb with couscous that's studded with tiny trim reserved (about 4 lb. total)
Freshly ground black pepper
diced vegetables and parsley, and seasoned with saf
1 Tbs. oil
fron, lemon, olive oil, and cumin.
Prepare the sauce. In a large stockpot, heat the oil.
When it's very hot but not smoking, add the lamb bones
lam b loi n with S pi nach-Merguez
and trim, shanks (if using), carrots, onion, and garlic.
Stuffing & O live-Infused Sauce Cook over high heat until all the ingredients are lig htly
The olive brine seasons the sauce sufficiently; no addi browned, about 1 5 min. Add the wine and simmer, skim
tional salt is needed. Serves six. ming any fat from the su rface, until reduced by about
two-thirds; don't let it boil. Add the stock, tomatoes, bay
FOR THE SAUCE:
leaves, thyme, and ol ive brine. Reduce over medium-high
2 Tbs. olive oil
Bones and trim from loin or 2 lamb shanks (or both) heat for about 1 hour. You should have about 2% cups of
2 medium carrots, cut into I-inch slices rich, flavorful sauce. Strain the sauce, pressing out the
I onian, unpeeled, chopped coarsely juices from the vegetables and meat scraps. Let the sauce
2 heads garlic, unpeeled, chopped coarse cool and skim the fat. Taste the sauce and reduce it fur
1 cup dry white wine ther if necessary; you should have about 1 V. cups.
1 qt. veal or chicken stock
1 cup canned tomatoes Make the stuffing. Saute the merguez in a dry pan, stir
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh ring until it begins to release some of its juices. You may

Lay the loin on your work


surface horizontally, and
set the log of stuffing on
top, at the wider end of the
rectangle. Roll the meat Tie the loin at opposite
around the stuffing. ends and along the roll
at even intervals.

AUGUST/SEPTEMB ER 1996
Individual strings, want to cook a piece thoroughly to taste and decide how
much salt the stuffing will need. Pour the sausage and fat
rather than a
drippings into a mixing bowl. Add the spinach, bread
continuous tie,
crumbs, pepper, and salt (if needed) and toss. Shape the
make it easier stuffi ng into a log about as long as the loin is wide.
to slice neat
Prepare the lamb-Season what wi l l be the inside of
medallions at the rolled loin with pepper. Stuff and tie the loin as
serving time. shown on p . 65 and at left. Sprinkle it with pepper.

Heat the oven to 42SOF. In a large saute pan, heat the


oil until very hot and then sear the loin until all sides are
well browned, 4 to 5 min. on each side, pouring off the
rendered fat as you go. Transfer the loin to a roasting

Sear the loin for 4 to pan (if your saute pan is ovenproof, you leave the loin in
that pan) and roast unti l the lamb registers 1 30 to
5 minutes on each
1 35F on a meat thermometer, about 1 0 m i n .
side in a very hot pan
with just a little oil.
Let t h e lamb rest for at least 1 0 min. C u t into Vl- to
%-inch sl ices, and spoon the sauce over the medal l ions.
The author likes the
contrast between a
well-browned outer Couscous Ti m bale
crust and a pink, juicy
The Middle Eastern spices in this couscous make it a fine
inside.
accompaniment to the lamb. Use six-ounce ramekins if
you don't have timbale molds, or sim ply serve it loose.
Serves six.

Cooked couscous is
packed into forms
that are unmolded
just before serving.
The couscous timbale
is best served at room
temperature or
slightly warm.

2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. turmeric
1 large pinch saffron
1 cup couscous
y., cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of lemon
1 cup brunoise: 'Is-inch dice of any combination of carrot,
zucchini, onion, leek, and red bell pepper
y., cup dried currants, soaked overnight in cold water,
drained, and squeezed out

In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt, cumin,


coriander, turmeric, and saffron and heat until hot but
not boiling. Remove the pan from the heat. Put the cous
cous in a medium-sized bowl and add the spiced water a
l ittle at a time, alternating with the olive oil and mixing
and tossing while adding the liquids. Check occasionally
to see if the couscous has softened enough to eat-you'll
probably need to use al most a l l of the spice liquid. The
couscous should be tender but not m ushy.

Add the lemon ju ice, brunoise, and currants. Pack the


mixture into six oiled timbale molds; save the rest for
seconds. Serve at room temperature or slig htly warm.

Serving is easy. Let the roast rest for at least ten minutes and then slice it into medallions
to y., inch wide. Snip the trussing with scissors just before serving the slices. David Waltuck is the chef/owner of Chanterelle in
New York City.

66 FINE COOKING
For a sorbet with a
light, smooth texture,
use an icecream
maker, which beats air
into the sorbet as it
freezes.

Raspberries make
a vibrant sorbet.
Chambord, a black
raspberry liqueur,
boosts the flavor.

Cool Sorbets,
Intensely
Flavored
The right proportion of sugar is
the secret to silky., smooth sorbets

BY DARR E N D EVI LLE


A t the small restaurant where I'm the pastry
chef, I always have a long list of rich desserts
on our blackboard menu. But the desserts that often
set whole tables to "oohing" are my simple, fruity
sorbets. My sorbets grab the spotlight because they're
intensely flavored, they combine fruits in unusual
ways, and they have a creamy texture that makes it
hard to believe they don't contain milk or cream.
One of the things I like most about sorbets is that
they're so easy to make. No matter how busy I am,
there's always enough time to make a great sorbet.
All that's needed is flavorful fruit that's been pureed
or juiced and sugar syrup, which is just sugar and
water simmered together. Combine the fruit and
syrup, freeze it in an ice-cream maker, and you have
a no-fail sorbet.

T H E F RU ITS THAT MAKE T H E SORBET


When choosing fruit for sorbets, go for what's most
fragrant, even if it's past its prime. Flavors are at
their most intense when fruits are just between ripe
and rotten. Mushy mangos, soft strawberries, and
tired raspberries all make excellent sorbets. Don't
worry about the texture of the fruit: sorbets are
made from purees or fresh juice, so your only con Sorbets need sugar and alcohol. They both act as "thermo
cern when choosing fruit is flavor. stats" and determine how icy or slushy the sorbet will be.
Really ripe, fresh fruit produces the most dra
matic flavors, but frozen fruit can be very good, too. flavor that's on the sweet side-say, mango-and
Because processors pick fruit at the peak of ripeness combine it with a tart counterpoint, such as lime.
and then flash-freeze it, frozen fruit is often of high The two fruits e nhance each other and make
quality. Freezing does destroy some of the fruit's fla a single deep, complex flavor.
vor compounds, but I often use frozen berries: the Combine fruit and herbs in sorbets. This isn't
difference in taste is minimal because of the high as strange as it sounds. The combination of orange
sugar content of the sorbet. basil or lemon-rosemary doesn't result in something
Poach, then pu ree. If fruit is less than that tastes like it should sit next to a pork chop. In
ripe, I like to poach it in sugar syrup be stead, the savory herbs subtly enhance the sweet
fore I puree it. This develops the fruit's ness of the fruit. People sometimes find that extra
flavor and breaks down its flesh, element difficult to recognize; they love what they're
which makes it easier to puree. tasting, and they know it's orange or lemon, but they
Some fruits should always be can't quite put a finger on that "something else" that
poached. Unless they're over makes the sorbet taste so good.
ripe, peaches, plums, and pears
have more flavor after poaching. T H E MAG IC OF S U G AR S Y R U P
Also, always poach pineapple The best friend of a great sorbet is plain white sugar.
and kiwi for sorbets. The heat Not only does it have a fairly neutral flavor that en
kills an enzyme in the fruit hances the fruit without overwhelming it, but gran
that inhibits freezing. ulated sugar is also the main ingredient in a sorbet's
secret weapon: simple syrup.
LAYERS OF F LAVOR Simple syrup deserves its name : it's j ust equal
While I love the amounts of sugar and water simmered together un
Fruit for sorbets s t raigh tforward til the sugar dissolves. Simple syrup gives sorbets a
can be fresh or flavor of a deep- creaminess you can't get with undissolved sugar, and
frozen. Most frozen red raspberry sor it combines easily with the fruit juices or purees.
fruit is of high quality, bet, I think the most The right amount of syrup depends on the flavors
and since it will be interesting sorbets come you use. Sorbets made with low-sugar fruits like
pureed, the texture from combining flavors. I lemons require more sugar syrup than naturally
doesn 't matter. like to choose one primary sweet fruits like strawberries.

