Winter Favorites: Recipes from Our Readers, Tested in Sunset's Kitchen

By Schmidhofer, Christina | Sunset, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Winter Favorites: Recipes from Our Readers, Tested in Sunset's Kitchen


Schmidhofer, Christina, Sunset


Cranberry Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola

CARLEY PETERSEN, OAKLAND, CA

With washed spinach--baby and otherwise--available in most supermarkets these days, a fresh spinach salad is almost no work at all. Carley Petersen found that adding just a few great ingredients makes it a very special salad. Toasting the pecans brings out their rich, sweet flavor.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes

MAKES: 6 servings

  1 cup pecan halves or pieces
  3 quarts baby spinach leaves (about 8 oz.), rinsed and crisped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1 cup crumbled gorgonzola or other blue cheese (4 oz.)
  3 tablespoons lemon-flavored extra-virgin olive oil; or regular olive
    oil plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel (see "Zest Quest," page 68)
  1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Salt and pepper

1. In a shallow baking pan, bake pecans in a 350[degrees] oven until golden in the center (break one to check), 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

2. In a large bowl, gently mix spinach, pecans, cranberries, crumbled gorgonzola, olive oil, and vinegar. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper.

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Per serving: 295 cal., 76% (225 cal.) from fat; 6.3 g protein; 25 g fat (6 g sat.); 15 g carbo (4 g fiber); 331 mg sodium; 17 mg chol.

Lamb and Eggplant Meatball Pita Sandwiches

CHRISTINE DATIAN, LAS VEGAS

Eggplant always seems to have a love-it-or-hate-it audience. But "even people who claim they don't like eggplant love these easy meatballs," says Christine Datian. You can use a small ice cream scoop to shape them quickly.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 hour

MAKES: 6 servings

    1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds ground lean lamb or beef
1 1/2 cups finely chopped eggplant (about 4 oz.)
  1/3 cup chopped onion
  1/3 cup minced parsley
  1/4 cup pine nuts
  1/4 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
  1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
  3/4 teaspoon salt
  3/4 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
  3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 cups purchased marinara sauce
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire
    6 pocket breads (5 in. wide), cut in half
      Bell pepper rings (optional)

1. In a large bowl, mix the egg, lamb, eggplant, onion, parsley, pine nuts, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Shape the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls and place them 1 inch apart in an oiled 12- by 17-inch baking pan.

2. Bake meatballs in a 425[degrees] oven until they are well browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Spoon out and discard any fat from pan. Stir in the marinara sauce and Worcestershire, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan and turning meatballs to coat. Bake until sauce is steaming, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

4. Spoon meatballs into a bowl and scrape sauce over them. Spoon meatballs and sauce into pocket breads and tuck in bell pepper rings if desired.

Per serving: 477 cal., 30% (144 cal.) from fat; 34 g protein; 16 g fat (4.6 g sat.); 50 g carbo (3.4 g fiber); 1,433 mg sodium; 113 mg chol.

Spicy Thai Fried Rice with Shrimp

ANNE BIEDEL, KIHEI, HI

Day-old leftover rice gives Anne Biedel's fragrant fried rice the best texture, but you can also make it with rice cooked and cooled the same day. She thinks the fish sauce adds a barely detectable pungency, similar to anchovies in Caesar salad. It's available in most well-stocked supermarkets.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 35 minutes

MAKES: 4 servings

    2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
    4 teaspoons minced seeded fresh jalapeno chiles
    3 cups cooked jasmine or long-grain white rice, cold
    1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 1/4 cups shelled, cooked tiny shrimp or diced cooked pork or chicken
      (about 8 oz. … 

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