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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 213

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).

ARTICHOKE AND CORN SALSA

ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR

BAKED ELEPHANT EARS

BARBECUED TROUT

BASQUE CHICKEN

BEAN WITH BACON SOUP

BLUEBARB JAM

BUCKWHEAT AND BEER CRACKERS

CHILI POWDER SPICE

CHINA MOON TEN SPICE

CHINESE 5 SPICE POWDER

CHINESE MARINATED MEAT

CHURROS

CLASSIC INDIAN CURRY POWDER

CLASSIC RED CHILE SAUCE

COATING FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY

COFFEE CAN BREAD

CREOLE SEASONING

CRISP SIDED TROUT WITH GINGER SAUCE.

EGG NOODLES WITH TURKEY BACON AND RO

FIREHOUSE HOT CHILI POWDER

FLAVORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN I

FLAVORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN II

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

FOOD STYLISTS

FORGOTTEN BUT NOT GONE

FRESH TUNA STEAKS MADEIRA STYLE

GINGERED RHUBARB JAM WITH HONEY

GREEK SALAD PITAS

GRILLED BREAD WITH FAVA BEANS

GRILLED TROUT WITH GRAPE LEAVES

GRILLED VEGETABLE RATATOUILLE

HAKE WITH ONION SAUCE

HAWAIIAN RIBS

HEALING BATH

HERBAL REMEDY INFORMATION

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

HUMMUS DIP

INTERESTING MISCELLANY

KITCHEN TIPS

LAYERED SALAD

LEMON PASTA

LENTILS AND RICE

MINIMALIST TUSCAN SOUP

NORMANDY PORK SCALLOPS

OLD GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE HAS A CHALL

OLIVE BREAD

ONE FISH TWO FISH

PAN FRIED TROUT

PICKLING SPICE

PIMIENTOS DE PADR_N

PORK CHOPS WITH BOK CHOY

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS INFORMATION

PRESSURE COOKING TIME SAVERS

RHUBARB DATE AND APRICOT CHUTNEY

SEVERAL SEASONING BLENDS

SEVERAL SMOOTHIES

SMALL OLIVE PIES

STRAWBERRY SANGR

STUFFED RED PEPPERS

THE TRUE JOY OF COOKING

TOP RAMEN INFORMATION

TROUT WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY

VINEGAR GREEN BEANS

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICHOKE AND CORN SALSA

 

1 ear of corn, cooked

6 freshly cooked medium or large artichokes (with hearts diced, and leaves

separated and left whole)

1/2 cup diced roasted red bell pepper

1 small red onion, diced

1/2 cup peeled, diced jicama

3 serrano chilies, seeded and minced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped

3 limes, juiced

Salt and pepper

 

When ear of corn has cooled, slice off kernels. Combine corn kernels with diced artichoke hearts, roasted red bell pepper, red onion, jicama, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Chill to blend flavors.

 

To serve, place artichoke and corn salsa in a serving bowl. Fan artichoke leaves around bowl to use for dipping.

 

ASPARAGUS WITH BALSAMIC VINEGAR

4 pounds asparagus, fattest stalks you can find

Balsamic vinegar

 

Trim bottom of asparagus stalks with a vegetable peeler so they will fit easily into the largest skillet in your collection.

 

Fill skillet halfway with water, bring water to boil, and add salt to taste; then add asparagus. Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus, or until spears are still firm but soft enough to pierce easily with skewer or fork. Don't overcook; they become mushy.

 

Drain well. Divide asparagus onto 4 plates. Sprinkle with sea salt.

 

Serve with a small dish of balsamic vinegar to dip them into. Insist that your guests use their fingers. Serves 4

 

BAKED ELEPHANT EARS

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (divided)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted (divided; see note)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

 

Grease a cookie sheet with shortening.

 

Stir flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 3 tablespoons of the melted margarine until dough forms.

 

Sprinkle a surface lightly with flour; turn dough onto surface. Knead 10 times. Roll dough with a rolling pin or pat with hands into a rectangle, 9-by-5 inches.

 

Brush with remaining melted margarine, using a pastry brush; sprinkle with a mixture of 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon.

 

Roll dough tightly, beginning at narrow end. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal. Cut into 4 equal pieces with sharp knife. Place cut sides up on cookie sheet; pat each into a 6-inch circle. Sprinkle with more sugar.

 

Bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet with a spatula. Let cool on wire rack. Makes 4

 

BARBECUED TROUT

 

8 trout

fresh herb springs to garnish

lemon wedges to garnish

 

Marinade:

 

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1/2 tsp hot-pepper sauce

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup sherry

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp superfine sugar

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tsp chopped fresh chives

2 tsp finely grated lemon peel

 

Wash and clean fish. Remove heads if desired. Dry well on paper towels. To prepare marinade, in a small bowl, combine all marinade ingredients until evenly blended. Pour into a large shallow dish. Add fish 1 at a time and turn fish gently in marinade to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Prepare a hot barbecue. Cook fish quickly over hot heat, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes or until crisp. Brush with more marinade if necessary. Garnish with herb sprigs and lemon wedges.

 

BASQUE CHICKEN

 

1 1/4 cup hot chicken stock

1/2 tsp saffron strands

3 tbsp olive oil

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (3 3/4 lb)

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 1/2 c long grain rice

1 can crushed tomatoes (14 oz)

1 tsp paprika

8 oz chorizo sausage, sliced

salt

freshly ground pepper

1 1/4 cup dry white wine

basil sprigs and orange slices, to garnish

 

Put stock in a measuring cup and add saffron. Let stand. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper to pan and cook until soft. Stir in rice. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add paprika, chorizo, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Strain stock, discarding din saffron strands. Add wine and strained stock to pan. Return chicken to pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes or until chicken and rice are cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Garnish with basil sprigs and orange slices and serve.

 

BEAN WITH BACON SOUP

 

2 cups dried pea beans

Water for soaking

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 bay leaf

6 slices bacon

1 cup chopped onion

2/3 cup diced carrots

1/4 cup chopped celery leaves

1/2 to 1 cup tomato juice

 

Sort and soak beans overnight. Drain beans, discard soaking water. In a large saucepan, combine soaked beans, 6 cups of water, salt and bay leaf. In a small skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings from skillet. Sauté onions, carrots and celery leaves in bacon drippings until onions are tender but not browned. Stir sautéed vegetables into beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beans are tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaf and discard. Remove 1 cup of bean mixture and set aside. Drain remaining beans, reserving cooking liquid. Add water to cooking liquid if necessary to measure 2 cups. Combine bean mixture and 2 cups reserved cooking liquid in blender or food processor, purée. Return purée and 1 cup reserved beans to saucepan. Stir in 1/2 cup tomato juice and crumbled bacon. Add more tomato juice if a thinner consistency is desired. Heat 10 minutes until thoroughly warmed.

 

BLUEBARB JAM

 

You can make this jam now, using frozen blueberries, and again in July, when the two fruits are both available fresh.

 

3 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1 3/4-ounce box powdered fruit pectin

51/2 cups granulated sugar

 

Wash 6 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

 

Place rhubarb and water in a very large, non-aluminum pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often.

 

Add blueberries, lemon juice and pectin; mix well. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add sugar, return to a full boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

 

Remove from heat. Ladle into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving1/4inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet). Makes 6 cups

 

BUCKWHEAT AND BEER CRACKERS

Makes about 48 crackers

11/2 cups buckwheat flour (divided; see note)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 teaspoon dulse red seaweed flakes (optional; see note)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup certified organic dark beer or water (see note)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Mix together 1 cup of the flour with salt, garlic powder, pepper, sesame seeds and dulse flakes. Add oil and rub into the flour mixture. Add beer or water and stir to combine. Form dough into a ball and dump it out onto a floured board (I put a large piece of wax paper on the counter with the remaining1/2cup flour off to the side, using it as necessary to more easily handle the dough).

 

Knead the dough until it begins to feel like Play-Doh and divide it into 3 portions. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out as evenly as possible into a square-ish shape. Using a table knife, make about three cuts from one side and then three from the other -- you should have about 16 crackers. Using a spatula, lift the crackers onto a cookie sheet and set aside. Continue process with the remaining dough.

 

Bake crackers for about 12 minutes. If you have 3 cookie sheets and can fit them all into the oven at once, bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven off and let the crackers sit until the oven is cool. The more dehydrated the crackers are, the crispier they will be.

 

Note: Find organically grown buckwheat flour in bulk at most natural foods stores.

 

Note: Find dulse red seaweed flakes in packages at most natural foods stores.

 

Note: Find certified organic beer made from barley and hops at most natural foods stores. If you need to be completely wheat-free, use water instead of beer.

 

CHILI POWDER SPICE

 

4 each dried hot chilies 3 each dried ancho peppers

4 tsp Cumin seed 1 tsp Garlic powder

1 tsp Coriander 1 tsp Oregano 1/2 tsp Whole cloves

Grind finely and store in air-tight jar.

 

 

 

 

CHINA MOON TEN SPICE

 

2 Tbsp Fennel seeds 10 Star anise broken in points

2 Tbsp Szechwan peppercorns 1 Tbsp Coriander seeds

3/4 tsp Whole cloves 3/4 tsp Cumin seeds

1 1/2 tsp Black peppercorns 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground Ginger 1/2 tsp Turmeric

Makes 3/4 cup. Toast whole spices in small dry skillet on low, stirring; adjusting

heat so spices toast without burning. Stir until spices are fully fragrant &

fennel seeds & lighter colored spices lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir n ground spices. Using spice grinder or clean coffee grinder, grind mix finely. Store

n tightly covered jar. Serving suggestions: Use in marinades & sauces, mayo,

chopped meat mixes, sauteed veggies & pastas.

 

CHINESE 5 SPICE POWDER

 

60 each black Peppercorns

4 tsp Anise seed OR 1 ea Star Anise

2 tsp Fennel seed

12 each Whole cloves

4 each 1" large stick cinnamon

Put all thru spice grinder till fine powder

 

CHINESE MARINATED MEAT

 

2 Tbsp Light soy sauce 1/4 cup Dry sherry (cooking sherry will do)

1/4 cup Dark soy sauce 2 1/2 tsp Sugar

1/4 cup Hoisin sauce 1 tsp Curry powder

1/4 cup Pineapple juice unsweetened or use juice from can pineapple chunks

1/2 tsp White pepper 2 Tbsp Ginger root cut in thin 1/8" slices

1 1/2 lbs Sirloin tip 12 oz Pineapple chunks

Mix items for marinade; stir well. Cut meat n bite-size chunks; place on

skewers with 2-3 chunks pineapple in between meat pieces. Marinate skewers

overnight, in covered container, in refrigerator. To cook, broil meat about 10

minutes, depending upon size of chunks. When weather permits, grilling it outdoors on skewers is even better.

 

NOTES: Broiled beef n Chinese marinade: After frequenting local Chinese restaurant, I finally asked for recipe for marinade for meat that came on skewers on pu pu platter. I was given list items with instructions like "heavy on this, light on this". I devised my own amounts from this list. You may need to double the marinade recipe. I use Tupperware container made especially for marinating. Any container will do, but it's tough having to turn over all those skewers. The hoisin sauce, ginger root & light soy sauce should be available in any good grocery store.

 

CHURROS

In Spain, churros are often eaten as a breakfast pastry, in much the same way as we eat doughnuts. They are often served with a dark, thick hot chocolate for dunking.

 

1 cup water

1/2 cup margarine or butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Vegetable or olive oil

 

Put the water, margarine and salt in a 3-quart saucepan and heat to a rolling boil. Stir in the flour and keep stirring over low heat until the mixture forms a ball (about 1 minute). Remove from the heat. Beat the eggs until smooth, then stir them into the dough mixture.

 

Heat about three inches of oil in a large saucepan until it is 375 degrees. Spoon batter into a pastry tube with a large star tip. Squeeze 8- to 10-inch strips of dough into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning once (about 2 minutes on each side). Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

 

CLASSIC INDIAN CURRY POWDER

6 Dried New Mexico chilies OR 4 small Hot dried red chilies such as piquins

seeds/stems removed

1/4 cup Cumin seeds 1 Tbsp Dried powdered curry leaves

1/4 cup Coriander seeds 2 Tbsp Black peppercorns

1 Tbsp Black mustard seeds 1 tsp Cardamon seeds

1 tsp Cloves

1 tsp Fenugreek seeds

1 Tbsp Turmeric

Preheat oven to 250F. Place chilies, cumin, coriander, peppercorns, mustard

seeds, cardamom, cloves, & fenugreek n baking pan; place in oven. Roast 15

minutes, taking care that none of the spices burn. Grind roasted spices in a spice mill or coffee grinder to fine powder. Mix ground spices with turmeric & curry leaves; seal in airtight container.

 

CLASSIC RED CHILI SAUCE

 

2 cups tomato puree

10 Dried red New Mexican chilies

1 med Onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp Ground cumin (optional)

3 cups Water

2 Tbsp Bacon drippings or veggie oil

Arrange chilies on baking pan sheet; place in 200F oven for 5 min or until chilies

smell like they are toasted. Remove stems & seeds. Saute onions & garlic in oil until soft. Place all in blender with 1 cup water; puree to smooth sauce. Stir in

more water, bring to boil, reduce, simmer 1 hr; sauce should be smooth & thick.