68 FI E COOKING
S U GAR A N D ALCOHOL ACT AS T H E R M OSTATS Alcohol warms up sorbets. If you want a sorbet
When it comes to frozen desserts, think of sugar as that's less sweet but still creamy, a touch of alcohol
heat. That's because sugar lowers a sorbet's freezing does the trick. Like sugar, alcohol makes it hard for
point: the more sugar a sorbet contains, the smaller ice crystals to form in the sorbet, and too much
the ice crystals will be. Smaller crystals mean a alcohol will make a sorbet stop short of freezing.
smoother sorbet. Alcohol can also add
Although you can Too much sugar means the flavor to sorbet. Try
adjust the sweetness of a pairing fruit with a sim
sorbet to suit your taste, sorbet wil l never freeze ilarly flavored alcohol,
it's important not to at such as raspberry puree
tempt a low- sugar or beyond slushiness; with a raspberry liqueur
candy-sweet sorbet. Too (Chambord, for ex
much sugar means your too little means it wil l be icy. ample) . For alcohol's ef
sorbet will never freeze fect with no additional
beyond slushiness; too little means it will be icy. flavor, use vodka. Whatever you use, remember
Artificial sweeteners are not an option; they would that a too-generous hand with the alcohol will make
give the sorbet the rock-hard texture of having no a too - soft sorbet that resembles a cocktail more
sugar at all. than a dessert.

These sorbets taste


like fresh fruit.
Clockwise from top:
plum-raspberry;
strawberry-grapefruit;
and mango-lime.

69
M A K I N G S O R B ET, F R O M F RU I T TO F R E EZ I N G In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water over high
heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dis
No matter what flavor sorbet you're making, the
solved and the syrup is simmering, about 5 min. Remove
steps are always the same.
from the heat. You should have about V2 cup syru p.
P u ree or j u ice the fruit. This is as easy as it
I n a mixing bowl, combine the warm syrup with the
sounds. If you're pureeing raspberries, strain the
raspberry puree, Chambord, and lemon j uice. Stir well
puree to remove small seeds. to combine and then let the mixture cool to room tem
M a ke the simple syrup. As long as you use one perature. For faster freezing, transfer the cooled mixture
cup of water for every cup of sugar, you can make to the refrigerator to chill there first.
batches of the syrup in any amount you like. Be sure Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream ma ker, following the
you simmer the syrup j ust until the sugar is com man ufacturer's i n structions. Savory herbs subtly
pletely dissolved. Extra syrup will keep in the refrig enhance sweet sorbets
erator indefinitely. Lemon-Rosemary Sorbet such as orange-basil
Combine and flavor the mix. Mix the fruit puree Both tangy and herbal, this sorbet is a refreshing treat (in the back) and
or juice with the syrup, adjust the flavors, and you're on warm summer evenings. Yields 30 cups. lemon-rosemary
ready to go. I like to combine the fruit with warm 1 0 cups sugar (in front). The herbs
simple syrup-j ust-made or reheated-because the 1 0 cups water release their flavors
heat helps bring out the flavors. The sorbet will o cup finely chopped fresh rosemary when steeped in
1 cups fresh lemon juice
freeze more quickly if you chill the mixture before warm sugar syrup.
3 Tbs. vodka
pouring it into the ice-cream maker. After the mix
ture has cooled to room temperature, chill it in the
refrigerator before freezing it.
Adju st sweetness and tartness. Always taste
the sorbet mixture before you freeze it. Flavors are
muted when frozen, which means the sorbet mix
ture should be a little too sweet and strong tasting
before it's frozen. If it's too potent to drink straight
bu t has a taste you love, you've gotten it right.
If you find that the mixture is too sweet, try adding
a little lemon j uice until you achieve the flavor
you want.
P o u r the m ixtu re i nto an ice-cream m a ker.
The ice -cream maker's task is to beat air into the
sorbet as it freezes, which gives the sorbet a light,
smooth texture. Any ice -cream maker will do; j ust
let the mixture churn and freeze until the sorbet is
thick. Just-frozen sorbet will be on the soft side-it
won't hold a scoop very well-but it shouldn't be
thin or soupy.
The sorbet is ready to eat when it comes out of
the ice -cream maker, but the flavor and texture im
prove if you transfer it to an airtight container and
put it in your freezer for a couple of hours.
Eat and make more. Sorbet keeps very well for
two weeks; after that, the flavors start to fade and
the sorbet gets icy. Odds are you'll run out long be
fore that happens.

Raspberry-C ham bord So rbet


I l i ke the flavor Cham bord adds to this deep-ruby sorbet,
but you could also su bstitute vodka or another liqueur.
Yields 30 cups.

cup sugar
cup water
3 cups fresh raspberries (or one 12 -oz. bag frozen raspberries,
thawed) pureed and strained to yield 2 cups puree
y., cup Chambord
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

70
I n a saucepan, combine the Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream ma ker, following the
sugar and water over high heat. man ufacturer's i n structions.
Stir occasionally until the sugar
is completely d issolved and the
syrup is simmering, about Plum-Raspberry Sorbet
5 min. Remove from the heat. For this sorbet, the fruit is poached i n the syrup to soften
You should have about 2 cups the fruit and intensify its flavor before it's pureed. Yields
syru p. 6 cups.
Combine the warm syrup with
1V. cups sugar
the rosemary, lemon ju ice, and
1 V. cups water
vodka. Stir well to combine, and 1 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen, thawed)
then let the mixture cool to 6 very ripe plums, quartered and pitted
room temperature. For faster 2 Tbs. vodka
freezing, transfer the cooled 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Balance sweet and mixture to the refrigerator to chill there fi rst.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water over h i g h
tart in this strawberry Stra i n the mixture and then freeze it in an ice-cream heat. S t i r occasionally u n t i l t h e s u g a r is completely
grapefruit sorbet. To ma ker, following the man ufacturer's instructions. dissolved and the syrup is simmering, about 5 min.
intensify the grapefruit Remove from t h e heat. You should have a little more
flavor, let the sorbet sit than 2V2 cups syrup.

before freezing. O range-Basil Sorbet


I n a medium saucepan, combine the raspberries and
Here, basil rounds out the orange flavor, but the plums with 1 cup of the warm syrup. Poach the fruit
uni nformed would be hard-pressed to identify the over mediu m-low heat until it's very soft, 5 to 1 0 m i n .
mysterious element as basil. Yields 3 !-? cups. Allow the fruit and syrup t o cool briefly and t h e n puree
the mixture i n a food processor or blender. Strain the
V. cup sugar puree through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.
V. cup water
2 cups fresh orange juice Com bine the puree with 1 V2 cups of the syrup, the
1 cup lightly packed chopped fresh basil vodka, and the lemon j u ice. Let the mixture cool to
3 Tbs. Grand Mamier or orange-flavored vodka room temperature. For faster freezing, transfer the
3 Tbs. freshly grated orange zest cooled mixture to the refrigerator to chill there first.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water over h i g h Freeze the m i xture i n an ice-cream maker, following the
heat. S t i r occasionally u n t i l t h e s u g a r is completely dis man ufacturer's instructions.
solved and the syrup is simmering, about 5 m i n . Re
move from the heat. You should have a little more than
1 cup syrup. Strawberry-G rapefruit Sorbet
Combine % cup of the warm syru p with the orange Grapefruit adds a tart edge to this refresh i ng sorbet.
juice, basil, Grand Marnier, and orange zest; stir well to Yields 6!-? cups.
com bine. Set aside for 30 min. to 1 hour, accord ing to
taste: the basil flavor strengthens as it sits. For faster 2 large grapefruit
1 cups sugar
freezi ng, transfer the cooled m ixture to the refrigerator
1 cups water
to ch i II there fi rst.
3 cups very ripe strawberries (or one 12-oz. bag frozen
Stra i n the mixture and then freeze it in an ice-cream strawberries, thawed), pureed to yield 1 y., cups
ma ker, following the man ufacturer's instructions. 3 Tbs. vodka
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Remove four strips of zest from one of the grapefruit.


