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Tidbits from
"The Best American Recipes 2000"
Part 2


Stonewall Kitchen, LLC 

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Recipe Source:

The Best American Recipes 2000:
The Year's Top Picks from Books,
Magazines, Newspapers, and the Internet
Fran McCullough and Suzanne Hamlin, 2000,
Houghton Mifflin Company


The Year in Food

"As we assembled the recipes for this collection, we couldn’t help noticing certain recurring ingredients, techniques, and general food manias that preoccupied the nation’s cooks throughout the year. But it wasn’t until we made our final selection that we noticed some surprises: red grapes and sweet little cherry tomatoes, for instance, had sneaked right by us, only clearly announcing themselves in the num-ber of recipes in which they were star players. Here’s how the year looked to us."

The Top Ten (continued)

5. Vegetable of the Year
The Potato

"Spuds took over this year, in everything from Mashed Potato Dip (with wasabi and flying fish roe - trust us, it's great) to Roasted Potato Crisps to potatoes in pizza dough. Recipes now call for potatoes by their first names, as in 'Get Yukon Golds
for this recipe or forget it.' The first runner-up is cherry tomatoes, those sweet
little orbs that remind us how much we love tomatoes all winter long. Grape
tomatoes elbowed out cherry tomatoes in many markets this year, and we use
them interchangeably. We're very partial to the roasted cherry tomato sauce in
food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins' excellent Pasta with Baked Tomato Sauce, a great light supper at the end of winter when you're just dying for a good tomato."

 Mashed Potato Dip

(Michel Richard, Cooking with Patrick Clark, edited by Charlie Trotter)

"This is not just any old mashed potato dip, but Michel Richard’s wantonly luxurious one that almost qualifies as an entire meal. He gives rich American mashed potatoes a wonderfully Asian twist" a zing of Wasabi and a scoop of
orange fish roe.
Richard, a French-born, cigar-smoking chef and restaurateur, chose this as
his contribution to a cookbook assembled by Charlie Trotter in honor of their
fellow chef, the late Patrick Clark. From one ebullient chef to another, it is a
very fitting tribute.
If you make this dip once, you’ll probably want to double the recipe the second
time around. Surrounded by strips of green peppers or other raw vegetables, it
is invariably devoured in record time."

Serves 6 to 8, makes about 2 cups

1 teaspoon wasabi (see note)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon flying fish roe
(see note) or salmon roe
1 pound yellow potatoes, such as
Yukon Gold, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
Salt to taste

First, prepare a vinaigrette by whisking together the wasabi, olive oil, and vinegar in a small bowl. Gently stir in the roe. Set aside.
Steam the potatoes or boil them gently until thoroughly cooked. Drain and push them through a sieve with a wooden spoon or pass them through
a Mouli grater into a large bowl. Stir in the cream and butter and mix
thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and stir in the wasabi vinaigrette.

Cook’s Notes:
Wasabi, the sinus-clearing Asian horseradish, is sold as powder and as a paste,
both frozen and in a tube, in Asian markets and many supermarkets. Any form
of wasabi can be used in the dip; the powder is the most potent.
Most people will recognize flying fish roe by sight, even if it sounds unfamiliar.
Tiny orange grains of roe are often found in sushi rolls. The neon orange color
is actually nature’s own, and the crunchy texture of the minuscule grains is
very appealing. Flying fish roe is available in Asian markets or – often more
conveniently – at any sushi restaurant; a tablespoon usually costs about $2.25.


6. Technique of the Year
Slow Roasting

"We've had fast, high-heat roasting for years now, so it's time for slow food. And to usher it in, there's an entire Slow Food movement from Italy that's captured the hearts of many American chefs and cooks who like deeply satisfying flavor, the
kind that comes only from slow cooking and are willing to trade their kitchen time
in exchange. A good example is Twelve-Hour Roast Pork. A corollary movement
is to roast everything in sight, from olives to grapes to cheese. Count us in."

Twelve-Hour Pork Roast

"A Hollywood diet book isn’t the obvious place to look for great recipes, but
this one jumped out at us from the pages of Suzanne Somers’ Get Skinny on
Fabulous Food. It’s a re-creation of an Italian dish Somers enjoyed at the
River Café in London, and it’s meltingly delicious.
The recipe requires a little forethought: You’ll need to order the whole pork
shoulder in advance from your butcher. And you may end it cooking it day
and night –it’s done in 12 hours.
Make the most of the pan drippings, by making the sauce – unless you’re
feeding a crowd, you’ll have leftovers, and the sauce will come into its
own when you reheat them."

