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Recipes that put sizzle in backyard grilling

TITLE: Backyard Grilling by Jim and Ann Casada, Kate Fiduccia and Teresa Marrone (Creative Publishing International, $21.95; 141 pages).

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Just reading the recipes will make your mouth water. Backyard Grilling includes recipes for everything from lobster to pork, beef to tofu, as well as exotic meats, such as alligator, goose, elk and pheasant.

SAMPLE RECIPES: Paprika Pork Cutlets; Coconut Basted Fish; Grilled Shrimp With Garlic White Wine Sauce; Lemonade-Glazed Wings; Smoke-Roasted Potatoes; and Smoke-Cooked Salmon With Horseradish Cream Sauce.

FOR: Backyard chefs who own a grill, smoker or turkey fryer, especially those who received new barbecue tools as a holiday gift and want to try them out. Chapters include grilling meat, poultry and fish; smoking meat, poultry and fish; low and slow techniques; rubs, marinades, sauces and butters; and vegetables, sides and desserts.

BEST FEATURE: Each recipe is accompanied by a box offering information about preliminary preparation, such as marinating or refrigeration, and grilling times and heat intensity from direct or indirect fire.

GOOD NEWS: You don't need to be a grill master to enjoy Backyard Grilling. The introduction includes instruction on cooking with gas or charcoal. Get general grilling tips and learn about grilling accessories, judging and adjusting heat levels and _ possibly most important _ judging doneness. A handy table tells cooks in both Fahrenheit and Celsius what temperature is right for chicken, beef, lamb, fish and more.

Lemonade Glazed Wings

2 to 3 pounds chicken wings or drumettes

Lemonade marinade:

\ cup frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

\ cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

{ teaspoon finely minced garlic

{ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or \ teaspoon dried

In a small saucepan, combine all marinade ingredients. Heat to just boiling over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside until completely cool.

Place wings in large zipper-style plastic bag. Add half of the cooled marinade, turning to coat. Refrigerate 3 to 5 hours, turning bag occasionally. Refrigerate remaining marinade also.

When you're ready to cook, prepare grill for direct medium-high heat; lightly oil grate. Drain wings, discarding marinade. Place on grate over heat. Cover grill and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, turning wings and brushing with reserved marinade every 5 to 10 minutes. Wings are done when they are nicely browned and cooked through. If wings are getting too brown before they are cooked through, move to a cooler area of the grill to finish cooking.

Source: "Backyard Grilling" by Jim and Ann Casada, Kate Fiduccia, Teresa Marrone (Creative Publishing International, $21.95).

TITLE: The Wine Lover Cooks With Wine by Sid Goldstein (Chronicle Books, $24.95; 224 pages).

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Author Sid Goldstein is a trained chef and a wine writer, so this cookbook is a must-have for anyone who enjoys wine with great food. The Wine Lover Cooks With Wine focuses on recipes with wine as an ingredient.

SAMPLE RECIPES: Roasted Pork Tenderloin With Spicy Orange-Port Reduction; Poached Dijon Chicken on Apple, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad; Rack of Lamb With Hazelnut, Roasted Garlic and Thyme Crust and Merlot Essence; Drunken Chocolate Cake With Port; and Orange Chiffon Cake With Sangria Compote.

FOR: People who love to cook and have an above-average knowledge about cooking. The recipes are complex and require a lot of preparation. Don't try them when you are pushed for time.

HELPFUL FEATURE: Recommended and alternative wine selections are offered for each recipe. This feature takes the guesswork out of wine pairings, so you know what to serve every time. Your guests will be impressed.

