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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 278

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).








































































(South-of-the-Border Meatballs)

Makes about 60 meatballs


These albondigas are meatballs gone south of the border. It's hard to say why they're so very good (is it the sugar?), but you just can't stop eating them. They're also very easy to make, so they're perfect party food.

2 pounds lean ground beef

3 eggs, beaten

3 fresh jalapeno chilies, stemmed and diced small WEAR GLOVES

1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced small

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

11/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


In a large mixing bowl combine meat, eggs, jalapenos, onion, bell pepper, garlic, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and kosher salt; mix thoroughly by hand. Be careful not to over-mix the meatballs or they'll be tough.


Divide the mixture into balls the size of large walnuts, rolling them between the palms of your hands until firm and round.


Place the albondigas on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes, or until firm, bubbling and golden on the bottoms. Serve on a napkin-lined plate.


Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh chilies; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.


Note: When the albondigas bake, they leave a little custard-like foot around the base of each meatball, which looks a bit weird. But when you take them off the baking sheet, they look fine. From "Cowboy Cocktails" by Grady Spears and Brigit L. Binns as printed in "The Best American Recipes" 2001-2002 by Fran McCullough




BY KRISTIN EDDY, Chicago Tribune

OCHO RIOS, Jamaica -- With allspice, there has been nothing but confusion from the get-go.


The Arawaks, Jamaica's first inhabitants, knew the tiny berries produced a fantastic perfume. When Columbus arrived in 1494, he saw allspice and thought he was looking at pepper.


So the plant was dubbed pimiento, Spanish for red pepper, even though the European visitors soon noticed the berries had the flavor and fragrance of barks and seeds from other parts of the world: cloves and nutmeg from Indonesia and cinnamon from China.


And misunderstanding about allspice reigns, particularly in the United States, where many people think the seasoning is a blend of spices rather than the unique ingredient it is.


On this island, none of that matters. Allspice, known here as pimento, is well known and loved, turning up in every category of recipe: breakfast breads, turtle soup, beef patties and chocho (chayote) pie. Perhaps most ubiquitous is the spice's role in the jerk seasoning for which Jamaica is famous, and in a liqueur made by steeping ripe berries in rum with a bit of sugar syrup.


Although allspice grows in other countries in the region, and although this island faces increasing competition from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, Jamaican allspice is recognized as the best.


``It is the premium product,'' said Donna Tainter, director of quality, research and development for Tone Brothers, the Des Moines company that produces Spice Islands, Durkee and Tone's spice brands. With its smaller berries and high oil content, Jamaican allspice is preferred for the Spice Islands brand, Tainter said, ``while our midlevel brand, Durkee, is more likely to use allspice from one of the other countries.''


Inland between the northern coastal resort towns of Ocho Rios and Port Antonio is an especially fertile region of the island and a major growing area for allspice.


Here you can find plantations of the trees with elegant clusters of glossy green leaves and a rough brown bark that sheds, revealing a smooth, beige wood. The slim columns of allspice, which would look at home in a Parisian park, seem out of place among the aggressive vegetation that grows nearby, including banana, coconut and breadfruit trees.


The berries are picked while green: The branches are cut from the tree and the berries are stripped individually.


Workers pour mounds of the fruit onto long concrete platforms called barbecues and leave it to dry in the sun for three days. The soft berries are vulnerable to rot and must be brought inside every night.


Very little of the harvest goes to waste. The berries are exported to the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. The allspice leaves can be distilled into food-grade oils that end up seasoning many U.S. products, such as hot dogs and bologna, Tainter said. And wood from the branches is used as planks on the most authentic jerk grills in Jamaica, imbuing the allspice-flavored jerk with aromatic smoke.


Jamaican cooks find myriad ways to use the spice.


``We cook rice and peas with it,'' said Denyse Perkins, director of operations for Walkerswood Caribbean Foods, a condiment company based in the parish, or county, of St. Ann. ``It's very important in jerk seasoning, but we also drop a few grains of it in porridge or put it in stuffed beef.''


Veteran Jamaican food writer Enid Donaldson, a resident of Kingston, cautions, ``The secret is not to grind it, or it will lose some of its flavor.''


It is common to see whole allspice in many dishes, just dropped in to cook and soften along with the stew or soup or whatever is on the stove.


``That is so when you bite into it, the flavor explodes in your mouth,'' said Aris La Tham, executive chef of the Strawberry Hill resort in St. Andrew. La Tham uses allspice in a jerk butter sauce he serves alongside plantain-crusted red snapper as well as in a Jamaican-style ratatouille made with eggplant, okra and plantains.




Makes 8 waffles

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk together oil, eggs and milk in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix until just blended.

Heat waffle iron. Spray with vegetable oil spray or brush with oil. Spoon about

1/2 cup batter (or the amount recommended by the waffle iron manufacturer) onto hot iron. Spread batter close to edge of grids, using back of spoon. Close lid; bake until waffle is golden brown.

To freeze, allow waffles to cool completely. Place in freezer container or heavy-duty plastic freezer bags, separating each waffle with a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Freeze up to 2 months. To serve, heat frozen waffle in toaster until crisp. Serve with spiced maple apples (see accompanying recipe)

Spiced maple apples

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Melt butter in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples,

syrup, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Cook, stirring often, until apples are

just tender, about 5 minutes.

To freeze, let cool completely. Store in freezer container or heavy-duty

plastic freezer bag up to 2 months. To serve, thaw apples in refrigerator

overnight. Heat in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until warmed




(Home-Style Bruschetta)

Makes 4 servings


This home-style bruschetta is toasted in the oven in one long row of overlapping slices topped with mozzarella, then separated at serving time.


8 thin slices mozzarella cheese (fresh, if possible)

8 1/2-inch-thick slices lightly toasted Italian country-style bread

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 anchovies (OPTIONAL)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.


Put a slice of mozzarella on top of each slice of bread. In a shallow rectangular baking dish, arrange the mozzarella-topped slices of bread in a single row, each slice overlapping the next by about 1/2 inch. Bake until the cheese has melted.


Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt the butter with the anchovies, mashing them with a fork.


Carefully transfer the cheese-topped bruschetta with two spatulas, using one at each end, to a serving dish. Spoon the hot anchovy butter sauce over the top. Serve hot. From "Sicilian Home Cooking" by Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene



Makes 6 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground buckwheat groats (kasha)

2 tablespoons fine cornmeal

Vegetable oil for deep frying

30 oysters, scrubbed and freshly shucked, shells reserved

Lemon Remoulade (see accompanying recipe)


Combine flour, ground buckwheat and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Arrange 5 reserved shells on each of 6 serving plates.


Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches in a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, and heat to 350 degrees. Dredge oysters in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and gently place in hot oil in batches. Fry about 2 minutes on each side, or until crispy. Drain on paper towels.


Place oysters on shells on plates and top with generous dollops of Lemon Remoulade. Serve at once.



