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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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

ASIAN PEAR AND WATERCRESS SALAD

ASPARAGUS TARTLETS

BAG AND SEASON MEXICAN POT ROAST

BEEF BRISKET

BLACK and WHITE SOUP

BLACK BEAN SOUP

BREAKFAST IN A BISCUIT

BROADENING YOUR PASTA HORIZONS

CALIFORNIA HOT CHICKEN SALAD

CARIBBEAN TURKEY BURGERS

CHICKEN SALAD SEVICHE

CHOCOLATE DIPPED ALMOND ANISE BISCOTTI

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

CITRUS MARINATED SHRIMP COCKTAIL

COCONUT MACAROONS

COUSCOUS INFORMATION

CROCK POT WESTERN OMELET CASSEROLE

DANISH CUBE STEAK

DILLED SALMON SPREAD

EASY CHEESECAKE

FIRECRACKER BURGERS

FLAVOR ESSENTIALS

GRILLING FOOD SAFETY TIPS

HERB FLAVORED MUSTARD

HOT CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 2

HOT CHICKEN SALAD

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 3

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 4

HOT STUFF INFORMATION

INSIDE OUT RAVIOLI

ISTANBUL BREAD SALAD

JAPANESE NOODLES IN THE SUMMER

LIGHTS OUT FOOD

MACAROONS

MAKE YOUR OWN TARTS

MANGO and RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE

NIPPING ZUCCHINI IN THE BUD

ORANGE ALMOND SPARKLE

OVERNIGHT WAFFLES

PEACHES AND CREAM TART

PECAN BARLEY SALAD

PORTOFINO SUMMER GREENS SALAD

POTATO AND PEA SALAD

REDUCTIONS INFORMATION

RIBBON SANDWICHES

ROASTED POTATOES WITH GARLIC

SEASONING MIX

SLOW COOKED SWEET and SPICY TURKEY

SOUTHWESTERN CINNAMON STEAK RUB

SUCCOTASH SALAD WITH CREAMY BASIL DR

SUNSET DELI SANDWICHES

SWEET AND SOUR TURKEY

TACO RANCH DIP

TERIYAKI STEAK SKEWERS

THE PERFECT SUMMER BAKING PROJECT

TUNA AND WHITE BEANS WITH BITTER GREENS

VANILLA WAFERS

WAFFLES

WALNUT ANGEL CAKE

 

 

 

 

ASIAN PEAR AND WATERCRESS SALAD

WITH SESAME DRESSING

 

For dressing

1 (1/2-inch-thick) slice peeled fresh ginger

1/4 cup Asian sesame paste* or smooth peanut butter

3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil*

1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Asian chile paste with garlic*

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

For salad

1 1/2 lb Asian pear (1 large or 2 medium)

4 cups trimmed watercress sprigs (from 2 bunches; 10 oz)

1 carrot, finely shredded

 

*Available at some Asian markets and by mail order from Ethnic Grocer (800-523-1961).

 

Make dressing: Blend all dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

Prepare salad: Peel pear and cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick julienne, then transfer to a bowl.

 

Combine watercress and pear in a bowl, then season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Divide among plates, then drizzle with some dressing and sprinkle with carrot. serves 4

 

Cooks' note: Dressing keeps, covered tightly and chilled, 1 week.

ASPARAGUS TARTLETS

1 lb. asparagus, cooked

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup half-and-half

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Basil sprigs, to garnish

 

Pastry:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter, diced

1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening, diced

2-1/2 tablespoons cold water

 

To make pastry, sift flour into a bowl. Rub in butter and shortening until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

Stir in cold water to bind to a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 40OF (205C). Thinly roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut circles to fit six 4-inch loosened tattler pans. Line pans with pastry, then pre-foil into pastry cases. Fill with dried beans and bake 15 minutes. Remove beans and foil and let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350F (180C).

Cut 3-inch lengths from tips of asparagus and reserve. Snap woody ends off asparagus stalks and peel off any tough skin. Purée asparagus stalks in a blender or food processor. Add egg, egg yolk and half-and- half and blend until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into pastry cases and arrange asparagus tips on top. Bake 20 minutes or until set and golden. Garnish with basil and serve warm with salad greens. Serves 6

BAG AND SEASON MEXICAN POT ROAST

Try this Mexican twist on pot roast for an exciting, flavorful meal!

 

1 package Bag'n Season(r) for Pot Roast

3 pounds boneless chuck roast*, no more than 2 inches thick

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chilies

1 cup mild chunky salsa

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange Roasting Bag in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Trim excess fat from meat. Place meat in bag. Combine Seasoning Blend and remaining ingredients; pour over meat.

 

2. Close bag loosely with nylon tie. Cut 4 small holes in top of bag to allow steam to escape. Cook 1 hour for meat no more than 2 inches thick. Cook thicker roasts or steaks 1 hour 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

 

*flank steak may be substituted if desired.

BEEF BRISKET

 

1 beef brisket (flat cut, preferably first cut)

2-3 onions

1 package of onion soup mix

2 cups water

2 cups ketchup

salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

 

THIS MUST BE COOKED IN A ROASTING PAN WITH A LID --NO ALUMINUM PAN OR FOIL, BECAUSE OF THE ACID IN THE KETCHUP.

 

Slice onions and layer on bottom of pan. Place brisket on top. Pour two cups of water and two cups of ketchup around sides of beef. Pour onion soup mix and seasonings on top. Put lid on and back at 325-350 for 2-3 hours depending on size of brisket. Cook for at least 2 hours and then slice it down (like you do Roast Beef) and then put it back in "gravy" for at least another hour. This tastes better if you cook it a day ahead of time or longer and freezes well. This can be served on a roll or as a main meal, with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and veggie or anything you like.

BLACK and WHITE SOUP

This is actually two soups that can be served separately or together. Each soup serves four; combined, the two serve eight.

cheddar cheese soup

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size pieces

1/2 large yellow bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size pieces

1/2 large green bell pepper, cut into matchstick-size pieces

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1 cup whipping cream

8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)

Black Bean Soup (which see)

Purchased tomatillo salsa

Sour cream

 

for cheese soup: Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add peppers, onion and garlic. Sauté vegetables until tender, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Whisk in stock, then milk and cream. Simmer until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Gradually add cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until melted and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

To serve, simultaneously ladle generous 1/2 cup cheese soup and generous 1/2 cup Black Bean Soup into shallow bowls, allowing soups to meet in center. Top with tomatillo salsa and sour cream. Makes 8 servings.

BLACK BEAN SOUP

 

1 1/2 cups dried black beans

 

4 1/2 cups water

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

3 bacon slices, chopped

5 large fresh thyme sprigs

3 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

2 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin

 

2 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

 

Place beans in large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover beans by 3 inches and soak overnight.

Drain beans; transfer to heavy large pot. Add 4 1/2 cups water and next 7 ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until beans are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Working in batches, puree black bean soup in blender with 2 cups chicken stock. Return soup to pot. Stir in chopped cilantro. (Soup can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer, thinning with additional chicken stock if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. serves 4

 

Note: This soup can also be used as 1/2 of the recipe for Black and White Soup.

BREAKFAST IN A BISCUIT

 

use a biscuit mix

 

2-3 potatoes sliced thin

1 onion, sliced thinly

1 lb sausage

6-8 eggs

1 lb shredded cheddar

 

Saute` the potatoes and onions using a lid to make them soft, and set aside. Fry sausage until it is done, pour off grease and add the eggs to the sausage, scrambling till done. Make biscuit dough for about 6-8 people and roll it out, using enough flour to keep it from being sticky.

Line a casserole bowl with biscuit dough and put in first the potatoes and onions, then sausage and eggs, and put cheese over the top of that. Then fold the remaining dough over and seal together and place in the oven at 375 deg. until biscuit is done. I use a 13" glass Pyrex dish. When done, turn out on platter and

slice into individual portions. Some add jalapeno peppers.

BROADENING YOUR PASTA HORIZONS

 

By Marlene Parrish, ucook.com contributor

 

People eat a lot of pasta. It's fast, easy and ingredients are almost always in the pantry. But for some people, pasta dinners never get beyond spaghetti and bottled tomato sauce one time and bottled tomato sauce and spaghetti the next. Could be you need to get out of the rut and upgrade your choices and thinking on the subject.

 

Spaghetti is just a shape. It belongs in the huge pasta family, which has countless other shapes - penne, fusilli, macaroni, rigatoni, and farfalle, to name a few. When you think about the whole world of pasta, you open doors to multiple experiences. Italian sauce made from tomatoes, onions and peppers is good, but it's only one ordinary way to go.

 

You can pick forever from the whole food chain and from the cuisines of dozens of countries. Instead of tomato and ground beef sauces, add shrimp, tuna, sausage, nuts, and/or herbs to pasta. Think lots of olive oil, butter, and grated cheese. Those things are easily kept around. And always season with generous amounts of salt and pepper. If you ate pasta for dinner every night of your life, you might never repeat a recipe.

 

As a refresher, keep in mind a few things about cooking pasta.

 

Start with a good brand of imported dried pasta. It's so inexpensive, why get the cheap stuff? DeCecco is one good brand. Refrigerated pastas are good because they are fresh and they cook faster.

 

Make sure you use lots of water. Three quarts for a half-pound of pasta is the right amount. Cover the pot while it's heating so the water comes to the boil quickly.

 

To prevent pasta from sticking together, stir it often during cooking. You don't need to add oil, but you can if you want to.

 

Always dip out a half cup of cooking water before draining the pasta, just in case. If a sauce is too thick, the water will thin it. If it's too thin, add some pasta water and then cook longer. The starch will thicken the sauce.

 

Never rinse pasta. The starch that clings to it is important for the taste and texture of the finished dish.

 

If you are adding pasta to a sauce, allow it to rest in the sauce for a minute or so before serving to absorb some of the flavor.

 

To estimate the amount of spaghetti to use for one serving, measure an amount you can enclose in the circle made by your thumb and forefinger.

 

And always make a little too much for one meal. There's nothing better than lunch or a second supper made from leftover pasta tossed into hot olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and left to sizzle and form a crust.

 

Here are some quickie sauces. Play it by ear to make one portion or two.

Fusilli with Sweet Corn

 

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a few ears of fresh sweet corn and simmer about eight minutes or until done. Remove them, let them cool and cut off the kernels with a sharp knife and set aside. To the water, add short or curly pasta such as fusilli and cook according to directions. Drain the pasta. Toss the corn kernels with pasta, lots of butter, salt and pepper and some chopped chives or parsley.

