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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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

100 PERCENT PARMESAN CHEESE CHICKEN

ADE IN THE SHADE

APPLE BLUEBERRY BREAD OR MUFFINS

APPLES FOSTER

BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS

BASIC VINAIGRETTE

BEEF WELLINGTON

BEST RECIPE COOKBOOK

BLACKENED MEXICAN CAESAR SALAD

BROCCOLI IN OYSTER SAUCE

CABBAGE WITH BEAN CURD

CARAMELIZED APPLE AND ONION COMPOTE.

CARROT CAKE

CHEESE AND SUN DRIED TOMATO BISCUITS

CHICKEN PIBIL

CHICKEN STOCK

CHILI ROASTED EDAMAME

CHILLED GREEN BEANS WITH SESAME SAUC

CHUTNEY CHICKEN SALAD

COCKTAIL ON A STICK COCKTAILS ON STICKS

COCONUT BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

COLD CUCUMBER MINT SOUP

COUNTRY CORN BREAD

COWBOY STYLE BEANS

CRISPY LEMON GRASS CHICKEN

CUCUMBER MANGO AND RED ONION SALAD

CUCUMBER NORI ROLLS

CUCUMBERS ARE SO COOL

CUCUMBERS WITH TARRAGON CR_ME FRA_CH

DECADENT FRENCH TOAST

DILLED TUNA CUCUMBER SALAD

EDAMAME POTATO GREEN BEAN SALAD

FOCACCIA

FORTY CARAT QUINOA

FRUIT CRISP

GRILLED CHEESE WITH TOMATO

HARVEST PUMPKIN ROLL

ITALIAN COOKING STARTS

KEY LIMES INFORMATION

LEMON LIME POUND CAKE

LEMONADE COOKIES

LEMONADES

LOBSTER MELTS

LORAINES CARROT CAKE

LUTECE VINAIGRETTE

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN

ORANGE ALMOND AND ONION SALAD

ORANGE AND GREEN SOYBEAN SALAD

PEACH PICKLES

PORCUPINE COOKIES

PORK RIB TEA SOUP

POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP

PRAWN COCKTAIL

RARE AHI TUNA WITH WASABI VINAIGRETT

ROADS END COFFEE CAKE

SAVORY WHOLE CHICKEN BREASTS

SMOKED CHICKEN AND APPLE WALDORF SAL

SOFT PRETZELS

STADIUM LEMONADE

STRAWBERRY MUFFINS

SWEET SOUR ONIONS

TAKE YOUR SUPPER PASTA

TORTILLA SOUP

TRY GRAINS LIKE QUINOA

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 PERCENT PARMESAN CHEESE CHICKEN

 

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or ground red pepper for a spicier dish)

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dip chicken in margarine or butter. Mix cheese, bread crumbs, herbs and seasonings in a bowl or pie plate and roll each piece of chicken in the mixture to coat. Place in oven-safe dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

ADE IN THE SHADE

For great refreshment, take a swig of that lemony beverage

By Cathy Thomas, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

CUT A LEMON and geysers of juice spit in all directions ... to hand, to arm, to unguarded eye. This pucker-packed, near-clear liquid is redolent with citrus perfume and filled with sour culinary potential.

 

Squeeze that lemon, and a gentle squirtlike moan produces more juices, with seeds and pulp swimming in its generous acidic pool.

 

Lemon juice is friend to fish, fowl and fruit tart alike. But it's the beverage made with sweetened juice and water that quenches our hot-weather thirst. Yes, there's no disputing America's summertime love affair with icy lemonade.

 

Homemade lemonade is generally much better than store-bought prepared lemonade, made-from-frozen-concentrate lemonades, or, heaven forbid, beverages made from powdered "lemonade" mixes.

 

Those alternatives can be too sweet for my palate. Lacking lemon loyalty, some of them taste artificial, almost "chemical," colored like a yellow taxi, not the inside of a lemon.

 

Making lemonade from scratch is no big deal. When I was a kid, making refreshing lemonade meant revenue as well as refreshment. In those sun-soaked California summers, front-yard lemonade sales were brisk. The formula was simple enough: Mix 1 cup fresh lemon juice with 3/4 cup sugar, then stir until sugar is dissolved and add 4 cups water and ice. Kah-ching. Kah-ching.

For a rosy tint, I'd add a drop or two of red food coloring or a splash of cranberry juice. As an adult, I add either pomegranate syrup or grenadine.

 

But as with most things in the culinary world, there are myriad lemonade recipes, techniques and variations. My kid-style beverage was just the tip of the old lemonade ice cube.

 

And yes, you can make lemonade ice cubes. Michelle Urvater, cookbook author and host of the TV Food Network's "Cooking, Monday to Friday" show, likes to make ice cubes from her concentrated lemonade mixture; that way, if and when they melt, they won't dilute her delectable lemonade.

 

Urvater's lemonade is based on a syrup that starts with lemon zest (colored part of peel), sugar and a little water. The ingredients are boiled for 30 seconds and a generous amount of lemon juice is added. It's stored in the refrigerator and can be mixed on an as-needed basis, 1/4 cup at a time, with either water or mineral water.

Irresistible, but those perfection-driven writers at Cook's Illustrated magazine (July 1998, by author Adam Ried) take a different preparation approach. Searching for a "full, complex lemon flavor," they borrowed an Amish method, a technique that does away with the juicer.

 

Lemon slices and sugar are mashed with a potato masher or large wooden spoon until they give up their juices and the sugar dissolves, about four minutes. Strained, the liquid is combined with cold water.

 

The flavor is delicious because the fragrant oils from the citrus skin are released into the liquid during the "bruising" and quasi-mashing.

 

Take your pick. Or augment your lemonade with berries or mint. They're all sensational sweet-sour thirst relievers. The recipes, along with some lemon-scented desserts, lemon-lime pound cake and lemonade cookies are presented in this collection.

 

APPLE BLUEBERRY BREAD OR MUFFINS

 

1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup regular applesauce

2 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Grease and flour 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

 

In a large bowl, beat margarine or butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in applesauce.

 

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.

 

Spread batter into prepared pan.

 

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool completely.

 

APPLES FOSTER

 

2 chopped gala apples

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup Calvados (apple brandy)

Butter

Cream, optional

Ice cream

 

Put apples in hot pan with a pat of butter. When the apples start to turn a nice golden color, remove the pan from the fire and add the Calvados. Reduce by half, and add some cream, if desired. Serve over your favorite ice cream.

 

BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS

 

2 to 3 pounds chicken wings

18 ounces barbecue sauce

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Season wings with salt and pepper. Place wings on a broiler pan, and roast at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in large sauce pan. Heat to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Just before the wings are completely cooked, pour sauce over them and cook for remaining 2 to 3 minutes.

 

BARBECUED CHICKEN WINGS

 

2 to 3 pounds chicken wings

18 ounces barbecue sauce

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 clove garlic, crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Season wings with salt and pepper. Place wings on a broiler pan, and roast at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in large sauce pan. Heat to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Just before the wings are completely cooked, pour sauce over them and cook for remaining 2 to 3 minutes.

 

BASIC VINAIGRETTE

Makes 1 cup

1/4 cup vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2/3 to 3/4 cup oil (olive, safflower, canola)

(Oil Substitutions: Herb and nut oils: substitute 1/3 cup for oil in basic recipe )

2 tablespoons lemon, lime or orange juice for 2 tablespoons vinegar

Additions:

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons chutney

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground spice, such as cumin or paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped herbs

1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 medium shallot, peeled and minced

 

To prepare vinaigrette by hand: Whisk together vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper until slightly thickened. (If using sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, chutney or spice, add them here.) Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until blended and emulsified. (If using herbs, garlic or shallot, add them here.)

 

To prepare the vinaigrette by food processor or blender: If using herbs or garlic, put into the processor or blender and chop finely. Add vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper; pulse to blend. Add sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, chutney or spices if using. With motor running, slowly add remaining oil, processing until blended and emulsified. Stir in minced shallot if using.

 

Pour vinaigrette into a jar, cover tightly and refrigerate up to 3 days.

 

BEEF WELLINGTON

from Pat Bonger

 

1 pound ground beef

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, beaten

9 ounces frozen broccoli or 11/2 cups fresh

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 (8-ounce) packages Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls

Poppy seed for seasoning.

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium skillet, brown meat and drain well. Add broccoli, cheese, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix together and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

Separate dough into long rectangles. On an un-greased cookie sheet, overlap long sides of rectangles and firmly press edges and perforations to seal. Spoon meat mixture in 3-inch strips in middle of dough. Take the second can of dough and lay two more rectangles of dough on top, leaving the center open, firmly press down and seal again. (This should look like a long rectangle). Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seed. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serves 6-8.

 

BEST RECIPE COOKBOOK

Cook's Illustrated scores with 'Best Recipe' cookbook

By SYLVIA RECTOR

DETROIT FREE PRESS

 

If they gave awards for the pickiest, most obsessive and least spontaneous approach to cooking, Cook's Illustrated magazine would win hands down.

 

I mean that in the most positive way. Really.

 

Its staffers do so much experimenting to perfect even the most familiar dishes, they could claim Ph.D.s in pot roast. They do trial and error to the nth degree so we don't have to.

 

Take garlic mashed potatoes. When Cook's wrote about those, its staff tested eight different ways just to cook the garlic. When they oven-broiled salmon filets, they tried more than a dozen variations before finding a topping with just the right mix of crunch and flavor.