1/4 pound egg noodles

1 1/2 teaspoons margarine or butter

1/4 cup water from noodles

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles. Boil 10 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup cooking liquid to a mixing bowl and add margarine to the bowl. Drain noodles. Toss noodles in bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

WINE? A nice, fat California chardonnay, if you want white wine, or a rich pinot noir, an opulent petite syrah or soft Chilean cabernet sauvignon if you want red.



Serves 10

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups milk

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons crushed butterscotch candy

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium saucepan, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch, breaking

up any lumps with the back of the spoon. Add about 1/2 cup of milk and stir

to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.

Add the remaining milk, butter, and butterscotch candy.

Cook the mixture over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture

reaches a full boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the pudding into a serving dish or 4 individual dessert bowls. Chill

before serving.



Serves 6 to 8

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 pound ground lamb

3/4 cup rice

2/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 1/2 cups white wine, divided

Freshly ground pepper

1 (3-pound) cabbage

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

Toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant, about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pine nuts, lamb, rice, cilantro, cumin, salt, egg, 1/2 cup of wine and pepper to taste. Stir to mix thoroughly, but don't over-mix or the rolls will be heavy.

Leaving the cabbage head whole, cut out as much of the core as you can. Dip the whole cabbage head in a large pan of boiling water until the outer leaves soften, about 30 seconds.

Remove the cabbage from the water, carefully remove those outer leaves and set them aside on a towel to drain. Repeat this process until you come to the inner leaves that are very convoluted and thick. Shred those and set them aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a heat-proof handle, cook the shallots in the olive oil over medium heat until they soften, about 3 minutes.

Add the shredded cabbage and cook until the cabbage is wilted and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 cup of wine and cook until it loses its raw smell, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and heat through. The sauce should be slightly soupy.

Set 1 medium-sized cabbage leaf flat on a work surface with the core end facing away from you. Cut a "V" in the base, removing the tough part of the core.

Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture in the "cup" of the leaf at its tip. Roll once, then fold in the sides and continue rolling. Set aside seam-side down.

Repeat using all of the medium-sized leaves, then using the larger leaves, cutting them in half if necessary to make consistent-sized rolls. You will probably have some cabbage leaves left over.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the tomato sauce is ready, place the prepared cabbage rolls seam-side down in the pan. Go ahead and pack them tightly, and, if necessary, you can even stack one or two on top. Arrange any unused cabbage leaves in a single layer on top of the rolls. Cover the pan with a lid and place it in the oven. Bake until the rolls are thoroughly cooked and fragrant, about 11/2 hours.

Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the loose leaves from the top and then carefully spoon the hot cabbage rolls onto a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the top and serve right away.



Makes 6 to 8 servings This is really for cats!


Celebrate your cat's birthday or other special occasion not by baking a cake, but by making these tasty cookies. Your cat will clamor for more!


1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup soy flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup powdered milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons wheat germ

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons margarine

1 teaspoon organic catnip


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, liquid and dry milk, egg, wheat germ, molasses, margarine and catnip.


Lightly flour a rolling pin. Roll out the batter on a greased cookie sheet. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Bake 20 to 22 minutes.


Allow to cool before serving. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place. From "Real Food for Cats: 50 Vet-Approved Recipes to Please the Feline Gastronome" by Patti Delmonte



makes 2 dozen cocktail meatballs


Hoisin sauce adds a pleasing sweetness to these pork and shrimp balls. Poached in chicken stock, these tasty pork balls are elegant when served in lettuce cups with a dab of hoisin sauce and a sprinkling of green onion and chopped peanuts. The meatballs may be cooked several hours ahead of time and rewarmed in a 300-degree oven.


2 pounds ground pork butt

2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sweet rice wine (mirin)

1/4 cup minced water chestnuts

1/4 cup minced shrimp

1 egg white

Approximately 2 cups chicken stock or broth

Lettuce leaves, hoisin sauce, chopped green onions and chopped peanuts, for garnish


Combine pork, garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, water chestnuts, shrimp and egg white. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.


Form pork mixture into 24 small balls. Bring chicken stock just to a simmer in a large saucepan and add pork balls. Stock should just barely cover pork balls; add more stock during cooking if necessary. Pan should not be crowded; cook pork balls in two batches if necessary. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot. Additional information and recipes are available in the newly revised "Cooking A to Z: The Complete Culinary Reference Source."



(sung to the Christmas Carol)

12 stems of parsley

11 black peppercorns

10 onions, quartered

9 carrots, chunky

8 cups of red wine

7 cups of beef stock

6 cloves of garlic

5 tsp rosemary and thyme

4 allspice berries (&/or whole cloves...not part of song)

3 bay leaves

2 ounce brandy

eye of round, about 6 lbs

De-fat meat, cut in chunks, marinate overnight. Drain, strain 2 strips bacon, chopped, fry crisp, remove 1 lb little mushrooms, brown, remove pearl onions, caramelize, remove. Dust chunks of meat w flour, brown and remove. add 2 T tomato paste, cook to brown Add back in the carrots, onions marinade and boil Cook 4 hr 275 deg oven Strain, thicken juices. Add everything back in, serve with mashed potatoes The only fat is in the meat and bacon. So fat content depends on the size of your Christmas serving (and we all know we eat a little extra at Christmas)


Note: you can use chuck, instead of round, but the fat content soars.



2 cups cinnamon

2 tablespoons white glue (see note)

1 1/2 to 2 cups water (less on humid days)

(Note: Elmer's Glue can be used, but don't use Elmer's School Glue, because it doesn't mix properly.)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. The mixture should be a consistency that can be kneaded.

After kneading, roll out mixture to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Dip fingers in water before smoothing any rough edges. While ornament is still wet, stick in a straw near the top of cut-out shape to make a hole for a ribbon to hang finished decoration.

Ornaments need to air-dry slowly and should be turned twice a day.

Avoid putting decorations under air vents; drying too quickly can cause them to crack. Drying takes two to seven days, depending on humidity.

Ornaments can be decorated with acrylic paint, but don't go overboard with paint or you'll smother the cinnamon smell. Ornaments can be saved from one year to the next; brushing with cinnamon oil will rejuvenate the cinnamon smell.


Serves 8

White sauce:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

1 3/4 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Salt, freshly ground pepper


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 pound ground veal

1/4 pound prosciutto, diced (optional)

1/4 cup tomato paste

8 ounces lasagna noodles

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded fontina

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

For sauce, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Heat to boil, stirring constantly until sauce is thickened. Add nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat; set aside.

For lasagna, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Add carrot, cook 1 minute. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir in beef, pork, veal and prosciutto. Cook, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until combined. Add white sauce to meat mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, set aside. Combine cheeses with Italian herbs in medium bowl.

Cover bottom of 13-by-9 inch baking pan with 1/3 of the meat sauce. Top with

1/3 of noodles and 1/3 of cheese mixture. Repeat layers of meat sauce, noodles and cheese. Layer remaining meat sauce and noodles. Cover with tomato sauce. Sprinkle on remaining cheese.

