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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 249

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 CULINARY WRAP SHEET

APPLESAUCE GINGERBREAD

APPLESAUCE LOAF

APPLESAUCE NUT BREAD

BLACK BEAN NACHO BAKE

BLACK BEANS AND RICE

BUTTER MINT SALAD

CALIFORNIA CAFE ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD.

CARAMBOLA BROCCOLI SALAD

CARAMEL HEAVENLIES

CARAMEL SPICE PEAR BUTTER

CARD FROM CHINA

CARROT PATTIES

CAULIFLOWER SOUP

CHEERY TOMATO BITES

CHERRY CUPCAKES

CHICKPEAS

CROISSANTS

DOVER SOLE GOUJONS

EGGPLANT CASSEROLE

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

GERMAN POTATO SOUP

GREEN BEANS IN SHERRIED MUSHROOM SAU

HAWAIIAN CARROTS

HOT SHOESTRING POTATO SALAD

IN PRAISE OF THE WILD BLUEBERRY

JUMBO SHRIMP ON THE HALF SHELL

KIWANO PINEAPPLE SALSA

KIWI CRANBERRY FOOL

KIWIFRUIT GINGER SPICED SQUASH

KOREAN STEAK

LEMON BREAD

MACARONI AND BEANS

MASHED BLACK BEANS

MELON AU PORTO

MICROWAVE SAFETY TIPS

MINESTRONE SOUP

MINT FLAVORED SKEWERED MEAT

MISO GLAZED GROUPER

NAVY BEANS

PEACH BREAD

PINEAPPLE COLESLAW

QUATTRO FORMAGGI

RED BEANS AND RICE

SALAD HISTORY AND INFORMATION

SCALLOPED EGGPLANT

SEARED FRESH TUNA SALAD

SNACK BREAD

SONIC DRIVEIN SIGNATURE BURGERS

STUFFED ZUCCHINI

SUMMERTIME PASTA

SWEET CORN CAKES

TAPIOCA PUDDING

TOMATO BUTTER

TOMATO BUTTER II

TOMATO BUTTER III

TOMATO CUCUMBER FETA CHEESE SALAD

TRIBUTE TO ICE CREAM

VEGETABLE TIAN

VEGETARIAN CHILI

VINAIGRETTE INFORMATION

WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP

WONDERFUL TOMATO STUFF

ZIPPY FRUIT SALAD

 

 

 

 

A CULINARY WRAP SHEET

Tad Graham-Handley of the Connecticut Culinary Institute posed a simple question to his instructors: What are some unusual ways they use plastic wrap?

 

When prepping any product containing beets or another ingredient that stains, the cutting board can be wrapped in plastic to keep it from staining.

 

A strip of plastic wrap can be twisted into a twist tie of virtually any length and knotted. This is particularly useful when transporting food.

 

Pastry chefs wrap five-kilogram blocks of chocolate, still in their paper wrapping, in several layers of plastic wrap and slam them on the floor to break them up. It saves arduous cutting.

 

Culinary students wrap their textbooks in plastic to keep them clean while cooking.

 

A damp towel wrapped in plastic wrap and placed on top of a stack of phyllo dough keeps the leaves supple without causing them to become sodden.

 

Wrapping a sushi mat in plastic prevents sticky rice from getting mashed into it.

 

Because aluminum foil reacts with acids, a sheet of plastic wrap placed between the foil and acid foods such as lasagna prevents tainting of the food.

 

In large hotels and banquet houses, entire ``Queen Mary'' carts (rolling sheet-pan racks) of appetizers, salads or desserts are wrapped in plastic wrap, marked with the name of the party, and rolled into the cooler. This ensures the wrong cart doesn't get rolled to a party far from the kitchen and that whole sheet pans of plates don't slide out during delivery.

 

When baking cheesecake in a pan without a removable bottom, chefs turn them out onto a cake circle upside down, and then reverse them onto another cake circle to show the proper side for presentation. Wrapping the first cake circle in plastic and dusting it with a bit of powdered sugar prevents the top of the cheesecake from peeling off.

 

When using a meat grinder, there is always some waste left in the mechanism at the end. Pushing through a wad of plastic wrap cleans all the food out of the worm gear, without going through the grinder plate and into the food.

 

 

 

 

APPLESAUCE GINGERBREAD

 

1 1/4 c flour

1 t baking powder

1 t ground cinnamon

1 t ground ginger

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t salt

1/4 c unsweetened applesauce

1/4 c brown sugar

3/4 t baking soda

1/2 c molasses

3/4 c boiling water

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

3/4 c raisins

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch square pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Combine applesauce, brown sugar, 1/2 t baking soda, and molasses. Mix 1/4 t baking soda and boiling water. Alternately add applesauce mixture and boiling water to dry ingredients; stir to

combine. Stir in egg whites, and then raisins. Mix well. Scoop into prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes. Makes 9 servings. Note: For a flavor change, use mashed bananas instead of applesauce.

APPLESAUCE LOAF

 

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup nuts (optional, chopped pecans work great)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour (not cooking spray) a loaf pan. In a large bowl with spoon, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Sift together dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir until well mixed and add applesauce and nuts. Bake 50-60 minutes, top will crest and loaf will be dark golden brown.

 

Variation: To make a tasty "flat cake", reduce the amount of flour to 3/4 and make as directed. Delicious and moist, just flat!

APPLESAUCE NUT BREAD

 

1 cup sugar

1 cup applesauce

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoons milk, at room temperature

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup chopped pecans

 

Topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-1/2-inch by 4-1/2-inch pan.

 

In large bowl, thoroughly combine sugar, applesauce, oil, eggs, and milk. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Add to applesauce mixture; stir until well combined. Stir in pecans. Turn into prepared pan. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake 1 hour;

cover with foil after 30 minutes to avoid over-browning. Remove from pan and cool.

BLACK BEAN NACHO BAKE

 

7 ounces shell or elbow macaroni -- cooked and drained

15 ounces canned black beans -- rinsed and drained

11 ounces nacho cheese soup

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

In a bowl, combine macaroni and beans. Combine soup and milk; stir into macaroni mixture. Transfer to a greased 8" square baking dish. Cover and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

 

 

 

BLACK BEANS AND RICE

 

1/2 pound dried black beans

1-1/4 quarts water

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Yellow rice

 

Rinse the beans and place in a pot, preferably a Dutch oven. Bring the beans to boil and then let simmer for about 1-1/2 hour, making sure the beans are soft. (It is best to let the beans soak overnight.)

 

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the green peppers, onions, garlic, pepper, and oregano. Cook until tender (5-6 minutes)--be sure to keep stirring. Add the contents of the frying pan to the beans, along with the salt and sugar. Let simmer (with the cover on) for 40 minutes. Cook (uncovered) for 10 minutes or to desired thickness. Serve over hot yellow rice.

BUTTER MINT SALAD

 

1 pkg. lime Jell-o

2 c. boiling water

1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple

1 pkg. (8 oz.) butter mints

1 (10 oz.) carton non-dairy whipped topping

2 c. miniature marshmallows

 

Melt mints in water. Add Jell-o and pineapple. Store in refrigerator 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Stir in marshmallows and topping. Put in 9x13" pan. Freeze several hours. Set out of freezer 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Keep frozen.

CALIFORNIA CAFE ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD

Serves 2

For soy vinaigrette:

1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons sesame oil

For salad:

2 cups canola oil for deep frying (approximate)

1 1/2 ounces rice stick noodles

8 ounces of chicken breasts (usually 2 small)

1/2 cup almond slivers, toasted, divided use

1 carrot

2 1/4 cups Chinese or Napa cabbage, diced into bite-size pieces

4 1/4 cups romaine, diced into bite-size pieces

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped fine

1/4 cup green onion, chopped fine

3/4 cup English cucumber, chopped fine

1/2 cup snow peas, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds

 

To prepare vinaigrette: Mince or grate the fresh ginger; add to water. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Strain ginger from water, reserving the water and discarding ginger. Add ginger-water to vinaigrette; whisk.

 

To prepare salad: In deep pan, heat 1 inch of canola oil to about 375 degrees and deep-fry rice stick noodles; they will puff up immediately when done. Remove to a plate with paper towels. Turn off heat and remove pan with oil from burner. Do not let oil heat beyond 375 degrees.

 

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Pound slightly between two pieces of plastic wrap so breasts are even in thickness. Brush both sides of chicken breasts with small amount of dressing. Grill or sauté chicken in about 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove and let cool. When cool, dice into bite-size pieces.

 

In a separate pan over medium-low heat, toast almond slivers until slightly browned; remove and let cool.

 

Peel carrot to remove skin; then peel eight long strips for garnish; set aside.

 

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, romaine, bell pepper, green onion, snow peas, cucumber, and chicken pieces. Toss again, adding sesame seed, half the almonds and the remaining soy vinaigrette.