 

And they lit more than 5,000 fires to produce the magazine's newest book, "The Best Recipe: Grilling and Barbecue" (Boston Common Press, $29.95).

 

Now at my house, grilling isn't exactly rocket science. I figure a successful cookout is one in which I have fun, produce a reasonably good meal and avoid setting fire to any insured property.

 

The editors at Cook's are a bit more precise.

Take the grilled swordfish kebabs, for example. I'd probably marinate them in something for a little while, skewer them, plop them on a preheated grill and cook them until they looked done.

 

Not Cook's, which has two recipes for them -- one done over charcoal and one over gas. For gas, you close the grill cover and turn the skewers one-quarter turn every 2 minutes.

 

For charcoal, you open the cover and turn the skewers one-quarter turn every 13/4 minutes.

 

Whoa! They're talking fractions of minutes and my watch doesn't even have a second hand -- especially on weekends in the backyard.

 

Painstakingly precise

 

Cook's senior editor Adam Ried was asked whether outdoor cookery wasn't fundamentally incompatible with so much precision.

 

Not at all, he said. Variables like the kind of fuel you use make a big difference. Gas doesn't get as hot as charcoal, so you need to cook the food a bit longer -- maybe just a few seconds -- and close the grill cover to hold in the heat.

 

On the other hand, don't close the cover over charcoal, Ried says.

 

Instead of nice, smoky notes you can get a resinous off-flavor.

 

Indeed, the meat, fish and poultry chapters are built around this principle.

 

There's Gas-Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Charcoal-Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Charcoal-Grilled Butterflied Chicken and Gas-Grilled Butterflied Chicken, Charcoal-Grilled Hamburgers and Gas-Grilled Hamburgers.

 

Close the cover and cook a tad longer with gas; open the cover and cook less time with charcoal.

 

"The Perfect Recipe: Grilling and Barbecue" has a lot more to offer than methodology. There are great recipes, excellent diagrams for cutting and handling all kind of foods for grilling, and sidebars on techniques and ingredients.

 

It shows you how to grill everything from lobsters to pizzas and apples to zucchini.

 

You might figure out all the finer points by yourself -- if you lit 5,000 or so fires.

 

But if that sounds like too much work, you might want to pick up a copy of the book. And a stopwatch.

 

BLACKENED MEXICAN CAESAR SALAD

Serves 4

For blackened chicken:

4 chicken breasts (medium size or about 16 ounces)

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 tablespoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon finely crushed bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For salad:

2 heads romaine, washed and chopped

8 Roma tomatoes, 4 diced and 4 cut into wedges for garnish

40 white corn tortilla chips

3 avocados, diced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Juice of 3 limes

4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

25 blue corn tortilla chips, for garnish

1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing (purchase your favorite variety)

 

To prepare blackened chicken: Rinse chicken and pat dry. Combine blackening spices in a bowl. Coat chicken lightly with spice mixture. In a hot, cast iron skillet, sauté chicken in oil, searing breasts on both sides. Reduce heat to low, cook until chicken is no longer pink inside and juices run clear. Remove and cool, slightly; then slice into strips.

 

To assemble salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss together romaine, diced tomatoes, tortilla chips, avocado, all but a few teaspoons of cheese, (set remainder aside for garnish), salad dressing, chili flakes, lime juice, cilantro and parsley. Toss lightly to avoid bruising lettuce or avocado.

 

To serve: Divide salad among four large plates. Arrange blackened chicken slices on top of each salad; sprinkle each with a little remaining cheese. Place tomato wedges around outside of plate, alternating with blue corn chips.

 

BROCCOLI IN OYSTER SAUCE

2 bunches of broccoli (about 11/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons chicken broth

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sesame oil

 

Cut 2-inch-long florets from the top of the broccoli. Put 2 cups of water to boil in a wok and use a Chinese bamboo steamer, or use a metal colander inside a larger stockpot that does not allow the water to touch the vegetables.

 

Combine the rest of the ingredients for the gravy and set aside.

 

Add broccoli to the steamer when the water is boiling hard, and partially cover with a lid to allow steam to escape. Steam for 2 to 3 minutes until broccoli is tender-crisp.

 

Remove broccoli from steamer and immerse in ice water for a few seconds. Then transfer to a serving plate. Heat the gravy to a boil in the wok and spoon over the vegetables.

 

 

CABBAGE WITH BEAN CURD

Serves 2 as a main course

 

1 pound firm bean curd (tofu)

1 pound Napa cabbage

1/2 cup plus 11/2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 tablespoons finely chopped scallions

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic

2 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

 

1. Cut the bean curd into 1-inch squares. Drain well and lay them on paper towels to drain for another 10 minutes. Cut the cabbage into 1/4-inch shreds and set aside.

 

2. Heat a wok or large skillet until it is hot. Add the 1/2 cup oil, and when it is hot, stir-fry the bean curd on both sides until it is golden brown. Drain well on paper towels.

 

3. Drain and discard the oil. Wipe the wok or skillet clean, reheat, and add the 11/2 tablespoons of oil. Put in the scallion and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds. Then add the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients except the sesame oil. Continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Return the fried bean curd pieces to the pan and cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until the cabbage has completely cooked. Add the sesame oil and give the mixture a final turn. Serve at once.

 

CARAMELIZED APPLE AND ONION COMPOTE

 

3 gala apples, sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

3/4 cup sherry wine vinegar

3/4 cup vegetable stock

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt and pepper

Pinch of fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley

 

Start with a pretty hot pan. Throw the first 4 ingredients into the pan, with some olive oil. Put the sugar in the pan to start the caramelization process. When the apples and the onion start turning a nice golden color, deglaze the pan with vinegar.

Let simmer for a few minutes and add the stock, salt and pepper and the herbs. Simmer until the mixture becomes thick. It will become thicker as it stands. Serve with pork, or any other meat.

 

CARROT CAKE

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups oil

2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)

1/2 cup walnuts

1 small can crushed pineapple

Frosting:

1/2-inch by 3-inch strip orange zest

6 ounces cream cheese, softened

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

To prepare cake: Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and eggs; add oil. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and mix with a spoon. Stir in carrots, nuts and pineapple. Pour batter into a greased and flour-dusted 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

 

To prepare frosting: Finely chop zest; mix zest with cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla and powdered sugar; blend until creamy.

 

CHEESE AND SUN DRIED TOMATO BISCUITS

This recipe comes from "Sun-Dried Tomatoes!" by Andrea Chesman (The Crossing Press, 1990). Using frozen butter is the secret to making these biscuits light and flaky.

 

31/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

10 tablespoons frozen butter

11/2 cups milk

1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes marinated in oil

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Grate the butter into the flour. Lightly mix with your fingertips to distribute the butter pieces throughout the flour. Marble-size lumps should remain. Mix in the milk to form a sticky dough.

 

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead just a few times to make a smooth ball. Divide in half. Roll out half to a rectangle of approximately 8 inches by 12 inches. The exact proportion is not important.

 

Sprinkle the slivered tomatoes over the dough, then sprinkle the cheese. Roll out the second half of the dough to the same dimensions as the first and fit on top. Trim away any uneven edges.

 

Cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Carefully place the squares on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool briefly on wire racks before serving. Best served warm, but can be held for several hours.

 

CHICKEN PIBIL

 

1/4 cup achiote paste

10 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

11/2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

6 chicken legs with thighs, ankle joint removed, scored to the bone and skin

removed

6 banana leaves (optional), cut into 10-inch squares and toasted over a burner

about 2 seconds per side to soften

3 tomatoes, cut into 12 slices

1 onion, cut into 6 slices

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium onions, diced

2 cups chicken stock

 

Combine the achiote paste, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, vinegar, orange and lime juices, salt and pepper in a blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into a non-reactive baking pan, add the chicken and turn to coat.

 

Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 24 hours.

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

 

Cut six 16-by-14-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. If using banana leaves, place 1 on top of each piece of foil. Center a piece of chicken on each, reserving the marinade. Top each with 2 tomato slices and 1 slice of onion. Wrap and seal the banana leaf and the foil to enclose. Place on a baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until golden brown. Stir in the reserved marinade, bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cook 10 minutes longer. Reserve.

 

When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven and open the packets. Transfer the chicken, with the banana leaves if using, to serving plates. Pour any excess juices from the pan into the sauce. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken and serve with rice.

 

CHICKEN STOCK

 

1 carcass from whole turkey or chicken

1 tablespoon oil (olive, vegetable or canola)

1 large onion (with skin) quartered

2 large celery stalks (with tops) cut in 1-inch pieces

2 large carrots, cut in 1-inch pieces

 

1 bouquet garni (it's a little bundles of herbs and spices tied together with twine or wrapped in cheesecloth. Basic bouquet garni consists of 4 or 5 parsley stems, a sprig or two of thyme and one bay leaf)

 

3 quarts cold water

 

In large stockpot over medium heat, add oil and sauté onions, celery and carrots for about five minutes or until just beginning to brown slightly on the edges. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Skim off any foam that rises. Reduce heat and simmer gently uncovered for two to three hours. Add a few cups of water if necessary. Strain out solids through fine strainer (cheesecloth in a colander) and return to smaller pot. Skim fat or place in refrigerator overnight and remove gelled fat. Return to heat and simmer another hour or so until reduced by half. Salt to taste.

 

Cooking with broth tip: Use 1/4 cup of stock when braising poultry or pork. After braising, thicken with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water, wine or stock.

CHILI ROASTED EDAMAME

Makes 3 servings

 

These tasty beans, mildly spiced with chili powder, will go fast! You may want to make several batches.

