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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 233

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).










































































1 cup acini di pepe (pasta)**

2 12 oz cans mandarin oranges

1 20 oz can crushed pineapple in juice

1 6 oz bottle maraschino cherries

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

Pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon or less!)

2 eggs

1 12 oz tub non-dairy whipped topping


Drain all fruit, reserving liquid. Cut maraschino cherries in half. Cook acini according to package directions - EXCEPT over-cook it (package calls for 8 minutes, cook at least 12 minutes). Drain, rinse to cool, set aside in a large bowl.

Beat eggs or place in blender to whip. In same pot used to cook the acini, place the reserved liquid, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with wire whisk. Temper eggs with hot liquid, return to pan. If you're using an electric stove, turn off heat, return pan to hot burner, stirring constantly till mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat, pour over cooled acini. Stir gently but thoroughly. Mixture will be soupy. Add fruit, stir gently to combine, cover and refrigerate 4 - 6 hours or overnight. Just before serving stir in non-dairy topping. Serves 6 - 8. Easily doubled - adjust fruit to taste.


** Acini di pepe is not available in all areas. You may substitute rosa marina or orzo.

For those with food allergies, the eggs may be omitted. If you are allergic to wheat, substitute 3 cups cooked rice for the pasta, and cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca flour or arrowroot for the flour.


Hartford Courant

Try to imagine, if it's at all possible, a summer without ketchup, the king of condiments. Utterly un-American.


Whether we're slathering it on a grilled burger or heaping it upon a hill of fries or onion rings, ketchup is an important component of the warm-weather season.


From Memorial Day to Labor Day, sales of America's favorite condiment peak. Summer brings a 15 percent increase in sales for Heinz, according to Michael Mullen, spokesman for Heinz North America, which owns more than half the ketchup market.


``Ketchup can be found in every country in the world,'' said Mullen. ``But the U.S. is by far the No. 1 consumer.''


How much? More than 300 million bottles a year. Ketchup pulled in about $500 million in retail sales last year. And just who is eating all this ketchup? More than half of all ketchup consumption is done by youngsters, ages 8 to 15.


``Ketchup is a taste memory. It's familiar,'' says Sara Moulton, executive chef at Gourmet magazine.


1 10-oz pkg Rainbow Rotini Pasta

2 cups small broccoli flowerets

1 cup cubed mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup thinly sliced pepperoni, halved

1/2 cup red or green bell pepper strips

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup bottled Italian dressing.

Prepare rainbow rigatoni as package directs, except, add broccoli to boiling water

in the last minute of cooking time; drain. Rinse pasta and broccoli well with cold running water; drain. In large bowl, combine all ingredients, toss to coat with dressing. Serve immediately, or cover and chill 2 hours or overnight. Add more dressing, if needed. Serves 8



2 cans Beer (12 oz or 10 oz cans)

1 tbsp Prepared horseradish

2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Onion powder

1/2 cup Olive oil

2 tbsp Lemon juice

1 tsp Ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp Garlic powder

1 tbsp Wine vinegar


Mix all ingredients together and use as a marinade. Save some unused marinade on the side for use as a basting sauce while the meat cooks. NEVER RE-USE









4 chicken leg quarters (thigh attached)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 cups green onion, chopped

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 cup chopped fresh peaches (about two medium peaches)

Dash nutmeg


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. In a skillet, melt the butter and add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and all but 1 tablespoon of the green onion and cook an additional 4 minutes.


Spread the onion mixture evenly over the chicken, spoon the orange juice and bourbon over the top, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning and basting occasionally.


Remove the chicken from the oven, spoon the peaches over the top, sprinkle with nutmeg and return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes, or until chicken is done. Place chicken on serving dish, pour over pan juices and garnish with remaining green onion.


(for two medium 10-ounce fillets)


2 square inches (surface area) grated lime peel

1 pinch salt

2 pinches black pepper

2 pinches red pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 dash garlic powder


Brush the fillets with olive oil.

Grate lime peel over fillets

Sprinkle with seasoning


SMOKE in electric smoker until white and flaky using ONE medium chip of

Mesquite hardwood (about 2 hours on my smoker)


Optional: BROIL in oven until flaky white. (Check at 5 minutes or less)

Do NOT over cook.



Makes 5 cups

1 pineapple

1 red onion, peeled

2 sweet peppers (mixture of red, yellow or green), stems and seeds removed

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon finely minced Thai red chilies

A few dashes of Thai fish sauce (nam pla )


Freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch Thai basil or sweet basil, stems removed

1 bunch orange mint, stems removed OR small peppermint leaves, along with 1 tablespoon orange juice


Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat broiler. Cut pineapple into quarters lengthwise, slice off rind and core and cut out ``eyes.'' Grill or broil pineapple until charred on all sides, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.


Dice onion, sweet peppers and pineapple.


In a small saucepan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil; add onion and cook 3 minutes, until soft. In a bowl, combine pineapple, peppers, chilies and fish sauce, and pour vinegar mixture over. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.


Chop herbs; add to relish and stir. Serve at room temperature. Goes well with grilled seafood, poultry or pork.



Substitute equal amounts of any fresh green herbs, if desired, in the sauce.




1 cup loosely packed chopped parsley leaves

1 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves

1 cup loosely packed chopped basil leaves

1 cup loosely packed chopped dill leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons roasted garlic (available in produce section of most supermarkets)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper




1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

6 chicken breast halves, skinned, boned


Line a 9-by13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.


To make sauce: In medium bowl, stir together parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.


To make chicken: Mix chili and garlic powders, pepper, salt and cumin; rub mixture over both sides of chicken. Arrange on prepared pan in single layer, cover and marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, place oven rack in lowest position; preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake chicken until golden and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.


Transfer chicken to serving plates and drizzle with sauce to serve.


We find that the tender chicken combined with the crunch of the celery and the salty cheese and basil make a great summer chicken dish, served on the deck with French bread or good sourdough.


We have doubled and even tripled this recipe for parties.


3 to 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup dried basil

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled into evenly sized chunks

2 cups diced celery (4 ribs)

Cooked pasta or rice (white, brown or wild)


Cut chicken into approximately 1-inch cubes or narrow strips. Heat olive oil in large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan, or even a wok. Add chicken and cook fully over medium-high heat, until juices no longer run pink. (Do not drain the liquid from the chicken! A little olive oil never hurt anybody.)


Reduce heat to medium-low. Add basil and feta cheese, stirring/tossing gently and intermittently until feta begins to melt or soften. Add the celery when feta has softened and cook until celery softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Transfer everything to a large serving dish and serve immediately.