To freeze, cover tightly with plastic wrap, then with two layers of heavy-duty foil. Freeze up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in refrigerator. Remove plastic wrap and foil, and bake in 350-degree oven until lasagna is bubbly, 50-60 minutes. Or, take lasagna directly from freezer, remove plastic wrap and foil and bake 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes before serving.




3 TBSP margarine or butter

1/2 Cup chopped green onions

1 red baking apple, unpeeled but chopped

4 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup allspice

1/4 cup apple juice

Cornish Hens:

4 Cornish Hens

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/4 cup apple jelly

2 TBSP margarine or butter

Heat over to 350. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in skillet over med-high heat Add onions and apples, cook until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining stuffing ingredients. Sprinkle hens with salt and pepper. Spread stuffing in ungreased baking pan. Place hens skin side up over stuffing. In small saucepan, melt jelly with 2 Tbsp butter and brush over hens. Bake at 350 uncovered for 1-1 1/4 hours or until juices run clear.


1 cup cornstarch

2 cups baking soda

1 1/4 Cups cold water

Whisk, pan, cloth

Whisk cornstarch and baking soda together thoroughly in a saucepan. Add water all at once, and place over medium heat. Stir CONSTANTLY as mixture thins, then thickens. About 4 minutes from start of cooking, mixture will turn to a moist mashed-potato consistency. Remove immediately from heat, turn out onto a plate and cover with damp cloth and allow to cool. When easy to handle, knead like dough for a few minutes.

Roll clay, on wax paper, about 1/4 inch thick for most projects. Store in zipper top type plastic bag if not using it immediately.

Cut with cookie cutters or mold desired shapes by hand. For raised designs, moisten with water and press together. For hanging pendant or ornaments,

insert a paper clip for loop at the top, or use a tooth pick to make a hole.

Thin pieces harden over night: thicker ones take longer. While drying on cooling rack, turn pieces occasionally for even drying. May be dried on wire rack in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350*, then turned off.

Recipe from "Kitchen Crafts" by Linda and John Cross published in 1974.

Note: You can use an old window screen cut down and stapled to an old picture

frame for drying. Cookie racks are usually too wide to hold the smaller pieces

without indentations



2 3/4 cups milk -- cold

2 packages instant pudding mix, sugar free -- 1.5 oz. ea.

1 can pumpkin -- 15 oz.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 graham cracker pie crust, 9 inch -- reduced fat

Cool Whip Lite(r)

Combine milk and pudding mix. Beat 1 minute. Add pumpkin and spices. Beat

1 minute. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate. Top with Cool Whip when

ready to serve. RF4RP



1 1/3 cups Vegetable Shortening

1 1/2 cups Sugar

2 teaspoons Vanilla

2 Eggs

8 teaspoons Milk

3 cups Flour

3 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Salt

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Beat in vanilla, eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients, then drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 - 12 minutes.

Variation: Sprinkle with sugar, or flatten with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar.

Note: For baking later, drop teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets and flash freeze. Store in an airtight container, and keep in freezer until ready to bake. Bake as directed above. You can also freeze in logs wrapped in plastic wrap, or in recycled orange juice containers with the ends replaced and taped on with freezer tape. Slice and bake as directed above.

NOTES : To use this recipe for rolled cookies, add flour 1 Tbsp. at a time until dough is almost firm enough to roll out. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/3 inch thick and cut as desired with cookie cutters.



Males about 14


1 cup milk

1 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 large egg

4 cups unbleached flour

Corn meal for dusting

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a saucepan, put milk, water, sugar and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Cool milk mixture to room temperature and pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add yeast, egg and flour. With an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk, beat at medium speed until batter is smooth and has a loose, sticky consistency. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Butter English muffin rings, dip in cornmeal and place on baking sheet.

Remove batter from refrigerator and stir down with a rubber spatula until the batter is deflated. Fill muffin rings half full and sprinkle tops lightly with cornmeal. Cover with a cloth and let dough rise to tops of rings, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Bake muffins at 450 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven

and lift rings off muffins.

Remove muffins with a metal spatula. Slice in half, toast and serve with butter and jam.


Makes 1-1/2 lbs.

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar, ( heaping, like 1-1/8th)

1 cup chopped nuts- almonds best-walnuts are okay - DIVIDED USE

1 cup chocolate chips

Be sure to have everything ready as you have to work fast when you add the nuts. Cook butter and sugar until toffee colored over medium to low heat, stirring the whole time. It will burn quickly as it nears done. I put a drop on the stove and if it becomes crisp, it is done. When the right color add the 2/3 rds nuts and stir quickly and pour onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread around as much as you can. Let set for 5 minutes or so. Gently blot with paper towels to pick up extra grease. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and let sit another 5 to 10 minutes. Spread over top with the back of a tablespoon. Sprinkle on rest of nuts. Gently press the nuts into the chocolate some. Let cool completely then break into pieces.




For the French, making bread is nothing short of a love affair -- and so much like making love.

Caress the dough, love it, baby it. Give it a pat. Whisper sweet nothings to it ...

But for the rest of us -- even the most prolific cookie or cake creator -- bread-making seems daunting. It's so much easier to buy a gorgeous, golden loaf for a few dollars than to spend a few hours in the kitchen, right? Wrong. Beautiful homemade bread is within reach of even a novice baker. All that's needed are simple tools, patience and a little precision.

There is no better time to master the art of bread-making than now, when the

smell of fresh bread filling the house is warm, sweet heaven.

To learn the art, we went to a master. Bread designer and baker Esther Press-McManus learned the art as a child in France and has been crafting loaves, muffins and croissants for 20 years. She makes it look easy, but swears that even the most bumbling home baker can do it.

"There is no limit to what you can do with flour and water," said Press-McManus, a slight, motherly woman with a "tres francais" bandanna around her neck. She kissed me on both cheeks as a greeting.

"The French have a romance with bread," she said as she began to knead a

ball of raisin- and walnut-studded dough.

McManus began by explaining some basic principles important to bread-making -- principles most of us probably were supposed to learn in high school physics when we were too busy passing notes.

Bread needs to ferment, hence the necessity of good bread yeast.

The longer a bread is able to rise or "proof," a fancy word for ferment, the more flavorful it is. That's why it's bad to use warm ingredients -- lukewarm water, for instance -- when mixing a dough. That starts the fermentation process too quickly, and the dough loses taste.

A good bread is allowed to rise twice: once after it's formed, a second time

after it's shaped. There's a third rising, technically, as it puffs up in the oven during baking. This means most breads take hours to make -- and no, take-out

aficionados, the process can't be rushed.

In France, the baguette was created after World War I and the arrival of dry

yeast. Today, the French call the baguette the "fastest" bread to make. It

clocks in at four hours.