 

1 12-ounce package frozen edamame (green soybeans)

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon onion salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Split the edamame pods and release the beans into a bowl. Discard the pods.

 

Stir together the oil, basil, chili powder, onion salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle the mixture over the beans and toss to coat.

 

Arrange the beans in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Roast, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until the beans begin to brown.

 

Serve hot as a vegetable side dish or cooled as a snack. Refrigerate any leftovers.

 

CHILLED GREEN BEANS WITH SESAME SAUCE

 

1 pound green beans

3 tablespoons peanut oil

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 teaspoons Chinese rice vinegar or other vinegar

1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 

Snap the ends off the green beans. Wash and drain them.

 

Fill a medium-size saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the green beans for 5 minutes or until tender yet still crisp. Drain and immediately immerse them in cold water for a few minutes. Drain again very well.

 

In a small jar with tight -fitting lid combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and pepper. Shake well. Put the green beans in a serving dish. Pour sauce over beans. Toss well.

 

Place the sesame seeds in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour onto the green beans and toss well again.

 

Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours before serving. Serve cool, not cold.

 

CHUTNEY CHICKEN SALAD

Makes 6 servings

11/2 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts

2 tablespoons almonds, toasted and chopped, plus additional for garnish

1 cup pieces of diagonally sliced celery

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1 9-ounce jar prepared mango chutney

6 cups loosely sliced romaine lettuce

 

Coat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray.

 

Place over medium heat until hot. Add chicken. Cook 7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

 

Remove chicken from skillet. Let cool slightly. Cut across grain into thin slices.

 

Combine chicken, almonds, celery, onion and chutney in a large bowl. Toss well to coat.

 

Line 6 plates with lettuce. Spoon chicken mixture onto lettuce. Sprinkle with additional nuts, if desired.

 

Note: To toast nuts, place in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown, 5 or 6 minutes. Stir occasionally and be careful not to let them scorch.

 

COCKTAIL ON A STICK

By CAROL J.G. WARD, COLUMBIA (S.C.) STATE

 

A squeeze of lime juice, a shot of rum, the luscious flavor of summer fruit.

 

Sound like the recipe for an icy tropical cocktail? Well, it is icy and it's tropical, and technically, it's a cocktail, but with a twist. What we're talking about is a spiked ice pop.

 

The ice pop is the quintessential Labor Day weekend or summer cooler. Frosty, sweet and sloppy, frozen treats are the ideal antidote to the sauna that is summer.

 

And their appeal isn't limited to kids; adults, too, enjoy their shivery chill. While children like bright colors and a syrupy taste in their ice pops, adults might be attracted to more grown-up treats made with exotic fruits and spiked with their favorite potent potable.

 

Add a splash of tequila to the strawberry pops or shot of vodka to watermelon fruitsicles for an adult take on these childhood summer favorites.

 

Making a grown-up ice pop is easy. Any icy drink you can make in your blender can be frozen and slurped instead of sipped. Or follow the directions for your favorite granita, add a shot of your favorite libation, and pour the mixture into ice-pop molds instead of a bowl for freezing.

 

A basic recipe starts with a chilled simple syrup. To prepare a simple syrup, place 21/2 cups water and 13/4 cups sugar in a saucepan (not aluminum). Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

 

Add the cold syrup to pureed fruit along with a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon or lime, flavorings and alcohol; then spoon into molds and freeze.

 

It doesn't take much to be creative with frozen cocktail pops.

 

Fresh-squeezed citrus juices, mint, spices and tropical fruits add sophistication and grown-up flavor.

 

Pop pointers

 

For best results, go easy on the alcohol; it doesn't freeze well.

 

Taste to make sure your mixture is sweet enough before freezing.

 

If it has too much water, pops will be hard and crystallized. Too much sugar, fruit or alcohol, and it won't freeze solid.

 

Pop (craft) sticks can be found at craft stores and with craft supplies in discount department stores such as Wal-Mart.

 

For frozen pop molds, check kitchenware shops, discount department stores and companies such as Tupperware and Williams-Sonoma.

 

You also can use small paper or plastic cups. Fill the cups with pop mixture. To hold sticks in place, cover the cup with foil. Make a small slit in the foil and insert the stick.

 

Use whatever fruit you have on hand. If you don't have fresh, used canned or frozen fruit.

 

To make ice pops nonalcoholic, simply omit the alcohol or substitute freshly squeezed orange juice or another fruit juice.

 

Freeze the ice pops until they are solid; overnight is best.

 

To remove pops from molds, either dip the molds in hot water for a few seconds or let them sit at room temperature until the ice pop melts enough to slide out.

 

The recipes in this collection will get you started, but don't be afraid to experiment with your own combinations. Almost all types of fruit are interchangeable in pops.

 

COCKTAILS ON STICKS

MANGO DAIQUIRI ICE POPS

8 ice pops

 

3 cups chopped peeled mangoes (2 medium mangoes)

6 tablespoons light rum

1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

11/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, then force through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup. Pour into molds. Freeze until slushy, about 30 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze overnight.

 

PEACH AND CHAMPAGNE POPS

8 pops

 

11/2 pounds peaches

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

3/4 cup champagne

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

Put peaches in a large saucepan and cover them with boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Peel the peaches; halve them and remove the pits. Transfer the peaches to a food processor and coarsely puree. Pour into a medium bowl.

 

In a medium non-reactive saucepan bring the sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil over moderately high heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest and let simmer about three minutes. Remove from the heat and set the syrup aside for about 10 minutes.

 

Strain the syrup into the peach puree and blend well. Add the champagne, the lemon juice and the remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest.

 

Stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. Pour into molds. Freeze until slushy, about 30 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze overnight.

 

STRAWBERRY MARGARITA POPS

8 pops

 

11/4 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup white tequila

1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth; then force through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup.

 

Pour into molds. Freeze until slushy, about 30 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze overnight.

 

KIWI MARGARITA POPS

 

4 peeled kiwi fruit

1/2 cup tequila

1/4 cup orange liqueur (or to taste)

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons sugar

 

Put all ingredients into blender and puree. Spoon or pour into molds. Freeze 30 minutes or until slushy. Insert wood sticks and freeze until solid.

 

RED BURGUNDY CINNAMON POPS

8-10 pops

 

2 cups red Burgundy wine

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick, 3 inches long

 

In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan, combine the wine, water, sugar and cinnamon stick. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, about three minutes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand for one hour.

 

Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Pour into molds. Freeze until slushy, about 30 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze overnight.

 

SPIKED WATERMELON POPS

8 pops

 

4 cups diced and seeded watermelon

4 ounces vodka or tequila

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

 

Place ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree; pour into molds. Freeze until slushy, about 30 minutes. Insert sticks; freeze overnight.

 

COCONUT BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

 

3 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon melted butter

1/2 cup toasted coconut

1/2 cup blueberries

 

In a bowl, separate eggs and beat the yolks until lemon-colored. Add the sugar, salt and 1/2 cup milk. Sift the flour. Measure and add to the yolk mixture. Add the remaining milk and beat until smooth. Stir in the melted butter. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into yolk mixture. Fold in the coconut and blueberries.

 

Pour batter onto a lightly-greased skillet, heated to medium, making the size pancake you prefer. Spread the batter with the back of the spoon (it will be stiff from the egg whites). When brown on one side, turn and brown the flip side.

 

Serve with powdered sugar, jam or sugar for breakfast. These also can be served with ice cream for dessert. Serves 4.

 

COLD CUCUMBER MINT SOUP

Makes about 41/2 cups

 

3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped, plus 1 cup peeled, seeded, and

finely diced cucumber

1 cup plain yogurt

2/3 cup sour cream

1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard, or to taste

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Cucumber slices and mint sprigs for garnish

 

1. In a blender, puree chopped cucumbers, yogurt, sour cream, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a bowl. Chill soup at least 6 hours.

 

2. Stir in finely diced cucumber and chopped mint and garnish soup with cucumber slices and mint sprigs.

 

COUNTRY CORN BREAD

 

1 (12-ounce) can corn

1 medium onion, cut in large chunks

2 jalapeno peppers

11/2 cups yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons butter, softened

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup water

1 egg

 

In a food processor, chop corn, onion and jalapenos. Put chopped vegetables into mixing bowl with cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, Cheddar cheese and butter. Mix with a spoon until blended.

In a separate bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, water and egg. Stir until blended; then combine with dry ingredients.

Pour batter into greased 8x8-inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

COWBOY STYLE BEANS

(Frijoles Charros)

Makes 6 generous servings

 

A favorite Sunday afternoon activity in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas, is to go out to the outskirts of the city and eat tacos al carbon. The accompaniments are roasted green onions and these frijoles charros -- heaven! Charros means "cowboy-style." Canned beans are acceptable in a few bean dishes, but definitely not here.

 

1 pound cooked (but still firm) pinto beans

1 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer or other dark beer

4 pickled jalapeno chilies, or to taste, finely chopped (see note)

3 tablespoons lard or bacon drippings

1 medium-small onion, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)

2 small garlic cloves, minced

2 medium-large ripe, red tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

For this recipe, the pinto beans should be slightly undercooked (be sure to use plenty of liquid in cooking). Also, if you can find fresh epazote (seeds of the wormseed plant), an herb used in Latino cooking, cook the beans with a large sprig of it. If you can find only dried epazote, use 11/2 teaspoons.

 

Drain beans and place in a large bean pot or Dutch oven with the beer and chopped jalapenos. Bring to a boil.

