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Is there a better dish in the world? Well, maybe chicken and biscuits or Chicken Kiev or Buffalo Girl Chicken or Coq au Vin. Granted there are many amazing chicken dishes but this one is beyond sumptuous. Like Pasta Puttenesca, there are a few ways to make this famed Indian chicken dish. It differs depending on the chef and restaurant and certainly at home, it is another dish altogether. I have created my version as flavorful as possible with some shortcuts. Serve it with homemade (or make a pit stop at the local Indian restaurant) nan, and a huge crock of freshly made basmati rice.  This dish starts with tandoori chicken, best marinated a day ahead, grilled and then tossed into the famed Butter Chicken Sauce. But if you are in a hurry (or simply impatient) you can do this in one day. Just do a quick marinade, grill or bake the chicken in the oven and add into the Butter Chicken Sauce and simmer until you are ready to serve it.

Here is my original feature, circa 1987 or so, from the Detroit Free Press, on Capers. Attached are a ton of amazing caper-based recipes. It was also the occasion on which I called Julia Child for help. I still remember the voice, the charm, and the generousity. I am not a huge fan of capers but I am ever and always, a fan of Julia's.

The most caramely, easy, decadent, crunchy, sweet munch ever - wonderful, old-fashioned homemade caramel popcorn. I use a unique electric popper for this such as the Toastess Cinema Corn Popper or the regular Toastess Air Popcorn maker (Amazon has it, Canadian Tire is the place for Canadians or check  http://www.toastess.com/products/product_categories/view/corn-poppers- It's easy to find and well priced). What I like about either unit is that they actually pop fluffy popcorn quickly and with little or no fat. A rotating blade in the Toastess Cinema Corn Popper ensures corn heats evenly and pops perfectly. I tested several other units and out came unpopped kernels faster than I could clean them up.  Homemade caramel popcorn also makes a great gift. And for peanut allergy folks - there's nothing to worry about if you make your own batch (store-bought caramel popcorn often has peanut allergy warnings).
 

This the queen of Quebec’s rustic desserts, a poor man’s pudding of pantry essentials including pure maple syrup, gets whipped together in minutes.  The simple cake batter gets spooned into a pan and doused with a brown sugar and maple concoction. The magic of the oven transforms it into a golden brown cake atop a luscious sticky syrup bottom. Little prep, few ingredients and low labour once made pudding cakes such as these incredibly popular desserts. Now they are a new trend, served in some of the most elegant Quebecoise restaurants such as Montreal’s famed Au Pied du Couchon or in the BB Test Kitchen.
Enjoy this recipe now; it's about to get the 'cut' and emigrate to my new cookbook, The Baker's Four Seasons (Fall 2014).

Not only does this roast beef taste out of this world, it needs only one long, slow roasting. No chill, slice and re-roast. Who has time?  One day, after years of doing brisket Grandma's way, I found slow roasting did the trick. This is a fork tender,deeply flavorful brisket that has all the perfect notes of wine, garlic and onions. This is the sort of recipe you pop in the oven if you are home all day, doing the rest of the feast and getting the house ready (it also is perfect for a crock pot).

This is a great company dish for brunch. You can prepare it the night before and reheat. But either way, it is great big buttery slabs of fresh toast, stuffed to the gills with a cheesecake filling and covered in a mellow, apple topping. Outstanding.

Chicago, Chicago …you make great chicken dishes. This one is easy and also legend.

Double or up the recipe as you need.  This is wonderful for Passover, Easter, brunches or wedding day luncheons. A Fiestaware egg dish is perfect for this.

A crock pot would be perfect for this traditional all-in-one meal. I slow bake it in a low oven and observant families might keep it on a low burner covered with aluminum sheeting, and let it cook itself to hearty perfection, without nary a stir – and ready and hot in time for a Saturday sabbath luncheon. No matter when you serve this, it is heartwarming, memory food and nutritious. Cholent recipes are incredibly varied (vegetarian ones, chicken ones, etc.) but this one is a wonderful classic one to start with.

A version of this appears almost everywhere and the one I originally saw was in The Way to Cook, by our beloved reine de cuisine, Julia Child. Julia originally called for zabaglione sauce and a last minute flaming of brandy or rum. I prefer a traditional hard sauce. You can make the pudding a week ahead and re-steam or microwave before serving. I offer it in small portions in miniature glass crème caramel molds or crystal stemware. The French gave us Buche Noel, but we can thank the Brits for steamed puddings. This can be made a week ahead and needs 1-2 hours steaming before serving or microwave before serving. A tin pudding mold can be found in kitchen shops or you can get an old-fashioned pudding mold at Golda's Kitchen in tin http://www.goldaskitchen.com/merchant.ihtml?pid=4662&step=4 (but Golda's has other choices as well). You can also use a 3-4 quart ceramic bowl. I had my first steamed pudding at a Chanukah party, years ago, hosted by my mom’s (still) best friend, Evelyn Ortenberg. It was the finale to a brisket and latkes meal! Since then, I have made it myself but it is also, in another guise, the famed steamed fruit pudding at Canada’s now-all-but-gone, Murray’s Restaurant chain. You can add dried cranberries or blueberries to this but frankly, I prefer it as old-fashioned as is and has been for centuries.

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