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International Delights

The foods of the world are as interesting as are the stories of their origin, says award winning food writer Anya Von Bremzen.

Von Bremzen's latest cookbook, "The Greatest Dishes! Around the World in 80 Recipes," celebrates both the food and the stories behind some favorite international gastronomic delights.

A food lover who derives nothing but fun from her exploration of the culinary arts, Von Bremzen is scheduled to share some recipes from "The Greatest Dishes!" on Tuesday's The Early Show.

Von Bremzen is an award winning cookbook author, former child actress and world traveler and food writer for magazines. Her articles have appeared in Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveler and the Los Angeles Times. Aside from her latest cookbook, Von Bremzen has co-authored "Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook," which she won a James Beard Award for Best International Cookbook, "Terrific Pacific Cookbook" and "Fiesta! A Celebration of Latin Hospitality," which was also a James Beard Award winner.

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Von Bremzen says she approaches recipes as a researcher and a journalist. But simplicity is a major theme throughout her new cookbook -- avoiding embellishments or decorations for her food.


Spiced Orange Shrimp Ceviche
Serves 5 or 6 as an appetizer

1 pound extra-large or jumbo shrimp in their shells
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or more to taste
2 large garlic cloves, crushed through a press
1 small jalapeno chile, cored, seeded to taste, and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
large pinch of ground cumin
small pinch of ground cinnamon
small pinch of ground cloves
dash of Tabasco sauce
1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus a handful of leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Belgian endive, for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring about 3 quarts of salted water to a simmer. Have a large bowl of ice water ready. Add the shrimp, remove from the heat immediately and let stand for exactly 1 1/2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain the shrimp and dump them into the ice water to cool. Drain the shrimp again, pat them dry with paper towels, peel and devein.

Place the ketchup in a large bowl and gradually whisk in the orange juice until the mixture is completely homogenous. Whisk in the lemon and limejuices, and add the garlic, jalapeno, oregano, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and Tabasco to taste. Taste the mixture and adjust lime juice to taste; the marinade should be sweet, tart and spicy.

In a large non-reactive bowl, toss the shrimp with the onion, tomato and cilantro. Pour the marinade over the shrimp, toss, then toss in the oil. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 8-hours or overnight, tossing the mixture once or twice as it marinates.

Serve the ceviche in martini glasses, garnish with cilantro and endive spears.

Scott Peacock's Fried Chicken with Tomato Gravy
Serves 4 to 6

1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
2 quarts cold water
one 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, rinsed well
3 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cornstarch
2 tablespoons potato starch (optional)
fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound lard or solid vegetable shortening, for frying
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces sliced bacon
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups diced, drained, canned tomatoes (from three 14-ounce cans)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk

In a large bowl, dissolve the kosher salt in the cold water. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 4-hours. Pour off the salt water, rinse the chicken and drain. Put the chicken in a bowl, add the buttermilk and turn the pieces to coat. Cover then refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

In a large, sturdy plastic bag, put the flour, cornstarch, potato starch it using 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and shake to combine. Set aside 1/2 cup of the flour mixture for the gravy. Lift the chicken from the buttermilk, wiping off any excess liquid. Arrange the pieces on a wire rack and let dry for 5 minutes. Add the chicken to the bag, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Shake off any excess flour and return the chicken to the rack.

Meanwhile, in the large cast-iron skillet, melt the lard and butter. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Reserve the bacon for another use. Add the chicken, in batches if necessary, and cook over medium heat, turning until golden, crisp, and cooked through, about 30-minutes. Lower the heat if necessary. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.

Transfer 1/4 cup of the cooking fat to a large saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the reserved 1/2 cup seasoned flour and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and thyme, and stir constantly until blended. Whisk in the cream and milk until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the fried chicken to a platter. Serve the tomato gravy with the chicken.

