The :30 celebrates her national best seller, Bean by Bean, by cooking up a couple of the recipes featured in the book.
Given the deliciousness and popularity of layered bean dips
like the 7-Layer Tex-Mex Mountain on page 41, why not riff on the idea using
Mediterranean/Middle Eastern ingredients? This take is a wonderful creation; as
a friend tasting it remarked, "This totally puts the ‘Bop' in Bosporus." Well,
yes, kind of. Another testing-and-tasting companero called it "Mount Olive."
1 very crisp cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
6 to 8 fresh red radishes, tops and tails removed, well
washed, and chopped
1 fresh green chile, stemmed, seeds removed for mildness or
left in for heat, finely minced
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 bunches of scallions, derooted, whites and about 3 inches
of green chopped
1 bunch of fresh mint or parsley or ½ bunch of fresh dill
(or a combination of all three), well rinsed, stemmed, and finely chopped
2½ cups hummus, either homemadeor from the market
6 ounces (½ cup) good-quality creamy, tender feta (I like
the kind made from sheep's milk)
3 large tomatoes, stemmed and finely chopped
1½ cups sour cream or thick, full-fat unsweetened plain
yogurt (Greek-style is great here)
1 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, minced
A few large red-leaf lettuce leaves or a handful of pretty,
well-washed spinach leaves (optional)
Pita chips, such as Stacy's brand, or toasted wedges of pita
bread, for serving
In a medium-size bowl, toss together the chopped
cuke and radishes. Add the
chile, lemon juice, and salt and toss to combine. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the scallions and
mint, parsley, and/or dill.
Spread the hummus on the bottom of a glass pie
pan. Sprinkle the cucumber mixture over it, then the scallion mixture, the
feta, and lastly, the tomatoes. "Ice" the mountain you've made with the sour
cream or yogurt, and sprinkle with the minced olives. If you like, poke a few
lettuce or spinach leaves around the mountain's base to frame it decoratively.
Serve with a bowl of pita crisps alongside.
Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer
JULIE'S PEANUT BUTTER
These bar cookies of Julie Reimer's are irresistibly chewy,
gooey, chocolaty, peanut buttery; impossible to stop eating (as I discovered to
my chagrin when she brought them to a potluck). This is her modification, years
in the making, of a recipe from The 55 Best Brownies in the World by Honey and
Larry Zisman (St. Martin's Griffin, 1991). Julie makes it so often that she was
able to recite it to me by memory at the aforementioned Vermont potluck, though
her own kitchen is in Minnesota. There, Julie puts something even more
nourishing into young hands: books. She's the kind of librarian you wish you'd
had when you were a kid. No, I don't use peanut butter chips or cook with
Reese's peanut butter cups. Yes, they do contain hydrogenated fats, which I don't eat. Ever. Except here. (Okay, and until recently, in my
Thanksgiving pie crusts.) These brownies freeze well, if you should have
Vegetable oil cooking spray
½ cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy, natural, unhydrogenated peanut butter (see
box, page 323)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to room
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
24 Reese's peanut butter cup miniatures, unwrapped
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9 by 13-inch
pan with oil.
In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer cream
together the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Beat in the vanilla and
eggs. Blend in the melted chocolate, mixing until the batter is uniformly
chocolaty. By hand, stir in the flour and peanut butter chips.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Top with the peanut butter cups in a 4-row-by-6-row pattern.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of
the brownies comes out more clean than not, 30 to 35 minutes. Don't overbake
these; their gooeyness is part of their wonder. Cool completely on a wire rack
before cutting. These keep well at room temp, tightly covered (or in a tin),
for 5 to 6 days. Which means they're also good for mailing to homesick kids at
camp or college.
Makes 12 brownies.
ROSE OF PERSIA CAKE (Serves 12)
This rich, delectable cake has the texture and grain of
pound cake. Moist and tender of crumb, it has the hauntingly floral aroma and
flavor only rose water gives. The cake's buttery density is emphasized by the
chickpea flour. The recipe combines traditional Iranian ingredients (cherries,
pistachios, chickpea flour; that lovely rose water) with a lemon cake recipe
that is a family favorite around here. Sift both of the flours before
measuring, and then again after.
½ cup dried cherries (preferably Bing)
½ cup unsweetened sour cherry juice
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1½ cups sifted unbleached white flour,
tablespoon for the pan
12/3 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the pan
1 cup (2
sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups sifted chickpea flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup buttermilk (preferably cultured),
or ½ cup plain yogurt whisked with
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons rose water (see Note and box)
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons rose water
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
½ cup sugar
FOR THE GARNISH:
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped (optional)
A few hours before you plan to assemble the cake
batter; or even the night before, place the dried cherries in a small bowl, add
the cherry juice, and soak to rehydrate the cherries.
When you're ready to mix up the cake, preheat
the oven to 325°F.
Spray a 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan, or
even a few small loaf pans, with oil. Combine the 1 tablespoon flour and the 1
tablespoon sugar in a small bowl, and shake this all over the oiled pan to
coat. Invert the pan and tap out the excess.
In a medium-large bowl, using an electric beater
set on high, cream the butter until it's light and fluffy then gradually add
the remaining sugar. Continue beating until the mixture is well combined and
even lighter and fluffier. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl, sift together the
remaining white flour with the chickpea flour; baking soda, and salt.
Drain the soaked cherries, reserving the
cherries and the juice in separate bowls.
Combine the buttermilk, rose water and ¼ cup of
the reserved cherry juice (you'll have a small amount of juice left over;
reserve it) in a small bowl.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture,
alternating it with the buttermilk mixture, beating together on low speed after
each addition just to combine everything; don't overbeat. Stir in the lemon
zest and soaked cherries (by hand!) and transfer the batter to the prepared
Bake until the top is deeply golden brown, the
kitchen is intoxicatingly fragrant, and the cake tests clean, 45 minutes for
loaf pans, 1 hour and 10 minutes for a 10-inch tube pan, and somewhere in the
middle for a 12-inch Bundt. Let the cake cool in its pan(s) on a rack for 10
minutes while you make the glaze.
Combine all of the glaze ingredients plus the
reserved cherry soaking liquid in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil,
stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn down the heat and let simmer until
slightly thickened, keeping a close eye on it; this should take 4 to 5 minutes.
You want the glaze quite liquidy, the better to soak into the cake.
cake out of its, pan(s) and onto a serving plate. While it's still warm, slowly
pour/spread spoon about a third of the glaze over the cake, allowing the cake
to absorb as much as possible. Poke a few holes in the cake with a toothpick,
then pour any remaining glaze over the top. While the cake is still warm and
sticky, sprinkle it with the finely chopped pistachios, if using. Since this
cake is so moist, it keeps well, covered, for 3 to 4 days, though the odds are
good it'll never last that long. Given its stickiness, a cake dish with its own
domed lid is ideal for storing, but plastic wrap will also do.
Note: Rose water can be purchased
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