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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 242

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).

A PERFECT BRISKET

AN AGE OLD STAND IN FOR MEAT

AN EASY TASTE OF ASIA

ASIAN SOYBEANS FORM BASIS FOR HEALTH

BANANA GELATO

BLACKBERRIES

BRINGING QUICHE BACK

BUTTER PECAN PIE BARS

CAMPING MENUS

CAMPING STUFF

CANNELLONI AND MACARONI SALAD

CHICKEN BRANDADO

CHICKEN BREASTS IN GARLIC BUTTER

CHILLED TOMATILLO AND CUCUMBER SOUP.

CRANBERRY PEAR UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

EASY DINNER SALAD

FOUR FRUIT MARMALADE

FRUIT ICE CUBES WITH YOGURT AND HONE

GELATO

GINGER ORANGE SMOKED BEEF RIBS

GRANDMA VESTAS SWEET PICKLES

HANG ON TO SUMMER PEACHES

HUSH PUPPIES

ICED MINT CHOCOLATE COOLER

LECHE MERENGADA

LUNCH FOR TELECOMMUTER

MAKING MOCHI IS EASIER WITH THESE TIPS

MALAYSIAN SALAD

NUTTY ORANGE WILD RICE

PEAR BREAD

PEAR TART APPLE JAM

PIES AND MARTHAS VINYARD

POOR MAN POT ROAST

POTATO SALAD WITH CHILIES AND CORN

PUMPKIN MOUSSE

RADISH ROOTS

RASPBERRY LEMON MARMALADE

REAL BAGELS CANT BE SQUEEZED

RHUBARB JAM

SALMON ZUCCHINI AND CORN FRITTATA

SANTA FE CHICKEN SALAD CLONE

SEAFOOD QUICHE

SLOW COOKED BEEF ROULADES

SLOW COOKED PIZZA IN A POT

SMOOTHIE THY FEVERED BROW

SPAGHETTI PIE

SPINACH AND CRAB ROULADE

TERIYAKI STEAK

TEXAS CAVIAR

THE IDEA OF CITRUS

THIMBLEBERRY JAM

VANILLA TANGO GELATO

WATERMELON CAKE

WATERMELON GINGERADE

ZUCCHINI JAM

ZUCCHINI RAISIN COOKIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

A PERFECT BRISKET

 

By Rosa Rasiel, ucook.com contributor

 

Proust had his Madeleine, that famous little tea cake, to awaken memories of times past. I have my brisket sandwich.

 

When I left Baltimore for sleep-away camp for the first time, my mother decided that her skinny 10-year-old needed a substantial lunch for the long train ride. En route to the B&O Station, we stopped at Nate's and Leon's Delicatessen on North Avenue. Mother double-parked, and I waited in the car while she dashed in and reappeared swiftly, bearing a brown paper bag.

 

In it, wrapped in butchers' paper, was a hefty sandwich of tender, succulent, slightly fat, brisket on crusty, freshly sliced caraway rye. The juices from the still-warm meat moistened the bread, releasing its irresistible aromas and flavors. My sandwich and I were the envy, if not of all the other girls, surely of all the counselors.

 

That brisket was a classic: no tomatoes, no chili sauce, no nonsense. What the great French gourmand Curnonsky said about food applies, however cross-culturally, to this dish: "Cuisine is when foods taste like themselves."

 

So, how could I, with such an unforgettable example of excellence in my sensory memory bank, have prepared brisket with onion soup mix and cranberry sauce, the way I did in the seventies?

 

It happened like this: a new friend invited us for a holiday lunch. She was a busy woman who kept a strictly kosher house, and entertained a lot, which, in those days, meant that she cooked a lot. She served us her special, easy-to-make brisket. You didn't need a recipe.

 

All you needed was a three pound (more or less) piece of brisket, a packet of kosher, meat-based or pareve onion soup mix, and a one pound can of whole-berry cranberry sauce. And all you did was put a large piece of foil in a roasting pan, place the brisket on the foil, combine the sauce and the mix, and pour them over the meat.

 

Then you wrapped it all up, and put it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until done. You could make it a day or two ahead, which made it easier to slice, and then reheat it in its gravy.

 

Besides being quick and easy, this allowed kosher cooks to feel part of the mainstream. It was an adaptation of one of the most popular dishes of the day, pot roast in foil with onion soup mix and condensed cream of mushroom soup. With the dairy ingredient replaced, it became suitable for the kosher kitchen.

Well, that was then, this is now. (We wore funny clothes and hairstyles back then, too.) Now, if I'm going to cook a brisket, I want the first bite of it to take me back to a time when only sailors wore bell bottoms and you could buy simple perfection at the deli.

 

So, I make my brisket today according to a recipe my friend Gail published in her temple cookbook as "The World's Best Brisket." No false modesty, there. And again, it's not so much a recipe as a method.

 

She seasons a four-pound brisket and browns it in a heavy pot without adding fat or oil. Then she removes the meat, adds five or six sliced large onions to the pot, and stirs them in the drippings. She puts the meat back in the pot, covers it tightly, and cooks it over low heat until it's fork tender, about two to two-and-a-half hours.

 

While the brisket cooks, your house will smell maddeningly delicious. When you lift the lid, you will find the meat surrounded by abundant, rich, oniony gravy, even though you put no liquid in the pot. Slice the meat and reheat it in the gravy. If you make it ahead, store the meat and juices separately for easy de-fatting.

 

My only change to this is the addition of a few large carrots cut in thirds. And my favorite accompaniment to the brisket is kasha (buckwheat groats); its nutty flavor is a great foil for the meat and gravy. And the next day: sandwiches on

rye!

AN AGE OLD STAND IN FOR MEAT

 

By Leslie Silk-Champagne, ucook.com staff writer

When I lived in Minneapolis, my favorite dish at the neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant was a "Mock Duck." You could get Mock Duck salad, Mock Duck over noodles and Mock Duck in a bunch of different ways I no longer recall. Fifteen years later, I still remember the spicy flavor and chewy texture.

 

I had no idea at the time that I was eating wheat gluten, made into a meat substitute called "seitan" pronounced (SAY-tahn.) It's high in protein at 7.5 grams per ounce with no fat in its raw state. This can change depending on how it's cooked. Naturally, being a vegan food it's cholesterol free. Seitan is an ancient food and is a staple among vegetarian monks in China and the common folks in Southeast Asia.

 

Today, seitan provides vegetarian and non-vegetarians alike with as close to a meat alternative as there is. It is brown in color and almost always comes shaped like the size of chicken tenders but can be found in burger, sausage and fajita-strip form (usually in the refrigerated section of most health food stores). It comes natural with no extra flavoring added or with teriyaki, barbecue, Szechuan or tamari flavor.

 

I have also found it canned in Oriental grocery stores called wheat gluten or sometimes mock duck. I've taste-tested both the refrigerated version and the canned version and found the canned to be equally good. It is also about half the price of the fresh variety.

 

This wholesome food is made from whole wheat or white flour that has been mixed with water and kneaded. The dough is then rinsed and mixed to remove the starch until gluten forms. It is then boiled in water. This glutenous dough is called kofu. Kofu becomes seitan by cooking and flavoring it in a variety of different ways.

 

Simmering kofu in a flavored broth is one very popular method to make seitan. The flavoring that you use will only be limited by your imagination. You can add cayenne, fennel, paprika, garlic and Italian seasoning for a "sausage" flavoring. The kofu or gluten can also be baked, oven-braised, pressure-cooked and even deep-fried. The texture and flavor will change depending on which method you use.

 

Seitan can then be used in stir-frys, sandwiches, stews, or ground in the food processor and used like ground meat in chili and hamburgers. Or, it can be formed like a cutlet and used in place of chicken. It is perishable and will last up to about a week in the refrigerator.

 

If making seitan at home from scratch is not your thing, you can try making it from a commercially available mix from Arrowhead Mills called Seitan Quick Mix or from Knox Mountain called Wheat Balls. I've had these and they taste remarkably like beef meatballs. I prefer it over tofu for its chewy texture.

AN EASY TASTE OF ASIA

SATAY SUBSTITUTIONS SATISFY

BY LINDA GASSENHEIMER, Knight Ridder

 

I have fond memories of the aroma of skewered seafood and meat cooking on small grills in the street markets of Southeast Asia.

 

Those satays, usually served with a spicy peanut sauce, are quick and easy to make. I've used peanut butter as a base to shorten the preparation time.

 

To save even more time, you can buy a thick, bottled peanut sauce. And while the recipe calls for mahi-mahi, you can use any firm fish, such as swordfish or cod.

 

If you use wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for about 30 minutes before use to keep them from burning.

 

MAHIMAHI SATAY

Serves 2

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 garlic clove, bruised

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound mahi-mahi

2 8-inch wooden or metal skewers

For peanut sauce:

2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

6 drops hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

 

Preheat grill or broiler.

 

Mix oil, rice vinegar and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice mahi-mahi into strips about 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches long. Marinate for 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes to coat all sides. Thread fish strips onto skewers. Place on grill grates directly over heat. Grill 2 minutes each side. Or place on foil-lined baking sheet and broil same length of time.