Variations: Substitute 1 red bell pepper (julienne) for the celery. Add julienne red bell pepper and coarsely chopped onion to the celery.


Serve any of these variations over cooked pasta or rice (white, brown or wild).




2 medium artichokes


1 clove garlic, smashed

8 ounces fresh crab meat

1/4 cup mayonnaise or fat-reduced mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons minced green onions


Lemon or lime wedges


Trim off stem end of artichokes and cut away the sharp tips of the leaves, if desired. Place the chokes in large pot of enough salted water to cover 3 inches above chokes. Add garlic, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at low boil until artichokes are tender, about 1 hour. If you can easily spear the bottom end with the tip of a fork, the artichokes are done. Drain well.


When cool enough to handle, remove fuzzy chokes from centers with serrated spoon.


In bowl, stir together crab meat, mayonnaise, tarragon, paprika, green onions and pepper to taste. Gently spoon crab mixture into artichoke cavities. Garnish with lemon wedges.



By Catherine McCain Burgess, ucook.com staff writer


A Loaf of Bread, A Bottle of Wine, and Thou certainly sounds romantic.


But not all of us can make it through a day on bread, beverage, and romance alone. For those of us who need a bit more sustenance, I propose a picnic that is a little more elaborate.


Imagine, if you will, a balmy, pale orange summer night. After work, you and a companion recline on a striped tablecloth in the middle of your preferred park. The citronella candles are beginning to glimmer as the sun goes down, and the yeasty bouquet of your sparkling wine is just barely perceptible over the smells of grass and evening air. Fireflies begin to glow.


Your wicker picnic basket is laden with favorite summer treats: cold lemon tarragon roast chicken, tomato salad with mustard vinaigrette, crusty olive bread, Port Salut cheese, ripe peaches and cherries. With no kids to worry about, no phone calls to return, and no laundry to do for this one evening, you've created the perfect opportunity to relax.


Lemon Tarragon Roast Chicken


1 frying chicken, maximum 2-1/2 to 3 pounds, at room temperature

1 teaspoon fennel seed, ground

zest of 1 lemon, grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes

small bunch fresh tarragon


Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).

Rinse chicken inside and out. Drain. Remove and discard neck fat.

Combine fennel seed, lemon zest, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Rub mixture inside cavity and underneath breast, thigh, and leg skin. Stuff tarragon inside bird. Truss bird loosely so inner thighs will be exposed to heat as much as possible.

Heat 9- or 10-inch cast iron pan. Brown all sides of the chicken. Then put the chicken and pan in the oven and cook until thigh juices run clear. Remove from pan to cool. When completely cooled, remove wings, breasts, thighs and legs from carcass. Refrigerate meat until picnic and reserve bones for soup or stock.


Simple Tomato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette


5 ripe Roma tomatoes

6 leaves fresh basil, cut in a chiffonade (narrow strips)

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 tablespoon fruity extra-virgin olive oil


Slice tomatoes 1/4-inch thick and put in a shallow container. Add basil. In a small bowl, whisk shallot, mustard, and vinegar together. While whisking, slowly add olive oil until it forms an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the tomatoes. Chill. Marinate 4 hours before serving. The rest is up to you....




This colorful sauce combines sweet, sour and salty tastes.


2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup distilled vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 red bell pepper


In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, salt and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until thick (about 5 minutes).


Finely grate red pepper and add to sauce immediately before serving.


(Beans With Cabbage)


1 head green cabbage (about 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 thin slices chopped Italian salami (Genoa or Tuscano)

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons wine vinegar

2 cups chicken broth (97 percent fat-free)

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 15-ounce can white beans, with liquid

Salt and pepper to taste

Dried oregano to taste


Cut the cabbage into quarters. In a large 8-quart pot of water over medium heat, cook cabbage 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Poke with fork to see if tender. Drain and leave in colander.


Heat olive oil in the same pot, then saute garlic. When garlic gets slightly toasted, add the chopped salami. Simmer for a minute.


Add the cooked cabbage, and pour in the wine, vinegar, broth and ketchup. Add the can of beans and bean liquid. Stir well with wooden spoon.


Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then uncover slightly and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot.


Accompany this hearty soup with thick-crusted Italian bread or bruschetta, and red wine. Follow with a mixed green salad tossed with olive oil and vinegar dressing. The salad is always served after the main dish in Italian homes.


Serves 8-10

3 cups long-grain rice

5 cups chicken stock


1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup Picholine olives, or other small green olives, pitted and halved

1 small red onion, diced

2 cups chopped curly parsley

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/2 cup chopped basil

1 tablespoon chopped marjoram

1 tablespoon finely julienned sage

Freshly ground black pepper


In a large saucepan, combine rice, stock and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, lower heat to low, and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 17 minutes. Remove from heat, stir to fluff up rice, cover again and set aside to cool.


In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk to dissolve salt. Add mustard, whisk to blend, then add olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Set aside.


In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled rice, olives, onion, and all herbs. Toss gently to combine. Whisk vinaigrette to emulsify, then pour over salad and toss to evenly coat rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Just before serving, toss again to mix in dressing, then transfer to a glass salad bowl; serve. Note: This salad keeps well for about 2 days in the refrigerator.



Pie crust:


2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chilled shortening

1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

6 to 7 tablespoons ice water




3 pounds fresh, ripe peaches (seven med. peaches) pitted, peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar, or to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


To make pie crust: In medium bowl, sift together flour and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle with ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork, until dough just holds together.


Divide dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Enclose in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand a few minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough with floured rolling pin to make a disk about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to a 9" pie plate.

Repeat with remaining dough for top crust.


To make filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, toss peach slices with lemon juice. Add sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, mixing well. Pour into pie shell. Top with remaining crust, press edges together with a fork and trim excess dough. Cut slits in top crust for vents. Bake for 20 minutes, remove and cover edges of crust with foil. Return to oven and bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes.



2 Cut up apples

3 Cut up pears

1 Cut up orange

Seedless grapes cut in half

1 can Crushed or "tidbits" pineapple

2 Cut up peaches

1/2 c Sugar (optional)

Non dairy whipped topping, thawed (or whipped cream)

Sliced bananas


Mix apples, pears, orange, grapes, pineapple, peaches and sugar together. Top fruit salad with non-dairy whipped topping then with sliced bananas.


1 1/2 ounces or about 2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 ounces olive oil

Oil for cooking

14 ounces of 3/8-inch French fry potatoes, skin on

1 tablespoon kosher salt-and-pepper mix (see Note)

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Mix garlic with olive oil, to quicksand-like consistency. Heat cooking oil in deep fryer to 400 degrees. Pre-cook fries for 4 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. (Fries can be held at this point.) Refry for one minute for added crispness. Place in stainless steel bowl and toss with garlic, salt-and-pepper mixture and parsley. Coat evenly to avoid clumps of garlic.


