Now that the once-exotic hummus has become almost
commonplace, we were happy to discover this Japanese-inflected bean spread from
Hiroko Shimbo's "The Japanese Kitchen" (Harvard Common Press, $16.95). Yes, it
features miso paste, which is made from 2001's most valuable nutritional
player, soybeans. But it's also delicious, versatile (we enjoyed it on rice
crackers but it would be equally delicious on toast or with raw vegetables) and
almost criminally easy to make.
1 cup canned, drained pinto beans
3 tablespoons cashew (or walnut or peanut) butter
2 tablespoons Saikyo miso (sweet white miso)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 small garlic clove
Blend all ingredients and 3 tablespoons warm water in a food processor or
blender until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
This recipe from "Macaroni & Cheese" by Joan Schwartz (Villard Books,
$15.95), is surely the world's best version. We defy anyone to top it. The
dish, from the cozy Manhattan restaurant Chat 'n Chew, originally appeared in
the "Bad as You Wanna Be" column.
Chat 'n Chew
Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter plus extra for the baking dish
1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 small ( 1/4 to 1/2 pound) onion, diced small (about 1/2 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup flour
5 cups (1 1/4 pounds) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 slices American cheese, broken into small pieces
2 cups ( 1/2 pound) grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons green Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-by-4-inch baking
2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil over high heat and cook macaroni
until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
3. In bowl, combine cream and milk.
4. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cook onion and
garlic until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add
flour, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add cream mixture in a steady stream
and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Stir in 4 cups of Cheddar, the American cheese, 1 cup grated Parmesan,
Tabasco and cumin. Stir until all cheese has melted. The sauce will be very
thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Remove sauce from heat and stir in pasta. Pour mixture into prepared
baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar, then the Parmesan, and finally
7. Bake, uncovered, on middle shelf for about 20 minutes, until bubbling
and brown on top. Makes 6 servings.
For a vegetarian feast staged at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, we adapted
this recipe from "The Greens Cookbook" by Deborah Madison with Edward Espe
Brown (Broadway, $29.95) and a number of avowed carnivores were amazed at how
good it was. If your kids have recently eschewed meat, this is the
sandwich/wrap filling your family needs to preserve the peace on your next
outing. By the way, the ingredients here are not carved in stone; leave out any
vegetable or herb that you don't like.
Greens Tofu Salad
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 tablespoons mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
16 ounces firm tofu
1/4 cup finely diced bell pepper
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 tablespoons minced scallions or red onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (any combination of parsley,
thyme, marjoram and savory)
1. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
2. Rinse tofu in cool water. To dry and crumble the tofu, place it in a
clean kitchen towel, gather the corners together, and twist the towel until all
the water has been squeezed out.
3. Put the tofu in a bowl with the vegetables and herbs. Add mayonnaise
mixture and lightly combine everything with a fork. Taste and, if necessary,
add more salt and pepper. Let sit for at least half an hour before eating, so
the flavors of the vegetables and herbs permeate the tofu. Makes enough for 4
Over-the-top baked beans from Brooklyn's Chez Goo Goo restaurant were
served at a pig roast held by Slow Food. Cooks Shirvonne Metcalf and John
LaPorte, who work with chef Gerard McCormick, said they sneaked some duck fat
into the batch of beans they brought to the barbecue, but the boldly flavored
beans, seasoned with bacon, coffee and fruit juice, are wonderful even without
Brooklyn Baked Beans
1 1/2 pounds dried navy beans, rinsed and soaked overnight in water to cover
1 pound smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon ground pepper
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 cup orange juice, divided
1 cup pineapple juice, divided
1 cup black coffee, divided
2 cups chicken stock, divided
1. Rinse soaked beans and place in large pan with enough fresh water to
cover. Cook, covered, over medium heat for an hour or until tender. While beans
cook, continue with steps 2 and 3. When beans are done, drain and discard
2. Saute bacon in a skillet until lightly browned, remove and set aside,
then lightly saute the chopped onions in the remaining bacon fat until
translucent. Remove onions and set aside.