 

To make sauce, mix peanut butter, soy sauce and vinegar in saucepan until blended into a smooth consistency. Add sugar and pepper sauce. Separately, mix cornstarch and water, then blend into peanut mixture. Microwave on high 1 minute or cook over medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes. Serve skewers with some sauce on a plate. Serve remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

 

ASIAN SOYBEANS FORM BASIS FOR HEALTHFUL DISHES

BY SIRINA TSAI, Special to the Mercury News

Pop, munch, pop, munch.

 

Soon, all that's left is a pile of green fuzzy husks. And the realization that you've eaten all the nutty, sweet beans that were inside.

 

No need to feel guilty. Edamame, served as an appetizer at many Japanese restaurants, are a kind of soybean, and stories about the health benefits of soy crop up as regularly as rush hour.

 

Addictive as a snack, edamame (eh-duh-MAH-may) pods pop open when squeezed, releasing two or three firm, bright green beans that have a crunchy texture.

 

Edamame means ``branch bean'' in Japanese. The name refers to the fact that they were traditionally sold still hanging on their stems. In Mandarin, the beans are called mao dou, which means fuzzy bean. Sometimes, they're called green vegetable soybeans to distinguish them from the yellow or black beans that are used in processed form.

 

They're easy to find and prepare. Frozen edamame, typically sold in one-pound bags, are available in Chinese or Japanese grocery stores, at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and some other supermarkets, usually for less than $2. If you have a choice of brands, go for the greenest pods. Shelled beans are also available for about the same price. And in the summer, fresh edamame can sometimes be found at farmers' markets.

 

The traditional -- and basic -- way to cook edamame involves boiling. For one pound of edamame (shelled or unshelled, frozen or fresh) boil 3 quarts of water with 2 tablespoons of salt. Add edamame, wait for the water to boil again and cook 3-5 minutes. That's it.

 

In Japan, people often eat edamame when drinking beer -- much the way we might snack on peanuts. You can dress them up with a few drops of sesame oil or balsamic vinegar. Warm, a bowl of pods makes an unusual appetizer. Cold, they're an easy picnic food.

 

Most soybeans -- the ones that go into miso, tofu, soy milk and other products -- are small, are picked when fully mature and contain a digestion-inhibiting chemical. The long fermentation or cooking required to produce many soy products destroys that inhibiting chemical so the soy protein becomes available for absorption.

 

But the varieties of beans used for edamame are chemically different. They are nutritious and digestible with minimal cooking. They tend to be larger and are picked when young and tender.

 

Young or old, fresh or processed, soybeans are high in protein. They are the only bean that contains all the amino acids required for human nutrition. The Food and Drug Administration has recognized that eating soy protein can lower the risk of heart disease. Soybeans are high in calcium, iron, vitamins A and B, potassium and magnesium. And they have no cholesterol.

 

All those health reports may be on to something.

 

BANANA GELATO

Makes about 1 quart

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 1/4 cups whole milk

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

3 ripe bananas, peeled

2 tablespoons lime juice

Prepare vanilla custard mixture with egg yolks, sugar, milk and vanilla bean according to directions for vanilla tango gelato, above. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. In a food processor or blender, puree bananas with lime juice until smooth. Gradually add in vanilla custard mixture. Blend until incorporated. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer's guidelines.

BLACKBERRIES

 

Rubes valises. Also known as: bramble, cloudberry, dewberry, goutberry, high blackberry, Thimbleberry

 

Blackberry Jam - no cooking needed, with liquid pectin

 

2 cups very ripe blackberries, about 1 quart

4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 bottle liquid pectin

 

Crush the berries. Strain 1/2 of them if desired, but if you do, add one

more cup of berries. Put berries in a large bowl and mix with the sugar.

Combine pectin and lemon juice, then stir them into the berries. Stir for

about three minutes. Pour into glasses or freezer jars, cover tightly and

let stand 24 hours. Store in freezer up to one year, or 3 weeks in

refrigerator. Makes 3 pints.

 

Blackberry Jam - with powdered pectin

 

2 quarts delicious, ripe blackberries

7 cups sugar

One '1+3/4' oz box powdered pectin

 

Wash the berries and crush them well. If you prefer less seedy jam, sieve

half of the crushed berries to remove seeds. In a sauce pan, combine 4 cups

crushed berries with the sugar and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1

minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir

in the powdered pectin. For five minutes you will need to skim off the

foam. Between skimmings, stir some more. Fill hot sterilized jars and seal.

Makes about 4 pints.

 

Optional: If you prefer a more tart jam, replace 1/4 cup of the berries with

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice.

 

BRINGING QUICHE BACK

 

By Greg Patent, ucook.com contributor

 

Quiche, that savory French custard tart, was a mainstay of home cooks a decade or two ago. It graced the tables at chic luncheons and dinner parties. Even restaurants offered a generous selection of quiche. Who could resist the union of a crisp, buttery pastry with a smooth creamy custard filling flavored with bacon, cheese, onions or whatever struck the cook's fancy?

 

But where is quiche now? Hiding from the food police? Come on out, wherever you are!

 

Many years ago, when I was just learning to cook, a dear friend told me: "You gotta put in good to take out good." I've carried that lesson with me always, and I have found it to be most apt when making a quiche. You cannot make a real quiche with fake ingredients.

 

Low-fat milk lacks the texture and full, rich flavor of cream; egg whites without the yolks make the filling rubbery; and if you leave the crust out, well, just forget about the whole thing.

 

The key to a great quiche is a great pastry. (See A Shattering Pie Crust, for suggestions.) Here are some other tips to help you make fabulous quiche:

 

1. Use a lightly floured surface when rolling the dough. The reason is that too much flour on the surface of the dough can make your pastry tough. A pastry cloth, widely available through cooking catalogs (or buy a piece of canvas from a fabric shop), works best.

 

2. Quiche bakes best in a flan ring: a hoop of metal about 1 inch high and 8 or 9 inches in diameter. Or the pastry may be fitted into a tart pan with a removable bottom. I urge you to seek out the flan ring because the pastry becomes far more crisp that way. Once you've fit the pastry in the ring, prick the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow the pastry to firm up.

 

3. To prevent a soggy crust, pre-bake the chilled shell. Line it with a square of regular aluminum foil, shiny side down, and fill it with dried beans. Bake in a 400-degree oven until the pastry edge has lost its raw look and has begun to set, about 15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans, prick the bottom of the pastry again with a fork, and return it to the oven to bake 8 to 10 minutes more, until it is golden brown and almost completely cooked. The shell is now ready to be filled with whatever you choose.

 

The classic Quiche Lorraine flavored with bacon and contains no cheese. It is my all-time favorite. But quiche lends itself to all sorts of fillings. One especially satisfying combination is a mixture of cheeses, such as Gruyère and Parrano (a Dutch cheese) with a sprinkling of Parmesan on top. For a particularly savory filling, cook minced onions in butter until completely tender and golden brown, and add some pancetta, diced and cooked until crisp.

 

Sautéed eggplant slices, cooled and arranged on the bottom of the prebaked shell and topped with the custard mixture is another sure winner. When tomatoes and basil are at their peak, peel, seed, juice, and dice the tomatoes and sauté them briefly in olive oil with some garlic.

 

Stir in some torn basil leaves. When cool, spread the mixture on the bottom of the quiche shell and pour in the custard. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan, and bake for a great celebration of summer's flavors.

 

Just use your imagination and whatever vegetables are in season. But here's the most important point about the filling. The custard must have cream. No exceptions. Whole eggs, plus an extra yolk or two, a bit of salt, and maybe a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg complete the mixture.

 

Carefully pour the custard over your chosen filling, scatter a tablespoon or two of chilled butter cut into pea-sized dots over the top, and place the quiche in a 375-degree oven. In about half an hour the quiche will have puffed and be beautifully browned on top.

 

Remove from the oven and carefully lift off the flan ring using two forks. With a wide metal spatula, slide the quiche onto a platter and serve. The puff of the quiche settles within a few minutes, which is as it should be. Serve with a garden salad of mixed baby greens and a loaf of crusty bread. Then savor your creation.

 

Quiche, welcome back!

BUTTER PECAN PIE BARS

2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup margarine, melted

1 cup powdered sugar

For crust, mix flour, melted butter, melted margarine, and powdered sugar. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch pan to form crust. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.

Filling:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1 cup brown sugar

Boil until thick and foamy. Add 21/2 to 3 cups of chopped pecans. Mix well. Spread mixture evenly over pan baked crust. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Let cool before cutting into bars.

CAMPING MENUS

Breakfast:

 

French Toast

Pancakes

Scrambled Eggs w/ Bacon & Cheese in Tortillas

Farmer's Breakfast ("recipe" follows)

 

Lunch was usually sandwiches & chips

 

Dinner:

 

Steaks, Shish Kabobs, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs

Baked Taters, Instant Mashed Taters, Cajun Taters (recipe follows)

Sauteed Onions & Mushrooms or Grilled Onions (recipe follows)

Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Canned Veggies

 

Farmer's Breakfast

 

1/2 lb. bacon

Oil if needed

3 large Potatoes

1/2 large Onion

Eggs

Cheese (American or grated Cheddar)

 

Fry about 1/2 lb of bacon, cut across the slices to make small pieces. Remove from pan & drain. Remove most of bacon fat from pan. Peel and slice some taters real thin, preferably on the slicer feature on a four-sided grater. Do this while bacon is frying. Add some oil to pan if needed, heat; add sliced taters. Slice some onions and add to taters in pan. Season with seasoned salt & pepper. Stir occasionally. When browned on one side, stir and flip so top side browns. When taters are done and onions are nice & soft, add cheese, bacon pieces and some scrambled eggs. Stir gently to mix all together. Let cook until set. I'd serve this with tortillas and hot sauce (picanté sauce).