 

To serve: Divide between two plates and place fried rice stick noodles alongside salad; garnish with curled carrot strips and remaining toasted almonds.

 

 

CARAMBOLA BROCCOLI SALAD

(Makes 4 servings)

 

2 cups broccoli florets

1/2 cup thinly sliced carambola (star fruit)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup red onion rings

2 tablespoons sliced water chestnuts

2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt

2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon lime juice

 

Combine broccoli, carambola, raisins, onion rings, and water chestnuts. Toss gently. Blend yogurt, mayonnaise, and lime juice together. Stir into salad and chill thoroughly before serving.

CARAMEL HEAVENLIES

 

12 graham crackers -- (4 3/4" x 2 1/2")

2 cups miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup coconut flakes

 

Line a 15" x 9" x 1" baking pan with foil. Place graham crackers in pan; cover with marshmallows. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Spoon over the marshmallows. Sprinkle with almonds and coconut. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 14 to 16 minutes or until browned. Cool completely. Cut into 2-inch squares, then cut each square in half to form triangles. Yield: about 6 dozen (2 per serving).

CARAMEL SPICE PEAR BUTTER

From: HOME CANNING by the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine

 

Makes about 9 half-pint jars

About 15 Bartlett pears

2 cups water

6 cups sugar

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Wash the pears but do not peel or core them; slice into a heavy saucepan -

at least 5 quart size. Add water, cover, and cook until tender, about 30

minutes. *( I make such a large quantity that I use my Mehu-Maija steamer,

then run the pulp through a canning colander).

Remove from heat and press the pears through a colander or food mill;

measure the pulp (you should have 8 cups) and return to the pan. Using a

frying pan, heat 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, stirring, until it melts and

caramelized to a medium brown color. Pour immediately into the pear pulp

(the syrup will sizzle and harden, but dissolve again as the preserves

cook.) Add the remaining sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. Cook

uncovered, until thick (about 45 minutes).

*(If using the steamer/juicer method, this takes less time, about 20 minutes).

Stir frequently as it begins to thicken to prevent it from sticking;

stir in lemon juice just before removing it from heat.

Meanwhile, prepare 9 half-pint-sized canning jars, (sterilize jars, scald lids and ring bands, keep lids in very hot water until ready to use.) Fill jars to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Wipe rims with a clean, damp cloth. Place lids on jars and screw on ring bands as tight as you comfortably can. Let cool on a towel out of a draft; then press lids with your finger. If they stay down, they're sealed.

CARD FROM CHINA

REVIVES MEMORIES OF GRILLED MEAT

BY MARTIN YAN, Special to the Mercury News

A postcard arrived the other day from a friend of mine who is in western China retracing the footsteps of Marco Polo on the Silk Road. So far, he has made his way from Beijing to Xian, the ancient capital city and gateway to China's hot and spicy Sichuan cuisine.

 

Not surprisingly, my friend's postcard featured a typical street market in Xian, with an abundance of chilies hanging in every nook and cranny of each food stall in sight. ``Great street food,'' my friend wrote, ``more grills here than a tailgate party at a Niners game!''

 

That reference certainly brought back memories, not of tailgating, but of the nights when I wandered the streets of Xian, marveling at the roadside grills, where skewers of mutton were rotating over flickering flames. The air was thick with the wonderful smell of meat and chili, an unforgettable postcard for the olfactory nerves.

I was told that on an average night, an estimated 20,000 customers visit these food stands. I don't know how they keep count, but judging from the crowd, I couldn't argue with that number.

 

Grilling meat on skewers owes its origin to the western neighbors of China. Over the centuries, ethnic groups in Asia Minor interacted with China through trade and migration. The Silk Road became a superhighway, not only for the movement of goods and people, but also for their culture and history.

Of course, the part that appeals to me the most is the movement of culinary traditions. I am fascinated by how food from other parts of the world makes its way to the Chinese dining table.

 

Despite its foreign origin, roasting skewered meat is now as Chinese as Mongolian hot pot. One of my favorite treats in Xian is skewered lamb on a grill. I have modified the recipe somewhat by adding fresh mint. A trip to the wild, wild west of China -- with all the comfort and convenience of your own kitchen. Sounds like the right kind of travel plan to me.

CARROT PATTIES

 

1/2 pound carrots -- grated

1 clove garlic -- minced

4 eggs

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the grated carrots, garlic, eggs,

flour, bread crumbs, salt and black pepper; mix well. Heat oil in a frying

pan over medium-high heat. Make the mixture into patties, and fry until

golden brown on each side

CAULIFLOWER SOUP

 

4 cups of cauliflower

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

2 cups water

1 pound pork sausage

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups milk

8 ounces processed American cheese, cubed

Cook cauliflower and carrots in saucepan with water until tender. Set aside. Do not drain. In a skillet over medium heat, brown sausage and onion. Drain grease. Add flour, salt and pepper. Gradually add milk and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for two minutes.

 

Now back to the saucepan. Over medium heat, add the ingredients from the skillet into the saucepan. Heat through and add the cheese cubes. Stir until cheese is melted. Complement this hearty soup with crusty French bread and green salad. Serves: 4-6

 

CHEERY TOMATO BITES

(not a typo - they called it Cheery, not Cherry)

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1 pkg - 8 oz. cream cheese, softened

6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1/4 c minced green onions

1/4 c minced fresh parsley

1/4 t Worcestershire sauce

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard pulp. Invert the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate until serving. Yield about 4 dozen.

CHERRY CUPCAKES

1 package Chocolate Cake Mix -- any brand

3 medium Eggs

1 1/3 cups Water

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

21 ounces Cherry Pie Filling -- canned

16 ounces Vanilla Frosting -- canned

 

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding eggs, water and

oil. Pour batter into 24 paper-lined muffin-pan cups, filling two-thirds full. Remove 24 cherries from cherry filling; set aside. Spoon a generous teaspoon of remaining cherry filling onto the center of each cupcake. Bake at in a preheated 350 degree F oven 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Let cool completely. Frost each cupcake with vanilla frosting. Garnish each cupcake with reserved cherries.

 

 

 

 

CHICKPEAS

 

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 medium fresh or canned tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup raisins

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cinnamon, reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and limp, about 10 minutes.

 

Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until they break down into a think sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, chickpeas, and raisins. Continue stirring until the spinach wilts and turns bright green; about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Make up to 3 days ahead. * Seal in a tightly covered container and refrigerate. Take out of the refrigerator 2 hours ahead and serve at room temperature. Or serve cold.

 

CROISSANTS

 

1 cup scalded milk

2 tbsp sugar

1 cake (or package or 2 1/4 tsp) yeast

3 cups sifted flour

1 tsp salt

1 egg, separated

1/2 cup melted butter (no substitutes)

3/4 cup soft butter (no substitutes)

 

Cool the milk to lukewarm, and dissolve the sugar and yeast in it. Add half the flour, and beat until smooth. Add remaining flour, salt, the egg white beaten stiff, and the melted butter. Knead until satiny, and place in a greased bowl. Turn over, cover, and let rise until very light, about 2 hours. Roll out on a lightly floured board into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Dot with the soft butter, fold into thirds, roll out, butter, and fold again. Roll, butter, and fold once more, then roll out into a square 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 4 inch squares. Cut each square into two triangles. Starting at the longest side, roll up each triangle, and form into a crescent. Place far apart on a greased baking sheet with the point of the crescent underneath. Let rise until double, brush with the beaten egg yolk, and bake at 375 F. until a rich brown, about 12 minutes. Makes 24.

DOVER SOLE GOUJONS

. Goujon is the French word for small, fried strips of fish, and apparently sole is the most popular catch for this preparation.

 

Cornichon is also a French word, but is in a little more common usage among English speakers. Cornichons are pickled gherkin cucumbers. In France, these tart pickles are classically served with pâtés and smoked meats. In other countries, they are apparently served with small, fried strips of fish.

1-1/2 lb Dover sole fillets

3 cups white bread crumbs

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

2 eggs, lightly beaten

 

For the sauce

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp capers, drained

1 tbsp cornichons, drained

salt

freshly ground black pepper

 

Cut the fillets into strips. Preheat the oven to 425F.

Stir the bread crumbs and tarragon together until thoroughly mixed. Dip the fish strips into the egg then bread crumb mixture and continue until all the bread crumbs have been used up. Place on a greased baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

For the sauce, roughly chop the capers and cornichons and stir into the mayonnaise. Season to taste and serve with the crispy goujons. serves 4

EGGPLANT CASSEROLE

 

1 or 2 medium eggplant

1/2 cup uncooked rice

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 bell pepper, chopped

1 can mushroom soup

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cheese (any kind)

 

Peel and cube eggplant. Cover with water and cook until done. Drain. Cook rice using 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt until all water is boiled away. Set aside. Sauté meat in large skillet. Add onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Drain off excess grease. Add eggplant, rice and soup to meat mixture and mix well. Cook until soup is well heated over low heat. Spoon 1/2 of mixture in 9x12 casserole dish and place a layer of thinly sliced cheese over. Add remaining mixture and top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

 

1 or more medium eggplant

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup Italian style bread crumbs

3/4 cup olive oil

15 oz. Ricotta cheese

1 jar of meatless spaghetti sauce (or your own home made of course)

6 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced

1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Cut eggplant crosswise in half inch slices. Dip in egg, then bread crumbs.

