Archive for 2009

Champagne and Sparkling Wine-Lets Not Just Drink It But Cook With It, Too

New Years, Birthdays, Weddings, Celebrations of all types call for the crème de la creme of wine—Champagne. Just the word Champagne evokes the feeling and atmosphere of the rarified, the exlusiveness, the privilege.

When Dom Pérignon, the Benedictine Monk who invented…

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Champagne Pink Grapefruit Sorbet


You want nice tangy-fresh juices for this sorbet and don’t strain them, leaving any bits of floating pulp in for texture. This light and refreshing dessert featuring winter’s best seasonal citrus is adapted from a recipe from one served in…

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Champagne Risotto with Leeks and Celery

While you can use any champagne or sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, it can be fresh from the bottle or leftover flat dregs. I heat the champagne first to burn off a bit of the alcohol. This is has a good proportion of wine, so the flavor will be marked. If you want your risotto to look pristine, be sure to use white pepper.

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Veal Stew with Champagne

Champagne is a wonderful complement to veal and makes a lovely flavorful stew. It is a great use for leftover champagne. Veal makes a milder stew than beef or venison. Serve this Italian style, with risotto.

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Beth Bytes/Sujata’s Curried Chicken Wings

There is some hot news this week. My personal website, bethhensperger.com is launched and ready for visitors! The website is a composite of my publishing history with four publishers and a catalog of all my books from the last 25 years, while at the same time being a companion to the more active weekly blog here at Harvard Common Press’s notyourmotherscookbooks.com.

I spent time remembering and writing about what each book meant to me and quips from when I was writing it. There are two free recipes from each book (we all love free treats). There is a marketplace where I am letting you in on my favorite equipment, the real deal, not advertising…

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It’s All in the Pan

If you like to bake bread, you know all about the search for the perfect loaf pan. Since all bread pans bake just that little bit different, bakers tend to own at least two different types, choosing the right pan for the each recipe.

First is usually a pair of Pyrex glass loaf pans from the supermarket with the lip-like handles on the two opposite narrow ends. You have to remember to drop the oven temperature by 25 degrees, but you can see underneath to make sure the bottom crust is baking properly and they can be easily washed in the dishwasher.

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Sunflower-Oatmeal Bread

When I worked at the bakery in 1980, my assistant Celeste made this variation of our standard Sunflower Molasses Bread with buttermilk and honey. It was scrumptous and ended up being one of our best sandwich/toasting breads, rich flavored and moist textured. When I wrote Bread for Chronicle Books, I included the recipe. Good thing I wrote it down for Celeste never did and had forgotten she ever created it. Always write down your variations!

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Buttermilk Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread is the mainstay of the baker’s kitchen. Until you have mastered whole wheat bread you cannot say you are a bread baker. The easiest whole wheat bread is a 50-50 blend of whole wheat and white flour: it makes the dough easy to work with and gives a high rise. Use fresh flour, as fine a grind as you can find, for the grind will dictate the overall texture. Remember when kneading to leave the dough a dash sticky, as the whole grains will absorb it during the rise. This is real old fashioned home baking at its best and is perfect made in the terracotta bread pans.

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And You Too Can Become Julia Child

If you circulate in the food world, from chef to culinary student to gourmand diner, you would know the name of Julia Child. Her speaking voice is unique and immediately able to be recognized no matter where you would hear it. Now with writer/director Nora Ephron’s movie of Julie and Julia, there is tons of buzz on not only Julia Child as a persona celebrite, but the advent of her celebrity with the story of how she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking during the 1950s in France. A zillion more people, including those who would never brandish a whisk, will know about her too.

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Coquille St. Jacques au Naturel

Remember when in the food world all the recipe titles were in French? Well, here is one left over from the good old days, originally created by Simone Beck, known as Simca to the French culinary world. It is a recipe I used to make all the time for catering my business clients for it is fast and easy. The scallops are baked with shallots and the superbly simple dish is so nice you will never miss the calorie-laden cream sauce,usually napping scallops. Scallops combine the qualities of sweet meatiness and with a melt in your mouth texture.

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