Larger loves take five hours, and sourdough -- that West Coast favorite -- will kill the social life with a 48-hour prep time. Chefs suggest you calculate the time needed to make a bread before tackling such a project for a party or special occasion.

Squeamish bread bakers typically lose their nerve when it's time to shape the loaves.

"When you handle the bread, it should feel like a baby's bottom. Now, you need to create tension with the dough," said Press-McManus, rolling up her sleeves and pulling downward on a dough ball in the center of her hand.

But doesn't kneading dough mean slamming it on a butcher block, leaning an

entire body's worth of weight into the blob and pressing it out, maybe tossing it around a bit? In a pizzeria, yes; to create a homemade work of bakery-worthy art, no.

Making gorgeous bread doesn't mean catching air or taking out the week's


A rounded loaf requires slow, steady kneads and gentle, almost relaxing

massages. The cylindrical baguette requires the gentle motion of the palms

pushing down, then out to the left and right to elongate the ball of dough.

For novice bread-makers who don't know how to roll, shape or braid, Press-McManus suggests dividing dough batches into simple, small lumps and baking them to create an assortment of funkily shaped dinner rolls -- or if burned, great doorstops.

Dough-making is the first challenge to master, she explained. Presentation comes later -- and can take years to master.

Along the way, you might learn the hard way that when mixing raisins, dates,

nuts or any solid ingredients into bread, never do it at the beginning of the mixing process, as it may discolor the dough.

So if you have a loaf of bread puffing up in the oven right now, take heart:

As in matters of the heart, practice makes perfect.






November 28, 2001 Posted: 09:05:05 AM PST

To succeed with everything from baguettes to dinner rolls ...

1. To begin, blend dry ingredients, then use mixer to slowly add water and oil, as well as eggs. Mix for 10 to 15 minutes or until dough no longer clings messily to the sides of mixer bowl. Dough should be one ball when it's finished mixing.

Place dough in a bowl, cover and place in an oven that is off. The moisture of dough and the warmth of the closed oven, perhaps with a bowl of boiling water inside the oven to add moisture, will be enough to help the dough rise. Allow dough to rise for about two hours.

2. When the first proofing is done, it's time to knead and shape the dough.

To make a ball, or "boule," hold ball in palm of hand, pull dough downward

and create tension, pinching dough on bottom to solidify ball.

To make a baguette, take a ball of dough, flatten into a circle, then fold circle three times by rolling it over, creating a sausage shape. Then take both hands, press downward until it reaches a desired width. Separate hands and roll outward, to elongate dough into a baguette shape.

To make braid, make four baguettes, then form into a cross shape. Twist north and south (top and bottom) pieces over one another, then alternate east and west pieces till braid forms.

3. After bread is shaped, brush with egg wash to help it shine and brown in oven, then proof it a second time by placing dough again in cool oven to rise for approximately 90 minutes.

4. After second proofing, remove dough from oven, egg wash a second time,

then bake. [Egg-washed bread cannot be baked at high temperatures or bread

tops will burn before the rest of the dough is cooked.]

About 30 minutes of baking time at 350 degrees is good for egg-washed bread;

450 degrees for other breads, like baguettes.

Tools You Need

Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook: Serious about churning out bread? Pros

say this is the tool you need. The hook "massages" and pampers the dough,

and the whole mixing takes only 10 to 15 minutes. Cuisinart machines with

pulsers also work.

Baking sheet pan: This is crucial for laying down parchment paper and baking.

Parchment paper: Truly a bread maker's friend, the delicate, waxy paper, found in baking supply stores, can be cut to fit loaves and help prevent sticking and messiness that can ruin bread as it emerges from oven.

Small bowls: The French allow "boules," balls of dough used for round loaves, to rise in small bowls. A straw bowl lined with burlap (all-natural fibers) provides the best atmosphere for loaves to rise. These bowls are available in baking supply stores, or you can stitch burlap to a straw basket. Be sure to cover dough to seal in moisture and warmth.

Pastry brush: That rich, shiny, golden-brown look on a fresh loaf of bread comes from an egg wash. Use a pastry brush to gently paint beaten egg on the raw loaf.

Sharp knife: This is crucial for making clean cuts in raw dough. Dough is often separated to allow it to rise more quickly or to make several rolls or baguettes.




Psst. The French have a few secrets for making bread taste so good and look

so beautiful. Here are some of their secrets:

If you're not sure whether your yeast is still fresh, put some in warm water. It should bubble.

Pinch the ends of a rolled baguette or the bottom of a rounded roll to ensure folds remain tight.

To add moisture and warmth, bring water to a boil and place in a bowl or pot in the oven while bread is rising.

Use olive oil instead of regular vegetable oil when mixing bread dough. It adds flavor to the finished product.

Dough is ready to knead when it's silky, smooth and has bubbles beneath the


Dough shaped into an elongated loaf must be an even width, or it will not cook evenly.

Master bread-makers don't use flour when they roll out or shape dough.

Properly mixed dough doesn't stick.

Raisins or nuts can bleed into dough and change its color.

Proofing dough twice is time-consuming, but with each proof, dough ferments

and becomes more flavorful. Many people skip the first proof, so their bread

isn't as flavorful.





1 loaf Arnold's oat nut bread

6 eggs

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

a shake of ground nutmeg

1 pkt sweet and low or Equal

1/4 tsp cinnamon

oil for frying


Beat together eggs ,milk, extract, nutmeg , cinnamon, and sweetener. Dip in the

bread and fry til golden. Make a topping using 3-4 parts of Nutrasweet Spoonful mixed with 1 part cinnamon to sprinkle over it and top off with butter and sugar-free pancake syrup.



Makes about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened (11/2 sticks; no substitutions)

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Commercially prepared icing tubes


Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes; beat in egg.


Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and baking soda. Stir into butter mixture. Gather into a ball, wrap and refrigerate overnight.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.


Divide dough into 2 balls. Roll out each ball to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place on greased baking sheet 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough.


Bake 6 to 10 minutes, or until no indentation remains when the cookies are touched. Place cookies on wire rack to cool thoroughly. Decorate as desired.



Serves 8-10

1 pound dried pinto beans

1 ham shank or large beef bone or 1-2 cups chopped leftover ham

5 cups water, or more as needed

1 (14.5 ounce) can tomatoes

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

3/4 -1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 teaspoon marjoram (optional)

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

2 -3 quarts water

2 cups diced uncooked potatoes (unpeeled)

1/2 cup mashed potatoes

Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover.

Next day, drain beans and put into deep kettle with all ingredients except diced and mashed potatoes. Cover and simmer 2 hours or until beans are tender, adding more water as necessary.

Remove ham (or beef) and bay leaf. Skim fat. Cut ham into small pieces and

return to soup. Add diced potatoes, cover and simmer 1 hour longer. Blend

mashed potatoes into soup. This keeps soup from being watery.

Freeze after cooling to room temperature.