Mango-Lime Sorbet Each strip should be about 4 inches long and 1 inch

The rich texture of mangoes creates a n exceptionally wide; avoid the bitter white pith. Set the strips aside.

smooth and creamy sorbet. Yields 6 cups. J u ice both the gra pefruit; you should have about 2 cups
juice. Set the j u ice aside.
1V. cups sugar
I n a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water
1 V. cups water
over h ig h heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is com
4 medium very ripe mangoes (about 1 1 oz. each), peeled,
pitted, and pureed to yield 2 cups puree pletely dissolved and the syrup is simmering, about
2 Tbs. vodka 5 min. Remove from the heat.
cup fresh lime juice
Combine the warm syrup with the zest, grapefruit
2 tsp. freshly grated lime zest
juice, strawberry puree, vodka, and lemon juice. Set
In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water over h ig h aside for 30 m i n . to 1 hour, according to taste: the
heat. Stir occasionally until t h e sugar is completely dis gra pefruit flavor strengthens as it sits. For faster freezing,
solved and the syrup is sim mering, about 5 min. Re transfer the cooled mixture to the refrigerator to chill
move from the heat. You should have a little more than there fi rst.
2V2 cups syrup.
Stra i n the mixture and then freeze it in an ice-cream
Combine 2V2 cups of the warm syrup with the mango ma ker, following the man ufacturer's instructions.
puree, vodka, lime juice, and lime zest. Let the mixture
cool to room temperature. For faster freezing, transfer Darren Deville is the pastry chef at The Grape in
the cooled mixture to the refrigerator to chill there first. Dallas .

71
BASICS

brush. In all cases, avoid soak refrigerated) , they do alter the


ing. Because of their sponge flavor and texture of pork in
like texture, fresh mushrooms wonderful ways. Europe, Asia,
absorb a lot of water, if given and the Americas all have
the chance. This added water long traditions of curing pork.
translates into diluted flavor Some of the most common
and mushy mushrooms. cured pork products are pro
A touch of lemon juice or filed here.
vinegar sprinkled on white Bacon is made from sides
mushrooms while rinsing will of pork belly that are brined
keep them bright white even and then smoked. Because it's
when cooked. Just be sure only partially cured, bacon is
to dry them thoroughly after considered uncooked.
rinsing. The fat streaks in bacon
Peel o n ly in extre me contribute to its appealing fla
cases. Some chefs peel mush vor and texture, so look for
rooms in order to present a bacon with a healthy ratio of
pristine white cap. Others fat to meat. You can find thin
A dry towel is all you need to clean most mushrooms. Never soak them. argue that the outer skin de sliced packaged bacon in any
livers a lot of flavor. I don't supermarket. Unsliced bacon

Cleaning fresh mushrooms believe it's worth the trouble


to peel mushrooms unless
they're excessively dirty.
(called slab bacon) and thick
sliced bacon may be available
from the deli and certainly
Almost every supermarket when you're ready to use them; from a specialty butcher.
produce section has an array they'll last longer this way. Medium- thick slices of
of cultivated, woodland, and
dried mushrooms. With all
M ost m u s h ro o m s need
o n ly a l ig ht wi pe, n ever a Bringing bacon cut into half-inch
pieces, called lardons, give a
these choices come the ques s o a k.Common c ul tivated
home the smoky flavor to sauces, stews,
soups, and braises. Lardons
right bacon
tion of handling. If you're mushrooms (white bu ttons,
confused, you're not alone. crimini, and shiitakes) usually are often fried and used as a
Even chefs disagree on how need little more than a brush garnish for salads and soups.
to clean mushrooms. Some with a dry towel and a trim of Pork lends itself to preserving Pancetta is the Italian ver
wash them, some say never the earthy stem before they're more than any other meat. A sion of bacon. Made from sides
let a mushroom near water. ready to use. Remove stems mild flavor, high moisture of pork belly, it's curled into a
Cookware companies sell that are excessively woody (al content, and generous distrib tight roll and wrapped in a cas
special baby- soft brushes, ways cut off shiitake stems) , ution of fat make pork a bit of ing to hold its cylindrical
making us believe that these as they'll stay tough even after a chameleon, allowing it to shape. Pancetta is cured with
flavorful fungi need special cooking. If your mushrooms readily alter its character de salt and a lot of pepper, but un
handling. And they do, but have stubborn dirt, wash them pending on its cure. (Salting like bacon, it isn't smoked. You
there's no real mystery to it. quickly under cool running and smoking are the most can substitute bacon for pan
Buy top quality and don't water and dry them individ common curing techniques.) cetta, but blanch the bacon
wash u nt i l you ' re ready ually. For larger quantities, While modern curing prac first to reduce its smoky flavor.
to cook. Begin by selecting set a colander in the sink, tices don't actually preserve Bacon and pancetta are
good- quality mushrooms. shower the mushrooms with the meat (it must be usually cooked as the
Regardless of the species, fresh the spray hose, and dry each first step when they're
mushrooms should be firm, individually. used in a soup, stew,
without soft or soggy spots. Some mushrooms (espe or sauce . When
They should smell pleasantly cially truly wild varieties) ar the remaining
earthy, not dank or fishy. rive with all sorts of souvenirs ingredients are
Refrigerate mushrooms, of the woods-bits of twigs, then sauteed in
unwashed, in a well-ventilated earth, pine needles. In this
container or loosely covered case, you may need to be more
with a dry towel and use them aggressive and use the sink's
quickly. Clean them only sprayer combined with a soft cut thick or thin as needed.

72 FI E COOKING
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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 73
BASICS
the rendered fat, the entire Pancetta has a flavor
dish takes on the wonderful that's more delicate
rich, slightly salty flavor of the than that of Ameri Ham hocks have plenty
bacon or pancetta. can bacon. of meat which can
C a n a d i a n bacon, also be pulled off after
called back bacon, is more like slow cooking.
ham than bacon. This lean,
meaty cut is actually a cured,
lightly smoked pork loin.
Canadian bacon's neat, cylin
drical shape makes it an ideal
choice for eggs Benedict and
sandwiches. It can be eaten
without further cooking, but

With a little
Salt pork is sold in
knowledge, you Canadian bacon is a chunks. The best
cured, boneless pork loin.
can choose just

the right form

of pork to flavor Prosciutto should be


sliced vel}' thin and
a particular dish. eaten raw or only
lightly cooked.
it's best sliced thick and fried,
grilled, or baked.
Prosci utto is actually a
ham, meaning that it's made
from fresh pork from the hind
legs. To make prosciutto, hams Fat back is used
from specially fed hogs are sea to keep lean
soned, salt- cured, and air meats moist while
dried for close to a year. This they cook.
long aging process leaves the
meat firm, dry, and ready to toughen. Stir it into soups and Salt pork is made from the
savor with no further cooking. stews at the last minute. fatty part of the belly,
True prosciutto di Parma Ham hocks give flavor and knuckle, and shoulder of the
(literally "ham from Parma") texture to slow-cooked stews pig and is heavily salted but cooking fat (lard) or cut into
can only be produced in the and bean soups. Hocks are cut not smoked. Recipes often strips for threading into lean
region of Parma in Italy and from the lower legs and con call for salt pork to be soaked cuts of meat (a technique
hasn't been available in the tain bone, lean meat, rind, or blanched to make it less known as larding) . The sheets
United States until recently. and fat. They're most often salty before it's used to add are used to wrap meats to keep
While there are several do cooked whole in a soup or savory fat to dishes such as them moist when roasted (a
mestic prosciuttos, it's worth stew and removed before clam chowder and collard technique called barding) .
seeking out the real thing. serving. The little bit of ten greens. Cracklings, small pieces of
Prosciutto is best eaten as der, flavorful meat can then be Fat back is neither smoked salt pork or fat back that are
is, sliced thin and paired with pulled or cut from the hock nor cured, but it deserves fried until crispy, are added
melon or figs, on a crusty sand and added back into the dish. mention here because it's of to cornbread or used as a
wich, or as a pizza topping. It's Ham hocks are often salted ten confused with salt pork. crunchy garnish.
also used to season soups, and heavily smoked; these are Fat back is the pure, unpro -Molly Stevens, a Fine Cook
sauces, and stews, but unlike best in dishes with fresh vege cessed fat taken from the pig's ing contributing editor, is a chef/
pancetta (with which it's often tables and beans. Fresh ham back or belly; it's sold in slabs instructor at the New England
confused) , prosciutto should hocks pair well with cured or in thin sheets. The slabs are Culinary Institute in Essex,
not be cooked because it will vegetables, such as sauerkraut. usually rendered to make Vermont.

