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Tidbits from
"The Best American Recipes 2000"
Part 1


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

1. Comeback of the Year

"There were a number of strong candidates in this category, but we think the winner is good old eggs. We’ve been feeling sorry for eggs for years now, as they’ve been lambasted for supposedly raising cholesterol levels to alarming heights and thereby setting people up for an early death. But in fact we now know that eggs do no such thing, thanks to extensive studies on the subject. These dynamic nutritional packages are nearly perfect: high-quality protein that almost everyone loves. We were startled by the number of egg recipes we included – but they’re all delicious, and, we have to confess, we dearly love eggs. So welcome back, you good egg, and may ersatz egg products disappear along with the ersatz cheese."

Egg and Potato Skillet Supper
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium potato, grated (peeled, if desired)
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce, or to taste
Cooked sausage, crumbled bacon, or
thawed frozen chopped spinach (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large, shallow ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Tilt the skillet to coat the sides with oil, then add the potato. Cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until the potato is golden, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add 1 cup of the cheese, the salt, milk,
and hot pepper sauce and combine.
Remove the skillet from the heat and scrape up any potato that is stuck on
the bottom. Pat the potato out to roughly cover the bottom of the skillet.
Add the sausage or other tidbits, if using. Pour the egg mixture on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until
set and golden brown. Serve hot.


2. Addiction of the Year
Fried Everything

"Fried food was everywhere this year, from chicken (which appeared in all the food magazines) to french fries to olives. OK, we admit it; we’re completely crazy about perfectly fried food ourselves. But we don’t cook it at home too often because it’s such a production and has to be done at the last minute. We make an exception for West Texas Onion Rings, however. These are just unbelievable good, a treat we’ll enjoy at least once a year from now on."

West Texas Onion Rings
Serves 6

"Miles from anywhere, in the gorgeous Big Bend country near the Mexican border of Texas, chef Lisa Ahier and her husband turned a historic fort into a dream getaway: Cibolo Creek Ranch. There Ahier developed a menu of southwestern-accented meals, including these sensational onion rings – the best by far we’ve
ever tasted. There are a couple of tricks here: the sweet onions, the adobo sauce
(we dip into a can of chipotle chiles in adobo), the cornmeal, and the butter-
milk. Sweet, sharp, tangy, spicy, crunchy: These are onion rings to die for, best
eaten pan to mouth,"

1 1/2 cups milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons adobo sauce
2 large sweet onions (about 1 pound each),
cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and separated
into rings
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon ground cumin

In a large bowl, whisk the milk with 1/2 cup of the flour and the adobo
sauce until smooth. Add the onion rings and toss to moisten.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees F. In a large paper
bag, combine the remaining 1 cup flour with the cornmeal, cumin, and
1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Working in batches, dredge the onions in the corn-
meal mixture, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a cookie sheet.
Working in batches, fry the onion rings in the hot oil until golden brown, 3
to 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with
salt and serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:
"We think these onion rings taste best fried in peanut oil instead of
vegetable oil, and we strongly vote for buttermilk in the batter."


3. Spice of the Year
Ginger, Ginger, Ginger!

"Ginger is everywhere, and frankly we can’t get enough of it. Part of the reason
may be that we have high-quality young crystallized ginger in the market now,
but home cooks are also starting to realize that a little fresh ginger in everything from coleslaw to icebox cake is a guaranteed hit. Ginger is working hard in both savory and sweet dishes and in all its forms: fresh, dried, and crystallized."

Indonesian Ginger Chicken
Serves 6

"At the Barefoot Contessa, a take-out shop in the Hamptons, Ina Garten has
been selling this scrumptious chicken for many years to the likes of Lauren
Bacall, who gets cranky if it’s sold out. Garten’s recipe is a variation of one
from an earlier Hamptons shop, Loaves and Fishes, created by Devon
Fredericks and Susan Costner.
The recipe (from
The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) is not only amazingly
simple, it’s also versatile, delicious hot or cold, and as wonderful with pork
as it is with chicken. Start the recipe a day ahead."

1 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1/4 cup minced garlic (8-12 cloves)
Two 3 2/3-pound chickens, quartered, backs removed

In a small saucepan, cook the honey, soy sauce, ginger and garlic over low heat until the honey is melted. Place the chicken in a large, shallow roasting pan, skin side down, and pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with foil and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature
before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the chicken, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes more, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh and the sauce is a rich dark brown. Serve hot or cold.


To use the marinade with pork, cover 2 pork tenderloins with the marinade and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before roasting at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until the pork reaches 130 degrees F. on an instant-read thermometer.

Top Ten, Part 2
Top Ten, Part 3


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