Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).

AG AND FOOD SAFETY BLOSSOM IN SPRING

AMISH CARROT SALAD

ARUGULA LOVERS PESTO

BACON CHEESE and TOMATO SANDWICHES

BAKED MEATBALLS

BASIC CREPES

BBQ

BLINTZES

BLUEBERRY CREAM MUFFINS

BREAKFAST SWEET ROLLS

CALIFORNIA GRILLED VEGGIE SANDWICH

CHEWY BUTTERSCOTCH RAISIN BARS

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

CHILI DOGS

CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

CHOCOLATE CREPES

CITRUS BEAN SALAD

CLASSIC BARBECUE SAUCE and THREE VAR

CREAM PUFF CAKE

EASY DESSERT

FAQ OREGONIAN FOOD DAY

FASTEST CINNAMON ROLLS

FESTIVE TACO TARTS

GIANT MACADAMIA NUT CINNAMON ROLLS

GOURMET CHICKEN SANDWICH

GREEN BEANS HALKI STYLE

GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD

HEAVENLY GARLIC BAGEL MIX

HEAVENLY PROFITEROLES WITH CHOCOLATE

HERBED CREAM CHEESE OMELET

HOMEMADE SODA CRACKERS

HONEY SESAME TENDERLOIN

HOT CHOCOLATE INFORMATION

HYGIENE NOT ALWAYS A CLEAN CUT NOTIO

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS

LIGHT SATAY STYLE BEEF AND PASTA

MICROWAVE OVEN INFORMATION

NUTMEG SAUCE

ORANGE RHUBARB MUFFINS

PAN DULCE PRIMER

PANCAKE FLOWERS

PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS

PASTA WITH BUTTER

PEA AND GINGER SOUP

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS

PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP

POTATO BEEF CROQUETTES

Q TIPS BARBECUE INFORMATION

RAINBOW JELLO

RED BEAN AND RICE SALAD

RHUBARB RIPPLE COFFEE CAKE

SCALLOPED STEWED TOMATOES

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

SPINACH SALAD

SPRING SPINACH SALAD

STEWED TOMATOES

STRAWBERRIES PAZZO

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE II

STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

SUMMERTIME FRUIT DELIGHT

TROUT IN A BAG

ZUCCHINI AND EGGS

 

 

 

 

 

AG AND FOOD SAFETY BLOSSOM IN SPRING

By NANCY FELDMAN

THE MODESTO BEE

(Published: Wednesday, May 09, 2001)

 

During May, Central Valley counties see the first local produce of the spring season reach maturity -- strawberries, asparagus, spinach, onions, celery, cilantro and early peaches, to name a few.

 

It is a mouth-watering time to think of the fruits and vegetables that soon will be ready to eat. Fresh, local produce is something we look forward to each spring. Food safety also is something we need to be aware of.

 

When we discuss food safety issues, we must consider the important role each link of the food chain plays in ensuring a safe food supply. The entire chain includes growers, packers, shippers, food handlers, processors, retailers and consumers. If a link in that chain is broken, it threatens the safety and integrity of our food supply.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 97 percent of all traceable food-borne disease outbreaks result from improper handling and preparation of food. CDC data from 1983-1992 confirm that the most common practice that contributed to foodborne disease outbreaks was improper holding and cooking temperature, followed by poor personal hygiene of food handlers both in the home and at commercial food preparation outlets.

 

As our society continues to demand more ready-to-eat and processed foods, consumers are spending less time in their kitchens. People are forgetting -- or perhaps never learned -- basic food safety skills and practices that are essential when handling and preparing food. We encourage you to become more familiar with proper food handling and preparation practices. Then apply those principles throughout the food consumption cycle from food purchasing to preparation to serving and storing the leftovers.

 

Food safety tips:

 

Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before preparing or handling food.

 

Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat or poultry. Raw meat and poultry juices never should come in contact with foods to be eaten raw, such as salad items and fruits. Make sure all these items are properly refrigerated and stored.

 

Cutting boards, knives, plates and other utensils that come in contact with raw meat should be cleaned thoroughly before being used again for any other food.

 

Wash fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running tap water before eating. Cut away bruised or damaged areas.

 

We live in a state where food producers and growers are taking measures to protect our food supply from pests and disease. When preparing foods, remember the important role you play in the entire food chain and do your part to ensure a safe, abundant and healthy food supply.

 

AMISH CARROT SALAD

2 lb carrots

1 cup regular or fat-free mayonnaise

1 lb raisins

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

Slice carrots thinly (use a food processor). Mix with remaining ingredients.

Chill overnight for best flavor.

 

ARUGULA LOVERS PESTO

Makes 1 cup

 

"In Oregon, basil is strictly a summer thing, but I wanted to have pesto year-round, so I set out to see if other greens could be substituted for basil and came up with this recipe. It has the potency and bite of ...

 

1 cup coarsely chopped arugula leaves

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup coarsely cut winter greens, such as mizuna, giant red mustard or

argentata

1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces

2 to 4 cloves garlic, to taste

1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped, to taste WEAR GLOVES

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (2 ounces)

1/2 cup olive oil

 

Wash the arugula, parsley and winter greens all together in a large bowl of water. Lift them out of the water and transfer to a colander. Set aside to drip-dry a bit.

 

Pulverize the walnuts in a food processor. Add garlic, jalapenos, salt, parmesan cheese and olive oil and the still-moist greens, and process until minced as fine as possible. Use right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh, canned, dried or pickled chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.

 

BACON CHEESE and TOMATO SANDWICHES

3 ea Slices bacon

3 ea Slices rye bread, toasted

2 tb Mayo. or salad dressing

1/2 ts Dried dill weed

1 ea Large tomato, sliced

3 ea Slices swiss cheese

Place bacon on microwave rack in glass dish. Cover loosely and microwave until crisp, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes. Spread toast with mayonnaise; sprinkle with dill. Place toast slices on serving plate; top with tomato and cheese slices. Crumble bacon and sprinkle over top. Microwave uncovered on high (100%) until cheese begins to melt, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

 

BAKED MEATBALLS

Serves 4-8

For meatballs:

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup dried bread crumbs

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons dried mint leaves

Salt and pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

For sauce:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 to 1 small onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 small bay leaf

Pinch of cinnamon

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon margarine (don't substitute butter)

 

To make meatballs: Saute onion and garlic in oil until they are translucent. Stir in ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, mint, salt and pepper.

 

Form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (size of golf balls). Place meatballs on cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Turn them over and bake for another 20 minutes, or until they are brown.

 

To make sauce: In a large pot, heat olive oil and saute onion, garlic and celery for 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, cinnamon, salt and pepper. (Do not overseason the sauce -- it should be smooth and mild.) Cover sauce and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer while meatballs are baking.

 

When meatballs are done, remove them from oven and drain off any fat. Squeeze lemon juice over meatballs and let them sit for 15 minutes.

 

Remove bay leaf from sauce and add meatballs. Stir in margarine. Serve hot as either an appetizer or main dish.

 

BASIC CREPES

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

 

1 In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.

2 Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.

3 Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot. Makes 8 crepes

 

BBQ

OUR FASCINATION WITH SMOKED MEATS KEEPS HEATING UP

BY GEOFFREY TOMB

Mercury News

 

``Q.'' A letter that covers so much, from ribs to brisket to chicken, from Memphis to Milpitas.

 

The subject is barbecue, one of the most character-rich, stylized of American foods. Just about everyone who eats it or cooks it has an ``I'll never tell'' secret on essentials, from the kind of wood that makes blue smoke to the mystery spice in red sauce. Then there are the arguments over the best restaurant that makes it.

 

``Barbecue is almost a lifestyle,'' said Tom Cain, a judge for the Kansas City Barbecue Society. ``It's not only about cooking it, but about telling tall tales about what secret ingredients you use.''

 

There's something of a fanatical fascination with this American regional specialty. And the dedication seems to be growing rather than disappearing as another victim in the fast-food nation.

 

Consider these facts:

 

How popular is barbecue? With just nine -- the ninth opened last month -- branches, the South Bay's Armadillo Willy's now sells more than a million pounds of barbecue a year.

John Berwald, founder of Los Altos-based Willy's, says he pays his Sioux City meat packer about $5.75 a pound for baby back ribs today. He buys them by the truckload, each load weighing 45,000 pounds. Demand for ribs keeps going up, and this year so does the price, aggravated by a shortage because of the hoof-and-mouth scare that's quarantined European meat.

 

Meanwhile, the price of boneless pork loin -- which is left behind after the ribs are cut -- is $2.50 a pound.

 

``Look what you pay just for bones,'' Berwald said. ``The loin has become a byproduct.''

 

There are more than 50 barbecue restaurants in the Bay Area, from one-site joints to sit-down places in shopping centers.

 

Barbecue festivals, such as this month's Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, routinely attract some 100,000 per event. The number of festivals and people who attend grows every year. Memphis officials say barbecue is the city's second-biggest attraction. After Elvis.

 

In late April, marathon man David Ragals of New York began a 12-day, 3,200-mile ``Ironhound Barbecue Trek'' to Q meccas from the Carolinas to Kansas City. He filed daily updates at www.chowhound.com.

Barbecue is one of the last holdouts of idiosyncrasy left in American cooking. Why, it's downright ornery.

 

``In no other aspect of food will you find so much individualized cooking style,'' said Cain.

 

Historically, Northern California has not been a hotbed of barbecue cookery.