Note: For the salt-and-pepper mix, use 60 percent salt, 40 percent pepper.



Makes 4 servings


Red pepper slaw:

2 red bell peppers, cored, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, slivered

Salt, freshly ground black pepper

Peel (yellow part only) and juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar


Fish cakes:

1/4 cup cornmeal

Salt, cayenne pepper

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 pounds steelhead or salmon fillet, skinned, cut into 1/4-inch dice

12 saltines or 3 rye crackers, crushed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Toasted split rolls for serving (optional)


To make slaw: Toss peppers in medium bowl with garlic, salt, black pepper, lemon peel and juice, oil and sugar. Set aside.


To make fish cakes: Mix cornmeal with salt and cayenne pepper to taste in medium bowl. Set aside. Mix egg with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and pepper sauce in large bowl. Add steelhead; toss to coat. Stir in cracker crumbs.


Form mixture into 8 cakes about1/2to3/4inch thick. (If mixture is too wet, add more crushed cracker.) Coat cakes with cornmeal mixture, brushing off excess.


Heat 1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 cakes, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Drain on warm plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter, oil and cakes. Serve on buns, accompanied by red pepper slaw.




4 to 6 assorted sausages

6 to 12 peaches, halved and pitted

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Fresh oregano, marjoram or thyme leaves, stripped from stems


Split skin on sausages at 1-inch intervals. Place with fruit (cut side up) in container. Mix honey, lime juice, mustard and cayenne. Brush over sausages and fruit. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Place fruit cut-side down and sausages on barbecue over medium coals. Cook, turning as needed, until done. Sprinkle with herb leaves and serve.


1 cup light rum

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1-inch thick slices ham (cooked)

1/4 cup soft butter

Marinate ham slices in combined rum, mustard, honey, and cloves, for at least

12 hours. Do not overlap slices. Spread ham with half of the butter & grill 8 minutes (4 inches from coals) basting several times with marinade. Turn. Spread with remaining butter, and grill 8 minutes longer, basting as before. Serve with any remaining marinade.


1(2-1/2 lb.) honeydew melon, peeled, cubed

1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon

2 cups sugar syrup, page 64

1 egg white, whipped

Slices of melon, if desired


In a food processor/blender, process melon to a purée. Mix in ginger, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Omit egg white.

Pour into ice cream canister. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions until sorbet holds shape. Transfer to a freezer container; cover. Freeze to a slush.

Freezer Method: Pour prepared mixture into several undivided ice trays; cover; place in freezer; freeze to a slush. Return to food processor/blender. Process semi-frozen sorbet and egg white until smooth. Return to trays; recover; freeze until firm.

Serve with slices of melon, if desired.

Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Variation: Line small custard cups with plastic wrap. Fill with sorbet when partially frozen. Pack firmly; smooth top. Remove by pulling plastic. Invert onto a plate; remove plastic. Surround with thin slices of melon, overlapped in a rose petal formation. Makes 8 to 10 servings


1 lb. ground lamb

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander

1/2 to 1 teaspoon harissa ***

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano and parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Olive oil for brushing


Tomato Salsa:

2 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded

1/4 cucumber, peeled, quartered and seeded

1 small red onion

1 garlic clove, crushed


Freshly ground pepper

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon


***Harissa is an North African sauce blended of chili peppers, garlic, onions, cumin, and other seasonings.

To make tomato salsa, roughly chop tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Put in a food processor or blender with garlic. Process until finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper and stir in lemon zest. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until required.

Mix together lamb, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, harissa, oregano, parsley and salt until well combined. Form into four burgers. Heat a ridged broiler pan. Brush burgers lightly with olive oil and cook 3 minutes on each side medium rare or 5 minutes for well done. Serve with tomato salsa. Serves 4



Serves 4

1 loaf white bread, crusts trimmed (see Note)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use

2 racks of lamb, each 1 1/2 lbs, frenched

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons dry lavender

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons sea salt


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Slice bread. Trim crusts and place slices on cookie sheet. Cook for 2-3 hours until very dry. In food processor, pulse dried bread until it becomes fine crumbs.


Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.


Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Sear lamb for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool. Brush lamb with Dijon mustard.


Combine bread crumbs, lavender, parsley and sea salt. Coat each rack well with seasonings on both sides.


Place remaining tablespoon olive oil in roasting pan and add lamb. Roast for 20 minutes, or until lamb is medium rare.


Note: If you don't want to make your own bread crumbs, you can substitute a cup of purchased crumbs.


Makes 8-10 tapas servings

For shrimp:

5 cups water

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1/2 lemon, sliced

1/2 lime, sliced

1/2 tangerine, sliced

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 onion, quartered

1/4 cup Provence lavender (flowers and leaves)

2 pounds large shrimp (16-20 per pound), shelled with tail intact

For marinade:

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh tangerine juice

1/2 cup lavender honey, available at specialty stores

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried Provence lavender (flowers and leaves)


For marinade, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.


To prepare shrimp, bring all ingredients except shrimp to a boil in large pot. Boil 5 minutes, add shrimp and boil until they are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain shrimp; cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with marinade. Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight. To serve, let stand at room temperature 20 minutes.


Makes 12 small scones

1 tablespoon dried Provence lavender flowers

1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/3 cup for glaze

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Combine lavender and 1 cup cream and bring to a boil. Let steep until cool, then refrigerate for several hours. Strain cream. Discard lavender.


Sift flour with baking powder, soda and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or in food processor. Stir in the cup of cream and mix until dough holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill well.


On lightly floured board, roll out dough, 1/2 inch thick for tiny scones, 3/4 inch for larger round. Cut out 1 1/2-inch circles for small, or 3-inch circles for larger round, with cookie or biscuit cutter. Gather scraps and repeat. Arrange rounds on greased baking sheet. Place close together, brush tops with remaining 1/3 cup cream for a glazed finish and bake until puffed and golden brown, 13-15 minutes.



Special to the Mercury News


My love affair with what the French call ``blue gold'' began when I was pregnant. While wading down the aisles of a toney boutique in San Francisco, feeling like the protagonist of Raffi's children's song, ``Baby Beluga,'' I discovered a vial of lavender oil. After that, I placed a few drops in my bath every day, becoming a firm believer in the relaxation properties of this fragrant plant.


I don't think it's a coincidence that when searching for our first home in California years later, we chose one with a huge stand of lavender in the front yard. As I brushed against it, releasing its fragrance, my curiosity grew about cooking with lavender.