 

Cajun Taters

 

4 large baking potatoes

butter or margarine

Tony Chachere's Seasoning

Aluminum foil to wrap potatoes in

 

Slice taters into long planks, about 4 planks per potato. For each potato:

Place first slice on piece of aluminum foil. Smear with butter or margarine.

Sprinkle with seasoning. Repeat with remaining planks. Wrap tightly in

aluminum foil. Place on grill a good time before steaks, allowing time to

cook.

 

Grilled Onions

Plan on 1/2 onion per person.

 

Cut onions in half, remove outer layer. Put blob of butter on cut side of

onion. Sprinkle w/ seasoned salt. Put onions back together. Wrap tightly

in foil. Place on grill a while before steaks, allowing time to cook.

CAMPING STUFF

My husband, 3 children and myself are avid campers. We have the luxury of a

camper so our meals are very seldom your typical "burgers & dogs" type meals. We often camp with 2-4 other families, so we do a lot of pot luck or sharing. One of the things I bring a lot is "Tacos In A Bag". Just prepare your taco ingredients like usual (meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc) and purchase the individual bags of corn chips, nacho chips or whatever you prefer. Use plastic spoons and you have an easy meal with no dishes.

 

Another thing we usually do once or twice a season is to deep fry a turkey.

Several of us have fryers, they just hook up to the propane tank. It probably takes 1/2 to 1 hour to fry a turkey and everyone devours it before it's on the table.

 

Another idea for meat (roast beef, pork, ham, etc) is to bury it in hot coals in the ground and let it cook all day. We've done this several times but the guys take care of this so I'm not sure of the exact procedure - but I'm sure your local county extension office could help you out.

 

For BBQ chicken I always boil my chicken ahead of time and place it in a bowl with BBQ sauce. Cover and store in the frig or cooler until ready to BBQ. Place it on the coals to reheat. No more burnt outside while your waiting for the inside to get done.

 

I also like to make up homemade cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it in

balls. ( I am fortunate to have a good freezer in my camper). Just pop the dough balls into the oven for hot, fresh cookies and milk.

CANNELLONI AND MACARONI SALAD

WITH GRILLED TOMATOES, BASIL, AND OLIVES

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 1/2 cups small elbow macaroni (about 6 ounces)

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 15-ounce can cannelloni (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives or other brine-cured olives

1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

 

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon oil over cut side of tomatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes, cut side up, until skin begins to char, about 2 minutes; turn over and grill, cut side down, just until heated through, about 1 minute. Cool. Cut tomatoes into 1-inch pieces.

 

Cook macaroni in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Transfer macaroni to large bowl; cool. Mix in grilled tomatoes and any accumulated juices, 2 tablespoons vinegar, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer salad to large platter.

 

Mix beans, onion, olives, parsley, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon vinegar in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon bean salad over center of macaroni salad and serve. Makes 4 main-course servings.

 

CHICKEN BRANDADO

 

2 chicken breast halves without skin -- boneless

1 clove garlic -- minced

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup brandy

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 egg yolk -- slightly beaten

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Dash ground black pepper

 

Cook chicken and garlic in butter in a medium skillet 15 minutes or until chicken is golden, turning once. Add wine and brandy (do not stir). With a long match, ignite brandy mixture; shake pan until flame goes out. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken to a serving platter, and set aside.

 

Combine remaining ingredients, stirring well; add to pan juices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly. Pour sauce

over chicken. Yield: 2 servings.

 

CHICKEN BREASTS IN GARLIC BUTTER

 

4 boneless chicken breast halves without skin

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 eggs -- lightly beaten

1/3 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 cup dry white wine

 

Heat a serving platter in a 150 degree F. oven.

 

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels. Combine salt and

pepper with the flour. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, dip into

the eggs, then run through the bread crumbs, coating evenly.

 

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a wide, heavy saute pan over high heat.

Add the breasts and saute, turning once, until well browned and cooked

through, 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium-high if the

chicken starts to burn. Remove the chicken breasts to the warmed serving

platter and keep warm.

 

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and toss around the pan for about

15 seconds. Raise the heat to high again and scrape up any browned bits from

the pan bottom as you pour in the wine. Boil until slightly thickened and

reduced by half.

 

Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Pour

the sauce over the breasts and serve hot. Yield 4 servings.

 

CHILLED TOMATILLO AND CUCUMBER SOUP

 

2 poblano chilies*

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)

4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth

2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies WEAR GLOVES

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 green onions, chopped

 

Char poblano chilies over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; cool 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

 

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatillos and cucumber; sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and poblano chilies; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tomatillos are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in jalapeños, lime juice and cilantro. Cool completely. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer to large bowl; stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill soup until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions and serve. Serves 6

 

*Fresh green chilies, often called pasillas; available at Latin American markets and some supermarkets.

 

CRANBERRY PEAR UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

 

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp margarine

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

1 can pear halves in juice -- (1lb)

 

3 tbsp honey

1 cup cranberries

3 tbsp oil

1 1/2 cups flour

2 large egg whites

1/2 cup rye or regular flour

2 tsp grated lemon rind

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9" round. In pan, stir brown sugar, margarine and lemon juice. Spread evenly over bottom. Drain pears, reserving 3/4 cup juice. Cut in half lengthwise. Place on top of brown sugar with rounded sides down, arranging like spokes of a wheel. Scatter cranberries in single layer around pears. In medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, honey, oil, egg whites, lemon rind, lemon juice and pear juice together until well blended. Add half flour mixture to liquid. Stir just to blend. Add remaining flour and blend, being careful not to over-mix. Scrape into pan, spreading evenly over fruit. Bake 30-35 minutes. Place pan upright to cool

for 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Serve warm.

EASY DINNER SALAD

1 lb box tri color radiatore pasta

1 jar 4 bean salad

1/2 can black pitted olives

2 cans tuna packed in water

4 hard cooked eggs peeled & gently chopped or sliced

low calorie and/or fat free Italian dressing

Cook pasta according to directions, drain the tuna and olives and mostly drain the 4 bean salad - I use a little of the juice along with the dressing. Gently toss all the ingredients and add dressing to taste.

FOUR FRUIT MARMALADE

 

1 orange

3 cups pear halves

1 cup crushed pineapple

1/2 cup maraschino cherries -- chopped

1 box powdered pectin

3 1/2 cups sugar

 

* Wash and sterilize 5 or 6 pint sized canning jars.

 

1. Coarsely grate the peel from the orange, avoiding any of the white part underneath the rind. Section the orange and cut into small pieces. Combine the orange pieces, the peel, diced pears, well-drained pineapple, cherries and pectin in a large heavy pan.

2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar, bring to a full rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir constantly for 2 more minutes. Pour into

sterilized hot jars and seal. Yield: About 5-1/2 pints. Keep in cool dark place.

FRUIT ICE CUBES WITH YOGURT AND HONEY

Serves 4

4 cups fresh fruit juice, such as cranberry or apricot

Sugar (optional)

3 cups low-fat plain yogurt

Honey, to serve Make fruit juice just a little sweeter than you like to drink it (freezing reduces sweetness), then freeze in ice cube trays.

 

Fill tall glasses with fruit ice cubes and spoon in yogurt. Drizzle honey over top and serve.

GELATO

The latest scoop on ice cream; Argentine variety sets gelato pace

BY JENNIFER VIEGAS, Special to the Mercury News

 

During the 1980s, gelaterias sprang up all over the Bay Area. But food trends come and go, and by the 1990s, most shops serving gelato had turned to selling frozen yogurt and other icy confections.

 

But this summer, a new kind of gelato has hit the Bay Area. And this one has a surprising twist -- it's South American.

 

Argentina natives Hector Eduardo Speco, who helped to run his family's popular Buenos Aires gelateria for many years, and Joaqún Pochat set up shop this summer selling their handcrafted Argentine-style gelato.

 

The primary difference between Argentine gelato and the more familiar Italian version is texture: Argentine gelato is softer and smoother, with less ``stretch,'' as Pochat says, referring to the way some Italian gelati hold together with a taffy-like pull.

 

Italian outpost

 

``Artisan gelato making in Argentina dates back to the huge wave of Italian immigration that occurred in the late 1800s, early 1900s,'' says Pochat.

 

``In Argentina, ice cream shops are open until midnight, and you see whole families going out for an ice cream very late in the evening, sitting at outdoor tables enjoying the night.''

 

That feeling is re-created at Tango Gelato in Oakland, though Pochat and Speco's shop, which opened in June, is not open quite as late.

 

Children eye colorful, fruity flavors, such as cherries and cream, strawberry and pistachio, while adults ponder rum raisin, cafe and sambayon, made from a Marsala-infused egg yolk base. Sorbets, referred to as las frutas in Argentina, include mango, honeydew and kiwi.