 

``California is pretty much all about grilling,'' said Berwald, whose operation began in Cupertino in 1983.

 

Is there a California-style barbecue?

 

``I don't think there is. Most of our cooking styles are transplanted from somewhere else,'' he said.

 

But before you start worrying about styles, you've got to understand the basics.

 

First, experts say you must separate grilling from barbecue. Grilling is cooking meat, usually better cuts, over coals or fire. In true barbecue, the fire never touches the meat.

 

``The meat is offset. The fire is nearby,'' said Cain. ``Heat and smoke go there, but the meat is not directly over the fire. It takes longer and cooks more slowly. It's low and slow.''

 

At contests, barbecue teams often stay up all night nudging along their entries. Many cooks insist that from 14 to 20 hours is required to properly cook their product.

 

``It's true art,'' said Cain, who comes to the judging with serious training. His day job is Santa Clara County Superior Court judge. When he takes part in judging barbecue contests, his job title frequently comes up.

 

``People ask me what I do,'' said Cain, warming to the subject after a day in court. ``I tell them I'm a judge. They say yeah, but what do you do?''

 

Judges, true to form, look for balance, especially in barbecue. Winners have an equal balance of meat, smoke and spice-sauce, said Cain.

 

``You want to taste all three. You don't want any one element to dominate,'' he said.

 

Attempting to pin him down, we asked if he has a favorite, secret Bay Area spot for barbecue.

 

Yes. Here it is, right from the judge's mouth:

 

``You're not going to find it in a restaurant,'' said Cain. ``Consistency is one of the most difficult elements to find in a commercial establishment.''

 

His opinion?

 

``Back yards. In the back yard, the cook's whole attention is focused on one thing.''

 

While unwilling to concur with Cain's opinion on the state of restaurant barbecue, Armadillo Willy's Berwald agrees that cooking real barbecue is labor-intensive, smoke-infested and hot. Not just anyone can or will do it, especially in restaurants.

 

``It's not flopping those burgers on a conveyor belt and waiting for them to come out,'' he said.

 

``People wonder why we don't open more stores, but it takes a year for one of our cooks to learn how to cook barbecue. There are so many variables, like how hot the fire is, how often you open the smoker door, whether the oak wood was dry or wet. There's no recipe for that. You have to go by look and feel.''

 

Frank Bell, legendary owner-chef of Uncle Frank's Louisiana-Style Barbecue in East Palo Alto, said he can't find cooks willing to train, either.

 

``It's all hands-on work. I'm here all the time,'' said Bell, who smokes his slabs of ribs for a minimum of 10 hours, never letting the smoker heat get above 270 degrees.

 

Some days, you just need a hit of Vitamin Q. And ooh, the results that come from a man with a slow hand.

 

BLINTZES

Makes about 24 blintzes

 

Unlike many blintz recipes, these are not sweet. This recipe takes a good 1 to 2 hours to make, once you've mastered the techniques -- but you and your guests will agree it's time well spent. Figure 4 to 6 blintzes per person. The only accompaniment you'll need is a huge green salad.

Crepes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups nonfat milk, plus additional1/4cup to thin batter if needed (divided)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 to 3 tablespoons butter or margarine (divided)

 

Cheese filling:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 16-ounce container 2 percent cottage cheese

2 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 to 3 shakes black pepper (optional)

Sour cream for garnish (optional)

Strawberry jam or jelly (optional)

 

To make crepes: In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Whisk in 3 cups of milk, 1 cup at a time, then the eggs. Batter will be thin and a little lumpy. (If you use an electric mixer, let the frothy batter settle or the crepes will cook with air holes and leak when filled.)

 

Heat about 1/2 teaspoon of butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter sizzles, fill half a soup ladle (1/4 cup) with batter and pour into the center of the pan. Immediately tilt the pan to spread the batter over almost all of the pan (leave some room on one side to slide your spatula under the crepe). You don't need to make a perfect circle. If there are large holes in the crepe, touch them up with a bit of batter.

 

When the center of the crepe looks dry (about 30 seconds), gently lift up the crepe with a plastic spatula and flip it onto a large plate with the cooked side facing up. (A metal spatula can tear the thin crepes.)

 

You don't have to brown the first side as it becomes the inside of the crepe. If the crepes bunch up when you stack them, just leave them as is. They will be fine when they've cooled and you pick them up to add the filling.

 

Taste a bit of the first crepe to see if the batter needs more salt. If there's any batter sticking to the center of the pan, scrape it up so you have a clean cooking surface, or the next crepe will stick to the pan. Adjust heat slightly up or down at this point to make sure the crepes cook evenly.

 

Repeat cooking the remaining batter and stack the crepes. Add just enough butter (about 1/8 teaspoon) to make a thin film in the pan each time. If the batter gets too thick upon standing, whisk in a small amount of milk, about 1/4 cup.

 

If not making the blintzes right away, cover the crepes with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

 

To make filling: Use a fork to thoroughly mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

 

To assemble: Place a crepe, cooked side up, on a dinner plate or cutting board. Put 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons of cheese filling in the center of the crepe, depending on the crepe size. Fold two sides into the center and gently press down to spread the filling. If you added too much filling and it runs out the ends, remove some. Fold the short ends over.

Stack the blintzes on 2 dinner plates. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate if not making right away.

 

To cook: Melt about 1 teaspoon of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add a few blintzes at a time and brown on both sides (about 5 to 10 minutes cooking time). Use 2 skillets to feed a crowd more quickly.

 

Serve topped with a heaping teaspoon of sour cream and strawberry jam (homemade is best) or strawberry jelly.

 

BLUEBERRY CREAM MUFFINS

 

4 eggs

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sour cream

2 cups blueberries

 

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

2 In large bowl beat eggs, gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.

3 Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.

4 Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

 

BREAKFAST SWEET ROLLS

to start the day for Mom

BY BETH HENSPERGER

Breakfast in America means many things to many people.

 

From the relatively Spartan toast and jam, to a soul-warming plate of sausage gravy served up with buttermilk biscuits, to an elegant basket of mixed-berry muffins with a steaming pot of coffee, everyone has a favorite way to start the day. Whatever people's allegiances may be, however, most would agree that no breakfast is complete without bread.

 

Breakfast breads appeal to many moods and have a place in an array of settings. A bran muffin, paired with a cappuccino, provides sustenance on a busy day. An early morning stack of fresh berry pancakes and a fruit smoothie shared with your best friend at a bustling restaurant are delightful and restorative.

 

A homemade iced cinnamon roll and coffee are a bit of heaven when part of the weekend breakfast-in-bed ritual. And on no day of the year are more breakfasts in bed served than Mother's Day.

 

A well-made sweet roll is a great accomplishment for the home baker. Sweet rolls are technically considered coffee cakes, as they typically use the same yeast dough as a coffee cake.

 

Cinnamon is a key ingredient in sweet rolls; in fact, cinnamon and sticky buns have their origin in the schnecken (``snails''), Germany's rolled and filled sweet rolls. You will often see a reference to Philadelphia sticky buns; the cinnamon roll was a fixture in restaurants in that city during the 19th century. The word ``bun'' comes from the Old French bugne, or ``swelling,'' which these single-serving breads do as they rise in the oven.

 

Here are two recipes: a quick sweet roll that is made with baking powder and enriched with cottage cheese, and a deluxe yeasted sweet roll that gets its crunch from macadamia nuts.

 

Sweet rolls have crossover appeal: One look, much less one bite, will bring out the child in anyone. Even Mom.

 

CALIFORNIA GRILLED VEGGIE SANDWICH

 

1 (1 pound) loaf focaccia bread

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 small yellow squash, cut horizontally into 3/8 inch thic

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

1 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/8 cup olive oil

 

1 In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aoli sauce aside in the refrigerator

2 Preheat the grill for high heat.

3 Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell pepper and zucchini pieces closest to the middle of the grill ,and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The pepper may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside.

4 While the vegetables are cooking, cut foccaccia into 4 slices. Spread aoli sauce evenly over top, and sprinkle with feta cheese. Place on the grill, and cover with lid for about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch carefully so the bottom doesn't burn. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the cheese. Remove from grill, and layer two pieces with vegetables. Cover with remaining bread. Serve warm.

 

CHEWY BUTTERSCOTCH RAISIN BARS

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup butterscotch chips, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup SUN-MAID(r) Raisins

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

 

HEAT oven to 350°F.

 

COMBINE flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

 

BEAT together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

 

ADD flour mixture and beat until smooth.

 

BEAT in melted butterscotch chips and vanilla. Stir in raisins.

 

SPREAD mixture into a greased 9-inch square pan.

 

BAKE for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and center is set. (Sides rise higher than center.) Cool completely; cut into bars.

 

DRIZZLE melted semi-sweet chocolate chips decoratively over bars.

 

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

Makes about 4 servings

 

Dumplings:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 egg

1 to 2 tablespoons water or milk, if needed

 

1 3- to 4-pound chicken (or a cut-up chicken)

Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste

31/2 quarts water (14 cups)

1/2 small onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1/4 cup margarine

1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried sage or poultry seasoning

 

To make dumplings: Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add butter, blending in with pastry cutter. Add egg. If the dough is too dry, add a little water or milk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

 

While dough is in refrigerator, cut the chicken into 8 pieces. Remove skin if desired. Season the chicken with Lawry's Seasoned Salt to taste.

 

In a large stockpot, put 31/2 quarts water and add onion, celery, margarine and chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook about 11/2 hours, uncovered, until chicken falls off the bone.