It turns out that the French, particularly in Provence, have a long tradition of using lavender in their cooking. As French author Jean Giono observed, ``Lavender is the soul of Haute-Provence.''


Most of the lavender harvested there now is destined for the perfume and cosmetics industries, but some makes it way into the kitchen. The French produce aromatic lavender honeys. ``Herbes de Provence'' is a blend of dried herbs that often contains lavender and is used to season poultry, meat, fish and vegetables. And lavender honey ice cream is considered a French classic.


While lavender grows profusely in the Bay Area, I was disappointed to learn that my stand of Spanish lavender should be enjoyed solely in the garden because its flavor is too strong.


So while it may be tempting to forage some nearby flowers, when cooking with lavender not just any variety will do.


``I feel Provence (Lavandula x intermedia `Provence') is the most suitable culinary lavender because it doesn't have much camphor, which can be overpowering in food,'' says Susan Ditz of Rancho Alegre, a lavender farm in Pescadero.


However, if you happen to have English lavender (Lavandula angustofolia) in your garden, which includes such well-known cultivars as ``Munstead'' and ``Hidcote,'' this will work as well. Jerry Traunfeld, chef of the Herbfarm near Seattle, which grows more than 100 herbs for use in cooking, prefers English lavender in the kitchen.


Lavender belongs to the Labiatae family, which includes marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage and thyme. While its exact origins are obscure, its use dates back thousands of years. The Egyptians used it in the mummification process. Lavender scented the public baths of Rome, providing one possible origin of its name from the Latin lavare (to wash). And the Romans may well have brought it to England, where there are references to it in botanical and medicinal manuscripts written during the Middle Ages by Benedictine monks.


When I visited Rancho Alegre, Ditz handed me a few fragrant sprigs of ``Provence.'' This is the second year she and her husband, Fred Brittle, have grown lavender on their five-acre farm. With 4,200 plants encompassing 20 varieties, Rancho Alegre already ranks among the country's top 10 percent of lavender growers.


Ditz definitely possesses a flair for cooking and has created numerous lavender dishes, such as her signature Stud Muffins. ``Since studies have shown that the aroma men respond to the most is a combination of lavender and pumpkin, I have developed my own special recipe,'' she says. Though the recipe is a secret, the muffins will be available next month at the Pescadero Art and Fun Festival.


She has discovered myriad other ways to cook with lavender.


Ditz adds a teaspoon of dried lavender to summer berry crisps. She makes lavender sugar by placing a few handfuls of lavender flowers in a jar of sugar for two weeks and then grinding the mixture in a food mill when needed. It can replace regular sugar in baked goods, such as shortbread.


``We use the dried stems as flavorful skewers for chicken, fish and lamb,'' she says. ``Or sometimes we soak them and place on top of barbecue coals to add a savory smoke.''


Lavender also marries well with flavors such as chocolate, caramel and lemon, and can be substituted in recipes calling for rosemary.


But cooks new to lavender should use it judiciously. The flavor can overpower a dish and impart a soapy flavor.


As Ditz advises, ``You can always add more.''


Bruno Lopez, the executive chef at the new Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, is also a fan of ``Provence'' lavender, which he incorporates in both savory and sweet dishes. Given his commitment to working with local farms and using regional products, it's not surprising the hotel and Rancho Alegre found each other.


A native of France, Lopez discovered lavender as a child.


``My mother is from Provence, and everyone kept a small bag of lavender in their closets. I began experimenting with lavender in my cooking years ago, beginning with a sweet-and-sour duck breast,'' says Lopez, who also uses lavender in a crusted rack of lamb as well as a thyme-lavender ice cream.


Sharon Shipley of Mon Cheri Cooking School & Caterers in Sunnyvale is such an avid lavender enthusiast that she frequently travels to Provence and brings back French varieties to try.


``Lavender is a staple in many French desserts such as ice cream, sorbets and custards. Sometimes tortes use lavender-flavored butter creams,'' Shipley says. ``I like to infuse lavender in buttermilk and add it to pound cake.''


She uses the flowers to make lavender vinegar or candies them, like rose petals, by lightly coating them with egg white, dusting them with superfine sugar and drying for four to eight hours.


Shipley also loves how lavender complements fish, especially halibut, shrimp and scallops.


Given lavender's versatility, it's easy to experiment by adding it to recipes. Sprinkle some finely chopped fresh flowers on a fruit salad. Use lavender as a dry rub for meats or fish. Or soothe those frazzled nerves at the end of the day with a lavender tisane (herbal tea). Just steep an ounce of dried or fresh flowers in two cups boiling water and drink hot or cold.


Just as I did when I was expecting, Ditz says she has experienced lavender's relaxation effect firsthand.


``Last summer I kept wondering why I felt sleepy in the afternoons when working in the fields,'' says Ditz. ``Then I realized it was the lavender.''


3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh orange zest

1/2 cup rosemary and lavender oil


Whisk ingredients together and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.



1 1/2 pounds plain turkey cutlets

1 1/2 tsp. cooking oil


Lemon Sauce

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup water

1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

2 Tbsp. cornstarch


sprinkle of paprika

1 tsp. liquid sweetener


Brush turkey with cooking oil. Broil 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked.

Lemon Sauce;

Combine first four ingredients in small saucepan. Mix well and heat and stir

until it boils and thickens. Makes 1 cup. Serve over the turkey.



4 large eggs, hard-boiled -- chopped

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped green onions

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons salsa

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

6 taco shells

Lettuce leaves


Combine first three ingredients in a bowl; set aside.


Combine mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients; fold into egg mixture.


Line taco shells with lettuce. Spoon egg salad evenly into taco shells. Garnish, if desired, with shredded cheese and/or avocado slices, and serve with salsa.

6 servings.



1 cup water

3/4 cup flour

Process in blender just until smooth. Pour into saucepan.


1/2 cup white vinegar

Add this to flour/water mixture in saucepan. Cook just until thickened,

stirring constantly.


1 egg

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (optional)

Combine in blender container and process until smooth. Add to hot mixture,

and continue to blend until smooth again. Yield: 3 1/4 cups

Mennonite Country-Style Recipes & Kitchen Secrets, By Esther H. Shank



1 cup sweet (unsalted) butter (see note)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups finely chopped pecans

2 teaspoons instant powdered coffee

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, pecans, coffee, cocoa, flour and salt, and mix well.


Shape into 1-inch balls and place on un-greased cookie sheets. Bake 15 minutes. Cool. When cooled, roll in powdered sugar.


Note: Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.


Editor's note: This recipe is similar to Mexican wedding cake. From our experience, the powdered sugar will stick better if put on warm cookies and put on again when cookies cool.


