Second helpings

Our best recipes of 2006 are worth another bite

December 27, 2006|By Julie Rothman | Julie Rothman,[Special to The Sun]

Once again, we've selected some of our favorite recipes of the year. With these eight recipes -- culled from hundreds that have been published in these pages in 2006 -- we've tried to strike a balance between the classic and the new.

We were impressed with what our local culinary talent had to offer -- from quirky chef Morris Martick, now in his 80s, who continued to turn out spectacular French fare in his West Baltimore restaurant, to everyday readers like home cook Greg Bathon, who grew his own lettuce, tomatoes and herbs in his Federal Hill rooftop garden. We think you'll agree that these recipes are good enough to deserve a second look.

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Makes 18 bruschetta

Syndicated columnist Betty Rosbottom cooks up a simple and tasty appetizer perfect for entertaining. The winning combination of artichoke and goat cheese is a sure-fire hit.

18 baguette slices, cut on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick

olive oil

2 (6- to 6 1/2 -ounce) jars marinated artichoke hearts

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (divided use)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat broiler. Brush baguette slices on both sides with olive oil and place them on a baking sheet. Toast slices until just crisp. Remove and leave on baking sheet. (Bread can be toasted 3 hours ahead; cover loosely with foil and leave at room temperature.)

Drain artichokes, reserving about 2 tablespoons of the oil they were packed in, and place them in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add reserved 2 tablespoons liquid, 1/2 cup of the parsley, parmesan and several grindings of black pepper.

Process, pulsing machine, until mixture is a coarse puree. (Puree can be prepared 3 hours ahead; cover and leave at cool room temperature.)

Spread each bread slice with a mound of artichoke puree and top with some crumbled goat cheese. (Bruschetta can be assembled 1 hour ahead; leave uncovered, at room temperature.)

When ready to eat, bake in preheated 375-degree oven until cheese is melted and bruschetta are warm, 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle bruschetta with pepper and some of the remaining parsley. Serve warm on a platter.

Per serving: 228 calories, 9 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 6 milligrams cholesterol, 538 milligrams sodium

Recipe analysis provided by registered dietitian Mary Mullen.

Overnight Coffeecake

Serves 12

In this recipe that ran in our Recipe Finder column, the cake is assembled the night before, then baked the following morning. You can sleep in on a Sunday morning and still have your family or houseguests wake to the delightful aroma of cinnamon and brown sugar baking.

CAKE:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 large eggs

TOPPING:

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients. Add buttermilk, butter and eggs. With an electric mixer, beat at low speed until moistened and then at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Spoon batter into a greased and floured 13-inch-by- 9-inch-by-2-inch pan. Combine ingredients for topping and sprinkle evenly over batter. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.

When ready to bake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cake from refrigerator, uncover and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Best served warm.

Per serving: 354 calories, 4 grams protein, 15 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 344 milligrams sodium

Crown Roast of Lamb With Black Olive-and-Raisin Stuffing

Serves 6 to 10

If you have a good butcher, this dish from Baltimore International College chef instructor Greg Hare is not very difficult to prepare. It would be perfect to serve for holidays and other special occasions.

1 hotel rack of lamb, 6 to 10 pounds, in two sections, or one frenched 4-pound crown rack with about 16 ribs (chine bone removed in either case)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon garlic

1 loaf of bread, cubed and toasted, or 12-ounce box croutons

2 cups chopped black olives

1 cup raisins

2 tablespoons mixture of fresh mint, rosemary and sage (or 1 tablespoon dried)

2 cups marsala wine

Form the hotel rack into a crown, holding ends together with kitchen needles and butcher's twine. Place crown rack on a jellyroll pan that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Rub crown with olive oil inside and out and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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