 

(If you plan to remove the bones, at this point remove the chicken from the stock, let cool slightly and pull the meat. Discard the bones and return meat to the stock pot. Return stock to simmer.)

 

About 30 minutes before serving time, roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Drop into simmering broth and cook about 2 minutes, then stir gently to prevent sticking. Add more water if needed.

 

While dumplings are cooking, season broth with 1 teaspoon pepper and sage or poultry seasoning. Simmer about 15 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

CHILI DOGS

2 ea Frankfurters

2 ea Frankfurter Buns, Split

1/3 c Chili With Beans

1 ea Fresh Onion, Chopped Opt.

Microwave frankfurters uncovered on high (100%) until warm, 30 to 45 seconds. Place 1 frankfurter in each bun on serving plate; spoon chili onto frankfurters. Microwave uncovered until chili is hot, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO CHEESECAKE

Makes 1 - 9 or 10 inch cake

 

1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons white sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

8 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur

 

1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate

 

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 9 or 10 inch spring form pan.

2 Combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, softened butter, 2 tablespoons white sugar, and the cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into the buttered spring form pan, set aside.

3 In a medium sized bowl beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup white sugar mixing until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth.

4 Melt the 8 ounces semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons whipping cream in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth.

5 Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

6 Bake in the center of oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Center will be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not over bake. Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven and chill for 12 hours. Just before serving top cake with mounds of flavored whipped cream and garnish with chocolate leaves. Yields 16 servings.

7 To Make Flavored Whipped Cream: Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form, then beat in confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur.

8 To Make Chocolate Leaves: Melt 1 ounce semisweet chocolate in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth. Brush real non-toxic plant leaves (such as orange leaves) on one side with melted chocolate. Freeze until firm and then peel off leaves. Freeze chocolate leaves until needed.

 

CHOCOLATE CREPES

 

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 teaspoons white sugar

1/3 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 fluid ounce cognac

1 (3 ounce) package chocolate instant pudding

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

3 cups heavy whipping cream

4 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/4 cups evaporated milk

2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

 

1 Crepe batter: in a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, water, flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon butter, and cognac.

2 Filling: beat pudding mix, instant coffee and whipping cream together with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick.

3 Sauce: in a small saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter, evaporated milk, and confectioners' sugar together until the mixture is a little thick.

4 Crepes: heat a small skillet (or crepe pan) to a high temperature. Place a small amount of batter into the skillet and swirl it around until the batter covers the bottom of the pan. When the crepe is slightly browned flip the crepe over and let the other side brown for a few seconds. The first crepe will most likely not turn out well, but the rest will. Stack the crepes on top of each other to let tem cool before filling.

5 Spoon the filling into the center of each crepe and roll the crepe up around it. Spoon the sauce over the crepes and serve. 15 servings.

 

CITRUS BEAN SALAD

3 navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 16-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 16-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 16-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped red onion

Mix all ingredients in large bowl and top with the following vinaigrette:

1 Tbsp orange juice

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix well and pour over salad ingredients; toss to coat. Serve at room

temperature.

 

CLASSIC BARBECUE SAUCE and THREE VARIATIONS

Makes 3 cups

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, minced

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice

3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/4 cup orange juice

 

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onion and saute until golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients, cutting tomatoes in half or quarters. Bring to boil, reduce heat to lowest possible setting and simmer, uncovered until thickened, about 2-2 1/2 hours.

 

Puree sauce, in batches if needed, in blender. Use immediately or cover in airtight container. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for several months.

 

Variations:

 

Sauce with Mexican flavors: To classic sauce, add 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder, 6 tablespoons lime juice, and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro.

 

Sauce with Asian flavors: Add 1 tablespoon minced, fresh ginger, 6 tablespoons soy sauce, 6 tablespoons rice vinegar, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil to classic sauce.

 

Sauce with Caribbean flavors: Add 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons dark rum, 1 tablespoon Caribbean hot sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar and a pinch of ground allspice to classic sauce.

 

CREAM PUFF CAKE

Crust:

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup flour

4 eggs

Bring water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat and add flour. Stir until mixture coagulates and leaves side of pan. Cool slightly and add unbeaten eggs 1 at a time. Put in large ungreased pan ( 10 x 15 x 2 lasagna pan works) Spread on bottom and up sides slightly. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Cool completely. The crust will be bumpy and ugly!

Filling:

4 cups milk

3 small instant vanilla pudding

1 8 oz softened cream cheese

Use about 1/3 cup of the 4 cups of milk added to the cream cheese; beat until smooth. Set aside. Pour the rest of the milk over the pudding in a large bowl. Beat with whip until thickened. Add cream cheese mixture. Whip and spread over the crust.

Topping:

8 oz Cool Whip

Chocolate "Shell" or Hershey's Syrup

Top with Cool whip and drizzle with chocolate syrup or shell. Refrigerate.

 

EASY DESSERT

 

1 angel food cake, chunked

1 large sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding, prepared

1 small tub whipped topping

1 can cherry lite pie filling

Put the cake chunks in a 9x13 inch pan. Combine pudding and whipped

topping, gently fold together. Pour over the cake pieces. Drop cherries

over top of cake and pudding mixture. Be sure and add all the filling, too,

to the top of the cake. Chill overnight.

FAQ OREGONIAN FOOD DAY

 

Q: I read your column about cooking eggs safely and not eating raw eggs. Now, I have a question. When making the Fluffy Tapioca Pudding on the box of quick-cooking Minute Tapioca, the recipe calls for whipping the egg whites with sugar, then folding them into the cooked tapioca mixture. I have been doing it forever. Now I wonder, do you think the hot tapioca brings the raw egg whites to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria, and is it safe to eat?

 

A: We've had this question before with that recipe and with other recipes where a raw egg is put into a hot or boiling mixture and not cooked any longer. The egg must reach 160 degrees F to be considered safe. If the eggs are immediately mixed into the hot tapioca mixture, they will reach that temperature. Thoroughly mix the egg whites into the tapioca so there are no egg whites left on the sides of the bowl.

 

Q: Is there any way to stabilize whipped cream so it doesn't separate after sitting?

 

A: You can add unflavored gelatin to give body to the whipping cream, which will hold up well in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. (This can also be used as frosting.)

 

To whip cream: First, chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. For 1 cup of whipping cream, soften 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water, then add 3 tablespoons very hot or boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Cool to room temperature.

 

Add the gelatin and cream to the chilled bowl, then whip until the cream starts to hold its shape. The cream should start to thicken, but not peak. Fold in 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or about1/4cup powdered sugar) and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Continue to beat until peaks form. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

 

Q: I see recipes using turbinado sugar. What is it and where do I find it?

 

A: Turbinado, raw sugar that comes from the initial pressing of sugar cane, is tan and has a mild, naturally occurring molasses flavor. It is steamed to remove contaminants such as molds and fibers.

 

Regular brown sugar is not raw sugar; it's made by adding molasses and caramel coloring (burnt sugar) to white sugar.

 

One brand of turbinado, available at most supermarkets, is Sugar in the Raw.

 

This sugar may be used in the same manner and in equal amounts as ordinary sugar in cooking and baking and for tabletop use. If you use brown sugar, the flavor of the finished product will be more robust.

 

Q: I'm always forgetting to take out butter to soften when I want to make cookies. I put it in the microwave and then it gets too soft or melts. Can I use the melted butter to make the cookies? Any suggestions?

 

A: Don't use the melted butter for cookies or cakes unless the recipe calls for it. The texture of the baked product will be affected; a cake may be heavier and cookies will spread too much.

 

Land O'Lakes offers these two suggestions: Cut butter into chunks and allow to soften at room temperature for about 15 minutes. If time is limited, place a stick of cold butter between 2 sheets of wax paper and hit it with a rolling pin on each side to smash butter into a thin layer.

 

FASTEST CINNAMON ROLLS

Makes 12 rolls

3/4 cup dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries, golden raisins or chopped prunes

Boiling water to cover

For dough:

3/4 cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cultured buttermilk

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons, for brushing

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

For filling:

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For vanilla icing:

2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

3 to 4 teaspoons cold cultured buttermilk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square or round baking pan. Set aside. Place dried fruit in a small bowl and pour boiling water over. Cover and set aside.

 

Place cottage cheese, sugar, buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to work bowl and pulse until dough clumps like biscuit dough, 8-10 pulses. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently, folding dough over and pushing away from you 4-5 times, until dough is smooth. Do not over-work dough.

 

Using a rolling pin, roll out dough to make a 12-by-15-inch rectangle. Brush entire surface with 2 tablespoons melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around all edges.

 

To make filling, combine sugars, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl and sprinkle over surface of dough. Pat to press sugar into surface. Drain dried fruit and pat dry with a paper towel. Distribute fruit over sugar mixture.

 

Starting at the long edge, roll up dough jelly-roll fashion. Pinch seam to seal, leaving ends open. With a sharp knife, cut roll into 12 equal pieces. Set rolls cut side up, showing spiral design, in baking pan.

 

Place immediately on center rack of oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove pan from oven and run a metal spatula around edges of rolls. Lift rolls out of pan one at a time and place them right side up on a wire rack positioned over a plate or a piece of waxed paper.

