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2001 BEST RECIPES / The year's best recipes printed in Newsday, according to a poll of the food staff, ranged from healthful tofu salad to the ultimate, ultra-rich macaroni and cheese. But they all have one thing in common:The +

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.

Miso-Cashew Spread

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

Kosher salt

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

bread crumbs.

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

cooking liquid.

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.

Izgara Kofte

(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

2 eggs

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


Pulled Pork

4 gallons cold water

4 cups kosher salt

4 cups sugar

1 (8 to 10 pounds) skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder (see note)

For sauce:

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

with sauce.

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

Short Ribs

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

Kosher salt

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,

45 minutes.

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.

Home Chocolate


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

thick ones.

Burnt Sugar Cake

For burnt sugar:

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups boiling water

For cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

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

For frosting:

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.

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