Makes 16 rolls, serves 4 to 8


I've named these stuffed little vegetable rolls cigars because they are about the size of Toscanos, the small, stubby cigars that many Italian men smoke.


Arrange these cigars on an antipasto platter with an assortment of cured meats such as prosciutto, salami and capocollo. Garnish the platter with lots of olives and anything else that suits your fancy.


1 large or 2 small zucchini

1 tablespoon salt

About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, very cold (1 ounce)

1 teaspoon finely chopped capers

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toothpicks (optional)

Cured meats (optional)

Olives (optional)

Sprigs of fresh mint or watercress, for garnish (optional)

Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)


Slice the zucchini diagonally about 1/8 inch thick into the longest possible slices. (You should have 16 slices.) Sprinkle the slices with the salt and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.


Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high heat or preheat the broiler.


Rinse the zucchini slices with cold water and pat dry. Lay them out on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Grill or broil the zucchini slices until marked or browned on each side. Do not overcook or the zucchini will become too soft to stuff. Transfer the slices to a work surface or rack to cool.


Place the feta in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Add the mascarpone and process briefly. Add the capers and oregano. Process briefly to mix; don't over-process or the mascarpone may separate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Spread the cheese mixture on the zucchini slices and roll up to form cigar shapes. Secure with toothpicks if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, so the filling becomes firm.


At serving time, remove any toothpicks and arrange the rolls on a serving platter, with cured meats and olives, if desired. Garnish with the sprigs of mint and/or edible flowers, if desired.


Eggplant ricotta variation: Cut 1 small eggplant lengthwise into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Salt and drain the slices, then grill or broil the eggplant as directed above. Substitute 1/2 cup (4 ounces) well-drained ricotta for the feta. Make eggplant cigars as above and refrigerate. To serve, remove any toothpicks and cut the rolls into 1-inch-long pieces. Stand the pieces on end on a serving platter. Garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs and red bell pepper strips.



1 lb Very lean ground beef

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Curing salt; (optional, this contains nitrates and sugar) or substitute

an equal amount of seasoned salt

1 dash cayenne

Buy the leanest ground beef possible, or select a lean chuck roast and grind it or have it ground. Combine meat with remaining ingredients, mixing well. Cut a piece of plastic wrap the size of your drying tray. Put seasoned ground beef on plastic wrap and, using a moistened rolling pin, roll ground beef to 1/8" thick, spreading meat over entire area of tray. A jerky press can be used instead: Follow manufacturer's directions.


Place meat-covered plastic wrap on tray and dry at 140 F for 4 to 6 hours. Remove tray, plastic wrap-side up. Peel of wrap and discard. Roll paper towels over top with

rolling pin to remove melted fat. Invert meat onto another tray, plastic wrap-side up. Peel of wrap and discard. Return meat to dehydrator and dry for another 4 to 6 hours. Top with paper towels and roll again to absorb fat. Dry until jerky is hard and leathery. Cut into strips before storing. Package airtight and store in refrigerator or freezer if possible. Use within 6 months. Just Recipes: http://www.melborponsti.com/index.htm



Makes 12 cupcakes


12 vanilla wafers

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup colored mini baking chips



Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line 12-cup muffin pan with baking liners. Place one vanilla wafer in each cup.


Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed of an electric mixer until well-blended. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in baking chips. Pour over wafers, filling each cup 3/4 full.


Bake 25 minutes. Cool, then remove cupcakes from the pan. Frost and decorate with sprinkles and other holiday decorations. Refrigerate any left over after serving.



Makes 8 to 12 doughnuts Pictured on the cover


Use a six-pointed-star cookie cutter to make these traditional holiday jelly doughnuts, which are known as sufganiot in Israel.

Vegetable oil for frying

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 16.3-ounce can large refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough

1/3 cup strawberry or raspberry jam


Blue and yellow sprinkles

Bring about 3 inches of oil to 360 to 370 degrees F in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.


Combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


Separate biscuits and roll out each to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into star shapes. Re-roll dough and cut out more stars.


Fry 2 to 3 doughnuts until the undersides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gently turn the doughnuts over and finish frying the other side. Lift doughnuts out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough.


Cool. Place doughnuts on a sheet of wax paper to catch the drippings. Fill with jam, using a disposable decorating bag and decorating tip. Or, make a slit in the side of the doughnut and spoon in jam. Frost tops with thin layer of frosting and decorate with sprinkles.



Serves 6

3 winter squash (such as acorn or butternut)

2 cups minced onions

1 cup minced celery

1 teaspoon canola or other vegetable oil

3 cups fresh or 12 ounces frozen cranberries

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly spray or oil a large, flat-bottomed baking pan. Slice each squash in

half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in the baking

pan, add water to about 1/2 inch, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a covered nonreactive saucepan on medium heat, sauté the

onions and celery in the oil, stirring often, for 10 minutes until softened.

Add cranberries and salt, lower heat and simmer until the cranberries have

popped, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in applesauce, orange peel, orange juice and maple

syrup. The filling should be tart; add just enough maple syrup to offset the

sourness of the cranberries.

Remove squash from oven and turn the halves over in the pan. Fill each

cavity with a rounded 1/2 cup of filling.

Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes, until well done.


Makes about 5 dozen


1 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup honey

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda


[Before measuring honey, use non-stick spray on the inside of your cup.]

Cream together peanut butter and butter. Add vanilla, sugar and honey. Stir

well. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add flour and baking soda. Stir to


Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10

to 12 minutes.



Makes a small batch these are for dogs!

1/4 cup chicken broth

6 ounces plain nonfat yogurt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon barley malt syrup (see note)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons brewer's yeast (see note)

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked

1/4 cup farina, uncooked (see note)

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

11/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


Place chicken broth, yogurt, oil, barley malt syrup, salt, whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, brewer's yeast, cornmeal, oatmeal, farina, parsley flakes and active dry yeast in bread machine, and set on dough cycle. Check consistency in 5 to 15 minutes; dough should be a firm, round ball. Add more flour or liquid if necessary to make dough workable.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


When cycle is over, roll dough out on a board lightly dusted with cornmeal. Dough should be about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out treats with a cookie cutter. Re-roll dough until all of it is used. Place treats on a nonstick cookie sheet.


Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until biscuits start to brown. Turn oven off and leave treats in oven for 1 to 3 hours. Cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.


Note: You can find barley malt syrup and brewer's yeast in natural food stores such as Nature's or in nutrition centers. Farina is a wheat cereal, such as Cream of Wheat. Adapted from "Gourmet Dog Biscuits From Your Bread Machine" by Sondra Macdonald




A great double-layered pie with lemon topping covering a creamy cheesecake filling. Make the crust from scratch like the pros, or take the easy route with a pre-made graham cracker crust found in the baking aisle. Either way it's pie heaven. From TOP SECRET RECIPES:


1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

Lemon Filling

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

dash salt

1 cup water

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with melted butter

and sugar in a small bowl. Press the crust mixture into an 8-inch pie pan.