 

To glaze, place ingredients for icing in a small bowl or 2-cup liquid measuring cup (the spout makes pouring easy). Using a small wire whisk, beat until smooth and a thick, pourable consistency. Adjust consistency with additional drops of buttermilk. Drizzle icing in a zigzag pattern over each roll. Let rolls stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

FESTIVE TACO TARTS

 

Pastry:

 

Cut your favorite pastry in rounds large enough to fit in mini muffin tins.

 

Press firmly into the tins and bake in a 350 degrees oven until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you are preparing the filling.

 

Filling:

1 pound sausage

1/2 envelope of your favorite taco seasoning mix

4 green onions, finely chopped

1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup sour cream

1 small jar chopped pimento

1 small can sliced black olives

 

Crumble sausage; add taco seasoning. Mix thoroughly; lightly brown.

 

Drain excess fat and add onions and continue browning until sausage is well cooked and onions are tender.

 

Remove sausage mixture from heat and add 1/2 of the grated cheese; mix well.

 

Fill pastry shells with sausage mixture.

 

Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top of hot mixture.

 

Top tarts with sour cream, sprinkle with pimento and an olive slice. May be served hot or at room temperature.

 

GIANT MACADAMIA NUT CINNAMON ROLLS

Makes 16 rolls

For dough:

2/3 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)

2 tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast

Pinch of light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups tepid cultured buttermilk (100 degrees)

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon salt

7 to 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature

For filling:

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups chopped unsalted macadamia nuts

3/4 cup golden raisins

For orange icing:

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 to 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

 

Place warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of brown sugar over water and stir to dissolve. Let mixture stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

 

Combine buttermilk, sugar, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour in a large bowl or in work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Using a whisk or with electric mixer on low, beat for 1 minute more. Add soft butter and yeast mixture. Beat another minute. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed (switch to a wooden spoon, when necessary, if making by hand).

 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and springy, 3-5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time, as necessary, to prevent sticking. The dough will be soft. Place in a greased deep bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

 

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn dough out onto work surface; do not knead. With a rolling pin, roll out dough into a large 14- by 20-inch rectangle. For filling, brush surface with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with layers of brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. Roll up from long edge, jelly-roll fashion. Pinch seam to seal and leave ends open.

 

To cut rolls, use a sharp chef's knife. To create plain swirled rolls, use knife in a gentle back-and-forth motion, cutting 16 slices about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place each roll at least 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, from about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 20 minutes before baking. Bake on center rack of oven for 18-25 minutes. Do not overbake, as the rolls dry out easily during reheating.

 

When rolls are baking, make orange icing: Place all of the ingredients for the icing in a large bowl or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer. Beat on low speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. The icing should be the spreading consistency of thick buttercream frosting.

 

Remove rolls from oven and, using a small metal spatula, immediately frost each one with a layer of icing. Serve rolls warm, or let cool completely and place in resealable plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, remove rolls from freezer and let thaw in the bag at room temperature. Remove rolls from bag, place on a heat-proof plate, and microwave on high for no more than 30 seconds to warm, or bake at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

GOURMET CHICKEN SANDWICH

 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded 1/4 inch thick

ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 teaspoons prepared Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

8 slices garlic and rosemary focaccia bread

 

1 Sprinkle pepper on one side of each chicken cutlet. Heat oil in a large skillet; brown garlic in oil, then add chicken, pepper-side-down. Saute chicken until cooked through and juices run clear, about 12 to 15 minutes.

2 In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, mustard and rosemary. Mix together and spread mixture on 4 slices focaccia bread. Place 1 chicken cutlet on each of these slices, then top each with another bread slice.

 

GREEN BEANS HALKI STYLE

Serves 8

2 pounds whole string beans, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup water

2 medium onions, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes (about 4 cups)

3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pinch of cinnamon

 

Steam beans in water until they are tender but crisp. Drain off water and set beans aside.

 

Saute onions in olive oil until they are translucent. Add tomatoes, parsley, salt, pepper and cinnamon. When mixture is hot, add beans, cover and remove from heat. Serve beans hot, as a side dish.

 

GRILLED CHICKEN SALAD

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salad greens of your choice

Other salad toppings of your choice

 

Marinade:

Lemon juice of one lemon

Soy sauce, enough to cover chicken

Garlic cloves, minced (number varies to your liking)

Black pepper, to taste

 

Dressing:

2 lemons, squeezed

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

 

Combine marinade ingredients and let chicken soak for at least one hour, then prepare the dressing.

 

Grill the chicken until done, slice and put on top of the salad greens. Drizzle with dressing. Makes four servings.

 

HEAVENLY GARLIC BAGEL MIX

(Bread Machine)

3 cups Flour

3 1/3 tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon Parsley -- flakes

1/4 teaspoon Paprika

3 1/4 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

Place yeast into a small zip baggie and set aside, or set aside a

prepackaged envelope of yeast. Mix and place remaining ingredients into a

quart sized jar. Lay baggie of yeast on top of mix and apply lid. To make

the bagels later, you will need the following additional ingredient:

1 1/8 cups Water

Place all ingredients into bread pan of your bread maker, in the order

recommended by manufacturer. Insert the bread pan into the bread maker, and

select "Dough" and loaf size (1 1/2 lb. loaf) Select desired delay option,

and press Start.

When dough cycle has completed, remove dough from bread maker, and set aside

two 1/4 inch balls of dough. You will use these later to determine if it is

time to boil your bagels. If the dough pops to the top of the boiling water

right away, you are ready! Place dough on a floured surface and divide into

8 equal portions. Form balls, and gently press your thumb through the

middle of each ball, and slowly stretch dough into a bagel shape. Leave

bagels to rise on same floured surface, lightly covered with a towel. While

bagels are rising, bring 3 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 Tbsp.

sugar to boiling water and stir to dissolve sugar. Drop first dough ball

(you set these aside earlier) into boiling water, using a slotted spoon.

When dough balls pass the test, you are ready to boil your bagels by

dropping them carefully into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time. Boil on

each side for 1 1/2 minutes, then remove from water and cool on a wire

cooling rack for 1 minute.

Brush each bagel with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water) and sprinkle with

sesame or poppy seeds if desired. (Non stick cooking spray may be

substituted for egg wash).

Bake at 400 degrees F on baking sheet which has been sprinkled with cornmeal

(can use greased baking sheet), for 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Variation: Try sprinkling with Parmesan cheese and garlic bread seasoning

for a more pronounced Italian flavor.

Copyright: "(C)1999, Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People"

 

HEAVENLY PROFITEROLES WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

 

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup LAND O LAKES(r) Butter

1/3 cup flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup C&H Pure Cane Granulated Sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 tablespoons LAND O LAKES(r) Butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 cups chocolate ice cream

1 mango, peeled pitted and sliced

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little water.

 

In medium saucepan, gently heat water and 1/4 cup butter until butter has melted; increase heat to high and quickly bring to boil; remove from heat. Add flour all at once, beating until mixture leaves sides of pan. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth and shiny. Pipe or spoon 12 walnut-size balls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Cut slit in top of each to let steam escape. Let cool on wire rack.

 

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, whipping cream, butter and vanilla. When sugar is dissolved, stir in cocoa and cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

 

Open profiteroles; fill with ice cream. Pile onto serving dish; pour sauce over top. Garnish with slices of mango. Serve immediately.

 

HERBED CREAM CHEESE OMELET

 

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

8 eggs

 

1 Mix the cream cheese with the cilantro in a bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.

2 Heat one-quarter of the butter in a well-seasoned omelet pan or 8 inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot and bubbling, swirl it around in the pan.

3 Just before the butter begins to brown, beat 2 of the eggs and pour into pan. Lower the heat.

4 After 10 seconds or so, the omelet will coagulate. Push the omelet to one side of the pan with a spoon or spatula, and let the raw egg run over the cleared skillet. Repeat this one more time, then take the skillet off the heat.

5 Dab one quarter of the herbed cream cheese along the middle of the omelet from one side to the other. Season the omelet with additional salt and pepper to taste. If it has not completely set, place the pan over medium heat for a half minute longer. When the omelet is set, slide it from the pan onto a plate so that the omelet rolls up and the herbed cream cheese runs along the length of the roll. Serve it right away. Make three more omelets the same way, making sure the pan and butter get good and hot before adding the beaten eggs. Serve each one as soon as it is cooked.

 

HOMEMADE SODA CRACKERS

 

TRIED AND TRUE HOMEMADE SODA CRACKERS Roll up your sleeves, you have your work cut out for you! This is a good project to get the kids to help you out with.

 

Makes 100 soda crackers

 

1 1/2 tsp Dry active yeast (1 package Contains 2-1/4 teaspoons)

1/2 tsp Sugar

1 1/2 cups Warm water

4 1/2 cups All-purpose flour

1 tsp Baking soda

1 Tb Water for dissolving the Baking soda

2 Tb Plus 2 ts buttermilk

2 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Shortening

Salt for the tops (opt.)