 

To make sauce from powder:

1/2-3/4 cup powdered red chili

4 Tbsp shortening

3 Tbsp flour

1 med onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 cups water

Melt 2 Tbsp shortening in pan, stir in flour. Cook roux on medium heat until browned, stirring constantly. Add onions, garlic, 1 Tbsp oil, & saute until onion is soft. Stir n chili powder; heat 1 minute. Add water, bring to boil, reduce heat,

simmer 1 hour.

 

COATING FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY

 

1/3 c Paprika

Salt

Garlic powder Dried Onion

Pepper

Water to make paste

Will do about 13-15lb turkey. Other seasonings are to taste. This is coating can be put on all poultry before roasting. Basically, make paste of the above ingredients. It should be the consistency of finger paint--thick & not runny. If you have kids, put them in old clothes and let them help. Smear the bird inside and outside The skin cooks nice & crisp. Remember to baste during cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

COFFEE CAN BREAD

4 cups Flour -- divided

2 1/2 teaspoons Yeast

1/2 cup Water

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

2 large Eggs -- beaten

Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast in a large bowl. Mix well and set

aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, milk, oil, sugar and salt. Place

over medium heat and cook until mixture reaches 105 - 115 degrees F. Remove

from the heat and pour the heated mixture into the flour and yeast mixture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer

until smooth. Add the eggs, mixing well. Slowly add the remaining flour,

beating until smooth, elastic, very stiff batter is formed.

Spoon batter into two well oiled 1-pound coffee cans. Cover coffee cans

with lids and allow to rise in a warm place 35 - 40 minutes or until batter

rises to within 1-1/2 to 2 inches from top of can. Uncover and bake 30 - 35

minutes or until golden brown. Cool in cans 10 minutes, then remove to wire

racks. Yield- 2 loaves

To freeze for later use: Cool loaves completely and wrap securely in foil.

Place wrapped loaves into zip baggies. Label and freeze for up to 12 weeks.

DO NOT slice bread before freezing. Thaw overnight on counter top, and

re-heat foil wrapped loaves in 200 degree F oven for 10 - 15 minutes.

 

CREOLE SEASONING

 

10 Tbsp Salt

3 Tbsp Black Pepper

3 Tbsp Red Pepper

2 Tbsp Garlic powder

2 Tbsp Chili powder

2 Tbsp MSG (May be omitted)

2 Tbsp Basil

2 Tbsp Thyme

2 Tbsp Ground bay leaf

 

 

CRISP SIDED TROUT WITH GINGER SAUCE

Makes 4 servings

 

The skin of trout is not only edible but also a tasty contrast to the tender flesh. Here the skin cooks to delicate crispiness in a one-sided cooking method. A nonstick pan makes frying tidy, but a standard frying pan can also be used.

 

4 skin-on trout fillets (about 11/2 pounds total)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 bunch green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 8)

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sake or white wine

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Steamed white rice

 

Cut 3 shallow diagonal slashes in the skin side of each trout fillet.

 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan and add the fillets skin-side down (2 at a time if your pan is not large enough). Add the lid and cook over medium-high heat until the tops of the fillets are opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the skin is crisp and brown and the flesh is opaque through the thickest part, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Flip the fillets skin-side up onto 4 warmed dinner plates.

 

Add the green onions and ginger to the frying pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until soft, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, sake and red pepper flakes, stir and cook until hot, about 30 seconds longer. Pour the sauce over the trout fillets and serve immediately, with steamed white rice alongside.

 

EGG NOODLES WITH TURKEY BACON AND ROSEMARY

Makes 4 servings

1/4 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

1/2 pound wide egg noodles

3/4 pound turkey cutlets, cut into 1/2-by-11/2-inch strips

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional, if desired

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 ounces (about 5 cups) prepackaged fresh spinach or 1 10-ounce package

frozen spinach

1/2 cup canned no- or low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock

3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature (optional)

 

In a large frying pan, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and just crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Pour off fat from the pan.

 

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles until just done, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain.

 

In the meantime, spray the same pan you used for the bacon with nonstick cooking spray, if needed. Sprinkle the turkey with1/4teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Add the turkey to the pan, in 2 batches if necessary, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

 

Remove any tough stems from the spinach, and rinse thoroughly. If using frozen spinach, defrost it first. Add the broth, rosemary and salt, if using, to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring to dislodge any brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, just until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Add the noodles, butter, if using, and the remaining1/4teaspoon pepper to the frying pan and stir until the butter melts. Stir in the turkey with any accumulated juices and the bacon.

 

FIREHOUSE HOT CHILI POWDER

 

6 Tbsp Paprika

2 Tbsp Turmeric

1 Tbsp Dried chili peppers

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp Cayenne

1/2 tsp Garlic powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Ground cloves

Mix all; grind to a fine powder using mortar & pestle, or food processor or

blender. Spice will keep 6 months or so on pantry shelf.

 

To use: powder is somewhat more pungent & fresher tasting than packaged brand, so use bit less than usual. yield: 5.5 oz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLAVORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN I

A sun-kissed land: Foods of the Mediterranean are tied to nature's bounty, simply prepared and strictly seasonal

By Gwen Schoen, Bee Staff Writer (Published May 16, 2001)

ST. HELENA -- In a single sentence, Faith Willinger describes the cuisine of Mediterranean countries: "Few ingredients, cooked with great wisdom."

 

Willinger, whose specialty is Italian cuisine, is the author of several cookbooks and a contributing editor for Gourmet magazine and Epicurious.com. She has lived in Italy for more than 25 years.

 

"The American concept of good food is having everything, always. Like strawberries in winter," she says. "The Mediterranean concept of food is that if you have to do something to food to make it taste good (like adding sugar to strawberries), then it isn't fabulous food.

 

"Because Mediterranean recipes are often simple with very few ingredients, every ingredient must be wonderful. And that means many dishes are prepared just a few weeks out of the year when the ingredients are in season. To the Mediterranean people, the flavor is worth being patient."

 

Willinger was speaking to a group of 150 food professionals from across the country who gathered recently at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Napa Valley for a conference on Mediterranean cooking.

 

"The Mediterranean is more than a geographic location; it is a state of mind," said Joyce Goldstein, author of "The Mediterranean Kitchen" and one of the speakers at the conference. "Among the various countries and regions there are many similarities, but as much as the regions are alike, they are also very different.

 

Home cooks in Italy shop daily for fresh ingredients, often buying vegetables from local farmers at neighborhood markets such as this one in the town of Lipari. Photo/Culinary Institute of America

 

"Mediterranean food is tied to nature, to seasons, to ripeness. It is simple food with the freshest ingredients available," Goldstein said.

 

Each Mediterranean country is known for special dishes, some influenced by religion, but all influenced by the geography of the region. As you might expect, fish and olives are central to the Mediterranean cuisine. In some areas vegetables are abundant; in other places fresh herbs are gathered, dried and used to flavor dishes. In some regions, nut and citrus trees and honey bees flourish.

 

Resourceful cooks throughout the area have always made the most of whatever the land produced and created a unique cuisine.

 

"The foods are simple, unpretentious, such as grains, pasta and beans. The region is surrounded by water; therefore a meal might be fish, just hours old, grilled with freshly picked herbs, served with a plate of tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and a regional bread," Goldstein said. "In many areas, dishes are enriched by the pungent and earthy flavors of garlic, onions, tomatoes, eggplants and artichokes. Herbs are abundant, but unlike American cooking, they are used, not to change the taste of a food, but to blend with and enhance other flavors."

 

Olives grow abundantly throughout the Mediterranean. It is the only oil used for cooking and flavoring, and it is used in just about every savory and sweet dish. In many areas, olive oil is used as a condiment to dress a completed dish such as eggplant, pasta or fresh cheese. It might be drizzled on fresh pasta, brushed on fish or used to fry a sweet pastry. In fact, olive oil is so important to Mediterranean cooks that most kitchens are stocked with several varieties, each with a distinct flavor and use.

 

In many areas of the Mediterranean, meat is not as important to the diet as fish and vegetables. In Greece meat is eaten just a few times a week, or it is served as a festive dish on Sundays and religious holidays.

 

Aglaia Kremezi, an Athens-born writer, explained that in Greece, where the terrain makes it difficult to have large herds, there are two versions of many traditional dishes, one with meat called a festive version and another without meat that is served on fasting days.

 

"In traditional Greek cooking, meat is not everyday fare," Kremezi said. "As part of traditions that go back to ancient Greece, we roast lamb for religious or family feasts, such as Easter, weddings and christenings. On Christmas, we eat pork."

 

In Spain and Portugal, hams and sausages, such as chorizo, are more common. Even so, quantities of meat are much smaller than Americans are accustomed to eating. Often meat is used in a vegetable-based sauce or stew to stretch a small amount into several servings, Kremezi said.

 

Because fish is so readily available, it is a main component of the Mediterranean diet. Squid, eel, cod, sardines, hake and tuna are often cooked quickly and simply, such as deep frying in olive oil, or brushed with oil and grilled.

 

Occasionally, fish is served with sauce. In Portugal, for example, a sauce made from squid ink is considered to be very special.

 

In other areas, citrus-based sauces might be served over fish, but most commonly fish is simply fried or grilled so that the flavor of the fish becomes more important than how it is presented. In Spain, for example, whole squid are simply boiled, then served drizzled with olive oil.

 

Bread is essential, and in many areas it is tied to religious events or occasions, such as the Greek Easter bread called tsoureki. In many areas, breads are made with raisins or figs. In Greece, homemade breads are made with sourdough starter instead of yeast. The flours used are wheat and barley, and sometimes a little cornmeal.

 

"In Greece, the most expensive thing is the wood burned to heat the ovens," Kremezi said. "So often many loaves of bread are baked at once. If bread gets stale before it is eaten, it is often soaked in a sauce or broth and eaten like a pudding or custard."

 

Italian breads range from thin, crisp bread sticks to huge, round loaves called pane with crunchy crusts that will keep for weeks.

 

Spain has an astounding variety of breads, ranging from filled breads called empanada to pan de chorizo baked with a sausage in the center. Every meal includes bread; it might be simply broken and dipped into oil. Even stale bread is often soaked in egg and fried or placed in the bottom of a soup bowl and covered with broth. In Spain, a favorite dessert is stale bread soaked in egg, dipped in flour and fried in olive oil.

 

Except in Spain, cheese is another essential component to the Mediterranean diet. Spaniards tend to take cheese for granted. They eat it as a snack or a tapa (appetizer) rather than turn it into a meal, as the Italians or the Greeks might.

 

In Greece, every village has its own variety of cheese, usually made of goat or sheep milk, or a combination of the two. There, cheeses are seasonal because the production of milk depends on the availability of grass to feed the animals. The peak season is spring, which is why fresh cheese is used as part of Easter celebrations.

 

In Italy, Parmigiano-Reggiano has been made for more than 700 years and it is often served in chunks, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar or paired with grapes and served as a dessert. For lunch, it is not uncommon for Italians to eat slices of whole milk mozzarella (made with buffalo milk), layered with sliced tomato, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with herbs.

 

Throughout the Mediterranean, desserts are most often fresh fruit. The exception is Greece, where many desserts are even too sweet by U.S. standards. Honey has been used for centuries. In ancient Greece, almonds and other types of nuts were whipped in honey and munched after the main meal. The most popular sweets in Greece today are still made with almonds, walnuts, sesame and honey.

FLAVORS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN II

Simple, earthy flavors sustain the cuisines of Spain, Portugal

By Gwen Schoen, Bee Staff Writer (Published May 23, 2001)

"When I say Mediterranean, I see warm earthy colors. I feel the sun. I am aware of time passing slowly, of history marking a landscape of incredible beauty: ancient ruins next to modern buildings; a continuity that affects art, architecture, agriculture and cuisine. It's all so rich, so layered, so mysterious yet unaffected," Joyce Goldstein wrote in her book "The Mediterranean Kitchen."

 

She describes the flavors of the Mediterranean this way: "Simple and unpretentious, such as grains, pasta, and beans. The perfume of olives, toasted nuts, lemons, freshly picked herbs, a plate of sliced tomatoes still warm from the sun and anointed with olive oil. This is food with a sense of place."

 

Goldstein is an expert on the foods of the Iberian Peninsula -- Spain and Portugal, including the Basques.

 

"The history of the region has had a tremendous effect on the cuisine, giving it a lively blend of flavors and tradition," Goldstein told a group of culinary professionals gathered at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena last month to learn about the flavors of the Mediterranean.

 

Here's a look at the culinary regions of the Iberian Peninsula.

 

Spain

 

Romans, Greeks, Visigoths, Muslims, Jews and Christians all occupied Spain at one time or another.

"There were communities of Jews living on the Iberian Peninsula from ancient time," says Goldstein. "In 1492, shortly after the Moors were driven out of Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all the Jews from Spain. Many of the Jews stayed, living secretly. The influence of the Jewish dietary laws can still be seen in many of the traditional Spanish recipes."

 

One example is the traditional dish cocido madrileno, an adaptation of adafina, a chickpea stew with green beans, pinenuts, potatoes and parsley, which Spanish Jews placed in embers on Friday evening to eat on the Sabbath.

 

"Jews would prepare adafina and since they did not eat pork, they would keep a ham hock on hand to toss into the stew if a soldier came to investigate," Goldstein says. "From that practice, the Spanish version, which contains chorizo, ham hocks and salt pork, came about."

 

In the southern regions of Spain, the climate is subtropical. There, ham and pork are main ingredients. Gazpachos and salads are an important part of the menu during summer months.