3. Prepare the cream cheese filling by mixing cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and an egg using an electric mixer. Mix well until smooth. Pour cream cheese filling into graham cracker crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until center is cooked. A knife stuck in the middle of the filling should come out mostly clean.

4. As the pie cools, make the lemon filling by combining 1/2 cup sugar with corn-

starch, salt and water in a small saucepan. Set mixture over low heat and bring to a simmer, stirring often.

5. Whisk in egg yolks, then add lemon juice and butter. When mixture simmers

again remove it immediately from the heat.

6. Pour the lemon filling over the cream cheese filling, and let the pie cool. When cool, chill pie in the refrigerator for several hours before serving. Slice into 6 pieces to serve restaurant-size portions. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com)



to go with Buckwheat Fried Oysters, shown in this collection

Makes 3 cups

3/8 cup cornichons ***

2 tablespoons cornichon juice

1/4 cup capers, drained

1 large shallot, peeled

11/4 cups mayonnaise

Grated peel of small lemon (yellow part only)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon brandy

1/4 cup chopped chives

11/2 tablespoons ground black pepper


*** [Cornichons are pickles made of: Gherkins, water, vinegar, sugar, salt, spices

(onions, garlic, tarragon, mustard, pepper) ]


Combine cornichons and juice, capers and shallot in bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. Transfer to bowl and blend in mayonnaise, lemon peel and juice, brandy, chives and black pepper. Chill.



Makes 10 servings


You can make the pancake batter a day ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.


11/2 pounds frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (about 9 cups), thawed, or

11/2 pounds refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes (about 5 cups,

lightly packed)

1 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons matzo meal, crushed crackers or cracker meal

1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if hash browns contain salt)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg substitute

1 teaspoon dried dill, parsley or chives (optional)

Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray

Nonfat or light sour cream or unsweetened applesauce for topping (optional)


Place hash brown potatoes, onion, matzo meal, salt, pepper, egg substitute and dill in a large bowl and stir to mix well.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup of batter onto a sheet and form into a 3-inch pancake. Repeat with remaining batter. Spray tops of pancakes with cooking spray.


Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pancakes with a spatula and spray again. Switch the pans in the oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until pancakes are golden brown.


Serve hot, topped with nonfat or light sour cream or unsweetened applesauce, if desired.



Makes about 4 dozen cookies


A drift of powdered sugar tops these thin, crisp citrus rectangles. For even more delicate cookies, slice the dough 1/8 inch thick and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.


3 limes

1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick; no substitutions)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

About 1/2 cup powdered sugar


Grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice from limes.


In medium bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until creamy. Reduce speed to low; beat in egg and lime peel and juice until blended. Beat in flour until combined.


Divide dough in half. On separate sheets of wax paper, shape each half into a 6-by-21/2-by-11/2-inch brick. Wrap each brick in wax paper and freeze 3 hours, or up to 1 month.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Slice 1 brick into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on large, ungreased cookie sheet. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks with a wide spatula. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies.


Repeat with remaining cookie dough and powdered sugar.



Makes about 5 pounds

1 pound pitted dates

1/2 pound candied cherries

1/2 pound candied sliced pineapple

1 pound coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Line angel food tube pan with parchment paper. Spray with vegetable cooking

spray, if desired.

Cut fruits into small pieces; mix with chopped pecans. Sift dry ingredients together; mix with fruits and nuts. Beat eggs with vanilla; pour over fruit mixture. Mix well.

Pack into pan. Bake for two hours at 250 degrees. Top of fruitcake may be decorated by removing cake from oven after an hour and garnishing with more

pineapple slices, halved cherries and pecan halves. Return to oven to finish baking. Cool completely, preferably overnight, before removing from pan.



Serves 4

1 pound extra-lean ground beef (90 percent lean)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound onion, chopped, or 3 cups

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 pound mushrooms, chopped

1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a non-stick skillet, brown meat in its own fat, stirring to break it up. Push to side of pan. Add oil, and sauté onion until it begins to soften. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add carrots and mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Continue cooking until liquid evaporates.

Add tomatoes, breaking them up with your fingers as you put them in the pan,

along with tomato paste, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat at least 1 hour. Serve hot, or cool and refrigerate or freeze.

To serve, defrost if frozen. Reheat slowly and serve over spaghetti.



Meryl's (Makes Approximately 12 - 2 inch meatballs)

1 1/3 lb. ground turkey

1/2 cup egg substitute

1 cup bread crumbs (or add until desired consistency)

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 1/2 to 2 ( 26 oz) jars of sauce

vegetable oil

Begin to warm sauce on low in crock pot with any seasonings you like (i.e.: parsley, oregano, minced fresh garlic or powder, left over chopped onion, etc.)

Mix together first 4 ingredients until desired consistency. Adding more or less breadcrumbs to taste. Form into balls. Heat oil in large skillet. Brown meatballs. Don't worry about cooking all the way through.

When meatballs are browned, scoop them into sauce (getting rid of most of the oil) making sure it covers meatballs completely. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Great served with baked ziti.






1 egg white

pinch of salt

1/3 c superfine sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg white with salt until stiff, not dry. Add sugar gradually one tablespoon at a time. Beat after all is added until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold in vanilla and shape with spoon on well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 250 degrees F. for 45 minutes.



Makes about 2 dozen pieces

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (be sure it is reasonably fresh)

Dash of salt

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Combine water, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Do not stir. Bring to a rolling boil and boil until temperature on candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees.

Place marshmallow creme in small bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer while gradually pouring in hot, syrupy mixture. Add vanilla.

Beat until candy loses its gloss and holds its shape when dropped from a spoon. Add nuts. (If mixture is under-beaten, it will not hold its shape, and if it is over-beaten, it will become dry.) Drop from spoon onto wax paper. Cool and store in airtight container.


2 oz Package dried onion soup mix

1/4 c Water

1/4 c Soy sauce

1 ts Garlic; chopped

1 ts Curing salt

Dried herbs or flavorings of choice

1 1/2 lb Very lean ground beef

In a bowl, combine onion soup mix and water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add the

remaining ingredients, including the beef, and combine we. . . Let marinate

for at least 2 hours. For a more pronounced flavor, cover and refrigerate

for 8 to 12 hours.

Put through a jerky press, OR shape the meat into 1-to 2-inch balls. Line each drying tray with a solid leather sheet. Top it with a mesh sheet. Arrange the meat rounds on the mesh sheets. Dry at 145 F. or above until hard, about 6 to 10 hours. With some dehydrators, you will have to turn the rounds to ensure uniform drying. If beads of melted fat form on the rounds as they are drying, blot them up with a clean, un-inked paper towel. Each pound of ground beef makes about 4 oz. jerky.




BY LINDA GASSENHEIMER, Knight Ridder News Service


Serve sautéed boneless pork chops with sweet-tart apple relish and sweet potatoes for an inviting cool-weather meal.