Serves 12

One 7-to-9-pound pork shoulder
with skin (see note)
12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
8 small dried red chiles, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Juice of 6 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil

Pan Drippings:
One 14-ounce can chicken broth
Juice of 2 lemons (optional)

Score the pork shoulder all over by evenly slicing deeply into the skin,
making cuts 1/4 inch apart.
In a food processor or by hand, chop the garlic, fennel seeds, chiles, and
salt and pepper until coarsely ground. Rub this mixture all over the pork
and into the cuts.
Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Or until the skin begins to crackle and brown. Loosen the shoulder from the bottom
of the pan and pour half the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil
over the pork.
Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees F. and roast the pork for 12 hours more, basting occasionally with the remaining lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, until it’s completely soft under the skin. Push it with your finger; it should give and may even fall off the bone.

For the pan drippings
: Remove the roast from the pan and spoon off
all but 3 tablespoons fat from the drippings. Place the pan on the stovetop
over medium heat and scrape up all the browned bits stuck to the bottom.
When the juices are hot, add the broth and lemon juice (but taste the drip-pings first; you may not need more lemon), continuing to scrape the pan
and reduce the juices for about 5 minutes, or until you have a sauce con- sistency. Serve each person a little of the crisp skin along with the meat
and pass the pan drippings separately.

Cook’s Notes:
You’ll most likely need to order the pork shoulder (butt) ahead. Unless you have
an Italian, Chinese, or Mexican butcher, the idea of a pork shoulder with skin on may draw a complete blank. If you’re offered a picnic ham with skin – that is, the
forearm – just say no; that meat is sinewy and won’t have the same lusciousness
as the shoulder. There are two other options: the butcher can take the skin off a
fresh ham and wrap it around the butt, or you can just forget about the skin and simply wrap the meat in oiled foil once the initial browning takes place. Don’t
worry about the basting in that case; just skip it. The meat will brown under the
foil, and it will be moist and delicious.
Almost surely you will have leftovers, which are great for sandwiches, to fold
into hot tortillas with some salsa, or to cook with hash browns.


7. Dessert of the Year
Anything Chocolate

"Maybe everyone fell out of love this year and needed consolation from the brain chemicals chocolate provides - whatever it was, we all tumbled. It may have been partly a response to the new bittersweet chocolates on the market, with much
higher cocoa content. We also have a new homegrown high-quality chocolate industry in which we can take pride. Whatever accounts for it, the chocolate
passion has been unleashed, and it's raging across the land."

Velvet Chocolate Cake
Claire Legas,

"Not just another ‘sinfully delicious’ chocolate cake by a long shot, this is, by
some mysterious alchemy of a few simple ingredients, a wonder. It is rich and
indeed velvety and – here’s the magic – all deep, dark chocolate, but not dis-
tractingly sweet.
Scharffen Berger chocolate, a relatively new American-made chocolate, has
become a favorite with many professional bakers and pastry chefs. Claire Legas
 a pastry chef at Absinthe Restaurant in San Francisco, created this elegant and
singular flourless dessert using Scharffen Berger’s 70 percent pure dark choco-
late, sold in specialty food shops. Truthfully, though, we have used other high-quality bitter-sweet chocolate in the recipe to equally stunning effect. Part
mousse, part cake, this dessert can lead to obsessive desire.
Serve Velvet Chocolate Cake with whipped cream. More good news: If the
cake is wrapped tightly in plastic, it will stay moist for up to 4 days at room

Serves 14 to 16

1 pound Scharffen Berger 70 percent pure
dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup strong coffee, kept warm but not hot
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (not springform) or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with
a circle of parchment paper.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate gently over hot water. Keep
warm. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the cream with
the 2 tablespoons sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high speed until doubled in volume. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the
eggs, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the eggs have fully
tripled in volume and are light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Pour the coffee into the chocolate and stir until combined. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate in 3 additions, working quickly to incorporate
each addition. Fold in the cream mixture. Pour the batter into the pre-
pared pan. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan and add enough
hot water to the roasting pan so that it reaches halfway up the sides
of the cake pan.
Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it still jiggles in the center
when gently shaken. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
To unmold, slide a small knife or spatula around the edge of the cake to
loosen it from the pan. Cover the top of the cake with a sheet of waxed
paper. Place a plate upside-down over the paper and invert pan and
plate together. Remove the cake pan and parchment liner. Place a
serving platter on the bottom of the cake and turn right side up. Slice
the cake and serve with whipped cream.

Top Ten, Part 1
Top Ten, Part 3


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