 

"Farther inland, the Castile area is known for its wonderful breads. Fish is not as readily available and it is often preserved in salt," says Goldstein. "Pork is a fundamental element of the cuisine and you will find the famous chorizo (sausage) and cheese."

 

Bacalao (cod) has for centuries been a mainstay of the Spanish diet, especially on Christian holy days. Squid is also popular and is found in almost any bar, deep-fried and dusted in flour or cooked in its own ink.

 

"Spaniards will eat just about any type of seafood. Tuna, cod, sardines and anchovies are among their favorites, along with any type of shellfish," says Goldstein. "Two weeks out of the year, anguilas (baby eels) appear in the river bottoms of northern Spain. Spaniards anxiously await this phenomenon. The anguilas are quickly scooped up by fishermen, parboiled and rushed off to restaurants all over Spain."

 

In Spain, you do not go to a bar for a drink without also nibbling on tapas, which are similar to appetizers. The main meal in Spain is eaten in the afternoon, so it is common for the evening meal to be simply plates of assorted tapas.

 

Tapas can range from simple, bite-size items such as olives or cubes of sausage or cheese to more elaborate nibbles, such as savory pastries, seafood croquettes, snails in a heavily spiced sauce, stuffed peppers or chicken legs.

 

In his book "Tapas" (due to be released in August), author Richard Tapper writes that the name tapa means "lid." Tapper believes the origin of the name lies in the placing of a small plate or lid over a glass of wine when it is served.

 

Lunch always includes salad, as an appetizer or a main dish. Dressings are plain oil and vinegar or a garlicky vinegar sauce.

 

Rice is to Spain what pasta is to Italy. It is often served as a main course. There are several methods of preparing it, but the most popular is sofrito (onion, tomato and sweet peppers, sautéed in olive oil). Another variation is paella, made with meat, seafood and vegetables.

 

After the discovery of America, Spain was the first European country to receive new vegetables: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, corn and beans. Often vegetables are prepared by simply sautéing them in olive oil.

 

 

 

Basque country

"Basque cooking focuses on seafood, which is abundant in the cold waters of the Bay of Biscay," says Clara Maria Gonzalez de Amezua, founder of the Juan Altimiras Cooking School in Madrid.

"Dry salt cod and hake are staples in the region and they are prepared in many ways. Because of the temperate, humid weather, calves and sheep, lambs and game are very much a part of the cuisine."

 

Basque cooks also tend to create more sauces than their Spanish counterparts. You are likely to find chicken broth soup, baby eels fried in olive oil, grilled veal chops and a dessert called leche frita, a mixture of milk and flour fried in olive oil.

 

"The Basque region is famous for its male-only gastronomical societies that gather and prepare dishes by well-kept secret recipes for such things as game, eels and grilled veal chops," Gonzalez says.

 

Portugal

The cuisine of Portugal has been tied to Spain for centuries. One difference in the recipes is that Portuguese cooking is spicier. It was, after all, the Portuguese explorers who originally brought spices back from the Orient. Today, the use of spices such as saffron, cinnamon and peppers is a dominant theme in many Portuguese recipes. Another difference between Spanish and Portuguese cooking is that Spanish dishes are prepared almost exclusively with olive oil. In Portugal, cooks also use olive oil, but the use of cream and butter is more common than in other parts of the Mediterranean.

"Portugal is a country that is plentiful in fish," says Rui Faria dos Santos, head of hotel production at the Estoril Hotel and Tourism Training Center in Porto, Portugal.

 

"Fish is often grilled on charcoal fires, just a few hours after being caught. Like the Basques, Portuguese seamen have been fishing the banks of Newfoundland for many generations, bringing home slabs of cod preserved in salt. Once it is home, it is dried until it is leathery. This preserved cod is used in many recipes.

 

"As in Spain, pork and lamb are the most common meats found on restaurant menus. Beef is not considered to be as flavorful, and when beef is served, it is most often veal. However, as with Spanish cooks, Portuguese cooks rely heavily on the offerings of fresh vegetables and fruits."

 

One of the national dishes of Portugal is cozido, a robust one-dish dinner made with beef, chicken, pork, sausages and a variety of vegetables. Portuguese women let the kettle bubble away all day long, adding whatever is handy: turnips, blood sausage or chourico (a garlicky sausage).

 

Another dish frequently found in homes but not so much in restaurants is "dry soup," made with stale bread and broth from boiling vegetables or fish stock. It has a custard texture, and how it is made varies from region to region.

 

When the Moors occupied Spain and Portugal, they made rich confections out of egg yolks and sugar. Today there are several varieties of these sweets called doces de ovos. Some are flavored with cinnamon, others drizzled with burnt sugar. One of the most popular of these is barrigas de freira (nun's tummies), mounds of egg yolks blended with bread crumbs and dusted with cinnamon.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

By Becki Smith, ucook.com staff writer

 

It has long been said that words of wisdom come out of the mouths of babes. In this case, the word was "hot dog," uttered by my eleven-year-old at a soccer game, in the way only an eleven-year-old can: "Where does the word 'hot dog' come from?"

 

I should have known the answer because 1) as a writer, language is supposed to be my strong suit; 2) I write food articles; and 3) because I'm the Mom, and I'm supposed to know everything. But I didn't know where 'hot dog' came from,... hasn't it always been around?

 

Actually, no. You can credit a bunch of Yale University students for coming up with the word in 1895. Bet you thought "corn" and "turkey" came over on the Mayflower. Nope, they're pure American words - born (in 1608 and 1607 respectively) right here in the USA. How do I know all this? Well, I did what any Mom in my cleats would have done, I punted ... with the ever handy, "If you don't know, why don't we look it up?"

 

Look it up where???? Well, the American Dialect Society puts out a quarterly publication called American Speech. Yep, these guys did the math, so to speak, on American language and have compiled the history of American-born words. So while I was on a roll, I checked out some other food words.

 

Some of our favorites like "ice cream" and "cookies" date back to the early 1700's. (Whatever did they snack on in the middle of the night before then?). "Potato chip," "hamburger" and "cereal" all emerged in the late 1800's. The "Graham cracker" (1882) was named after the 19th-Century dietician, Sylvester Graham. "Couch potato," the story goes, was invented by Tom Iacino, who while watching TV and eating junk food, first uttered the phrase about himself in 1976.

 

Which leads us to a trick question: which came first "fast food" or "junk food?"

 

The American Dialect Society actually holds a convention every year to dissect and debate the dialect. At conference end, these wordaholics decide on a "word of the year." For 1999 it was "Y2K," which doesn't exactly strike us as being a word. (And in honor of Y2K, they chose a "word of the millenium" - "she." Believe it or not, before the year 1000, there was no "she" in the English language.) In 2000, the word of the year award went to the humble "chad". We're kind of hoping that maybe next year's word will be "ucook." We'll keep you posted....

 

Until then, this "soccer Mom" (1996) is headed for the "supermarket" (1933) to stock up on "apple pie" (1697) and "jellybeans" (1905). Oh, and "fast food" (1954) came well before "junk food" (1973).

 

FOOD STYLISTS

 

Tips From The Pros

Making up meals

 

Professional food stylists have trade secrets for making the food that appears on TV and in catalogues and magazines look as attractive as any actor or model. To withstand hot studio lights and keep it looking appetizing, that "food" is often times artfully made up. Take, for example, the perfectly round scoops of "ice cream" made from a Crisco mixture, or the Thanksgiving turkey painted with food coloring and coated with oil to look flawlessly golden-crisp.

Of course, techniques like those wouldn't be practical for home cooks who need to actually feed their families, but there are lots of ways to make ordinary meals look extraordinary. Stylist Jacqueline Buckner designed the following list of simple and creative tips for improving food's appeal.

 

Add interest with fun shapes and bright colors.

Try cutting vegetables into rounds, triangles, diagonal cuts, and matchsticks. Crinkle cutting tools found in the gadget departments of most grocery or kitchenware stores are inexpensive and make cutting carrots and zucchini easy. Aspic cutters or small cookie cutters can also help create unique-looking salads, stir-fry meals, and side dishes.

 

Use the wonderful colors of vegetables such as red, orange, and yellow peppers and yellow squash to brighten dishes. It's amazing what diced red tomato or fresh herbs can do to brighten up dull-colored meals. Just scatter them across the plate.

 

Use fresh herbs.

The simplest way to liven up or add elegance to a plate is by using fresh herbs, especially while they're flowering. Just a few sprigs off to the side or laid across the top of a food looks beautiful. Herbs that do not wilt easily are preferred, especially when garnishing a platter or a buffet table. Use chives, variegated sage, thyme and rosemary. If using parsley, try the flat Italian type instead of the common curly type.

 

For dinner parties, arrange flowering herb bouquets in small vases for each place setting or as a centerpiece. Tie each bouquet with raffia and guests can take them home to dry then use in their own kitchens.

 

Use edible flowers.

There are many common flowers that are edible and beautiful, so they can be served as part of a meal or simply placed as a garnish. Pansies, violets and nasturtiums are colorful and easy to grow in any home garden. Try them especially in salads, specialty drinks, and with vanilla ice cream.

 

Use other creative garnishes.

Other garnishes that look great and won't wilt on platters are flowering kale (which comes in green, white and purple varieties), whole raw cranberries, kumquats, grapes, and cherries. Avoid garnishing with foods that quickly turn brown, such as sliced apples.

 

Add a new look to your roasted turkey and chicken.

Carefully lift the breast skin and place fresh sage leaves and other herbs in appealing patterns on the meat before cooking, then pat the skin down and baste often with butter while cooking. The herbs can then be seen through the golden skin of the finished poultry.

 

Treat plates as if they're clocks.

For presenting similar-looking plates, follow these rules of thumb: place protein at 6:00, veggies at 12:00 and 3:00, and starch at 9:00.

 

Also, keep in mind that solid-colored plates, especially white and black, allow the food to be the most important piece of visual interest. Very busy patterns will only complicate the presentation.

 

Be prepared for dinner parties.

Cooking and entertaining is an art. When hosting a dinner party, make some things ahead, such as desserts, and set aside enough time to design plates and table settings.

 

Be sure to make recipes for guests that you can handle with ease. Experiment with serving ideas, and taste test new recipes before the big night. Take comfort in knowing that delicious, beautiful recipes do not have to be overly difficult to prepare. And always remember that a stressed host or hostess cannot create an ambience of grace.

 

Keep buffet tables looking fresh.

When serving a buffet, be sure to occasionally check the table. Stir dishes to keep them looking fresh and replenish garnish. If overlooked, these seemingly minor details can leave the table looking unappealing and the dishes unappetizing.

 

Keep vegetables looking fresh.

When serving any type of fresh vegetables, such as crudités with dip, blanch them first to bring out a more vibrant color.

 

Simply place the vegetables in a pot of boiling water for several seconds until they turn to a bright color. Remove them with a slotted spoon then plunge them into ice water to immediately stop the cooking process. The differences in the before-and-after color will be like night and day.

 

Blanching can also be applied to vegetables in salads.

 

Become a cooking Picasso.

Use inexpensive squeeze bottles (usually used for applying hair color) from beauty supply stores for dispensing creams on soups or different colored sauces on desserts. Swirl sauce on a plate, lay the dessert on top, and add some fresh mint. Voila! An edible work of modern art!

 

Use scissors.

Many home cooks are uncomfortable using large, sharp knives, yet most don't think about all they can do with scissors and food. Use scissors to cut herbs, shape quesadillas, slice pizza, trim fat off of foods, bone meats and more. Used by professional chefs and food stylists, Joyce Chen scissors come highly recommended. They're tough, easy to handle and are said to last a lifetime.

 

FORGOTTEN BUT NOT GONE

(Published May 23, 2001)

 

Do you have a container in your refrigerator that everyone is afraid to open? Maybe it's last week's string beans or last month's cheesecake? Here's a guide to how long leftovers can be safely stored in the refrigerator:

 

Cooked fresh vegetables: 3-4 days

Cooked pasta: 3-5 days

Cooked rice: 1 week

Deli meats: 5 days

Ham, cooked and sliced: 3-4 days

Hot dogs, opened: 1 week

Lunch meats, opened: 3-5 days

Cooked beef, pork, poultry, fish and casseroles: 3-4 days

Cooked patties and nuggets, gravy and broth: 1-2 days

Seafood, cooked: 2 days

Soups and stews: 3-4 days

Stuffing: 1-2 days

 

--American Dietetic Association Foundation

 

FRESH TUNA STEAKS MADEIRA STYLE

Fresh fish is a staple in many Mediterranean regions and it is essential to the cuisine of Portugal. This recipe, from "The Food of Portugal" by Jean Anderson, must be started a day in advance to give the tuna steaks time to marinate.

 

1 large garlic clove, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon crumbled leaf oregano

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil, divided use

2 pounds fresh boneless tuna, cut into 4 steaks about 3/4-inch thick

4 large bay leaves (do not crumble)

 

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic, salt, oregano and black pepper to a paste; blend in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Rub the mixture on both sides of each tuna steak, lay the steaks in a 9-by-9-by- 2-inch baking dish, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the remaining oil, then tuck in the bay leaves. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 24 hours.

 

When ready to cook, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat until ripples appear on the skillet bottom; add the tuna and brown about 3 minutes on each side, keeping the heat high. Serve sizzling hot.

 

GINGERED RHUBARB JAM WITH HONEY

Makes 31/4 cups

 

In England, it's traditional to combine ginger with rhubarb. In this jam, ginger adds a pungent spiciness while honey offsets rhubarb's strong tartness.