 

Milk, not cream

 

Argentine-style gelato contains fewer calories and fat than some ice creams because it is made with an egg, milk and sugar base, with no added cream.

 

``We start by preparing our base, mixing milk and sugar and sometimes eggs,'' Pochat says. ``For the sorbets, we use just fruit, sugar and water. Then we warm up the mix to intensify the flavor, and most important, we age it overnight. This helps give our ice creams the smooth texture.

``Finally, we put the mixture into our ice cream-making machine, which whips much less air into the mixture than normal ice cream.''

 

My favorite is Tango Gelato's simple chantilly, or crema-flavored gelato. It's wonderful alone, but I like to pair it with dulce de leche or chocolate.

 

It is important to serve gelato at the right temperature.

 

``Our selling temperature is between 5 and 10 degrees,'' says Pochat. ``If you serve the gelato while it is too cold, then your taste buds can't pick up as much flavor. It should be soft but firm, so that it holds a cone shape but does not fall over.''

 

Tango Gelato is currently available only at the Oakland shop, at select restaurants and at gourmet stores in the East Bay, such as The Pasta Shop in Berkeley. Pochat and Speco hope to open a second store on the Peninsula soon.

 

Gelato can be made at home in a good hand-cranked or electric ice cream machine. The first recipe is adapted from one used at Tango Gelato, while the second banana-flavored gelato is my own.

GINGER ORANGE SMOKED BEEF RIBS

4 to 6 wood chunks or 3 to 4 cups wood chips (oak or hickory)

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 to 4 pounds beef back ribs (about 8 ribs)*

1/2 cup bottled barbecue sauce

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot

At least 1 hour before smoke-cooking, soak wood chunks (for smoker method)

or wood chips (for grill method) in enough water to cover. For the dry rub, in a small bowl combine the paprika, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over both sides of ribs; rub mixture onto ribs.

Smoker method: Drain wood chunks. In a smoker arrange preheated coals,

drained wood chunks, and water pan according to manufacturer's directions.

Pour water into pan. If desired, place ribs in a rib rack. Place ribs on the grill rack over the water pan. Cover and smoke for 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until tender. Grill method: Drain wood chips. In a grill with a cover, arrange preheated coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Sprinkle one-fourth of the chips over the coals. If desired, place ribs in a rib rack. Place ribs on the grill rack directly over the drip pan. Cover; grill for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Add more wood chips every 20 minutes and more coals as needed.

Meanwhile, for sauce, stir together the barbecue sauce, orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, and gingerroot. Brush ribs with sauce once or twice

during the last 15 minutes of smoking or grilling. Pass any remaining sauce.

Note: Ribs may be purchased in a rack or cut into individual pieces. if left as a rack, cut into individual pieces to serve. Makes 4 servings

GRANDMA VESTAS SWEET PICKLES

25 small Cucumbers -- pickling size

3 quarts Cold Water

1 cup Salt

2 teaspoons Powdered Alum

syrup:

1 quart White Vinegar

2 tablespoons Whole Cloves

2 quarts Sugar

4 sticks Cinnamon

 

Soak cucumbers in salt and water for 10 days. (I use a large metal bowl). Cover with a cloth and rinse cloth in cold water each day, then place back over bowl. (This keeps the skim off the brine).

 

Drain cucumbers on tenth day. Cut lengthwise and let stand in alum water

overnight. Make alum water by mixing 2 tsp. Alum with enough water to barely cover the cut pickles. (Don't wash off pickles after draining.) Next morning, drain and make syrup. Mix vinegar, cloves, sugar and cinnamon in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Pour over pickles. Drain syrup from pickles, bring to boil and pour over pickles once each day for the next four days, or until pickles are cured. (Cured pickles will be a dark green, and fairly crisp, with a consistent color and flavor throughout.)

 

Place pickles into pint jars, cover with boiling syrup, and process in water bath canner or steamer canner for 10 minutes. Recipe can be doubled or tripled. (c) 1999-2001 Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People

NOTES : This recipe was given to me by my grandmother. It is a very old recipe which traveled across the western plains with the pioneers, and has been a family tradition for as long as anyone can remember. These sweet pickles are unlike any you can purchase in the grocery store, and folks who do not normally like sweet pickles often love them.

HANG ON TO SUMMER PEACHES

BY FREEZING THEM

BY KIM BOATMAN, Mercury News

Soon, very soon, Christina Almgren will be up to here in peaches.

 

We should all have such a problem. But truth is, when the bumper crops of summer start coming in, it can be a bit hectic trying to manage the bounty.

 

Almgren, of Santa Clara, wonders if she can freeze her peaches. I remember my mother freezing peaches quite successfully, but I don't remember how she did it. A Web site, www.seasonalchef.com/preserves12.htm, from the University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County, was quite helpful.

 

Some highlights:

 

Always choose fresh, high-quality fruit and freeze soon after harvest. Wash and peel the peaches, then slice directly into a container along with an anti-darkening agent such as Fruit Fresh and a sugar syrup. (Fruit Fresh containers offer further instructions.)

 

You'll need about 1/2 to 2/3 of a cup of syrup for each pint of peaches. The Web site offers proportions for the syrup depending on the sweetness you desire; for the least sweet, simply mix 2 cups sugar with 4 cups water.

 

You can freeze peaches without the syrup, but their shelf life is considerably shortened (three to six months for unsweetened fruit vs. eight to 12 months for peaches packed in syrup.) You also can pack peaches in a dry sugar pack, mixing one part sugar with four to five parts fruit. That is the technique I remember my mother using.

 

If you've got other ideas or recipes to help Almgren make use of her crop, please send them along.

 

I tire quickly of the usual cobblers and the like when crops such as peaches and blackberries come in. So a rice pudding recipe with peach topping, found on the U.S. rice industry site, www.ricecafe.com, seems like a nice change of pace.

 

HUSH PUPPIES

1-1/2 cups white cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

About 3/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 green onions with tops, minced

Vegetable oil for cooking

 

Sift cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-size bowl. Combine 3/4 cup milk, egg, 2 tablespoons oil, and the green onions in a small bowl. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in more milk if mixture is too thick to drop from a spoon.

Heat about 2 inches of oil in a heavy pan or deep-fat fryer to 375F (190C). Drop batter into hot oil by spoonfuls. Fry about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Let oil return to temperature before adding the next batch.

 

Makes about 24 hush puppies

ICED MINT CHOCOLATE COOLER

4 tbsp drinking chocolate

1-3/4 cups chilled milk

2/3 cup natural yogurt

1/2 tsp peppermint essence

4 scoops of chocolate ice cream

mint leaves, to decorate

chocolate shapes, to decorate

Place the drinking chocolate in a small saucepan and stir in about 1/2 cup of chilled milk. Gently heat the liquid, stirring constantly, until almost boiling, then remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool.

Pour the liquid into a large mixing bowl or large jug and whisk in the remaining milk. Then, add the natural yogurt and the peppermint essence to the jug.

Pour the mixture into four tall glasses and top each with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Decorate each of the glasses with the fresh mint leaves and assorted chocolate shapes. Serve immediately. Serves 4

LECHE MERENGADA

Serves 4

4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 curl of lemon zest, plus grated lemon zest to serve

1 cinnamon stick, broken

For serving:

Grated lemon zest

Powdered cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks (optional)

Put milk, sugar and curl of lemon zest in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.

 

Strain into a freezer-proof container. Cover and freeze.

 

When ready to serve, remove from freezer. Using a hand-held blender, beat frozen milk mixture to a creamy froth. Serve, sprinkled with powdered cinnamon and grated lemon zest, with cinnamon sticks for stirring.

LUNCH FOR TELECOMMUTERS

 

By Marlene Parrish, ucook.com contributor

 

I work from home and my daily torment is the small, whining voice that insinuates into my concentration somewhere around 11:45 am: "What's for lunch?" Breakfasts are pretty routine and filling, and dinners get taken care of, whether eaten in or out. But lunch? Forget it. It seems as if there's never a good solution.

 

First of all, many people - especially those working at home - just don't want to stop working when they are fortunate enough to have a wide stretch of uninterrupted time in the middle of the day. Every telecommuter I've talked with has the same complaint. I know people who eat a carton of yogurt at the desk every day, rather than stop working. And some people ignore lunch altogether. But stop for refueling we must. And the pit stop for food had better be quick and have us back to work in a minimum of time.

 

Here are some lunch solutions I've heard from fellow solo workers:

 

Make extra portions for dinner, so you can heat up leftovers.

 

Order large pizzas every time, and freeze individual cuts to dole out at noon.

 

Improve and extend canned soups with leftover veggies.

 

Add snipped scallion rings and drops of sesame oil to freshen Ramen noodles.

 

Make it a point to take home a doggie bag from restaurant dinners.

 

Construct quickie pizzas from toasted English muffins, canned sauce and

pre-shredded cheese.

 

Make mid-week stops at the deli and pick up cartons of salads.

 

Use the blender to whirl high-energy smoothies from bananas, yogurt and wheat germ and tofu, if you have it.

 

Try reversing breakfast and lunch. Eat leftover spaghetti and fruit for breakfast, and go for a bowl of cereal and juice for lunch.