 

Penne with Asparagus

 

In a pan, simmer several a pound of asparagus for four or five minutes or until just tender. Remove them and cut into lengths about an inch long. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a penne pasta and cook according to directions. Drain the pasta. Add some olive oil or butter to the pasta and add the chopped asparagus. Generously season with salt and pepper. Add hot pepper flakes and a few chopped anchovies if you like a peppier flavor.

 

Spaghetti with Bacon and Egg

 

Officially, this is called spaghetti alla carbonara. In a large pot of simmering water, start cooking spaghetti. While it cooks, fry eight slices of bacon until crisp. Drain off the excess fat, but crumble the bacon and return it to the cooking pan. In a small bowl, combine four egg yolks with 1 half-cup of good parmesan cheese, and a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

 

When the spaghetti is done, drain it well and add it to the bacon in the skillet, tossing it to coat with fat. If there isn't enough, add a little olive oil. Now pour the beaten, seasoned egg yolk over all and toss to coat. The heat of the pasta will cook the egg. The dish should be well-seasoned. If you want color, add a little chopped parsley.

CALIFORNIA HOT CHICKEN SALAD

3 c. cubed, cooked chicken or turkey

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of chicken soup

1 c. chopped onion

1/2 c. sliced water chestnuts

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix ingredients, spread in 9x9 baking casserole dish.

Topping:

1/2 c. slivered almonds

3/4 c. crushed potato chips

3/4 c. crushed corn flakes

Combine almonds, potato chips and corn flakes. Sprinkle crumb topping on

chicken mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

CARIBBEAN TURKEY BURGERS

WITH TROPICAL SALSA

 

Get a feel of the islands while enjoying grilled Caribbean Turkey Burgers topped with an exotic Tropical Salsa.

 

Burgers:

1 pound ground turkey

1 can (15 ounces) crushed pineapple, well-drained and divided

2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon McCormick(r) Parsley Flakes

2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Caribbean Jerk Seasoning

 

Tropical Salsa:

1/2 cup crushed pineapple or chopped mango

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, very finely chopped

1 tablespoon orange juice

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Parsley Flakes

 

4 hamburger rolls

lettuce

 

1. Lightly mix together turkey, 1/3 cup crushed pineapple and next three ingredients. Shape mixture into four burgers.

 

2.In a small bowl, mix together all Tropical Salsa ingredients. Set aside.

 

3. Grill burgers over medium heat or in nonstick skillet for 5-6 minutes per side or until done. (165°F internal temperature). Place on hamburger rolls. Top with Tropical Salsa and lettuce.

CHICKEN SALAD SEVICHE

For marinade:

 

Juice of 6 or 7 limes, about 3/4 cup

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (see cook's notes)

 

For salad:

 

2 purchased, whole cooked chickens, skinned and cut into thin, lengthwise pieces,

no more than 1/2 inch thick

1 large red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and trimmed

2 ripe avocados

2 hearts (tender inside leaves) of romaine lettuce

 

Cook's notes: Use caution when working with fresh chilies; wash hands and work surface thoroughly upon completion and do NOT touch your face or eyes.

 

In medium bowl, whisk marinade ingredients together. Set aside.

 

Place chicken in shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

 

Cut pepper lengthwise into very thin slices. Peel avocados and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Arrange lettuce on serving platter. Using slotted spoon, lift chicken out of marinade, letting excess marinade fall back into dish.

 

Arrange chicken over lettuce. Top with pepper and avocado; drizzle with some marinade. Serve.

 

CHOCOLATE DIPPED ALMOND ANISE BISCOTTI

 

For a spectacular end of meal treat, serve out delicious Chocolate Dipped Almond-Anise Biscotti.

 

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Anise Seed

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Pure Vanilla Extract

6 ounces (squares) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease large cookie sheet. In a large bowl, add first 6 ingredients. Blend, using an electric mixer, on low speed. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and Vanilla Extract. With mixer running, slowly pour egg mixture into bowl. Mix just until the dough comes together. Do not over-mix.

 

2. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a 12 x 2-inch log. Place logs onto cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes or until slightly risen and firm to touch.

 

3. Remove cookie sheet from oven. Cool logs on wire rack 15 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Using a sharp, serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices in single layer on un-greased cookie sheet.

 

4. Bake at 350°F 10-13 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool on cookie sheet.

 

5. Place chocolate and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for one minute. Stir, and microwave again for 30 seconds. Microwave for an additional 30 seconds, if needed. The chocolate will retain some of its original shape. Remove from microwave and stir until completely melted.

 

6. Dip cooled biscotti into chocolate mixture. Place on plate covered with waxed paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens (about 10 minutes). Store in a covered container.

CHOCOLATE MACAROONS

1 can sweetened condensed milk

3 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/4 tsp salt

2 cans (4oz size) shredded coconut

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a large cookie sheet.

In top of double boiler combine the milk, chocolate and salt. Cook and stir frequently until thickened and chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Add coconut and vanilla and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoon 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 12 minutes. Remove and cool. Makes 2 dozen.

 

CITRUS MARINATED SHRIMP COCKTAIL

 

1 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup ketchup or "hot" seafood cocktail sauce (see cook's notes)

a cup vodka

1/4 cup olive oil

11/2 pounds cooked, peeled medium or large shrimp

1/2 to 1 small red onion, chopped

1 cup finely chopped cilantro

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (see cook's notes)

 

Cook's notes: If you use "hot" cocktail sauce rather than ketchup, omit the hot sauce.

 

Combine juices, ketchup or cocktail sauce, vodka, and hot pepper sauce, if using, in large bowl. Whisk in oil.

 

Add shrimp, onion and cilantro; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours. Partially drain before serving. (I like to drain off about ª of liquid, then spoon mixture along with liquid into individual footed glasses).

COCONUT MACAROONS

3 egg whites

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 c. angle flake coconut

In blender put egg whites and sugar and turn to liquefy for 10 seconds.

Add vanilla and coconut and turn on chop for 20 seconds. Drop by

teaspoonful on foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20

minutes. Remove and cool. Makes about 3 dozen depending on size of

cookie.

 

OMAS VORGETÄUSCHTEN KÄSEKUCHEN MIT ROSINEN

(Grandma's Pretend Cheesecake with Raisins)

 

For the Crust

 

1-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup sugar

6 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

 

For the Filling:

 

1/3 cup raisins

2 Tablespoons rum

3 eggs, separated

6 Tbsp softened, unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbsp flour

1 pound cheese of your choice

1 cup sour cream

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

salt

 

For the Meringue:

 

2 egg whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

 

To make the dough, cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 5 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. By hand, mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add the milk, stirring after each addition only long enough to combine. Press the dough into the springform pan.

 

To make the filling, soak the raisins in the rum for a half an hour. Combine the egg yolks, butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat 5 minutes, or until light. Add the flour, cheese, and sour cream and mix on low, just until mixed. Remove the raisins from the rum and stir them into the filling mixture. In a clean bowl, beat the whites until stiff, adding a pinch of salt at the beginning and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar after the foam has begun to develop. Fold the whites and the rest of the filling together until well mixed.

 

Make the meringue for the top by beating the two remaining whites with a pinch of salt at the start and adding 1/4 tsp cream of tartar after the foam has begun to develop. Spread the meringue evenly over the top of the cake pan. Bake for an hour and 10 minutes. Let cool on a rack for an hour and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

CHICAGO ITALIAN BEEF SANDWICH

 

1 5-lb rump roast

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups beef stock

1 Tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp dried marjoram

1 bay leaf

1 tsp hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

3 to 6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp fresh basil (optional)

Italian bread or rolls

 

Preheat the oven to 300°F (160°C). Dry the roast, season it with salt and pepper, and place it on a rack in a roasting pan. Strew the onion over the top of the roast and put the pan in the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 140°F (60°C). Remove the roast to a platter or cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for a half hour.

 

Leave the roasting juices in the roasting pan and add all the other ingredients except the bread. On the top of the stove, heat and simmer the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, adding any juices that collect from the resting beef.

 

Slice the beef thinly, and arrange the slices in a dish. Strain the juice mixture, pour it over the beef, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

 

Heat the roast beef and sauce thoroughly. Put the sliced beef on Italian bread or rolls and spoon some of the sauce on top or serve it alongside for dipping.

 

Some recipes recommend adding grilled green pepper slices to the sandwich or a giardinera relish (made from pickled Greek peppers, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, celery, turnips, red peppers, olives and onions).

MOROCCO COUSCOUS TAKES ON THE WORLD

 

By Bradford Seaman, ucook.com staff writer

 

What coq au vin is to the French and chili is to Texas, couscous is to Morocco. A steaming plate of it, covered with stewed meats and vegetables, is an essential portrait of Moroccan culture.

 

It is an indigenous dish created by indigenous people (the Berbers of northwest Africa) in a country with numerous outside influences. The survival of both couscous and its creators is a dual success story, weathering Arab invasions and European tugs-of-war.

 

Couscous has two meanings: tiny balls of semolina grain that are steamed, and a flavorful stew of the same name, and which is served over the cooked semolina. In this case, we're talking about the semolina. At its best, it is light, fluffy, and soaked with exotic spices, chicken, lamb, and vegetables from the bubbling stew. Though it is technically a pasta, couscous resembles grain and is often found in grains sections of cookbooks.

 

Couscous' creators, the Berbers, are a non-Arab, tribal people native to northwest Africa, where they have lived since at least 1,600 BC. Surviving Roman, Arab, and European invasion and occupation over the last 2,000 years, the Berbers not only survived, but flourished: roughly 75 percent of the Moroccan population has full or partial Berber heritage.

 

Over the centuries the Berbers adapted new ideas and lifestyles without losing touch with their heritage. Couscous is living, steaming proof of that.

 

Just as the Berber origins are a mystery - there are few written records - the origin of couscous is shrouded in a similar cloud.

 

Although historians believe it was a Berber dish originally, they are not really sure when and how it came about. In its original preparation, it was simply served with butter, and as outside influences poured into Morocco many variations arose. Some believe its unique name comes from a verbal description of the hissing sound of the steaming grains.

 

Today, couscous is also open to many more interpretations. Sometimes it is served sweet with onions and raisins, while other dishes use spicy chili peppers. With some sugar or cinnamon, couscous can even be a dessert (try doing that with most types of pasta!)

 

Couscous has also expanded all over the world. Algeria, Tunisia, France, and even Brazil have created their own couscous variations. But in its traditional preparation, couscous (as a dish) is a true gastronomic delight.