 

1 lemon

2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1/2 cup water

11/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup honey

11/2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

 

Wash 3 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

 

Remove thin outer peel from lemon with vegetable peeler and cut into fine strips with scissors or sharp knife; or use a zester. Place lemon peel in a medium-size, nonaluminum pot. Squeeze juice from lemon and reserve 1 tablespoon.

 

Add rhubarb, apple and water to the pot with the lemon peel. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and boil gently for 15 minutes or until fruit is tender.

 

Add sugar, honey, ginger and reserved lemon juice. Return to a boil and boil rapidly, uncovered, until the mixture has reached the jelly stage (220 degrees F from sea level up to 1,000 feet; 216 degrees at 2,000 feet; 214 degrees at 3,000 feet; 212 degrees at 4,000 feet; 211 degrees at 5,000 feet; 209 degrees at 6,000 feet; 207 degrees at 7,000 feet; 205 degrees at 8,000 feet), stirring constantly, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

 

Ladle into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving1/4inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

 

Note: You will probably have about1/4cup of jam left over; simply ladle into a clean container and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

GREEK SALAD PITAS

 

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1/4 head Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 small red onion, sliced, then separated in rings

1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced

1 large tomato, cut in quarters, then sliced

1/2 small green bell pepper, seeded, cut in slivers

4 ozs. feta cheese, cut in cubes or fingers

4 large pita breads

12 pitted black olives

Lemon twists and:

Sprigs of fresh Italian parsley to garnish

 

To make dressing, in a large bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, sugar and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Add shredded lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper and cheese. Toss lightly until coated with dressing. Lightly toast pita breads. Cut a slice off long edge of each and open to form pockets. Generously fill each pita with salad mixture, allowing mixture to rise above top edges of breads. Add olives to each. Garnish with lemon twists and parsley.

Variation: Add peeled cooked shrimp to salad and toss with dressing.

 

GRILLED BREAD WITH FAVA BEANS

Serves 8

3 pounds fresh fava beans in the pod

1 clove garlic, minced

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 (12-ounce) bunch escarole, trimmed, cut into 1-inch-wide strips

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Small pinch crushed red pepper flakes

24 slices country-style bread, cut 3/8-inch thick, grilled or toasted

3 ounces Pecorino cheese

Lemon wedges as garnish

 

Shell beans by snapping pods where you feel a bean, then pop out beans. Discard pods. Bring a saucepan three-quarters full of water to a boil. Add beans and cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Drain beans, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Let beans cool for 10 minutes. Then pop skins off beans.

 

Place beans, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. Over medium-high heat, cook beans, stirring frequently and adding reserved cooking liquid as necessary to form a rough paste, about 20 minutes. Remove beans from heat and pulse mixture in food processor or blender to form a smooth paste. Stir in lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

 

In another skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add escarole and cook, tossing frequently with kitchen tongs, until it wilts, 2-3 minutes. Toss in vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

 

Spread bean puree on grilled bread, top with wilted escarole. With a cheese shaver or vegetable peeler, shave a few thin slices of Pecorino onto top of each piece. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

 

Wine suggestion: pinot noir.

 

GRILLED TROUT WITH GRAPE LEAVES

 

In the Mediterranean, and particularly Greece, grape leaves are traditionally wrapped around small fish such as red mullet and grilled over a wood fire. The leaves help keep the fish moist, hold it together and add a distinctive flavor. Here we've adapted that idea to trout, because red mullet and other smaller fish aren't easy to find in this country. You can also make this recipe with one large fish, 2 to 21/2 pounds, rather than two small fish.

 

If you like, omit the rice stuffing and simply fill the fish cavity with lemon slices instead. Alternatives: salmon, bluefish, Arctic char.

 

11/2 cups cooked white rice (1/2 cup uncooked)

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (yellow part only)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 whole trout, gutted (about3/4pound each)

12 large grape leaves (half of an 8-ounce jar), drained (divided; see note)

 

In a medium bowl, combine the cooked rice, lemon juice, olive oil and lemon peel with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Preheat a barbecue grill or preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

Thoroughly rinse the fish inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Spoon the rice mixture into the stomach cavity of each fish.

 

Lay 6 grape leaves in a rectangle on the work surface, slightly overlapping so there are no large gaps. Set one of the trout on top and wrap the leaves up and over the fish. Lay another leaf or two on top of the fish if necessary to fully enclose it.

 

If grilling, tie a few pieces of kitchen string around the fish to secure. Repeat with the second fish. Brush the grill with oil and cook until the fish is just opaque through (make a small slit through the leaves to check), 4 to 6 minutes on each side.

 

Alternatively, put the fish in an oiled baking dish and bake about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Discard the strings and serve. Serves 2

 

Note: Grape leaves can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets

 

GRILLED VEGETABLE RATATOUILLE

Ratatouille is a Provencal melange of Mediterranean vegetables sautéed in olive oil, then combined and stewed or baked together. You can vary the vegetable combinations to suit your own taste and to include what is available in your garden. This recipe can be prepared almost entirely on your outdoor grill. The recipe is from "The Mediterranean Kitchen" by Joyce Goldstein.

 

36 cloves garlic, peeled

3/4 cup (or as needed) olive oil

3 sprigs thyme (optional)

6 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise in half

2 large green bell peppers

2 large red bell peppers

3 globe eggplants, about 1 pound each, peeled and sliced 1 1/2 inches thick

3 large red onions, peeled and sliced 1 inch thick

6 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch dice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme, oregano or marjoram

 

Put the garlic cloves in a large shallow pan and add enough oil to barely cover. Add the thyme sprigs if using. Gently simmer, partially covered, until the garlic is cooked through but not falling apart, about 2 minutes; set aside. (This is a garlic confit, or braised garlic. The garlic-flavored oil will be used to prepare the vegetables.)

 

Boil the zucchini halves in a large pot of boiling salted water until cooked but still slightly firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool under cold running water to set the color. Skewer each half lengthwise.

 

Heat the grill or broiler. Brush the zucchini halves with the garlic oil and grill or broil until marked and flavorful, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch chunks; set aside.

 

Char the peppers over the open flame or under the broiler until blackened on all sides. Transfer to a plastic container with a lid, or a paper or plastic bag. Cover the container or close the bag and let the peppers steam for about 15 minutes. Peel the skins from the peppers; then cut the peppers in half, remove the stems, and scrape out the seeds. Cut into 1-inch wide strips and set aside.

 

Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with garlic oil. Grill, turning once, until cooked through but not mush, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks.

 

Skewer the onion slices and brush both sides with garlic oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Put the garlic with 1/4 cup garlic oil in a large deep saucepan or sauté pan. Add the grilled vegetables and tomatoes and heat over medium heat, stirring very gently so as not to crush the vegetables, until hot, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

HAKE WITH ONION SAUCE

Hake is a saltwater fish that is low in fat and has delicately flavored white meat. If you cannot find it, you can substitute cod. This recipe is from "World Food Spain" by Richard Sterling and Allison Jones.

 

6 hake fillets

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 onions, sliced very thin or grated coarsely

6 shallots

1 1/4 cup cider

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped

4 tablespoons bread crumbs

 

Wash the hake fillets and dry them with a paper towel.

 

Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan. Fry the onion and shallots for 2 minutes, then cover the pan, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cider, bring to a boil and reduce to a third of its original amount.

 

Remove from the heat and set aside. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Add it to the pan, spooning over some of the onion mixture. Sprinkle with the parsley and crumbs, and drizzle with a bit more oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

HAWAIIAN RIBS

8 ounces crushed pineapple in juice -- undrained

1/3 cup apricot jam

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons grated ginger root

1 clove garlic -- minced

4 pounds pork backribs

Combine pineapple with juice, jam, mustard, vinegar, ginger, and garlic in

blender or food processor. Cover and process until very smooth. Place ribs

on oiled grid. Grill ribs over medium heat 40 minutes or until ribs are no

longer pink near bone. Brush ribs with portion of pineapple sauce mixture

during last 10 minutes of cooking. Cut into individual ribs to serve. Serve

remaining sauce for dipping. Yield 8 servings.

 

 

 

 

 

HEALING BATH

By KATHY SENA

THE MODESTO BEE

(Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2001)

 

Mae West said it best: "When in doubt, take a bath."

 

And doctors agree. According to Lynn Keegan, R.N., Ph.D., and Dr. Gerald T. Keegan, authors of "Healing Waters," a half hour in the tub can relieve myriad ills. A bath's warmth and gentle water pressure prompt your blood vessels to dilate slightly, which, in turn encourages a slower heart rate and relieves muscle tension.

 

And if you add one or more of the ingredients described here, you can turn your bath into a pool of healing waters, too.

 

HOW HOT? A bath that feels warm to the touch is most therapeutic -- and least drying -- says Dr. Jerome D. Fallon, a dermatologist in private practice in Crystal Lake, Ill. "An overly hot bath is drying to the skin,"

 

he says. Oil moves faster when it's heated, and a very hot bath can quickly dissolve the skin's protective oil layer.

 

Our experts recommend avoiding cold baths. After all, it's the warmth from the water, they say, that relieves aching muscles and aids relaxation. The ideal bath temperature is between 95 and 104 degrees, according to the authors of "Healing Waters."

 

HOW LONG? If you have fewer than five or 10 minutes to spare, you might as well take a shower, says Dr. Scott Rackett, a dermatologist in Redondo Beach. The ideal bath is 20 to 30 minutes long, he adds. Any more than that, and you're just drying out your skin. A 20-minute bath will work well with any of the ingredients described below.

 

Also, if you stay in longer, you'll be tempted to add more hot water, which will dilute the effects of anything you've added to your bath, notes Dr. Howard Murad, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at Los Angeles.

 

What if you just can't resist the lure of a good book and an entire hour of blissful soaking?

 

"Be sure to use lotion on your skin after your bath," Fallon says. "Lotion contains both oil and water, and it helps your skin retain and replenish its natural oil."

 

And no matter how long you bathe, do dry off quickly. "Don't let yourself drip dry," says Rackett. "That really accelerates the loss of water from your skin."

 

Adding certain ingredients to your bath can provide specific therapeutic benefits. Our experts recommend the following:

 

Oatmeal -- What it does: Colloidal oatmeal (finely milled oatmeal made from the inner part of the oat) relieves itchy skin caused by dryness, poison ivy, sunburn, eczema, psoriasis -- even chickenpox, according to Fallon.

 

This form of oatmeal, which resembles fine face powder, is specifically created for the bath and disperses well in warm water, he notes.

 

How to do it: Colloidal oatmeal comes prepackaged in individual packets. Use one packet per bath.

 

By adding oats to a sock and holding it under warm running water, you can reap some of the same benefits. Just don't dump rolled oats directly into the bath: You could be in for a hefty plumbing bill.

 

Saline -- What it does: You don't have to cry a river of tears to get quick relief from yeast-infection symptoms, says Dr. Gideon G. Panter, a staff gynecologist at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center. Panter recommends saline baths to his patients who have yeast infections.

 

"A yeast infection is a disorder of the ecology of the vagina," he explains. The saline solution helps return the vagina to a normal, healthy state.

 

How to do it: Just add 1/2 cup table salt to a warm bath.

 

"Relief is instantaneous," says Panter, who suggests using a saline bath for two to three nights in a row at the first sign of symptoms.

 

Bath salts -- What they do: Bath salts -- including Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and sea salt -- work primarily by drawing fluid from your system and reducing swelling, says Murad. Soaking in a warm tub with bath salts can help relieve PMS-related bloating, too, he notes.

 

How to use them: If you're using straight Epsom salts from your local pharmacy, you'll need about two cups per bath to get the maximum benefit. If you're using fancier bath salts blended with other ingredients, you'll usually get the best results by adding slightly more than the amount specified on the label.

 

"Many people use just a few tablespoons of bath salts," says Murad, who recommends using up to a full cup per bath.

 

Cornstarch -- What it does: Much like colloidal oatmeal, a cornstarch bath can be used to soothe itchy skin caused by poison ivy, sunburn, eczema, psoriasis -- or just plain, old-fashioned dry skin, says Murad.

 

How to use it: Murad recommends adding a cup of cornstarch to the bath, pouring it directly into the stream of warm running water to help it dissolve.

 

Herbal tea -- What it does: You can increase your relaxation response by adding great-smelling herbs and teas to your bath water, according to Dr. Harold Bloomfield, author of "Healing Anxiety With Herbs."

 

Bloomfield favors submersion to neck level at a temperature of about 100 degrees and suggests avoiding potentially irritating herbs such as thyme, sage and oregano in favor of traditionally relaxing additives such as lavender and chamomile.

 

How to do it: To minimize cleanup, try placing three to five of your favorite herbal tea bags under the faucet as you run your bath.

 

Or create your own bath sachet by placing half a cup of herbs in a muslin bag or cheesecloth and letting the herbs steep in the water.

 

A third -- and even easier -- option is lying back and luxuriating in one of the many prepackaged herbal-tea infusions now on the market, such as Harney & Sons' Soothing Blend Bath Infusion, Tub Tea or Bulgari's Tea Bags for the Bath.

 

Vinegar -- What it does: OK, so it won't leave you smelling like a rose.

 

But a vinegar bath can help makes the skin's pH level slightly more acidic so that certain bacteria won't grow, says Dr. Alan Blaugrund, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of New Mexico.