Besides flavor and texture, apples lend health benefits to any menu. One apple has as much fiber as a bowl of most cereals. This recipe calls for a Gala apple, a juicy, moderately crisp variety that holds its shape well and adds just the right amount of sweetness to the relish.


You can buy boneless, butterflied pork chops in the supermarket. They have very little fat and cook quickly, though if you prefer, you can use chops with the bone in. If you do, either cut the bone off or increase the cooking time about 5 minutes. Shallots, which can be found near the onions in the produce department, are a mild-tasting member of the onion family. You can use sweet onion instead of shallots if you prefer.


Pork chops with apple relish

Serves 2

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 (6-ounce) boneless loin pork chops

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium apple, (preferably Gala) cored and coarsely chopped

1 medium shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar


Heat oil in a small, non-stick skillet on medium high. Brown pork chops for 2 minutes on each side. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium and cook 4 minutes, or until chops register 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.


While chops cook, mix apple, shallot, apple cider vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place pork on plates and spoon apple relish on top.



Phyllo Pie Crust (see below)

1 cup egg substitute

15 oz pumpkin puree

1 cup skim milk

whisk 1st 3 well

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground mace

whisk these 5 well


Combine well. Pour into pie crust, bake in preheated oven 350 for 70 min.

or 'til knife inserted in center comes out clean. Optional: Add more egg sub

for a lighter fluffy pie.

Phyllo Pie Crust

Lay out a sheet of Phyllo, spray with Pam Butter Spray- repeat 3 times. Press into pie plate, trim. Fill. This is basically just to hold the contents together for slicing. It will NOT be flaky.



Serves 2

3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices

2 teaspoons canola oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Place potatoes in a steamer basket over a pan of boiling water (water should not touch bottom of basket). Cover and steam 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl; toss with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.








``It is much the most remarkable nut that we have.''

- Henry David Thoreau from ``Wild Fruits''

BY LINDA COLLERY. Special to the Mercury News

Their flavor has been described as pungent, trufflelike, earthy, bold. But cookbook author Marion Cunningham may have captured the flavor of black walnuts best when she called it ``haunting.''


These curious-looking, shaggy brown nuts evoke vivid memories. Just ask Sally Oliver of Cache Creek Farms, who sells the rare nuts at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in San Francisco only in December.


``Since I began selling black walnuts, I've heard so many childhood stories I've been tempted to compile them into a book,'' she says. Among her favorites is a customer's tender remembrance of her mother's black walnut cake, hidden in a dresser every year so her family wouldn't eat it before Christmas.


Black walnuts are proud North American natives, unlike the milder-flavored English walnuts most of us know from the grocery store. Several species of the nut are found throughout the United States, including the Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) and the Northern California black walnut (Juglans hindsii). The once thriving black walnut processing industry, which involves hulling, shelling and packaging the nuts, has dwindled over the past few decades to only a handful of companies.


Yet, with demand now exceeding supply, there appears to be growing interest in the nut.


``Black walnuts fit with today's food trends,'' says Brian Hammons, president of Hammons Products in Stockton, Mo., the only remaining commercial processor of the Eastern black in the world. ``Chefs like them because they're a regional, historical ingredient with a unique flavor. Home bakers love them, especially during the holidays. And for many people they are a comfort food they associate with their grandmother.''


The Northern California black walnut -- trees grow in Morgan Hill and Gilroy as well as the Central Valley, Chico and Sonoma areas -- is in shorter supply than its Eastern counterpart. With its milder flavor, it has a reputation as a better snacking nut. Professional chefs often prefer the Eastern variety for cooking and baking because of its deeper, wilder flavor.


Geological evidence dates black walnut trees to the Pleistocene era. Native Americans were dining on them as long as 2,000 years ago, eating them raw, in nut butters and milks, and as a seasoning in pumpkin soups. They shared their knowledge of the trees with newly arriving European colonists, but the settlers were soon felling the trees to make guns and furniture. Black walnut still ranks as one of the most valuable single species of hardwood.


Aside from their distinctive flavor, striking appearance and reputation as the most difficult nut to crack, another thing that sets black walnuts apart is that they are a wild nut, unlike English walnuts, almonds and other tree nuts that are grown in vast commercial orchards.


As Jim Jones, director of the Center for Advancement of American Black Walnut, a non-profit research organization in Missouri, explains, ``Ninety-nine point nine percent of the black walnuts gathered this fall come from wild trees that have been planted by squirrels.''


The harvesting of black walnuts also differs dramatically from that of the U.S. commercial nut industry, a large segment of which is centered in California. While commercial growers use mechanical shakers to remove nuts, black walnuts are gathered by hand from back yards, pastures, fields and creek beds after autumn's first blustery winds and rains cause ripe nuts to drop from the tree.


The Northern California black walnut tree used to be a far more common sight. During the Depression, the Works Progress Administration gave people jobs planting them along two-lane highways throughout Northern California, boosting the number of feral trees. But the population has declined since then.


``We've lost black walnut trees to housing developments and the expansion to multi-lane freeways,'' observes Virgil Suess, vice president of Lodi Nut Co. in Lodi. ``Many have been cut down, and because of the high price of the lumber, there have been problems with tree `rustling.' ''


Back in 1949, when Lodi Nut was founded, black walnut processing represented 100 percent of its business and the company had numerous competitors. Now, black walnuts make up just 5 percent of the business, and to Suess' knowledge, Lodi Nut is the largest remaining processor in Northern California.


The company collects and processes black walnuts sold by Diamond of California and provides nuts to Safeway for its house brand of black walnut ice cream. Still, Suess says, sadly, ``I believe it's a dying business in California.''


The future looks brighter for the Eastern black walnut, according to Hammons. Hammons Products and the Center for Advancement of American Black Walnut are researching methods to increase the number of trees. Both envision a future when orchards will supplement the wild supply.


This fall, Hammons purchased about 38 million pounds of Eastern blacks from a 13-state area, a minuscule amount compared to the expected 560 million pounds of English walnuts from California.


``They are a true delicacy,'' says Hammons.


They are also nearly twice the price of English walnuts, but a smaller quantity is needed in recipes because of their pronounced flavor.


In ``American Cookery,'' James Beard recommends browning black walnuts in butter and serving them over cooked cauliflower.


Or roast a handful and add them to a green salad.


Lindsey Shere, author of ``Chez Panisse Desserts'' and former pastry chef at the restaurant, has long used wild nuts in her cooking.


When she worked at Chez Panisse, her father would gather black walnuts from trees growing along the Russian River and bring them to the restaurant. Shere made black walnut ice cream and sometimes added the finely chopped nuts to crepe batters.


``Pear ice cream is lovely with black walnut crepes,'' Shere says. ``Maple ice cream would be good, too, as the flavor of the nuts is reminiscent of maple.''