 

While the beans are heating, heat the lard or drippings in a medium saucepan or sauté pan over high heat until fragrant. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mixture to the beans, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partly covered, until the flavors are melded, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

 

CRISPY LEMON GRASS CHICKEN

Serves 4

 

1 pound boneless chicken breast, sliced

1 cup oil

2 stalks lemon grass, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon palm sugar, or sugar

4 dried chilies

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

In a wok with oil over high heat, deep-fry lemon grass until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add shallots and garlic and sauté briefly. Add chicken and stir-fry about 3 minutes. Add salt, soy sauce, palm sugar, dried chilies, fish sauce and black pepper, stirring until chicken is cooked. Serve on a platter sprinkled with deep-fried lemon grass.

 

CUCUMBER MANGO AND RED ONION SALAD

Serves 4

1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced

1 mango, pitted and cut into large dice

1 red onion, sliced into thin rounds

2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt to taste

3 tablespoons cilantro or more to taste

 

In a medium bowl, place the cucumber, mango and red onion. Season to taste with the lime juice and salt. Garnish generously with cilantro leaves.

 

CUCUMBER NORI ROLLS

Makes 6 rolls (36 pieces)

 

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups sushi rice

3 cups water

6 sheets (8-by-7-inches) of seaweed (nori)

1 tablespoon prepared wasabi or more to taste (a pungent Japanese sauce)

Sesame seeds, optional

2 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded and sliced into matchsticks

 

1. In a small pot combine the rice vinegar, sugar and sea salt and bring to a boil. Take off of the heat and allow to cool.

 

2. Rice preparation: Rice volume increases 2-21/2 times as it cooks. Almost all the short grain rice needs to be washed before cooking, because of the starch on the surface of each grain. If you cook rice without washing, starch makes the texture and taste less palatable.

 

3. Wash rice with care, putting it in a big bowl and washing gently with cold running water for 10 minutes. Drain rice in a big colander and dry for 20-30 minutes.

 

4. Place washed rice and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Allow to cook for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Place in a large bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over it.

 

5. Sushi preparation: Place 1 sheet of seaweed lengthwise, shiny side down on a bamboo roller. Place approximately 3/4 cup of the sushi rice formed into a bar in the center of the seaweed, going lengthwise, spread rice evenly, covering entire nori except for about 1/2 inch at the top edge. Spread a little wasabi thinly in the center, on top of the rice, lengthwise from one end to the other. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of rice, if desired. Then place a couple strips of cut cucumber in the center to fill the length of the roll.

 

6. Bring seaweed and rice toward you to the edge of the bamboo roller, holding the edge of the bamboo roller with one hand and, holding the cucumbers in place with the other hand, lift up the edge of the mat closest to you. Begin rolling mat away from you, rolling over the cucumber and connecting rice to rice. Then stop to make sure you still have a 1/2 inch strip of just nori left over at the top (this is what seals the roll). Lift the edge of bamboo roller slightly and roll another 1/2 inch away from you, connecting the seaweed to seaweed and sealing the roll.

 

7. Gently squeeze both sides while pressing gently down on top with both index fingers. Cut roll in half, then turn one piece around so they are parallel to one another, line them up, then cut both pieces twice, to make 6 pieces. Cut remaining rolls and serve.

 

CUCUMBERS ARE SO COOL

Meet the crunchy treat that beats the heat

By Marty Hair, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

 

COOL, torpedo-shaped cucumbers are the Popsicles of the produce world -- they oblige people by cooling them off.

 

Biting into a refreshingly crisp, moist, juicy cucumber on a steamy afternoon is like sending your throat and stomach to a spa. That's why cool cukes co-star in dishes from hot climates, such as the yogurt-based raita from India.

 

They can work their magic outside the body as well, as cooling ingredients in face potions and laid as slices on eyelids to ease weariness.

 

But exactly how cool are cucumbers? That's ripe for debate.

 

Although claims abound that the temperature inside a cuke can be as much as 20 degrees cooler than the outside air, there is no scientific proof, according to several cucumber researchers.

 

In fact, Sheldon Margen in "The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition" (Random House, $29.95), states that cucumbers are cool simply because they're mostly water -- and because they're usually served refrigerated.

 

Nevertheless, on a really hot day, it's far more pleasant to be eating cucumbers than taking their temperature. With their moistness, mild flavor, low caloric value and satisfying crunch, cucumbers are naturals in salads, sauces, relishes and soups, often teamed with onions, dill or mint, and sour cream or yogurt.

 

Cucumbers originated in India or Thailand and have been grown for at least 3,000 years. They were popular among the Greeks as well as the Romans, who made pickles in crocks, according to vegetable historian William Woys Weaver. Their appeal spread to Europe, England and, with Columbus, to America.

 

Cucumbers grown in greenhouses, also known as English or European cucumbers, often are sold in plastic sleeves. They have thin skins, no seeds and a mild flavor -- "a very pleasant eating cucumber," says Zandstra. Mild cucumbers are sometimes called burpless.

 

Cukes will last about a week in the refrigerator. Picked for eating at a modest size, they're good, skin and all, although some artistic cooks peel away long strips of skin all around the cuke so each cut slice has a striped edge. The skin of cucumbers that have been waxed for shipping should be removed, as well as the skin and seeds of older cukes, which can be bitter.

 

All that water inside a cucumber means they can be made to weep, as in this recipe for Wilted Cucumbers from the 1971 edition of "The Joy of Cooking":

 

Layer sliced cukes with salt in a colander. Put a plate or other heavy weight on top. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. Rinse off the salt, drain the cukes and dry them. Then put them in a bowl with 1/4 cup vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar dissolved in a tablespoon of water. Chill an hour and serve with chopped dill.

 

So let the cukes weep over the heat while you kick back, crunch on a salad and keep cool.

 

CUCUMBERS WITH TARRAGON CRÈME FRAÎCHE

Serves 4

 

Crème fraîche is available in upscale markets. To make your own crème fraîche, stir together 1 cup heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized) and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass jar. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours or until thickened. When done, stir it thoroughly, cover and refrigerate. It will keep for 10 days.

 

2 medium cucumbers, washed and seeded, or 1 large seedless cucumber,

unpeeled, cut into 1/2-by-1/2-by-1-inch pieces

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-by-1/2-inch-by-1-inch

pieces

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup water, divided

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup crème fraîche

2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh tarragon

 

1. Place the cucumber pieces in a colander and sprinkle with the salt. Let drain for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry thoroughly on paper towels; set aside.

 

2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, season with the sugar, and cook for 2 minutes, tossing to prevent scorching. Add 2 tablespoons of the water, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Remove the carrots using a slotted spoon to a side dish and reserve.

 

3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium-low heat, add the cucumbers and season with pepper. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons water and simmer, covered, 3 minutes or until tender. Remove the cover, increase the heat, and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.

 

4. Return the carrots to the skillet, add the crème fraîche, and simmer until slightly reduced and the sauce lightly coats the spoon. Add the tarragon and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Serve hot.

-- From "Fresh From The Garden" by Perla Meyers (Clarkson Potter, $30)

 

DECADENT FRENCH TOAST

 

2 tablespoons corn syrup

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

5 tablespoons butter

16 slices Texas toast (very thick-sliced bread), with crust removed

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cups strawberries (or 1 10-ounce package frozen, unsweetened and partially

thawed)

 

Combine corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan and heat on medium-high heat, stirring until bubbly. Pour mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan. Place bread slices into mixture in two layers, placing strawberries in between.

 

Combine eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over bread. Cover pan and refrigerate overnight.

 

Next morning, place pan in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with a tablespoon of sour cream and serve. Serves 8.

 

 

DILLED TUNA CUCUMBER SALAD

Serves 2

 

Serve this on a bed of lettuce with dill sprigs and sliced ripe tomatoes, or pile onto whole wheat bread with crisp lettuce for a satisfying sandwich.

 

1 can (6 1/8 ounce) water-packed white tuna, drained

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced

2 small green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt

2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

 

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Mix well. Season generously with pepper. Serve salad chilled.

 

EDAMAME POTATO GREEN BEAN SALAD

Makes 6 servings

 

1/4 pound shelled edamame (green soybeans), fresh or frozen

1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends snipped

3/4 pound small white potatoes

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

11/2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons vinegar (sherry vinegar preferred)

1 egg

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Romaine lettuce (optional)

 

Blanch edamame in simmering, salted water until cooked but still firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a colander with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.

 

Add green beans to the water and simmer until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to the colander with a slotted spoon and drain. Cut into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

 

Add water to the pan, if necessary, then add the potatoes and boil until cooked but still firm, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

While the potatoes are cooking, combine tarragon, parsley, onion, celery seeds, garlic and vinegar in a large bowl.

Hard-cook the egg in a small pan, cool under running water, peel and chop coarsely.

 

Drain the potatoes and, while still hot, cut into slices, transfer to the bowl and toss. Season with salt and pepper, add the edamame, green beans and chopped egg. Drizzle olive oil over all and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

 

Serve on romaine lettuce leaves as a first course or as a side vegetable to a main course.

 

FOCACCIA

(Italian Bread)

5 cups flour

2 teaspoon salt

1 package yeast

1 teaspoon sugar

1 bunch green onions chopped, tops and all)

2 1/4 cups warm water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine flour, salt, yeast, sugar and chopped onions in large bowl; mix well. Add warm water and oil; mix well. Let dough rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

 

Oil hands and cookie sheet. Punch dough down, then spread out on cookie sheet. Let rise again 1 1/2 to 2 hours until dough appears about 2 inches thick.