 

For example, a vinegar bath can help curb persistent foot odor. And doctors often recommend vinegar baths as a preventive measure against possible vaginal infections when taking antibiotics, Blaugrund says.

 

"If you're taking an antibiotic for bronchitis, for example, you're also killing off the good bacteria (in the vagina)," he explains. "A vinegar bath helps restore the slightly acidic mantle to the skin that allows the good bacteria to flourish."

 

How to use it: Add about a pint of plain white vinegar to a warm bath. "Just be sure to shower off with plain water -- no soap -- after your bath so you don't smell like a salad," Blaugrund adds. And see your doctor if symptoms continue.

 

WHAT NOT TO ADD TO YOUR BATH -- Not every addition to the bath is good for your skin. Here are some you may want to avoid:

Bubble bath. If your skin is blistered, burned or cut, or if you tend to suffer from vaginal or urinary-tract infections, you'll want to skip bubble baths. That's because most contain detergent, which removes oil from the skin, according to Fallon. (Picture those dish-detergent ads that show the greasy food being lifted from the pan. Then imagine the same thing happening on the surface of your skin.) Also, some ingredients added to bubble bath (such as sodium laurel sulfate) are added to create a nice foam. Unfortunately, these are the very same ingredients that irritate and dry sensitive skin.

 

Scented products. If you tend to have skin allergies or frequent vaginal irritation, you'll want to avoid scented bath salts and oils or other bath products that may be perfumed, suggests Decker.

 

Products containing alcohol. Alcohol can be very drying to the skin, says dermatologist Dr. Marsha Gordon, co-author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Beautiful Skin." She notes, however, that some ingredients, such as alcohol esters and cetyl alcohol, sound like alcohol but lack its irritating effects.

 

HERBAL REMEDY INFORMATION

By JULIE BAWDEN DAVIS

LOS ANGELES TIMES

(Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2001)

 

The first time Martha Wida made a cup of herbal tea from her garden, she was pleasantly surprised.

 

"That was by far the best cup of tea I'd ever had," said Wida, a University of California master gardener. "Like home-grown tomatoes, herbal tea from your garden can't compare to what you find in the market. It's delicious."

 

Besides being tasty, fresh herbal teas also have medicinal value, said Tess Calhoun, a member of the Orange County Herb Society.

 

"Mint and chamomile tea, for instance, are known for calming the stomach and aiding in digestion, and they're both really easy to grow in the garden," said Calhoun.

 

"Herbal teas are very helpful for those people trying to live a healthier lifestyle," agreed registered dietitian Susan Weiner of Merrick, N.Y., a nutritionist for the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. "Teas made from the garden are calming, soothing, taste great and are calorie-free. Iced herbal tea is the perfect alternative to preservative-laden soda."

 

Growing and brewing your own herbal tea is easy. Many good tea herbs such as mint, chamomile, basil, lemon balm and anise hyssop grow quickly if planted at this time of year.

 

Mixing your own blends is also a treat, said Renee Shepherd, owner of Felton-based Renee's Garden seeds, which carries a variety of herb seeds.

 

"Creating herbal tea blends is considered an art, and those professionals who create tea mixes are highly paid," said Shepherd. "Dream up your own fabulous blends fresh from the garden."

 

To create your own herbal tea, keep the following tips in mind.

 

Figure on 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs for each cup of tea, or 1 to 2 tablespoons of dry herbs per cup. To make a four-cup pot of tea, you'll need 8 to 12 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 4 to 8 tablespoons of dried. Iced tea requires more herbs because you'll be diluting it with ice. Try 4 tablespoons fresh or 2 tablespoons dried per cup.

 

To make the best pot of herbal tea possible, start with cool water and bring just to an audible rolling boil. Rinse a china or glass tea pot with a small amount of hot water to warm the pot. Add the herbs and fill the pot with hot water. Steep three to five minutes. Use a tea strainer when pouring.

 

Add any desired sweeteners such as sugar or honey after pouring the tea. Or for an all-herbal approach, put some sweet leaf (stevia) in your herbal tea mix and you won't need any other sweeteners.

 

Try various additions to your tea, such as lemon or orange slices, juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and fresh ginger.

 

Dry excess herbs. Drying herbs allows you to enjoy them when they're not growing in the garden. Most herbs dry easily indoors in a shady area with good air circulation. Hang them upside-down, or dry them on screens. Once dry, strip the herbs from branches and store in tightly sealed glass jars away from strong light. Replace the herbs each season.

 

GOOD TEA HERBS: You can use just about any herb to create your own tea. The following tend to be widely available and make especially tasty herbal tea.

 

Anise Hyssop: This herb has a licorice or anise flavor that is especially tasty when combined with mint. Its lavender flowers are attractive to butterflies. Grow from plants or seed in spring and summer in full sun or partial shade.

 

Basil: Cinnamon and lemon basil are particularly good for making herbal tea. This aromatic annual thrives in hot weather. Grow from seed or plants. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and full-sun or partial shade.

 

Chamomile: Plant in a bright sunny spot with rich soil and good drainage. The small, daisylike flowers of this low-growing, decorative perennial are used for tea and impart an applelike flavor. Harvest when the blooms are just beginning to open by pinching the flower blossoms off with your fingers.

 

Fennel: This perennial herb can grow 4 to 6 feet high. It comes in green and bronze varieties. Leaves and seeds lend a sweet licorice flavor to tea. Plant in full sun in rich, well-drained soil.

 

Lemon Balm: Also known as bee balm, this perennial herb adds a lemon tang to tea. Fresh leaves have the best flavor. It likes rich roil and good drainage. It's best grown from plants, as it is slow to germinate.

 

Lemon verbena: This 3- to 6--foot deciduous shrub has leaves that impart a strong lemon flavor to tea. Lemon verbena is the main ingredient in the popular Verveine tea sold commercially. The plant likes full sun or bright filtered light and good drainage.

 

Lemon grass: All parts of this tender perennial are strongly lemon-scented and make an especially tasty lemon tea. Provide full sun and good drainage.

 

Lemon thyme: This herb creates a tea with warm, lemony undertones. It's a small, shrubby perennial that is easy to grow and prefers dry soil and full sun.

 

Mint: The cool, refreshing perennial herb comes in a wide variety of flavors, including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, apple, pineapple and orange. It grows almost anywhere, but prefers moist, partially shaded areas. The plant is invasive, so grow it in containers or bordered areas.

 

HUEVOS RANCHEROS

Adapted from "Rancho Cooking" by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan. You'll probably have sauce left over; it's also good over steak or stuffed chilies.

 

1/4 cup olive oil

12 corn tortillas

1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

12 eggs

Ranchero sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced

1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, roughly puréed

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1-2 tablespoons New Mexican chili powder

1 cup water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

1/2 cup crumbled queso cotija (or feta cheese)

 

Lay out the oil, tortillas, grated cheese and eggs.

 

To prepare the sauce, combine the onion, garlic, jalapeños, puréed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, oregano and cumin in a deep saucepan and simmer over low heat. Dissolve the chili powder in 1/2 cup of water, add the remaining water and add to the sauce. Add the sugar, salt and vinegar. Cook for 20 minutes longer. Season with pepper to taste. Keep warm while you fix the quesadillas and eggs.

 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and put 6 large dinner plates in the oven to keep warm. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and add 1 tortilla. Spread on 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and top with a second tortilla, pressing together. Fry for 1 minute, turn over and cook for 1 minute more. Place the quesadilla on a baking sheet. Continue frying the remaining 5 quesadillas, adding oil to the pan as needed. Put the quesadillas in the oven to keep warm.

 

Heat more oil in the same skillet, add 4 eggs and cook over low heat, turning once. Cook for 4 minutes for soft, or up to 8 minutes for well-done eggs. You can use a second skillet, if desired, to speed up the process. Cook all 12 eggs.

 

To serve the huevos rancheros, place a quesadilla on a warm plate, top with two fried eggs and smother with 1/2 cup sauce. Sprinkle crumbled queso cotija over the top, if desired.

 

HUMMUS DIP

Split pita bread and cut into triangles, spread with butter, sprinkle with sesame seeds and broil a few minutes. Serve with hummus.

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups canned garbanzo beans

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 to 3 tablespoons tahini (a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds)

 

Heat olive oil in a skillet, and sauté onion and garlic until soft and transparent. Rinse garbanzo beans with cold water and drain. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and purée until the consistency resembles that of mayonnaise.

 

INTERESTING MISCELLANY

 

Eau de tomate

Smell tomatoes before you buy them. A lack of fragrance means they may be bland. Buy firm ones and store them at room temperature, never in the refrigerator, until ready to use.

Dishwasher care

The first dishwasher was invented in 1892. Tired of servants breaking her dishes, Josephine Cochrane rigged a copper pot with stiff brushes and a motor. It worked so well she showed it at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and won first place. Unlike other appliances, the less frequently you use a dishwasher, the more likely it is to break down. Water that remains in the bottom of a dishwasher is there for a reason. It keeps seals moist to prevent leaks and protect the motor, but when it is not used for long periods, the water evaporates, seals dry out and leaks and motor problems can occur.

 

When a dishwasher will sit unused for more than two or three weeks, pour in a half cup of liquid bleach to prevent bacterial buildup, then add three tablespoons of mineral oil. It coats the surface of the water and prevents evaporation, even over long periods of time.

 

Name that tube

A new snack food had not crossed our desk for, oh, two or three hours, then along came Tube-a-Licious, a pudding snack that comes in a squirt-in-your mouth tube. Purely in the interest of research, we tossed the tofu into the trash, ditched the diet, tore off the end of the tube and gave it a good squirt. Yum. The Tube-a-Licious was filled with a delightfully sweet, chocolaty pudding almost as good as Mom's.

The package said it was created especially for kids, but it would be great for adult junk-food junkies on the go as well. A 24-count box of 2.5 ounce tubes is about $5.80 at Costco and Sam's. And here's an interesting note: Tube-a-Licious is kosher.

 

KITCHEN TIPS

Household Hints

* Put a handful or two of tissue, torn into shreds, in the bottom

of the cookie jar. This allows the air to pass through, keeping

the cookies crisp and good.

* When cooking bacon (not frozen), dip it in flour and fry as usual.

The flour gives it more body and makes a beautiful crust.

* To keep cooked ham from developing a sticky feeling and taste,

store in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag with the flap

turned over.

* Use snap-type clothespins instead of wire wrappers to keep bread

bags sealed. Its faster! This trick also works well on bags of

chips and popcorn and on the waxed paper bags inside cereal boxes.

* When cooking anything that grows above the ground, start in hot

water. Start anything that grows under the ground in cold water.

 

LAYERED SALAD

Serves 6-8

1 cup medium-fine bulgur or cracked wheat

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons salt

8 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large bulb fennel

1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh lemon juice

 

Place bulgur in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt; drizzle dressing over bulgur. Spread scallions over bulgur. Continue layering, adding parsley, mint, dill and cucumbers. Sprinkle pepper and remaining teaspoon salt over top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.

 

Bring salad to room temperature. Meanwhile, cut fennel bulb in half from top to bottom. Cut halves into paper-thin crosswise slices. Toss salad, fennel and pine nuts together. Season with salt and pepper, and lemon juice to serve.

 

Wine suggestion: sauvignon blanc

LEMON PASTA

Serves 4

 

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 pound fresh egg fettucini

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Melt butter in deep, heavy 12-inch skillet and stir in cream and lemon juice. Remove skillet from heat and keep it warm and covered.

 

Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid and drain pasta in colander. Add pasta to skillet with lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid and toss well. (Add more pasta cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to thin sauce.)

 

Season pasta with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan cheese.

 

LENTILS AND RICE

Makes 4 servings

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup uncooked brown rice

1/2 cup uncooked lentils

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

5 cardamom pods or1/4teaspoon ground cardamom

2 cups water

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or slivered almonds

 

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the rice, lentils, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and stir to coat. Add the water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook 20 to 30 minutes. Add the raisins and nuts, cook for another minute, and serve.

 

 

 

MINIMALIST TUSCAN SOUP

Author Faith Willinger says Mediterranean recipes have few ingredients cooked with great wisdom. This recipe is from her "Red, White & Greens; The Italian Way With Vegetables."

 

3 1/2 cups cooked beans

2 cups bean broth

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 3/4 -inch slices of rustic country-style bread

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Heat the beans and broth over medium heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly toast the bread and rub with unpeeled garlic.

Place 1 slice of toast in each soup bowl and ladle 1/4 of the beans and broth over the toast. Drizzle the soup with extra virgin olive oil and serve.

 

NORMANDY PORK SCALLOPS

 

1 lb pork scallops

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

flour

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

2 tart, green apples

1 small onion, sliced

2 tbsp calvados (brandy made from apples)

 

Pound the scallops, if needed, to make them 1/4 inch thick. Season, dredge with the flour, and brown quickly on both sides (1 to 2 minutes on each side) in a large skillet in the oil and butter. Remove the pork and set aside. Quarter the apples, core and peel them, and slice them 1/2 inch thick. Saute the onion and apples in the hot butter until they are lightly browned. Add the calvados and the pork, cover the skillet, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the pork is just cooked through but not dried out.

 

Notes: Pork is always good with noodles or potatoes. End with a plum tart.

 

Do a Chinese pork stir-fry. Brown the pork scallops quickly in 2 tbsp of peanut oil. Add minced hot pepper, gingerroot, garlic, and green onions, and fry for 1 minute. Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp dry sherry, and 1 tsp white wine vinegar. Cook for 1 minute and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle the pork with toasted sesame seeds.