Serves 8-10

A little known fact: If you make the custard with whole eggs, it will bake more quickly because the protein in the whites sets at a lower temperature than the yolks.

The caramel

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

The custard

5 cups whole milk

8 whole large eggs

1/3 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fill a shallow roasting pan with 2 inches of water and place in oven to heat. Have a 7-cup, ovenproof porcelain baking dish, like a round gratin or soufflé dish, ready, and set a pan of cold water to the side of the stove.


In a heavy saucepan or skillet, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will turn brown. Do not leave unattended, and handle carefully because it's very hot. Remove pan from heat and slowly immerse bottom in cold water to stop cooking. Slowly pour caramel into baking dish, tilting dish back and forth so caramel covers bottom of pan. Set aside to cool.


Scald milk. In a bowl with an electric mixer or immersion blender, beat eggs and sugar. While still beating, drizzle in warm milk and vanilla. Pour custard through a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth-lined colander into caramel-lined baking dish. Don't skip this step. It's important for a super-smooth custard without little bits of egg.


Carefully set filled baking dish into hot water bath. If needed, add more water until water reaches just under halfway up dish. Don't let water splash into custard.


Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean but center is still wobbly. Remove from water bath with oven mitts and cool on a rack 30 minutes. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours before serving.


To un-mold flan, run a knife around edges of baking dish. Place a rimmed serving plate a bit larger than baking dish over top of flan and invert. The custard will fall out onto plate and the caramel will run down sides of flan.



Cinnamon flan: Place two 2-inch sticks of cinnamon in milk before scalding. Simmer a few minutes, then let rest 10 minutes. Strain milk, discard cinnamon stick.


Coconut flan: After straining custard, stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened, moist coconut and 1 tablespoon coconut extract.


Individual flans: Double amount of caramel, and divide between 10 heavy coffee cups, ramekins or Pyrex custard cups, each with a 1-cup capacity. Pour custard into cups, about 3/4 cup for each. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, cool, chill and un-mold.


1 cup Butter

2 cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 cup Buttermilk

1 pound Gumdrops, large -- Orange slices

14 ounces Dates -- diced

2 cups Nuts -- chopped

1 cup Coconut -- flaked

4 cups Flour -- unsifted

1 cup Orange Juice

1 cup Powdered Sugar -- unsifted

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar until well blended; add eggs and mix well. Add soda to buttermilk in a small bowl; stir into first mixture. Add flour, mix well and add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour into a prepared 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake 2 hours at 300 degrees F.

Place a pan of water in oven until last 45 minutes to keep cake moist. When

cake comes out of oven, mix orange juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl.

While cake is hot, pour orange juice & powdered sugar mixture over cake and

let stand overnight to cool & set.





(Stir-Fried Rice Noodles)

1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles* (sen lek or kway tio, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide)

a 1/4-pound piece firm tofu, rinsed, patted dry, and hard edges trimmed

1 tablespoon tamarind* (from a pliable block)

1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch for dredging

2 large eggs, beaten lightly

1/4 cup vegetable oil plus about 2 1/2 cups for frying tofu

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dried small shrimp*

1 tablespoon chopped pickled salted radish*

(hau pak kad khem, usually sold in plastic packages)

2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce* (preferably naam pla), or to taste

1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes


1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

1 lime, cut into wedges


*available at some Asian markets, and specialty foods shops


In a large bowl cover rice noodles with cold water and soak 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain noodles.


While noodles are soaking, wrap tofu in paper towels and put a heavy weight, such as a skillet, on top. Let tofu stand 30 minutes to press out any excess liquid.


In a small bowl combine tamarind and 1/4 cup hot water and let stand, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Strain tamarind mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl, pressing hard on solids and scraping bottom of sieve, and discard solids. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved.


Cut tofu into 1/2-inch dice. Put cornstarch and half of egg in separate bowls. In a heavy saucepan at least 4 inches deep heat 2 1/2 cups oil (about 1 inch) over moderately high heat to 360°F. on a deep-fat thermometer. Dredge a small batch of tofu in cornstarch, shaking off excess, and dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Carefully drop coated tofu, 1 piece at a time, into hot oil and fry until golden. Transfer tofu with a slotted spoon as fried to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining tofu in the same manner.


In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and stir-fry garlic until fragrant, about a few seconds. Add shrimp, radish, and fried tofu and stir-fry 3 minutes. Add remaining egg and stir-fry until egg sets. Add noodles, tamarind mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and fish sauce, tossing. Cook mixture, stirring, until noodles are al dente and most of cooking liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add bean sprouts, chives, and red pepper flakes, tossing to combine well.


Mound noodles on a serving plate and sprinkle with peanuts and chives. Arrange bean sprouts and lime wedges around noodles. Serves 2 to 4.

[[Esmeralda, a wonderful and beautiful Mexican girl who is a dear friend, was at

our house for barbecue. She left a pouch containing a brown syrupy substance

she called "tamarinda." In my search to find out what it is for, I mostly found ways of making tamarind sauce. I found this recipe and a few others. I don't know whether or not I will try it.]]



1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, or to taste

3 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

4 cups peeled, pitted and thinly sliced peaches (Five to six medium peaches)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Several dashes ground cinnamon or nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour the melted butter into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in the milk until combined. Pour this batter over the butter, but do not stir them together.


In a saucepan, combine peaches, lemon juice and remaining sugar, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour peaches over batter, but do not stir them together. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg.


Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown. As this cobbler bakes, the batter bubbles through the peaches to form a crusty topping.



7 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and finely chopped

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 cups half-and-half

4 egg yolks

2 cups whipping cream

1 teaspoon almond extract


Combine peaches with sugar and lime juice. Refrigerate for two hours, stirring once or twice to dissolve sugar and bring out peach juices.


Heat half-and-half with egg yolks in saucepan over medium heat, stirring with whisk until thick and nearly boiling. Chill.


Combine half the peaches, half the chilled half-and-half mixture, half the cream and all of the almond extract in a blender. Process until blended. Repeat with remaining peaches, chilled half-and-half mixture and cream. Turn into the canister of a 4-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.



Choose fruits that have a sweet fragrance and yellow and red or orange peel, with no hint of green. Buy fruit that is firm but not rock hard. Avoid any that is mushy, bruised or shriveled.


Peaches should be stored at temperatures between 50 and 77 degrees, the range at which they'll continue to soften and get juicier. Temperatures between 36 and 50 degrees cause browning, mealiness and loss of flavor, so avoid any stored in a market cooler.


To soften peaches and increase juiciness, place them in a loosely closed paper bag away from direct sunlight for a day or two.