Couscous is available in all supermarkets in an "instant" form. While not as flavorful, if covered with a Moroccan stew, those varieties will work fine. Traditional couscous is prepared in a very laborious process that is not practical for most of us. It should be tried at least once however, as it contains texture and flavors true to Morocco.

 

Couscous is traditionally cooked in a double steamer called a couscousière. The lower part holds the simmering stew or water, while the top is a fine strainer that holds the couscous grains. For home use, any pan and strainer combination will work. If the strainer is not fine enough, line it with some cheesecloth. Do not worry about finding an appropriate lid, as couscous is never steamed with the lid on.

 

When used in a stew, as most Moroccan couscous is, the goal is to blend the couscous with the stew's flavor. Instead of just using water, the grains are steamed directly over the stew (or tagine) with which they will be served. This allows the couscous to really soak up the flavors given off by the tagine; it's the equivalent of pouring cooked pasta into the sauté pan to marry the flavors.

CROCK POT WESTERN OMELET CASSEROLE

 

32 ounces Hash Browns, frozen

1 pound Ham, extra lean -- cooked & cubed

1 medium Onion -- diced

1 medium Green Bell Pepper -- diced

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese -- shredded

12 Eggs

1 cup Milk, skim

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Black Pepper -- or to taste

 

Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the crock pot, followed by a layer of ham then onions, green pepper and cheese. Repeat the layering process two or three more times, ending with a layer of cheese. Beat the eggs, milk and salt & pepper together. Pour over the mixture inside the crock pot, cover and turn on low. Cook for 10-12 hours, overnight, and serve for breakfast or brunch the next day.

 

DANISH CUBE STEAK

 

3/4 cup mayonnaise

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup sliced green onions

6 cube steaks

 

Combine mayonnaise, crumbled cheese, and onion; mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup

mixture for topping. Spread one side of each steak with remaining mixture;

fold in half.

 

Broil on both sides until brown. Top with reserved mixture; broil until topping is lightly browned. Yield: 6 servings.

DILLED SALMON SPREAD

 

1 (6-ounce) can salmon (without skin or bones), drained

6 ounces room-temperature cream cheese

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

4 ounces smoked salmon, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill OR 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill

Optional: Seasoned salt, to taste

For serving: Crackers, thinly sliced baguette, bagel chips

 

Cook's notes: If using "energy," a food-processor fitted with the metal blade can be used to combine salmon, cream cheese, lemon juice and horseradish.

 

In medium bowl, flake salmon with fork. Add cream cheese, lemon juice and horseradish. Smash with fork and stir with spoon until combined. Stir in smoked salmon and dill; stir to blend.

 

Taste and add seasoned salt, if desired. Serve with crackers, thin bread slices or bagel chips.

EASY CHEESECAKE

 

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/3 c. sugar

8 oz. tub Cool Whip, thawed

1 graham cracker crumb crust

(Opt.) 1-1/2 c. cherry pie filling

 

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with wire whisk or electric mixer until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate three hours or until set. Spread pie filling evenly over pie. Or, if desired, decorate the top with leftover crumbs. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

FIRECRACKER BURGERS

 

Ignite a burst of flavor in hamburgers with this vibrant blend of seasonings.

 

1 pound lean ground beef

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon McCormick(r) Parsley Flakes

3/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) Garlic Salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Black Pepper

1/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) White Pepper

1/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Red Pepper

2 bell peppers (red and green), seeded and cut in rings

Oil

4 slices Cheddar, Monterey Jack or American cheese

4 Kaiser rolls or hamburger rolls

Lettuce

 

1. Mix together ground beef, onion and Seasonings. Shape mixture into 3 or 4 burgers. Brush pepper rings with oil.

 

2. Grill burgers and peppers over medium heat 8-12 minutes or until burgers are well done (160ºF.internal temperature), turning once.

 

3. Add cheese to top of each burger for one minute before cooking is completed. Place on rolls. Top with pepper rings and lettuce.

FLAVOR ESSENTIALS

 

Introduction to "Flavor Essentials"

Americans have developed a love affair with bold, aggressive flavors. Through the doubling of spice consumption over the last two decades, the growing interest in ethnic tastes as people eat out and travel more, and the explosion of food television programs, it's clear to see--flavor is here to stay. How does one go about creating exciting flavor easily? The answer is "flavor essentials"--pairing foods with complementary flavors and using simple techniques to pack more flavor into every bite.

 

As the world's largest spice company, we're proud to present this "Flavor Essentials" guide to illustrate how to create flavor with little effort. With this guide, we welcome everyone to experience the world of flavors made simple and satisfying. With some basic tips, ideas, and building blocks for creating and pairing flavors, we'll demonstrate how easy it is to unlock the culinary secret behind great-tasting food that's simple to prepare.

 

To understand the basics behind creating flavor, we must first understand how we perceive flavor in every "sense" of the word. Creating the perfect flavor engages all the senses and is achieved only when aroma, appearance, temperature, texture, mouthfeel, and overall taste come together in exactly the right way. Now, let's take a closer look--we'll use sumptuous apple pie to illustrate the different sensory experiences.

 

Understanding Flavor

 

Aroma:

Believe it or not, 75-80 percent of what is perceived as flavor comes from aroma. Even before we walk into the kitchen, apple pie in the oven sends out a warm welcome.

 

Appearance:

Food must please the palate as well as the eye. Appearance can prepare the senses as to what to expect in that first bite. The sight alone of a flaky crust, surrounding a bubbly filling of baked apples and flecks of cinnamon, makes mouths water.

 

Temperature:

As one might guess, temperature can also affect how the food's overall flavor is perceived. Warm apple pie is just that much better than when served cold. Of course, some slightly melted "a la mode" does wonders--need we say more?

 

Texture & Mouthfeel:

Texture is an essential part of the eating experience because it affects the perception of food. One expects a good apple pie to have a delicate, slightly crisp crust, while the filling should be full of tender yet somewhat firm, juicy apples. Matching the right texture to food makes flavor even more satisfying.

 

Taste:

Finally, to achieve extraordinary flavor, there must be a balance of tastes. There are five basic tastes that can be found in foods. Any one particular taste on its own can be overpowering--imagine the taste of pure salt. When tastes are blended creatively, foods can satisfy the palate and soul--think about chocolate covered pretzels, which combines sweet, bitter and salty. In the apple pie example, some of the best apple pie recipes call for a hint of orange zest or lemon extract. The addition of slightly sour and bitter flavors enhances the sweetness of apples.

 

The 5 Basic Tastes Are:

salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami*

 

*A fifth taste recently added to the basic repertoire; some describe the experience of umami as a mouth-watering sensation, slightly meaty and brothy.

 

Creating Flavor

So now that it is understood how flavor is perceived, it's time to start creating it. Contrary to popular myth, flavor actually is quite easy to create. McCormick Flavor Council chefs were asked where they begin when it comes to cooking and creating great flavor: Many chefs agree with Chef Suzanne Goin's approach: "First I choose the freshest ingredients, then I think about how to combine those flavors together."

 

As part of McCormick "Flavor Essentials" guide, we've broken down this culinary philosophy into four simple levels: Main Ingredients, Essential Flavors, Layering Flavors, and Cooking Techniques. By putting all these levels together, creating satisfying flavors is quite easy.

 

Main Ingredients

First start with the basics: what's on the menu for dinner? Is it chicken, beef, fish, or a vegetarian dish? As with all ingredients, use the highest quality components and the meal will shine. Chef Paul Kahan recommends visiting a local farmers' market, if one is accessible. He, like many chefs, makes frequent trips to the market to find the best ingredients in season for his menu.

 

Essential Flavors - Herbs and Spices

Now that the main ingredients have been chosen, it is time to start thinking flavor. To begin, match complementary herbs, spices and seasoning blends with key ingredients. Spices have an exciting way of maximizing the flavor experience. When paired with the right foods, spices can tease the senses with an inviting aroma, tickle the palate with a newly discovered taste and linger pleasantly after a satiating bite. Chef Suzanne Goin says, "Everyone's palates have become more sophisticated--it's all about flavor."

 

Layering Flavors

Layering flavors adds many dimensions to the palate at the same time (e.g., bitter, sour, sweet), according to Chef Paul Kahan. When layering flavors, we can look at it in three different ways:

Pairing main ingredients and essential flavors with kitchen basics

Combining regional or worldly flavors and ingredients to create an ethnic dish

Creating unexpected flavor combinations such as "sweet-heat" or "role-reversal"

 

ESSENTIAL FLAVORS + KITCHEN BASICS = DELICIOUS FLAVOR

 

Once the essential flavors and main ingredients are set, it's time to experiment and have fun by layering ingredients readily available in the kitchen or what we call "kitchen basics." Flavors can come from vinegars, citrus, chilies, nuts, extracts and beyond. Olive oil, wine and honey work with almost any food. "The beauty of creating great dishes with tremendous flavor is that there are no rules, it's up to you, your imagination and your tastebuds," says Chef Wylie Dufresne.

The chart below provides some ideas for getting started:

The chart below provides some ideas for getting started:

Main Ingredients

Essential Flavors: Herbs & Spices

Kitchen Basics

Beef

thyme, rosemary, chili powder, Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning

red wine, Dijon mustard, bell peppers, soy sauce

Lamb

rosemary, thyme, curry powder

Dijon mustard, honey, citrus, olive oil

Pork

ginger, sage, red pepper

mace, fruits, port wine

Poultry

Italian Seasoning, cumin, basil, tarragon, cilantro

white wine, citrus, fruit preserves, balsamic vinegar

Seafood

Old Bay Seasoning, cumin, dill, basil, vanilla, Spice Blends Key West Style Seasoning

lemon, white wine, butter

Pasta & Grains

basil, oregano, fennel, cumin

olives, toasted pine nuts, roasted peppers, asiago cheese, cream

Vegetables

nutmeg, sesame, thyme, fennel

soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese, butter, lemon juice

Fruits & Desserts

vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, almond extract, rosemary, chiles

orange juice, honey, cocoa, liquers

Going On a Flavor Adventure: Ethnic Footprints

Has Caribbean or Moroccan cuisine been top of mind? Certain worldly foods have what Chef Chris Schlesinger calls "ethnic footprints"--combinations of specific flavors that deliver a particular ethnic taste. Start by identifying the ingredients indigenous to the region, then add the flavors frequently used in the ethnic cuisine. For example, Caribbean food is tonight's craving. Start with pork and plantains, then pair with coconut, red pepper and allspice, for a main dish reflective of the islands.