 

Keep a big selection of fruit to eat out of hand. Bottled nuts, too.

 

Buy bags of ready-peeled carrots and other veggies to crunch on.

 

Have a good supply of crackers and cheeses around.

 

Never ever run out of peanut butter.

 

My own solutions usually come out of a can. I like the convenience of a shelf-stable, portion-controlled mini-meal that's only a reach away in my pantry. With every supermarket visit, I troll the canned food aisles. More often than not, I pick up canned fish.

 

You get more bang for the buck with canned fish than with any other quick lunch. There's lots of protein and good nutrition in tuna, salmon, baby shrimp, smoked kippers and sardines. I usually just drain the can, dump the contents on a plate along with crackers, sliced onion and a blob of mayonnaise. After munching a piece of fruit and a cookie over the Wall Street Journal, I'm back at the desk in less than 30 minutes. A final word of warning: never eat over your keyboard!

 

MAKING MOCHI IS EASIER WITH THESE TIPS

BY PATTY CHENG, Special to the Mercury News

Mochiko in Kmart?

 

A recent transplant to the Bay Area, I am still getting used to the integration of Asian foods into mainstream markets. Soy sauce and vinegar I quickly grew to expect. But the box of mochiko, Japanese glutinous rice flour, took me by surprise.

 

The mochiko at the Santa Clara Kmart also reminded me of my favorite use for it -- to make the sweetened confection known as mochi (MOE-chee).

 

The terminology can be confusing. Unsweetened mochi -- pounded glutinous rice cakes -- are a Japanese traditional New Year's food and decoration.

 

But the sweet treats that are also called mochi (or sometimes manju) are eaten throughout the year with sustained enthusiasm. They are special and festive, holding a status similar to chocolate truffles in Western cultures. They are frequently seen in the summer at Obon festival bazaars at local Buddhist temples.

 

Unsweetened mochi have a soft, chewy texture and a mild rice taste, and are tremendously versatile. Mochi can be grilled, boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried or steamed, eaten with condiments such as soy dipping sauces, seaweed, roasted soybean powder, green tea powder or other savory accompaniments. Small balls of mochi can be added to sweet or savory soups, resulting in a more gnocchi-like mochi.

 

The sweetened version of mochi is made by combining sugar with the rice, then forming it into balls filled with sweet pastes (most commonly red bean paste). It is eaten as a snack or dessert.

 

Originally, mochi were made by pounding hot, steamed, glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice or sweet rice, though it isn't sweet) into a smooth paste with a wooden mortar and mallet. This time-consuming and almost unimaginably labor-intensive technique has mostly been replaced with modernized mochi-making machines. Some would argue that the technology created for the automatic mochi machines led to the design of the electronic bread machines so prevalent in kitchens today.

 

The popularity of mochi has expanded beyond Japanese cuisine into other Asian cultures, with each adapting the mochi to its own palate. Now, glutinous rice balls are a common confection in Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Hawaiian communities, filled with a variety of pastes, including green mung beans, dried lotus seeds, taro, coconut, or black sesame seeds.

Non-traditional mochi can also be found chilled, with mango or green tea ice cream centers (my favorite), or with flavored exterior coatings such as a sweet peanut powder.

 

Home experiment

 

Last year, a fellow mochi fan and I decided to try making them at home. This endeavor was hugely unsuccessful, mostly because of our tired arms and impatience in pounding the hot steamed rice. We'd envisioned delicate, sweet, sticky mounds. We got an unmanageable mass that resembled (and tasted like) lumpy wallpaper paste.

 

Months later, Jeanne Lan brought homemade mochi to my friend's house as a gift. Lan agreed to teach us, and with her secrets explained, making these confections became simple, straightforward, and remarkably easy.

 

My forearms and triceps will be forever grateful to Lan for showing us the modernized shortcuts, the most valuable one being to use mochiko (which is ground from uncooked glutinous rice) instead of the cooked rice. Her recipe eliminates the need for any special equipment, pounding or kneading of hot, sticky rice, and still results in a remarkably smooth, chewy mochi.

 

Secrets of success

 

Some additional tips to help make your mochi-making experience a breeze:

 

Lightly coat your hands with cornstarch. This will allow you to shape the mochi into smooth rounds (traditional Japanese preparation uses a roasted soybean flour in place of cornstarch; it can be found in Japanese grocery stores).

 

Prepare the filling in advance and chill slightly before using. This makes the filling firmer and less likely to ooze out when you are trying to seal the mochi ball.

 

Cover the remaining mochi with a damp, lint-free towel while you are working with each piece. This will keep the mochi warm and malleable.

 

Use the prepared sweetened red bean paste. You can make your own filling using dried adzuki beans (reconstituted, boiled, mashed with sugar and pressed through a chinois), but the canned paste is infinitely easier and tastes fine.

 

Keep a wet towel handy and clean as you go. Mochi dries into a hardened gluey substance that is very difficult to clean up.

If you are feeling adventurous, try varying your fillings, using anything from fruit preserves to ground nuts (marzipan comes to mind).

 

Consider giving a box of homemade mochi instead of a box of chocolates.

MALAYSIAN SALAD

Peanut Sauce, (see below )

About 3 cups shredded green cabbage

4 oz. thin green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths

1/2 small cauliflower, broken into small flowerets

About 2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1/2 cucumber

Fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves

 

Peanut Sauce:

1/3 cup unsweetened grated coconut

2/3 cup boiling water

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

 

To prepare Peanut Sauce, place coconut in a bowl and pour boiling water over it. Let soak 15 minutes. Pour mixture through cheesecloth into another bowl, pressing to extract liquid (discard coconut). Add remaining sauce ingredients; mix well. Set aside. Fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil. Add cabbage, beans and cauliflower; boil 2 to 3 minutes. Drain vegetables thoroughly; arrange on a platter or 4 individual plates. Scatter bean sprouts over vegetables. Score sides of cucumber deeply with a fork or cut strips of peel from sides with a vegetable peeler. Slice cucumber; arrange around salad. Spoon Peanut Dressing onto center of salad or serve separately. Garnish salad with cilantro. Serves 4

NUTTY ORANGE WILD RICE

1 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup water

1 cup uncooked long grain and wild rice

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2-4 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

2 tablespoons orange juice

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Combine raisins and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cover; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain and set aside. Cook rice (with 2 cups water for 20 minutes). Combine rice and remaining ingredients.

PEAR BREAD

 

3 Cups All-purpose flour

1/4 Teaspoon Baking powder

1 Teaspoon Baking soda

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Ground cinnamon

3/4 Cup Vegetable oil

3 Each Eggs

2 Cups White sugar

2 Cups Pears -- peeled and grated

1 Cup Pecans -- chopped

2 Teaspoons Vanilla extract

 

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and

cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the oil, eggs, sugar, grated pears, pecans and

vanilla. Blend well. Add to well of dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 8 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans. Bake in preheated 325º oven for one hour and 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack before removing from the loaf pans.

 

 

PEAR TART APPLE JAM

 

4 cups diced pears 4 cups diced tart apples

5 tablespoons lemon juice 5 cups sugar

Grated rind of 1 lemon

 

Peel and dice fruit. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Boil about 20 minutes. Take from heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes to plump. Bring back to boil stirring frequently until mixture is thick and clear (about 10 minutes). Pour into sterilized Kerr jars to within 1/4 inch of top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Process in Boiling Water Bath 10 minutes. Yield: 8 eight oz. jars.

PIES AND MARTHA'S VINEYARD

A BLUE-RIBBON COMBO

 

By Becki Smith, ucook.com staff writer

Sunny and warm, with its historic landmarks, flowering fences and splendid beaches, nobody needs an excuse to visit Martha's Vineyard, Mass. But the island's annual agricultural fair is a good one. Island residents come for the exhibits and the rides. We came for the pies.

 

And so with the clatter of a cowbell, the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair began, and the crowds came to watch draft horse pulls, eat fried dough, ride spinning machines and win blue ribbons. An island tradition for over 130 years, this is no ordinary state fair. Carly Simon and James Taylor helped support the raising of the post-and-beam barn that volunteers had found in New Hampshire and had moved in pieces by ferry to this spot in West Tisbury. And island residents - from school children to Caroline Kennedy - put their best efforts forward in hopes of taking home a blue ribbon. Walter Cronkite stood beside us watching his grandchildren enjoy the carnival rides, chatting amiably about the weather and the fair. But as we said, we were there for the pie judging contest, and so at exactly 10:00 a.m. the enormous green doors to the agricultural hall slid open, and Joe Sollito began the judging.

 

This is Joe's 23rd year judging pies at the fair, and he comes by his qualifications honestly ... in real life he's the island's Superior Court magistrate. Joe says he tries to give everyone a fair shot by taking a bite of each and every pie. "I start out with good size bites, but as the hours go on, my bites get progressively smaller. But I do try everything because everyone deserves to have what they brought in tasted."

 

What does Joe look for in a good pie? "Eye appeal, crust, fillings,... basically does it look good and does it taste good? The best pie I ever tasted was a chocolate cream pie - really excellent pie." And the worst? "One year a husband-and-wife team baked several pies. But it seems they had stored their flour next to mothballs. It wasn't until we tasted it that we found out, and I'll tell you that pie was awful."

