January 13, 2007

Top 100 - 41 Through 50

41. Saint Marcellin cheese. A sweet, soft and creamy cheese that is usually sold in little ceramic crocks to keep it's shape. The taste is mushroomy and earthy, some say fruity. As it ages the texture becomes more chalky. Delicious served with some olives and a glass of Châteauneuf du Pape.

42. The Pitcher. For serving water, wine, sangria, lemonade, margaritas, etc.

43. Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. A very well researched and knowledgeable cookbook featuring the complex, unique and often overlooked flavors of Mexico. I've had this book for ten years and think it is fantastic.

44. Lucques Olive Tapenade. I prefer the flavor of tapenade made with green olives rather than black olives. And my favorite green olive to use is the Lucques, although manzanilla or green Greek olives would work with this recipe. Spread it on some bread and serve with apéritifs.

Lucques Olive Tapenade

1 cup pitted green olives
2-3 anchovies, rinsed and dried
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1 clove garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Add a little olive oil at a time until you reach a smooth consistency.
Makes one cup.
Can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for several weeks.

45. H & H Bagels Truly the best! If only they were available in France...

46. Hand Blender or Immersion Blender. Saves me from having to purée soups in a food processor and therefore, from burning myself in the process. Also useful for making smoothies, fruit sauces, whipping butter and making custard. It takes up very little space in my tiny kitchen and it is one of those tools that I reach for again and again.

47. Bar Pinoxto in Barcelona, Spain. Located inside La Boqueria market, this little bar with only 12 counter seats and a couple of small tables is my favorite place for a café con leche or lunch. There is no menu but Juanito, the lively proprietor and quite the local celebrity, will tell you what is being served that day. My favorites were the grilled razor clams, grilled whole little green peppers and salt cod croquettes. The bar is frequented by locals as well as tourists and the counter seats fill up early.

48. Susan Spicer. Chef and owner of Bayona and Herbsaint in New Orleans. I was introduced to her cooking on my first visit to New Orleans when we snagged a last minute reservation at Bayona. Housed in a 200 year old Creole cottage in the French Quarter, Bayona was opened by Spicer in 1990 and has been winning awards and serving some of the best food in the city ever since. Herbsaint was opened with chef Donald Link in 2000, and lucky for us, it was just around the corner from our apartment. We ate there as often as possible!

49. Leite's Culinaria website. An elegant and mouth-watering collection of recipes, food writing, book reviews and resources for food lovers.

50. Vin D'Oranges. I wrote about this homemade apéritif back in November and am now on my fourth batch. I've tried it with rosé twice, red and now white. The red wine version tasted too much like sangria, which I love, just not in the winter, but the rosé version was excellent. The white wine version will be ready next week.

Vin d'Oranges

7 juice oranges (about 2 1/2 pounds), preferably organic
2 bottles dry white wine, rosé wine or fruity red wine (I used rosé)
grated zest of one orange
1 cup sugar
1 cup vodka

Peel the oranges and chop the flesh into 1/2 inch cubes on a cutting board that will collect the juices. Put the orange pieces and all the collected juice into a 12 cup, wide-mouthed jar with a tight fitting lid, or divide between two smaller jars. Pour the wine over and close the jar tightly. Set aside in a cool place for 10 days. Each day, gently shake the jar and on the 10th day, add the orange zest.
On the 11th day, strain the wine into a large bowl, pressing on the oranges to extract all the juice. Discard the oranges. Add the sugar to the wine and stir until dissolved. Then add the vodka.
Pour through a funnel into 3, sterilized wine bottles, seal with corks and set aside for another 10 days in a cool place.
Serve very cold.
Drink within three months.

This recipe comes from a cookbook published in 1994 called Backroad Bistros, Farmhouse Fare
by Jane Sigal.
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