 

The incomparable lightness of traditional soda crackers results from the unusual techniques used in making them. Making soda crackers is easy, but it takes a relatively long time. The initial rise is 20 to 30 hours, which allows the dough to increase in volume without developing a pronounced yeast flavor. Since the dough will ferment to some extent during this time, alkaline soda is then added to neutralize the acids produced by that fermentation. The dough is then allowed to rest 3 to 4 hours to relax the gluten so the crackers will not be tough and chewy. Next, the dough is rolled in layers. It is definitely worth the extra planning it takes to make these crackers. If you take a few minutes to get started on a Friday morning, the dough can have its long rest until the next day. Then you can finish the mixing and let the dough rest again while you run your weekend errands, baking the crackers in time for Saturday dinner. 450F for 9 to 11 minutes

 

In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the sugar and warm water. Set aside until the yeast is fully dissolved, 5 to 10 minutes. Measure 3-1/2 cups of the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture and mix well. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm place for 20 to 30 hours. The plastic wrap keeps the dough from drying out during this long period. In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the Tablespoon water. Place the baking soda mixture, buttermilk, salt, and shortening in the bowl with the dough and mix well. Mix in as much of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour as necessary to form a stiff, non-sticky dough. Knead for a minute or two and then let the dough rest, covered with the plastic wrap, for 15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for another few minutes, until it is smooth and springy to the touch. Place it in a large, clean, lightly oiled bowl and let it rest for another 3 or 4 hours, covered with plastic wrap. At last you are ready to roll.

 

Preheat the oven to 450F. Punch the dough down and knead a few strokes. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions for rolling. Rolling may be difficult at first due to the elasticity of the dough. Give yourself a head start on the rolling by flattening the dough with your hands. Place your rolling pin in the center of the dough and begin. Soon the dough will relax and begin to roll easily. On a floured surface or pastry cloth, roll out to a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch thick and position so the long edge runs horizontally in front of you. Fold the left third of the dough over the center third. Likewise, fold the right third over the center. The dough is now in 3 layers with the seam running vertically. Give the dough a quarter turn so the seam now runs horizontally. Roll out again to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Fold and turn the dough again as in the first step. You are now ready for the final rolling. Roll the dough out thinner this time, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick. If desired, sprinkle the top lightly and evenly with salt or poppy seeds or sesame seeds and roll over it lightly with the rolling pin. With a sharp knife, cut into 2-inch squares and place each one on an ungreased baking sheet. Punch with a fork, each square 2 or 3 times with the tines of a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 1 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack. Yield: 95-100.

 

HONEY SESAME TENDERLOIN

 

1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 pound pork tenderloin

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

Combine soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Place the tenderloin in a heavy plastic bag and pour in soy sauce mixture. Let marinate 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Remove pork from marinade and pat dry.

 

Mix honey and brown sugar in a shallow plate. Place sesame seeds in a separate shallow plate. Roll pork in honey mixture, coating well, then roll in sesame seeds.

 

Roast in a shallow pan for 20 to 30 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 160 degrees F. Remove to serving platter and slice thinly to serve.

 

HOT CHOCOLATE

Love "Chocolat"? then taste Portland's best.

 

It's a luscious scene from the hot movie "Chocolat": Juliette Binoche has just poured a cup of hot chocolate for a dried-up, lip-bitten Judi Dench. After one sip, Dench looks up, her arid face cracks into an expression somewhere between shock and recognition: she produces a delicious, lascivious throat-rumbling chuckle.

 

What is this wicked elixir and where can we get some?

 

In a town like Portland where coffee is king, hot chocolate is just a junior member of the court. But liquid chocolate has enjoyed a long history as a bringer of romance -- the Marquis de Sade himself was said to have served cups of hot chocolate at his best bacchanalias -- and with Valentine's Day just around the corner, we went out in search of a true loving cupful.

 

Most cocoa-seekers are used to relying on coffeehouses to supply their addictions. While the coffee grinds might be fresh, the cocoa drinks at most of the chains are dusty mixes, indifferently stirred by sneering barista. Typically, this results in an impoverished chocolate-colored liquid, the likes of which might have been doled out to Bob Cratchit on Christmas Day. It has none of the vitality or depth of a truly fine hot chocolate and leaves its drinkers feeling dispirited and somehow bereft.

 

Back to basics

The word "chocolate," is said to come from the Nahuatl "xocotl" for fruit and "atl" for water. In modern usage, "chocolate" usually refers to the solid candy, while "cocoa" generally refers to the unsweetened powder used to make drinks. But for a good 2,000 years, chocolate was exclusively a beverage. Chocolate was served to the noblemen of the court of the Aztec emperor Montezuma, and Cortez introduced this drink to Spain, where its aphrodisiac reputation was so widespread that women drank it in secret.

 

The Mayans concocted drinks that were not sweetened so much as spiced, using toasted ground cacao beans and additions such as allspice, vanilla and chili, then mixed with water and beaten 'till frothy. In parts of Mexico and Central America, chocolate is still primarily imbibed as a drink.

 

At Cafe Azul (112 N.W. Ninth Ave.; 503-525-4422), seductresses (and co-owners) Claire and Shawna Archibald set out enticing little earthenware terrines of cocoa made with traditional Oaxacan chocolate. The unsweetened version is lean, intense, its flavor almost meaty. Claire compares it to drinking a cup of black coffee. And indeed, in Mexico, hot chocolate is a popular morning drink, sustaining and invigorating. The water base is lighter-bodied than cream-based hot chocolates; it's refreshing rather than soporific.

 

Cafe Azul uses Mayordomo, a Oaxacan-made chocolate that they must travel to Mexico to get.

 

"In the little villages everyone grinds their own cocoa," Claire Archibald says.

 

Like wine grapes, vintages of cocoa will show variations in flavor according to regional differences, but, she points out, perfectly good Mexican hot chocolate can be made from imported Ibarra chocolate, available in specialty shops and grocers such as Becerra's International Grocery Store (3022 N.E. Glisan St.; 503-234-7785). The Ibarra hot chocolate we sample at Cafe Azul is sweeter than the Cafe's chocolate, but it does possess a charming, spicy bouquet and an impertinent little hint of cinnamon. Another exceptional Latin hot chocolate interpretation is at Pambiche (2811 N.E. Glisan St.; 503-233-0495). They use a homemade ganache of Oaxacan chocolate, butter and a drop of rum, frothed up with milk, topped off with cream and a lively green sprig of mint. It's intense and elegant with dark undertones.

 

The chocolate continent

"Chocolate drinking used to be very stylish in Europe," says Cathy Whims, head chef of Genoa (2832 S.E. Belmont St.; 503-238-1464). "In France they serve it as an afternoon snack. It's very thick and much richer than our hot chocolate." The famous French grande dame of hot chocolate, the Angelina Cafe in Paris, serves a dense version in bitty cups dotted with mascarpone and whipped cream. While the Spaniards were among the first to experiment with making their chocolate drinks with milk, the Swiss developed the method to condense and powder milk, creating milk chocolate candy and helping to enthrone the making of hot chocolate with milk.

 

"I was raised on Swiss Miss," confesses the innocent at the Godiva counter (340 S.W. Morrison St.; 503-226-4722), so an encounter with a high-quality cocoa mix like that in Godiva's sleek canister was a revelation to her. Their milk chocolate powder yields a velvety, European-style cocoa drink with greater presence and intensity than the more anemic grocery-store mixes. And while the Godiva cocoa already contains powdered milk, the instructions also say rather pointedly, "Please prepare Godiva Hot Cocoa with milk only."

 

Secret ingredients

Spain tried to guard its secret treasure, but chocolate-awareness inevitably infiltrated European consciousness through the Spanish territories of the Netherlands, Naples and Sicily. The Catholic clergy praised chocolate as an aid to piety and determined that drinking chocolate did not constitute a breaking of the fast during Lent. The Spaniards tinkered with the potent Mayan brew by using softer spices, substituting cinnamon for chili, and sweetening it.

 

Whims and Giorgio Kawas of Giorgio's Restaurant both point out that hot chocolate undergoes all sorts of regional interpretations across Europe and most especially in Italy. Kawas mentions that it's not uncommon for the Italians to serve up more "adult" versions of the beverage with the addition of liqueurs such as Frangelico, again, according to the tastes of the region. Kevin Goretta of Piazza Italia (1129 N.W. Johnson St.; 503-478-0619) mentions the Turinese specialty drink the bicerin, a concoction of chocolate, cream and coffee. And if you think chili is a challenging addition, imagine: the Bicerin cafe of Turin allegedly serves up its specialty drink with just a smidgen of arsenic. Piazza Italia offers a less incendiary hot chocolate made of steamed milk and Ghirardelli.

 

Closer to home

Sometimes the simple pleasures are the best. Dennis Hertrich, bartender at The Heathman's bar (1001 S.W. Broadway; 503-241-4100) says their popular hot chocolate is a basic mix of milk steamed with chocolate syrup. Torrefazione Italia coffeehouse (multiple locations, including 1403 N.E. Wiedler St.; 503-288-1608) stirs an imported cocoa mix into steamed milk, which allows customers to sweeten it to taste.

 

Mother's Bistro & Bar (409 S.W. Second Ave.; 503-464-1122) steams up a homey mix of Ghirardelli syrup and whole milk with a dollop of home-whipped cream. Moonstruck Chocolatier (608 S.W. Alder St.; 503-241-0955) creates an unusually rich traditional hot chocolate made with its powdered cocoa. And if you foray a bit more deeply into its menu, you'll find thicker, European-style drinks, including a hot chocolate truffle made from Moonstruck's melted dark chocolate truffle base.

 

So what about that movie?

Back at Cafe Azul, Claire Archibald theorizes that Juliette Binoche's cinematic chocolate was a hybridized version of Mayan and European influences. The density of the chocolate recalls the masa-thickened Mexican hot chocolate champurrado; the addition of hot spice seems distinctly Mayan; and the finishing raft of whipped cream follows the great French/Swiss traditions.

 

No matter which method you prefer, the success of the drink will hinge on the quality of the chocolate.

