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New cookbooks bring exotic flavors to your table

Posted Wednesday, Jul. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Serves 2

 4-5 orange and red spur chiles, chopped

 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped

 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 7 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

 2 1/4 cups sliced bamboo shoot strips

 2 tablespoons fish sauce

 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

 4-5 kaffir lime leaves, torn

 1 handful holy basil leaves

 1 red spur chile, diagonally sliced, to garnish

 Steamed jasmine rice, to serve

1. With a pestle, pound the chiles and garlic together in a mortar until smooth.

2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, add the chile-garlic mixture, and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the chicken and stir-fry 3-4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add the bamboo shoots and stir-fry for 1 minute. Season with the fish sauce, sugar and lime leaves, and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until thoroughly combined. Garnish with the basil leaves and sliced red chile, and serve with rice.

Serves 4-6

For the molasses glaze:

 3 tablespoons molasses

 2 tablespoons tamari sauce

 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce

 1⁄4 cup Thai sweet chili sauce

 1⁄4 cup rum

 6 allspice berries

 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

 5 tablespoons honey

 5 tablespoons brown sugar

 1 cup orange juice

 1⁄4 cup distilled white vinegar

For the ribs:

 1 bay leaf

 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled, plus 2

 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh


 12 whole garlic cloves, plus 4 cloves

 garlic, chopped

 1 bunch fresh thyme

 1 whole Scotch bonnet

 1 bunch scallions (or green onions),

 plus 3 scallion (or green onion)

 stalks, chopped

 8 allspice berries

 Sea salt

 4 pounds baby-back or pork ribs

 1 tablespoon jerk sauce

 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

 1 tablespoon honey

 1⁄4 cup Asian plum sauce

 1 tablespoon soy sauce

 2 tablespoons sesame or peanut oil

 2 tablespoons chopped fresh


1. To make the molasses glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes, until thickened.

2. Fill a large pot (big enough to fit the ribs) with water and add the bay leaf, 3 inches ginger, garlic cloves, thyme, Scotch bonnet, scallions or green onion bunch (leave whole) and allspice and 1 teaspoon salt. Parboil the ribs for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bones stick out at the edges. Transfer to a platter and let cool.

3. In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the jerk sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, plum sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, cilantro, the 2 tablespoons grated ginger, the chopped garlic and a third of the chopped scallion stalks. Add the ribs and coat well with the marinade. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

4. Bring the ribs back to room temperature before cooking. Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the ribs for 20 to 30 minutes, continually turning them and basting with the glaze, until sticky and dark. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, spread the ribs on a sheet pan, drizzle with the glaze and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, continually basting with glaze.

5. Place the ribs on a platter and add the remaining chopped scallion stalks.

Serves 8

2 large green plantains

About 3 cups vegetable or coconut oil

Sea salt

1 large avocado, pitted and sliced

1 bunch scallions

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste

4 ounces manchego cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro

1⁄4 cup Spicy West Indian Salsa Verde (recipe follows)

1. Cut off both ends of each plantain and, with the tip of a paring knife, score lengthwise along the ridges of the plantain skin; peel away the skin. Cut the plantains into 2-inch-thick pieces, and sprinkle them with salt.

2. Heat about 4 inches oil in a large pot over high heat. Once the oil is very hot, drop the plantain pieces into the oil and fry for about 2 minutes. Transfer the plantains to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve the oil in the pot.

3. Spread a clean dish cloth on a work surface, place 1 piece of fried plantain on the cloth, and fold the cloth over the plantain; press hard with the heel of your hand to flatten the plantain to about 1/2 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of plantain.

4. Once all the plantains are pressed, heat the oil up again and fry the plantains 3 minutes more, or until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with fresh paper towels to drain. Season with salt.

5. In a small bowl, mash together the avocado with the scallions, a pinch of salt and the lime juice.

6. Place some mashed avocado on top of each pressed plantain and top with cheese, cilantro and a generous drizzle of spicy salsa verde. Serve immediately.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh chadon beni (culantro or cilantro)

1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1/2 cup water

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 8 limes)

2 teaspoons lime zest

1 Scotch bonnet, cut in half and seeded

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger

Combine all ingredients and blend well.