Southeast Asian / Pacific Rim

lemongrass, ginger, sesame, wasabi, chilies, curry, fish sauce, soy sauce, tropical fruits, coconut, peanuts

Caribbean

thyme, allspice, red pepper, coconut, tropical fruits, limes, chilies

Chinese

ginger, anise, garlic, red pepper, sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce

French

thyme, garlic, butter, rosemary, tarragon, chervil, bay leaves, green and pink peppercorns, wine, cream

Italian

regional olive oil, lemon, garlic, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, nutmeg, fennel seeds, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes

Regional Mexican

chilies (ancho, chipotle, guajillo), oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, cilantro, rice, masa

Middle Eastern

allspice, oregano, marjoram, mint, sesame, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, yogurt, pistachios

North African

cinnamon, turmeric, red pepper, cumin, coriander, saffron, ginger, cilantro, garlic, tomatoes, lemons

Italian, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines have been so ingrained in American culture that they are everyday favorites for the American palate.

Southeast Asian, regional French, Caribbean, and Indian cuisines are now gaining more recognition and are appearing on menus nationwide.

 

Unexpected Flavor Combinations

Create new flavor combinations that surprise and satiate the palate, such as pairing sweet and spicy flavors together to awaken the taste buds in exciting new ways. This "sweet-heat" combination provides bold spices, yet sweet flavors complement the heat, so a spicy dish can be enjoyed without needing a fire extinguisher to wash it down. Popular sweet flavors include vanilla, honey, fruits, maple and coconut milk; pair them with spicy flavors such as red pepper, chilies, peppercorns, ginger and mustard. Chef Robert Del Grande often uses "sweet-heat" in his renditions of traditional Southwestern fare. One of his favorite specialties is grilled chicken smeared with cinnamon, chili powder, cocoa and pepper as seen to the right.

 

Cinnamon-Thyme Poached Pear uses thyme to accent the subtle sweetness.

 

Another easy way to surprise the palate is through "role reversal." This is created when typical dessert spices climb their way to main courses, such as cinnamon or vanilla in a Southwestern cinnamon steak rub and fennel crusted grouper with vanilla beurre blanc. Likewise, role-reversal also occurs when main course herbs such as basil, rosemary and thyme skip to dessert, such as basil berry sorbet or rosemary lemon pound cake.

 

Creating flavor goes beyond pairing ingredients to preparing the dish. Cooking techniques bring out different flavors in the ingredients. The following techniques are easy to do and promise high flavor results.

 

Toasting Spices

Chef Wylie Dufresne explains that toasting spices before adding them to a dish enhances the flavor sensation, as heat helps spices release volatile oils, where the flavor essence resides. Top chefs from around the world often use this technique to add more flavor. Chef Suzanne Goin advises, "When you smell that intense spice aroma, it's ready."

 

Peasant Bread Casserole is enhanced by adding toasted fennel seeds.

 

Rubs, Pastes and Marinades

Chef Chris Schlesinger prefers rubs and pastes as a quicker way to deliver more intense flavor to meat, chicken and fish. A rub is a dry blend of herbs and spices that is rubbed onto the surface of meat, poultry or fish, to impart an instant flavor to the food. To make a wet rub or "paste," simply combine the dry blend with a touch of oil, water, honey or juice before applying to food. A marinade soaks food in a seasoned liquid to infuse flavor and/or tenderize. Marinades typically contain an acid such as vinegar or citrus juice as well as a variety of herbs and spices.

 

Grilling

The key to successful grilling is learning how to control heat. With just a few pointers, anyone can be a grilling guru such as Chefs Chris Schlesinger and Robert Del Grande. Positioning the charcoals at a downward slope, from high to low, gives the grill two heat settings in one. On a gas grill, turn the heat off on one side to achieve two different heat settings. To grill foods, first sear meat on high heat to caramelize the outside, then transfer meat to the other side of the grill or lower heat setting. This slow grilling helps cook meat throughout while keeping it tender and juicy inside.

 

Brining

According to Chef Paul Kahan, brining offers an excellent method of locking in flavor and moisture to keep meat tender and juicy. Brining differs from marinades as it contains a higher salt and water content. The process takes very little effort. Let meat brine for several hours or overnight, then cook the meat.

 

Roasting

Roasting foods on high or low heats achieves different flavors and textures in favorite dishes. "Flash roasting" or "high roasting" poultry in the oven on high heat (425-450 degrees F) produces a crispy, caramelized outside that is tender and juicy on the inside. Chefs Bob Waggoner and Robert Del Grande also emphasize the benefits of "slow roasting" to make sumptuous comfort foods like pot-roast and barbecue. Season the ingredients and let the roast cook at a lower temperature (250 degrees F) until tender and juicy.

 

Reduction

A reduction is created by simmering a liquid until the volume is reduced by evaporation, thereby thickening the consistency and intensifying its flavor. The remaining liquid is called a reduction. A popular form of reduction--called "coulis," a reduction of a fruit or vegetable purée--makes for a savory, yet light sauce, according to chef Kevan Vetter.

 

Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops with Wild Mushrooms uses a reduction sauce to accent the flavor of the meat and complement the richness of wild assorted mushrooms.

 

Most flavors we crave come from something tasted while dining out. The restaurant industry has long set the stage for creating new flavors and helping us to experience new tastes. Each day, chefs and restaurateurs find innovative ways to surprise the palate and inspire the home cook.

Flavor Council

McCormick invited six top chefs from across the country to form the McCormick Flavor Council--a forum to discuss the latest and greatest in the culinary world. Sharing information on culinary trends, food preparation and cooking techniques, each chef brings his or her own knowledge and expertise of a particular U.S. region or culinary hotbed to the table.

 

The chefs of the McCormick Flavor Council:

 

Robert Del Grande

Robert is the executive chef and partner of renowned Café Annie in Houston, Texas. He has received numerous culinary awards and honors ranging from Food and Wine's Honor Roll of American Chefs to The James Beard Award in 1992 and Chef of the Year in 1998. Robert is known for his personal approach to authentic regional dishes--especially Mexican-inspired cuisine, creating vibrant, clearly defined flavors that harmonize. He joins the McCormick Flavor Council representing the Southwest Region of the United States.

 

Wylie Dufresne

Wylie, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, is the chef of Manhattan's Lower East Side's 71 Clinton Fresh Food. He has been honored by the James Beard Foundation, by New York Magazine for its New York Awards 2000, by the French Culinary Institute, and placed on Food & Wine's Best New Chef list for 2001. His cuisine is guided by fresh, seasonal food with an emphasis on texture and flavor combinations. He has a reputation for extracting the maximum flavor from minimal elements. As part of the McCormick Flavor Council, Wylie represents the culinary scene of New York City and the Mid-Atlantic region.

 

Suzanne Goin

Suzanne is the co-owner and executive chef at Los Angeles' Lucques. She was named "Best Creative Chef" by Boston Magazine in 1994, placed on Food & Wine's Best New Chefs list in 1999, and continues to receive much recognition in leading culinary publications. Suzanne is known for a direct approach to food--lots of grilling, herbs and spices, and an enthusiastic use of olive oil, enhanced by bold flavors from the Mediterranean. As a member of the Flavor Council, she represents the Pacific Region.

 

Paul Kahan

Paul is the owner and chef of Chicago's Blackbird. Paul's rise to excellence came from 15 years of dedication and training throughout several acclaimed kitchens in the Mid-West. In 1999, he was recognized by Food & Wine on its Best New Chefs list. Paul's attentiveness to fresh local market ingredients and his blending of new-American cuisine with classic techniques create combinations of flavor that delight the palate, yet maintain a clear and focused flavor. He represents the Mid-Western region for the McCormick Flavor Council.

 

Chris Schlesinger

Chris is the owner and chef of the East Coast Grill in Cambridge and the Back Eddy in Westport, Massachusetts. Chris' cuisine reflects his close relationships with local farmers, fishermen, brewers, vintners and cheese makers. The Culinary Institute of America graduate is the co-author of five books and co-authors a monthly feature in the New York Times. Chris' love for barbecue, spicy food, and live fire cookery weaves a recurrent theme in the grilling guru's taste for bold flavors, with a spotlight on seafood. He is the winner of 1996's James Beard Awards Best Chef of the Northeast, also the region he represents on the Flavor Council.

 

Bob Waggoner

Bob creates contemporary and sophisticated new flavors as executive chef of Charleston Grill at Charleston Place. His extensive training began in Los Angeles and took him to France, Venezuela, then back to France where he became the first American to own his own restaurant in that country, Le Monte Cristo. His return to the States has brought him much acclaim and recognition in leading culinary publications. The Charleston Grill has been awarded AAA Four-Diamond Award and the Mobile Four-Star Award for four years consecutively. The restaurant also was included in both the Nation's Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame and The Elite 1000. Fusing "lowcountry" and his own French-influenced technique, Bob creates contemporary and sophisticated new southern haute cuisine using seasonal and regional ingredients. Bob joins the McCormick Flavor Council representing the Southern region of the country.

 

Kevan Vetter

Kevan brings 17 years of experience to McCormick & Company, Inc. through his position as Corporate Chef and Manager of Culinary Product Development for the company's Technical Innovation Center in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Kevan and his team provide culinary support and menu and product development guidance to the Flavor, Food Service, Retail and Global Restaurant business units at McCormick as well as leading restaurants and food companies around the world.

McCormick The Flavor Expert

McCormick & Company, Inc. was founded in 1889 in Baltimore, Maryland and today is the largest spice company in the world.

McCormick's global sourcing program leads the industry with its comprehensive spice procurement program that follows a product from the time it is planted until packaged, ensuring the highest quality standards through every step of the spice production process.

McCormick's highly trained technical staff includes consumer research specialists, food technologists, flavor chemists, and sensory analysts. Along with a team of chefs at McCormick's Culinary Center, they work with the food industry to flavor many of the foods one enjoys at home and in favorite restaurants.

end of document

 

GRILLING FOOD SAFETY TIPS

Warm weather brings people outside for everything from gardening to grilling. There's no doubt that grilling accentuates the natural flavor of food, but warmer temperatures also require extra food safety precautions. Here are some food safety tips to consider for a safe summer of outside cooking:

Make meat and poultry shopping last on your grocery list so meats do not sit around in the shopping cart. Pack meat separately in plastic bags. Load into air-conditioned car, not hot trunk. You may want to bring a cooler with ice from home and place perishable food in it for the direct drive home.