3. In a saucepan, combine maple syrup, molasses, pepper, mustard, ketchup,
tomato paste, brown sugar, Tabasco, 1/2 cup of the orange juice, 1/2 cup of
the pineapple juice, 1/2 cup of the coffee and 1 cup of the stock. Cook over
medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine remaining juices, coffee and stock;
set aside. Combine beans, sauce, onions and bacon in an ovenproof baking dish
or bean pot. Cover tightly with foil or lid and bake 6 to 8 hours, checking
from time to time and stirring in some of the additional liquid mixture as
needed. Taste for seasoning near the end of the cooking time and add salt if
needed. If the mixture has not cooked down enough, remove lid or foil about 1
hour before end of cooking time. (The bacon will have seasoned the beans with
salt to some extent.) Makes 8 to 10 servings.
For a story on kebabs, we got a master class from the acclaimed Turkish
chef Orhan Yegen, chef and co-owner of Huntington's Kebabi Alem Professional
Kebab House. To the uninitiated palate, these beef-lamb kofte just tasted like
the the best burgers we'd ever had. Kofte also can be treated like an American
burger: broiled in the oven or pan-fried in a skillet. And don't be put off by
the cheese; it essentially disappears during the grilling and lends a subtle
flavor and creamy texture.
(Grilled Turkish Meatballs)
1 (8-inch length) French bread
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground lamb (preferably from shoulder)
1/2 cup grated Kasseri cheese (see note)
1 medium onion, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tablespoon table salt)
1. Cut crust off bread; you should be left with a mango-size chunk. Soak
bread in cold water for 5 minutes.
2. Drain bread and squeeze to eliminate more water. In a large bowl, break
up bread with hands, add remaining ingredients and knead until thoroughly
blended. Let mixture rest at least 10 minutes in refrigerator.
3. When grill is ready, form the meatballs: Divide mixture into 10 portions
and, with moistened hands, shape each portion into a ball, then press into a
patty with your fingertips, not with your palms. The pressure of your
fingertips should leave ridges in the patty. Grill over a medium fire until
cooked through. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: Kasseri is a Greek cheese that is available at Greek markets as well
as better cheese counters and ethnic grocers. Look for the Krinos brand
labeled "Parnassos." Provolone makes a good substitute.
It was gratifying to see plenty of pork dishes in the new cookbook "The
Best American Recipes 2001-2002," by Fran McCullough (Houghton Mifflin, $26),
an anthology of the year's best. This one was culled by the author from Saveur
Magazine and "How to Cook Meat," by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, and
it calls for brining a skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder and then cooking it 8
hours, until it falls off the bone. If you like lots of sauce, double the sauce
4 gallons cold water
4 cups kosher salt
4 cups sugar
1 (8 to 10 pounds) skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder (see note)
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons Tabasco
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1. To make pork: Pour water into a large stockpot or heavy plastic bucket.
Add salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Place pork in brine and set aside
in a cool place to soak for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain pork, rinse, then pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 350
3. Place pork, fattiest side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Pierce
the skin (avoid piercing meat) all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Roast
for 5 hours, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and roast another 3 hours.
Allow pork to rest for 20 minutes. Carve, pull apart or chop meat, and serve
4. For sauce: Mix vinegar, Tabasco, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Serve sauce with pork on soft white buns with coleslaw. Makes 10 servings.
Note: Make the pork, even if you cannot find pork shoulder with the skin
on. However, don't let the butcher cut off the layer of fat all around the
shoulder; it will caramelize into a crisp, golden-brown crust as the fat drains
off. (In this area, the cut is called "fresh calas" (pronounced cal-ly) and
includes part of the leg.)
Cook's notes: If you have a relatively small container to use for brining,
you may use 3 gallons water, 3 cups salt and 3 cups sugar. That will be enough
to cover the meat.
Any recipe extravagant enough to require two bottles of wine qualifies as
"bad" enough for the "Bad as You Wanna Be" column. This hearty beef recipe was
taken from the new cookbook, "Second Helpings From Union Square Cafe," by Danny
Meyer and Michael Romano (HarperCollins, $35).