 

Brush lightly with oil and sprinkle salt on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and again brush lightly with oil.

 

Let cool for about a half hour. Slice and serve.

 

FORTY CARAT QUINOA

Serves 4

 

A puree of carrots gives this dish its color. This side dish is also rich in flavor, so keep the main course simple. Adapted from "The Grains Cookbook," by Bert Greene. Quinoa can be found in health food and specialty stores. Some supermarkets stock quinoa near the rice.

 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 shallots, chopped

2 small carrots, peeled, chopped

1 2/3 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt, freshly ground pepper

Chopped parsley

 

1. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots; cook 1 minute. Add carrots; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in 2/3 cup of the broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, 15 minutes.

 

2. Transfer carrot mixture to food processor or blender; process until smooth. Transfer to clean saucepan.

 

3. Add remaining broth to carrot mixture; heat to boiling. Stir in quinoa; reduce heat to simmer. Cook, covered, over low heat until quinoa is tender, 12-15 minutes. Stir in cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

FRUIT CRISP

'Pear' down that fat with a flavorful crisp

ELAINE MAGEE: THE RECIPE DOCTOR

 

Q: This is one of my favorite recipes from the "Chez Panisse Café Cookbook." I love it around this time of year. My question is, is there a way to lower the fat a little without cutting out the walnuts?

 

A: I'm a little nervous lightening an Alice Waters recipe, but here goes! This Comice pear crisp recipe comes in handy during this time of year when pears are plentiful, but I wondered if this could become a nice, whatever-fruit-is-in-season crisp recipe. So I tried my hand with a variation using fresh mangos and blackberries. It worked all right.

 

I hear you about the walnuts; somehow I think every tablespoon in that 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts is offering flavor and texture to the crisp. So it all stayed in. I did, however, cut out some sugar and reduced the butter, then added 3 tablespoons of maple syrup to make up the difference.

 

I decided to double the cinnamon from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, especially in the more strongly flavored mango-and-blackberry version, just because I'm a cinnamon lover and I wasn't sure 1/8 teaspoon would stand out with the maple syrup. Even at the 1/4-teaspoon level, the cinnamon was barely noticeable.

 

This crisp is a winner. I absolutely loved it. I can't wait to try it with some more late summer fruits!

 

Elaine Magee's most recent books are "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook," and "Tell Me What to Eat to Help Prevent Colon Cancer." Write her through her Web site at www.recipedoctor.com or c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Personal responses cannot be provided.

 

ANY-FRUIT CRISP

 

Original recipe contained 381 calories, 18 g fat, 8 g saturated fat and 31 mg cholesterol per serving. Serves 6

 

For Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup walnuts

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt (if using unsalted butter)

3 tablespoons butter, melted (in microwave or small saucepan)

3 tablespoons maple syrup

 

For Filling:

4 cups of fruit (use berries, or fruit cut into bite-sized pieces)

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour (if fruit seems particularly juicy, increase this by a

tablespoon)

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toast the walnuts by spreading on a pie plate and heating in oven until fragrant (about 7 minutes). Chop the nuts medium-fine.

 

2. Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt (if using unsalted butter) in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the melted butter and maple syrup over the top and blend on low speed until crumbly. Add the chopped nuts and mix well. (The topping can be prepared up to a week ahead and refrigerated.)

 

3. Put the diced or sliced fruit in a large bowl. Add the sugar and taste; add more if necessary. Sprinkle the flour over the fruit and mix gently. Turn mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.

 

4. Spoon the topping over the fruit, pressing down lightly. Place the dish on a baking sheet (if necessary) to catch any overflow. Bake on the center rack of oven until the topping is golden brown and the juices have thickened slightly, about 35-45 minutes.

 

5. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

 

GRILLED CHEESE WITH TOMATO

BASIL AND GARLIC

 

Turn a grilled cheese sandwich into a gourmet delight with this Italian combination of flavors. Cheddar is presented with tomato and onion, a trace of fresh garlic, and a flourish of basil.

 

Makes: 1 sandwich

2 slices sourdough French bread or whole-wheat bread

11/2 to 2 oz. sharp Cheddar, sliced

1 or 2 thin slices red or yellow onion

1 or 2 thin slices tomatoes

2 or 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2-inch pieces or generous pinch dried basil,

crumbled

1 small clove garlic, thinly sliced or light sprinkling of garlic granules

11/2 to 2 Tbs. butter

 

Makes: 2 sandwiches

4 slices sourdough French bread or whole-wheat bread About

31/2 oz. sharp Cheddar, sliced

2 to 4 thin slices red or yellow onion

1 medium tomato, thinly sliced

5 large fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2-inch pieces or generous pinch dried basil,

crumbled

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced or light sprinkling of garlic granules

11/2 to 2 Tbs. butter

 

1. Place cheese on one slice of bread, covering the bread to the edges. Top with onion and tomato. Add basil and finish off with garlic or garlic granules. Spread the second slice of bread with butter and place it buttered side up on top of the sandwich.

 

2. Preheat griddle to 340 degrees F or heat a frying pan on medium heat. Place sandwich buttered side down onto the hot surface. Cover sandwich with a lid to speed the melting of the cheese. Check bottom of bread after a few minutes to measure how quickly it's browning, and cook until it becomes a rich golden brown. Butter the top side of upper piece of bread, then flip sandwich over. Cook on second side, uncovered, until nicely toasted. Cut in half and serve piping hot.

 

Notes to the cook Grilled sandwiches are buttered on the outer sides of the bread rather than the inner sides so you don't need to butter the pan -- the sandwich does it for you. The amount of cheese needed will vary according to the size of the bread slices.

 

HARVEST PUMPKIN ROLL

 

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (8-ounce) package soft cream cheese

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

In a large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating well. Add pumpkin, mixing until blended. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Add to egg mixture, mixing well.

 

Spread batter into a greased and waxed paper-lined, 10x15-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool for 15 minutes. Place cake on clean tea towel. Cool 10 minutes longer. From the 10-inch side, roll cake in towel. Set aside.

 

For the filling, beat together soft cream cheese, butter or margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla extract, blending until smooth.

 

Unroll cake and place on plastic wrap. Evenly spread filling over cake. Roll up cake. Cover with plastic wrap. Place cake, seam side down and chill for at least 2 hours.

 

When serving, cut cake in even slices. Garnish with mint leaves and/or orange slices, if desired. One roll provides 8 to 10 servings.

 

ITALIAN COOKING STARTS

WITH THE 'POMODORO'

by NANCY FELDMAN

 

No wonder American cooks are enjoying an Italian renaissance. After decades of indulging in a narrow range of Italian-inspired foods, we're discovering the real secret to the Italian cooking style: There isn't one!

 

Italian cuisine features infinite variations beyond lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs and pizza. It all depends on who's cooking and what region of Italy they call home. In the north, where dairy and beef cattle graze, dining focuses on butter, meat and flat noodles. In the south, where fruits and vegetables thrive, tomato sauces and tube-shaped pastas make the menu.

 

There are literally hundreds of variations in between. Whatever the tradition -- Venetian, Roman, Tuscan, Sicilian or Neapolitan -- Italy's best cooks share one vital practice: they start with the freshest, ripest, best-tasting ingredients, then let them "sing" in uncomplicated flavor combinations.

 

One of the backbone ingredients is the "pomodoro," which is Italian for tomato. Spanish explorers discovered the delicious food right here in the New World and took it back to Europe. The rest is Italian cooking history.

 

When you think about stocking your own pantry with pomodoro, think Roma. Also known as plum tomatoes, their thicker skin, meaty flesh and minimal juice make them ideal for hearty Italian sauces and other canning recipes. Botanists call Romas a "determinate" variety. That simply means they produce lots of fruits at one time, leaving plenty for home canning.

 

Whatever variety you like to have on hand, time your preserving ventures for the moment of vine-ripened readiness. Then stock several variations to create the gourmet spirit of hearty and elegant Italian meals. Here are a few must haves:

 

Quartered tomatoes: You'll use them often in your exploration of the Italian culinary style. They substitute for fresh when vine-ripened aren't available, and by canning them with seasonings like garlic or basil, you're one step ahead. Dice your canned, quartered tomatoes and add them to Italian sauces for garden-fresh texture. Or simply drain the juice and toss them with croutons and herbs for a refreshing side dish.

 

Tomatoes with basil and garlic: With the seasonings already simmered in, they're perfect atop crostini, the crispy and delicious Italian appetizer. Drain, dice and cook a quart until most of the moisture is evaporated. Sprinkle in fresh-grated Parmesan to taste, a dash of red wine vinegar and spread on lightly toasted slices of Italian-style bread. Heat under the broiler until bubbly for a piping hot conversation-starter.

 

Stewed Italian tomatoes: Stewing brings out the sugary character of the tomatoes, and light seasonings make these tomatoes ready to go. Use them as a foundation for a fresh, quick side dish: Cook a quart of stewed tomatoes until they begin to thicken. Add blanched green beans, spinach or Swiss chard, and simmer until the vegetables are just tender. It's an unusual, and unusually healthy, way to serve vegetables.

 

Italian seasoned tomato sauce: Stock plenty of sauces, because pasta topping is only the beginning. For a rustic Italian adventure, spoon hot tomato sauce over polenta, the cooked corn meal that many regions of Italy use like pasta. Don't let the long cooking time in traditional polenta recipes discourage you; many supermarkets now stock quick-cook polenta that's as easy as boiling pasta.