Coat completely, shaking off excess crumbs. Sauté in olive oil until lightly browned. Drain. Preheat oven to 350*. To fill 2 individual baking dishes, make 2 layers of ingredients in each dish, starting with eggplant and continue in order listed. Each layer should have 1/4 of the ingredients. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

GERMAN POTATO SOUP

 

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced to 1/2-inch pieces

6 carrots, peeled and diced

1 large onion, peeled and diced

4 celery stalks, chopped

2 teaspoons salt

3 pounds Polish kielbasa sausage

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

Pinch crushed dried red pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

 

Put the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot and add water to cover about an inch. Add half the salt, cover with lid and set on medium flame.

 

Cut the sausage into 2-inch pieces. Add water to cover the bottom of a frying pan and cook the sausage, piercing the skin as it starts to harden to drain the fat. When cooked through, remove the sausage to a cutting board, dice into 1/2-inch pieces and add to soup. Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low a minimum of 11/2 hours. The soup will get thicker the longer it cooks. If it gets too thick, add more water, depending on how you like it.

 

Serve in bowls or on a plate, with homemade rolls or sourdough French bread, fresh whipped butter and red wine. Serves eight. Note: This soup does not freeze well.

GREEN BEANS IN SHERRIED MUSHROOM SAUCE

 

2 pounds green beans -- fresh

1 cup water

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic -- minced

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms -- thinly sliced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/2 cup beef broth

1/2 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons dry sherry

 

Wash beans and remove ends. Bring one cup water to a boil in a large

saucepan; add beans. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 8 minutes or until tender.

Drain and keep warm.

 

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; add onion and garlic, and

cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender,

stirring often. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring constantly,

1 minute. Gradually add beef broth and whipping cream; cook, stirring

constantly, until mixture thickens. Add sherry; cook 2 minutes. Add beans,

tossing to coat. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

HAWAIIAN CARROTS

 

1 3/4 cup carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced

8 ounce can pineapple tidbits with juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (*optional)

 

Cover carrots with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Mix pineapple, cornstarch, and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Add carrots, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally

 

HOT SHOESTRING POTATO SALAD

 

1 pound medium russet potatoes

1 yellow onion

(cut and combine both onion and potato into julienne strips)

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 teaspoon hoisin sauce (similar to soy sauce)

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

 

Soak potatoes in cold water 15 min; drain and pat dry with paper towels.

 

Arrange potatoes in a single layer in a large shallow pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 F. for 30 min. stirring every 10 min. Combine potatoes, bell pepper and green onions in a medium bowl. Combine vinegar and hoisin sauce in a small bowl. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently.

IN PRAISE OF THE WILD BLUEBERRY

 

By Hilary M. Nangle, ucook.com contributor

 

Washington County is a part of Maine that few visit. Most vacationers traveling up coastal Route 1 veer right onto Mt. Desert Island for the splendor of Acadia National Park and never continue exploring their way up the coast. A pity, really. For the further Down East you travel, the prettier it gets.

 

This part of Maine is not for everyone, though. Its raw beauty comprises ledges, blueberry barrens and pine trees. Tourist and trinket shops are few and far between, replaced by general stores and antiques or handicrafts shops. For those hooked on fast food, this region is a wasteland: There's only one McDonald's between Ellsworth and Calais - a distance of more than 60 miles.

 

That's a blessing, though. If you truly want to learn about a place, you need not only visit its historical sites, walk its streets and talk with its people, you need to eat with the locals and sample local specialties. I like to find the local breakfast hot-spot (in Machias, it's Helen's), take a seat at the counter and eavesdrop as the natives gossip and banter about politics and education. Such experiences give you the flavor of the place.

 

In Machias, the center of Maine's wild blueberry country and the shiretown of Washington County, that flavor is blueberry. Food, culture, and history all come together during the annual wild blueberry festival.

 

Wild blueberries are not like the cultivated high-bush varieties available elsewhere. These blueberries are smaller and sweeter, deeper in color, and prized by bakers for their ability to maintain their form in baking. They're only grown in Maine and eastern Canada.

 

While the Machias region is home to plenty of fishermen, lobstermen and woodsmen, it's the blueberry that's king of the field and has been for more than a century. Barrens dominate the landscape. Locals talk of the hardships of raking and of the newly publicized healthful benefits of wild blueberries. You'll see migrant workers in one field, mechanized harvesting in another. In August, blueberries are everywhere, and the festival is the talk of the town.

 

Twenty-five years ago, a few parishioners of Machias' Centre Street Congregational Church were looking for a way to honor the blueberry harvest, bring the church and community together, and benefit both financially, and the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival was born. Although centered at the church, this small-town celebration reaches far beyond, taking in all ages, townspeople from all walks of life and visitors who hail from every state and many foreign countries.

 

Held annually on the third weekend in August, the festival opens Friday evening with a children's parade and traditional fish-fry dinner. It continues Saturday with an all-you can-eat blueberry pancake breakfast, road races, a blueberry dessert bar, a blueberry cooking contest, a blueberry pie-eating contest, musical entertainment, the raffle of a hand-quilted and embroidered blueberry quilt and a huge, all-day handicrafts fair, with many blueberry-influenced items. Lobster, chowder, steamers, and sandwiches are available for lunch for those who've had too many berries.

 

Rounding out the weekend is a home-grown musical that celebrates the blueberry. You may recognize the music, but not the words. Locals know to purchase tickets early; it's always a sell-out. The talent is awesome, the community pride palpable, the message uplifting. It's both educational and fun.

 

The musical is, to an extent, the heart of the festival. As for its soul: The festival ends Sunday with a service of thanksgiving for the blueberry harvest. Even if you take part in just a few of the events over the weekend, you'll come away tasting the flavor of Machias.

JUMBO SHRIMP ON THE HALF SHELL

Serves 4

1 cup V-8 juice (8-veggie granita)

2 large limes

At least 1/2 cup kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

12 very large, uncooked shrimp in their shells, about 1 pound

 

Put V-8 juice in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Let cool. Grate rind of 1 lime to yield 1/2 teaspoon zest. Cut lime in half and squeeze 1 tablespoon juice. Add lime juice and zest to reduced V-8 with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Stir and transfer to a small dish. Put in freezer and stir every 30 minutes until a firm slushy texture forms, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

 

Wash shrimp in cold water with several tablespoons of kosher salt. Drain. Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Add lots of kosher salt -- about 1/2 cup. Add shrimp, lower heat to medium, and cook 3-4 minutes, until shrimp are just firm. Place in bowl of ice-cold, heavily salted water to cool.

 

Place shrimp flat on cutting board. Place your hand firmly on each shrimp to anchor, and using a very sharp thin-bladed knife, cut shrimp in half through the back. You will have 2 mirror-image pieces. Place 6 halves in a circle on each of 4 large plates. Slice remaining lime into four, 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place a lime wheel in center of shrimp and place a small scoop of V-8 granita on lime. Serve with additional thinly sliced lime.

KIWANO PINEAPPLE SALSA

[] Kiwano melon is about 4 inches long, bright yellow-orange, and has warts on

it. It is very expensive, at least in our supermarkets. Spike, being a "cheap" person - some would say "frugal" - would not spend the money to try one!

Ergo, I cannot attest to the quality of this salsa, but it looks pretty darned good! []

(Makes 2 cups)

 

1/2 cups diced kiwano melon

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper

1/4 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon pepper

Combine melon, pineapple, jalapeno, and onion in bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, and spices. Pour over salsa and gently toss. Kiwano Pineapple Salsa may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

 

KIWI CRANBERRY FOOL

(Makes 2 servings)

 

3/4 cup low-fat or fat-free sour cream

6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar or sweetener for diabetics

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 1/2 kiwifruit, peeled and mashed with fork

2 fresh mint sprigs (if desired)

 

In small bowl, blend sour cream with 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Reserve. Place dried cranberries in small saucepan with orange juice and two tablespoons confectioners' sugar. Gently cook over medium-low heat about 5 minutes or until cranberries swell, and liquid thickens and reduces. Stir in orange zest. Reserve, allowing to cool completely. Mix mashed kiwifruit with 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar. Reserve.