Union Square Cafe Oven-Braised
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 garlic head, split in half
3 bay leaves
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bottles (750-ml.) full-bodied red wine
4 to 4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
Oil for browning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups veal stock or store-bought veal demi-glace
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garam masala (available in Indian markets)
1. Combine onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and all but 1
tablespoon of wine in large bowl. (Reserve tablespoon of wine to finish sauce.)
Add ribs, cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight.
2. Remove ribs from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Place colander
over a bowl and drain vegetables, reserving vegetables and marinade separately.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Place Dutch oven over high heat, add oil, and bring it to the smoking
point. Sprinkle ribs with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add ribs to
pan, in batches; brown all over. Transfer ribs to a plate and set aside. Add
vegetables and saute until browned, about 10 minutes. Add flour and cook,
stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reserved marinade to deglazed pan. Stir well with
a wooden spoon to combine wine with flour. Return ribs to pan, bone-side up,
return to a boil, cover, and bake in oven until ribs are tender, about 2 hours,
4. Transfer ribs to platter and cover with foil. Strain cooking liquid into
a saucepan. Discard vegetables. Bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat and
skim fat. Continue to simmer liquid; reduce to about 2 cups. Add stock and
reduce again to about 2 cups. Stir in Worcestershire, garam masala and 1/2
teaspoon salt. Add ribs and simmer gently, basting meat often with sauce, until
sauce has reduced and thickened enough to coat and glaze ribs. Add reserved
tablespoon of wine a minute or so before end of cooking. Transfer ribs to
serving platter, pour sauce over, and serve. Makes 4 servings.
This rich pudding is the single most requested recipe by customers at Home,
Barbara Shinn and David Page's restaurant in Greenwich Village.
4 cups heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (see note)
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a large
heavy saucepan, then remove pan from heat.
2. Place chocolate in large stainless steel bowl, add 1 cup of the warm
cream and let stand until chocolate is melted. Stir chocolate mixture until
smooth, then stir in remaining cream.
3. In separate large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and
salt. Gradually whisk in chocolate mixture. Strain pudding through fine-mesh
strainer and skim off froth on the top.
4. Pour pudding into 8 (6-ounce) ovenproof ramekins or ovenproof coffee
cups. Place in a deep baking pan and put pan in oven. Add enough hot water to
pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins, then cover pan with aluminum foil.
Bake puddings for 50 to 60 minutes. When gently shaken, they should look set
around the edges but not quite set in a quarter-size area at center. Remove
ramekins from water bath and let cool at room temperature. Refrigerate for
several hours or overnight. Serve chilled. Makes 8 servings.
Note: Bittersweet chocolate has sugar, vanilla and lecithin added to the
pure chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Semisweet usually has more sugar, but
the two are pretty much interchangeable in recipes.
This is an old-fashioned favorite, and it is a flavor you won't find in any
cake mix. Stand back when adding boiling water to the hot sugar; it will
sputter up. Tiny tots should be in bed, as molten sugar is dangerous stuff.
If you do not have deep cake pans, bake three thinner layers instead of two
Burnt Sugar Cake
For burnt sugar:
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
7 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Grease 2 deep, 9-inch round pans and line bottoms with greased parchment
paper. (If you only have shallow layer pans, use 3.) To make burnt sugar:
Place sugar in a hot, dry, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over moderate
heat and stir until it melts and turns brown. Add boiling water. Continue
cooking and stirring until smooth, about 10 minutes, or until mixture spins a
coarse thread. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using the paddle of an electric mixer,
cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and continue beating.
3. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with water, mixing
well after each addition. Measure burnt sugar syrup, add 2/3 of the syrup to
cake batter, add vanilla, and mix well. Reserve remaining syrup.
4. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake for about 40 minutes (if using 3
pans, start checking at 25 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely on racks.
5. To make frosting: Blend together confectioners' sugar, salt, butter,
remaining burnt sugar syrup and as much cream as needed to make a frosting of
good spreading consistency. Blend in vanilla; beat until creamy. Fill and frost
cake. Makes about 16 servings.