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A Few Good Sides

November 21, 1996

We asked for your favorite Thanksgiving side recipes and you delivered. The response was so tremendous it was impossible for The Times Test Kitchen to try every submission. But Donna Deane, Mayi Brady and Julianne Tantum did a heroic effort of testing the most promising recipes. The writers and editors in the section then tasted the results. The eight recipes printed here are the best of an excellent group. Happy Thanksgiving!

TERESA MCCLARY'S CLOVERLEAF ROLLS

Good soft rolls are an integral part of most Thanksgiving tables. Teresa A. McClary of Glendale sent us this recipe, which uses a food processor for easy mixing. She says that if you're making rolls for a crowd, you should make multiple batches and let them rise together.

1/4 cup warm water

1 (1 1/4-ounce) package yeast

1/4 cup butter, softened

3 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup milk, at room temperature

For the record
Los Angeles Times Friday November 29, 1996 Home Edition Food Part H Page 2 Food Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
The correct nutritional analysis for Keri Lawson's Plum Pudding Cake ("A Few Good Sides" Nov. 21): 413 calories; 264 mg sodium; 63 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 53 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.81 gram fiber.

1 egg

Combine water and yeast in small bowl and set aside to proof, about 5 minutes. Combine butter, 1/2 of flour, sugar and salt in food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yeast mixture, milk and egg and blend well. With food processor running, add remaining flour through feed tube just until dough forms ball.

Place ball in greased bowl and turn to grease all sides of dough. Cover with towel and set aside in warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and set aside to rise until doubled again, about 30 minutes.

Grease muffin pan. Form dough into 12 (2-inch) balls. Place 1 ball in each muffin cup. With scissors, cut cross almost completely through each roll, dividing each roll in quarters. Cover pan and set aside to rise another 15 minutes.

Bake at 400 degrees until brown and puffy, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Makes 12 rolls

Each roll contains about:

185 calories; 447 mg sodium; 29 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 30 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.09 gram fiber.

NANCY ZASLAVSKY'S TINY POTATOES WITH CARAMELIZED GARLIC (Papitas al Ajo)

Cookbook writer Nancy Zaslavsky, who lives in Venice, sent us this garlicky potato recipe from her upcoming book "Meatless Mexican Home Cooking," to be published in March. She got the recipe from Mercedes Arteaga Tovar, owner of Bugambilia restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Zaslavsky describes the dish this way: "Mercedes slowly browns teeny boiled potatoes with garlic until they are deep gold, sticky and chewy. She serves these in her home to favored guests as appetizer tidbits with toothpicks. I adore the potatoes as a dinner side dish too, because no one has to stick his or her finger indelicately into the bowl to get more of the heavenly caramelized garlic. (Don't think it won't happen.)"

2 pounds small red or white boiling potatoes, 1-inch diameter maximum

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chopped garlic

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Black pepper

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder, or 1 toasted, seeded, and pulverized ancho chile

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon lime juice

Cook potatoes in 3 quarts salted boiling water until tender enough to be pierced with knife point, about 20 minutes. Drain well and blot dry.

Heat olive oil and add potatoes. Cook until lightly browned.

Add garlic, lower heat and slowly simmer until garlic turns dark golden and becomes caramelized. Remove potatoes and garlic to bowl. Add salt, pepper, ancho chile powder, parsley and lime juice and mix well.

Makes 6 side-dish servings.

Each serving contains about:

214 calories; 420 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 1.14 grams fiber.

KERI LAWSON'S PLUM PUDDING CAKE

Keri Lawson of Fullerton sent this moist cake recipe that's so good it might make a few people at the table forget to ask for pumpkin pie.

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/4 cup chopped orange peel (can be candied)

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups torn-up white bread, crusts removed

1 cup shortening

1 cup applesauce

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup red plum, currant or other favorite jam

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup vermouth

HARD SAUCE

3 tablespoons vermouth

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

PLUM PUDDING CAKE

In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in raisins, orange peel, apricots and walnuts. Add torn-up bread. Beat in shortening, applesauce, brown sugar and eggs. Stir in jam, juice and vermouth.

Pour into greased 2-quart bundt pan. Cover tightly with foil. Place large baking pan on oven shelf and place casserole in pan. Add boiling water almost to top of pan. Bake at 400 degrees 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and cook until set, about 2 1/2 hours. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

HARD SAUCE

Beat together vermouth and sugar until smooth. Unmold cake onto platter. Pour over cake before serving.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Each of 12 servings contains about:

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