 

Joe and his team of judges spent almost 4 hours sampling everything from the traditional apple pie to the more "unusual" avocado pie, keeping score with gourmet terms like "yuck" and "yummy." In the end they emerged with smiles on their faces, their belt buckles loosened, and a winner! Squeals were heard from the back of the crowd as the name was announced, and a young lady by the name of Ginger emerged with two little boys in tow. Her prize winning pie? "I made a blueberry pie with lime juice added for some extra flavor. And I made a crust of tightly woven strips of dough."

 

The best part of this story is that this was the first time she had ever entered the contest. She had come to the island as an au pair for the two young boys who stood tightly holding her hands. And it was the boys who had encouraged her to submit her pie. We asked if she had any pie-making secrets she'd be willing to share with us. "Well," she said, "I think the hardest part is keeping the crust flaky and light. If you handle it too much, it gets tough. And you want to put in lots of filling,... if it's too thin it doesn't taste as good. Other than that, you've got to put a lot of love into making it, know what I mean?"

 

We did know what she meant. That feeling was all around us at the Martha's Vineyard Fair, from the volunteers who put hundreds of hours into planning the annual event, to the kids who entered their puppies in the pet show, to the two boys who told their baby-sitter she was a good enough cook to take a blue ribbon.

POOR MAN POT ROAST

1.5 lbs reasonably lean ground beef

4 medium potatoes, peeled and in 1/2 inch cubes

1 large onion, cut in large pieces

1 bag frozen sliced carrots or you can use the fresh baby ones

1 pkg frozen tiny peas

2 cans GOLDEN Mushroom soup (it HAS to be the Golden!!!)

Pam sprayed 9x15x3 glass or metal cake pan (the one you use for sheet cakes)

Heavy Duty foil

Spray pan well with Pam. Form the hamburger in 6 patties, 1/4 lb each and

about 1/2 inch thick. Press patties in bottom of pan, 2 rows of 3. Salt and pepper patties. Toss on the onions in a layer, then the potato cubes, then the frozen carrots and then the frozen peas. Spread the 2 cans of soup evenly over the entire thing. Then use a large enough piece of heavy duty foil to cover the top of the pan and crimp it tightly so no steam can escape.

Place in a 325 degree F. oven, top rack for 2 hours. Serves 4.

Note: The Golden Mushroom soup makes a wonderful gravy, and the little bit of fat in the burger just adds juice to it.

POTATO SALAD WITH CHILIES AND CORN

2 medium poblano chilies*

1 yellow bell pepper

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

2 cups diced seeded tomatoes

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeño chili WEAR GLOVES

1 1/2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, cut in half, then into1/4-inch-thick slices

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch watercress, thick stems trimmed

Char poblano chilies and bell pepper over gas flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in plastic bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies and bell pepper; cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Transfer to large bowl. Cook corn in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Mix corn, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and jalapeño into chili-bell pepper mixture.

 

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue boiling until potatoes are just tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain. Rinse potatoes and garlic under cold water to cool. Drain. Mince garlic. Mix potatoes and garlic into chili-bell pepper mixture.

 

Whisk lime juice and olive oil in small bowl to blend. Add to potato mixture; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Arrange watercress around edge of platter; mound potato salad in center. Serves 6 to 8

 

*Fresh green chilies, often called pasillas; available at Latin American markets and some supermarkets.

 

PUMPKIN MOUSSE

1 3oz. pkg. regular or sugar free instant vanilla pudding

1 15oz. can pumpkin

1/2 cup water or milk

1 t. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 t. cinnamon

Blend all ingredients until smooth and put into 4 individual cups and

refrigerate. Or put into popsicle molds and freeze. Serves four.

RADISH ROOTS

Imagine you are an archaeologist, digging in the sands of Giza, Egypt, trying to shed some light on the mysteries of the last standing member of the original seven wonders of the world, the Great Pyramid. The pyramid is 450 feet tall and made up of 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing an average of 2 1/2 tons. You enter the pyramid, making your way down a corridor, hoping to discover a bejeweled crown or the mummified remains of a pharaoh. Instead you find... radishes. That's right. On the corridor's wall are hieroglyphics that record the lives of the slaves that built the pyramid and the enormous amount of radishes they ate on a daily basis (along with onions and garlic). Are you disappointed with your discovery? Don't be. In its own way, it's just as important as finding a mummy.

 

The radish is a deceptively low-key vegetable. It seems almost subtle in its approach. Most of its growing is done in private, underground. While the leaves of the radish can be seen above the soil, the root is hidden, swelling to a weight of several pounds (though there is one account from the 1400s of a 100-pound radish). And the taste of a radish is understated as well. At first bland, there is a surprising aftertaste of pepper and spice, especially in the Black and Taebaek varieties. So it stands to reason that while the radish's contribution to the creation of the Great Pyramid may seem small at first glance, it was, in fact, integral and widespread.

 

It was the 5th century scribe Herodotus who wrote of the radish-related writings on the pyramid. And there are quite a few more radish recordings and images in other Egyptian ruins dating from roughly the same time period. This means that not only was the radish an extremely important food source during that period but that we are eating the same food as those who built the pyramids. While that doesn't explain the logistics of stacking 2-1/2 ton stones one on top of another or why the Great Pyramid's points directly correspond with the points of the compass, it does do something to demystify the world of the Egyptians. Those who built the pyramids more or less subsisted on a root vegetable that you can find at your local greenmarket. It's something to consider, the next time you bite into a radish. - Ian McCulloch

 

RASPBERRY LEMON MARMALADE

4 medium lemons

1-1/4 c. water

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1 cinnamon stick

3 c. crushed fresh or frozen raspberries (about 4 pints)

7 cups sugar

1 pouch (3 oz.) liquid fruit pectin

Grate peel from lemons and place in a medium saucepan. Trim white pith from

lemons and discard. Cut lemons in half and remove the seeds. Chop pulp; set

aside. Add water, baking soda and cinnamon to saucepan; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add lemon pulp; return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon. In a large kettle, combine the raspberries, sugar and lemon mixture; bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes. Quickly stir in pectin; return to a full rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; skim off any foam. Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Adjust caps. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Yield: 8 half-pints.

REAL BAGELS CANT BE SQUEEZED

By Rosa Rasiel, ucook.com contributor

 

Yesterday, I squeezed a bagel. (Actually, it was a package of bagels.) Squeezable bagels? What a concept! What a joke! Until about 10 years ago, bagels were typically so hard that they served as edible teething rings. Infants could safely gnaw on them for hours, drooling happily. And now you can squeeze them like Wonder Bread.

 

A couple of years ago, at a symposium at New York's New School for Social Research, Professor Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett of New York University gave a talk with the wonderful title, "The Americanization of the Bagel: the Bagelization of America."

 

She outlined the bagel's history from its humble origins in 17th-Century Europe, to its arrival in the United States with the great immigration of Eastern European Jews about 100 years ago. She then traced its changing status from an ethnic specialty to a touchstone of ethnic humor, and, finally, a diet food. She stunned her audience with a couple of remarkable statistics: In 1996, 2.7 billion bagels were sold in the U.S., double the number from 1994.

 

I couldn't help thinking of our friend from a small town in the Middle West. Six-foot four, blond, crew cut, and not Jewish, he came East many years ago and discovered (separately) pastrami and bagels. He told us then that he felt a little self-conscious at the bakery counter ordering his assortment of six plain, three pumpernickel, and three egg bagels. This was before blueberry bagels or oat-bran bagels or sun-dried tomato bagels had come into being. It was a time when bagels existed only in big cities with large Jewish populations with large appetites for bagels and the skilled bakers to satisfy them.

 

Now people of every background from Martha's Vineyard to Maui are eating bagels from the freezer case or local bagel shop, with every addition imaginable, and some - like bacon - unimaginable to kosher bakers. That might be fine and dandy if the basic bagels were what they should be, but too often they are no more than bagel-shaped bread, sweetened and softened to please Wonder Bread palates.

 

A real bagel should have a glossy crisp crust, a dense, chewy interior, and be only very slightly sweet. It should have a 10-minute bath in boiling water before it's baked. That's the kind of bagel that has appeared for generations at life-cycle occasions. It's with us for the bris (ritual circumcision of a baby boy ) or simchat bat ( baby-naming for a girl), for collations after religious services, for bar or bat mitzvah, pre-nuptial celebrations, and at the final gathering of a family after a funeral. Along the way, the bagel has acquired an extra symbolism: its roundness reminds us of the endless cycle of life.

 

In recent years, as two-earner households have become the norm, we have seen a succession of eat-on-the-run breakfast fads. First, croissants reigned, rarely as good as they should have been, and ultimately left by the wayside because of their high fat content. Then muffins ruled, with low-fat versions popping up for the health-conscious. Then the bagel - fat-free by nature - ascended.

 

Whoever said that bagels are a nutritious breakfast - let alone lunch - for every day? They aren't. Even if you resist the temptation to load them up with cream cheese or butter, you are still eating nothing but refined white flour, water, yeast, and salt. No whole grain, precious little protein or fiber. Better to have some whole grain cereal with fruit, or whole grain toast instead, and let bagels be a treat for weekend brunches and other special occasions: St. Patrick's Day, perhaps, when they mysteriously turn green and are accompanied by green beer.