 

Divide sour-cream mixture equally into 3 bowls. Reserve 2 tablespoons of cranberry mixture in separate bowl. Blend remaining cranberry mixture into bowl (1/3) of sour cream. Reserve 2 tablespoons of kiwifruit mixture in separate bowl. Add remaining kiwifruit mixture to bowl (1/3) of sour-cream mixture and blend.

 

Divide cranberry sour-cream mixture evenly between 2 clear 8-ounce wine glasses. Cover each with tablespoon reserved kiwifruit mixture in each glass. Cover each with tablespoon reserved cranberry mixture. Cover each with kiwifruit sour-cream mixture.

 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with mint sprig.

KIWIFRUIT GINGER SPICED SQUASH

(Makes 4 servings)

 

1 medium (1-1 1/2-pound) acorn squash

3 California kiwifruit, pared and divided

1-2 tablespoons melted margarine

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar or substitute for diabetics

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Pierce squash with fork in several places. Microwave on High (100%) 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Puree 2 kiwifruit; stir in margarine, brown sugar, and ginger. Place each half of squash cut-side-up in microwave-safe baking dish.

 

Pour half of kiwifruit mixture into each half of squash. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap. Microwave on High 8-10 minutes or until squash is tender; rotate dish a quarter-turn halfway through cooking. Quarter and slice remaining kiwifruit; arrange on squash. Sprinkle with nuts.

 

KOREAN STEAK

 

1 pound top sirloin steak

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 clove garlic -- minced

1/2 cup sliced green onions

 

Pound steak using a meat mallet. Place steak in a large shallow dish. Combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Pour mixture over steak; cover and allow to marinate in refrigerator 1 hour.

 

Remove meat from marinade, and place on lightly greased rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from heat 4 to 5 minutes; turn steak and broil an additional 4 to 5 minutes. To serve, slice across grain into thin slices. Yield: 4 servings.

LEMON BREAD

 

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped nuts

peel of 1 lemon, grated

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar; add eggs and mix until combined. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Alternately, add flour mixture and the milk to butter mixture; stirring constantly. Add nuts and lemon peel and combine. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour.

 

Glaze

1/4 cup sugar

juice from 1 lemon

 

Combine sugar and lemon juice. Poke holes in the top of bread and pour glaze over.

MACARONI AND BEANS

 

1 cup salsa

2/3 cup elbow macaroni -- uncooked

3/4 cup water

2 teaspoons chili powder

16 ounces canned kidney beans -- rinsed and drained

8 ounces tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

 

Heat all ingredients except cheese to boiling in 10 inch nonstick skillet; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until

macaroni is just tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

 

 

MASHED BLACK BEANS

 

1 Tbs olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 - 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 - 2 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped

2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock for a non-vegetarian version)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Lime wedges for garnish (optional)

 

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over moderate heat. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeno and sauté until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and mash the beans with a fork until the desired consistency is reached. Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and lime wedges if desired.

MELON AU PORTO

Serves 6

1 large, round ripe honeydew melon, about 3 pounds

1 3/4 cups ruby port

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

 

Cut melon in half lengthwise through stem end, and scoop out seeds. Cut small straight slices from bottom of melon halves so that they sit perfectly level.

 

In large saucepan, put port and 1 3/4 cups water. Sprinkle with gelatin. Let sit 1 minute. Bring just to a boil, stirring constantly, until gelatin dissolves. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Let cool for 10 minutes.

 

Pour port mixture into melon halves, coming up to top of melon, reserving leftover port mixture. Carefully put filled melon halves in refrigerator. Chill at least 4 hours, until very firm. Pour remaining mixture into 6 small ramekins, custard cups or decorative molds. Carefully put in refrigerator. Chill at least 4 hours, until very firm.

 

Cut melon into 6 wedges. Place on plates. Unmold ramekins by dipping bottoms into boiling water for a few seconds. Place one next to each melon wedge and serve.

 

MICROWAVE SAFETY TIPS

For cooking or reheating, arrange food items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap; loosen or vent the lid or wrap to let steam escape.

Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.

 

Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, takeout containers, whipped topping bowls and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.

 

Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers or aluminum foil in the microwave.

 

Only use cookware that is specially manufactured for microwave use. Glass, ceramic containers and all plastics should be labeled for microwave oven use.

 

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

 

MINESTRONE SOUP

 

5 quarts cold water

2 cloves garlic

1 medium-large onion, diced

1/2 cup parsley, snipped

1 pound lean burger or ground meat

1 cup diced celery

2 cups finely shredded cabbage

1 1/2 cups diced carrots

4 cups diced tomatoes or 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of diced tomatoes (no salt added)

1 1/2 cups small pasta shells

1 cup thinly sliced zucchini or yellow squash

1 1/2 cups fresh green beans cut into inch-long strips

1 (10-ounce) box chopped frozen spinach

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans

2 heaping tablespoons Mrs. Dash seasoning

 

Thaw spinach at room temperature. In a pot on medium-high heat, brown meat and onions, place in colander and rinse with hot water. Place back into the pot. Add all other ingredients except spinach and pasta. Simmer for 1 hour. Add thawed spinach and pasta and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese on top, a salad and crusty bread.

MINT FLAVORED SKEWERED MEAT

Serves 4

12 ounces boneless lamb (leg or loin) or beef

Marinade

1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns

1/3 cup Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons cornstarch

To finish:

About 16 bamboo skewers

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

1 zucchini, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

 

Cut meat into thin strips, about 1/2-inch wide and 8 inches long.

 

Place peppercorns in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan frequently, until peppercorns darken slightly and smell toasted, 3-4 minutes; then whirl in blender until coarsely ground.

 

In a bowl, combine peppercorns with remaining marinade ingredients. Add meat; stir to coat. Let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak skewers in warm water to cover for 15 minutes; drain. Remove meat from marinade; reserve marinade. Thread one piece of meat on each skewer, stretching meat so it lies flat.

 

To cook, place skewers on a greased grill 3-4 inches above a solid bed of glowing coals. Cook, basting with marinade, until meat is barely pink, about 1 minute per side.

 

In a sauce pan, bring remaining marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour into small serving bowl.

 

Place wok or wide frying pan over high heat. When hot, add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add garlic and ginger; cook and stir until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add vegetables, stir-fry until onion is tender-crisp, 2-4 minutes. Spread vegetables on a serving platter. Place skewered meat on top and serve with sauce on side.

MISO GLAZED GROUPER

JAPANESE STYLE

Serves 4

4 tbsp miso, preferably genmai (which is made of soybeans and brown rice)

1/2 cup mirin

4 (9-ounces) fillets of grouper, skin removed

 

Put miso in a small bowl and slowly add mirin, stirring constantly, until a paste is formed. Add freshly ground black pepper and stir.

 

Rub mixture onto fish fillets to coat completely. Enclose each piece of fish tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

 

Preheat broiler. Unwrap fish, scraping marinade from plastic wrap and reserving. Make sure there is a thin layer of miso paste remaining on fish. Place fish on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with non-stick vegetable spray. Broil 4 minutes. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining marinade onto fish and broil 1 minute longer. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.

 

NAVY BEANS

1 pound small white beans

1 medium yellow or red onion, cut up

3 stalks celery, cut up

1 medium bell pepper, cut up

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 pound of canned ham, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic pepper

1 13-ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 13-ounce can of cut okra

1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning

Cover beans with water plus about 2 inches. Put in all ingredients. Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. Check water level at least every couple of hours, and add water to keep beans covered. Serve with corn bread or muffins and tossed salad.

 

PEACH BREAD

 

2 c flour

2/3 c sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. cloves (optional)

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. melted margarine

1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches, drained and chopped (Reserve juice for glaze)

 

Glaze

1/3 c powdered sugar

4 tsp. peach juice

 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 X 15 inch pan. Mix first 6 (dry) ingredients. Add eggs and margarine. Fold in peaches. Mix for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into pan. Bake 60 minutes or until brown. Cool before pouring glaze over bread.

 

Note: I leave out the cloves because I think the cinnamon is enough spice. I serve this warm with whipped honey-butter. This one also freezes very well.

PINEAPPLE COLESLAW

1/2 head Cabbage -- shredded

4 cups Miniature Marshmallows

2 cups Crushed Pineapple in juice -- undrained

16 ounces Yogurt with fruit, nonfat -- Pineapple Flavored

Shred cabbage into a large mixing bowl. Add other ingredients and mix well.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

QUATTRO FORMAGGI

 

Rich and tasty, these individual pizzas are quick to assemble, and the aroma of melting cheese is irresistible.

1 quantity Basic Pizza Dough (shown below)

1 tbsp Garlic Oil

1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced

2 oz Saga Blue

2 oz mozzarella

2 oz Gruyère, grated

2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

black pepper

 

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out each one on a lightly floured surface into a 5 in circle. Place well apart on two greased baking sheets, then pinch up the dough edges to make a thin rim. Brush with Garlic Oil and top with the red onion.

