Classics, with a twist

Our 10 favorite recipes of 2007 made familiar dishes taste new

December 26, 2007|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,Sun reporter

Fresh fish, roasted on a bed of herbs to woo an important date. A simple chocolate mousse made silky with tofu instead of cream. A grilled-cheese sandwich dressed up with Boursin, portobello mushrooms and clarified butter.

As we looked back on the hundreds of recipes we've published in the Taste section in 2007, we found ourselves drawn to the ones that used simple techniques to elevate the classics. These recipes offer a great blend of comfort and surprise.

We've picked 10 of our favorite recipes from this year to share with you one more time. We'll be making them again, well into 2008.

kate.shatzkin@baltsun.com

Chicken With Chipotle-Mulberry Sauce

Makes 2 to 4 servings

When his large mulberry tree started its annual carpeting of the ground last June, writer Harry Merritt decided to see what he could do in the kitchen with his front-yard fruit. One of the delicious results was a sweet and spicy sauce that gave life to chicken. 2 chicken legs with thighs attached

favorite spice rub of choice

1/4 cup red-raspberry vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 cup crushed mulberries

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced

Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle the rub over it. Cover plate and refrigerate while you prepare the sauce.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, garlic, mulberries and chipotle pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree if you want a smoother sauce.

Grill the chicken over medium heat for about 12 minutes per side, turning often. Serve the chicken covered with the sauce.

Adapted from fiery-foods.com

Per serving (based on 4 servings): 155 calories, 15 grams protein, 8 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 52 milligrams cholesterol, 84 milligrams sodium

Char Siew (Chinese Barbecued Pork)

Serves 4 to 6

We've always loved takeout Chinese barbecued pork, and were thrilled to come across this recipe while reviewing Tom Kime's book Street Food, which introduces the home cook to casual fare eaten around the world. With just six ingredients, most of which are always in our pantry, this is a go-to recipe that doubles easily to serve a crowd. 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon rice wine

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 1/4 pounds fresh pork shoulder, cut into long strips about 1 1/2 inches thick

Combine the ingredients (except the pork) to make a marinade. Stir well to mix. Place the pork in a glass or ceramic dish, pour in the marinade and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. Turn a few times to ensure that the meat is coated by the marinade.

Heat an outdoor grill to medium and place the pork on the grill over indirect heat. (You can also cook this in a grill pan or under a broiler.) Cook the pork for 15 minutes, brushing with the marinade and turning to avoid burning. Serve hot or cold with crisp lettuce and cucumber slices; in salads, soups or stir-fries; or with some chile jam or sambal-style sauce.

From "Street Food" by Tom Kime

Per serving (based on 6 servings): 167 calories, 21 grams protein, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 61 milligrams cholesterol, 846 milligrams sodium

Candy-Bar Cookies

Makes 2 to 3 dozen

For Rosh Hashana, we discovered a local cookie party that's been a holiday tradition for more than half a century. Amy Pollokoff, who makes more than 21 kinds of cookies for the party, got the recipe for this treat from her grandmother, who clipped it from a magazine in 1962. DOUGH:

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons evaporated milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted flour

CARAMEL FILLING:

1/2 pound light-colored caramels (about 28 pieces)

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

CHOCOLATE ICING:

one 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 dozen whole pecans

Mix dough ingredients well. Let chill. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out dough and cut into rectangles with a serrated pizza cutter. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 16 minutes, watching carefully; cookies should stay white and not overly brown.

For caramel filling, combine caramels and evaporated milk in a double boiler. Heat until caramels melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, powdered sugar and pecans.

For chocolate icing, combine chocolate chips and evaporated milk over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.

Once the cookies are cool, layer the toppings in the center of each rectangle, with a heaping teaspoon of caramel filling followed by a heaping teaspoon of chocolate icing, then a whole pecan pressed into the chocolate icing. Let cool until chocolate and caramel mixtures have set up.

Courtesy of Amy Pollokoff

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