Once softened, peaches can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two but are best enjoyed as soon as possible.


And, most importantly, don't stop looking for that peach that requires no cooking at all.



By JOE STUMPE, WICHITA (KAN.) EAGLE, Wednesday, July 18, 2001


A perfectly ripe peach needs nothing more than an open mouth and a chin to dribble its juices down. And it's probably best enjoyed that way -- eaten out of hand, with a paper towel at the ready.


That kind of peach tastes like summer -- and looks like it, too, with its golden flesh surrounding a red areola.


But that kind of peach also is rare, and one that will most likely be found within a day's driving distance of the tree where it ripened -- minutes for all you lucky folks in California's Central Valley.


I was reminded of that fact again recently after buying some Central Valley-grown peaches at the supermarket. They looked and smelled great but were peach-sweet only about halfway through the flesh to the pit.


Although feeling slightly deceived, I realize it's not the growers' fault. The sugar content of peaches doesn't increase after they're picked. A peach completely tree-ripened in California -- the nation's biggest producer -- would be too soft by the time it reached supermarkets across the nation.


Nevertheless, the purchase was hardly a waste. Even less-than-perfect peaches can star in a variety of dishes -- from desserts such as pie, cobbler and ice cream to savory meat dishes and salads.


The trick is to taste the peaches before you add them to a dish and adjust the amount of sugar called for in a recipe until the desired sweetness is reached. If the peaches already have a tinge of tartness, you may also want to leave out lemon juice if it's called for in a recipe.


3/4c. water

2c. bread flour

1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1 tsp. bread machine yeast

1/2 c. sliced pepperoni

Measure carefully, placing all ingredients except pepperoni in bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Add pepperoni at the Raisin/Nut signal or 5 to 10 minutes before last kneading cycle ends. Select Basic/White cycle. Use Medium or Light crust color. Do not use delay cycles. Remove baked bread from pan and cool on wire rack.


BY BETH HENSPERGER, Special to the Mercury News

If you love silky, unctuous white food -- mashed potatoes, tapioca, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream -- chances are you adore flan as much as I do.


Technically, flan is a true custard, a baked mixture of whole, fresh milk and sugar, with beaten eggs to thicken the mixture. In Mexico, most flans are made with canned condensed milk, which makes a more solid custard.


The secret to a wonderfully textured, quivering flan? Slow, gentle heat and a watchful eye. If you overcook your custard, it will break into weeping curds. You can spot an overcooked custard by the clear liquid that will ooze out when you dip in your spoon.


That's why flans must be baked in a hot water bath called a bain-marie, which translates to Mary's bath. You put hot water in a shallow baking pan that is large enough so that you can set a smaller baking dish in it with lots of room to spare. The custard will bake gently and consistently, never burning or cooking too fast from intense heat. It may seem like a hassle, but without a bath, a delicate flan becomes a curdled mass with tough edges that cook faster than the center.


The other characteristic of a true flan is its thin layer of caramel. Though that layer is on the bottom of the baking dish, once the flan is cooked and turned out for serving, it ends up on top. It's just a hint of flavor. Flan is at its delicate best served room temperature, but it can be made the day before and be served chilled.


I learned to make flan when I worked as a dessert chef at the Denali Park Hotel in Denali State Park in Alaska.


I made individual flans in non-stick muffin tins. I melted granulated sugar in the largest sauté pan you have ever seen (it couldn't be lifted with one arm) to make caramel discs, dropping tablespoonfuls of the scalding hot syrup onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. The discs hardened like candy once they had cooled, and were then peeled off the parchment and stored in a plastic bag.


When it was time to make the custard, one translucent disc of burnt sugar was placed in the bottom of each mold and the cup was filled with custard. The caramel melts perfectly during baking. I made 200 servings of custard every other day. And every one was eaten.



1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled if desired and diced

1 medium carrot, shredded

8 ounces feta, crumbled

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Mix ingredients well. Chill, if desired. Serve on bagels or quartered pita rounds.




1 (16-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup soy mayonnaise (see note)

1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


Mash the chickpeas coarsely, but don't puree. Combine the mashed chickpeas in a serving container with the remaining ingredients. Mix together well and serve. Note: May substitute mayonnaise.


To make preparation simpler, substitute purchased three-bean salad and purchased bread, biscuits or muffins.




1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

8 to 10 ounces fresh green beans or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut green

beans, thawed

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced

1/4 cup minced fresh dill

1/2 cup natural low-fat vinaigrette


In a saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a rapid simmer; stir in the barley. Cover and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered, until barley reaches room temperature.


Meanwhile, if using fresh green beans, trim them and cut in half.


Steam or microwave the fresh or frozen green beans until done to your liking. In either case, make sure the green beans are still bright green. Rinse them under cool water.


Combine the cooled barley and green beans with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl and toss well. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.


Variation: Substitute prepared tabbouleh for the barley.








1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

3 medium to large green, red or yellow bell peppers or a combination, cut into

strips or rings

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional


Stir caraway seeds in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in oil and crushed red pepper.


Add the peppers and garlic, cover and cook over low heat, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Uncover and sauté, stirring frequently until the peppers are tender and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, if desired. Season with salt, cool, and serve on top of the potato cake.




4 or 5 medium red-skinned boiling potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes (11/4 lbs)

1 onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 egg whites, lightly beaten, or 1/4cup egg substitute

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, optional

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, optional


Place the potatoes in a steamer basket in a large pan over boiling water. Cover the pan and steam until the potatoes are just tender when pierced, 20-30 minutes, depending on size.


Let the potatoes cool; then chop them coarsely. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; then line the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit.


Coat the parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray as well.


Place a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and wilted, about 10 minutes.


Add the walnuts along with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, and cook 1 minute longer.


Add pepper mixture to the bowl with the potatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the egg and stir briskly with a fork until evenly mixed.


Press the potato mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the potato cake is dry on top and firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes.


Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes.


Slide a table knife around the edge of the pan; then shake the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a serving plate. Lift off the pan, and peel away the parchment paper.


Meanwhile, prepare the sautéed bell peppers (recipe follows) and the yogurt sauce, if desired.


To prepare the sauce, stir together the yogurt with 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme. To serve, cut the potato cake into wedges and top each serving with sautéed bell peppers and yogurt sauce, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.


COLUMBIA (S.C.) STATE, (Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2001)


Plan ahead and take only the equipment and food you will need, so there will be less stuff to pack and fewer leftovers to spoil.


Use a picnic basket or a strong tote. While wicker baskets are romantic and perhaps appropriate for cozy picnics for two, knapsacks are more practical for hiking picnics, and coolers are more appropriate for beach or lake picnics.


