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Books That Cook: 'Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook,' 'Stonewall Kitchen Winter Celebrations,' 'You Made That Dessert?'

TITLE: You Made That Dessert? by Beth Lipton (Globe Pequot Press, $19.95; 204 pages)

Generally speaking: Plenty of doable recipes to wow family and friends. You'll find familiar recipes, such as pineapple upside-down cake, but new ones to try, too, such as tiramisu cake. You'll be inspired to whip up something sweet.

For: The average home cook with some experience. Some recipes have long instructions that may be intimidating but there are no difficult techniques.

Recipes: Pecan pie bars, dark chocolate pudding, currant cranberry spice cake, almond raspberry cake, brownie ice cream torte, chai pots de creme, nectarine-blueberry crisp, warm gingerbread pudding cake.

TITLE: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook (Wiley Publishing, $29.95; 452 pages)

Generally speaking: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook could become all dieters' new handbook, whether they belong to Weight Watchers or not. The wide variety of cuisines, including Asian, Southern, Southwestern, Greek, Middle Eastern as well as American comfort food, is the antidote to culinary boredom.

For: Anyone looking to eat healthier and maybe lose a few pounds.

Recipes: Herbed brown rice, sausage and rice dressing, confetti corn cakes, spicy cashew brittle, cod stew with potatoes, barbecue pork with mop sauce, chicken pot stickers, Chinese chicken salad, herb-stuffed artichokes, peach crumb pie, seafood risotto, hearty meatless chili, honey cake.

TITLE: Stonewall Kitchen Winter Celebrations by Jonathan King, Jim Stott and Kathy Gunst (Chronicle Books, $19.95; 144 pages)

Generally Speaking: These recipes will hike your party up a notch. For example, instead of cocktail meatballs consider Indian spiced meatballs with yogurt and mango chutney. You could host a variety of parties with the recipes in this book and helping menus show you how.

For: Those looking for new entertaining ideas. Be warned, though, that some recipes call for expensive ingredients, including saffron, smoked salmon, beef tenderloin and lobster.

Recipes: Oysters baked on creamed spinach with Parmesan-panko crust, sweet winter squash gratin, chocolate mint Christmas cake and caramel-covered apple galette.

Ellen Folkman's cookbook review column appears monthly in Taste.

>>Easy: Thanksgiving friendly

Pumpkin Mousse

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, mix the pumpkin, ½ cup cream, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt with a flexible spatula until well combined. Place it on the stove, turn on the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring about every 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, pour the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool on the countertop until it reaches room temperature, about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes with a flexible spatula.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the remaining 1 ½ cups cream and vanilla until medium peaks form. Using a flexible spatula, plop about one-third of the cream into the bowl with the pumpkin mixture. Fold the two mixtures together by scraping the bottom of the bowl and lightly turning the two mixtures over each other until they're mostly combined. Fold another third of the cream into the pumpkin mixture, then the last third. When folding the last bit of cream, make sure there are no streaks of cream left; the mixture should be uniform in color.

Pour the mousse into a large serving bowl or divide into six glasses, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 4 hours for the large bowl, 2 hours for the individual glasses.

Serves: 6

Source: You Made That Dessert? by Beth Lipton (Globe Pequot Press, $19.95)

>>Easy: Thanksgiving friendly

Sausage and Rice Dressing

¼ pound turkey sausage, casing removed

1 tablespoon butter

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped trimmed fennel

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups cooked brown rice

½ cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole with nonstick spray. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the sausage, breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.

In the skillet, melt the butter. Saute the celery, onion, fennel and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sausage, rice, broth, sage, lemon zest and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the casserole. Bake until heated through and golden, 45 to 50 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook (Wiley Publishing, $29.95)

>>Easy: Thanksgiving friendly

Orange-Scented Mashed Butternut Squash

2 pounds peeled, seeded butternut squash, chopped into 1-inch pieces

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon orange zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fill a large pot with 2 inches of lightly salted water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the squash, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork or small, sharp knife.

Drain the squash and transfer it to the container of a food processor. Add the juice, butter, honey, zest and salt and pepper to taste and puree until smooth. Season again to taste.

The squash can be prepared ahead. Place finished squash in a casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. To reheat, place in a 350-degree oven, covered for 30 minutes or until warmed through.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Stonewall Kitchen Winter Celebrations by Jonathan King, Jim Stott and Kathy Gunst (Chronicle Books, $19.95)

Books That Cook: 'Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook,' 'Stonewall Kitchen Winter Celebrations,' 'You Made That Dessert?' 10/20/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 5:30am]

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