2. Cut the Saga Blue and mozzarella into cubes and scatter over the bases.

3. Mix together the Gruyère, Parmesan and thyme and sprinkle over.

4. Grind over plenty of black pepper. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until crisp and golden and the cheese is bubbling. Serve immediately. Serves 4

PIZZA DOUGH # 1

1 package dry yeast

1 Cup Hot water (not boiling)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons oil

2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in hot water, add sugar, salt and oil. Dump in flour all at once and mix with a fork till dough forms a ball Pat onto a greased pizza pan and add sauce and toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes

RED BEANS AND RICE

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound fully cooked smoked sausage (such as hot links or Kielbasa), sliced

into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 14 1/2- to 16-ounce cans kidney beans

1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth

1 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups cooked rice

 

Heat olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage,

onion and garlic and sauté until onion is brown, about 15 minutes. Mix in

kidney beans with their juices, broth and Creole seasoning. Reduce heat to

medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors are blended and mixture is very

thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

 

Divide cooked rice among large shallow soup bowls. Spoon bean mixture over

rice and serve. Serve garlic bread on the side.

SALAD HISTORY AND INFORMATION

Restaurants dish up great, fresh creations

BY KELSEY LANE

Special to the Mercury News

 

My favorite salad and I go way back, to 1991, when I first moved to California and before I even knew how to identify cilantro in a blind taste test.

 

The vegetarian Mexican salad at Country Gourmet changed all that, launching my double love affair with the pungent herb and with big salads.

 

I adore big salads. The first hint of my obsession began in college, and it took hold once I moved to California, where I got a taste of ultra-fresh produce and innovative ingredients. Like a rabbit would if it had a car and cash, I have munched my way from restaurant to restaurant around the Bay Area, eating Caesars, nioises and all manner of new entree salads.

 

In frugal years and in flush, salads have always given me lots of healthful food to eat at relatively little expense.

 

Salad is a relatively new notion, world history considered. It began in the very late 1800s and gained big-time momentum after World War II.

 

Over the years, a strange pattern developed: Many of today's salad classics were improvised during panic situations when cooks threw together ingredients at the 11th hour.

 

Caesar salad, for instance, was created in 1924 when movie stars showed up in Tijuana to dine at Caesar's Place during prohibition.

 

Caesar Cardini's brother, Alex, who was in charge of feeding the stars, realized the restaurant had run out of food. All Alex could drum up was romaine, bread for croutons, garlic, Romano cheese and enough fixings for a lemony dressing. A table-side preparation of the salad sent guests into a culinary frenzy, and food history was written.

 

Cobb salad, devised at Los Angeles' Brown Derby restaurant by Bob Cobb, has a similar past.

 

Cobb threw the salad together based on what was in the refrigerator late one night in 1937 when his friend Sid Grauman of Grauman's Chinese Theater showed up. Grauman returned and ordered it for lunch the next day, spreading his enthusiasm to others. Since then, more than 4 million Cobb salads have been sold at Brown Derby restaurants.

 

Although I'm crazy about salads at any time of the year, they're especially welcome in the hot, lazy days of summer. They're easy enough to make at home, if you have the desire. If not, it's even easier to let restaurants do the work for you, cutting up all those beautiful vegetables and whisking up glassy vinaigrettes.

 

With that in mind, here's my list of all-star salads, the result of 10 years of informal -- but concentrated -- research:

 

[[ Spike includes these items because they give us ideas for making our own salads. Sometimes the most incredible mixture turns out to be marvelous, and

these will give us courage to try!!! ]]

Country Gourmet's Mexican Salad, ($7.95), 314 S. Mary Ave. at Fremont, Sunnyvale, (408) 733-9446 and 2098 W. El Camino at Rengstorff, Mountain View, (650) 962-1700. This extremely large salad is the cream of the salad crop. I've been eating it for years and it never changes: green leaf lettuce and romaine adorned with black beans, pinto beans, Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, avocado, fresh cilantro, tortilla strips and jalapeño vinaigrette. Ask for an extra plate and share with a friend. Another Country Gourmet choice: the smoked chicken salad -- with grapes -- for $8.95.

 

Pacific Athletic Club Restaurant Blackened Mexican Caesar Salad, ($10.95), 200 Redwood Shores Parkway, Redwood City, (650) 593-1112, (open for lunch only). The next best thing to getting a good workout is watching other people work out. A new take on two classics, this salad contains blackened chicken breast, tomatoes, cilantro, romaine, avocado and tortilla chips tossed in a pungent and creamy Caesar dressing, garnished with edible pansy petals. Enjoy it in an elegant windowed dining room overlooking gardens, tennis courts and the club pool. With the club's vast array of salads, another good choice is the Mediterranean Salmon Salad ($12.95) with capers, field greens, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and a lemon vinaigrette.

 

California Cafe Asian Chicken Salad, ($10.50), 2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., Suite 1125 at the Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair, Santa Clara, (408) 296-2233.; 50 University Ave., Los Gatos, 354-8118, and 700 Welch Road in the Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, (650) 325-2233. This salad is stacked and then garnished with crispy rice sticks and spiraled carrot strands. Because it's a chopped salad, you get the full flavor of all ingredients in every bite: Napa cabbage, romaine, grilled chicken, red peppers, scallions, cucumbers, toasted almond slivers, snow peas, black sesame seeds and soy vinaigrette. ``It's addicting because the flavor is not overpowering, but there's just a hint of whatever makes you want more,'' said Karen Wong of Sunnyvale. One chef at the restaurant claims the salad is ordered by 100 people a day. Though it's listed only on the lunch menu, I was told that if you make a special request for it at dinner, your wish will be granted.

 

The Cool Cafe Pasta Salad with Grilled Seasonal Vegetables, ($9), Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Lomita Drive at Museum Way, (650) 725-4758. (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.) Organic chef Jesse Cool is no stranger to salads. This combination includes grilled vegetables such as patty pan squash, asparagus, carrots and zucchini, with field greens and chipotle aioli. The Tarragon Crusted Wild Seasonal Fish Salad with Tapenade Bruschetta ($12) is also a good choice.

 

Insalata Mista with Chicken from I Fratelli, ($9.50), 388 Main St., Los Altos, (650) 941-9636. Trust me on this one: It doesn't sound like much -- greens, crumbled Gorgonzola, tomatoes, black and green olives, red onions, and a creamy Italian vinaigrette topped with chicken breast -- but the secret marinade on the chicken slices and its interaction with the dressing makes this salad great.

 

Pluto's Pick Your Own Salad, ($3.95-$6.05), 482 University Ave., Palo Alto (650) 853-1556. People in the know go to Pluto's, where the line for salad backs up to Highway 101 during mealtimes. My recommendation is Farmers' Greens with Choice of Crunchy Fixings and Marinated Flank Steak. You'll get to choose from toppings such as grilled fennel, Parmesan, jicama, nuts and seeds and caramelized walnuts, to name a few. Go for broke and have it all, tossed in Gorgonzola vinaigrette.

 

A.P. Stumps' Assorted Baby Beets Salad, ($7), (on the dinner menu only), 163 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose, (408) 292-9928. This unusual appetizer salad includes three varying tastes. First, red beets are marinated in a red wine and thyme vinaigrette. Then, yellow and Chioggia (red and white striped) beets come marinated in a tarragon vinaigrette. Finally, baby carrots feature an apple cider vinaigrette. Toasted walnuts, shaved Italian grana cheese with black truffles, chives, and a citrus-sherry vinaigrette complete the picture.

 

La Pastaia's Nizza Salad, ($14), 233 W. Santa Clara St. in the Hotel De Anza , San Jose, (408) 286-8686. In this Italian variation of salad nioise, you'll find seared Ahi tuna with tomatoes, green beans, eggs, potatoes and capers with a black olive vinaigrette. Or check out the Spinachi salad ($12), with spinach, warm goat cheese, prosciutto, grilled eggplant, fresh orange, basil and balsamic vinegar. For a quick, take-out lunch, try the cafe's offerings.

 

Gilda's Luncheon Salad with Crab, ($13), No. 37 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, (831) 423-2010. This restaurant has been in the Stagnaro family for more than 50 years. Crab is the feature in this iceberg lettuce-laden salad with carrots, kidney beans, peas, olives, cucumber, eggs, radishes, red cabbage and Thousand Island dressing (my recommendation: Get the dressing on the side). Be sure to order it with avocado and cocktail sauce on the side, too, and get ready to be transported.

 

SCALLOPED EGGPLANT

 

1 small eggplant

Salt & pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

Seasoned bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

 

Boil eggplant until tender. Remove skin. Mash eggplant. Measure and mix with an equal amount of bread crumbs or cracker crumbs. Put in a buttered casserole dish. Season with butter, salt and pepper. Sprinkle a few crumbs over top.

