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The Bite

Stuff your stocking with cookbooks.

For another ethnic option, Mexican master Rick Bayless has a new book out called Mexico One Plate at a Time (Scribner, $35), a companion to his PBS show of the same name. I like the way he put a color band behind the ingredients list to make them stand out better when you're trying to refer back to the recipe while holding cracked, drooling eggs in your hands; he also includes wonderfully informative sections on the major ingredients that add to your understanding of why a certain dish works. Claudia Roden is another author who's devoted her career to one type of cuisine; she's just put out an updated version of her seminal 1972 work, Book of Middle Eastern Food. Although the title -- The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (Alfred A. Knopf, $35) -- isn't very creative, the book's a fairly thorough assemblage of traditional and contemporary recipes from every country around the Mediterranean. I've had the old book for about a decade and still use it several times a month.

If you're shopping for someone who's just getting into cooking, here are two good choices: In the Kitchen With Heloise (Perigree, $22.95), which includes tidying tips, pantry-stocking info and recipes for the basics (meatloaf, fried chicken) from the Queen of Clean; and for the chef wannabe, Le Cordon Bleu Kitchen Essentials (John Wiley & Sons, $35), which has great photos and lots of solid cooking advice from the esteemed Parisian-based cooking school.

And here's my holiday gift to you: the ultimate dessert from one of my favorite cookbooks of the year. Gwen Walters's The Cool Mountain Cookbook (Pen & Fork, $19.95) features recipes from ski lodges across the country, including several from Colorado (the roast Colorado rack of lamb from Aspen's Little Nell will make it seem soooo easy). But the book's best recipe is from Sundance (yes, Bobby Redford's place): the incredible Warm Chocolate Cake, a rich, chocolatey individual dessert that's part soufflé and part flourless cake. The approach is nearly no-fail. Don't skimp on the chocolate -- I've used Valhrona when I could find it and Ghirardelli when I couldn't, both with excellent results. And, trust me, you don't need the fudge sauce. Happy holidays.Warm Chocolate Cake

Location Info

Map

McCoys Restaurant

4855 Federal Blvd.
Denver, CO 80221

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: North Denver

(reprinted with permission)

8 4-ounce ramekins

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter

4-1/2 ounces good-quality chocolate, chopped

4 egg yolks

4 egg whites

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour the ramekins with the 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Set aside. Melt the 3/4 cup butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Whisk the yolks and add a small amount of the warm butter/chocolate mixture to the yolks, then add the warmed eggs to the butter/chocolate mixture and stir well. Beat the egg whites to the soft-peak stage, then sprinkle with the two tablespoons of sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff. Fold the whipped whites into the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour and gently stir. Fill the ramekins 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until just set. Remove from oven and let stand for 8 minutes before unmolding onto a plate. Serve by itself, or with a scoop of ice cream and/or fudge sauce.

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