 

Your own fresh-canned stock of tomatoes creates the ideal cuisine. In all its forms, Italian cooking is undemanding, adaptable and inexpensive. With on-hand ingredients, it's also simple to prepare

 

KEY LIMES INFORMATION

 

According to "The New Food Lover's Companion" by Sharon Tyler Herbst (Barron's Educational Series, 1995), Key limes, grown in Florida, are one of two main lime varieties (the other being the Persian lime, the most widely available in the United States). The Key lime is smaller, rounder and has a color that's more yellow than green.

 

Outside of Florida, the Key lime is usually found only in specialty produce markets and supermarkets that carry gourmet produce. You may substitute Persian limes for Key limes, but your product will not have the distinctive tartness that the Key lime would give you.

 

LEMON LIME POUND CAKE

Serves 12

 

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

11/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups sugar

5 large eggs

11/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (zest), colored part only, divided use

11/2 teaspoons grated lime peel (zest), colored part only, divided use

3/4 cup plus (about) 2 tablespoons lemon-lime soda, such as 7-Up

11/4 cups powdered sugar

 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour and salt in bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating between additions to incorporate each egg.

 

2. To egg mixture, beat in 1 teaspoon each lemon peel and lime peel. Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with 3/4 cup lemon-lime soda in 3 additions. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

 

3. Bake in preheated oven until golden on top and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely.

 

4. Combine powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon each lemon peel and lime peel in bowl. Whisk in enough of remaining soda to form thick smooth icing. Drizzle icing over cake.

 

 

LEMONADE COOKIES

Makes about 70

 

For Lemon Mixture:

3/4 cup strained lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (zest), colored part only

 

For Cookie Batter:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup reserved lemon mixture (see above) for finishing cookies

Sugar for sprinkling

 

1. Fifteen minutes before baking, adjust oven racks to upper and lower thirds and preheat to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

 

2. Prepare lemon mixture: Combine juice, sugar and corn syrup in medium non-reactive saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When all sugar is dissolved, remove pan from heat and cool mixture to room temperature. Stir in grated peel. This mixture can be prepared 1 day in advance, but no longer. The zest will make the mixture bitter if it stays in too long. Set aside 1/3 cup lemon mixture for finishing cookies.

 

3. To prepare cookie batter, in a bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; stir well to mix. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition. Lower speed and beat in half flour mixture, lemon mixture (don't add reserved 1/3 cup at this point), then remaining flour mixture.

 

4. Remove bowl from mixer and give batter final mixing with large rubber spatula. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter 3-4 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies about 8-10 minutes, or until they spread and rise -- they should be lightly golden. Slide papers off pans onto racks and immediately brush cookies with reserved lemon mixture. When cool, sprinkle with granulated sugar.

 

5. Detach cookies from paper or foil and store between sheets of parchment or wax paper in tin or plastic container with tight-fitting cover.

-- From "Cookies Unlimited" by Nick Malgieri (HarperCollins, $35)

 

 

MINTED RASPBERRY LEMONADE

Serves 16

 

3 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 12-15 lemons

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed), mashed with fork

11/2 cup sugar

12 cups water

Optional garnish: Whole raspberries, sliced lemons, mint leaves

 

1. Stir together all ingredients until sugar dissolves in glass or ceramic bowl.

 

2. Strain into pitchers. Chill or serve over ice. Garnish with whole raspberries, sliced lemons and mint leaves, if desired.

-- Adapted from recipe of Kathleen Kennedy, TV Food Network

 

COOK'S ILLUSTRATED CLASSIC LEMONADE

Serves 6-8 (The Amish method)

 

10-12 medium lemons, scrubbed well, halved (end to end), thinly sliced

11/4 cups sugar

Optional: Pinch of salt

5 cups cold water

 

1. Mash lemons and sugar (and salt, if using) in large, deep bowl or saucepan with potato masher or wooden spoon until lemon slices give up their juice, sugar dissolves and juice thickens to syrup consistency, about 4 minutes.

 

2. Pour half of lemon slices and syrup through large sieve over bowl or saucepan; press on solids with masher or wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Discard solids; transfer liquid to serving pitcher. Repeat process with remaining lemon slices. Stir in water until blended.

 

3. Chill well and stir to blend before serving. Serve over ice.

-- Cook's Illustrated magazine, July 1998

 

MICHELLE URVATER'S LEMONADE

Serves 10

 

2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel (zest), colored part only

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

Juice of 6 lemons (1 cup)

 

1. Bring lemon peel, sugar and water to boil; boil 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Cool to room temperature. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

2. For each glass of lemonade, combine 1/4 cup of syrup with 1 cup of water or mineral water.

-- from Michelle Urvater, TV Food Network

 

LOBSTER MELTS

 

2 cups lobster meat, 2 cooked tails

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon dill

36 slices party pumpernickel bread or Italian roll slices

36 slices Swiss cheese, cut into 2-inch squares

Green olives, sliced

Black olive, sliced

Cherry tomatoes, sliced

 

Remove lobster meat from tails, and flake. Stir meat, cream cheese, and dill together with a rubber spatula until blended. Spread onto the party breads and top with cheese squares. Bake at 450 degrees for 5 to

7 minutes, or until cheese melts. Garnish with olives and tomato slice. Serve immediately. Makes 36 appetizers.

 

LORAINES CARROT CAKE

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 eggs

3 cups shredded carrots

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

For icing

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

1 box powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

To prepare cake: Cream together sugar and oil. Add and beat in eggs and carrots. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Pour into greased 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake for 55 minutes.

 

To prepare icing: Beat together cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in walnuts with a spoon.

 

LUTECE VINAIGRETTE

Makes about 3/4 cup

 

1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 drops Tabasco sauce

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup canola oil

 

1. In a small bowl, crush the chopped onion to a puree with a fork. Add the mustard, vinegar, honey, water, salt, pepper and Tabasco; whisk until the ingredients bind.

 

2. Gradually whisk in the olive and canola oils until the ingredients are emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

 

Note: If making the vinaigrette in advance, omit the onion and chill the dressing. Just before serving, add the onion and whisk until blended.

 

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN

WITH ROSEMARY ORZO

Serves 4

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch strips

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/3 cups uncooked orzo pasta

1 14 1/2-ounce can fat-free chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 med zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4ths, then crosswise into slices (11/2 cups

3 plum tomatoes, cut into fourths and sliced (1 1/2 cups)

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

 

Spray a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high. Add chicken and stir-fry about 5 minutes or until brown. Add garlic, pasta and broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 8 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer another 5 minutes, stirring once, until bell pepper is crisp-tender and pasta is tender.

 

ORANGE ALMOND AND ONION SALAD

Serves 4

 

Try this salad with crusty bread and a good white wine. This is a strong flavored dish and needs a wine that can stand up to it.

 

3 1/4-inch slices Bermuda, Italian or other red onion (cut from widest section of

onion)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic-roasted till soft, cooled and chopped fine

4 medium navel oranges

1/2 cup whole raw almonds

3-5 drops of sesame oil

 

1. Push out the center inch of each onion ring. Separate the remaining outer rings and cut in half, set aside. Dice onion centers.

 

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and stir with a wooden spoon until golden brown. Pour remaining oil into a bowl. Add the caramelized onions and their oil to the bowl. Add the chopped, roasted garlic and sesame oil to the bowl.

 

3. Grate about 1/4 teaspoon of zest from one of the oranges and add to the oil. Set aside for a minimum of 4 hours. After the oil has steeped, lightly toast the almonds in a toaster oven or in a frying pan over medium high heat, about 3-4 minutes. Let cool then chop into 1/4-inch nuggets.

 

4. Cut a 1/2-inch piece straight off the top and bottom of each orange. Then follow the curve of the peel with a sharp knife; cutting away the peel with the white pith, but not cutting into the orange itself. Pull out the navel plug and stem. Cut oranges into 1/4-inch slices.

 

5. To serve, arrange orange slices in a circular pattern on each of 4 plates. Scatter the onions over the oranges and then scatter the almond nuggets over the oranges and onions.

 

6. Strain the vegetable matter from the olive oil and drizzle the infused olive oil equally over all four plates.

 

 

 

 

ORANGE AND GREEN SOYBEAN SALAD

Makes 6 servings

 

2 cups shelled edamame (green soybeans), frozen

4 small oranges

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup finely sliced red onions

6 minced green onions

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

 

Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add edamame and cook 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.

 

Grate peel (orange part only) from one orange and set aside. Peel all of the oranges and cut segments from membrane, cutting into bite-size pieces.

 

In a bowl, combine orange pieces and edamame with parsley and onions.

 

Mix orange peel with oil and vinegar. Pour over edamame mixture. Chill before serving.

 

PEACH PICKLES

Makes 6 pints

 

While June Kent's copy of the "Ball Blue Book" has been "loved to death" -- missing cover, missing pages -- after rereading its 1950s-vintage recipe for peach pickles, she decided to buy a more up-to-date version for me to copy. However, she added notes from personal experience.

 

"First of all," she pointed out, "you don't want three big old quarts of peach pickles. You want pints; one or two to open at Thanksgiving dinner and the rest to give as gifts for Christmas. Then there's the spices called for in this new version -- 4 sticks of cinnamon! Why, there were no cinnamon sticks at our local grocer in the 1930s, '40s, or '50s! Then they've called for 2 tablespoons whole cloves, crushed -- no, no, no, that's too much. You'll be just fine with 1 tablespoon uncrushed. And fresh ginger? That's a very new addition, but, they left out the allspice berries. We always included 1 teaspoon whole dried allspice berries in the spice bag with the whole dried cloves. Other than those differences, the recipe will work OK."