OLD GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE HAS A CHALLENGER

BY KIM BOATMAN Mercury News

I'm sure this is some form of sacrilege, but isn't it about time to retire the green bean casserole?

 

Haven't we grown just a little weary of the fried onions? The general gloppiness?

 

A few years back, Peggy Aaron of San Jose decided her family was ready for a change and discovered the vinegar green bean recipe in John Hadamuscin's ``Special Occasions: Holiday Entertaining All Year Round.'' Aaron e-mailed, ``It was a hit, and I have made it several times since!''

 

The recipe also happens to be the German-style green bean dish Carol Voss' family remembers so fondly. Bacon and onion, along with vinegar, give it flavor. Aaron notes that it's very important to whisk the eggs well before adding to the dish. Otherwise, you end up with scrambled eggs!

 

Aaron's recipe calls for fresh green beans. If you're wed to canned beans, Kayla Grooms of Gilroy offers a speedy version. Bring 4 tablespoons bacon grease, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard and 2 tablespoons vinegar to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Drain 2 cans French-style green beans. Pour the sauce over the beans and heat.

 

LIMON? : When Martha Dahlen of Los Gatos requested a recipe for lime pickle, an Indian condiment, I never expected a recipe that calls for lemons. But Lalitha Ramanarasiah of San Jose says her recipe for lime pickle does just that. (I found recipes using either limes or lemons online, and back in March, the Food section published a recipe similar to Ramanarasiah's when readers responded to an article about preserved lemons.)

 

Ramanarasiah says lime pickle accompanies the yogurt and rice that ``are the essential part of every meal'' in southern India. Lime pickle might add a little spice to a bland lentils and rice dish. In northern India, says Ramanarasiah, lime pickle might accompany breads such as parathas and naans.

 

More lore from Ramanarasiah: Lime pickle stimulates the digestive system, and lime pieces preserved only in salt are given to pregnant women to combat nausea.

 

Think of this recipe as a late spring project, since it takes days to complete and a visit to an Indian grocery is in order. Ramanarasiah suggests you may need to look for some ingredients under other names. Fenugreek seeds are also known as methi seeds. Sesame oil may be called gingelly or til oil, and asafoetida powder is known as hing powder. You'll also want to pick up Indian chili powder.

 

OLIVE BREAD

 

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

7 cups bread flour

1 envelope active dry yeast (about 1 tablespoon)

2 teaspoons salt

About 1 cup warm water

1-1/3 cups ripe olives, pitted and chopped

 

In a skillet, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft. Let cool. Into a large bowl, sift flour. Stir in yeast and salt. Add 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil and mix in enough water to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Knead dough thoroughly 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Knead in 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil, the fried onion, reserving remaining oil, and chopped olives. Cut dough in half and shape into 2 round loaves. Place on lightly oiled baking sheets.

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm place 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Brush loaves with a little of the cooking oil. Bake loaves 30 to 40 minutes or until bottom of each sounds hollow when tapped. Brush tops of loaves with remaining oil. Return to the oven 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool. Makes 2 loaves

 

ONE FISH TWO FISH

Cast your seafood on the backyard grill to sear in its moist, delicate flavors

By Dan Vierria, Bee Staff Writer (Published May 23, 2001)

Seafood is fast food. Eight to 10 minutes on the grill, and dinner is served. Seared over an open flame, seafood is nutritious, delicious and low in belt-busting calories. What's not to like?

 

Today's sophisticated backyard chefs, according to appliance giant Jenn-Air, are more likely to sear swordfish than flip burgers, brats and dogs. Accompanied by a colorful salsa, a red pepper relish or simply draped across a bed of baby greens, grilled seafood is fine dining at home.

 

"For beginners, I'd recommend something like swordfish because it's relatively simple to cook," says Tim Lords, executive chef at Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar in Sacramento.

 

Swordfish, with its firm, meat-like texture, should be cooked through yet still be moist when pulled off the grill. Next, try salmon and shrimp, and then tackle ahi, lobster, oysters and more ambitious salsas and marinades.

 

Some seafood such as perch or flounder has a tendency to fall apart on the grill. It should be cooked in hinged, wire baskets to allow for safe turning. Better yet, reserve them for the frying pan, steamer or oven. Seafood fit for the grill cannot possess a delicate nature.

 

Bill John, formerly executive chef for Scott's Seafood and now in the same position for the soon-to-open Bistro Biagio (at the new Camellia Inn & Suites near the UC Davis Medical Center), designates swordfish, ahi, ono, spearfish, sturgeon and salmon as fish particularly suitable for grilling.

 

"Swordfish doesn't fall apart," John says. "Grill it on medium-high heat on a well-oiled grill, but not so much oil that it flares up."

 

To avoid a towering inferno, spray oil onto the fish in a fine mist from a spray bottle before grilling. Or brush oil onto the grates and allow the excess to burn off before grilling fish. Tuna, says John, can be tricky to grill because it sometimes sticks. Salmon, he says, is a terrific fish for the grill.

 

"The most important thing to keep in mind when grilling seafood is not to overcook it," John says. "Perfectly cooked seafood is moist and flavorful. Overcook it and it becomes dry and tasteless."

 

Swordfish, tuna, salmon, opah (moonfish) and spearfish are Lords' choices for the outdoor grill.

 

"Personally, I enjoy tuna -- yellowfin and tombo," Lords says. "I tend to like a meaty fish cooked medium-rare to medium. Tuna does tend to get very dry if overcooked."

 

In restaurants and fish markets you're apt to see yellowfin, Hawaiian bluefin (sometimes called big-eye) and tombo all labeled as "ahi," a word coined by Hawaiian fishermen. It literally means "fire."

 

Ahi stars at both the sushi bar and the grill. Grilled, it is best prepared seared to a grayish tint on the outside and left rosy-red and raw inside. Its delicate flavor and firm texture become expensive shoe leather when overcooked.

 

How do you know when seafood is done? Seasoned outdoor grilling veterans just know. Everybody else develops a technique.

 

The standard is to measure the piece of fish at its thickest part and grill 10 minutes per inch (5 minutes per side). If the piece is thicker on one end, slice off the thinnest area and grill it separately. Whole fish will require longer cooking times.

 

If you enjoy fish on the dry side, go with the 10-minute-per-inch rule.

 

Shave two minutes from the standard cooking time and you're more likely to enjoy a moist and flavorful piece of fish. Remember, fish continues to cook after it's removed from the hot grill.

 

"Fish is done when it begins to turn opaque and just starts to flake when tested with a fork, yet is still moist and juicy," John says.

 

Shrimp can cook through in two to four minutes on a hot grill. As soon as shrimp begins to flash a reddish hue and the flesh turns milky white, remove immediately or they'll turn into chewing gum. To prevent shrimp from spinning on the skewer, double-skewer them for stability and more even cooking. If you use bamboo skewers, soak them in water for an hour or more to prevent the wood from igniting.

 

Add a touch of the exotic by spreading shellfish on a hot grill. Oysters, mussels and clams are ready when the shells open. Remove carefully to keep juices in the shells. Discard those that don't open.

 

Lobster tails are a special treat when infused with smoky grill flavor and brushed with butter. Grill in the shell over medium heat.

 

Cooking time and results also depend on the method of grilling -- indirect heat or direct heat. Placed directly over coals or burners, fish will cook much faster and develop those desirable grill markings. To help prevent fish from falling apart, turn only once.

 

For longer cooking times, use indirect heat in which seafood is arranged away from the coals. Shut the lid. No turning is required.

 

Once removed from the grill, seafood becomes a perfect partner for mango salsa, berry compotes, pestos, pasta, steamed rice and any number of other tantalizing side dishes and sauces.

 

If you marinate seafood and plan to use the marinade later as a sauce atop cooked fish, be sure to boil the liquid a minimum of five minutes to kill any potentially harmful bacteria. Since marinades break down tissue, it's not a good idea to marinate delicate fish more than half an hour. Swordfish and shark can tolerate longer stretches.

 

Perhaps the most important aspect to grilling seafood is undivided attention. Don't leave the grill or allow yourself to be sidetracked. The reward will be a memorable feast and compliments from your guests.

 

 

 

PAN FRIED TROUT

WITH GREEN PEPPERCORN SAUCE

Makes 2 servings

 

This dish comes together quickly but delivers a classic French bistro-type flavor. Note that green peppercorns are milder than black or white, so don't be afraid to use them liberally. Alternatives: rockfish, catfish fillet, cod.

 

2 8- to 12-ounce trout, with or without heads or tails

Salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, more if needed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons green peppercorns (in brine or freeze-dried and reconstituted)

 

Rinse the trout, pat dry with paper towels and lightly salt inside and out. Put the flour on a plate and dredge the trout in it, patting to remove the excess.

 

In a skillet large enough to hold the fish, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the trout and cook until nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes, on one side. Turn the fish and continue cooking until the fish is just opaque through the thickest part, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

 

Drain excess oil from skillet and add the wine, lemon juice and peppercorns. Stir with a fork or whisk, scraping up bits of the fish and floury residue. Cook the sauce until slightly reduced, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

 

PICKLING SPICE

 

2 Tbsp Mace blades

1 Tbsp Allspice berries

1 Tbsp Whole cloves

2 Cinnamon sticks 3", broken in small pieces

12 Black peppercorns

1 Dried bay leaf, crumbled

In small bowl, mix all. Store in small, airtight jar for up to 2 months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN

 

This is an easy tapas specialty of Galicia, the cool, green region in northwest Spain.

 

Pimientos de Padrón

Olive oil

Coarse salt

Saute pimientos de Padrón in a pan with a little olive oil until skins crinkle and peppers soften. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve at once.

 

To eat, grasp a pepper by the stem and take a bite. Most pimientos de Padrón are mild, but a few are somewhat spicy.

 

PORK CHOPS WITH BOK CHOY

Serves 4

4 thin boneless pork chops

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 tablespoons peanut oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2-inch piece ginger root, peeled, smashed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and discarded, caps sliced if desired

8 ounces enoki mushrooms, stalks trimmed and discarded

1 head bok choy, ends trimmed, stems and leaves coarsely chopped

2/3 cup chicken stock or broth

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

 

Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.

 

In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 4 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add pork chops and sear, turning once, until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Carefully drain oil and set aside to cool before discarding. Add garlic, ginger root and butter to skillet with pork, place over medium heat, cover and heat until pork is cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cook, uncovered, until evaporated. Transfer pork to a plate and cover to keep warm.

 

Wipe skillet clean. Add sesame oil and remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add enoki mushrooms, bok choy and stock or broth, bring to a boil and cook 1 minute. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Add cornstarch mixture and, stirring constantly, return mixture to a boil. Remove from heat.

 

Divide pork, mushrooms and bok choy evenly among 4 rimmed plates and spoon sauce over top.

 

PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS INFORMATION

It is time to put a portobello on the barbecue for a bello burger. Anything you do with meat, you can do with a portobello. Make a burger. Slice and add to pasta. How about portobello Stroganoff? Turn a portobello into an appetizer pizza. Take off the stem, then cut off or scrape off the gills. If you cook it with the gills on, it may get too mushy. Add your sauce, then small pieces of diced meat. Top with cheese and fresh basil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes. Portobello mushrooms are sold in bulk by the pound or in packages. Either way, make sure gills are firm and fresh. If the gills smell like ammonia, it is an old portobello. You don't want it.

 

PRESSURE COOKING TIMESAVERS

 

The pressure cooker is back, and cooking rice, beans and stock are three simple ways to save mountains of time with the new-old device.

 

While today's cookers don't explode, they still require some attention to important safety precautions. So, for the first time using a pressure cooker, remember to consult the owner's manual. For more on using a pressure cooker, click here.

 

Here are two recipes for simple beginnings using a pressure cooker:

 

Quick Veal Stock

 

Author's note: If you saved those bones from your cutting up in the kitchen, find your pressure cooker and make a quick stock to use for future recipes. If you don't have a pressure cooker, do not despair. You can make the same stock using the same ingredients in a stock pot on top of the stove, but it won't be "quick." It will take 3 1/2 to 4 hours to cook at a slow simmer.

 

Veal stock is great to have on hand to add a wonderful richness to sauces and gravies to accompany most any meat dish.

 

Bones from a veal breast, shank, or other cuts, about 2 pounds

1/2 onion

1 stalk celery

1 carrot, cut in half crosswise

1 bay leaf

2 cloves garlic

4 to 6 peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Water to cover

 

1. Cut the veal bones into manageable-sized pieces by cutting between the ribs with a heavy knife. Put the bones in a 4-to-6-quart pressure cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and enough cold water to cover. Lock on the lid, put the pressure regulator in place, and bring to pressure over high heat. Cooking time begins at this point. Adjust the heat to the medium setting until the pressure regulator maintains a slow, steady rocking motion.

 

2. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and allow pressure to drop of its own accord. The pressure is completely reduced when the regulator is lifted and no steam escapes. Remove the regulator and open the pressure-cooker cover. Strain the stock; discard the bones and vegetables. Return the stock to the pressure-cooker pot and cook over high heat, without the cover, until it is reduced to 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

 

Spicy Carrot And Chick Pea Soup

 

Author's note: I came up with this unusual soup one day when the only vegetables I had in my refrigerator were carrots and onions.