 

And come Valentine's Day, remember that while a good cup of chocolate might serve as an aid to piety, is also a fine prelude to a little sin.

 

LEMON POPPY SEED MUFFINS

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup poppy seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup lemon flavored yogurt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons white sugar

 

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease a muffin tin.

2 Combine the flour, 3/4 cup white sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3 In a separate bowl mix the eggs, buttermilk or yogurt, vegetable oil and lemon zest or oil. Blend well and pour over the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Do no overmix!

4 Spoon batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

5 Combine the lemon juice with the remaining 3 tablespoons white sugar. Stir into sugar dissolves.

6 Once the muffins are baked pierce the tops several times with a toothpick. Slowly pour about 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and sugar mixture over the tops of each muffin. Let muffins cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing them from the tin.

 

LIGHT SATAY STYLE BEEF AND PASTA

1 pound top round steak -- cut 1" thick

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

6 ounces vermicelli

Vegetable cooking spray

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon water

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper -- or to taste

Trim fat from beef steak. Cut steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick strips. Add 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce to beef; toss to coat.

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, water, ground ginger, and pepper, mixing well until blended. Add hot vermicelli; toss to coat. Keep warm.

Coat large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef (half at a time) and stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Add to vermicelli mixture; toss lightly. Sprinkle with cucumber; serve immediately. Yield: 5 servings.

 

MICROWAVE OVEN INFORMATION

 

In your request for energy saving recipes you left out the biggest energy

saver of all: a microwave oven. Most of them will cook a chicken in about 20

minutes. If you want it crisped, or browner, you can put it in the hot air

oven for just a few minutes. (if you put Kitchen Bouquet or paprika on the

raw chicken it will brown very nicely in the microwave.)

 

Potatoes "bake " in about 5 minutes for each med. potato. Again if you want a crispy skin put the potatoes in a hot air oven for a few minutes.

 

Cakes bake in about 7 minutes. If you are making a yellow cake sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the inside of the greased pan. Otherwise the cake will be bright yellow. No brown crust. It doesn't matter with chocolate cake.

 

To cook veggies in a microwave, clean and cut them as you usually do, then put in a covered dish and microwave about 5 minutes per pound. You usually don't need any more water then what is clinging to the veggies after they are washed.

 

Most foods cook in about 1/3 the time it would take in a hot air oven, or on

the stove top, and while hot air ovens use 220 watts, microwaves only use

110. Another big advantage in hot weather is that you are not heating up the

kitchen while you cook.

 

 

NUTMEG SAUCE

 

I remember this very simple but delicious sauce more from Mom than from Grandma, who gave the recipe to my mom. Who knows how many other generations before them made it? Mom usually served it with yellow or spice cake. Grandma also served it over homemade applesauce cake.

 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Dash of salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (if you grind your own, it's even better)

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons butter

Few drops fresh lemon juice

 

Unfrosted baked cake, cut into squares -- white, yellow, spice, applesauce, etc.

 

In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, salt and nutmeg. Add boiling water. Over medium heat, stir until thickened and clear.

 

Remove from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.

 

Serve hot over cake squares in small sauce dishes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ORANGE RHUBARB MUFFINS

 

Streusel topping:

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 

Batter:

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed firm

2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

l large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

l cup orange juice

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb, fresh or frozen

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

Line 12 cups of a large-size muffin pan (cups should be at least 3 inches in diameter by 1 1/4 inches deep) with paper liners or spray with cooking spray. Alternatively, use a muffin pan with smaller cups, which will yield more muffins.

 

To prepare the streusel: In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Cut in the butter to make a coarse, crumbly mixture. Set aside.

 

To prepare the batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, egg and vanilla. Stir to blend well.

 

Stir in the orange juice.

 

In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining dry ingredients.

 

Blend the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until partially combined, then fold in the diced rhubarb.

 

Scoop, using an ice-cream scoop to dispense the batter, into the muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin generously and evenly with the streusel topping. Place the muffins in the oven, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are golden to medium brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 12 large muffins.

 

PAN DULCE PRIMER

BAKERIES GIVE A SWEET TASTE OF LATIN AMERICA

BY JOHN G. WATSON

Special to the Mercury News

Deep in the back of Mi Pueblo supermarket on Story Road in San Jose is a little bit of home for customers from Mexico and Central America: the fragrant bakery, a pastry haven known in Spanish as the panadería (pronounced pah-nah-deh-REE-a).

 

The baked goods found here and at countless panaderías throughout the Bay Area evoke images of long weekend mornings lingering over strong coffee and of family visitors bearing culinary gifts, perhaps pig-shaped puerquitos, sugar-dusted polvorones or smiley-faced las caritas cookies.

 

By tradition, each pastry sells for a mere 33 to 50 cents. At those prices, these Latin American delicacies are certainly among the sweetest deals in town.

 

Panaderías use a modified form of self-service. Grab a pair of tongs and a tray and step up to the cases. Choose your pan dulce, picking them up with the tongs and setting them on the tray. Take the tray to the counter, where the clerk will wrap and tally your purchases.

 

Leonardo Mora, head baker at this Mi Pueblo (there are four local stores in the privately owned mini-chain) and son of a panadería owner in Guadalajara, Mexico, pointed out the most popular pan dulce (pahn DOOL-say), or sweet breads.

 

At the top of the list is the conchita (cone-CHEE-ta), also known as the concha, a seashell-shaped confection popular throughout Mexico. Cake-like conchitas are easy to spot with their rounded tops featuring graceful, curved lines.

 

Also popular throughout Mexico are enredos (en-RAY-dose), which are shaped like pretzels and have a crisp texture resembling French puff pastry.

 

The cuerno (KWEAR-noh), or horn, is another pastry showing a French influence. It's shaped like a croissant, but the similarities stop there. It's a pleasantly sweet faux croissant with a cake-like texture.

 

Comfort foods

 

At least two popular types of pan dulce evoke American comfort foods with their creamy vanilla custard centers. Light, delectable empanadas de leche (em-pah-NAH-thahz de LEH-che), little turnovers hiding sweet custard fillings, are reminiscent in flavor of Boston cream pie, without the chocolate.

 

And round, flat chamucos (cha-MOO-kohs) are shaped like cheese Danish but feature a vanilla filling.

 

Familiar to all are jelly rolls, which go by the amusing name of niño envuelto, roughly translating to ``wrapped-up baby.''

 

Each panadería typically sells a smattering of pastries that are popular in the specific regions of Latin America from which much of their clientele originates. Thus, Mora's store offers the sema, a large, round, sugar-dusted cookie native to the state of Michoacán in west-central Mexico.

 

Chef Mora has started a bit of a trend by creating round flores, a flat pastry with a pineapple center, instead of the traditional square version. Looking in other local panaderías, you may find round flores as other bakers pick up on Mora's Mi Pueblo innovation.

 

Then there is the pan dulce traditionally intended for children, with puerquitos (pwhere -KEE-tohss), or puercos, at the top of the list. These delightful dark brown cookies are shaped just like little pigs as seen from the side. They figure in the memories of many a Latin American adult.

 

``Grandpa encouraged us not to eat the ears and snout right away, so we carefully started with the rump each time,'' says Al Amador III, now a manager of intranet content at RHI in Pleasanton, recalling visits 35 years ago from his late maternal grandfather, Jesus Valdez, who was born in Mazatlán.

 

``Now my father, Al Amador Jr., buys puerquitos at a little panadería in Concord for my kids, 6-year-old Michael and 3-year-old Sophia. They look forward to them, just like my brother, sister and I used to years ago.''

 

Also popular with the small fry are polvorones, round cookies named for the Spanish word for dust or powder. The basic recipe is a simple mixture of flour, shortening, sugar, egg and leavening, but there are endless variations, including mini-chocolate chips in the dough or ice cream-style sprinkles on top.

 

Variable styles

 

Every panadería will have a slightly different selection from the next. San Jose's El Rico Pan, where Mora once worked while honing his baking skills, offers the humorously titled borrachos (borr-AH-chohs). That's a word rarely used in high society roughly translating to falling-down drunks, an appropriate enough title for this (non-alcoholic) rum-flavored concoction of bread dough deliciously flavored with cinnamon and raisins, drenched in caramel syrup.

 

El Rico Pan co-owner Antonio Fernandez lived until age 7 in the little village of Tangancuaro in Michoacán, a village too small to have its own panadería. Residents depended for their pastry fix on a man who owned a truck and regularly drove in with cuernos, conchas and polvorones from a nearby town.

 

To be sure, the pan dulce to be found in the Bay Area are different than those with which Fernandez grew up. Some changes come about because ingredients may be unavailable or different here, but there are other reasons as well. As succeeding generations become further removed from the motherland, palates change, local bakers adapt to those changing tastes, and eventually the end product takes on its own personality.

 

San Diego-based Billy Cross, a Sacramento native who leads culinary tours throughout Mexico, explains, ``You could call pan dulce baking in the U.S. `the culture and cooking of displacements.' Immigrant communities bring certain things together that float between their homeland and their adopted country, picking what is good and what they like from both cultures.

 

``Food is a growing, evolving thing,'' he adds. ``There is no good or bad to it.''

 

What Cross does lament is a growing trend both here and in Latin America away from expensive ingredients such as butter and pure, fresh lard -- both commonly used in pan dulce baking until 40 or 50 years ago -- in favor of super-whipped shortening.