 

8 pounds peaches, peeled, but do not pit (small to medium; see note)

4 sticks cinnamon

2 tablespoons whole cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

6 cups granulated sugar

1 quart vinegar

 

As the peaches are peeled treat to prevent darkening (see note).

 

Tie cinnamon, cloves and ginger in a small square of cheesecloth. Put sugar, vinegar and spice bag in a large non-aluminum 4- to 6-quart pot; bring to a boil and boil pickling liquid 5 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, drain peaches.

 

Cook drained peaches in the pickling liquid until they can be pierced with a fork, but are not soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and allow peaches to set in pickling liquid overnight to plump. Cover and leave at room temperature.

 

The next day wash 6 pint jars and fill with hot water until needed. Prepare lids as manufacturer directs.

 

Bring peaches and syrup to a boil. Remove spice bag.

 

Pack peaches into one hot jar at a time, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Ladle hot pickling syrup over peaches leaving 1/4-inch head space. Remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife or spatula around the inside of the jar. Wipe jar rim with a damp, clean cloth. Attach lid. Fill and close remaining jars. Process 15 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

 

Allow 4 to 5 weeks for peaches to cure and develop flavor.

 

Note: To peel peaches, submerge them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds and then into cold water for 20 seconds. Skin should slip right off.

 

Note: To prevent darkening, place the peaches directly into a solution of 2 tablespoons each salt and vinegar per 1 gallon of water. Or, you can use a commercial anti-oxident such as Fruit Fresh to prevent discoloration using directions on package.

 

Adapted from the 1997 "Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Canning, Freezing and Dehydration"

 

PORCUPINE COOKIES

 

1 cup pecan halves

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

21/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate morsels

7 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or use a nonstick pan.

 

Toss the pecans in the melted butter to coat evenly. Spread the nuts on an un-greased baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool, and then roughly chop. Place the chopped pecans and remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until moistened.

 

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter for each cookie onto the lined cookie sheet and gently flatten to circles of about 21/4 inches in diameter. (The version in the movie is miniature, or about half this size.) Bake 10 minutes or until the coconut turns very pale golden, being careful not to brown too much. Transfer to racks to

cool.

 

PORK RIB TEA SOUP

Serves 4-6

 

1 pound pork-back ribs, chopped into 2-inch lengths

1 large garlic clove, crushed

6 cups water

1 stick cinnamon

3 whole star anise

1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns

11/2 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, or to taste

 

For Garnishes:

Soy sauce and thinly sliced red chilies

2 Chinese crullers, sliced

Steamed white rice

 

1. Combine the pork, garlic and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Skim and discard the scum from the surface. Add the cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, sugar, salt and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the pork is tender, about 45 minutes. Discard the excess fat from the soup before serving.

 

2. Serve the soup in deep bowls with 3 to 4 rib pieces per serving. Combine soy sauce and chilies to taste in small bowls as a dipping sauce for the ribs. Serve with cruller slices, for dunking into the broth, and a bowl of rice on the side.

 

 

 

 

POTATO CHEDDAR SOUP

 

1/2 gallon sliced potatoes

1/2 gallon chicken or vegetable stock

11/2 onions, sliced

1/2 quart heavy cream

1/2 quart half and half

11/2 quarts grated sharp cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon Lea and Perrin Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoon Coleman dry mustard

 

Cook potatoes in stock until tender. Sauté onions in butter until soft. Puree onions and potatoes with the stock. Return mixture to pot. Add dairy product. Add cheese last, cooking just to melt (do not boil). Yields over a gallon.

 

PRAWN COCKTAIL

 

16 large prawns

 

1/2 cup white wine

1 ripe avocado

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Tabasco to taste

Juice and zest of 1 lime

Extra limes for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Lettuce (whatever type you prefer)

Rinse prawns. Place in a pan with wine and enough water to cover the prawns and bring to a boil. Immediately, reduce the heat and simmer prawns until done, 3-5 minutes. Drain and cool, peel and devein.

Blend avocado, olive oil, 1/2 cup of water, Tabasco, lime, salt and pepper in blender. Should be a moderately dense sauce.

Distribute lettuce to four bowls. Top with four prawns each and dress with avocado sauce.

Garnish with lime slice. You can substitute scallops, crab meat, bay shrimp for prawns or mix 'em up. Serves 4.

 

RARE AHI TUNA WITH WASABI VINAIGRETTE

 

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons powdered wasabi (green horseradish powder)

11/2 tablespoons dry mustard

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup white rice vinegar

Juice of 2 limes

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

 

Seed coating:

1/2 cup white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

3 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

2 teaspoons cracked Sichuan peppercorns (if available)

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice

1 tablespoon salt

 

Tuna:

2-3 tablespoons salad oil

11/2 pounds ahi tuna (No. 1 sushi grade)

 

Salad:

12 ounces of prepared greens (spring mix or romaine lettuce)

12 ounces blanched, sliced asparagus

1 English cucumber, diced

4 green onions, slivered

 

In a bowl, combine wasabi and mustard powder; add water to form a paste. Stir in remaining vinaigrette ingredients in order. (When adding oils, use a whisk to incorporate slowly so as to somewhat emulsify). Refrigerate.

 

Combine seed coating ingredients and place on plate or pie pan. Set aside. Cut tuna into slabs suitable for searing (2 inches in width and height). Coat on all sides with seed mixture by pressing firmly into pan. Heat a frying pan to high heat, add oil and sear fish on all sides (about 30 seconds per side). Remove from pan, place on a plate, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Toss salad ingredients together and dress lightly with some of the vinaigrette. Arrange on a platter or serving dish. Slice tuna carefully with a very sharp knife and arrange around salad. Drizzle vinaigrette over tuna and garnish with sliced avocados, tomatoes or fruit. Serves 4.

 

 

 

ROADS END COFFEE CAKE

 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon double-strength coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

13/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sour cream

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (or substitute walnuts; also see note A)

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or substitute cinnamon)

 

Coffee glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons double-strength coffee (see note B

1/2 teaspoon half and half

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sifted powdered sugar

Pinch of finely ground coffee (Turkish grind)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well-blended. Stir in coffee and vanilla.

 

Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream, until well-blended. Combine the brown sugar, hazelnuts and nutmeg in a small bowl. Spread one half of the batter into the bottom of a greased Bundt pan. Sprinkle with one half of the hazelnut mixture. Pour in remaining batter. Sprinkle on top the rest of hazelnut mixture. Bake for 50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

 

Make coffee glaze by mixing all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over cake while still warm. Let the cake stand for 15 minutes to absorb glaze. Dust with powdered sugar and finely ground coffee just before serving.

 

(Note A: To toast hazelnuts and remove their skins, place the nuts on a baking sheet on a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 minutes until they turn golden brown. Place the nuts in a terry cloth hand towel. Fold the towel and allow the nuts to "steam" for 5 minutes. Rub the towel firmly between your hands. This will cause most of the skins to flake off.)

 

(Note B: Make double strength coffee by using 4 level tablespoons of ground coffee or 4 teaspoons instant coffee granules to each 3/4 cup water)

 

SAVORY WHOLE CHICKEN BREASTS

With Roasted Tomato Sauce

 

6 whole boneless chicken breasts

6 pieces of prosciutto, thinly sliced

6 pieces of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

 

Marinade:

3/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup dried basil

2 bay leaves, crushed

2 teaspoons pepper

1 teaspoon salt

 

Breading:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

a pinch of salt

 

Roasted tomato sauce:

1/3 cup olive oil

7 tomatoes, skinned, seeded

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon oregano, crushed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

5 whole bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients for marinade and mix well. Combine breading ingredients and mix well.

 

Dip chicken in marinade and dredge the top (smooth side) of the chicken breast in the breading. Place one piece prosciutto and one piece mozzarella on inside of breast (side that bone was removed from) and fold breast in half with breaded side out.

 

In a skillet on medium heat, add olive and sauté folded chicken on both sides until golden brown. Immediately remove and bake in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, combine all ingredients for tomato sauce except salt, vinegar and wine. Mix well to coat tomatoes. Separate tomatoes from liquid and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes in the already heated oven. Remove and place in blender. Add salt, vinegar and white wine. Pulse until coarse. If needed, reheat in a sauté pan. Pour over chicken and serve. Serves 6.

 

SMOKED CHICKEN AND APPLE WALDORF SALAD

 

2 smoked chicken breasts, diced

2 gala apples, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 red onion, diced

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup diced English cucumber

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons mustard

Pinch of salt and pepper

Pinch of thyme and parsley

 

Mix all ingredients together. Serve on top of your favorite lettuce.

 

SOFT PRETZELS

 

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

5 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon malt powder (sold at health food stores)

21/2 to 3 cups bread flour

1 egg white, beaten

 

Coarse salt

 

In large bowl, stir together the water, sugar and yeast, then quickly add oil, salt, malt powder and most of the flour, mixing until dough is no longer sticky. (Add more flour, if need be.) Knead until you have a soft dough, 5 to 10 minutes.

 

Let dough rest, covered, until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

 

Divide dough into 12 portions and let portions rest a few minutes before rolling each into ropes.

 

To form pretzels, form a 15-inch rope, rolling dough by hand. For each pretzel, form rope into an upside-down "U." Cross ends about a third of the way from the rounded part of the U, and fold the ends up at an angle.

