NEW MEXICO APPLE BREAD PUDDING'This is our version of "capirotado," a New Mexican bread pudding,' writes Paul Prudhomme in 'Seasoned America.' 2 medium red baking or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (reserve peels and cores) 1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar 2 cloves 1 cinnamon stick 3/4 cup blanched almonds 3 cups toasted, unseasoned bread cubes (from good, dense white bread) 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 20 pats 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, thinly sliced
Put apple peels and cores and three cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Toast the almonds in an 8-inch skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan and flipping the almonds almost constantly, until the nuts are light brown, about 4 minutes. Spread half the bread cubes in the bottom of a small casserole. Distribute 10 pats of the butter over the bread. Add a layer of half the sliced apples and distribute five pats of the butter over the apples. Sprinkle on 1/4 teaspoon each of the ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover with about half the almonds. Cover the almonds with half the raisins. Add half the sliced cheese in an even layer. Spread remaining bread cubes over the cheese, the remaining apple slices over that, and five pats of butter on the a pples. Sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Cover with the remaining almonds, raisins, and cheese. Strain the apple stock and measure out 1 1/2 cups; add water if necessary. Pour this over the contents of the casserole and bake, uncovered, in a preheated 350-degree F. oven until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Delicious by itself or served with whipped cream. Serves 6.
SALADE 'BONNE FEMME' 'A lovely, almost mysterious variation on the classic celeri remoulade, this salad might be considered the king of crudities,' writes Patricia Wells in 'Simply French.I love Chef Robuchon's addition of the apple, for although you don't see it mixed in with the bone-white celery root (also called celeriac), your palate detects the pleasant tartness.' Note that sizes of celery root vary tremendously. The amount of dressing here is enough to coat nicely 1 pound grated celery root, so adjust according to weight . Any leftover dressing can be used as a dip with other raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, or cucumbers.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice Sea salt to taste 2 tablespoons imported Dijon mustard (or to taste) 1 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream 1 pound celery root 1 tart green apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled and cored
Prepare dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice and salt. Add mustard and creme frache and stir to blend. Taste for seasoning and set aside. Cut celery root in quarters and peel. With hand grater or food processor, coarsely grate celery root. Add to dressing and toss to coat evenly. With hand grater or food processor, coarsely grate apple. Add to celery root, toss to coat evenly. Taste for seasoning. (The salad may be prepared several hours in advance.) Cover securely and refrigerate. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.
HANOI SOUP (PHO BO) 'A typical breakfast in Vietnam is a large bowl of noodle soup,' write Binh Duong and Marcia Kiesel in 'The Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking. 'These soups are meal-sized portions of broth, meat, and noodles, with many garnishes added at the last minute. "Pho" or "bun," as it is also called, translates to "your own bowl," meaning each person's meal is in his own bowl, very different from the other Vietnamese meals where all food is passed and shared.'
10 cups Spiced Beef Stock 1 pound rice vermicelli 1 pound raw beef, preferably the round, cut in paper-thin slices
ACCOMPANIMENTS: Lime wedges Mung bean sprouts Sprigs of coriander Ngo gai (Puerto Rican coriander), chopped (optional) Small leaves of basil Chopped fresh chilies Chopped scallions Freshly ground black pepper Bottled fish sauce (nuoc mam)
Prepare Spiced Beef Stock (recipe follows). In large bowl, cover rice noodles with cold water and soak until pliable, about 30 minutes. Drain. In large pan, bring stock to boil. Put a large handful noodles in a strainer that fits into the pan. Dip strainer with noodles into the hot stock and swirl around with chopsticks until tender but chewy, about 20 seconds. Shake noodles dry and dump into soup bowl. Repeat with remaining noodles. Put equal amounts of beef over noodles and divide hot stock among bowls. Serve with accompaniments, allowing each person to garnish as desired. Makes 6 main-course servings.
SPICED BEEF STOCK (NUOC DUNG BO) 3 pounds oxtail pieces or other lean, meaty beef bones, such as shin or neck 3-inch piece of ginger 1 medium onion 1 tablespoon salt 6 whole star anise 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks 2 large bay leaves 4 whole cloves 1-inch piece rock sugar or 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons fennel seed
In a very large stockpot, cover oxtails with water and bring to boil over high heat. Drain and cover oxtails with 14 cups fresh water. Add salt. Bring to boil again. Meanwhile, using tongs, put ginger and onion directly over a low gas or electric burner on medium-high heat and carefully char them all over, about 4 minutes. Rinse off any ash and add ginger and onion to stock. Add remaining ingredients except fennel seeds to stock. Put fennel seeds in a tea ball and add to stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming occasionally, for about 2 1/2 hours. Strain. Stock will keep, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.
NORTH AFRICAN CORNISH HENS This recipe is from 'Kwanzaa,' by Eric V. Copage: 'Perhaps the most aromatic cuisine in the world comes from northern Africa, where every dish is a symphony of spices. These Cornish hens are rubbed with a streamlined version of the Moroccan spice mixture called "ras al hanout," marinated, and roasted with lemons and oranges. (Don't serve the fruit with the chicken - they are there only for flavoring's sake.)'
4 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish game hens 2 lemons, halved 1 orange, quartered 5 garlic cloves, crushed in press 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, preferably kosher 2 tablespoons paprika, preferably hot Hungarian 2 teaspoons cumin seed 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 1/4 cup olive oil
Using a sharp knife or a cleaver, split each hen down its back and open it flat. Arrange hens, skin side up, on two large roasting pans. Squeeze orange and lemons over hens, then place squeezed fruit pieces under hens. On work surface, sprinkle crushed garlic with salt and mash together to a paste. Scrape into small bowl and add paprika, cumin, ginger, and cayenne. Gradually add oil to make a paste and spread it on the hens' skin. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour before roasting. Position oven rack at top third of oven preheated to 400 degrees F. Roast, basting often with drippings, until juices run yellow when pierced with a fork, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve immediately, discarding the cooked fruits. Serves 4.