74 FINE COOKING
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FLAVORINGS

M ustard, fro m S ubtle


to Scorching

All varieties of the mus


tard plant flower to a
glowing yellow, including

W here I live in Cali


fornia, yellow mustard
fields are the first sign of
be one of the
simplest, handiest seasonings
around.
this white mustard.

BRASSICA A LBA
spring. Before the orchards
bloom, before the vineyards SMALLER, DARKER S E E DS
leaf out, the mustard plants M EAN M O R E I NT E N S E
flower, luminous in the gray F LAVO R
light of rainy skies. This fast All mustard begins as seed, today 's com
growing annual plant thrives and the darker and smaller mercial mustards are
in the long daylight hours the seed, the hotter and more blended from a combination
of su mmer throughou t the flavorful it is. Add mustard of brown and white seeds.
northern hemisphere. seed to chutneys or curries. has a slightly larger seed M u stard seed is inert and
In markets, you'll find Throw some into a marinade that's grown throughout flavorless until it's crushed
mustard in three forms for a roast; the seeds will the world and widely used and the intense flavor of its
whole seed, powder, and pre add aroma and texture . commercially. Subspecies essential oils is released by a
pared paste. Each appears to Stored in a tightly closed range in color from pale to liquid. Acid slightly retards
be quite different from the container, mustard seed will dark brown; all are highly aro this process, preserving the
other, though they all origi keep up to a year. matic and "tasted" at the back flavor and taming it some
nate from the stick-shaped B l a c k m u stard (Brassica of the nose, in the sinuses. what. This is why many pre
seed pods of the glowing yel nigra) is the most potent. Dif Today, what's sold as black pared mustards are made with
low mustard plant. In any ficult to harvest, it's no longer seed is actu ally oriental acidic liquids, such as vinegar,
guise, mustard is marvelously commercially grown, as the brown mustard, a hotter sub wine, or ale. Chinese and
versatile, and once you grasp delicate seed pods explode species developed to replace Japanese mustards are made
the chemistry of the little and scatter when ripe. Black the black. with water; this, along with a
mustard seed, you'll find it to mustard is found in the Mid Wh ite m u stard (B. alba) fiery variety of seed, accounts
east and in Asia. An invasive has pale yellow seeds and is for their intensity.
Brown mustard seed can be pale to plant that can grow up to sometimes called yellow mus
dark brown. Some varieties look like 1 2 feet high, it produces the tard. Slightly larger than A darker, stronger variety of brown
white seed, but if you feel it in your smallest, darkest, most in brown seed, white mustard seed has been cultivated to replace
sinuses, it's brown mustard seed. tensely flavored seeds. seed has little aroma, but it's black mustard seed, which is difficult
Brown mustard (B. juncea) spicy hot and is "tasted" on to harvest. This dark-brown strain
is native to the Himalayas and the tip of the tongue. Most of delivers some of the potent kick of
true black mustard seed.

76
You'll find mustard seed in powder only to cold liquids, as the chiefingredient in Amer pestle, or start with mustard
grocery stores, health-food its volatile oils are heat sensi ican ballpark mustard, it's powder, add one part cold
stores, and Asian markets. tive; hot liquid can turn dry prohibited in Dijon mustard. water to three parts mustard
The seed is seldom labeled mustard bitter and off tasting, Tewkesbury, England, is fa powder and mix into a paste;
white or brown, and despite and long exposure to heat can mous for its horseradish then add five to eight parts
their names, there isn't a dra kill the flavor complete ly. flavored mustard . Ge rman acid. Proportions vary, and
matic color difference be (Once dry mustard is mixed mustard may have turmeric the formula's simplicity in
tween the two. White seed is into a pas te, higher tempera in it, and French a hint of tar vites experimentation-try
larger than brown, and if you tures pose no problem.) ragon; both of these are often vinegar, lime j u ice, white
taste it on the tip of your wine, or dark beer. Garden
tongue, you'll know it's white. herbs or something sweet like
If you taste it in your sinuses, M ustard 's flavoring power goes far honey can balance the pun
it's probably brown seed. gency and acid.
beyond savories-try mustard powder Homemade mustards ben
DRY M U STARD'S POWER efit from a week or two of
R E L I ES O N COLD L I Q U I D in cookie dough or spice cake batter. cu ring in the refrigerator
Dry mustard (also called mus (where all mustards should
tard powder or mustard flour) be kept after opening) . The
is crushed and milled mustard P R E PARED M U STARD based on coarse-ground mus mustard recipes in Michele
seed. Coleman's dry mustard I S A S I M PLE PASTE tard seed, resulting in a grainy Anna Jordan's The Good
from England is made from a Probably because it's so easy mustard. Japanese mustard, Cook's Book of Mustard are
mixture of brown and white to make, prepared mustard is the hottest of all, traditionally some of the best around.
seeds, and it sets the standard a global favorite, from the favored fiery black seed
for dry mustards. As with any American ballpark variety, to mixed with wasabi (the pun Sally Small grows mustard in
spice, the intensity of dry scorching Asian, to the vener gent J apanese horseradish) , her orchards at the Pettigrew
mustard fades a few months able Dijon mustard, the prep though most mustard in Fruit Company in Walnut
after it's ground. aration of which is coptrolled J apan is made with brown Grove, California.
Dry mustard is a great by French law. Prepfud mus seed. Chinese mustard may
emulsifier for vinaigrettes and tard smoothes sauces and contain chile or sesame.
an ideal thickener for cold mayonnaise, emulsifies vinai To make your own m us
sauces. The powder's flavor grettes (and saves broken tard, grind the seeds in a
intensifying powers don't stop ones) , and adds zip to dips, spice grinder or mortar and
at savory dishes: cookie, cake, beans, stews, and marinades.
and even custard recipes may In its prepared state, mustard
call for dry mustard to amplify can be added to hot or cold
their flavor. mixtures. Add it near the
When you mix dry mus end of the cooking time to
tard with liquid, the result is give food a more pro
prepared mustard. Add the nounced mustard flavor.
The flavor of prepared
White mustard seed is slightly larger de
m u stard varies widely,
than brown and delivers a bite you pending on the origin of the
feel at the tip of your tongue. recipe. While white seed is

Mustard is a favorite ingredient all


over the world, from subtle Oijon
(top), to full-flavored American ball-
park (middle), to shrieking-hot
Chinese (bottom).

AU GUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 77
FOOD SCIENCE

Taking the Fear


Out of Frying
P erfectly fried food is hard
to resist. French fries, crab
fritters, and shrimp tempura,
fat, which is in part respon
sible for fried food's bad nutri
tional reputation.
all have a crisp, golden crust
that surrounds a tender cen F RY FAST B U T
ter. Done right, fried food is T H O RO U G H LY
neither heavy nor greasy, but Cooking time and tempera
doing it right takes a little ture are important when fry
knowledge and practice. So ing. Throughout frying, the fat
many variables are involved should be hot enough to keep
in frying that some people the water in the food boiling
swear it's as much art as it is and producing steam, but not
science. What follows is some so hot that it chars the outside
of the science. before the inside cooks.
The average temperature
WAT E R P LAYS A KEY ROLE for successful frying is about
IN F RY I N G 3 7 5F, but that can vary de
All foods contain water, and pending on the food and the
for most it's a major compo results you're after.
nent. The basic principle of Cooking time depends on
frying involves water move the temperature of the fat and
ment. When a food, whether food, as well as the amount of
a sliced potato or a chicken food, its size, shape, and mois
leg, is submerged in hot fat, ture content. For best results,
the high heat boils the water consider these variables:
nearest the food's surface, and Cook high-moisture food
the steam that results rushes l o n g e r at lower te m pera
out. This continues as water If food with a high
t u re s .
in the center of the food water content ( like french
moves toward the surface. fries made with a high
This outward push of moisture new potato) is fried
steam accomplishes two at too high a temperature, a
things: it cools the surface of crust will form too quickly.
the food, preventing the out This traps the steam inside, A rush of steam from frying food causes the fat to bubble and keeps the
side from burning; and it which makes the food turn food from charring.
keeps the oil from seeping limp as it cools. On the other
into the food. As the moisture hand, frying food with a low
inside is reduced, the rush of water content (like a starchy oil to decrease dramatically, that they cook in the same
steam slows. This allows the potato) for too long will cause resulting in a long cooking amount of time.
surface of the food to heat the water to steam off and be time and greasy food. Adding High temperatures (375
and brown and lets only a replaced by oil, making for a small batch of cold food to a to 390) are ideal for small,
little oil seep into the chan greasy, sunken fried food. large amount of hot oil will thin pieces of food. Larger
nels created by the escaping A d d i n g food to hot o i l make the temperature drop pieces fried at these high tem
steam to cook the inside of reduces t h e o i l 's tempera only slightly and briefly. peratures run the risk of burn
the food. Food left in the ture. Putting a large amount Equal size pieces of food ing on the outside before the
hot oil after all its water has of cold food into hot oil will cook evenly. Keep the pieces inside is cooked; they may do
steamed off will absorb excess cause the temperature of the offood about the same size so better at 3 50 to 36SO.