Refrigerate meats and poultry immediately after purchase, and keep refrigerated until you are ready to cook. When grilling away from home, keep foods cold in an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to minimize bacterial growth.

Always thaw frozen meats in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Microwave defrost meat only if the meat will be cooked immediately thereafter. Thaw meats completely so they cook evenly.

Do not re-freeze meats that have been thawed in the microwave (or under cold running water) because of the greater likelihood of bacterial contamination. If you do not plan to cook microwave-defrosted foods, discard.

Wash hands well in hot soapy water before and after handling meat, poultry and seafood. Keep uncooked meat, poultry, seafood and juices from touching other foods, utensils, and surfaces during preparation. Wash all utensils, cutting surfaces, and counters with hot soapy water after contact with uncooked meat, poultry and seafood.

Keep meat-carving boards separate from other cutting boards. Meat cutting boards should be plastic or glass. Wooden cutting boards may be used if they are used exclusively for uncooked meat.

Do not chop vegetables or salad ingredients on the same cutting board used to prepare uncooked meat or seafood unless the board has been thoroughly sanitized between uses. Do not forget to wash the knife between each ingredient cutting to avoid cross contamination.

Always marinate foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter. McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) line of marinades lets you create "out-of-this-world" grilling flavors.

If you plan to baste meat with marinade during cooking, keep a portion of the marinade aside (without putting meat in) or make 2 batches (one for marinating and one for basting). After marinating uncooked meats, poultry or seafood, never reuse marinade as a sauce for cooked foods (unless you boil the marinade first to destroy any bacteria from the uncooked meat).

Never put cooked foods on the same plate that held uncooked food. Use a clean plate to transport cooked food from the grill to serving area.

Some people cook food partially in the microwave oven or stove to reduce grilling time. Holding partially cooked food is not recommended because any bacteria present would not have been destroyed. If you choose to pre-cook meat or poultry, do so immediately before grilling. Never partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later. Food must be cooked completely to destroy harmful bacteria.

Make sure the grill is hot enough to cook on before putting food on it. (Check manufacturers directions).

Cook foods to the proper temperature. Just because a food is very brown on the outside may not mean that it is done on the inside. Avoid cutting into grilled meats or poultry to see if they are cooked sufficiently. Cutting meat lets juices and flavor drip away. Always use an instant-read meat thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature. The internal temperature of the meat tells exactly when meats are done. Here are some internal temperature guidelines to doneness:

Whole poultry: 180°F

Chicken breast: 170°F

Hamburgers: 160°F

Beef, veal, and lamb steaks, roasts, and chops: 145-160°F

All cuts of pork: 160°F

 

When reheating take-out foods or cooked meats, like franks, cook to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Keep cooked meats hot by setting them on grill rack to the side of heat source, not directly over heat (to avoid over-cooking). Cooked meat can also be kept hot in a 200° F oven, in a chafing dish or on a warming tray. Never eat anything that has been left outside for more than 2 hours (1 hour in hot weather 90° or higher). Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours of taking food off the grill. Discard any food left out any longer than this.

Food safety is not hard to do, and it's mostly common sense. The most important rules to remember are to keep hot foods hot and cold food cold, and always use a meat thermometer. The old adage of "be safe, not sorry" rings true for food preparation too. Here's to a summer of good (and safe) eating on the grill!

 

HERB FLAVORED MUSTARD

Flavored mustards are always a crowd pleaser. Add either the dill or the tarragon flavor to a gift basket.

 

1 jar (8 ounces) Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Dill Weed*

pretzels, cheese wedges, bread sticks or salami wedges

 

1. Combine mustard, honey, and dill or tarragon.

 

2. Cover and chill or let stand at least 1 hour. Serve with pretzels, cheese wedges, bread sticks or salami wedges.

 

Tip: Also, great in a gift basket.

 

* 1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Tarragon Leaves may be substituted for the Dill Weed if desired.

HOT CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICH

2 c. chopped cooked chicken

1/4 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. chopped ripe olives

3 chopped hard boiled eggs

1/2 c. mayonnaise

1 can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)

1 c. sour cream

Salt and pepper as desired

Very thin Pepperidge Farm bread

4 oz. jar mushrooms, chopped

Mix cream of chicken soup with sour cream. Set aside. Mix chicken, onion,

olives, eggs, mushrooms, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Make sandwiches and

place side by side on a cookie sheet. Spread with soup, sour cream mixture.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

HOT CHICKEN SALAD

2 c. diced, cooked chicken

1 c. thinly sliced celery

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. grated onion

1 c. mayonnaise

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1 c. crushed potato chips

Combine chicken, celery, salt, onion, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Spoon lightly into 1 quart microwave dish. Sprinkle with cheese and potato chips. Bake in microwave - 4 1/2 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is well heated. Serve with assorted crackers.

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 2

4 whole chicken breasts

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 c. diced celery

1 tbsp. chopped onions

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 c. corn flakes or crackers (crushed)

1/4 c. butter

Mix all but 1/2 cup corn flakes. Melt butter and mix with 1/2 cup corn flakes. Sprinkle on top and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 3

2 c. diced chicken breasts

1 can cream chicken soup, undiluted

1 c. fine diced celery

2 tsp. minced onions

1/2 c. slivered almonds

1/2 c. mayonnaise

3 hard cooked eggs sliced

1 (8 oz.) chicken stock (1 c.)

Mix above ingredients. Place in casserole or flat glass dish. Cover with

1 cup crushed potato chips. Bake 450 degrees for 15 minutes till browned.

Note: If you use 3 cups diced chicken then use 1 (8 ounce) cup chicken

broth. If you use 2 cups diced chicken use 1/2 cup of broth.

HOT CHICKEN SALAD 4

2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

2 c. diced chicken

1 c. slivered almonds (optional)

2 c. chopped celery

2 cans cream of chicken soup

6 tsp. lemon juice

4 tsp. chopped onions (frozen)

3/4 c. mayonnaise

2 c. cooked rice

1 tsp. salt

Potato chips

Mix all ingredients and place in casserole. Sprinkle with chips. Bake for

30 minutes in 375 degree oven.

HOT STUFF INFORMATION

We all know that spicy food tantalizes the taste buds, but did you know that chili peppers not only add the "spicy" but have more Vitamin C than citrus fruit? Or that they may help to keep the pounds off by accelerating the body's metabolism? There is no doubt that spicy food is elbowing its way into our lifestyles and even doing the cha-cha into mainstream American cuisines.

Like potatoes and tomatoes, chilies are indigenous to the New World. Columbus brought them back from the Caribbean and introduced them to Europe. The Portuguese and Spanish traders took them on to Africa, India, and the Orient. And the rest, as they say, is history. The word "chili" comes from the Nahuatl dialect of the Aztecs. The plants were misnamed "peppers" by Columbus, who thought that chilies were related to peppercorns. Today, we still call chilies peppers even though they have no relation to black pepper. Botanically, they're berries; horticulturally, they're fruits; when fresh, they're vegetables; and when dried, they're a spice.

There are dozens of varieties of chilies throughout the world--from green bell pepper, which has no heat, to the rip-roaring Habañero or Scotch Bonnet, which is considered the hottest of the hot. These fiery foods range in size from as small as a pea to more than a foot long. Some are mild and sweet while others are so hot just touching them to the tongue is painful. In general, the larger the chili the milder the flavor. You could say hot things come in small packages: the tiniest chilies tend to pack the most wallop. Chilies also come in almost every color of the rainbow. Immature peppers may be green, yellow, white, or other colors. As they ripen on the vine, they change in color to yellow, orange, red, or even chocolate brown. The "hotness" in peppers is due to capsaicin (cap-SAY-i-sin), a potent chemical with the remarkable ability to irritate nerve cells in the skin and taste buds. The heat is concentrated in the veins of the pepper, and when capsaicin is touched or shaken, it spills onto the seeds. The most common measurement of capsaicin or heat is Heat Units. Capsaicin causes skin irritation, so always wear gloves when handling peppers, and remember to take your contact lenses out before you start.

HABAÑERO Hottest chili in the world. Turns golden orange and puffy, wrinkles when ripe. Grown in Mexico and the Caribbean. Known as Scotch Bonnet in Jamaica. Delicious in recipes containing fruit or tropical flavors.

JALAPEÑO Conical, thick wall. Hot to medium-hot. Most popular chili in Mexico.

CHIPOTLE Smoke-dried jalapeño. Used in sauces, salsas, and soups. Adds a deep smoky flavor unlike any other chili.

SERRANO Medium green with hot, green-chili character.

PEQUIN Small oval or football shaped. High heat with brownish red color.

GUAJILLO Dried chili, medium-hot, with very slight smoky flavor.

POBLANO Mild to medium hot, wide shouldered with rich, complex flavor.

ANCHO A dried poblano chili. Mild to medium-hot, rich flavor.

ANAHEIM Dark red, almost mahogany. Elongated, broad, bluntly pointed. Heat level is mild to moderate.

NEW MEXICO A dried Anaheim chili. Has an earthy, bricky flavor. Is essential in making traditional red chili sauces.

PAPRIKA The powder of a mild sweet chili.

 

INSIDE OUT RAVIOLI

1 pound Ground Beef, extra lean

1 medium Onion -- chopped

3 cloves Garlic -- minced

16 ounces Tomato Sauce

6 ounces Tomato Paste

1 tablespoon Parsley -- dried

1/2 teaspoon Oregano

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper -- freshly ground

6 ounces Rigatoni -- pasta, uncooked

10 ounces Spinach, frozen -- chopped

1 cup Cheddar Cheese -- shredded

1/2 cup Bread Crumbs -- soft

2 medium Eggs -- beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese -- grated

Brown ground beef, garlic and onion in a large skillet. Drain any excess fat, and add tomato sauce and tomato paste, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cook pasta according to package directions until just softened but not quite done. Drain and rinse with cold water. Put back into pan in which it was cooked. Add cooked spinach, cheddar cheese, bread crumbs, eggs and parmesan cheese. Spread mixture in a 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Note: For freezing, undercook pasta to prevent it from becoming soggy. Freeze cooled casserole for up to 6 months, securely wrapped and labeled. To cook, thaw overnight in refrigerator and back for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

ISTANBUL BREAD SALAD

WITH TOMATOES AND OLIVES

 

3 medium, ripe tomatoes, diced (include all juice and seeds)

1 small red onion, diced

1 cup pitted, dry-cured black olives, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

a cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 pound coarse-textured sourdough bread, 3 to 4 days old

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

 

In large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, olives, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well.