Serves 4

 1 large red onion, very thinly


 1 1/3 pounds sea bass fillet (or

 other white fish), skinned and


 Fine sea salt (see note)

 1 portion Amarillo Chile Tiger’s

 Milk (recipe follows)

 A few cilantro sprigs, leaves

 finely chopped

 1 limo chile, seeded and finely


 1 sweet potato, cooked and cut

 into small cubes

1. Rinse the onion and then leave it to soak in ice water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly, spread out on a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel to remove any excess water and then place in the fridge until needed. This will reduce the strength of the onion and help to keep the slices crisp.

2. Cut the fish into uniform strips of around 1 1/4 by 3/4 inch. Place in a large bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix together gently with a metal spoon. The salt will help open the fish’s pores. Leave this for 2 minutes and then pour over the tiger’s milk and combine gently with the spoon. Leave the fish to “cook” in this marinade for 2 minutes.

3. Add the onion, cilantro, chile and sweet potato to the fish. Mix together gently with the spoon and taste to check that the balance of salt, sour and chile is to your liking. Divide among serving bowls and serve immediately.

Note: Morales recommends using fine sea salt for making any kind of ceviche, as it is higher quality than other salts and more beneficial in cold “cooking.”

Amarillo Chile Tiger’s Milk

“Tiger’s milk” is a nickname for the lime-based Peruvian marinade used as the seafood cure in ceviche-making. This recipe is the one most often used at Morales’ restaurant.

Put a 1/4-inch piece of fresh ginger (cut in half), 1 small clove garlic (cut in half), 4 roughly chopped cilantro sprigs and the juice of 8 limes in a bowl. Stir and then leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons amarillo chile paste (found at Central Market in Fort Worth) and mix well. This will keep for 4 hours in the fridge.

Serves 8-12

 Canola oil, for frying

 1 cup all-purpose flour

 1 teaspoon sea salt

 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black


 3 medium eggplants, cut into

 1/4-inch-thick slices

 4 cups Red Sauce (recipe follows)

 3/4 pound part-skim mozzarella

 cheese, freshly shredded

 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-

 Reggiano cheese, plus more for


 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus

 more for garnish

 Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or high-sided skillet, pour in 2 inches of canola oil.

3. Heat over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 360 degrees. (You can also test by adding a small piece of bread to the oil. If it fries and browns, the oil is ready.)

4. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Working in batches of approximately 8 slices each, dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture and add them to the hot oil. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes each, until browned. Using tongs, transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to let cool.

5. In two 13-by-9-inch baking dishes, place one layer of eggplant slices. Brush each with a thin layer of Red Sauce, top with a layer of mozzarella, 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano and a sprinkle of basil leaves. Repeat the layering two more times. Make a final layer of Red Sauce, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top. Garnish with a final sprinkling of basil leaves and Parmigiano-Reggiano and a small drizzle of olive oil.


Red Sauce

Makes 2 cups or enough for 1 pound of pasta

 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled


 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 1/3 red onion, medium diced

 3 garlic cloves, cut into chunks

 Pinch of hot red pepper flakes


 Salt and freshly ground black


 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil

1. In a food processor, or using an immersion blender, puree the tomatoes to a smooth, creamy consistency.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion, and saute 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft.

3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until you see the color start changing. If you’d like to make the sauce spicy, add the red pepper flakes.

4. Add the tomatoes, and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

5. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

6. Strive for balance in the consistency of the sauce. It has to be fluid, but it should not look overly wet. Add the basil and remove from the heat.

Serves 6

 1 pint raspberries, plus more for garnish

 1/2 cup limoncello, chilled (recipe follows)

 1 (750 milliliter) bottle prosecco, chilled

1. In a food processor, puree the raspberries until smooth. Strain the raspberry puree through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher.

2. Add the limoncello and prosecco and stir. Garnish with extra raspberries and serve immediately in 6 ice-filled glasses.


