Recipes to Remember

December 29, 2004|By Julie Rothman | Julie Rothman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

We have culled through the multitude of recipes published in the Wednesday Taste section and the Sunday Home and Family section to select, with great difficulty, our Top 10 recipes of 2004.

They represent a food journey of sorts - from the traditional hearty Irish stew to an unusual curried halibut with strawberry papaya relish. We are always on the lookout for the latest trends in food and entertaining, and each has something special to offer along these lines.

So, if you are looking for a quick weeknight supper, an easy way to please the vegetarian in your family or a dish for the low-carb dieter in your crowd, we've selected some excellent options for you.

Each recipe, we think, deserves a second look.

Celery-Root Puree

The recipe for this rather unusual side dish originally ran with our Thanksgiving series. However, it would partner equally well with meat, fish or fowl throughout the year. It provides a combination of flavors that are far from ordinary.

Makes 4 servings

1 1/2 pounds celery root

1/2 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup milk, heated

salt and freshly ground pepper, preferably white pepper, to taste

Using a sharp boning or paring knife, pare off the skin and gnarly roots of the celery root. Rinse well. Cut the celery root into 1-inch chunks, paring away any soft woody spots. (The celery root can be stored in a bowl of cold water at room temperature for up to 8 hours.)

Place the celery root and potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough lightly salted cold water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and set the lid ajar. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 25 minutes.

Drain celery root and potatoes well and return to the pot. Stir vegetables over medium heat until they begin to film the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the butter to the potatoes. Using a potato masher or a handheld electric mixer, mash the potatoes, adding enough of the hot milk to reach the desired consistency. (The celery-root mixture also can be pureed in a food processor. Don't try this with mashed potatoes alone -- potatoes are too starchy and will turn into a gluey mess.)

Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

-- Rick Rodgers, "Celebration 101" (Broadway Books, 2004, $29.95)

Per serving: 160 calories; 4 grams protein; 6 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 24 grams carbohydrate; 3 grams fiber; 16 milligrams cholesterol; 157 milligrams sodium

Buttermilk-Lemon Sorbet With Cardamom and Rose Water

The unique pairing of flavors in this sorbet makes for a refreshing dessert.

Serves 6

10 cardamom pods

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water, preferably spring or filtered

5 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1 1/4 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons rose water

dash of salt

Combine cardamom and sugar with the water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; then lower heat slightly and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Strain the syrup, discarding the cardamom pods.

Combine the syrup with the buttermilk, lemon rind, lemon juice, rose water and salt. Place in an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. When the ice cream is done, transfer it to a freezer container with a tight-fitting lid. Let it rest in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours to firm up slightly before serving.

- From "Passionate Vegetarian: More Than 1,000 Robust Recipes With Notes on Cooking, Eating, Loving, and Living Fearlessly" by Crescent Dragonwagon (Workman, 2002, $24.95)

Per serving: 288 calories; 7 grams protein; 2 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 64 grams carbohydrate; 8 milligrams cholesterol; 240 milligrams sodium

Stelios Spiliadis' Grilled Chicken Souvlaki

With this past summer's Olympic Games, the focus was Greek food. We asked local experts for their favorite Greek dishes and these two recipes come from the Spiliadis family, which owns the popular local restaurant the Black Olive.

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 -inch cubes

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil

1/4 cup lemon

fresh thyme and oregano

3 to 4 medium-size tomatoes, chopped

1 large red onion, chopped

Marinate the chicken in a mix of sea salt, black pepper, garlic, olive oil, lemon and the leaves of a few sprigs of thyme and oregano for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator (the longer, the better).

Put the chicken cubes on skewers and grill. To serve, layer it on grilled pita with chopped tomatoes and red onions, and dollop with Pauline Spiliadis' Tzatziki. Roll it up and eat.

Per serving: 235 calories; 28 grams protein; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 8 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 73 milligrams cholesterol; 70 milligrams sodium

Pauline Spiliadis' Tzatziki

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

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