New year, new tastes

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

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Well today marks the end of one year and tomorrow the start of another. I hope if 2008 wasn't the best for you that 2009 will be better. I know I'm about baked, jammed, applesauced and pickled out. I'd like to start the New Year cooking less but all the "experts" tell us that the real way to save money on your food bill is to cook more! In January like everyone else I start with trying to cook and eat more healthy foods. Eat less, move more. December is such a busy month that there is no time for "meal planning." Around our house it's more like, I'll grab mine and you grab yours.

Come January I like to go through all those saved and cut out recipes that I had the greatest enthusiasm for and actually give them a try or at least put them in a new "to try" pile! My plan for this year is to go through my six recipes drawers and three big baskets and organize them in some fashion so I can find a specific recipe without going through all six drawers and three baskets, saying to myself," I just remember seeing that recipe".

I know I should put them all on the computer in their own file but I don't think I'll ever be that organized, but you never know. I'd love to pay someone to do that for me but not too many people actually can read my writing and the fact that I don't always follow a recipe and change most of them a little might be a bit frustrating.

This first recipe I'm going to share with you would make a great dinner to end the year. It's economical and easy to fix and before you turn your nose up and say anchovies, they add a wonderful flavor and depth to this dish. Ralph (who has always loved anchovies) fixed this pasta dish for our dinner.Before that, my only experience with them was having the kids moan and groan if we ordered a pizza and Ralph got half anchovies. None of the kids would want to eat the pieces of pizza next to his because they smelled. He remembers his grandmother making this dish on Christmas Eve. We spared our 20 or so guests that ritual and gave them spaghetti and meatballs instead but I guarantee you'll be surprised once you make it. This recipe is from a 1998 food section of the Chronicle . We actually saved it nine years before we tried it, which just goes to show you, be careful what you purge from your recipe drawer.

- Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.

1⁄4 cup plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1⁄3 cup fine bread crumbs (I like a little more)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound spaghetti

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 anchovy fillet, minced

2 tablespoon minced parsley

Heat 2 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Add the bread crumbs and saute, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and cool. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook al dente.

While the pasta cooks, heat the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and saute for one minute to release its fragrance. Add the anchovies and saute mashing them with a wooden spoon, until they dissolve in the oil. Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

When the pasta is ready, transfer it directly from the pot to the skillet with tongs. The pasta should be dripping wet. Toss to coat with seasonings. Add the bread crumbs and toss again.

Note: To make fine bread crumbs, preheat to 325 degrees. Make crumbs from day old bread in a food processor. Spread crumbs on a baking sheet and bake until dry, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool. Ralph skips this step and just browns them in the fry pan.

preparation time: 20 minutes

Bake: 25 minutes

Cool: 5 minutes

Oven: 350 degrees

Nonstick spray for baking

2⁄3 cup packed brown sugar

1⁄2 cup butter

1⁄3 cup honey

11⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel

21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup cooking oil

1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Orange peel curls (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12, 31⁄2 inch (jumbo) muffin cups with nonstick spray for baking; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat about 2 minutes or until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and the finely shredded orange peel; set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine eggs and granulated sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 3 minute or until mixture is thick and lemon-color. Add oil, sour cream and vanilla; beat until combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed until smooth.

5. Place 2 tablespoons of the pecan mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup. Spoon a heaping 1⁄3 cup of the batter into each cup. Place muffin pans on a foil-lined large baking sheet.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Using a sharp knife or narrow metal spatula, loosen edges of cakes from sides of muffin cups. Invert cakes onto wire racks. Spoon any pecan mixture remaining in the muffin cups onto cakes. Serve warm or cool. If desired, garnish with orange peel curls. Makes 12 cakes.


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