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The Best American Recipes (Best American Recipes: The Year's Top Picks from Books, Magazines, Newspapers, & the Internet)

The Best American Recipes (Best American Recipes: The Year's Top Picks from Books, Magazines, Newspapers, & the Internet) Cover




Introduction PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK US how we choose the recipes that make up the annual Best American collections. And although we do have some criteria - taste first and foremost, recipes that solve problems, dishes we get excited about and cant wait to make again - the fact is that weve developed a kind of radar for these distinctive recipes. Its as though a little bell goes off in our heads when we first read them, and then we have to go back and see why.

To a reader, it may seem odd to have a fancy recipe such as chef Thomas Kellers elegant cheese crisps molded in an egg carton in the same book with an unabashedly down-home recipe such as Beer Can Chicken. But to our taste, the barriers between haute and earthy have all but disappeared. You wouldnt necessarily serve these radically different dishes in the same meal, but one can be dressed up and the other dressed down so that they definitely belong in the same kitchen and fall into the category of favorite recipes you make over and over again. Theyre both unusual, and they both deliver exciting food for a minimum of effort.

Most of all, we love smart recipes that maximize flavor. They may be smart because theyre fast (or for that matter, slow, the better to develop flavor), or because theyre foolproof, or because they give a classic dish a new life. Or they may just be a best-ever version of a beloved American classic, or an exotic dish we could scarcely imagine ourselves making even five years ago.

Were also mindful of whats really useful to our readers. We know you need a quick potato dish that tastes brand-new and goes with everything (thats Roasted Potato Crisps with Fresh Herbs); we know there are never enough delicious Christmas cookies (and that youll love Christmas Casserole Cookies); we know you need a big salad that can go to a picnic or sit on a buffet table for hours (Cauliflower, Broccoflower, and Frisée Salad with Olives). All of us need a delectable dinner we can make in nothing flat, like Green Chile Cheese Puff. And we have to admit that we also love to have fun in the kitchen, which is why we couldnt resist the completely outrageous Texas Lemon Bombe, with its me-ringue topping swirled in the unmistakable style of former Texas governor Ann Richardss coiffure. It seems almost incredible that were still discovering new kitchen tricks for dealing with standard ingredients, but fortunately thats the case. This year we hope to entice you to change the way you cook potatoes as well as salmon fillets, not to mention the simplest possible way to cook mussels.

What about magical ingredients? Our vote this year goes to two Asian spice blends: Chinese five-spice powder and Japanese seven-spice powder. These fragrant blends do wonders for grilled food and vegetables. As we become more familiar with Asian dishes casually produced in our own kitchens, Asian spice blends will become as common as chili powder.

And were also rediscovering old tricks: after roasting several standing rib roasts last year in a fruitless search for the perfect roast beef, we feel our prayers have been answered this year with the republication of a long-lost high-temperature roast beef, which was developed by kitchen wizard Ann Seranne. For us, this is the all-time best roast beef, the one that defies all the fancy high-tech thermometers to produce a sensational rare roast beef so easy you can practically cook it in your sleep. And the oven stays free for last-minute side dishes.

AS ALWAYS, OUR SOURCES are virtually endless: the perhaps 600 cookbooks published each year, the many food magazines and the recipe sections of general magazines, the food sections of newspapers everywhere, newsletters, handouts, press releases, the back of the box - and most mind-boggling of all, the Internet. In cyberspace, millions of cooks work day and night, contributing a steady stream of hundreds of thousands of recipes - and in the process create a lively community of passionate cooks. Have we looked at every single recipe? Of course not. Have we found some great food on the Internet? Absolutely, and many of the best recipes made our list this year.

In short, weve looked at thousands of recipes, cooked hundreds of them, and come up with this carefully considered collection of what are, for us, the essential recipes of the year. So here they are, with notes to the cook, serving suggestions, wine choices, and variations. The proof of the pudding will be, as always, in your kitchen. Let us know what you think, and let us know (in care of our publisher) when you find a truly superb recipe you think we ought to consider, especially if its from a source outside the mainstream world of food. If we havent seen it before and we decide to use it, well not only credit you with discovering it, well send you a copy of the collection it appears in. So cook up a storm, and may you eat as well this year as we have.