 

Place pretzel on parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out and shape remaining dough. Let pretzels rise until very puffy, 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Brush each pretzel with egg white, then sprinkle with salt. Bake pretzels at 400 degrees until nicely browned, 12 to 15 minutes.

 

STADIUM LEMONADE

 

11/2 cups lemon juice

1 cup extra-fine granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon oil, optional

teaspoon citric acid, optional

Ice cubes, lightly crushed

Sparkling or spring water

2 to 3 lemons, thinly sliced or quartered

Mint leaves

 

You can use Perrier for this. Citric acid is sold at health foods stores. Lemon oil -- the flavoring, not the furniture polish -- is sold at gourmet stores.

 

Simmer lemon juice and sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar. Cool well, about 1 hour, then stir in lemon oil and citric acid.

 

Prepare each glass with some ice cubes, then pour about 2 to 4 tablespoons of the lemon mixture into each glass. Fill them with chilled Perrier or spring water.

 

Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves. Serve these with straws.

 

STRAWBERRY MUFFINS

 

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup milk

1/4 pound margarine or butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 large egg

11/4 cup strawberries, diced

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grease a medium-size 12-cup muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1/2 cup sugar. In a small bowl using a fork, beat the milk, butter, vanilla and egg until blended. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the flour is evenly moistened.

 

Gently fold in the diced strawberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan cups. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the muffins comes out clean.

 

Immediately remove the muffins from the pan. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and serve later.

 

SWEET SOUR ONIONS

 

5 tablespoons oil

2 pounds tiny white onions, peeled

6 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cinnamon stick

Salt

Pepper, freshly ground

 

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to take on color.

 

Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until onions are tender, about 15 minutes.

 

Remove lid, increase heat and reduce liquid to glaze, shaking pan constantly.

 

Transfer onions to bowl and serve at room temperature.

 

This recipe can be prepared three days ahead.

 

Cover and store in refrigerator.

 

TAKE YOUR SUPPER PASTA

ON A QUICK JOURNEY EAST

dinner tonight

By Renee Enna, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

For many of us, pasta is the quickest fix of all time. This one-bowl meal adds an Asian spin to angel-hair pasta. Vermicelli or rice noodles also would work here. Adding speed to the finished dish is a bag of mixed frozen vegetables. An increasing variety of vegetable mixtures can be found in the frozen foods aisle of the supermarket. Experiment with Mexican-, Italian- and Asian-themed blends, mixing them with rice, couscous and pastas for fast and filling suppers.

 

Though it might seem like this recipe requires a lot of chopping, you'll be doing the prep work and cooking while waiting for the water to boil. If you wish, leftover diced chicken or frozen shrimp can be substituted for the tofu.

 

MENU

Asian noodles with tofu and vegetables

 

Cabbage salad

 

Lemon sorbet or ginger cookies

 

Lemon tea or iced tea

 

Time-Saving Tips

When you're low on fresh herbs, a good-quality seasoning blend can add flavor.

 

Nothing tastes as good as fresh garlic. To speed up dicing, a garlic press will do the job quickly and efficiently. Look for a sturdy tool that comes with prongs that push out the garlic to ease cleanup.

 

ASIAN NOODLES WITH TOFU AND VEGETABLES

Serves 4

 

8 ounces angel hair pasta

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 teaspoons sesame oil, optional

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) ginger root, minced

6 green onions, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen vegetable mix with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower

1 pound firm tofu, drained, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for serving

 

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried, optional

Freshly ground pepper

 

1. Heat stockpot of salted water to boiling. Meanwhile, heat oils in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to pan; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add onions and bell pepper, cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Lower heat.

 

2. Add pasta to boiling water. Meanwhile, add tofu and soy sauce to skillet. Add frozen vegetables to stockpot with pasta 1 minute before pasta is done; cook 1 minute. Drain pasta and vegetables; add to skillet. Stir to combine. Season to taste with pepper. Divide among four bowls; top with basil and cilantro. Serve with additional soy sauce.

 

TORTILLA SOUP

In "Tortilla Soup," Hector Elizondo's character elevates this soul-satisfying staple of the Mexican diet to a whole new level. Instead of using yesterday's salsa and chips, he uses the finest fresh tomatoes from the garden, freshly fried tortilla strips for garnishing, and a dried chipotle for added mystery.

 

5 garlic cloves, peeled

10 roma tomatoes, cored and quartered

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

8 cups chicken stock

1 dried chipotle chili, stemmed and seeded (optional)

3/4 pound tortilla chips

 

Garnishes:

1 bunch (1/2 cup) cilantro leaves

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

1/2 cup crema Mexicana

2 limes, cut in wedges

 

Puree the garlic and tomatoes in a blender until smooth. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over low heat. Add the onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until pale brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently.

 

Pour in the chicken stock and add the chipotle chili (if desired). Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the tortilla chips and cook 10 minutes longer, until the chips soften. Remove and discard the chili. Serve hot, with cilantro, avocado, crema Mexicana, lime wedges and some extra-crisp fried tortilla chips.

 

In "Tortilla Soup," when it's time for Jacqueline Obradors' character to return to her roots, she cooks a traditional pibil-roasted dish from Yucatan (which see). Achiote paste, a bright-orange seasoning paste made of ground annatto seeds, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, pepper and cloves, can be found at Mexican markets. Traditional accompaniments are rice, black beans and pickled red onions.

 

TRY GRAINS LIKE QUINOA

FOR A HIGH PROTEIN DIET

By Bob Condor, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Active people might know that grains deliver high-quality carbohydrates, but more of them are avoiding the food group anyway.

 

"It's as if grains are the bad boys of sports nutrition," says Jackie Berning, a dietitian who consults with professional ball players and Olympic contenders. "Unfortunately, even top athletes hear the consumer message about eating more protein and fewer carbos. I am always pushing for more whole grains in their diets."

 

But getting enough high-quality protein need not come at the expense of carbohydrates. Whole grains can provide both, along with such nutrients as fiber, potassium, magnesium, chromium and manganese that are valuable for disease prevention and athletic performance.

 

Some grains are equal to any protein count you might get from red meat or eggs, but without the saturated fats. For example, a cup of cooked amaranth provides 28 grams, and uncooked quinoa checks in at 22 grams per cup. Both grains, available at many supermarkets these days, are comparable to 3 ounces of beef, chicken or tuna, or three to four eggs. The added value is the 100-plus grams of carbohydrates that can fuel, say, 45 minutes of running.

 

Plus, these grains contain good amounts of essential amino acids such lysine and methionine. Amaranth in particular has been compared to egg whites as the "perfect protein."

 

Harder to find is rye, which delivers 25 grams of protein in a cooked cup.

 

More popular grains -- couscous, brown and wild rice, oatmeal -- have relatively modest amounts of protein per serving, equal to about one egg per serving. But these will require legumes to complete their protein profiles. In her book, "Power Foods" (Rodale, $12.95), UC Davis nutritionist Liz Applegate recommends baked beans and brown bread, lentil soup and rye bread, beans and corn tortillas, refried beans and rice, and tofu and Chinese noodles as power-packed meals.

 

Breakfast is a good time to get your grains, Berning says. She recommends the standing sports nutritionist favorite of oatmeal, which gets additional kudos from dietitians for lowering cholesterol counts, but concedes the summer months can prompt more interest in whole-grain cereals with cold milk (or soy milk or yogurt). She especially likes the Kashi brand cereals that combine whole grains with sesame seeds to offer a complete protein source even when consumed without the milk.

 

Athletes loading up on animal protein should be aware of the dangers involved. Anyone with a family history of kidney troubles should be wary of a high-protein diet, says Paul A. Lachance, a nutrition professor at Rutgers University. These individuals would be wise to rely more on protein from grains combined with legumes, nuts or seeds.

 

"The protein in meat and other animal sources is highly concentrated," Lachance says. "You get about 5.5 calories in every protein gram, but the body only uses 4 grams. The kidneys have to dump the other 1.5 calories. That can put a tremendous burden on the kidneys if you consume extreme amounts of protein."

 

Getting your protein from animal sources or supplement powders can also strain your budget. Protein is clearly the most expensive nutrient in any diet, Lachance says. Grains are an inexpensive alternative.

 

Another reason to endorse whole grains is their complex carbohydrates, which provide fuel for workouts. Not getting enough grains can "compromise your performance on back-to-back workouts or any sort of intense exercise," Berning says.

 

"The athletes who try high-protein diets always seem to quit them sooner or later because they are dragging," she says. "We add brown rice or wild rice, plus some whole-grain breakfast cereals. It helps a lot."

 

No expert is suggesting all grains are equal in nutrition. One reason high-protein diets have helped people lose weight is because they call for a reduction in items made with refined white flour or wheat without its bran. Lots of nutrients are lost in the processing, especially fiber. That goes for white rice too.

 

"A big problem is people don't categorize their grain intake very well," Lachance says. "Eating doughnuts or croissants is not what we had in mind when developing a food pyramid with 6 to 11 daily servings of grains at its base."

 

History is on the side of grains too, Lachance says. Amaranth was a staple of the Aztecs, and two-thirds of today's world still stays healthy basically on the strength of corn, rice or wheat with the right legumes, nuts or seeds.

 

A grain-heavy diet, Lachance says, "was good enough for loggers at the turn of last century who needed 4,000 to 5,000 calories per day for their jobs. It seems reasonable to think it's good enough for athletes and other active people in our push-button society."

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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