Pack a few extra plates, cups, knives and forks, etc. Consider washable plastic rather than disposable.


Bring lap-size cloth napkins, because paper products can get soggy. Inexpensive dish towels make great picnic napkins.


Celebrate with vibrant-hued picnic gear from discount stores. Investing a little money in reusable and fun paraphernalia will encourage picnicking more often.


Bring along a ground cover or tablecloth. It's worth taking along at least one blanket for crawling children, a little nap and some people- or nature-watching.


Use adequate food containers. Sauce leaking from a bottle can ruin the day. Stay away from breakable glass and china.


Pack most everything into shallow plastic storage containers. That way, after the meal, the containers can nest into one another for compact storage.


Though lugging a lot of liquid is weighty, bring plenty of beverages. Everyone seems thirstier than usual when eating outdoors. Put your beverages in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before you leave home to ensure they will stay nice and cold for a while.


Be sure you can get into and use everything you take. You may need a can opener, bottle opener, corkscrew, serving spoons, etc.


Don't forget the condiments.


Include comfort items such as insect repellent, sunscreen, allergy medication and pain reliever.


Take along cleanup supplies such as garbage bags (use one for garbage and one for dirty dishes), moist towelettes and paper towels. And it's always a good idea to throw in a roll of toilet paper.



While sandwiches are classic no-cook picnic fare, they don't have to be boring.


Spread a tablespoon of honey mustard each on four slices of bread. Add sliced apples, alfalfa or bean sprouts and sliced extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and top with a second slice of bread.


Try feta, apple and pimiento spread in a bagel sandwich. Add spinach or sprouts for color; top it with grilled chicken for a complete meal. (which see)


Chickpea spread is excellent stuffed into or spread on pita bread. (which see)


It's also tasty on pumpernickel, alone or with your favorite sandwich ingredients.




2 small to medium yellow squash, cut into chunks

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch-long pieces

12 ounces fresh white mushrooms, stems trimmed, or large mushrooms cut

into halves or thick slices

8 to 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, large ones cut into halves

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Bamboo skewers, soaked in cool water


Thread vegetables onto skewers. Arrange skewers in a snug-fitting baking dish. Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and pepper.


Pour marinade over skewers; turn to coat all sides. Cover and marinate 30 minutes or up to 2 hours, turning once.


Preheat grill or broiler. Place skewers on rack.


Grill or broil, brushing often with marinade, until vegetables are browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seeds. Serve hot or at room temperature.

See more recipes for this meatless picnic. "Picnic" is the first word in the titles.


This richer flan is a nice variation, and since canned pumpkin is available year round, it is an easy dessert. Serve with chilled whipped cream. Serves 8

The caramel

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

The custard

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

1 whole large egg

5 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fill a shallow roasting pan with 2 inches of water and place in oven to heat. Have a 9- or 10-inch ovenproof porcelain baking dish, such as a round quiche dish with 2-inch sides, ready. Set a pan of cold water to side of stove.


In a heavy saucepan or skillet, combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will turn brown. Do not leave unattended. Remove pan from heat and slowly immerse bottom in cold water. Slowly pour caramel into baking dish, tilting so caramel covers bottom of pan. Set aside to cool.


Scald half-and-half and cream. In a bowl with electric mixer or immersion blender, beat eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin and spices. Continue beating and drizzle in warm cream and vanilla. Pour custard through a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth-lined colander into baking dish.


Carefully set dish into hot water bath. Add more water so water reaches just under halfway up baking dish, if necessary. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean but center is still wobbly. Remove from water bath and cool on rack 30 minutes. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 to 24 hours.


To un-mold, run knife around edges of baking dish. Place a rimmed serving plate a bit larger than baking dish over top of flan; invert.



About 1/4 Cup of each of the following vegetables:

Spinach Fresh, add last, just until wilted

Mushrooms, sliced

Carrots, 1/4 inch dice

Celery, diced

Onion, diced

Green beans

Corn, frozen


Yellow Squash



Frozen Mixed Vegetables (Carrots, Corn, Peas)

Red Bell Peppers, diced

Green Bell Peppers, diced

1 Can Navy Beans, drained (smallest size)

1 Can Tomatoes, diced and flavored with Celery, Onions & Peppers (smallest


Shredded chopped Cabbage (green)

1 small Jar Ragu Chunky Garlic & Onion Tomato Sauce (or your favorite brand)

1 small Can Tomato Paste (smallest size)

1/2 tsp each or to taste of Curry Powder, Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Thyme,

1/2 tsp each or to taste of Oregano, Parsley Flakes, Basil

1/2 Envelope Knorrs Vegetable Soup Mix

1/2 cup Firm Tofu, diced

1/2 Cup Red Wine (optional)

1/4 cup Freshly Grated Locatele brand Romano Cheese, or to taste

Beef Base or Beef Bouillon (2 Tbs or 2 cubes)

Water as needed for thinning the soup.

Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer, adding the spinach last. Cook

until the vegetables are tender. Use a crockpot if desired.



3 pounds peaches, cut into chunks

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup herbed white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, marjoram and pepper crushed in a mortar


Combine fruit, basil, bell pepper and onion in large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine oil, vinegar, sugar, herbs and pepper; mix well, then pour over fruit and toss to coat.


Refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to blend.



Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 minced fresh lime leaf or 1 teaspoon minced lime zest

28 ounces (can) chopped tomatoes, drained, or 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 pounds peeled shrimp

Minced fresh cilantro for garnish

Lime wedges


Put olive oil in a deep skillet and turn heat to medium-high. A minute later, add ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is nearly dry, about 15 minutes.


Add shrimp. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes.


Adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over white rice, garnished with cilantro

and accompanied by lime wedges.



12 small sweet oranges

1 fresh pineapple (peeled, cored and chopped)


1 (20 oz) can pineapple tidbits (drained)

2 cups shredded (or flaked) coconut

Maraschino cherries with stems


Peel oranges and divide into sections over a non-metal bowl to catch the juice. Add the pineapple and coconut and toss gently. Cover and chill overnight or longer. To serve, spoon fruit into a large serving bowl or individual dessert

dishes. Garnish with cherries. Serves 6-8


Is it Italian or North African



More often than not, it is the seasonings that give recipes a national identity, not the main ingredients or cooking technique. If you need convincing, here it is, in the form of a simple shrimp and tomato dish.


If you saw it, you would immediately take it for Italian, or more specifically, southern Italian or even Italian-American. It is nothing more than shrimp in tomato sauce, a combination served over pasta all the time.


But if you tasted it, you would give a different answer. The main ingredients are standard, the technique and appearance are standard, but the seasonings are from the other side of the Mediterranean -- North Africa.