Bake at 350 F. for 30 minutes. A sprinkle of Parmesan on this is excellent.

SEARED FRESH TUNA SALAD

Serves 2

3/4 pound baby or creamer red potatoes

1/2 pound fresh green beans

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon wasabi or white horseradish

2 tablespoons fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

3/4 pound fresh tuna steak, about 1 inch thick

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces fresh baby greens or mesclun (4 cups)

1 ripe tomato, cut into 2-inch cubes

1/2 French baguette

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees for bread.

 

Wash potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Wash and trim beans and cut into 2-inch pieces. (A quick way is to line up all of the ends on one side and cut them at one time; then line up the other end and do the same.)

 

Place potatoes in steamer over 2 to 3 inches water. Cover pot and bring water to a boil. Steam 5 minutes; add beans. Continue steaming another 5 minutes.

 

While vegetables steam, mix mustard and vinegar in a large bowl until smooth. Add wasabi (or horseradish) and broth. Stir with fork to a smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add potatoes and beans when they are cooked; toss well.

 

Wash tuna and pat dry with paper towels. Coat both sides with sesame seeds. Preheat a medium-size non-stick skillet on medium high for 2 minutes. Add olive oil and sear tuna for 2 minutes per side. Salt and pepper the cooked side. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium rare.

 

Divide greens in half and place on plates. Spoon potatoes and beans onto lettuce. Add tomatoes. Slice tuna into strips and arrange on top. Pour remaining dressing over top. Serve with baguette.

SNACK BREAD

 

Bread:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 pkg. active dry yeast

1 cup water

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 (8-oz.) jar pasteurized process cheese spread

 

Filling:

1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened

3 tablespoons dry onion soup mix

 

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and yeast; blend well.

 

In small saucepan, heat water and 2 tablespoons margarine until very warm (120 to 130°F.). Add warm liquid to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Beat in cheese until blended. By hand, stir in remaining 2 cups flour to make a stiff dough. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85°F.) until light and doubled in size, about 30 minutes. In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup margarine and onion soup mix; blend well. Set aside.

 

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet. Punch down dough. On floured surface, roll out dough to a 20x14-inch rectangle. (Be sure sides are straight before rolling.) Spread with filling. Starting with 14-inch side, roll up, pressing edges and ends to seal. With knife, carefully cut lengthwise down center to form 2 loaves. Place cut side up on greased cookie sheet. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 350°F. for 15 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

SONIC DRIVEIN SIGNATURE BURGERS

Driving through Louisiana in 1953, Troy Smith happened upon a cozy hamburger stand that had installed an intercom system to speed up ordering. Troy adapted the idea for his small chain of burger joints and hired nimble servers to quickly bring food out to customers. The concept was a smash, with revenues for the chain doubling during the first week. Sonic was cashing in on the growing popularity of the automobile. Hungry patrons parked their cars in a stall, rolled down the window, and ordered from a two-way speaker box. The food was quickly brought out to the car on a tray by a roller-skating carhop with excellent balance. Today Sonic has rejuvenated the carhop concept by serving customers the same way as in the '50s; with individual car stalls, speakers, and waitresses on wheels.

For one of your Labor Day weekend meals, choose from three terrific clones for signature burgers served at America's largest drive-in chain.

From Top Secret Recipes:

NO. 1 BURGER

1/4-pound ground beef

1 large plain white hamburger bun

butter-flavored spray or melted butter

salt

ground black pepper

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

3 dill pickle slices (hamburger slices)

1 tablespoon chopped white onion

1/3 cup chopped lettuce

2 tomato slices

 

1. Shape the ground beef into a thin circle the same diameter as the bun. Cover the patty with wax paper and freeze it.

2. When you're ready to prepare the burger, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Spray some butter spray or spread a thin layer of melted butter on the faces of the top and bottom bun. Lightly brown the faces of the bun in the skillet, then remove them and set them aside.

4. Grill the beef patty in the skillet, and lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until done.

5. As the patty cooks, build the burger by first spreading the mayonnaise over the browned face of the bottom bun.

6. Arrange the pickle slices on the mayonnaise.

7. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the pickles.

8. Arrange the lettuce on the sandwich next.

9. Stack the tomato slices on the lettuce.

10. When the beef is ready, stack it on top of the other condiments, and top off the sandwich with the top bun. If you'd like the sandwich hotter, microwave it on high for 10 to 15 seconds. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)

Makes 1 sandwich.

HICKORY BURGER

1/4-pound ground beef

1 large plain white hamburger bun

butter-flavored spray or melted butter

salt

ground black pepper

1 tablespoon Kraft Hickory BBQ Sauce

1 tablespoon chopped white onion

1/3 cup chopped lettuce

1. Shape the ground beef into a thin circle the same diameter as the bun. Cover the patty with wax paper and freeze.

2. When you're ready to prepare the burger, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Spray some butter spray or spread a thin layer of melted butter on the faces of the top and bottom bun. Lightly brown the faces of the bun in the skillet, then remove them and set them aside.

4. Grill the beef patty in the skillet, and lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until done.

5. As the patty cooks, build the burger by first spreading the BBQ sauce over the face of the bottom bun.

6. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the sauce.

7. Arrange the lettuce on the sandwich next.

8. When the beef is ready, stack it on top of the other condiments, and top off the sandwich with the top bun. If you'd like the sandwich hotter, microwave it on high for 10 to 15 seconds. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Makes 1 sandwich.

JALAPENO BURGER

1/4-pound ground beef

1 large plain white hamburger bun

butter-flavored spray or melted butter

salt

ground black pepper

6 to 10 canned jalapeno slices (nacho slices)

1/3 cup chopped lettuce

1. Shape the ground beef into a thin circle the same diameter as the bun. Cover the patty with wax paper and freeze it.

2. When you're ready to prepare the burger, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Spray some butter spray or spread a thin layer of melted butter on the faces of the top and bottom bun. Lightly brown the faces of the bun in the skillet, then remove them and set them aside.

4. Grill the beef patty in the skillet, and lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until done.

5. As the patty cooks, build the burger by first spreading the mustard over the face of the bottom bun.

6. Arrange the jalapeno slices on the mustard.

7. Arrange the lettuce on the sandwich next.

8. When the beef is ready, stack it on top of the other condiments, and top off the sandwich with the top bun. If you'd like the sandwich hotter, microwave it on high for 10 to 15 seconds. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Makes 1 sandwich.

 

STUFFED ZUCCHINI

 

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large onion -- chopped

1 large green pepper -- chopped

1 jalapeno pepper -- chopped

1 jalapeno pepper -- minced

1 1/4 cups soft bread crumbs

1 egg -- beaten

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cans tomato sauce -- divided, 8 ounce

2 medium tomatoes -- coarsely chopped

4 medium zucchini

2 cups mozzarella cheese -- shredded

 

In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients and one can of tomato sauce; mix well. Stir in tomatoes. Halve zucchini lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Fill with meat mixture; place into two 9 x 13 baking dishes. Spoon remaining tomato sauce over each. Bake uncovered at 375 for 45 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Sprinkle with the cheese during the last few minutes of baking.

 

SUMMERTIME PASTA

1 (12-ounce) bag tri-colored rotelli noodles

1/2 bunch broccoli, lightly steamed

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced olives

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow squash, sliced

4 scallions, chopped

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup sugar

Cook noodles in boiling water according to package directions or until al dente. Rinse in cold water, drain and combine noodles with vegetables. Toss ingredients to mix well and refrigerate for one hour.

Combine vinegar, oil and sugar and shake well. Pour over chilled pasta and serve. Serves 4-6.

SWEET CORN CAKES

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup masa harina

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2 In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the masa harina and water until well combined.

3 Put the corn in a blender or food processor and coarsely chop on low speed. Stir the corn and the cornmeal into the butter mixture. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, cream, salt and baking powder. Combine the two mixtures until well blended. Pour the batter into an un-greased 8x8 pan.

4 Cover the pan with foil and place into a 9x13 inch pan filled 3/4 inch high with hot water. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean. Remove small pan from water and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

TAPIOCA PUDDING

 

3 Tablespoon corn starch

2 1/2 cups milk ( you can use fat free to reduce calories)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (also can use fat free)

dash salt

2 1/2tablespoon instant tapioca

1/2tsp vanilla

 

Combine the cornstarch with the milk in a medium saucepan and whisk

thoroughly to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the condensed milk, salt, and

tapioca to the pan. Stir until smooth and then set the pan aside for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, bring the mixture to a boil over medium/low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens, then cover and remove from the heat. Let the pudding sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the vanilla, then transfer the pudding to serving cups. Cover the cups with plastic wrap and let them chill for at least 2 hours before serving. (The last time the author made it, it was cooked it in the microwave. It was put it in an extra large glass bowl so it would not boil over, and would cook it until it boiled.

