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  • Photos by Goran Kosanovic | Washington Post
    Jenny Rosenstrach offers up a great recipe for Cranberry Marinated Tenderloin in her book “How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners and Every Day in Between.”

  • “Cooking for Jeffrey” will help you make Raspberry Roasted Applesauce.

  • Photos by Goran Kosanovic | Washington Post
    Peking Portobellos are a vegan dish from “The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

  • Check out “Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking” for a stellar Dill Bread recipe.
December 28, 2016 1:03 AM

Cooking by the book

2016 was standout year to find great recipes

Bonnie S. Benwick | Washington Post

Locally

The top five cookbooks borrowed this year from the Allen County Public Library were:

1 “Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classis, Freezer Food, 16 minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper,” Ree Drummond (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2015)

2 “Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes,” Pearl Barrett (Harmony, 2015)

3 “Hungry Girl Clean and Hungry: Easy All Natural Recipes for Clean Eating in the Real World,” Lisa Lillien (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2016)

4 “Paleo Perfected: A Revolution in Eating Well with 150 Kitchen-Tested Recipes,” America’s Test Kitchen (America’s Test Kitchen, 2015)

5 “New Slow Cooker Cookbook: More Than 200 Modern, Healthy – and Easy – Recipes for the Classic Cooker,” Adams Media (Adams Media, 2016)

If you had never bought a cookbook before this year, the crop of 2016 could build a first-rate culinary library.

Here are four of the best recipes from this year’s cookbooks and a bit about each book.

Raspberry Roasted Applesauce

Adapted from “Cooking for Jeffrey,” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35). Her painstaking approach to recipe development and testing translates to “easy” for the rest of us. Fans will delight in the young-couple photos. The Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken is destined for classic status.

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges, plus thin ribbons of zest for serving

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun

1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

12 ounces fresh raspberries

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the grated citrus zests and juices in a large Dutch oven.

Peel and core the apples, then cut them into chunks, adding them to the Dutch oven as you go. Toss to coat.

Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and raspberries. Cover tightly and bake for 1 to 11/2 hours or until the apples are quite soft. Uncover and stir vigorously with a whisk (or use a potato masher) until the applesauce reaches the desired consistency.

Serve warm, topped with a scoop of ice cream and the citrus zest ribbons. Makes 10 servings (about 7 cups). It can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat on medium-low on the stove top.

Cranberry-Marinated Beef Tenderloin

Adapted from “How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Ritual for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners and Every Day in Between,” by Jenny Rosenstrach (Ballantine Books, $30). The average cook-host who’s so often stumped by party menu planning will appreciate the straightforward recipes here, as well as the author’s friendly writing style and party game suggestions.

1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 sprig fresh rosemary

One 4-pound piece beef tenderloin, tied with butcher’s twine every few inches

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine the dried cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, wine, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the meat and seal, massaging to coat and pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the bag over once or twice.

Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 500 degrees.

Place the meat on a broiler pan and lightly pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the garlic and rosemary from the marinade, then pour the marinade into a small saucepan.

Place the broiler pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350 degrees; roast for 40 minutes, checking the internal temperature after the first 30 minutes. The tenderloin will be finished once the internal temperature registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium-rare). Increase the temperature to the broil setting; broil the meat just long enough to create some crisp edges and nice browning on the meat.

Let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing (discard the twine). Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain; cook for about 8 minutes, whisking or stirring, until thickened.

Stir in the butter until it’s fully incorporated. The yield is about 2 cups of sauce.

Dill Bread

Adapted from “Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking – Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads, Challahs, Cookies, and the Legendary Chocolate Babka,” by Uri Scheft (Artisan, $35). Scheft, the force behind Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv and Breads Bakery in New York, has contributed mightily to the canon of bread-focused books not only for his wizard use of Middle Eastern ingredients but also for helping to create such stunning process and technique photography.

Note: For consistency’s sake, the Washington Post used the King Arthur Flour ingredient weight chart to standardize the book’s original cups-to-grams equivalents.

For the dough:

3/4 cup (177 grams) cool room-temperature water

1/4 cup (34 grams) fresh yeast or 21/2 teaspoons (9 grams) active dry yeast

63/4 cups (810 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading and shaping

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (18 grams) fine sea salt

3/4 cup (171 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt

5 tablespoons (71 grams) room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 small yellow onion (50 grams), finely chopped

2 cups (35 grams) fresh dill fronds, finely chopped

For the egg wash:

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

Pinch fine sea salt

Combine the water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisking by hand until the yeast has dissolved. Add the flour, sugar, salt, yogurt and butter pieces.

Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough comes together, 1 to 2 minutes; if, after 2 minutes, the dough has dry spots at the bottom of the bowl or the dough looks very wet, add more water or flour – a little at a time – as needed. Once the dough comes together nicely, continue to mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Then increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough looks shiny is somewhat stiff, about 5 minutes.

Lightly flour a work surface and set the dough on it. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Take one corner of the dough and stretch the dough until it tears, then fold it on top of the center. Give the dough a quarter turn and continue the stretching/folding/turning for 2 minutes. Use a bench scraper or chef’s knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, then return the pieces to the mixer bowl. (Breaking up the dough this way will help incorporate the onion and dill easily.)

Add the onion and dill; knead on low speed just until they are well incorporated. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and fold again, giving it about four turns. Place the dough in a lightly floured large bowl, dust the top with flour, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Transfer the dough to the lightly floured surface; divide it into 3 equal pieces. Firmly press down on each piece of dough, and then pull it to make a 9-by-5-inch rectangle with a short side facing you. Fold the top edge (farthest away from you) a quarter of the way down and use the heel of your hand to seal along the edge to the bottom part of the dough. Repeat 3 more times to make a cylinder. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Use your hands to roll each piece to form a 20-inch-long rope. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Flatten each rope to a rectangle again and repeat the flattening process, folding the top down by a fourth, using the heel of your hand to seal along the edge, then repeating 3 times to make a cylinder. Now use your hands to roll each cylinder to make a 40-inch-long rope; an easy way to stretch them is to hold one end in each hand and slowly twirl like a jump rope. Use clean kitchen scissors to snip diagonal slits three-quarters of the way through the dough at 1-inch intervals.

Coil the snipped rope into a spiral shape, overlapping to create a pyramid shape (wide base, narrowed at the top) and set it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the other 2 ropes, creating the pyramid of coil on each baking sheet. Refrigerate one of the coils on its baking sheet; you’ll be baking the breads one at a time.

Pull on each of the segments in the two coiled breads to separate them from one another. Cover with them kitchen towels and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot for 11/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and a slight press of the finger creates a lasting indentation.

About 30 minutes before the breads are ready to bake, set a rimmed baking sheet on the oven floor (or, if not possible, on the lowest oven rack); preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Pull the third coiled bread out of the refrigerator and cover with a towel, to start its final rise.

Make the egg wash by whisking the egg, water and salt together in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the loaf with egg wash.

Uncover one of the first two coiled breads and brush with some of the egg wash. Place its baking sheet in the oven. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the rimmed baking sheet on the bottom of the oven and quickly close the oven door. Bake (middle rack) for 25 minutes, turning the baking sheet front to back for the last 8 minutes of oven time.

Let cool on the baking sheet while you uncover the second coiled loaf and brush it with egg wash, then place its baking sheet in the oven. Pour another 1/4 cup water into the rimmed baking sheet on the oven floor. Repeat the baking and cooling process.

Leave the oven on until the third loaf is ready to bake, and repeat the egg wash and baking (with water in the bottom baking sheet) and cooling one more time.

12 servings (makes 3 small loaves).

Peking Portobellos

Adapted from “The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Little, Brown and Co., 2016; $32). This could be the sleeper cookbook of the year, as it steers party food in the mode that’s increasingly sought-after and appreciated.

For the mushrooms:

6 medium-size portobello mushroom caps (gills removed)

Sliced scallions, for garnish

For the sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger root (from a 2-inch piece)

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

For the mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a flat wire roasting rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Arrange the portobello caps, gill sides down, on the rack. Roast for 12 minutes or until they have released moisture.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Whisk together the hoisin sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, toasted sesame oil, ginger, orange zest, brown sugar and five-spice powder in a medium bowl until well combined. The yield is a generous 3/4 cup.

Transfer the roasted portobellos to a few layers of paper towels and let them drain for a few minutes; meanwhile, position an oven rack 8 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler. Wipe off the baking sheet, then lightly grease it with cooking oil spray. Arrange the roasted portobellos on it, gill sides up. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce over them.

Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has darkened, watching closely so the portobellos don’t burn. Then use tongs to turn them over. Spoon another 1/4 cup of the sauce over them, then broil for 3 to 5 minutes on the second side, until dark brown and lightly charred on the edges.

Slice the portobellos on the diagonal (as thin or thick as you like). Scrape any residual broiled sauce from the baking sheet into the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce, stirring to incorporate. Drizzle the portobellos with that sauce mixture and top with the scallions. Serve warm. 4 servings.