Fran Mccullough

Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company Introduction and text copyright © 2000 by Fran McCullough Text copyright © 2000 by Suzanne Hamlin

Cinnamon Buns from Heaven

Cook : Nicki Cross Source : Oregonian, Portland, Oregon

Somewhere in the back of most Americans minds, theres a vivid memory of an archetypal cinnamon bun, against which all others must be measured and found wanting. Nicki Cross had such a memory from her eastern Oregon childhood, and she knew the source: a school lunchroom worker in Prairie City. Although she never found the exact recipe for those buns, she worked out this version, which gathers so many raves its been reprinted four times in the Oregonian.

We were determined to find a great cinnamon bun this year and baked our way through a number of disappointments before we found Crosss. This is the real thing: rich, sweet, and huge. We preferred making slightly smaller rolls (18 instead of 12) and skipping the glaze (see note, page 74).

serves 12 to 18

Dough 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees) 2 envelopes active dry yeast 1 teaspoon plus 2/3 cup sugar 1 cup milk, heated to lukewarm 2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) butter, softened 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 teaspoons salt 7-8 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed Filling 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted 1 3/4 cups sugar 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional) 1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)

Creamy Glaze 2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) butter, melted 4 cups confectioners sugar 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/4-1/2 cup hot water

For the dough Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a cup and stir; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the milk, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, butter, eggs, and salt. Stir well and add the yeast mixture. Add 3 1/2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until the dough is slightly stiff - it will be sticky. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking. Place in a well-buttered glass or plastic bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 15-by-20-inch rectangle.

For the filling Spread 1/2 cup of the melted butter on the dough. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the dough, then sprinkle with the walnuts and raisins, if desired. Roll up like a jellyroll and pinch the edges together to seal. Cut the roll into 12 or 18 slices.

If making 12 buns, use the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter to coat the bottoms of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and an 8-inch square baking pan; if making 18 buns, use two 13-by-9-inch pans. Sprinkle the pans with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place the cinnamon bun slices close together in the pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned. Let cool slightly before glazing.

For the glaze In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla. Add the hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a spreadable glaze. Spread the glaze over the buns and serve.

Tip To save time in the morning, make the rolls a day ahead up to the final rise, then let them rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before baking.

Cooks notes A simple dusting of confectioners sugar is a great topping for the buns, which are already so over the top that the glaze is almost too much.

You can play with the filling ingredients: try golden raisins or currants, use pecans instead of walnuts, add some nutmeg or mace and a little grated lemon zest.

Cinnamon Buns from Heaven recipe by Nicki Cross, article by staff of the Portland Oregonian, November 2, 1999. Copyright © 1999 by Nicki Cross.

Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company Introduction and text copyright © 2000 by Fran McCullough Text copyright © 2000 by Suzanne Hamlin

Product Details

McCullough, Fran
Hamlin, Suzanne
Theroux, Paul
McCullough, Fran
Hamlin, Suzanne
Hamlin, Suzanne; McCullough, Fran
McCullough, Fran
Hamlin, Suzanne
Theroux, Paul
Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Cookery, american
American - General
Regional & Ethnic - American - General
Edition Description:
150 Best Recipes
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
October 2000
Grade Level:
10.25 x 7.13 x 1 in 1.99 lb

Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Magazines and Journals » Annuals
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » United States » Ethnic
Cooking and Food » Regional and Ethnic » United States » General

The Best American Recipes (Best American Recipes: The Year's Top Picks from Books, Magazines, Newspapers, & the Internet)
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Product details 360 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618009961 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Throw out all those clippings — here's what's worth saving from every magazine article, book, church newsletter, Internet chat room, and newsgroup from the past year". — "New York Times".
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