 

2 cups water

1 cup chopped onion (1 medium onion)

3 cups sliced carrots (4 medium carrots)

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups cooked and drained chick peas

1/3 cup cashews

1 cup soymilk

2 tablespoons white miso

 

1. Place the water, onion, carrots, curry powder, and nutmeg in a pressure cooker. Cook over high heat until the pressure regulator starts to jiggle. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat and let it cool down on its own. Add the chick peas.

 

2. Blend 2 cups of the cooked mixture with the cashews, soymilk, and miso in a blender or food processor until very creamy. Do this in two or more batches if necessary. Pour the cashew mixture back into the remaining cooked carrot mixture, stir, and reheat.

 

3. Serve with some whole grain bread and a green salad for a hearty lunch or an easy dinner.

 

There are also entire books on using a pressure cooker: The Ultimate Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Tom Lacalamita and Cooking Under Pressure by Lorna Sass. Her book offers basic instructions and was designed to calm anxieties about the appliance as well as show the cook how to make a great meal.

 

RHUBARB DATE AND APRICOT CHUTNEY

Makes about 3 cups

 

Dates and dried apricots give a rich flavor to the sweet-sour taste of rhubarb. It pairs especially well with ham, but also complements other dishes.

 

4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 cup chopped dried dates

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon pickling salt

 

Wash 3 half-pint jars. Keep hot until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

 

Combine the rhubarb, dates, sugar, apricots, vinegar, onion, ginger, curry powder, nutmeg and salt in a medium-size, non-aluminum pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 8 minutes, or until thickened and fruit is soft, stirring frequently toward the end to prevent scorching.

 

Ladle hot chutney into 1 hot jar at a time, leaving1/2inch head space. Wipe jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process in a boiling-water canner for 10 minutes (15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet; 20 minutes above 6,000 feet).

 

POULTRY SEASONING

 

1 Tbsp Sage

1 Tbsp Thyme

1 Tbsp Marjoram

1 Tbsp Savory

1 Tbsp Rosemary

 

SEASONED SALT

 

2 Tbsp Coarse Pepper

1 Tbsp Chicken Bouillon

1 tsp Onion salt

1 tsp Onion powder

1 Tbsp Garlic Salt

1 Tbsp Chili

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Marjoram

1 tsp Parsley

1 tsp Paprika

1/2 tsp Curry

1/3 cup Table Salt

Mix well.

SHAKE AND BAKE BARBECUE

 

2 cups Basic Shake-n-Bake (see below)

4 Tbsp Sugar

3 Tbsp BBQ Spice

1 tsp Dry Mustard

1 Tbsp Paprika

4 pkgs Lipton tomato Cup-o-soup

Mix well; use as barbecue shake-n-bake.

SHAKE AND BAKE - BASIC

 

1 tsp Onion powder

1 pkg Lipton Tomato Cup-O-Soup

4 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

2 1/2 cups Krust-eze

1 cup finely ground Corn Flakes

1 Tbsp Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Seasoned Salt

1 Tbsp Paprika

2 Tbsp Corn Starch

Mix well. Use as regular shake & bake on chicken. Variation for Pork: Add

1 tsp Sage for ea 2 cups mix.

 

KRAFT ORIGINAL SHAKE AND BAKE

2 tsp flour

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp corn flake crumbs

1 tsp salt

scant 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp paprika

scant 1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp sugar

Mix all in small bowl; stir well. Makes 1 pkg. Use same way you would use purchased shake & bake. To prepare; shake 2 1/2 lbs (6-8 pieces) chicken

in shake & bake coating until chicken is well coated. Discard any remaining coating. Bake chicken 400 20 minutes for boneless chicken or 45-50 minutes

for bone-in chicken.

STEAK SEASONING SALT

 

1/4 cup Table salt

1/4 tsp Red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp coarse Black pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Dry minced garlic hammered

1/4 tsp Caraway seeds

1 tsp Dry minced onion hammered

Hammer garlic & onion bits until reduced to very small pieces. Mix together well;

use during grilling.

 

HOMEMADE CHILI POWDER

 

1/4 cup Dried chili peppers either Mild ones such as Anaheim OR pasilla or

combo mild & hot

1 Tbsp Cumin seeds

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Ground cloves

1 tsp Ground coriander

In blender, whirl chili peppers & cumin seeds to powder. Mix well with the rest of ingredients. Store in airtight container.

 

BARBECUE SEASONING

 

2 Tbsp Salt

4 Tbsp Sugar

2 Tbsp ground Cumin

2 Tbsp black Pepper

2 Tbsp Chili powder

4 Tbsp Paprika

Mix well. Place in jar with tight-fitting lid; use as desired.

DRY RUB FOR BARBECUE

 

1 Tbsp New Mexico ground Chili 2 tsp Hungarian Paprika

1 tsp Cumin powder 1 tsp Coriander, ground

1 tsp Salt 1 tsp Onion powder

1 tsp Garlic powder 1/2 tsp Coleman's dry Mustard

1/2 tsp Black Pepper, fresh ground 1/2 tsp Thyme leaves, dried

1/2 tsp Curry powder 1/2 tsp ground Allspice

Mix all. Rub on meat; refrigerate overnight before smoking. Comment: Consider

halving chili for milder rub.

 

SEVERAL SMOOTHIES

These were donated to those of us who subscribe to Real Food 4 Real People.

 

ORANGE BANANA SMOOTHIE

I pint Orange Sherbet 2 bananas, sliced

1 cup orange juice 3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons honey Ice cubes

In blender, process all ingredients except ice cubes. Add enough ice cubes to bring mixture to 5 cup level; process until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Serve immediately. YIELD: 5 cups

FOUR- BERRY SMOOTHIE

2 cups soft fat free vanilla ice cream 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries 1/2 cup cranberry juice

3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries Ice cubes

Process all but ice cubes in blender. Add ice cubes to bring to 41/2 cup level; process until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Serve immediately.

YIELD: 4 1/2 cups

CHOCOHOLIC SMOOTHIE

2 cups soft fat free ice cream 2 sliced bananas

1/2 cup 2% milk 1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Ice cubes Shaved chocolate

Process all but cubes and shaved chocolate in blender. Ad cubes to bring to 4 1/2 cup level; process until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Garnish if desired with shaved chocolate. YIELD: 4 1/2 cups

STRAWBERRY SMOOTHIE

1 (8 oz) fat free vanilla yogurt

1 (10 oz) package frozen sliced strawberries

1 frozen sliced banana

1/4 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon honey

Process all ingredients in blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Serve immediately. YIELD: 3 1/4 cups

 

 

 

 

 

PEACHY- PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

1 (29 oz) can sliced peaches in syrup, drained

1/2 cup chilled pineapple juice

1/4 cup sugar

1 pint softened fat free vanilla ice cream

Process all but ice cream in blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Add ice cream; process until smooth. Serve immediately. YIELDS: 4 1/2 cups

PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE

1 quart pineapple sherbet

1 (6 oz) can pineapple juice, partially frozen

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Process in blender until smooth, scraping sides once. Serve immediately.

YIELD: 4 cups

BANANA - RASPBERRY SHAKE (OR SORBET)

1 envelope vanilla Alba 1 medium banana

1 (8 oz) fat free raspberry yogurt 6 to 8 ice cubes

In blender, process all but ice cubes until smooth. Scrape sides and add ice cubes slowly until smooth again. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 (8-oz) servings

* For Sorbet, refreeze after last blending. When frozen, scoop into dishes and serve.

ORANGE JULIUS

3 cups orange juice (canned or fresh) 1 cup powdered milk

1 teaspoon vanilla 9-10 ice cubes

1/2 cup sugar

Blend all but ice cubes in blender until smooth. Add ice cubes one at a time, blending in between. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

PASSION SHAKE

1/2 can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 (12-oz) can flavored carbonated soda

Process in blender and add 3 cups ice cubes until smooth.

Yield: 4 (1/2 cup) servings

BANANA SHAKE

2 large bananas, sliced and frozen

1 cup low fat milk

1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Process all ingredients I or 2 minutes in a blender until smooth, stopping once to scrape sides. Serve immediately. Yield: about 3 cups

RASPBERRY FROZEN DESSERT

1 1/2 cups canned unsweetened crushed pineapple with juice

3 frozen bananas

3 cups frozen raspberries (1-16oz bag, low sugar)

To freeze bananas, peel, cut up and place in a plastic bag for at least 12 hours. Place the pineapple and juice in blender and add frozen raspberries a little at a time, blending well. Place 1/2 cup of mixture into eight dessert dishes and freeze for 15-30 minutes. If in the freezer longer, remove from freezer a short time before serving. Yield: 8 servings

WEIGHT WATCHERS QUICK MORNING SHAKE

1 packet vanilla Alba

1/2 cup cold water

3/4 teaspoon dry strawberry sugar-free gelatin

1/2 medium sliced banana

3 ice cubes

Mix first three ingredients in blender and add banana while still running and ice cubes, one at a time until dissolved, approximately 2 minutes. Pour into a 12-ounce glass. Yield: 1 (12-oz) serving

WEIGHT WATCHERS CHOCOLATE PEANUT SHAKE

1 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

5-6 ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in blender at high speed 2 minutes until thick and foamy.

Pour 1/4 of mixture into each of 4 glasses. Yield: 4 servings

 

 

 

WEIGHT WATCHERS FROSTY MILKSHAKE

1/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder (or 1 packet of vanilla or flavored Alba)

1/2 cup cold water

2 tsp. artificial sweetener

1 tsp. vanilla or other flavor

1 fruit of your choice

8-10 ice cubes

Add all but ice into blender and blend well. Add cubes one at a time until thick and frothy. Yield 1 serving

CHOCOLATE-BANANA CREAM

1/2 cup ice water

1/2 cup non-fat yogurt

2 envelopes chocolate Alba

2 small bananas

6 large ice cubes

Combine water and yogurt in blender. Add Alba and bananas. Process at low speed adding ice cubes one at a time. Process high for 60 seconds or until Alba is thickened and ice is processed. Yield: 4 servings

NESTLES QUIK SHAKE

1 scoop (1/2 cup) low fat ice cream, softened 1 cup low fat milk

3 heaping teaspoons Quik, any flavor

Process all ingredients in blender until combined. Yield: 2 (8-oz) servings

FESTIVE ORANGE PUNCH

1 can (12-oz) frozen concentrated orange juice, defrosted

2 liters partially chilled lemon-lime soda

1 quart orange sherbet

1 quart vanilla low-fat ice cream

1 orange, sliced thin

Combine juice and soda; add sherbet and ice cream. Garnish with orange slices. Can be frozen until slushy and served as "icees". Yield: 18 cups

 

 

 

 

LIMEADE SHAKE

1/3 cup non-fat dry milk

1/3 cup artificial sweetener or sugar

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender until ice is crushed. Yield: 1 3/4 cups

TROPICAL SHAKE

3/4 cup (6-oz) can unsweetened pineapple juice

1/3 cup non-fat dry milk

1 small ripe banana

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Sugar or honey, optional

1/2 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients in blender until ice is crushed. Yield: 2 1/4 cups

QUICK START BREAKFAST DRINK

2 cups pineapple juice 2 ripe bananas, sliced

6-oz fat free vanilla yogurt 1 cup frozen strawberries

1/4 cup wheat germ, optional 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Yield: 4 servings

STRAWBERRY-BANANA DRINK

1 (6-oz) fat-free strawberry/banana yogurt 11/2 cups cranberry juice

1/2 cup strawberry preserves 1 tsp. rum flavoring

1 tsp. banana flavoring 12 ice cubes

1 large ripe banana

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

1/2 cup sugar, honey or sweetener

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Yield: 4-6 servings

STRAWBERRY SHAKE

1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

1/4 cup plain or vanilla fat free yogurt 1 to 2 tsp. honey

1/2 tsp. vanilla 1/2 cup ice cubes

Combine all in blender until ice is crushed. Yield: 2 cups

KRAFT GOOD MORNING SHAKE

2 cups unsweetened orange juice

1 (7-oz) jar marshmallow crème

1 (16-oz) plain fat free yogurt

Combine juice and marshmallow crème in blender until blended. Add yogurt and process until smooth. Yield: 6 (3/4) cup servings

CRANBERRY SHAKE

2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled

1/2 cup orange juice, chilled

1 pint fat free vanilla ice cream

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Yield: 4 1/2 cups

STRAWBERRY-ORANGE SLUSH

1/2 cup low fat milk 2 cups orange juice

1 tablespoon sugar, honey or sweetener 2 cups ice cubes

1 (10-oz) pkg. frozen strawberries, slightly defrosted

Combine all but ice in blender until smooth. Gradually add ice until smooth.

Yield: 5 1/2 cups

FAST LEMON MERINGUE SMOOTHIE

1 (8-oz) Columbo Light (fat free) Lemon Meringue Yogurt

1/2 - 3/4 oz Realemon concentrate

6 ice cubes

Combine all in blender and blend on high until ice is smooth. Great for hot summer afternoon! Yield: (1) 9 oz serving

LEMON-BANANA SHAKE

1 pint soft vanilla fat free ice cream 2 bananas

1 (6-oz) can frozen concentrate lemonade, defrosted 3 cups low fat milk

1 pint fat free vanilla ice cream for garnish if desired

Combine lemonade concentrate, bananas and milk in blender, Add 1st pint of ice cream, a scoop at a time until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with scoop of ice cream from 2nd pint of ice cream, if desired. Yield: 6 cups

PINK PARROT

2 cups chilled cranberry juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 scoops orange sherbet

2 scoops orange sherbet, for garnish

Combine juices in blender. Add sherbet and blend until smooth. Top with additional scoop of orange sherbet, if desired.