 

Panaderías making pan dulce the old-fashioned way are few and far between, but Cross has identified a handful. ``The more expensive places with more expensive ingredients exist in beautiful little pastry shops in Mexico City and Guadalajara. And in Oaxaca, there's a chain called Rome Pasteleria, run by chemists who left Mexico City 20 years ago to start their own pastry shop. Their pan dulce is the best I've ever found in Mexico.''

 

Though Rome Pasteleria might be a good excuse to plan a trip to Oaxaca, you don't need to travel thousands of miles to gain at least a basic understanding of pan dulce. The first step toward starting your education is no further than your closest panadería.

 

PANCAKE FLOWERS

Makes 40 small pancakes

 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup HERSHEY'S (r) Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup mandarin orange segments, drained

1/2 cup sliced almonds

 

1 Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. Combine buttermilk, eggs and oil in separate bowl; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.

2 Pour about 1 tablespoon batter onto preheated, lightly greased griddle or non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until bubbly surface on top; turn and cook just until set.

3 Serve each pancake topped with heaping teaspoonful whipped topping, topped with selection of fruits as flowers. Leftover pancakes may be tightly wrapped and frozen for later use. To reheat: Place 5 pancakes on microwave-safe plate in circular pattern; cover with wax paper. Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute or until warm.

 

PASTA WITH ASPARAGUS

SUGAR SNAP PEAS AND PARMESAN CHEESE

Makes 4 servings

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch lengths

8 ounces sugar snap or snow peas, tips snapped off

8 ounces bow-tie pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

 

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes more, until the vegetables are al dente, tender but firm to the bite, and still bright green. With a slotted spoon, transfer the asparagus and peas to a bowl and set aside in a warm place.

 

Bring the water back to the boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil, asparagus and peas, and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

 

PASTA WITH BUTTER

 

In Italy, this dish is known as fettuccine all'Alfredo and is traditionally made with fettuccine. My grandmother, however, called it pasta with butter and made it with spaghetti. With only three ingredients, they must be the best. Look for sweet creamery butter, quality semolina spaghetti and pecorino cheese, which should be freshly grated. The cheese is available at specialty markets such as Pastaworks.

 

1 pound spaghetti

7 tablespoons butter

About 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (divided)

Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

 

Cook pasta to al dente (tender but firm to the tooth), according to package directions. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam, then add about 1/3 cup of the grated cheese. Mix well.

 

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water. Set water aside and return cooked pasta to hot pan. Add about 1 cup of the pasta water to the butter mixture. Toss butter mixture with pasta. If pasta is too dry, add the additional 1/2 cup water.

 

Place pasta in 4 serving bowls with an equal amount of the sauce. Sprinkle with additional cheese and, if you like, a few grindings of black pepper.

 

PEA AND GINGER SOUP

Serves 4

2 cups fresh peas

2 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped ginger, or more to taste, up to 1/4 cup

Salt and pepper

4 cups chicken or other stock, or water

 

Combine ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook until peas and ginger are very tender, about 15 minutes. Cool.

 

Pour soup into blender, in batches if necessary, and puree. Return to pan. Over medium-low heat, reheat gently, stirring occasionally. Adjust seasoning and serve.

 

PORCUPINE MEATBALLS RECIPE

 

Combine:

 

1 (15 1/2-ounce) can of sliced peaches, drained and coarsely chopped

1 (8-ounce) can of pineapple chunks, undrained

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger.

 

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Serve with grilled salmon and sprinkle with almonds.

 

PORTUGUESE BEAN SOUP

3 to 4 pieces large, meaty ham hocks (see Note)

1 whole linguica

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced carrots

2 16-ounce cans stewed tomatoes

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Tabasco sauce to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 cups cooked elbow macaroni

1 15-ounce can kidney beans, undrained

1 15-ounce can chili beans, undrained

1/2 small head cabbage, chopped

 

Boil ham hocks in 1 1/2 gallons water. Simmer until tender, about 2 hours. Remove ham hocks, reserve stock and ham hocks in separate container in refrigerator overnight. The next day, remove fat from stock and ham hocks. Remove meat from ham hocks and dice.

 

Dice sausage and place on platter covered with paper towel. Cook in microwave for about 2 minutes. Blot off excess fat. In a large pot, saute sausage until brown, adding onion, and cooking until onion is transparent. Add celery and carrots and saute 5 minutes. Add stock, stewed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, sugar, salt and pepper.

 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Add parsley, macaroni, kidney beans, chili beans, cabbage and diced ham hock. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

 

Note: If you can't find ham hocks, substitute the bone from a baked ham and boil as instructed. Strain broth before refrigerating, and substitute perhaps a cup of diced ham for ham hocks in the soup itself.

 

POTATO BEEF CROQUETTES

2 eggs

1 pound ground beef -- cooked and drained

2 cups mashed potatoes (made with milk and butter) -- cold

1 medium onion -- chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup saltine cracker crumbs

Vegetable oil -- for frying

In a large bowl, beat 1 egg. Add the beef, potatoes, onion, salt, and

pepper; mix well. Shape into 12 balls. Beat remaining egg; dip balls into

egg, then roll in the cracker crumbs. Shape each ball into a cone. In a

Dutch oven or deep-fat fryer, heat 2-inches of oil to 375 degrees F. Fry

croquettes, four at a time, for 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning

occasionally. Drain on paper towels. Yield: 1 dozen (2 per serving).

 

Q TIPS BARBECUE INFORMATION

What's in a name: There is much debate in the world of barbecue, some of it over the origin of the word. Laura Dove, who wrote ``The History of Barbecue,'' suggests the word is derived from ``barbacoa,'' a West Indian term for slow-cooking meat over coals. But she notes that the Oxford English Dictionary suggests the word comes from that soul of cookery, France. The phrase cited is ``barbe a queue'' meaning from head to tail.

Q-lingo: For the most part, the pork barbecue belt runs from the Carolinas and Georgia to Tennessee and Arkansas. Dry seasonings are rubbed into the meat, which is cooked slowly. Sauce is important, usually applied at the end or served on the side. In Texas, where barbecue usually means beef, particularly brisket, sauce is of lesser importance. Kansas City is a mix of pork and beef.

 

Why restaurant barbecue is sometimes Mojave dry: Most recipes call for long hours of slow smoking, for up to 20 hours. When the meat is ready, it should be eaten. But customers don't follow schedules. Meanwhile, health departments require that once done, all cooked meats must be maintained at a minimum 145 degrees. ``So it dries out,'' said John Berwald, founder of Los Altos-based Armadillo Willy's.

 

Hot tip: Tom Cain, an official judge of the Kansas City Barbecue Society, says that when he's cooking barbecue and his fire gets too hot, he squirts apple juice on the coals to reduce the heat and add flavor to the smoke.

 

Sugar and salt. Judge Tom Cain warns cooks to be cautious when using salt and sugar in barbecue cooking. If sugar gets too hot, it burns and turns bitter. Salt, on the other hand, extracts moisture.

 

Mopping vs. sopping. Mopping means applying sauce while cooking, sopping means applying sauce after cooking. Most sauces are tomato-based. North Carolina sauces add vinegar; South Carolina-Georgia sauces add yellow mustard; Tennessee and Kansas City often dose with molasses; Alabama is spicy; Texas is dry-rubbed with sauce, if any, on the side.

RAINBOW JELLO

Eight 3-oz. packages of Jell-O (2 packages of each color x 4 colors = 8

packages total.)

4 cups of sour cream

Water

9" x 13" Pyrex dish

1. Mix one 3-oz. pkg. of blue Jell-O with 1-cup very hot water in a 2 cup

measuring cup. Mix the other 3-oz. pkg. of blue Jell-O with 1-cup very hot

water in a separate 2 cup measuring cup AND add 1-cup sour cream. Stir

both well. (A few lumps of sour cream are ok!)

2. Slowly pour the sour cream/Jell-O/hot water mixture into the bottom of

the Pyrex dish and refrigerate until set, approx. 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, leave the other Jell-O/hot water mixture in the measuring

cup on the counter for the 20 minutes. You want it to cool down, but not

set.

4. Once the first layer is set, SLOWLY pour the second coordinating color

over the first layer and return dish to the refrigerator until set, approx.

20 minutes.

5. While second layer is in refrigerator, repeat Step 1 with your next

color of Jell-O.

6. Once Layer 2 is set, slowly pour in the next sour cream/Jell-O/hot

water mixture on top and refrigerate until set, approx. 20 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, leave the other Jell-O/hot water mixture in the measuring

cup on the counter for the 20 minutes. You want it to cool down, but not

set.

8. Repeat steps 1-4 with the remaining two colors of Jell-O. I promise,

it will all fit into the pan!

9. You can cut the Jell-O into squares to serve.

 

RED BEAN AND RICE SALAD

2 cups long-grain rice, (preferably basmati rice)

1 - 2 teaspoons salt

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded

2 stalks celery

1 can red kidney beans

4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced into small rounds

Spicy Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place rice in a 2-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add 3-1/2 cups

water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover

and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10

minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Cut cucumber and celery

into 1/4-inch dice. Add to rice along with beans and scallions. Toss with

vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature within a few hours.

Spicy Vinaigrette

3/4 cup olive oil

4 Tablespoons red-wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 Tablespoon dry thyme

Combine all ingredients. Whisk well.