 

Tear bread into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces. This salad can be made to this point 1 to 3 hours in advance.

 

Just before serving, add bread to tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with mint and serve immediately.

JAPANESE NOODLES IN THE SUMMER

BY SHARON NOGUCHI, Mercury News

We could be eating chow mein, Top Ramen, pancit, linguine, elbow macaroni, rice sticks or udon. But what my 7-year-old daughter says is, ``More spaghetti, please.''

 

I may have succeeded at the stove, but I've failed on the vocabulary lesson.

 

In summer, much of the ``spaghetti'' at our table is cold Japanese-style noodles -- udon, soba or ramen. Quick to prepare, assemble and serve, they're the perfect hot-day meal.

 

In Japan, noodles are inhaled rather than chewed -- although I've never been able to manage that without choking. But go to a soba shop in the midday heat, and just listening to the sound of diners noisily slurping up noodles will somehow make you feel cooler -- if a bit odd, as though you were interrupting a private dining experience.

 

If served plain, hot-day noodles retain their al dente texture by coming with a cold dipping sauce, rather than swimming in their own bowl of broth. In that case, they're served with garnishes such as chopped green onions or ginger.

 

But if the noodles themselves come with toppings, the dipping sauce is poured over before serving.

 

It helps if you can handle chopsticks, for it's awkward to fit a forkful of dangling soba into a cup of sauce, then fit it into your mouth without splattering the table and your shirt as well.

 

The secret to a good dish of noodles, besides not overcooking them, is in the sauce. And good broth is a very personal thing. My grandparents came from western Japan, as did most of the early Japanese immigrants to the United States, so for me the perfect broth is light and sweet. The sauces from Tokyo and eastern Japan tend to be darker and saltier from a more liberal addition of soy sauce.

 

Alas, many Japanese cookbooks are written by people from Tokyo. So, if you don't know the cookbook author's palate, always taste the sauce as you are adding ingredients. Otherwise, your children -- who are accustomed to their grandmother's cooking -- will dig into your bowl of noodles and, instead of ``More spaghetti, please,'' will say: ``This tastes funny.'' It's been known to happen.

LIGHTS OUT FOOD'S ON

By CATHY THOMAS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, July 11, 2001

 

Blackouts are best in bingo, not in a long, hot summer.

 

This summer, Californians face a rendezvous with inconvenience, economic fallout and ... well, cold food.

 

Power-crisis blackouts should result in culinary concoctions made without heat of any kind to save energy. No simmering, no sautéing, no sizzling. That part could be fun.

 

Why not plan blackout parties with the neighbors? Every household could bring a cold dish, an ice chest and a candle or two. Numerous ice chests will let you keep your refrigerator closed up tight to keep in the cold. Also, make sure those candles have sturdy bases; position them out of reach of children and pets.

 

Instead of blackout blues, we can embrace the spirit of innovation. Not everyone can plant a victory garden, but we can pack our pantries with luscious cold-dish provisions. The possibilities go way beyond eating sardines from a tin.

 

Olive oil-packed tuna mixed with diced green olives and lemon juice makes a delectable spread.

 

Mixing canned cannellini beans with minced mint or basil, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper makes a quick bean salad.

 

Marinated artichokes or mushrooms, olives and roasted peppers served with rustic bread make instant antipasto.

 

Prepared sun-dried tomato pesto atop a cracker along with a slice of cheese or salami makes a luscious mini-sandwich.

 

Assorted nuts and dried apricots make a dandy dessert. OK, maybe a chocolate bar would make a tempting addition.

 

No-cook cooking presents some scrumptious choices. Here are some made-without-heat recipes that are sure to please. Years from now, folks will remember energy-crisis camaraderie -- and how good the cold concoctions tasted.

MAKE YOUR OWN TARTS

You can make them perfectly -- and it's easier than pie

By CECE SULLIVAN, THE SEATTLE TIMES, July 11, 2001

 

Pie-making intimidates me. The expectations are high, and the thought of putting an imperfect pie on the table seems downright un-American.

 

Tarts, however, are another matter.

 

First, there is just one crust to focus on. Because tart pans are shallow, we don't have to worry about a filling reducing and shrinking, leaving the top crust balanced precariously on thin air. And best of all, there is no need to crimp a crust to wavy patterns of perfection.

To make the perfect tart crust:

 

Store shortening in the refrigerator so it's chilled for use in pastries.

On warm, humid days, chill the flour for the pastries about 10 minutes before cutting in the fat. This prevents the dough from becoming sticky.

Dry measure cups are essential for accuracy in making doughs.

When fat is incorporated into the flour, there should be both large crumbs, which give flakiness, and small crumbs, which give tenderness.

When cutting the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients with a food processor, transfer the mixture to a bowl before working in the liquid. (Overworking dough in a processor is easy to do, and will make the crust tough and less flaky.)

Unbleached flour may require more liquid.

To blend the liquid into the pastry, never use a spoon, which mashes the dough and makes it tough. Use a table fork instead.

To judge if a dough has absorbed enough liquid, press it against the sides of the bowl. If it forms a mass, the dough is ready.

 

Rolling and shaping the crust

 

Chilling the dough at least 30 minutes before rolling helps distribute moisture evenly, so there is less chance of cracking when shaping. A good rolling pin with a smooth surface is essential. Both a 12-inch American ball-bearing pin or a straight French pin 17 to 19 inches in length are dependable choices.

 

Dough should be rolled about 1/8 inch thick for tarts, and 1/16-inch thick for tartlets. If the pastry cracks when rolled, it is either too cold or did not have enough liquid in it. Use a long, thin spatula to occasionally loosen and lift the dough while rolling. Toss a bit of flour under the surface and rotate for an even crust.

 

Keep the rolling surface clean. If the dough is not expanding when rolled, it has probably stuck and needs a bit more flour on the rolling surface.

 

Scraps of dough can be refrigerated for about 10 minutes or until firm. Re-roll immediately, or freeze for later use.

 

Tart pans have removable bottoms and come in all sizes and shapes. To decide how large to roll your crust, measure the inside of the pan with a flexible tape measure. Beginning at one edge, measure down the side, across the bottom and up the other side, then add an extra inch.

 

Before lining a tart pan with the dough, lightly spray the pan with cooking spray to ensure that the pastry won't stick. (A heavy spray will cause the pastry to slip downward when baked.)

 

When the crust is ready to be fitted into the pan, fold it loosely into quarters. Place the point in the center of the pan and unfold the dough, pressing lightly into the sides. Then roll a rolling pin over the pan edge for a clean cut. Use dough scraps to patch any cracks.

 

Baking the crust

 

Crusts for tarts always should be baked without the filling, known as blind-baking. Pastry weights can be found in kitchen shops, but dry beans also work well.

 

Line the pastry with a piece of aluminum foil and spread a thin layer of weights or beans in the bottom. (Once dry beans have been used as weights, they can be saved and reused only for blind baking. Do not eat them.)

 

Spread the weights evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan. Don't fill the pan with weights, which would pull up the pastry when the foil is removed.

 

Preheat the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Bake the crust on the lowest rack for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit a few minutes before removing the foil and weights. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking five to 10 minutes.

 

Tips for filling tarts

 

To prevent the custard filling from spilling, arrange the solid ingredients in the pastry-lined tart pan and place the pan on a baking sheet. Put into the preheated oven and, using a measuring cup, pour the custard into the pan.

When using a custard filling, fully bake the tart shell to ensure a crisp bottom. The filling will protect the pastry from over-baking.

 

Custard-style fillings are done when they puff in the center and are lightly browned. You can test by inserting a knife in the center, which should come out clean.

 

Poultry, fish, meat and vegetables should be precooked before putting into the tart shell. If the top of the filling begins to dry out when baked, cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil.

MANGO and RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE

Crust:

1/4 cup butter

1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

 

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2/3 cup plain yogurt

2/3 cup sour cream

3 eggs, separated

Scant 1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

2 tablespoons water

1-1/2 cups raspberries

 

Garnish:

1-1/2 cups raspberries

1 mango

2/3 cups whipping cream

8 to 10 sprigs fresh mint

 

Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan. To prepare crust, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Press mixture in bottom of greased pan. Set aside. To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, yogurt, sour cream, egg yolks and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar until smooth. Combine gelatin and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until gelatin is completely dissolved; stir into cheese mixture. Beat egg whites with remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites and raspberries into cheese mixture. Spoon filling into prepared crust. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until set. To garnish, arrange raspberries in center of cheesecake in a mound. Peel and seed mango. Slice thinly and arrange in a fan pattern around raspberries. Whip cream until stiff. Pipe (with pastry bag) a border of 8 to 10 whipped cream rosettes around edge of cheesecake. Top each rosette with a sprig of mint. serves 8 to 10

NIPPING ZUCCHINI IN THE BUD

 

By Kitty Broihier, MS, RD, ucook.com contributor

 

Alas, the poor gardener who overzealously planted tiny zucchini plants in the spring, only to be overrun by long, green squash come July and August. It's a common fate. So common, in fact, that in the United States there is actually a designated night for passing off zucchini on your neighbors!

 

"Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night" takes place annually on Aug. 8. However, too much zucchini is a problem that can be nipped in the bud, as it were, by making delicious use of the zucchini blossoms.

 

Zucchini will develop from pollinated female blossoms. You can decide whether to reduce the zucchini harvest or not, depending on whether you pick male or female blossoms. The female flowers will have a tiny, immature squash at the base of the blossom where it meets the stem. The male flowers simply end at the stem.

 

Many gardeners harvest only male blossoms, being sure to leave behind a few for pollination of the females. Gather the blossoms while they are still open in the early morning and put their bases or stems in water in the refrigerator until you need them. Or, cut zucchini production by harvesting female blossoms.

 

Harvesting the blossoms before the actual squash begins to grow (or when it is only a few inches long and the blossom is still attached), makes for one less big zucchini to contend with later. Score one for the gardener!

 

Eating zucchini blossoms is something that I had never done until I found them at the Union Square farmers' market in New York City some years back. At the time, I thought myself rather exotic for daring to try them.

 

Once I tasted them, I was hooked. They tasted "springy" or fresh, even grassy. The flavor is a little like zucchini squash, but it is definitely distinct.

 

Zucchini blossoms are still a rather unusual find, unless you are growing the plants.