 

RHUBARB JAM

 

4 cups rhubarb, cut up

5 cups sugar

1/4 cup water

2 small or 1 large package of Jell-O (strawberry, raspberry, anything 'red')

 

Heat rhubarb and water until the rhubarb is soft. Add sugar until it's

dissolved. Add Jell-O and stir. Simmer for 2 minutes. Put into hot,

sterile jars and process. (or put quarts in the fridge) - makes about 7

pints.

 

Blackberry Rhubarb Jam

 

make the above jam with raspberry Jell-O. Toss in 1-2 cups of freshly

picked berries at the same time as the Jell-O.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

 

make it with strawberry Jell-O and use strawberries - you get the idea.

 

These are super easy, only take a few minutes, and when you add the other

fruit, you don't even know there is rhubarb in there. It's a great way to

make a lot of jam with only a few precious berries.

 

SALMON ZUCCHINI AND CORN FRITTATA

A delicious change from an omelet, serve this filling frittata with a mixed tomato and pepper salad and warm whole-wheat rolls.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

6 ounces zucchini, thinly sliced

8 ounces boiled potatoes (with skins left on), diced

3 eggs plus:

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons skim milk

1 can (7 ounces) pink salmon in water, drained and flaked

1 can (7 ounces) corn kernels, drained

2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs

salt

ground black pepper

1/2 cup reduced-fat, aged Cheddar cheese, finely grated

chopped fresh mixed herbs, to garnish

basil leaves, to garnish

 

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the onion and zucchini and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally

2. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Beat the eggs, egg whites and milk together, add the salmon corn, herbs and seasoning and pour the mixture evenly over the vegetables.

4. Cook over medium heat until the eggs are beginning to set and the frittata is golden brown underneath.

5. Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the cheese over the frittata and place it under medium heat until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown.

6. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs, garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately, cut into wedges.

Cook's Tip: Use canned tuna or crab in place of the salmon and mushrooms instead of the zucchini. Serves 4 - 6

 

 

 

 

SANTA FE CHICKEN SALAD CLONE

Dressing:

3 Tbsp lime juice

1/4 Cup vinegar

2 Tbsp cilantro leaves

1 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp peanut butter

1/3 Cup olive oil

Place first 6 ingredients in a blender and chop until cilantro is finely chopped. Add oil while blender is running. Set dressing aside.

Salad:

1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded

2 ears of corn, cooked and cut off cob or 1 Cup frozen corn, defrosted

1 15 1/2 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C shredded carrot

2 green onions sliced

1/2 C diced tomato or grape tomatoes left whole

2 C shredded Jack cheese

2 chicken breast halves cooked and shredded (grilled is good)

Corn chips or wonton wrappers, shredded and fried till crisp

Mix first nine ingredients in salad bowl. Add dressing and mix well.

Garnish with broken corn chips.

SEAFOOD QUICHE

2 medium baking potatoes, peeled, coarsely shredded and soaked in cold water

1 cup fat-free egg substitute

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached flour

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cooked and flaked salmon or 1 can (7 ounces) salmon, drained, flaked and skin removed

1 cup frozen baby shrimp, thawed or 1 can (4-1/2 ounces) shrimp, drained

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

1-1/2 cups skim milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

Pinch of ground white pepper

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat jarlsberg cheese

Spray a 10" deep-dish pie plate with no-stick spray; set aside. Drain the potatoes well, squeezing excess liquid from them.

In a medium bowl, stir together the potatoes, 1/4 cup of the egg substitute and 1/4 cup of the flour. Pat the mixture in the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake at 450° about 5 minutes or until lightly browned, Remove the potato shell from the oven. Reduce the temperature to 325°.

Meanwhile, spray an unheated, large no-stick skillet with nostick spray. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add the red peppers, onions and garlic. Cook and stir about 4 minutes or until tender.

Crush the bones in the salmon. Add the salmon with the bones, the shrimp and capers to the onion mixture. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Spoon into the potato shell; set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a wire whisk to combine the milk, the remaining 3/4 cup egg substitute, the remaining 1 tablespoon flour, the lemon peel, tarragon and white pepper. Stir in the cheese.

Pour the mixture over the salmon mixture in the shell. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 325° for 35 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Chefs Note: To keep the potatoes from turning brown after water. When you're ready to mix them with the egg substitute drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Serves 8

SLOW COOKED BEEF ROULADES

 

1 1/2 pounds beef round steak, trimmed of fat, 1/2" thick

4 slices bacon

3/4 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

10 ounces beef gravy

 

Cut steak into 4 serving pieces. Place bacon slice on each piece of meat.

Mix celery, onion, and bell pepper in medium bowl; place about 1/2 cup

mixture on each piece of meat. Roll up meat; secure ends with wooden picks.

 

Place in slow cooker. Pour gravy evenly over steaks to thoroughly moisten.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low 8 to 10 hours (or on high 4 to 5 hours).

Yield: 4 servings.

SLOW COOKED PIZZA IN A POT

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 medium green bell pepper -- chopped

1 medium onion -- chopped

15 ounces tomato sauce

14 ounces pizza sauce

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups pasta twists -- cooked and drained

6 ounces sliced pepperoni

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, cook beef, green pepper, and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste; mix well. In a slow cooker, layer pasta, beef mixture, pepperoni, and cheese. Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

SMOOTHIE THY FEVERED BROW

BY CAROLYN JUNG, Mercury News

Hot and bothered? Reach for something cool and smooth.

 

In particular, ``Smoothies and Shakes'' (Ryland Peters & Small, $12.95) by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern, a Danish-Australian writer based in London.

 

With some good, fresh, dried or frozen fruit, a scoop of ice cream or non-fat yogurt, a squirt of juice, condensed milk or soy milk, and a handful of ice cubes, you're set to beat any heat.

 

All you need is a blender -- and with some recipes, you don't even need that. If your blender isn't designed to crush ice, put whole cubes in a serving glass, blend remaining ingredients and pour them over ice.

 

The book contains more than 30 recipes, ranging from banana and peanut butter smoothies to frozen grapes in pineapple juice and iced orange flower tea.

 

Pineapple ginger smoothie

Serves 4

1- inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped

Sugar syrup or sugar, to taste

Ice cubes, to taste

 

Working in batches if necessary, put ginger in blender. Add pineapple and blend to a smooth puree, adding enough ice water to make blades run. Add sugar or sugar syrup to taste. Half-fill a pitcher with ice cubes, pour pineapple mixture over cubes, stir and serve. Or alternatively, add about 10 ice cubes when blending.

 

Thai papaya smoothie

Serves 2

10 ice cubes

1 papaya, peeled, halved and seeded

Juice of 1 lime

3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

6 mint leaves

 

Put ice cubes in blender and work to a snow-like texture. Chop papaya flesh and add to blender. Add lime juice, condensed milk and mint leaves. Blend again and serve.

 

SPAGHETTI PIE

1 lb. spaghetti

2 cups cottage cheese

4 T. margarine, melted

1 lb. lean ground beef

4 eggs, beaten

1 32 oz. jar spaghetti sauce

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to directions. Drain. Combine eggs, margarine and

Parmesan cheese and mix into the spaghetti. Grease a 9" x 13" pan and pour

the spaghetti mixture into it. Spread the cottage cheese evenly over the spaghetti.

Brown the ground beef, add the spaghetti sauce and pour over the spaghetti.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with the grated mozzarella and bake

an additional 10 minutes.

SPINACH AND CRAB ROULADE

Filling

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

7 oz. white crab meat, fresh, frozen or canned

pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Roulade

1 lb. young spinach, large stalks removed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

4 eggs, separated pinch of ground nutmeg

 

1. To make the filling, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low-medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and cook for 1 minute without allowing it to color, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking or beating vigorously to avoid lumps. Return to low heat and briskly stir with a wooden spoon or whisk until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, then turn up the heat and stir briskly until boiling. Simmer for 3 - 4 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Cover with a piece of buttered waxed paper pressed onto the surface and set aside.

2. To make the roulade, line a jelly roll pan, about 15-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches, with waxed paper. To cook the spinach, half-fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil, add a generous pinch of salt and the spinach. Return to a boil and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, then drain in a strainer, run under cold water and squeeze out the excess water. Chop finely, using a large sharp knife. Put the spinach in a large bowl and add the butter.

3 Preheat the oven to 400F. Stir the egg yolks and nutmeg into the spinach and season well. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and standing in peaks, then stir a large tablespoon of egg whites into the spinach mixture to lighten it. Add the remaining egg whites in one addition, then using a large metal spoon, carefully fold into the spinach. Pour into the prepared pan, lightly smoothing it to the edges with a palette knife. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is just set and springs back to the light touch of a finger. Meanwhile, spread a clean towel onto the work surface and cover it with waxed paper.

4. Reheat the filling mixture, then stir in the crab, cayenne pepper and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and heat through.

5. Turn the spinach roulade out onto the paper and towel and remove the pan and the lining paper. Quickly spread with the crab filling then, with the shortest edge towards you, pick up the towel and the paper and push the roulade away from you, holding it very low, so that the roulade rolls up like a jelly roll. Stop when the last of the roulade is underneath, then lift it onto a dish. Cut into thick slices and serve immediately.