78 FINE COOKING
F ry it twice for eve n l y Nevertheless, fresh or min
c o o ked f o o d w i t h a c r i s p imally used fats produce the
crust. Because frying at a low best fried foods. As the fat
temperature may not provide deteriorates, its surface ten
the desired brown crust, sion lessens, making it soak
some foods are best fried into foods much faster. At the
twice. Fry the food first at a least, this gives you soggy,
low temperature, like 3 5 0, greasy food . Worse, deterio
to give it a head start on thor rating fat can taste rancid and
ough cooking. Then remove can even become toxic. And,
the food from the oil, in because even a single use of a
crease the temperature of the fat at a high temperature can

Done right, fried food is neither

heavy nor greasy, but

delicate, crisp, and full of flavor.

oil to 390, and fry the food lower its flash point (the tem
again to finish the cooking perature at which it will com
and crisp the surface . bust) , used oil has the poten
tial to burst into flame at a
C H O O S E T H E R I G HT FAT dangerously low temperature. The more sugar in a batter, the darker the fried food. The fritters on the left,
Fats suitable for frying should mode with a sugarless batter, cook up lighter. The batter for the fritters on the
have a high smoking point, B R EAD I N G S A N D BATTERS right used corn syrup, which caramelizes, making the fritters darker.
such as peanut, corn, canola, Many fried foods include a
or safflower oil. Once a fat breading or batter. Here are a
begins to smoke, it gives off few things to consider when pending on what you're after. whites are an ideal ingredient.
an acrid odor, and foods fried using them. Sugar in an onion-ring batter,
in it can have an unpleasant A f i n e -c r u m b b re a d i n g for example, will make the rings Shirley 0. Corriher, of Atlanta,
flavor. Extra-virgin olive oil, absorbs less fat, but a coarse brown before the onion cooks. teaches food science and cook
for example, isn't good for fry one will be crisper. The more fat in a batter, ing classes across the country.
ing because it breaks down S ugar speeds browni n g . the more fat it will absorb. She is a contributing editor for
before it reaches the neces This can be good or bad, de- For a light, dry, batter, egg Fine Cooking.
sary high temperatures.
C o n s i d e r flavor, too. A T I P S FOR F R Y I N G
fat's flavor may not be notice What t o do Why
able in highly seasoned fried Adjust the temperature Small thin pieces fry quickly at high temperatures, while large, thick
foods, but it is in delicate to the size of the food. pieces need a lower temperature to ensure they'll be cooked through.
foods, so choose the fat ac Keep the pieces of food To ensure all food will be done at the same time.
cordingly. uniform in size.
Use fresh fat. Many chefs Add food to the fryer in batches. Adding cold food to hot oil reduces the oil's temperature. Maintaining
swear that foods brown best proper frying temperature limits grease absorption.
when fried in oil that has For extra-crisp fried food, pre-fry If the inside is cooked, the food can be fried again quickly and at a high
been used at least once. And it at a lower temperature. temperature, resulting in a brown, crisp crust.
they're right: each time a fat Keep the surface area of the Evaporating water lowers the fat's temperature, deteriorates the fat,
is used for frying, it picks up food dry. and causes it to splatter.
proteins and sugars, which, as Use a fat with a high smoking point. To fry food safely and with no off flavors.
they caramelize, contribute to Be sure the frying fat is fresh. Deteriorated fats can have an off-taste, can soak into foods faster, and
the rich golden crust of the can burst into flames at lower temperatures.
fried food.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 79
REVIEWS

T he Art of Detailed directions and homespun


wisdom from a Vermont farm

Preserving
house kitchen.

I grew u p in a home where


preserving food was a satis
fying summer ritual. One of
tion, where I was introduced
to organic home gardening.
The most recent edition, pub
my aunts specialized in bread lished in 1 986, holds true to
and-butter pickles, another the book's original premise:
made the bright, tangy green "If you grow your own food,
tomato relish known as pic you've got it made over those
calilli. M om's specialty was who must rely on the grocery
strawberry jam. store or supermarket for their
I still spend late - summer daily sustenance." Although
weekends putting up what I the book is written for those
can of the harvest. Since my who would plant, harvest,
family is no longer nearby, I and preserve all that they eat,
keep my favorite books close there is plenty of information
at hand. I cherish one for its here for those of us who "rely
step -by- step guidance, an on the grocery store."
other for its comprehensive More than half of this
overview of preserving meth thick tome is devoted to vege
ods. A third is thoughtfully tables and fruits, starting with
designed for that side of me alphabetical lists of good var
that thinks I ' m too busy to ieties to grow and where to
stop and make pickles, and a buy seeds. Subsequent chap
fourth I keep on hand for the ters cover harvesting, can
sheer pleasure of its prose. ning, freezing, drying, and root
Putting Food By, by ] anet some would-be home can cellaring. The text includes
Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and A comprehensive guide to preserv ners, careful readers will gain directions for building food
Beatrice Vaughan, provides ing, with directions for threshing a solid understanding of j ust dryers and root cellars.
more information than most wheat and making cheese. what happens to food when This self- sufficient ap
weekend j am makers need, it's preserved. proach continues through
but that's why I love it. Fruits and vegetables get every major food group. The
There's nothing poetic here, salt, yet the book's attitude most of the authors' attention, dairy chapter has recipes for
j ust practical wisdom derived and appearance remain de but there are a few brief chap homemade cheeses, from "in
from years of preserving foods cidedly old-fashioned. I can ters on preserving meats and stant" mozzarella to Cheddar,
in a Vermont farmhouse hear my grandmother's voice seafood, as well as thorough as well as yogurt, butter, and
kitchen. Every year, I find my in such common- sense ad descriptions of curing, drying, ice cream. A chapter on nuts
self turning to these pages for vice as "Even with root cellar smoking, and root cellaring. and grains instructs readers
the classic recipes I love, such ing and drying, you'll want The range of the recipes is on harvesting, hu lling or
as beet relish, dilly beans, and some apples put by as sauce, impressive. Nowhere else have threshing, and processing the
apple butter. The revised dessert slices, or pie timber." I found instructions for freez grains or nuts into flours or
fourth edition of this 1 9 7 3 What Putting Food By lacks ing eels beside instructions for nut butters. Even though I
guide includes advice for in glitz, it repays in clear step making strawberry j am. don't thresh my own grain or
modern techniques (micro by-step explanations. While Stocking Up, by Carol maintain a herd of milking
waving, for example) and rec the authors' energy for pre Huping, is billed as the "clas goats, I enjoy Huping's com
ipes that appeal to contempo serving by every possible sic preserving guide." I grew prehensive explanations.
rary tastes for less sugar and method might overwhelm up using my mother's first edi- (Continued 011 p. 82)

80 FINE COOKING
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REVIEWS
I liked J eanne The voices and the sen Moroccan spiced pepper rel
Lesem's Preserving sibilities of the two authors ish that was Fisher's favor
Today from the mo make for delightful read ite)-all for high-acid foods
ment I saw it. Those ing that goes far beyond that require little or no spe
intimidated by making what we need to know cial processing. Sweet and sa
their own preserves will to make Damson Plum vory preparations are printed
welcome this helpfu l Jam. Fisher's notes range side by side, and the yields are
guide, which is geared to from the simple "Who is generally quite small (two to
cooks with busy sched Hugh? " scribbled next five pints) .
ules who enjoy fresh new to a recipe for Hugh's Some of the food-handling
flavors. Mustard Pickle, to the advice may cause the cau
The first chapter, "Get more lyrical flights we tious cook to raise an eyebrow
ting Started," provides a associate with this ("preserving jars and glasses
straightforward approach to passionate writer and need not be sterilized") , and
preserving. No special equip cook. "There is prob- the instructions for paraffin
ment is required, and low ably no better smell sealing are too vague to guar
acid foods that need careful than the forthright antee success for novice j am
treatment or pose safety risks cloud that fills a makers. The brief section on
are avoided altogether. room, a memory, as equipment is a bit outdated.
The 1 68 recipes encom the fat bubbles in the Still, this unique guide is (to
pass the familiar (Strawberry quote Fisher) " .. .fun to read