 

Aside from farmers' markets, a specialty gourmet or specialty produce store may have them. However, the blossoms will probably only be in store for a week or two. The best bet is probably a zucchini-growing neighbor who may be happy to part with a few blossoms - especially if the final product is shared.

 

Preparation

 

Zucchini blossoms are generally prepared either alone as fritters (dipped in a batter and fried) or stuffed and either baked, boiled or fried. I prefer the stuffed and fried blossoms. The stuffing adds more flavor to the blossoms, while the frying gives a satisfying crunchy texture.

 

Any method will work. It is important, though, that they are used immediately. The blossoms don't stand up well to storage longer than one day.

 

It's a good idea to wash the blossoms before cooking them. The petals of the blossoms are quite fragile, and the blossoms are often semi-closed and curled around themselves. Therefore, to wash them, gently swish them in a sink or pan of cool water, carefully opening each blossom to make sure the insides are rinsed and clean. The blossoms can be left to dry in a colander or very gently shaken and dabbed dry with a clean towel.

 

Stuffing the blossoms isn't difficult, provided one has ample time and a small spoon. Any small spoon will do, but a baby spoon is ideal for the task. The stuffing itself can feature bread crumbs, vegetables or even grains. Julia Child's The Way To Cook includes a recipe for stuffed zucchini blossoms that uses a traditional bread stuffing to which shallots and small bits of zucchini squash are added.

 

ORANGE ALMOND SPARKLE

 

Almond adds a delightful flavor to this festive punch. Serve with an ice ring made with orange slices and maraschino cherries.

 

1 can (6 ounces) frozen lemonade, thawed

2 cups water

1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick(r) Almond Extract

1/2 gallon orange sherbet, softened

2 (2 liters each) bottles ginger ale, chilled

 

Combine lemonade, water and extract. Stir well and keep mixture chilled until ready to serve.

Place sherbet by spoonfuls into punch bowl. Add lemonade mixture. Slowly add ginger ale. Stir gently. Garnish with fruit slices, if desired. Serve immediately.

OVERNIGHT WAFFLES

 

Dissolve 1 pkg. yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add

1 cup evaporated milk,

1cup warm water,

1 tsp. sugar,

1 tsp. salt,

1/4 lb. melted butter and

2 cups of flour.

Cover and let sit overnight un-refrigerated. The next morning add

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. soda.

Bake in your waffle iron.

PEACHES AND CREAM TART

Sweet nut crust:

 

1/2 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)

3 tablespoons superfine or baker's sugar

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

4 teaspoons whipping cream

 

Filling:

 

3 tablespoons peach or apricot preserves

4 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

About 3 1/2 cups peeled and sliced peaches (see cook's note)

2 large egg yolks

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

To prepare the crust: In a food processor with a metal blade, pulse the nuts and sugar together until the nuts are finely ground.

 

Add the butter and pulse 15 times to mix. Add the flour and salt; pulse just until the mixture has both large and small flakes. Transfer to a bowl. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Mix into the flour mixture with a fork to moisten all of the ingredients. Knead the dough lightly so it holds together and place on a piece of plastic wrap.

 

Flatten to a 6-inch disk, wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

 

Lightly spray the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch removable bottom tart pan with cooking spray. Roll the pastry disk between lightly floured sheets of plastic wrap to a thickness of <-inch and measuring about 12 1/2 inches in diameter.

 

Loosen the top sheet of plastic; turn the dough over into the pan and remove the second sheet of plastic. Press lightly into the sides of the pan and roll a rolling pin over the top edge of the pan to remove excess dough. (If there are cracks, patch with some of the dough scraps.) Refrigerate 30 minutes.

 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the pastry with aluminum foil and spread a thin layer of pastry weights or dried beans over the bottom. Bake 20 minutes.

 

Remove the crust from the oven and let sit 5 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and weights. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and place back into the oven for five minutes. Cool on a rack.

 

To prepare the filling: Melt the preserves in a small saucepan and brush over the bottom and sides of the tart shell. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

 

Arrange the peaches in overlapping circles in the shell and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Protect the edge of the pastry with foil strips. Bake in a 375-degree oven 15 minutes.

 

Whisk together the egg yolks, cream, sour cream and vanilla.

 

Pour over the peaches and continue baking about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the custard is golden brown.

 

Cool on a rack. Remove the sides of the pan and refrigerate.

 

Remove from the refrigerator one hour before serving.

 

Cook's note: Frozen peaches can be used in this recipe. Defrost before putting into the tart shell.

PECAN BARLEY SALAD

 

1 cup quick-cooking barley

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup pecans (3 oz), chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (1 large)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

Bring barley, water, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until barley is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Drain barley in a colander, then rinse under cold water and drain well.

 

While barley is simmering, cook pecans in oil in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until nuts are toasted 1 shade darker, about 4 minutes. Toss nuts and oil with barley and remaining ingredients in a large bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

PORTOFINO SUMMER GREENS SALAD

 

4 ounces mixed greens

2 ounces shallot vinaigrette

2 tablespoons goat cheese

Sunflower sprouts

Nasturtium or edible flowers

A slice (cut on the bias) of French baguette or focaccia bread

Sea salt

Toss favorite greens in the dressing (below)

Toast slice(s) and spread with goat cheese.

 

Place tossed greens on plate, garnish salad with the goat cheese bread, add remaining ingredients and whatever other fresh garnishes you desire.

Shallot Vinaigrette

 

3 shallots, minced

1 cup rice wine vinegar

Lemon juice to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Sugar to taste, roughly 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon

1 quart canola oil

 

Mix together all ingredients, except oil.

 

Pour oil into mixture slowly, mixing with a whisk (you don't want it to break the mixture). Adjust to taste.

 

 

 

POTATO AND PEA SALAD

WITH CHIVE AIOLI

Aioli, the garlicky Provençal mayonnaise, is accented with chives and Dijon mustard.

3 pounds small red-skinned new potatoes, unpeeled

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed

 

1 cup mayonnaise

6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into quarters. Transfer to large bowl; add vinegar and toss to coat. Mix in celery and peas.

 

Whisk mayonnaise, 5 tablespoons chives, mustard, garlic, and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend. Add to potato mixture and toss. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.) Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives and serve. Makes 8 servings.

REDUCTIONS INFORMATION

The Key to Bold Flavored Sauces

Simmering or gently boiling liquids until volume evaporates into a thicker, syrupy sauce is called reducing or a reduction. The flavor of reduced liquids like wine, stock, or a sauce mixture is more concentrated. Many classic sauces like veal demi-glace rely on a long, slow simmer or reduction to develop their intense flavors. Simply adding liquid to the browned bits left in the pan from sautéed meats makes a more simple sauce. Both sauces are reductions.

How much you reduce, and when each ingredient is reduced, can determine the flavor of a reduced sauce. While the liquid simmers, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve caramelized juices and create layers of rich intense flavor. Chefs will sometimes use multiple reductions to create layers of flavors. For example, a sauce made by adding and reducing one ingredient at time (wine, stock and cream) will taste different than one made by combining ingredients, and then reducing at the same time.

 

The quality of ingredients also contributes to the flavor of the final sauce. When using wine in the sauce, use a good quality, good tasting wine for best results. Do not use "cooking wine" because it contains salt. Using homemade stock is best. If canned stock is necessary, use a lower salt version. All flavors, including salt, become more concentrated during reduction. For extra richness, whisk 1-2 tablespoons of cold, unsalted butter into a warm sauce, over low heat. This adds the final touch before spooning over meat.

RIBBON SANDWICHES

2 large slices white bread, crusts removed

1 large slice whole-wheat bread, crust removed

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 oz. Boursin cheese

Sprigs of fresh watercress, finely chopped

1 teaspoon half and half

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1/4 bunch cress

3 tablespoons salmon or crab pâté

Radish flowers and:

Sprigs of fresh watercress to garnish

 

Using a rolling pin, roll each slice of bread lightly to flatten slightly. Butter slices of white bread on 1 side and slices of whole-wheat bread on both sides. In a small bowl, mix cheese and chopped watercress until soft and well combined. Spread cheese mixture on 1 slice of buttered white bread. Top with slices of tomato. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with buttered whole-wheat slice of bread. Spread with mayonnaise. Sprinkle liberally with cress. Spread remaining slice of buttered white bread with salmon pâté. Place, pâté-side down, over cress. Press together firmly. Cut in half crosswise, then cut each half in 6 thin fingers. Garnish with radish roses and sprigs of watercress.

ROASTED POTATOES WITH GARLIC

 

1 pound tiny red potatoes, halved

1 head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, arrange potatoes in a single layer. Tuck garlic cloves among potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees fro 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender and garlic is soft. Squeeze garlic from peels onto potatoes. Toss potatoes with pan drippings if desired.

SEASONING MIX

by Don

 

I have my own seasoning mix that I use for beef, pork, or chicken, especially if I'm going to cook it on the grill, and, living in Texas, that means a Mesquite fired grill. I've always purchased the ingredients haphazardly, at supermarkets, and dollar stores, and the precise mix has, thus, never been consistent. Recently,

when I was getting low on my mix, I started gathering ingredients, and was

stunned at the prices on some ingredients. Two in particular, celery seed and coarse ground black pepper, were around $3.00 an ounce. I was so upset over this that I did a web search for sources of bulk spices. I found quite a few, and contacted several of them. Only one of them, however, bothered to respond to my query; Brownville Mills http://skyport.com/brownvillemills/ .

Their web pages are a little out of date, but when I emailed them about it, Harold Davis was quick to respond and sent me current prices on the items I wanted. How were the prices? Harold's price on celery seed, for one example was thirty five cents an ounce, and the spices I bought from them are among the best I've ever seen (very good quality and all have a wonderful "nose", which is how I judge spices).

 

[Passing Note: Herein lies the makings of an interesting article: Why do so few businesses take the internet seriously? Experience has taught me that when I email large companies, I'll get a response no more than 20% of the time. Internet customers are viewed as "not-really-serious". Go figure.]

 

Because I'm now able to get my spices consistently, at reasonable prices, in

whatever quantities I like, I've been trying to develop an equally consistent recipe for the mixture. Here is the most recent recipe:

 

Paprika___________________16 oz.

Celery Seed (whole)__________8 oz.

Garlic Powder_______________8 oz.

Onion Powder_______________8 oz.

Black Pepper (coarse ground)___4 oz.

Ground Comino Seed (cumin)___4 oz.