 

RHUBARB RIPPLE COFFEE CAKE

 

1 1/3 cups rhubarb puree (dice, cook in small amount of water; and puree)

Nonstick cooking spray

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 ounces or 1 1/2 sticks)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon orange zest, finely minced

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see cook's note)

Confectioners' sugar for dusting, optional

 

Prepare the rhubarb puree. Set it aside to cool.

 

Meanwhile, spray or coat with nonstick spray a 9-inch spring form or cake pan at least 2 inches deep. You also may use an extra-deep, 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Set aside the sprayed pan.

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using your hands, a fork or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture for the topping.

 

To the remaining flour mixture, stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, orange zest and salt. Stir in the egg, vanilla and buttermilk or sour milk to make a soft batter.

 

Spread two-thirds of the batter over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Spread the rhubarb puree on top of this batter. Dollop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over the rhubarb. Sprinkle the top with the reserved flour mixture.

 

Place the pan on a non-insulated baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned and a wooden pick inserted into the coffee cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool well. When cool, dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

 

Makes 10 servings.

 

Cook's note: For best results, choose from the pan sizes mentioned and do not substitute. Sour milk is not the same as spoiled milk, which you should not use. To sour milk, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measure. Pour milk to the 1-cup mark. Allow to stand 5 minutes to curdle. Use in place of buttermilk.

 

SCALLOPED STEWED TOMATOES

 

1 (20 oz.) can stewed tomatoes

1/4 c. butter

1 Tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 c. seasoned croutons

1 small onion, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. prepared mustard

 

In saucepan, melt butter. Add flour, salt, pepper and mustard and cook over low heat until smooth. Add tomatoes and 1 cup croutons. Mix well and pour into buttered casserole. Top with other cup of croutons and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. May be prepared in advance, except for topping.

 

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE MUFFINS

5 ounces Semisweet Chocolate

2 Baking Chocolate Squares

1/3 cup Butter or Margarine

3/4 cup Sour Cream

2/3 cup Brown Sugar - packed

1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup

1 Egg

2 teaspoons Vanilla

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup Chocolate Chips - semi-sweet or milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix semisweet chocolate, baking chocolate,

and butter together, then melt carefully in microwave or over simmering

water in double boiler. Allow to cool to lukewarm (about 110 degrees F). In

a mixing bowl, mix sour cream, sugar, corn syrup, egg and vanilla. Add

melted chocolates and mix well. Blend flour, soda and salt in a mixing bowl,

then add to the chocolate mixture and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and

stir to distribute evenly. Pour batter into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin

tins. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center

comes out clean. Remove from muffin tins and allow to cool on wire racks.

Freezing tips: Be sure to let muffins cool completely before freezing.

Flash freeze on baking sheets, and package tightly in zip baggies, or with

vacuum sealer. You can keep these frozen for up to six months.

 

SPINACH SALAD

WITH WARM, SWEET MUSTARD SAUCE

 

Salad:

 

3 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Garlic croutons

1 clove garlic, minced

Spinach leaves

Sliced mushrooms

Red onion

Canadian bacon, cut into strips and pan fried

 

Dressing:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon German sweet mustard

Ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch of sugar

Parmesan cheese

 

Build your salad to your liking with the above ingredients. Saute minced garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Combine broth and vinegar, mustard and black pepper in bowl and whisk. Slowly add mixture to pan and heat until bubbling, stirring constantly. Pour over salad. Serves 4.

 

SPRING SPINACH SALAD

WITH PEAR, RASPBERRY AND CHICKEN

Makes 8 servings

 

Salad:

3 cups small spinach leaves, washed and dried

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted (see note)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (see note)

Sweet-and-Tart Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1 ripe but still firm pear, halved, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

 

Sweet-and-Tart Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil, such as canola

 

To make the salad: Place the spinach, feta, nuts and chicken in a large salad bowl. Add half the dressing and gently toss to mix. Arrange the pear slices and raspberries over the top and pour the remaining dressing over all, or to taste. Serve without tossing again.

 

To make the vinaigrette: Combine onion, sugar, mustard, salt, red wine vinegar and vegetable oil in a pint jar and shake to mix. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes about1/2cup.

 

Note: To toast pine nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to burn.

 

Note: Thinly sliced smoked chicken may be substituted for the cooked chicken. Or for a lighter, side-dish salad, omit the chicken altogether.

 

STEWED TOMATOES

 

3 ripe large tomatoes

1/3 c. onion, chopped

2 Tbsp. green pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 c. soft bread crumbs

 

Remove stem end from each tomato. Peel and cut tomatoes into small pieces. Mix tomatoes, onion, green pepper, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until tender. Stir in bread crumbs.

 

STRAWBERRIES PAZZO

(Makes 4 servings)

 

6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup super fine sugar

Pinch each of salt and pepper

2 cups strawberries, washed, stemmed, quartered

1/4 pound Italian biscotti

1/4 pound mascarpone cheese (stirred to smooth consistency)

 

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.

 

Fifteen minutes before serving, pour vinegar marinade over sliced strawberries and gently toss until berries are fully coated.

 

Gently crush biscotti into each of 4 serving bowls; evenly distribute strawberries and spoon into each dish. Top each serving with a dollop with mascarpone cheese and serve immediately.

 

Optional serving suggestion: For an elegant presentation, place a single Italian-style biscotti finger upright in a martini glass.

 

Spoon marinated berries into the glass and top with frozen yogurt or gelato.

 

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

 

Pie pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie

2 cups sliced strawberries

3 cups rhubarb, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons orange liqueur or orange juice

2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ginger

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1-2 tablespoons milk

Coarse or regular sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry dough, reserving enough for the top crust.

 

In a large bowl, toss the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, orange liqueur or juice, orange or lemon zest, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Spoon into the pie shell. Dot with butter.

 

Cover with the top crust (make a lattice if desired) and seal and crimp the edges. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle lightly with coarse or regular sugar. Cut small slits in the top crust to allow the pie to vent.

 

Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any juices. Place it in the oven, lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake until the pie oozes juices and the top crust is golden, about 35-45 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven and let cool well before serving, about 15-20 minutes.

 

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE II

 

1 1/2 cup sliced fresh rhubarb, peel if desired

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp quick cooking tapioca

1 cup turbinado sugar

dash nutmeg

dash cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

 

Toss together in a large bowl, and let sit for about 15 minutes

 

I use Pillsbury pie sticks for the crust but you can make your own if you have a good recipe. Anyway, lay the dough in the bottom of a pie pan pressing firmly against the edge of the pie plate. Pour fruit mixture into pie plate. With remaining pie crust, cut into strips. Weave strips over fruit to form a lattice top for the pie. Pinch together the tops to the bottom. Brush with egg white (if desired) sprinkle with a little sugar. Cover edge of pie with foil and bake in 375 for 20 min. take off foil and bake additional 20 minutes.

 

STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD

6 cups baby spinach leaves

3 cups sliced or quartered strawberries (use fresh ones for this!)

Mix the following well and toss with spinach and strawberries:

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

1 tsp coarse-grained mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cardamom

You could substitute another vinegar for the rice wine vinegar, but

definitely use the balsamic! It's the key to this delicious dressing.

 

SUMMERTIME FRUIT DELIGHT

1 12oz tub Whipped Topping (we use low fat, or fat free)

1/2C cold milk

1 large can of Pineapple tidbits packed in their juice, NOT syrup

2 med. or 3 sm. cans of mandarin orange segments

1/2 package of instant banana pudding

2 packages of tapioca pudding (we generally buy ready-made Yoders)

First, make up the tapioca pudding according to directions, skimping just a

little on the milk so the pudding will be thicker (If you make it using a

shaker method, it will set up faster). Let sit. Next mix the banana pudding

powder with the 1/2 cup cold milk in a container you can shake them up in, and

shake them well. Let sit. Open the cans of fruit and drain well. Empty them into a mesh strainer and let them sit.

 

Put half the whipped topping in a large bowl and blend in the (very thick)

banana pudding. Blend well. Add the remaining whipped topping and the

tapioca pudding blending all very well. Finally, add the well-drained fruit

and mix well. Chill and serve cold. Beautiful served with a mint sprig and

a reserved mandarin orange segment.

 

TROUT IN A BAG

Serves 2

2 (12- to 16-ounce) whole trout, boned, heads removed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small white onion, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

4 mushrooms, sliced

1 medium tomato, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 lemon, sliced in half

1 tablespoon chopped dill

2 brown paper bags

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season outside of trout with salt and pepper. Sprinkle onion, basil, mushrooms and tomato over each trout; top with pieces of butter, squeeze juice from 1/2 a lemon over each and sprinkle with dill. Carefully slide each trout into its own paper bag and tightly roll up the end of bag.

 

Place each of the bags on a sheet pan and bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place each bag on a serving plate, slice bag open through center, and fold back sides.

 

Wine recommendation: sauvignon blanc

 

ZUCCHINI AND EGGS

" A match made in heaven: scrambled eggs and zucchini. Note: this recipe is easily doubled, tripled, etc. Ratio of 1 to 2 zucchini per egg. Great served over rice. Variations: add one clove diced garlic to oil before adding zucchini. Or, add any of your favorite fresh herbs; they combine well with the eggs and zucchini. My favorite additions are oregano or rosemary. You could also add two teaspoons soy sauce to beaten eggs, or sprinkle over egg and zucchini when cooked. "

 

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 zucchini, sliced

1 egg, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

 

 

1 Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Pour in oil and saute zucchini until tender. Spread out zucchini in an even layer, and pour beaten egg evenly over top. Cook until egg is firm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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