Orange Chiffon Cake With Sangria Compote

Sangria compote:

1{ cups pinot noir or grenache wine

1{ cups riesling

\ cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Juice of 1 lime

} cup fresh orange juice

1 cup fresh raspberries

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered

4 ripe plums, pitted and cut into wedges

Orange Chiffon Cake:

1 cup sifted cake flour

{ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

[ teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

} cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

6 egg whites at room temperature

\ teaspoon cream of tartar

Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Mint sprigs for garnish

To make the compote: In a large stainless steel pot, combine the wines, the sugar mixture and juices. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until slightly thickened. In a large bowl, combine the raspberries, strawberries and plums. Pour the hot liquid over and stir thoroughly. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and stir well. Beat in the oil, orange zest and juice, vanilla and egg yolks until smooth.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff, glossy peaks form. Stir \ of the egg white mixture into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smoothing the top. Break any air pockets by cutting through the batter with a knife. Bake until cake springs back when lightly touched, about 25 minutes. Invert the pan and let the cake cool at least 40 minutes.

Loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a narrow metal spatula or knife. Unmold the cake onto a plate and dust with confectioners' sugar.

To serve, cut the cake into 8 slices. Spoon the compote over the top and side of each slice and garnish with a mint sprig.

Makes one 10-inch cake; serves 8. Recommended wine: muscat or moscato. Alternative wine: riesling.

Source: "The Wine Lover Cooks With Wine" by Sid Goldstein (Chronicle Books, $24.95).

TITLE: I'm Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $32.50; 304 pages).

GENERALLY SPEAKING: Alton Brown's Good Eats is one of the most popular shows on the Food Network. Bon Appetit magazine named him "Cooking Teacher of the Year 2004." In other words, he knows cooking. What makes this cookbook different is that it's fun, too. Brown's witty, quirky style, so prevalent on his cooking show, sparkles in this cookbook as well.

FOR: Bakers and anyone wanting to learn the science of baking.

SAMPLE RECIPES: Pina Colada Waffles; Ricotta Clouds; Ginger Cookies; Pillow Bread; Ridiculously Easy Mushroom Souffle; Hasty Pudding; and Dark Chocolate Mousse.

NOTABLE INFORMATION: Boxes, boxes everywhere. Each recipe is accompanied by lots of valuable information about cooking and equipment. Plus, blank boxes allow you to make your own notes.

FEATURE NOT SEEN IN OTHER COOKBOOKS: The main part of the book is divided by mixing method. This cookbook features a special design that adds a half-page flap to the opening page of each mixing section. Printed on the flap is the master mixing technique to serve as a reference for each recipe that follows in that section.

SKILL LEVEL: The ability to understand and retain directions is a must; otherwise you'll be flipping back and forth to refer to techniques for a particular recipe. If you're a seasoned cook, this will be a piece of cake.

Ellen Folkman's cookbook reviews appear monthly in the Taste section.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

1} cups heavy or whipping cream

12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped fine

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

3 ounces coffee liqueur

1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

Pour 1{ cups of the cream into a large metal mixing bowl and stash it in the freezer.

Place the chocolate, butter and liqueur in another large metal bowl and melt over a pot of barely simmering water (filled about 1 inch high), stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. For the next 5 minutes continue to stir occasionally, until the mixture cools to just above body temperature. Set aside.

Place the remaining \ cup of the cream in a small saucepan or large metal measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 10 minutes, then dissolve the gelatin by carefully heating and swirling the pan over low heat. Whatever you do, don't let the cream boil, or the gelatin's setting power will be greatly reduced.

Stir the mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

Remove the cream from the freezer and use an electric hand mixer to beat it to medium peaks.

Lighten up the chocolate mixture by stirring in just a little bit of the whipped cream _ just so the two become a little more alike in texture. Then fold in half of the remaining whipped cream. Don't overmix, or you'll beat all that air out of the whipped cream. Then add the remainder of the whipped cream and fold it in. The mixture should remain light and fluffy _ if a few flecks of white remain, it's okay.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or spoon the mousse into individual dessert dishes (martini glasses work very nicely for this), cover the dishes, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Garnish with fruit _ or not _ and serve.

Notes: Alton Brown uses 40 Hershey's Special Dark miniatures for this recipe. Don't use baking chocolate. If it doesn't taste good by itself, don't use it here, he advises. (Brown calls this recipe Halloween Mousse, but we like it any time of the year.)

Source: "I'm Just Here for More Food" by Alton Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $32.50).

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