 

This makes four pounds of mix, which is enough for several months of determined cooking, but the recipe can easily be adjusted downward to smaller quantities. Dividing everything by four, for example, gives you a pound of mix, and Harold is happy to sell bulk spices in modest quantities. Contrast this to buying spices in the supermarket, where the prices are an order of magnitude higher, and are packaged by container volume, rather than weight, so the weights are totally different for each spice, making it nearly impossible to get the right amounts for a mix (like mine) without surplus, or shortages.

 

How to use my seasoning mix:

Steaks (beef or pork), pork chops, hamburgers (in other words, things that will be cooked directly on the grill): Apply generously to both sides, and grill as usual.

 

Chicken (whole): Skin the bird and apply mix generously to all sides. Tear off 18 to 24 inches of heavy duty aluminum foil, fold in half (shiny side out) and make a snug basket to fit under the chicken (breast up) that comes up just to, but not past, the drumsticks. Cook on a covered grill until done to taste. Use a separate piece of foil, shiny side down, to cover the bird for the first ten to fifteen minutes of cooking, to prevent a hard crust from forming on the breast.

 

Brisket: Rub in, or sprinkle on, a generous amount of seasoning, place the brisket in a covered roasting pan, with one or two cups of water, and cook overnight (six to ten hours) in a 250 degree oven. Allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. (I always recover the broth, after the brisket has been refrigerated, for soups and gravies) Cover the lower half of the brisket (fatty side down) with aluminum foil (shiny side in), add additional spice mix, if desired, and heat to serving temperature on the grill. This allows the brisket to remain very tender, while picking up a nice smoke flavor, and, if needed, finish cooking.

SLOW COOKED SWEET and SPICY TURKEY

 

2 1/2 pounds turkey thighs -- (about 2 thighs)

2/3 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail

1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries -- (or cherries)

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

3 cups barley, cooked

1 medium pear -- cored and chopped

 

Rinse turkey thighs and remove and discard skin; place thighs in bottom of a

3 1/2 or 4 quart slow cooker (crock pot). Add onion. In a bowl combine cranberry juice cocktail, mustard, and red pepper. Pour over thighs.

 

Cover; cook on low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Remove turkey; cover to keep warm.

 

For sauce, strain cooking juices. Measure juices; if necessary, add water to make

1 1/2 cups. In a small saucepan combine juices and dried cranberries. Stir together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water; add to mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Toss hot cooked barley with pear.

 

Serve turkey and sauce over barley mixture. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

SOUTHWESTERN CINNAMON STEAK RUB

 

The sweet and warm tones of cinnamon enhance the flavor of steak when combined with cumin seed, paprika, oregano and a touch of brown sugar in this Latin-flavored rub.

 

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Cumin Seed

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Paprika

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Oregano Leaves

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Red Pepper

4 New York strip steaks, cut 3/4-inch thick

 

1. In a small dry skillet, toast cumin seeds over medium heat 1-2 minutes or until aromatic. Remove from skillet. Crush seeds using a mortar and pestle, a spice mill, a clean coffee grinder or a rolling pin.

 

2. Combine brown sugar with all spices. Rub spice mixture evenly on both sides of steaks. Cover loosely and refrigerate 15 minutes.

 

3. Broil or grill steaks until desired doneness.

SUCCOTASH SALAD WITH CREAMY BASIL DRESSING

Try this with ciabatta or whole wheat bread.

1 cup frozen baby lima beans

8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 15- to 16-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)

1 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia)

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/4 cup light (50% less fat) mayonnaise

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

 

3 large tomatoes, sliced

 

Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add lima beans and cook 2 minutes. Add green beans and cook until all beans are just tender, about 4 minutes longer. Drain. Rinse beans under cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Add kidney beans, corn, and onion.

 

Puree 3/4 cup basil, yogurt, mayonnaise, and vinegar in blender. Add dressing to bean mixture; toss to blend well. Season salad with salt and pepper.

 

Spoon salad onto platter. Surround with tomato slices. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup basil over salad and serve. Makes 4 main-course servings.

SUNSET DELI SANDWICHES

 

1 loaf unsliced sourdough bread, about 4 1/2 inches wide, 12 to 14 inches long

1/2 cup vinaigrette-style salad dressing, homemade or purchased

1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber

1/2 cup finely chopped tomato

2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives OR green onion

3 to 4 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese

12 thin green bell pepper rings

6 to 9 ounces thin-sliced cooked turkey breast

12 pieces thin-sliced salami, about 3 ounces

3 thin red onion slices, separated into rings

 

With serrated knife, horizontally slice 1 inch off top of loaf.

 

Pull soft center from bottom half of loaf, making shell with 1/2-inch-thick walls. Reserve soft bread for other uses.

 

In bowl, mix vinaigrette dressing with cucumber, tomato, and chives or green onion. Brush or spoon about half liquid from dressing mixture evenly over interior of hollow shell. Also spoon enough of the liquid on cut side of loaf top to moisten. Fill cavity with cucumber mixture.

 

Layer cheese, bell pepper, turkey, salami and onion in shell.

 

Drizzle remaining dressing over filling. Wrap sandwiches in foil, wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 hours for best results (but no more than 24 hours).

 

Unwrap and cut crosswise into about 6 sandwiches.

 

 

 

 

SWEET AND SOUR TURKEY

 

3 cups cubed turkey breast tenderloin

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 (14-ounce) cans unsweetened pineapple chunks

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 cup water

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons low-sodium chicken bouillon granules

3 tablespoons cold water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 green bell pepper, in strips

1 cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

 

In large skillet, sauté turkey cubes, onion and garlic in hot oil until meat is lightly browned and onion is tender.

 

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add reserved juice, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, bouillon granules and 1 cup water to turkey. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

 

Blend together cold water and cornstarch. Stir into turkey mixture and cook until thick and bubbly, stirring often. Add pineapple and green pepper, continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes or until pepper is crisp-tender. Garnish with toasted almonds and serve over steamed rice.

TACO RANCH DIP

 

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning mix

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

 

For serving: Carrot and celery sticks, tortilla chips Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, seasoning and lime juice. Can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated, well sealed.

 

Serve with carrot and celery sticks and/or tortilla chips.

 

 

 

TERIYAKI STEAK SKEWERS

1/2 cup A.1. Original Steak Sauce

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 (1 pound) boneless beef sirloin steak, 1 inch thick

2 medium red and/or green bell peppers, cut into squares

2 cups fresh or canned pineapple chunks

Hot cooked spaghetti, optional

 

1. Mix steak sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger in bowl. Thinly slice steak; place in nonmetal bowl or plastic bag. Add 1/4 cup steak sauce mixture; stir to coat steak strips. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove meat from marinade; discard marinade. Alternately thread steak, peppers and pineapple onto 8 (12-inch) skewers.

3. Grill or broil kabobs for 4 to 6 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once and brushing occasionally with remaining steak sauce mixture. Serve with hot cooked pasta, if desired.

THE PERFECT SUMMER BAKING PROJECT

 

By Becki Smith, ucook.com staff writer

 

It's summertime, and the living is easy,... or at least it should be. So take a break from those 45-ingredient summer salads, and those complicated wraps that always seem to come undone just as you hold them over your lap, and take a few minutes to enjoy your children this afternoon.

 

Since nothing says summer afternoon like an ice cream cone, we decided to try a new twist on the old standby. These cones are as much fun for kids to make as they are to eat. The directions are kid-friendly and clean up is quick and easy. So before you know it, you're on the porch swing, cones in hand, deciding which puffy clouds really look like unicorns!

 

Cupcake Cones (makes 24 cones)

 

You will need:

 

1 pkg cake mix (any flavor you like)

1 pkg ice cream cones (the ones with flat bottoms)

1 container prepared frosting (again whatever flavor is your favorite).

 

To make the cones:

 

Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C)

Make the cake batter as directed on the box (yes, you can make your cake batter from scratch if you prefer, but remember, the goal here is EASY).

Fill each cone about half full with batter.

Stand the cones in a muffin pan (no need to grease).

Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely.

Frost (and if you want to get fancy, decorate with sprinkles).

TUNA AND WHITE BEANS WITH BITTER GREENS

 

1 bunch arugula

1 small head curly endive (8 to 10 ounces)

1 head radicchio (about 6 ounces)

2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or other white beans

4 ounces red onion or sweet onion such as Vidalia

8 sprigs parsley

1/4 cup capers, drained

2 (6-ounce) cans albacore tuna packed in water

1 1/2 lemons

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

 

Fill the sink with cold water while you remove any withered or yellowed leaves from the greens.

 

Cut the arugula crosswise into 3/4-wide strips, discarding the stems. Cut the endive crosswise into 3/4-wide strips, discarding the bottom 1 inch. Cut off and discard the bottom 1/2 inch from the radicchio.

 

Halve the remainder lengthwise and, with the flat side down, cut each half lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

 

Wash the salad greens briefly but vigorously in the sink to remove grit. Spin dry in a salad spinner. Remove any excess moisture with paper towels.

 

While the greens dry, open the cans of beans into a colander.

 

Rinse and let drain. Cut off a thin slice from the top and bottom of the onion, halve lengthwise, peel each half, and cut crosswise into thin half-moon slices. Chop the parsley leaves. Put the beans, onion, parsley and capers in a large mixing bowl along with salad greens.

 

Open the cans of tuna into the colander over a small bowl to catch the drained liquid. Flake the tuna and add to the mixing bowl.

 

Juice the lemons. Add the lemon juice to the drained tuna liquid along with the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and pour over ingredients in salad bowl. Toss well, serve.

 

VANILLA WAFERS

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon water

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Cream together sugars, shortening, egg, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Add the flour and baking powder. Add 1 tablespoon of water and continue mixing until dough forms a ball.

4. Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls and flatten slightly onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies are light brown. Makes 50-56 cookies.

WAFFLES

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup melted shortening or oil

 

Mix all together. Bake on hot waffle iron until done.

 

WALNUT ANGEL CAKE

 

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, ground or finely chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

12 egg whites (11/2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon light salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Combine flour, powdered sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with cream of tartar and light salt until foamy. Gradually beat in all granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue beating until meringue holds stiff peaks. Gently fold in vanilla and almond extracts.

 

Sprinkle dry ingredients over meringue and fold in gently, just until flour mixture disappears. Pour into an un-greased angel cake pan. Gently cut through batter five or six times.

 

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert by placing a funnel on the counter and inverting cake so air can circulate under it. When completely cooled, run a spatula around edges of the pan to loosen cake. Turn out onto a cake plate and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar or drizzle with a thin glaze of your choice.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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