:-=, =,ERVING
='".====;;;;n
Rhubarb J am) as well as the and to use. It has given me
exotic (Cactus Pear Marma
lade) . Tropical and e thnic
foods, such as mango, guava,
Inventive, forthright recipes for
cooks who think they have no
time for preserving.
:;::N:PlE
1;;' 1
IL l ,: ", '
F SIIE 'I'S 1 \'
,
many years of ple as ure .
Thank you, Mrs. Plage-
mann." And, I'll add,
11:/J:;"\ S'1l U)'''''O\ OF
< . I , I I ",Ill \'" PI.
thank you, Mrs. Fisher.
' J(
!.I '''I!( J( ,,,

While Fine Preserving may be


PUBLISHING
less practical than other books, I N FORMATION
Putting Food By, by Janet
I cherish it for the Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and
Beatrice Vaughan, The
sheer pleasure of its prose. Stephen Greene Press, 1 988,
$ 1 2.95, softcover; 420 pp.
ISBN 0-452-26899-0.
and feijoa, add interest to the from friends and Stocking Up, by Carol Huping.
collection. Lesem's "Market neighbors and testing

===;;';r Hu "'"' "'".==j


The Rodale Food Center.
Guide" helps readers identify them in her kitchen. " l l ' H \ l I n ln
Simon & Schuster, 1 986.
freshness and quality in less In 1 986, Aris Books $ 1 7.95, softcover; 62 7 pp.
familiar produce. A chapter discovered M. E K. Fisher's ISBN 0-671 -69395-6.
on sweet and savory sauces copy of Fine Preserving, in M. F, K. Fisher annotated Preserving Today, by Jeanne
includes enticing recipes for which she had scribbled her this chatty recipe collection by a Lesem. Alfred A. Knopf, 1 992 .
several pestos, duck sauce, thoughts alongside many of New York homemaker. $23, hardcover; 264 pp. ISBN
and a variety of dessert sauces. the recipes. The resulting edi 0-394-58653-0.
The recipes are given for tion includes Fisher's notes in jam pot rise darker from the Fine Preserving, M. F. K. Fisher's
small quantities and keep an the margins of Plagemann's bottom. Stir! Stir fast! " Annotated Edition of Catherine
eye on the amounts of salt original text. While this book The book's thirty chapters Plagemann 's Cookbook, Aris
and sugar. Unpretentious and may be less practical than are arranged alphabetically Books, 1 986. $9.95, softcover;
modern throughout, the book some, it's one of the most by ingredient. Each recipe 1 32 pp. ISBN 0-943 1 86-31 -5.
includes a chapter on micro cherished editions in my cook begins with an anecdote ex
wave do's and don'ts. ing library. Although the pub pressing Plagemann's rela Molly Stevens makes jams and
Fine Preserving was writ lishers have allowed this book tionship with the recipe or jellies at her home in Vermont.
ten in 1 96 7 by Catherine to go out of print, it's well the source. There are some A chef/instructor at the New
Plagemann, a homemaker worth searching the shelves of very good and unusual rec England Culinary Institute,
from upstate New York. She your favorite used book store ipes here-Pickled Grapes, she is a contributing editor for
spent years collecting recipes to locate this treasure. Banana J am, chermoula (a Fine Cooking.

82 FINE COOKI G
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GAME SALES@,INTERNATIONAL'I:r-
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the rest.

Subscriber Service Dept . Small Cl asse


s . Hands-on Curriculum
The Taunton P ress
. Accelerated A.O.S. Degree
P.O. Box 5506
63 South Main Street &ottsdale CALL
(602) 990-3773
Newtown, CT 06470-5506 Culinary (800) 848-2433
Institute Scottsdale, Arizona

ADVERTISER INDEX/READER SERVICE INFORMATION


Reader Reader Reader Reader
Service ADVERTISER Page
No. Service ADVERTISER Page
No. Service ADVERTISER Page
No. Service ADVERTISER Page
No.
No. No. No. No.
47 Action Industries 29 28 Chefwear 17 37 Fungus Foods 85 25 Rafal Spice Co. 85
AGA Cookers 88 53 Chesapeake Bay 20 G & R Publishing Co. 87 36 Replacements Ltd. 88
45 Antique Mall Gourmet 86 61 Game Sales Scottsdale Culinary
& Crown Restaurant 13 62 Chile La Isla 85 International 83 Institute 83
Armeno Coffee 88 43 The Compleat Cooker 87 41 Hamilton Bargain 72 Shopper's Delight 86
3 B & L Specialty 18 Contemporary Culinary Books 86 29 Sierra On-Line, Inc. 13
Foods 1 7 , 87 Design 85 27 Kelly & Sons 87 56 Simply Shaker 73
46 Banton Peppermills 73 14 Cookbooks by Morris 73 Kevlar 3-Ply Glove 86 32 Smith Cutlery 86
17 BelGioioso Cheese 23 Press 85 70 Kitchen Krafts 85 30 Somerset Gourmet Beef 23
31 Bertolli Olive Oil 6, 7 58 De Loach Vineyards 91 Land O'Lakes 2, 3 69 Strawberry Hill Bakery 13
7 Bilinski's Mailbox 38 EarthStone Wood-Fire 15 Lifetime Career Schools 87 51 Sullivan College 17
Gourmet 85 Ovens 85 2 Liz Seeber Books 88 12 Swissco Foods 86
6 Bobby Pope's Mom's 63 Eden Foods 2 1 , 23, 25 57 Maple Leaf Farms 25 16 Teitel Bros. 86
Poundcake 87 Elephant Brand 40 Mugnaini Imports 25 5 Upton Tea Imports 85
60 The British Shoppe 86 Basmati Rice 9 8 Pepper Mill Imports 87 52 Vacmaster 87
42 Cambridge School of 13 Embellishments 85 Plaza Linda Gourmet 26 Vita-Mix 81
Culinary Arts 85 21 FiveStar Ranges 21 Foods 85 Western Culinary Inst. 27
55 Chef Direct 86 22 Fortuna's Sausage 87 Professional Cutlery 34 Wild Thymes 87
59 Chef Revival 73 67 French Culinary Direct 86, 87 44 Wilma Saxton 86
19 Chef's Catalog 27 Institute 11 24 Professional Home 48 Windsor Vineyards 13
39 Chef's Collection 85 71 Frozen Margaritas 85 Kitchens 87 33 Wolf Range Co. 27