Chef's tips - This is perfect to serve alone, but can also be served with a sauce such as hollandaise or Béarnaise. Note: For best results, use parchment paper available at gourmet stores. Serves 6

TERIYAKI STEAK

2 1/2 lbs Boneless round steak

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 clove garlic, crushed

Cut the steak into 1/8 inch thick slices. ( I used my electric knife and it

worked well.) Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place the

meat in the crock pot and pour sauce over the meat. Cover and cook on low

for 6-8 hrs. Serve with rice.

TEXAS CAVIAR

 

28 ounces black-eyed peas -- canned, drained

15 ounces white hominy, canned -- drained

2 medium tomatoes -- chopped

4 green onions -- chopped

2 cloves garlic -- minced

1 medium green bell pepper -- chopped

1 jalapeno -- chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped parsley

8 ounces Italian salad dressing

 

Combine all ingredients except salad dressing; mix well. Pour salad dressing

over mixture; cover and marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator. Drain. Serve with tortilla chips. Yield: 7 cups (about 14 servings).

THE IDEA OF CITRUS

When you think of citrus, you might picture a glass of orange juice, a lime in your vodka and tonic, or a kid selling lemonade for ten cents a glass on the corner. You do not, in all likelihood, think of the crew of Vasco da Gama's four sailing vessels, consigned by Portugal's Prince John and Prince Manuel in 1497 to find a sea route to India. But that is where citrus fruits would have proved to be useful, many times more so than quenching thirst or adding flavor to a red snapper fillet. More than half of da Gama's crew was wiped out during the three-year ocean journey by the disease that was the bane of long sea voyages: scurvy. And what could have saved them? Citrus.

 

Scurvy is a disease that is caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, and is marked by the weakening of blood vessels, which causes hemorrhages, anemia, bleeding gums, loosening teeth, and overall weakness. Severe cases can cause death. Scurvy was especially common on long ship voyages, because in those days there was no cold storage so only nonperishable foods were stored onboard, and most of your vitamin C-rich foods - lemons, oranges, limes, green peppers, cabbages, potatoes, and tomatoes - would only be edible for the first week or two of the trip.

 

It was James Lind, a Scottish naval surgeon, who first used citrus as a treatment for scurvy. He tried administering regular doses of orange and lemon juice to sailors afflicted with the disease and found himself in possession of an amazing cure. By the end of the 18th century, the British navy made lime juice rations a requirement on all of its ships traveling on extended voyages. This is where the term "limey," used to describe British sailors, comes from.

 

Now scurvy has been all but eradicated and there are a great variety of ways - other than citrus fruit - to get the vitamin C your body needs. Still, I can remember my mother insisting that my siblings and I drink a glass of orange juice every morning. It always seemed a little unnecessary to me. I have a slightly different idea of citrus now. - Ian McCulloch

THIMBLEBERRY JAM

 

2 c. thimbleberries

2 c. sugar

Pick over berries. Do not wash. Mix with sugar; bring to a boil. Boil for 2

minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and seal at once.

 

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!

First, I ran across an article specifically discussing the Thimbleberry, its scarcity, and how Michigan Keweenaw Peninsula residents are cashing in on it. In particular, there is an inset article on how to make Thimbleberry jam. Not a recipe, but a quick primer! Among other things, the article notes that the Thimbleberry, unlike other berries, contains a natural pectin and thus pectin is not added when making jam.

 

How to make Thimbleberry jam

 

Too fragile to be washed, the berries are cleaned by a tedious, painstaking task. Spreading a layer of berries onto a cookie sheet, Perrault carefully picks through them looking for undesirable berries, insects, leaves and debris.

It takes you as long to clean them as it does to pick them, quips Barb, as she carefully examines each tray a total of three times before the berries are mashed in the next step of the process.

The mashed berries are allowed to sit for about 30 minutes to give any previously undetected undesirables a chance to float to the top of the juicy pulp mixture. After one final inspection, the cooking process begins. Barb's recipe calls for equal parts of berries and sugar. The Thimbleberry, unlike other berries, contains a natural pectin. Therefore, no pectin is added to the berry/sugar mixture. The natural pectin doesn't set as firmly as commercial pectin so expect Thimbleberry jam to be a bit looser than other jams, says Perrault.

Pick a sunny day to make your jam. In her many years' experience, Perrault has noticed that jams and jellies don't jell on cloudy days, a phenomenon she has confirmed by talking with other jam makers. If a watched pot never boils, in Thimbleberry jam making a watched pot never burns. Even conscientious cooks may sometimes leave a jam recipe heating on the stove unattended and unstirred for a minute or so, usually without ill consequence. However, Thimbleberry jam isn't so forgiving. The mixture requires constant stirring because thimbleberries instantly stick to the bottom of the pan and will quickly burn if left unattended, says Perrault.

After the mixture comes to a boil and starts to "puck," a condition where it thickens and starts to spatter when the vapor bubbles pop, it is boiled three more minutes before being poured into jars.

Thimbleberry jelly is produced following the same steps as the jam except that instead of the entire berry, only the juice is used. Also, pectin is added to this recipe.

To extract the juice from the berries Perrault uses a Scandinavian steamer/

juice extractor called a Mehu-maija. The extractor works on the same principle as the double boiler, but with some modifications. It incorporates a removable stainless steel colander in which the food, in this case the fruit, is placed. The colander fits inside a stainless steel shell that collects the juice. This shell has a small outlet an inch or so from the bottom. As the juice is extracted, it drains from the collection pot through this opening and is transferred via a piece of attached tubing to a stove-side bowl. Just as in a double boiler, the colander/collection shell assembly sits over a pot of boiling water. The steam it generates provides

the heat needed to extract the juice.

Perrault lines the colander with cheesecloth to trap the tiny Thimbleberry seeds which would otherwise fall through the holes in the colander and have to be strained from the juice. The extraction process takes about an hour. Before the Mehu-maija, juice extraction was much more time-intensive. Water was added to the berries. The mixture was boiled for about 20 minutes and then strained through cheesecloth.

In the final step, the filled jars are capped with sterilized lids and immersed in a boiling water bath for two minutes in order to kill any pathogenic or spoilage organisms. The jars of jam or jelly are allowed to cool overnight.

After labeling the jars, the jam maker can sit down and savor the sweet rewards of successfully meeting the challenges of the Thimbleberry.

VANILLA TANGO GELATO

Serves 4-6

1/2 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together sugar and egg yolks in a saucepan. Place mixture over low heat and whisk in milk. Add vanilla bean. Cook, stirring, until mixture is smooth and lightly thickened. When mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean. Strain any lumps that formed during cooking. Add vanilla extract and stir. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer's guidelines.

WATERMELON CAKE

1 Package (18 1/4 ounces) white cake mix

1 package (3 ounces) watermelon Jell-o

2 Eggs

1 1/4 Cups Water

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

2 containers of vanilla or cream cheese frosting

Red & Green Gel Food Coloring

Chocolate Chips

In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, Jell-o, eggs, water and oil. Beat on low speed just until moistened then on high for until well blended. Pour into two greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Set aside 2-3 Tablespoons frosting for decorating. Place one container into a bowl; tint red (This will be the "inside" of the "Watermelon"). Tint second container green (This will be the outer part of the "Watermelon"). Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 red frosting to within 1/4 inch of edges. Top with second cake. Frost top with remaining red frosting to within 3/4 inch of edges. Frost sides and top edge with green frosting.

Place reserve white frosting in a small plastic baggie, cut 1/4 inch hole in one corner. Pipe around top edge of cake where green and red frosting meets.

For seeds, insert chocolate chips upside down (point into cake) into the cake top.

 

WATERMELON GINGERADE

Serves 4

1 whole watermelon (approximately 10 pounds), seedless

1 knob of ginger root, skinned

Crushed ice

8 ounces soda water

Mint sprigs

 

Cut flesh from watermelon and juice it in a juicer or blender. Add ginger root to filtered juice, cover and refrigerate. Let sit 24 hours. Strain juice. Fill a pint glass with crushed ice, add 8 ounces juice and 2 ounces soda water. Garnish with mint sprig.

ZUCCHINI JAM

 

Simmer about one (1) hour:

6 c. grated zukes

1/2 c. Real Lemon juice

 

Then add:

6 c. sugar (see note)

1 can pineapple, drained

2 pkg. SureGel

 

Bring to a rolling boil (about 10 min.) Add: 2 (3 oz.) boxes your favorite

Jell-O. Blend well. Fill sterile glasses/jars. Pour boiling water over the

flat-lids in a pan, let sit in the hot water til ready to use.

ZUCCHINI RAISIN COOKIES

1/2 cup Vegetable Shortening

1 cup Sugar

1 Egg -- (or egg substitute)

1 cup Zucchini -- shredded & peeled

2 cups Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon Cloves

1 cup Raisins

 

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add egg (or substitute)

and beat well. Stir in zucchini and set aside. Combine flour, baking soda

and cinnamon in another bowl. Add baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cloves.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until well mixed. Stir in

raisins and drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie

sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool

on pans for 2 minutes before removing to wire cooling racks. Cookies will

be cake like, soft and chewy.

 

 

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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