TOMATO BUTTER

5 qts. ground ripe tomatoes

3 medium onions, ground

1 pint vinegar

3 c. brown sugar

2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. each, cinnamon, cloves, allspice

1 Tbsp. salt

Peel & grind tomatoes. Combine vinegar, sugars & spices & salt in heavy non-aluminum pan. Bring to a boil. Add veggies & simmer over low heat until thick, stirring frequently. To prevent sticking, this could be made in the crock pot. Ladle hot mixture into hot jars. Seal. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

TOMATO BUTTER II

6 cups tomato pulp

2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Wash ripe tomatoes in cold water, remove stems and blossom ends. Cook until

soft, press through colander, then through a fine sieve. Boil strained pulp until it thickens. Measure pulp and combine with other ingredients. Boil rapidly until thick, stirring constantly to prevent burning. (If butter starts to spatter, reduce heat). Pour while still boiling into hot sterile jars and seal immediately. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

TOMATO BUTTER III

12 cups chopped skinned tomatoes

5 cups sugar

2 whole cinnamon sticks

2 whole lemons chopped, rind and all, remove seeds

Cook all over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 hours or more until apple butter consistency. Remove cinnamon sticks. Hot pack in sterilized jars

TOMATO CUCUMBER FETA CHEESE SALAD

Tomatoes, diced (or halved and quartered if using cherry variety)

Cucumbers, diced

Feta Cheese

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix equal parts of tomato and cucumber in a bowl. Add crumbled feta cheese.

Dress lightly with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.

 

 

 

 

TRIBUTE TO ICE CREAM

 

By Hilary Nangle, ucook.com contributor

 

I mourn the waning days of summer. Not because I'll miss the warm weather. Not because I'll miss the joy of diving into a cool, clear lake or the feeling of the wind rushing by my face as I pedal down a country lane. Not because I'll miss the ease and lightness of summer dressing.

 

No, what I'll miss most about summer is ice cream.

 

You see, I live for ice cream. I celebrate when local ice cream stores uncover their windows and unlock their doors in May. To me, that's the true sign that the cold, gray days of winter are over.

 

I can't pass an ice cream stand without stopping in to see what it offers. If it's locally made, I'm a goner. Seldom a day goes by that I don't indulge in a dish of creamy chocolate or, my favorite, an ice cream soda, made with BOTH ginger and chocolate ice cream.

 

The richer, the creamier, the deeper the flavor, the better. Don't talk to me about calories. Don't preach about sugar. Join me instead, and as you slowly lick that cone, you'll feel life's daily stresses and a different weight, the weight of years, fade away.

 

I savor the coolness, the melting in my mouth. It's a joy that goes back to my childhood, when my grandmother used to make me ice cream sodas when she babysat me. To this day, I can't resist slurping down the last drop, as I gaze furtively from side to side, hoping no one is within hearing distance.

 

My first job was as a waitress in an ice cream restaurant. I learned how to make perfect, round scoops; to create a perfectly balanced, three-layer cone; and the difference (which exists only in New England) between a frappe and a milk shake (a frappe is made with ice cream; a milk shake isn't).

 

Now I know you can buy ice cream all winter long at the supermarket or purchase a dish at a restaurant, but it's not the same. I don't want just any ice cream, I crave fresh ice cream; the kind made on a local farm or in a local kitchen. The kind with a local reputation, not the ice cream brands marketing has created, but those where flavor has triumphed.

 

In truth, it's more than flavor; it's ambiance, too. Little beats licking a cone while sitting at a farm-stand picnic table overlooking a pastoral landscape; the sun working to melt the ice cream faster than you can lick. (O.K., watching a soda jerk at an old-fashioned fountain counter drizzle hot fudge over a glistening bowl of vanilla is right up there; especially if the counter stools swivel.)

Sometimes as I swivel, lick and slurp, I read the newspaper headlines, and I wonder: How will we ever achieve world peace when we can't even agree on ice cream: hard serve or soft; sugar cone or plain. Then, I realize, perhaps ice cream is the solution. It is a universal treat. It triumphs over differences, uniting us in indulgence; at least for the summer.

 

Just make mine hard and serve in a sugar cone.

VEGETABLE TIAN

Layers of vegetables with added flavor from herbs and garlic are delicious baked in a shallow casserole that can be presented at the table. Suitable for lunch or dinner.

olive oil, for cooking

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1-1/2 lb. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

2 portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 potatoes, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 lb. spinach leaves, stems removed

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

1 Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat and gently cook the sliced onion with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes, without allowing to color. Add the seeded and diced tomato and cook gently for 7 minutes. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

2 Sauté the mushrooms in a little olive oil over high heat for 3 - 4 minutes. Drain off any excess moisture. Season to taste, remove and set aside.

3 Sauté the potatoes in batches in some olive oil, over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Return all the potatoes to the pan, add the garlic and cook for another minute. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drain on paper towels.

4 Arrange a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a 2-quart, 8-inch-diameter round or oval baking dish and cover with a layer of the mushrooms, followed by a layer of spinach, then a layer of tomatoes. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes, covered with waxed paper. Sprinkle with rosemary leaves and parsley before serving.

Chef's tip: If desired, cover the vegetables with grated Parmesan or crumbled feta cheese before baking. Serves 4

VEGETARIAN CHILI

 

2/3 cup chopped yellow onion

1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic

1 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 teaspoons canola oil

2/3 cup green pepper, seeded and chopped

2/3 cup frozen corn

1 cup tomato puree (usually comes canned)

1/4 cup water (or 11/4 cup with 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste instead of puree)

2/3 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained

2/3 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup canned black beans, drained

1/4 teaspoon vegetable-based bouillon

 

In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, sauté onion, garlic and spices in oil until onion is tender (at least 5 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes. Cover until served. Serves 6.

 

Note: This recipe is a good source of vitamin C, meeting half the recommended daily allowance. It is also a good source of iron, foliate, calcium and riboflavin.

VINAIGRETTE INFORMATION

For a delicious vinaigrette, balance is the acid test

BY CECE SULLIVAN, Seattle Times

It has been said that if you know how to prepare a well-balanced vinaigrette, you know how to cook.

 

But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of opinions on how a vinaigrette should taste.

 

The classic proportion of oil to vinegar in a vinaigrette is usually a 4-1 ratio. But two recent award-winning cookbooks, ``Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making'' by James Peterson, (John Wiley and Sons) and ``The Herbfarm Cookbook'' by Jerry Traunfeld, (Scribner) favor a combination of 3-to-1.

 

Knowing how to make a good vinaigrette is a matter of tasting and adjusting ingredients, then trusting what you discover.

 

Let's start with the oil. Buy your favorite oils in small quantities, and, unless you own a restaurant, avoid super-size tins. Oil deteriorates in light and should be stored in dark or opaque bottles in a cool place or in the refrigerator.

 

Olive oil is a favorite for vinaigrettes, but many cooks find its flavor too assertive and combine it with other, milder oils, such as sunflower or canola. Those oils are lighter in weight and taste, making them ideal for delicate salads with butter lettuce.

 

For stronger salads, try peanut and other nut oils, which are very fragile and should always be stored in the refrigerator. Nut oils have strong flavors, which means they're best with strong greens, like arugula, and should be balanced with milder oils to smooth their taste.

 

Successful vinaigrettes call for high-quality vinegar, because an inferior vinegar can be too sharp and need too much oil to balance it.

 

Rice vinegar is mild and almost sweet at 4 percent acidity, while red wine vinegar is clean and sharp at 7 percent. Balsamic vinegar has a middle value of 6 percent acidity, which may explain why it can be drizzled on everything from strawberries to steak with equal success.

 

Potato, pasta, dried bean and lentil salads should be dressed with a more acidic vinaigrette, often two parts oil to one part vinegar, as their starchy qualities absorb flavors and will be boringly bland without a big boost of tartness.

 

Starting with one cup vinaigrette, let's add a little embroidery. Here are some favorites:

One to two teaspoons minced shallots or onion.

 

One medium clove garlic, finely minced or pressed, or four to five cloves minced roasted garlic.

 

Jerry Traunfeld suggests adding any of the following: one or two tablespoons chopped thyme, lovage, mint, oregano, marjoram or French tarragon and two to four tablespoons coarsely chopped basil, dill, chervil or chives.

 

One pureed tomato or roasted pepper, which will thicken and emulsify the dressing.

 

A quarter cup black olives, pitted and chopped.

 

One to two tablespoons citrus juice.

 

One to two teaspoons capers.

WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP

 

1 cup onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon margarine

4 cups canned chicken broth

2 whole carrots, sliced

2 large celery stalks, sliced

1 cup canned tomato puree

1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

 

In a large kettle, melt margarine. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is softened. Add chicken broth, carrots and celery. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook vegetables until softened (5 to 8 minutes). Add tomato puree, spinach, peas and corn. Cook until frozen vegetables are thawed and then thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Serves 6.