That's the lesson here: by varying the spices, you can transform the common into the exotic. Instead of garlic, red pepper, lemon and parsley, you use ginger, cumin and coriander, lime and cilantro. The difference, as you can imagine, is striking.


Fresh lime leaf, which adds a mysterious fragrance to this dish, is difficult to find outside of specialty stores, and dried lime leaf is a poor substitute. If you can't find fresh lime leaf -- or even if you just don't want to be bothered looking for it -- use minced lime zest, which works well. The difference is real but quite subtle; given the strength of the other spices, it is far from critical.


The cooking process is exactly as it would be for making the usual dish of seafood in tomato sauce. Sizzle the spices in oil. Add tomatoes and simmer until they're saucy, then cook the shrimp in the sauce. It's a technique that works equally well for scallops or squid, either of which will cook in the same time as the shrimp.


Though you might serve the Italian-style preparation over pasta, this one is better with mounds of soft white rice.


La Cadière melon soup with mint

Serves 4-6

1 large ripe orange-flesh melon, flesh cut into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons crème fraîche

1 bunch mint

1 lemon, cut into paper-thin rounds


In a large glass bowl, combine melon, orange juice, sherry and crème fraîche. Stir gently to combine. Stir in 5 sprigs mint, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


Remove and discard mint. Stir, then spoon melon mixture into chilled serving bowls. Garnish each serving with a lemon round and sprig of mint. Serve immediately. This dish is perfect at the start of the meal or at the end.




2 to 3 large cloves garlic, pressed

2 tsp. packed brown sugar

1 tsp. red chili powder

1 tsp. salt or to taste

1/2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (Chili pequin)

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

6 individually cut rib eye steaks or 2 lbs. steak


In a small bowl mix all ingredients except steak; blend thoroughly to make a

paste. Rub evenly into all surfaces of steak. Wrap loosely in plastic and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours if time permits.

Grill or broil steak to desired doneness. To serve, slice thinly or serve the individual steaks. I also use this as kabobs (cut meat in cubes) with vegetables of your choice using these brush on butters:


Herb butter


1/2 butter or margarine softened

1/2 tsp. ground oregano or basil leaves

1/4 tsp. black pepper


Melt butter in microwave and add herbs. Brush on veggies as they are

grilling. Or if you like it even hotter...


Chili butter


1/2 cup butter or margarine softened

1 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. ground cumin


Melt butter in microwave and add chili and cumin. Brush on veggies as they

are grilling.


Combine with the meat recipe above and you've got a good meal on a stick.



1 pound Lean Ground Beef

1 teaspoon Garlic -- minced

2 tablespoons Dried Parsley

1 teaspoon Dried Basil

1 teaspoon Dried Oregano -- powdered

1 teaspoon Salt

4 dashes Hot Pepper Sauce

4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

30 ounces Tomato Sauce

6 ounces Tomato Paste

2 cups Fresh Tomatoes -- diced


In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heat, then drain well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Stir often. Serve with your choice of pasta or steamed vegetables.


2 cups flour

4 Tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks butter

1 cup water

1 cup sour cream or buttermilk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix flour together and sugar ..Set aside. In a sauce pan combine butter cocoa and water And bring it to a boil then pour over flour mixture and mix Well ..add buttermilk and eggs Vanilla and baking soda blend in well pour into a sheet cake pan (floured) and bake for About 25-30 minutes at (350 degrees)


1 stick butter

6 tablespoons buttermilk

1 box powder sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix frosting while cake is still baking. Place butter cocoa and buttermilk in a sauce pan and bring to a boil (stir often) Add vanilla and powdered sugar mix well. Pour over cake while Icing and cake are still warm.


Fish sauce is indispensable to this simple, versatile marinade.


1/2 cup Thai fish sauce

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon pepper

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup water


In a large mixing bowl, combine fish sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro and water; mix well.


Marinating and slow-cooking over indirect heat tenderize beef short ribs.


1 cup Thai Barbecue Marinade (see accompanying recipe)

4 pounds beef short ribs

1 cup Dipping Sauce (see accompanying recipe)


In a large mixing bowl, rub 1/2 cup of the marinade into ribs, reserving remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate ribs for 8 to 12 hours.


Prepare grill for indirect-heat method of cooking. Allow fire to cool to an even cooking temperature of 225 degrees.


Remove ribs from marinade. Brown ribs over direct heat on both sides (about 5 minutes per side). Move ribs to an area of the grill away from direct heat. Baste ribs, using reserved 1/2 cup marinade, and close grill lid. Continue basting and turning ribs every 15 minutes. Ribs are done when they begin to fall off bone (1 to 1 1/2 total hours of cooking). Serve with Dipping Sauce.



1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breast (boneless works best)

1 12 oz can Crushed Pineapple (well drained)

1 8 oz can of Mandarin Orange segments (drained)

1 cup of Red Seedless Grapes (halved)

1/4 to 1/2 cup crushed walnuts (or any nut you prefer)

1/4 cup chopped celery (if you prefer the taste)

1 to 2 cups of reduced fat salad dressing or mayo


Boil the chicken breast until the meat is cooked through. Refrigerate the meat until it is completely chilled. Take the chicken and with a knife and slice it into manageable pieced that can be either pulled apart to make small bite size pieces or shred in your food processor, to make the base of the chicken salad. Toss the chicken in a bowl with the pineapple, mandarin oranges, grapes, walnuts, and celery. Add the salad dressing to your taste. I prefer to have a creamier salad. Let this set for at least 2-3 hours in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend.


When you are ready to serve this dish, it is suggested that you lay some nice romaine lettuce in a bowl and scoop the salad on top of the lettuce. Pita wraps are very good to use as a bread with this meal. You will feel full but not stuffed from this dish and it is a big hit at brunches.






(low fat)


1 egg

1 egg white or 2 whole eggs (instead of 1 egg and 1 white)

1/4 cup Canola Oil

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 cup honey

2 small zucchini, shredded

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ( white whole wheat flour)

1/4 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup (up to 1 1/4 cup) chopped walnuts

Coat two 4x8 inch loaf pans with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the oil, plain yogurt, honey, zucchini & vanilla. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Quickly, stir in the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in the raisins chopped nuts. Pour the batter into the pans. Bake at 350 degrees until the center of each loaf springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 40 to 45 minutes. The sides should be slightly brown & come away from the edges of the pan. Set the loaves on wire racks and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans to finish cooling.


Lemon glaze (optional)

Mix 1 cup confectioner sugar with enough fresh lemon juice to make glaze

spread easily over cakes.



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