Makes 3 liters

 2 (750 milliliter) bottles grain alcohol

 Zest of 14 lemons

 4 1/2 cups sugar

1. In a 5-quart, round-mouthed glass jar, combine the alcohol and lemon zest. Tightly seal the jar and store in darkness — preferably a cellar or basement — for 2 weeks. When ready to make the limoncello, strain the alcohol into a large pot or bowl, discard the lemon zest, then return the infused alcohol to the large jar.

2. In a 4-quart pot, combine 1 1⁄2 liters water and the sugar. Bring to a soft boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside for at least 1 hour to cool.

3. Add the sugar water to the jar with the infused alcohol and seal tightly. If you notice sugar deposits at the bottom of the jar, shake it gently. Store in darkness again, for 1 month.

4. Transfer to 500 milliliter (or smaller) bottles and serve well chilled in shot glasses. Limoncello is best kept in the freezer until it’s ready to serve.

Serves 8 to 10

For the crust:

 3/4 cup tepid water

 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

 2 cups all-purpose flour

 3 tablespoons olive oil

 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

For the topping:

 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for

 brushing over the crust

 3 pounds onions, peeled and thinly sliced

 10 sprigs thyme

 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

 Freshly ground black pepper

 30 Niçoise olives, or 20 larger olives, pitted

 or unpitted

 16 good-quality oil-packed anchovy fillets

1. To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or in a large bowl, by hand), combine the water, yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour. Let stand 15 minutes, until little bubbles appear on the surface.

2. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, the olive oil and the salt. Knead on medium speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is a smooth ball. Oil a bowl, drop in the dough and turn it so the oiled side is up. Drape a kitchen towel over the top, and let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.

3. Meanwhile, make the topping by heating 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, garlic, salt and sugar. Cook, stirring infrequently during the first half-hour, then, as the onions cook down, stir more often, until the onions are deep golden-brown. (If they start to burn on the bottom, add more olive oil.) It will take about an hour for them to reach this stage. Stir in a few grinds of the peppermill and remove from the heat. Once cool, pluck out the thyme.

4. To assemble and bake the pissaladière, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a 13-by-18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch the dough with your hands in an oval about 12 inches long. Let rest for 15 minutes.

6. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Pull the dough with your hands until it reaches the sides of the pan. Spread the caramelized onions over the dough, leaving a very narrow rim around the edges. Dot with the olives, lay the anchovies over the top either haphazardly or in a decorative crisscross pattern, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and slide the tart off the baking sheet and parchment paper onto a cooling rack. Brush a little olive oil over the crust and cut into squares or rectangles. Serve warm or at room temperature with glasses of rosé, iced, of course.

Serves 6

 1/2 cup granulated sugar

 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed

 3/4 cup heavy cream

 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

 4 large eggs, separated

 Rounded 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel

1. Spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a wide saucepan. Heat the sugar over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to very gently drag the liquefied sugar toward the center. Watch carefully as, once the edges start to darken, the sugar is in danger of burning. Continue to cook, stirring very gently, until all the sugar is melted and begins to caramelize.

2. When the caramel is a deep amber color and starts to smoke, wait a moment for it to smell just slightly burned, then remove it from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until melted. Gradually whisk in the cream and stir until the little bits of caramel are completely melted. (A few can be stubborn, so be patient. You can strain the mixture if they simply refuse to budge.)

3. Once smooth, add the chocolate, stirring gently until it’s melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. Once it’s no longer warm, whisk in the egg yolks.

4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold one-third of the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture, sprinkling in the flaky salt. Fold in the remaining beaten egg whites just until no streaks of white remain. Divide the mousse into serving glasses, or transfer it to a decorative serving bowl, and chill for at least 8 hours. While it might be tempting to serve this with whipped cream, I prefer to serve it pure, straight up with a just a spoon.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Food is often a highlight of any great vacation, so on the days you’re not traveling this summer, why not get a taste of exotic locations with an itinerary of new destination cookbooks? With vivid photography and elaborate narratives, the attractive tomes we toured provide multisensory escapes to foreign soil, including Thailand, Italy, the Caribbean, Paris and Peru. We selected our favorite recipes from each for you to try at home, too. Bon voyage and bon appetit! Luggage and passport not required.