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1996 83
CALENDAR

ALABAMA HAWAII N EW M EXICO


2 2 nd Annual Sorghum Sopping Maui Chefs Present Bistro Boule Santa F e Wine & Chile Fies ta---S
ep
Days---September 15-16, Waldo. See vard---September 13, Lahaina Center, tember 28, Santa Fe. Call 505!982-8686.
sorghum being made the old-fashioned MauL Bistro fare created by a dozen of
N EW YORK
way and enjoy hot biscuits and sausage Maui's top chefs. Call S08/667-9193.
American Cheese Society Confer
with sorghum for sopping. Call Wayne Taste of Lahaina---September 14-15,
ence-August 1-3, Culinary Institute
Collier at 205/362-8493. Lahaina Center, Maui. Hawaii's largest of America, Hyde Park. Educational
culinary festival, with chefs from over workshops, panel discussions, cheese
40 ofMaui's best resraurants and food competition, Chefs Challenge (CIA
ARKANSAS service companies. Ca1l 80S/667 -9 194. chefs create original recipes with spe
20th Annual Hope
I LLINOIS cialty cheeses), and festival of cheeses:
Watermelon Festival-
Best of the Midwest Market a t Ra a tasting of ACS members' finest prod
August 15- 1 8, Fair Park,
vinia---September 8, Ravinia Festival ucts. Call Ruth Flore, 800/884-6287.
Hope. Highlights in
Cooking classes-Peter Kump's
clude melon j udging Grounds, Highland Park. Food and
School of Culinary Arts, New York
and auction, water beverages from 12 Midwestern states.
City. August 5-9: Techniques of Pastry
melon-eating contest, Ca1l 3 12-RAVINIA.
& Baking I & II; Techniques of Cake
seed-spitting contest,
I N DIANA Decorating l . August 12-16: Tech
Watermelon Olympics, fish
fry, cake walk, and a
Sorghum & Cider Making Days niques of Spa Cuisine. August 19-23:
September 14-15, Billie Creek Village, Young Teens Cooking Camp. Call
Watermelon Festival parade
Rockville. Old-fashioned sorghum 2 12/4 1 0-460 1 .
with a queen presiding. For infor
mation, call 50 11777 -3640. making using a horse-powered cane
PENNSYlVANIA
press, and cider-pressing on an IS74
National Mushroom Festival---Sep
apple press using heirloom apple vari
CALIFORNIA tember 1 3-15, Kennett Square. Din
eties. Ca1l 3 17/569-3430.
1 2th Annual Blackberry Festival ner dance, mushroom farm tours,
Persimmon Festival-September
August 1 0 , Anderson Marsh State mushroom cook- off competition,
2 1 -2S, Main Street, Mitchell. Per mushroom-picking demonstrations
Historic Park on Clear Lake, Lower
simmon pudding cooking contest, and mushroom dishes. Call 800/932-
Lake. Call 800/5 25 -3743.
persimmon novelty desserts contest, 6369.
Mendocino Bounty-August 1 7, Fet
and more. CaIl SOO/5S0-19S5. 105th Annual McClure Bean Soup
zer Food & Wine Center at Valley
Oaks, Hopland. Sample food and wine KENTUCKY Celebration-September 1 0- 1 4 , Mc
ftom more than 1 00 county producers. 27th Annual Marion County Ham Clure. Ca1l 800!33S-7389.
Call 707/462-3306. Days-September 2S-29, Main RHODE I S LAND
A La Carte, A La Park-August 3 1 , Street, Lebanon. Call 502/692-266 1 . Taste of Rhode Island-September
September 1-2, Sharon Meadow, Gold
28-29, Newport Yachting Center,
en Gate Park, San Francisco. Festival of LOUI S IANA
Newport. Call Lynda, 401/846- 1 600,
food, music, and wine, with 50 of the Tabasco Community Cookbook
x290.
city's best restaurants and chefs, 20 Awards competition-deadline for
Sonoma County wines, and entertain entries: September 30, 1 996. Cook SOUTH DAKOTA
Send event announcements ment. Call 4 1 5!383-93 7S. books compiled by local nonprofit or Corn Palace Festival-September
American Harvest Workshop: Cele ganizations in 1 995 or 1996 are eligible 13-22, Mitchell. Extraordinary murals
brate America's Table---September 7, to enter the contest, which recognizes on the exhibition house walls using
to Calendar, Fine Cooking, Cakebread Cellars, Rutherford. Educa outstanding books published for fund naturally pigmented corn; agricultural
tional seminars, cooking demon raising purposes. Winners receive cash displays, food booths, concerts, and a
PO Box 5506, Newtown, strations, and a farmers' -market-style contributions for designated charities. carnival. Call 800/257 -CORN.
food and wine tasting. A multi-course For an entry form, send a SASE ro Ta
dinner will be paired with an array of TEXAS
basco Community Cookbook Awards,
Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festi
CT 06470-5506. I nclude Cakebread Cellars wines. Call Karen c/o Hunter & Associates, 4 1 Madison
Cakebread, 707/963-522 1. val-August 25, Central Park, Austin.
Ave., New York, NY 1001 0-2202.
3 7th Annual Artichoke Festival Contest, tastings of over 320 salsas and
dates, a complete address, September 2S-29, Castroville. Call MAINE pepper sauces. Competition open to
40S/633-2465. Maine Lobster Festival-August 1--4, the public. Call Elizabeth, 5 1 21454-
Harbor Park, Rockland. CaIl SOO/LOB 5766.
and the phone number to CONN ECTICUT CLAW or 207/596-0376.
A Taste of History from Mystic Sea VERMONT
Winter Harbor Lobster Festival Intervale Food Festival: Celebrating
port-August 1-4, Mystic. Demon
call for more information. August 10, Winter Harbor, Schoodic the Garden---September 14, Burling
strations of 19th century cooking in a
Peninsula. Call 800-2 3 1-3008. ton. Organic fresh food extravaganza
Victorian home, a ship's galley, and a
wayside tavern, plus tastings and pe MARYlAND featuring cooking demonstrations by
listi ngs are free, but chefs from New England Culinary
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is September 1. tickets, call 203/967 -623S. apple cookery. Call 800/5 14-91 13. Call Dan Edwards at 360/683-4015.

84 F I N E COOKI G
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88 FINE COOKING
INDEX
RECIPES Poultry Potato Salad with Seafood Chiles, choosing 32-33; combin-
Classic Chicken Bastila 5 7 & Sweet Corn 40 ing 3 2 ; grilling 34; peeling 34
COVER RECIPE Grilled Chicken Salpic6n 34 Roasted Vegetable &
Potato Salad Fruit, for sorbets 68
Peaches with Dried-Cherry Vegetable with Oregano Relish &
Feta 39 Herbs for sorbets 68
Shortcake 50 Tiny Potatoes with Bacon
Potato Salad with Seafood
APPETIZERS &Sweet Corn 40 &Cayenne-Toasted Pecans 3 9
Ketchup, history of 52-53
Lamb, loin or leg 63 ; roasting 64-65;
Batter-Fried Zucchini & Blossoms 45 Zucchini "Noodles" 45 Zucchini "Noodles" 4 5
stuffing 64-65; trussing 64-66
Chiles Frios (Guacamole in SALADS
Zucchini-Tomato Fans 44
Merguez 63
roasted green chiles) 34
Potato Salad with Seafood SOUPS, STEWS & STOCKS Ouarka, about 56

BREADS &Sweet Corn 40 Curried Zucchini Soup 44 Peaches, baking with 4 9 ; blanch
Rosemary Flatbread 4 7 Roasted Vegetable &
Potato Salad ing 50; choosing 49; peeling 50;
with Oregano Relish Feta 39& TEC H N I QU E S ripening 49; slicing 50
DESSERTS, CAKES Tiny Potatoes with Bacon Phyllo, working with 5 6
& PASTRY &Cayenne-Toasted Pecans 39
Baking o n a stone 47
Blanching peaches 50 Potatoes, boiling 38; choosing 3 8 ;
Baked Stuffed Peaches with a Late dressing38; drying boiled 3 8
Harvest Riesling Sauce 5 1 SAUCES, CONDIMENTS Canning 60-6 1
Grilled Pineapple with & PICKLES Charring onions 53
Salt, for pickling 60

Bu tter-Rum Sauce 3 5 Chiles Frias (Guacamole in Grilling chiles 34


Semolina, about 46

Lemon-Rosemary Sorbet 70 roasted green chiles) 34 Sugar, in sorbets 68-69


Mixing flatbread dough 46
Mango-Lime Sorbet 7 1 Dill Chips 61 Tomatoes, for ketchup 5 3
Peeling, chiles 34; peaches 50
Orange-Basil Sorbet 7 1 Garlic-Herb Green Beans 6 1 Vinegar, for pickling 60
Peach Tart 5 1 Grilled Pica de Gallo Pickling 59-6 1
Zucchini, batter-frying 43; choos-
(Chunky vegetable salsa) 3 5 Poaching fruit for sorbets 68 ing 42; slicing into "noodles" 43;
Peaches with Dried-Cherry
Shortcake 50 Ketchup from "Home" 5 3 Roasting a lamb loin 64-65 flowers 42; grilling 43; roast
Plum-Raspberry Sorbet 7 1 Mint & Basil Pesto 45 Rolling flatbread dough 46 ing 43; sauteing 43

Raspberry-Chambord Sorbet 70 Pickled Beets with


Slicing peaches 50
an Orange Accent 6 1 TOOLS
Strawberry-Grapefruit Sorbet 7 1 Stuffing a lamb loin 64-65
Pickled Chile Peppers 6 1
Canners 60
MAIN DISHES Trussing a stuffed lamb loin 64-66
S I D E DISHES Canning jars 60
Meat
Lamb Loin with Spinach-Merguez Batter-Fried Zucchini & Blossoms 45 I N G R E D I ENTS Jar lifters 60
Stuffing &
Olive-Infused Sauce 65 Couscous Timbale 66 Alcohol, i n sorbets 69 Ice-cream makers 70

