Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bake a gift or try a heart-attack sandwich
Take a cake walk with Marcy Goldman, or try her Weekend in New England Cranberry Scones or Dueling-Dough Apple Pie. Whatever you choose from “The New Best of Better,” offering more than 200 classic recipes from the “beloved baker’s website,” will make your holidays brighter. They had me at bread pudding muffins (dessert or breakfast?).
This season, we may consider baking all about the chocolate and nuts, but this book covers you with everything from your own Cuban sandwich bread to pretzels and bagels, and even the sauces to go with. Try the following on pizza:
Sun-dried tomato pesto
1 28-ounce jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
10 cloves garlic
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Put the tomatoes in a medium bowl and add very hot water to cover. Stir for a few minutes, then drain. This softens the tomatoes and gets rid of some of the packing oil. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

The funny guy can cook
Pierre A. Lamielle looks like he’s being punished … forced to eat a rutabaga … on the back of his book “Kitchen Scraps.” His acknowledgment is an apology to his parents and his goals include illustrating a children’s cookbook with his longtime man-crush, chef Jamie Oliver. If you like stories with your food consider the tale of Vinnie “Vicious Fishes” DiMare’s risotto with the fishes or the blessed eggs of St. Ben “Benny” Benedictus, a chicken herder who dreamed of a creamy sauce for his poached eggs. Amazingly funny drawings accompany this book like no other. This guy can really cook, with offerings such as Babushka Grannies’ Battle of the Borscht and Puttanesca Prostitute, but I imagine a party at his house includes way more than just culinary fun. Here’s just a wee sample to get a flavor of his style:

Heart attack sandwich
6 slices thick-cut bacon
3 eggs
4 thick slices of gleaming white fiberless bread
3 1-ounce slabs of cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Potato chips
In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Place the bacon directly onto a plate, and not on paper towels — we want all the excess grease.
Now, the bacon has left behind a pan full of bacon drippings. Fry the eggs in it, cooking the yolks hard to keep them from spilling out in the sandwich later. Transfer the eggs to the same plate as the bacon.
Layer the sandwich like so … bread, cheese, egg, bacon, mayonnaise, potato chips, bread … and so on, until you have three layers of filling smooshed between four pieces of bread. Using what is left of the bacon fat, fry the sandwich until it is golden brown on both sides.
Makes 1 memorable last meal.

Ice cream makers have done the math
Math and ice cream don’t mix for me, but Dryers/Edy’s Slow Churned Ice Cream has mixed up a new flavor for the holidays. Hot Cocoa has marshmallows swirled in to the blend. My plan is to go down the list and try eggnog, peppermint and pumpkin pie, as well. Makers say they’ve done the math to calculate your waistline concerns because these flavors are still “light.” It’s a good thing, because you’ll want more. I do. Portion control is the key, so you still have to read the label, but get this: A serving of Slow Churned Hot Cocoa Ice Cream has 280 fewer calories and 12 fewer grams of fat than a 16 ounce serving of traditional hot chocolate. Try it through January.

At some point, you’re going to actually crave healthy foods after this holiday season. Get FrutziO ready. The freeze-dried fruits do seem, as the space-age silver bag reads, “sinfully indulgent,” but the 100 calories offer forgiveness. Crispy Green's new Apples & Strawberries FruitziO is a suitable stocking stuffer for children and adults.

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