WONDERFUL TOMATO STUFF

Note: all preparation should be done with non-reactive utensils, bowls, and pots.

TOMATO PUREE

1 onion

3 stalks celery

3 sweet peppers

12 cups tomatoes, quartered

Simmer all until soft. Press thru sieve, season with salt and pepper. Fill jars to

within 1/2" of the top. Put on cap, screw band firmly tight. Makes 4 pts. Process n Boiling Water 45 minutes.

TOMATO SAUCE

18 tomatoes

2 green peppers

2 med onions

3 Tbsp artificial sweetener, or to taste

2 t salt

1 t ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp allspice

2 cups vinegar

Peel, core, and chop tomatoes. Chop peppers and onions fine. Mix all. Boil slowly 4 hrs or until thick. Fill boiling hot to within 1/2" of the jar top. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath.

TOMATO SOUP

14 qt ripe tomatoes

14 Tbsp flour

7 med onions

14 tbsp butter

1 stalk celery

3 Tbsp salt

14 sprigs parsley

8 Tbsp sugar

3 bay leaves

2 tsp pepper

Wash; cut up tomatoes. Chop onions, celery, parsley, bay leaves. Add to tomatoes; cook until celery is tender. Put thru sieve. Rub flour and butter n smooth paste thinned with tomato juice. Add to boiling soup; stir to prevent scorching. Add salt, sugar and pepper. For smoother consistency put through sieve again. Fill clean jars to within 1" of the jar top. Put on cap, screwing band firmly tight. Process in water 15 minutes.

JALAPEÑO SAUCE

Makes 11-12 pints

1 gallon tomatoes, peeled

3 onions

4 bell peppers

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cups canning salt

1 Tbsp black pepper

1 cup white vinegar

Peel; cut tomatoes. To peel tomatoes, drop n boiling water, leave 1 1/2-2 minutes, put in ice water. Chop other items n food processor or by hand. Mix all; bring to boil. Simmer 1 1/2-2 hrs. Pour into jars, seal.

CHILI SAUCE

3 qts chopped tomatoes

1 cup hot peppers without seeds; measure and chop fine

4 bell peppers chopped

1 1/2 large onions chopped

7-8 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp salt

1/2 Tbsp black pepper

1/2 Tbsp red pepper

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp oil

1/4 cup vinegar

1/2 Tbsp cumin powder

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp chili powder

Mix all; simmer until desired thickness is reached 25-30 minutes. Adjust to taste.

TOMATO ONION RELISH "HOT STUFF"

6-8 med ripe tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8's or 1/4's

3-4 lg yellow or white onions peeled and sliced cross-ways, 1/8 thin

Mix together in cup; stir:

3 Tbsp sugar

1/3-3/4 cups apple cider vinegar

1/2-1 tsp salt

1/3-3/4 cup hot water

1/4 t black pepper

1/4 t ground red pepper

Peel tomatoes; cut into quarters. Peel onions cut cross ways in thin slices; add to

tomatoes. Also add vinegar mix. Start cooking; continue on medium heat. Stir as it heats to break up onion slices; to keep from sticking to pan. As it heats, add salt and pepper; stir easily. Taste juice; if you want it hotter with pepper, add some. Be careful with red pepper. Cook until onions seem tender, and turn

yellowish; about 30-35 minutes.. Don't overcook. As soon as it cools some, put into glass jars. Seal; keep in refrigerator.

SWEET TOMATO RELISH

40 oz tomatoes canned or fresh

3 onions chopped

3-4 sliced sweet peppers

2 small hot peppers

2 cups sugar

1 cup vinegar

cloves and stick cinnamon

1 tsp salt

Cook until desired thickness.

RIPE TOMATO RELISH

1/4 tsp cloves

24 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 sweet peppers chopped

3 t salt

6 hot peppers, chopped

1 pt vinegar

8 onions, chopped

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp allspice

2 tsp celery salt

Mix, cook, stir often until thick (4-5 hrs), put into sterile jars; seal.

CHILI SAUCE

12 large tomatoes peeled

3 large sweet peppers

3 large onions

6 small hot peppers

2 cups sugar

2 cups vinegar

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves, ground

dash salt

1 tsp celery seed

1 tsp allspice

Boil tomatoes awhile; add peppers and onions chopped fine; add vinegar and sugar; cook slowly; add spices; simmer until thick (4-5 hours).

RIPE TOMATO RELISH

1 peck ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, chopped; about 40-45 tomatoes

1 Tbsp salt

8 onions chopped

2 cups sugar

3 green bell pepper, scored and chopped

2 cups vinegar

3 red bell peppers, cored and chopped

Mix all in large pot, bring to boil; reduce; simmer until thick (about 3 hrs). Pour

relish into hot, sterilized pint jars, cover; process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

RAW TOMATO RELISH

When it's just too hot to cook, you can still put up tomato relish using this

recipe.

25 to 30 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, and chopped

3 med onions, chopped

1 small red hot pepper, chopped

6 cups brown sugar

2 Tbsp mustard seed

1/2 Tb celery seed

1/2 cups salt

2-1/2 cups vinegar

Mix chopped vegetables in a big bowl, sprinkle with 1/2 cup salt, stir. Let mix stand 2 hours. Pour into jelly bag; let drain overnight or until mix is entirely dry. When vegetables have drained dry, mix sugar, vinegar, and spices in a pot; heat until dissolved, stirring occasionally. Pour liquid on drained vegetables, stir, ladle

relish into hot, sterilized pint jars. Cover; process n boiling bath 15 minutes. If

using pressure cooker, process tomato relishes at 10 lbs pressure 10 minutes.

CHOW CHOW

A good way to use green tomatoes, this chow chow is a spicy hot addition to

beans and peas.

1/2 c salt

1 qt green tomatoes, chopped (about 6-8 tomatoes)

3 cups vinegar

2 sweet green peppers, chopped

1 tsp turmeric

2 large mild onions, chopped

1 tsp dry mustard

1 small head cabbage, chopped

2 tsp celery seed

2-1/2 cups brown sugar

Grind chopped vegetables. Add salt, let mix stand overnight. Drain vegetable mix in jelly bag, pressing out all the liquid you can. Transfer vegetables to large pot. Add vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, turmeric, and celery seed; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hr. Stir often. Pour relish into hot, sterilized pt jars, cover, process 15 minutes in boiling water bath.

PICCALILLI

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

4 qts green tomatoes, finely chopped (about 20-25 tomatoes)

1 Tbsp ginger

1/2 head cabbage finely chopped

1/2 cup pickling salt

enough water to cover vegetables

1 qt cider vinegar

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp mustard seed

1 Tbsp black pepper

1/8 tsp red pepper

1/2 Tbsp allspice

Most piccalillis are made with cucumbers, but East Texans cleverly adapted recipe to meet their own needs. This is sweeter relish than some. Mix vegetables and salt; cover with water, and soak overnight. Drain; rinse vegetables. Mix the rest in a large pot; bring to boil; add drained vegetables; return mix to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes). Pack hot mix in hot, sterilized pt jars. Cover, process in boiling water bath 15 minutes.

 

 

GREEN YELLOW OR RED TOMATO RELISH

Makes 3 pints

2 lbs tomatoes, cored and chopped

1 lb yellow or white onions chopped

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

3/4 lb sweet red peppers, cored and chopped

1 cup cider vinegar

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. kosher or sea salt

1 tsp ground cumin (optional)

4 jalapeño peppers, cored, seeded, and finely chopped

1/2 lb tart cooking apples such as 'Granny Smith, cored and chopped

Mix tomatoes, onions, peppers, apples, garlic, vinegar, and salt in large,

non-reactive pan; bring to boil. Reduce; simmer, stirring occasionally, until

thick, about 1 hour. Stir in jalapeños, cilantro, and cumin; simmer 5 more minutes. Purée mix (in batches if necessary) in blender until still somewhat chunky. If canning, return puréed relish to boil, ladle hot mix into hot jars, leaving

1/4" space. Process 15 minutes n boiling-water canner. Store in cool, dark

place.

ZIPPY FRUIT SALAD

(Makes 4 servings)

 

Glaze:

1/2 cup honey or substitute for diabetics

1/4 cup lime juice

1/16 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

 

Fruits:

1 kiwifruit

1 small orange

1/2 banana

1/2 peach

1/2 Golden Delicious apple

1/2 pear

1/2 star fruit

8 grapes

1/4 cup berries

Combine honey and lime juice. Add cayenne. Then whisk in fat-free mayonnaise.

 

Clean and cut up, chop, or dice fruit, except berries. Pour glaze over fruit. Toss gently to coat and chill 1-2 hours before serving.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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