Trenette Al Pesto Genova-Style
Serves 4

2 medium-small waxy boiling potatoes (about 1/2 pound in total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths
12 ounces dried trenette or linguini pasta
3/4 cup Pesto (see below)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

Classic Ligurian Pesto Ingredients
2 cups packed small basil leaves, no longer than 1 1/2 inches
1 small garlic clove (firm and young), chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
6 to 7 tablespoons delicate extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian
3 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with 3-inches of water and bring to a boil. Cook until they are almost done, about 8 minutes. Add the beans and cook until soft but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cook until soft but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Drain the vegetables, reserving about 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, place the pesto in a small bowl and stir in the cream and 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vegetable cooking water.

Drain the pasta and transfer it back to the pot. Toss with the pesto, the potatoes and the beans. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with the Parmigiano.

RESOURCES: Carama marble mortar with a large hardwood pestle is available from Sur La Table (tel: 1-800-243-0852 or

Elisabeth Luard's Scottish Raspberry and Peach Trifle
Serves 6 to 8

Custard Ingredients
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
3 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Layers Ingredients
1 pound fresh raspberries
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
1 purchased sponge cake, about 1 pound
3 to 4 tablespoons good raspberry jam
1/2 to 2/3 medium-dry sherry, such as Amontillado
6 to 8 macaroons or amaretti-type almond cookies, roughly crushed
about 1/3 cups Drambuie or whiskey, or taste
3 to 4 ripe peaches, skinned, pitted and sliced

To finish
1 cup heavy cream, whipped with a little Drambuie, if you like
about 12 blanched almonds
about 12 crystallized rose petals
about 12 crystallized violets

Make the custard ahead to give it time to cool. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process to a smooth cream. Transfer the custard to the part of a double boiler or a stainless bowl set over simmering water. Whisk over low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, without letting it boil. (If it scrambles, add a little cold milk and give it another quick whizz in the blender.) The custard will thicken more as it cools; it should be quite thick. Transfer the custard to a bowl, place plastic wrap directly on top to prevent skin from forming, cool at room temperature, and chill until ready to use.

Place the raspberries in a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar, and let stand until they throw off some juice, about 30 minutes.

Split the sponge cake in half lengthwise. Spread one half with the raspberry jam and sandwich the other layer on top. Press the layers together lightly. Cut this "sandwich" into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Layer the bottom and part of the sides of a glass bowl with the sponge cake slices. Sprinkle the sponge cake layer generously with the sherry. Place a layer of raspberries and their juices on top and top with a layer of macaroons. Sprinkle the macaroons generously with the Drambuie (if using amaretti cookies, sprinkle on even more). Add a layer of sliced peaches, and top with a layer of custard. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the custard to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight for the flavors to blend.

To finish, spread the top with a thick layer of whipped creamer pipe it out decoratively from a pastry bag. Decorate the top with the blanched almonds and crystallized rose and violet petals. Serve in glass dessert bowls or large martini glasses.

Tart Tatin
Serves 8

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
7 to 8 Gala apples (about 3 pounds), peeled, cored and quartered
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from 17 1/4 ounce package), thawed
light corn syrup
creme fraiche, for serving

Spread the butter evenly on the bottom and sides of a Tarte Tatin mold or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the mold. Arrange as many apple quarters as will fit in the pan, placing them vertically in concentric circles. The apples should all face the same direction and be as close together as possible. Cut the apples that don't fit in the pan into slices and chunks, and place them in the gaps. (It's important to have the apples fit snugly as possible; otherwise you are left with spaces when the apples cook down.)

Cook the apples over high heat until the sugar begins to melt, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-high and cook without disturbing until the pan juices are a deep caramel color, about 30 minutes longer.

While the apples are cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the pastry to a circle 1-inch larger than the diameter of the skillet. Brush one side of the circle lightly with corn syrup. Turn off the heat under the apples. Being careful not to burn yourself, top the apples with the pastry round, placing it syrup side down and tucking in bits of dough around the edges. Prick the pastry with a fork in several places.

Bake until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Remove the tarte from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Place a large serving plate over the pan, grip the pan with potholders, and quickly invert the tarte onto a plate. Rearrange the apples neatly on the crust if they're shifted during baking and serve the tarte with creme fraiche, if desired.

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