NUTRITION INFO TION


RMA
Recipe (analysis per serving) Page Calories Protein Carb Fats (g) Chol Sodium Fiber Notes
total fat (g) (g) total sat mono poly (mg) (mg) (g)
Chiles Frios 34 21 0 76% 3 13 18 3 10 3 o 150 4
Grilled Chicken Salpicon 34 430 61 % 29 14 29 4 19 3 75 280 3
Grilled Pico de Gallo 35 50 41% 8 2.5 0.5 1.5 0.5 o 65 2 per V. cup
Grilled Pineapple with Butter-Rum Sauce 35 310 37% 41 13 7 4 1 30 15
Roasted Vegetable & Potato Salad 39 210 43% 5 27 10 3 6 1 10 230 4 per Y, cuP
Tiny Potatoes with Bacon & Pecans 39 21 0 60% 3 19 14 2 8 4 5 360 2 per Y, cup
Potato Salad with Seafood & Sweet Corn 40 170 55% 8 11 10 2 3 5 55 410 per Y, cup
Zucchini-Tomato Fans 44 130 57% 3 12 8 1 6 1 o 280 3
Curried Zucchini Soup 44 200 51 % 4 24 11 2 8 1 o 570 5 per cup
Zucchini "Noodles" 45 40 0% 3 8 0 0 0 0 o 540 3
Mint & Basil Pesto 45 45 82% 4 1 2.5 0.5 o 75 o per Tbs.
Batter-Fried Zucchini & Their Blossoms 45 310 49% 5 33 17 3 8 4 40 220 2 per Y. reCipe
Rosemary Flatbread 47 260 40% 5 33 11 2 8 1 o 430 per Y,o recipe
Peaches with Dried-Cherry Shortcake 50 740 59% 8 73 49 30 14 2 200 520 4
Peach Tart 51 540 36% 7 82 22 13 7 1 160 280 4 per Y. recipe

Baked Stuffed Peaches 51 250 34% 4 33 9 3 5 1 10 15 6


Ketchup from "Home" 53 10 0% 2 o 0 0 0 0 o 65 o per Tbs.
Classic Chicken Bastila 57 660 54% 37 40 39 14 15 7 240 730 3
Lamb Loin & Spinach-Merguez Stuffing 65 730 62% 59 7 51 18 22 7 205 2530 1
Couscous Timbale 66 240 39% 5 31 10 1 8 1 o 540 3
Raspberry-Chambord Sorbet 70 90 0% 20 0 0 0 0 o o 2 per y, cup
Lemon-Rosemary Sorbet 70 21 0 0% o 48 0 0 0 0 o o o per y, cup
Orange-Basil Sorbet 71 120 0% 27 0 0 0 0 o o o per y, cup
Mango-Lime Sorbet 71 190 0% 48 0 0 0 0 o o 3 per y, cup

Plum-Raspberry Sorbet 71 150 0% 37 0 0 0 0 o o 2 per y, cup


Strawberry-Grapefruit Sorbet 71 130 0% o 29 0 0 0 0 o o per y, cup

The nutritional analyses have been calculated by a registered dietitian at The Food Consulting Company the calculations. Optional ingredients and those listed without a specific quantity are not included.
of San Diego, California. When a recipe gives a choice of ingredients, the first choice is the one used in When a range of ingredient amounts or servings is given, the smaller amount or portion is used.

AUGUST/S E PT E M B E R 1996 89
TIDBITS

Exploding Desserts
on a Western R iver
folding lounge chairs, set down I did have a lot of cream
their wine glasses to applaud. cheese. Time for cheesecake.
The next night, I made a River cheesecake is by far
chocolate cake in a Dutch the simplest dessert I could
oven and smothered it with a make. Unlike true cheesecake,
fresh raspberry sauce. As I river cheesecake isn't baked.
unveiled the creation, a rain It's composed solely of cream
cloud swung over us. I be cheese, milk, and Jell-O In
gan to cover the cake, say stant Cheesecake mix. I save
ing that dessert would wait it for the end of the trip, when
until the storm was over. people enter a state of numbed
A woman objected. " I ecstasy over anything I whip
think that i t will not rain. We up. I scooped the embarrass
should eat the cake now." ingly simple mixture of cream
"Have patience," I said. She cheese and sugar into a
wasn't looking at me: she was graham-cracker crust, dotted
fixated by the cake. "Please. it with chocolate chips, and

I n the abstract, a
wine tasting and gourmet
expedition on the Colorado
We should eat it now." I
scowled at her. "The dessert
will wait. The storm is com
handed it to them, saying
"Okay, here's the cheesecake."
At first they wouldn't eat it.
River seemed preposterous. brown sugar and jostled it over ing." She was nearly in tears, They demanded that it be dis
But because I announced the my flame-throwing, high-Btu staring at the cake, "But can't played, that photos be taken.
concept during a wine tasting, propane stove. Rum of such a we just have a bite ? " Drops They paraded it amongs t
and the suggestion provoked proof has the volatility of were falling. "No. Find shelter. themselves. After a week of
slightly intoxicated enthusi gasoline. There was soon an Stay dry." I inverted a stockpot intense, complicated desserts,
astic nodding, it made a lot explosion. I was s uddenly over the cake. As I stayed in I was taken aback by their in
of sense. So I gathered equip clutching a column of flame. the open, tending to the terest in this sadly elementary
ment and led the hardiest of My first instinct was to run. kitchen while the rain percus concoction. Surely, when they
the wine tasters into the Utah I threw the pan and screamed. sively nailed the rocks around tasted it, they would say that
desert where the Colorado The entire flaming mass arced me, the wine tasters huddled the pineapple upside - down
River flows. cake was better. But as they
I'd been guiding and cook The first night, I prepared a flaming each savored their bites, they
ing on rivers for ten years, and shuddered and grinned.
had come to know that dessert banana-and-ice-cream catastrophe. "The best."
is the most important course. "Yes, by far."
lf all e lse failed, shockingly through the air and landed under a stone ledge. "The cake "This tops them all."
beautiful desserts would pull square on a can oflighter fluid, is getting wet," one of them "But," I mumbled quietly,
us through this culinary jour sending sheets of fire across yelped. Raspberry j uice was "the flaming bananas with ice
ney. River desserts are com the ground. My next instinct running out from under the cream and shortbread cook
plicated, requiring precise was to stop the fire quickly. I makeshift lid as rain blew in. I ies? The apple cobbler?"
timing, odd ingredients, a lot j umped on it with my open slung my raincoat over the pot. "Oh, no. This is it. You've
of song and dance, and far too sandals. I stomped and leapt, "Can you bring the cake to outdone yourself."
much effort from me while pounding out the fire as each us under here ?" someone else I sulked and pulled my
wine tasters watch from afar. tiny hair on the top of my feet asked. "NO," I yelled, and supply list ou t of the gear.
The first night, I prepared sizzled and vanished in acrid they all were quiet. Next time, I wrote, bring more
a flaming banana- and-ice smoke. When the fire was out, Toward the end ofthe trip, I cream cheese.
cream catastrophe. I poured I stood there huffing. The wine was running out of inspiration, -Craig Leland Childs,
I B I -proof rum into a pan with tasters, who were all seated in patience, and ingredients, but Ouray, Colorado

90 FINE COOKING
!O N O M A C O U N T Y
RU S S I A N
R I V E R V A L LEY

CHARDONNAY
\qq3
Preserving The sole ingredients for making tradi
tional fruit preserves are fresh fruit and
just enough sugar to literally preserve the

tradition
fruit-you'll find no added pectin, fruc
tose, or concentrated juices. Additives
mean less monitoring to ensure proper
texture, but they compromise the flavor,
"Every batch of fruit has
says preserver Albert Katz. "That's what's
a different water content, "
says Albert Katz, pictured
worth the bother," he says. "Feeling and
here with his daughter, looking at every batch for the proper
Simone. "The thermometer setting point." Traditional preservers, Macerating berries in sugar draws out their juices.
doesn't tell me what I need
like Katz & Company in California's Working in small batches allows preservers more
to know. That's where the
art comes in-knowing by
Napa Valley, buy only fresh, peak-of-the control over moisture content.

feel when the preserves are season fruit that's been hand-picked at
at the proper setting point. " local farms.

Timing is everything. Fruit that isn't cooked long


enough won 't set; cooked too long, the preserves w
taste like burnt caramel.

Handmade preserves have an intensity all their


own, full of concentrated fruit flavor. They contain
far less sugar than jams or jellies and "should tast,
like a mouthful of the fruit itself, " say the Katzes.