Thailand: The Cookbook

By Jean-Pierre Gabriel, Phaidon Press, $49.95

Encyclopedic in size and in its information, which covers culinary history, guidance on ingredients and cooking technique instruction, Thailand: The Cookbook features a whopping 500 recipes from various regions of the exotic Southeast Asian country. Three years in the making, the hardback is just as much a photo tour as it is a cookbook, as it was written by Brussels-based photographer and food writer Jean-Pierre Gabriel. Find all ingredients needed at local Asian markets, such as Nguyen Loi Oriental Supermarket (5302 E. Belknap St., Haltom City, 817-831-4778, www.tnlsuperfood.com).

Caribbean Potluck: Modern Recipes From Our Family Kitchen

By Suzanne & Michelle Rousseau, Kyle Books, $24.95

Jamaican sisters Suzanne and Michelle Rousseau, official culinary hostesses for the Jamaica Tourist Board and creators of the popular blog and TV show Two Sisters and a Meal ( www.2sistersandameal.com), share more than 100 colorful recipes in their first cookbook, Caribbean Potluck: Modern Recipes From Our Family Kitchen. The sisters island-hopped the Caribbean to incorporate flavors from as far away as Trinidad and Tobago, giving readers traditional one-pot meals like Jamaican oxtail and beans, as well as modern twists on classics like jerked chicken and cashew spring rolls. Learn the ingredients that make up a Caribbean cupboard (lots of coconut milk and rice), tips for crafting Caribbean cocktails and even how to entertain, island-style. For the two recipes shown here, note that the spicy Scotch bonnet chile pepper is closely related to the equally hot habanero, and the latter provides for a suitable substitute.

Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen

By Martin Morales, Ten Speed Press, $30

In the first major Peruvian cookbook published for a U.S. audience, author Martin Morales delivers more than 100 recipes in Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen. They include dishes he grew up with, historic Peruvian meals, and fusion dishes created with Spanish, Italian, African, Chinese and Japanese influences. As expected from the book’s title, fresh and healthy seafood is the star in this jewel-tone photograph-filled production, which features show-stopping plates like drunken scallops, salmon tiradito and the sea bass ceviche (recipe shown here), the most popular dish at Morales’ much-acclaimed London restaurant that shares the book’s name. We also love Morales’ homemade helados, ice creams that come with options for flavor variations, like avocado or the Peruvian lucuma fruit. (Note: limo chiles can be ordered from Central Market stores by calling the produce manager, but a substitute is the red jalapeño.)

Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love From Our Tuscan Kitchen

By Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar,

Clarkson Potter, $32.50

Like oil and vinegar, husband and wife co-authors Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos are shining opposites — she’s a sassy New York City actress; he’s a big-hearted Italian raised in Tuscany. Yet readers will be inspired by the couple’s delicious chemistry in Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love From Our Tuscan Kitchen, the first cookbook for the Cooking Channel celeb chefs and ambassadors of contemporary Tuscan cooking. Expect rustic Italian cuisine — not over-sauced, over-cheesed or overdone, but simple, fresh and accessible. Standout recipes from the list of 120 include grilled apricots with goat cheese ricotta, white bean and pancetta bruschetta, and skillet eggplant Parmesan, shown here. We also love that entire chapters are dedicated to risotto, vegetables and drinks, the last of which includes an invigorating limoncello spritzer.

My Paris Kitchen

By David Lebovitz, Ten Speed Press, $35

Author and food blogger David Lebovitz spent nearly 13 years at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., before leaving to pursue a career in cookbook writing. His move to Paris a decade ago, for which he packed not much more than his laptop and a skillet, has resulted in his latest cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, his documentation of the culinary cultural shift happening in France that comes with equal parts personal stories of entertaining in his tiny apartment and French-inspired recipes that reflect how Parisians eat today. Readers will find instruction for timeless French fare like coq au vin and croque-monsieur, but also smoky barbecue-style pork, wheat berry salad with root vegetables and duck fat cookies. Serve the onion tart, shown here, with rosé over ice, per Lebovitz’s recommendation.

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