SMALL OLIVE PIES

 

Pastry:

1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast

2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 teaspoon sugar

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup olive oil

Filling:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 leeks (white part plus 2 inches of the green), chopped

1 1/2 cups Amphissa or Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped

Olive oil, for brushing

 

Dilute the yeast with 1 cup warm water and add the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until it starts to froth.

 

In a large bowl, sift the flour and add the salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, lemon juice, olive oil and remaining water. Mix with a wooden spoon. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead well to obtain a soft, shiny, elastic dough. Add a little more flour or water if needed. Form dough into a ball, cover it and let stand in a warm place as you prepare the filling.

 

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and leeks until soft and transparent, about 3 minutes. Add the olives, pine nuts (if using), parsley and mint, and remove from heat.

 

Divide the dough into 14 pieces, and form each piece into a disk about the size of a saucer. To fill the pies, put 2 tablespoons of filling on each disk, brush the edges with a little water and fold in half to make semicircles. Press the borders with your fingers to seal them and transfer to an oiled pan.

 

Brush pies with a little olive oil. Places in a 145-degree oven for about 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 375 and bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown. Place on a rack to cool and serve warm or cold.

 

Note: Instead of brushing with olive oil, you can brush the pies with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

STRAWBERRY SANGR(ACU)A

Serves 8

1 bottle (750 ml) fruity red wine

1 pound fresh strawberries (about 2 pints), hulled and sliced

1 cup fresh apple juice

1/3 cup Triple Sec liqueur

1/4 cup sugar (more or less depending upon ripeness of berries)

2 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

 

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir until sugar dissolves. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to one day. Remove cloves and cinnamon stick. Pour sangr(acu)a into glasses, being sure to include some strawberries. Serve with a spoon to eat fruit.

 

STUFFED RED PEPPERS

Ingredients used in traditional Spanish dishes are varied depending on the cook. This is one of the most popular versions of stuffed peppers in Spain. The recipe is from "Tapas" by Richard Tapper, due to be released in August.

 

6 to 8 small red bell peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 to 5 ounces canned tomatoes, finely chopped

2 red chili peppers, seeded and chopped

12 mussels, cooked and diced

1 can (8 ounces) whole clams, drained

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup cooked white rice

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush bell peppers with a little olive oil, place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Cut around stem of each pepper, pull it out and reserve. Remove seeds.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until transparent. Add tomatoes and chilies and cook until reduced to a smooth sauce. Add mussels, clams, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add rice.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stuff peppers with rice mixture. Do not overfill, as rice needs room to expand. Replace stems. Arrange peppers in a baking dish and brush with a little olive oil. Bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

 

To get a taste of The True Joy Of Cooking, kids try cooking with Joy

Capitol Hill School students say their cafeteria lady, Joy Hall, is great -- and she's on a billboard to prove it

It's not every cafeteria lady who gets to be on a billboard.

 

Capitol Hill School's Joy Hall may be the first. For doing something that was no big deal to her -- saving a baked potato for a little girl with food allergies -- she ended up as part of a poster on a billboard in Maryland, Illinois and New York for Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 6-12.

 

Allison Zumwalt, 8, a Capitol Hill third-grader, won a national poster contest by drawing a picture of the caring and special lunch lady at her Southwest Portland school.

 

The letter she sent to accompany the poster said, "I am allergic to milk, eggs, fish and all nuts, and there is only one food, the baked potato, I can eat in the school cafeteria. I love to eat in the cafeteria because it makes me feel like the other kids. Baked potato day is on Wednesday. I really look forward to it.

 

"My mom packs my own dairy-free margarine and dessert to go with it, and I get fruit and veggies from the variety bar. I am on second lunch, so often the cafeteria runs out of baked potatoes. Joy, our school cook, always saves me a potato so I will have something safe to eat.

 

"My friends understand why I sometimes get special attention, and if they don't then Joy explains it to them. Joy always looks out for me and that's why I think she is so nice."

 

That's not all that Capitol Hill School likes about Joy Hall.

 

Kids clamor to work in the cafeteria, and as many as 74 kids eat breakfast at school "because they like the food and they like Joy," says mom Joan McFadden.

 

"She makes working in the cafeteria a fun and safe place, and gives some kids who aren't having a lot of success in school a boost of self-esteem," says Susan Barker, a dietitian with the Portland Public Schools.

 

McFadden runs a community learning center with after-school classes. One afternoon a week, Hall teaches cooking to fourth- and fifth-graders through the center.

 

The class was filled within minutes after enrollment opened. Eight lucky kids, six girls and two boys, got to sign up for the eight-week class.

 

To start off, the kids wrote down what they wanted to make for Hall's class:

 

"Ice cream Sundays."

 

"Semores."

 

"Chocolate Cake."

 

"Chocolate smoothy."

 

"Very very cheessy omlits."

 

So far, they've made baked elephant ears (see accompanying recipe), fruit smoothies, minipizzas, chocolate-dipped strawberries, pretzels and wiener wraps. They're limited to making foods that can be prepared, cooked and eaten in the hourlong class.

 

"You don't always get a chance to teach your kids to cook at home," says McFadden, whose fifth-grade daughter has taken the class.

 

Nate Makuch, 10, a fourth-grader, takes the class "to make sweets and stuff, and chocolate chip cookies with my mom."

 

His biggest accomplishment is learning how to make twice-baked potatoes.

 

Hall says, "It's just fun, and the kids are great. I don't know who's having more fun. I think I am. I get to spend an hour with them and be silly." The cafeteria lady for 11/2 years, she says the school is "like family."

 

She is a bit embarrassed, though, by the attention. She admits, "The poster really touches me."

 

Mother of a second-grader herself, Hall knows it's important for kids to fit in. So one day a week Allison, who normally has to bring her lunch, gets to go through the cafeteria line with her friends.

 

Allison said the bad part of food allergies is, "You don't get to eat new foods. You have to eat the same foods over and over. And you feel left out."

 

Hall says she does it for "the smile on Allison's face."

 

"You do what you need to do to make their day better. That's the only thing I try to do. I kind of make a difference, a little bit, and that's what it's all about. I can't save kids from heartache but I can make sure that for one day they feel special."

 

Allison's poster was also featured on the cover of the Portland Public Schools Board of Education meeting agenda on May 7.

 

And all because Joy Hall saves a little girl a potato.

 

TOP RAMEN INFORMATION

Just add water: It's cheap, easy and foolproof -- no wonder it's still hot

By J. Freedom du Lac, Bee Pop Culture Writer (Published May 23, 2001)

Geoff Hudson is nobody's gourmet. He prefers his food simple and straightforward, and he claims he's "clueless in the kitchen."

 

But that statement is not totally true. A recent visit to the cramped downtown Sacramento apartment Hudson has shared with four friends since losing his computer-software sales job earlier this year reveals he's actually quite deft at noodling around behind a hot stove.

 

Hudson has returned home hungry from an interview with a pharmaceutical firm that eventually will turn him away, and as is his ritual whenever his stomach is running on empty and his wallet is, too, he is whipping up his house specialty:

 

Beef-flavored Top Ramen.

 

"Well, I guess I can do Top Ramen pretty well," he says. "Of course I can; I've had enough practice. I used to live on ramen in college.

 

"I didn't think I'd still be eating it six years later, though."

 

Hudson, 28, shakes his head.

 

He is bewildered, because his vision of the American Dream featured filet mignon, not some instant soup that's sold as a bag-wrapped brick of dried noodles with a packet of seasoning that costs less than 17 cents per serving, two servings per package.

 

"Why do they call it Top Ramen, anyway?" Hudson says

 

sarcastically as a plume of steam surges past his face. "It seems like it's what you eat when you're bottomed out."

 

Thirty years after being introduced in the United States by its Japanese creator -- Nissin Foods Co. founder Momofuku Ando -- Top Ramen appears to have surpassed mac and cheese as the leading symbol of food frugality in American popular culture.

 

Struggling artists, struggling adults and cash-deficient college kids are apt to tell you, only half-jokingly, that they're surviving on the famous fried-noodle soup. Metaphorically minded people on strict, self-imposed budgets are likely to say the same.

 

An edible icon for the fiscally frail and fractured, then, Top Ramen -- a brand name that, like Kleenex, Band-Aid and Scotch tape, has come to define a product being made by multiple manufacturers -- has even surfaced in a song lyric.

 

"They both agree that they're getting old/But that's all they have in common," sings David Garza, an Atlantic Records artist. "She eats caviar, he eats Top Ramen/Fell out of love long time ago."

 

All hail the new champion of cheap eats!

 

Though Hiroshi Kika, a senior manager with the Top Ramen producer Nissin U.S.A., chuckles at the tag ("We just make noodles," he says from his office in Los Angeles), it's a truly notable distinction during these trying economic times.

 

Just last year, staffers from the Los Angeles office of Murphy O'Brien Public Relations were doing lunch daily at the catered MTV Networks cafeteria down the block. But now, they're noshing on Top Ramen at their desks.

 

"With a streamlined staff, we have to work longer hours," says Carlos Santini, a Murphy O'Brien account executive. "So our (chief operating officer) ordered a bunch of Top Ramen, because it's quick, it's easy and everybody has made it at one time or another. We eat it all the time in the office.

 

"At first we were amused. Then we were in awe; we were happy, because we had actual, instant food. It's a lot better than having popcorn or a Rolo for lunch. It's a survivor tool. But the flavor gets old."

 

(Obviously, Santini has never read the "Top Ramen Noodle Cookbook," which was written in 1995 by two recent college graduates and features more than 175 ramen recipes, including those for ramen shrimp risotto, ramen stroganoff, cheeseburger noodles and a cheese ramen omelet. Nor has he noticed that, to keep up with America's fickle tastes, there are 13 flavors of Top Ramen currently on the market -- among them picante beef.)

 

Of course, despite its survivor's-sustenance status, there is still at least a little brand-label cache attached to Top Ramen:

 

Santini is a Top Ramen purist, scoffing at noodle knockoffs like Maruchan Ramen -- even though the latter has become the market leader, in part because of deep discounts (Maruchan Ramen is on sale for 10 cents each at Safeway right now, vs. 33 cents for Top Ramen).

 

"We've got the real deal," Santini sniffs.

 

He's also not a fan of Nissin's Cup Noodles product, which is like Top Ramen -- only it comes in a Styrofoam cup, with dried vegetables added.

 

"The great thing about Top Ramen is, no vegetables whatsoever," Santini says.

 

Then again, Top Ramen does contain 14 grams of fat per package.

 

But it's not necessarily nutritional value and fat content that make Top Ramen such a fascinating foodstuff to Robert Thompson.

 

A Syracuse University professor and the president of the Popular Culture Association, it is Thompson's trade to ponder the deeper meaning of cultural detritus and delights alike.

 

About Top Ramen, then, Thompson says: "It carries so many little bits of cultural information. If you can boil water, you cannot only make yourself a meal, you can make yourself some romance and transform yourself into a starving poet or writer.

 

"Top Ramen is associated with creative people starving for the sake of their art. There's a romance and a class to this that we didn't have with a loaf of bread and a can of Spam."

 

Oh.

 

"And it has a bit of international flavor," Thompson continues. "It's not like eating mac and cheese, which is the dietary equivalent of the pink flamingo. It's a taste of the world."

 

OK.

 

"And there are these charming aesthetics. It's a brick that you turn into a meal. This is the kind of things we imagined astronauts to eat."

 

Uh huh.

 

"And as simple and cheap as it is, there's also a certain kind of culinary theater that Top Ramen provides. It's not quite as good as Jiffy Pop, which is still the best food-as-entertainment out there. But you take this hard, dry brick with texture, boil the water, throw it in -- and, presto, it turns into food.

 

"It's the dietary equivalent of sea monkeys. It's not food; it's fun."

 

Right!

 

What more could you want for 33 cents?

 

Hudson, the reluctant Top Ramen eater, has an idea.

 

"I'd rather have a job," he says. "I'd pay somebody to hire me right now."

 

Actually, he couldn't afford it.

 

"I'm tired of not having money," he sighs. "I'm tired of Top Ramen."

 

 

TROUT WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY

Makes 4 servings

 

A simple approach that doesn't complicate the delicate flavor of trout, this recipe yields a delicious and attractive entree with a minimum of preparation.

 

4 pan-dressed trout (about3/4pound each)

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 lemon, quartered

 

Preheat a charcoal grill until the coals glow red with white ash on the edges.

 

Rinse the trout inside and out; pat dry with paper towel. Using your fingers, rub the olive oil over the inside and outside surface of each fish. Next, gently rub1/4of the crushed garlic inside the body cavity of each trout, distributing the garlic throughout. Place one sprig of rosemary inside each fish. Place in grill basket.

 

Grill the fish until opaque through the thickest part (cut along back to test), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges.

 

VINEGAR GREEN BEANS

 

2 pounds green beans

1 small onion, thinly sliced vertically

6 small slices bacon, coarsely chopped

2 large eggs

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

 

Trim beans and cut in half lengthwise. Cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain, then place in warm serving dish. Place onion and bacon in a small skillet and saute until bacon is crisp. Whisk together eggs, vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, then whisk this mixture into skillet. When sauce is hot, pour it over beans, toss and serve immediately.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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