Book offers wonderful mix of dishes


Recipes gathered from the Internet, newspapers, more

August 31, 2005|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

Chances are, some of your favorite recipes are covered with your own handwriting. Whether you've listed substitutions or tweaked the cooking time, you've tailored the directions to your own equipment and taste.

With The Best American Recipes 2005-2006 (Houghton Mifflin, 2005, $26), editors Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens have done some of this work for you. Their "test kitchen" notes on 147 recipes from newspapers, magazines, cookbooks and the Internet give common-sense tips on how to make each dish succeed.

The sources are wonderfully varied, from usual suspects like Jacques Pepin to the Harley and Davidson family cookbook. But some recipes we tested were more successful than others. A foil-baked cod was tender but way too salty; more orange juice and ginger might have helped. The English muffin strata was tasty and hearty enough for dinner as well as brunch.

A brown sugar-sour cream cheesecake from a cookbook called Sweet Stuff was a delectable winner. It's sinfully rich, but an unusual crust that mixes graham crackers with cornmeal balances the sweetness. The recipe calls for lowering the baking temperature gradually to keep the cheesecake from cracking, and it works.

For a hassle-free, no-cook (if you buy precooked frozen shrimp), cool supper, try this Cold Buttermilk Soup from M.F.K. Fisher's The Art of Eating. The fresh combination of shrimp, dill and buttermilk makes it fancy enough for guests.

Cold Buttermilk Soup

Serves 6

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked and chopped

1/2 medium cucumber, finely diced

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon mustard (ballpark or Dijon)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 quart buttermilk

Mix together everything but the buttermilk, mashing the shrimp a bit with a fork. Stir in the buttermilk and mix thoroughly.

Chill thoroughly to allow the flavors to develop. Per serving: 159 calories; 24 grams protein; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 9 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams fiber; 175 milligrams cholesterol; 816 milligrams sodium

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