Black walnuts deserve a starring role in any home baker's pantry. They make glorious cakes, cookies and pies and are a fragrant addition to banana, pumpkin and zucchini breads. They are incomparable in candies such as brittle, toffee and fudge. Or perhaps, like so many others, you have a favorite black walnut memory from childhood. For me, it's my grandmother's black walnut spice cake, rich with the haunting flavor of one of the country's splendid wild foods.






[This item is included in our recipe collection for its general information, rather

than as an advertisement for the company that presents it. - Spike]


Stepping inside IMP Foods in San Mateo is like wading into the ocean -- all salty-scented and shivery cold. As well it should be.


Sea creatures from all over the world are brought to this wholesaler before ending up on plates at Bay Area sushi bars and upscale restaurants around the country.


IMP Foods is one of only a handful of businesses in the Bay Area that specialize in sushi-grade or sashimi-grade seafood. That's seafood that's so fresh and is handled so carefully it can be safely eaten raw.


It wasn't so long ago that raw fish was hardly ever served outside a Japanese restaurant. Now, more and more white-tablecloth establishments tout seared ahi or tuna tartare -- made with sushi-grade fish.


``Consumers should know that sushi is a delicious but highly perishable form of cuisine,'' says Glenn Sakata, IMP Foods' general manager. To handle it properly ``requires manpower, expensive equipment, an efficient delivery system, discipline, knowledge, experience, dedication and beyond.''


When IMP was established in South San Francisco 18 years ago, the company had only two employees and 10 customers. Now, the privately held company, a sister company to Japanese-owned seafood wholesaler International Marine Products in Los Angeles, has grown to 35 employees and 300 customers. Both are owned by Japan-based Eiwa Group, a conglomerate that includes restaurants, a cooking school, a seafood export business and a marshmallow factory, all in Japan.


IMP Foods, which does $20 million in sales annually, is best known for its vast array of seafood products from Japan. Its seafood, which comes from more than 30 countries, is served at about 75 percent of the Bay Area's sushi bars, Sakata estimates, including Ebisu in San Francisco, Kirala in Berkeley, Chaya in San Francisco, Seto Tempura in Sunnyvale and Akane in Los Altos. It is also featured in such upscale restaurants as Masa's in San Francisco, Spago in Palo Alto, Farallon in San Francisco and Charlie Trotter's in Chicago.


Although the public can't buy directly from IMP, you can purchase its seafood at markets such as Mitsuwa in San Jose, Nijiya in Mountain View, Suruki in San Mateo and Tokyo Fish in Berkeley.


Jody Denton, executive chef of San Francisco's hip French-Asian restaurant Azie, has been buying ahi, albacore, hamachi, flounder and Spanish mackerel from IMP for a year to serve as sashimi or in parfaits layered with avocado, cucumber and rice.


``With local fish purveyors in San Francisco, the quality is good by general American standards,'' Denton says. ``But the standards for raw fish for the Japanese are like 12 steps above. IMP really cares for the fish, and the quality from them on any given day is far superior. For a raw preparation, where fish is the whole point of the dish, we go with them.''

Exacting assessments


Many companies say all sushi-grade fish is the same quality, but Sakata disagrees. When a fish arrives at IMP, a thermometer is used to check its temperature. For most fish, the temperature should register 37 degrees, just above freezing and below the level that promotes the growth of toxins and pathogens, Sakata says. The tail meat is cut to check color, and a long probe is stuck into the body to extract a cross-section to determine texture and fat content.


Besides how the fish is handled and the temperature it's stored at, other variables that affect grading include where it was caught -- every species has a natural habitat -- and the season in which it was caught. The best time to eat salmon, for instance, is March through May, just before they would swim upstream to spawn, because they have more fat then, Sakata says.


That's because more fat means more flavor. And the same species may have more fat at different stages of life. For instance, Sakata says, a 2-year-old yellowtail (hamachi) is fatty and fairly firm. But that same fish at age 4 has a much whiter, softer, fattier and more buttery taste and texture. In fact, it has so much fat that soy sauce will barely stick to a piece of it done sashimi-style, much like water beads off a well-waxed car.


At IMP, seafood is ranked either sushi-grade No. 1 (excellent) or sushi-grade No. 2 (good), Sakata says. ``Anything that's No. 2, we reject,'' he says. ``It's sent back to the supplier.''


With its network of hundreds of fishermen and seafood brokers around the world, it takes IMP only from 36 hours to three days to get the fish from the ocean to a restaurant table, depending upon whether the seafood originated in this country or overseas.


For that level of freshness, work starts early. By 4 a.m., workers in rubber boots, rubber gloves and hair nets are scurrying about the refrigerated warehouse, unloading shipments from San Francisco International Airport. For the next five hours, they'll fill each restaurant's order, loading up wax-coated, waterproof boxes with seafood on ice to be delivered by 11 a.m.


A few particularly finicky chefs, such as Sam Sugiyama, owner of Sushi Sam's in San Mateo, prefer to pick up their own fish every day so they can personally inspect everything.


``This is the best place,'' says Sugiyama, as he sniffed and poked a boiled octopus from Japan. ``They have the freshest stuff.''


Inside the warehouse, it's practically an aquatic exhibit. There are bins of Pacific oysters from Seattle; their superior quality makes them the only oysters IMP Foods will sell, and only from September through May, which the wholesaler considers the best season. Nearby are oblong razor clams from Boston, herring roe from Canada, whole Thai snapper from New Zealand, monkfish and its foie-gras-like liver from Rhode island, sardines from Monterey Bay, and geoducks from western Canada that look like an anteater's schnoz poking out of a giant clamshell as big as your hand.


More than fish


IMP also sells other sushi accouterments: shiso leaves from Oxnard, bamboo leaves from Japan, fresh wasabi root from Japan, and a new powdered wasabi from Canada that's the terra cotta color of clay and spicier than the usual green variety.


But the biggest seller by far is tuna. And it's the most expensive. Bluefin, with its elegant taste and meat as red as beef, contains one and a half times the fat of the milder-tasting yellowfin -- and it sells for three times the price. A room is set aside for filleting bluefin and other large tuna, which can tip the scale at 700 pounds. Prices vary for different cuts. The fattiest section of the bluefin belly, prized for its rich texture and flavor, is $35 a pound wholesale.


Sushi chef Craig Kuwabara of Palo Alto's Highashi West restaurant will be the first to say, though, that the quality is worth the price. He buys almost all his fish from IMP -- all for the sushi bar, never the stove.


``We don't want to waste it,'' he says. ``With fish this good, a little soy sauce and wasabi is really all you need.''


Sushi grade' is subjective rating

Does ``sushi grade'' always guarantee that fish is the freshest and best it can be?

Not necessarily.


Diners and consumers should be aware that there are no state or federal regulations regarding what can be called ``sushi grade.'' That determination is made by individual seafood dealers based on subjective assessments of factors such as texture, fat content and color. As a result, fish that one dealer may label as sushi grade another might dismiss as sub-par.


``With sushi-grade, you are dealing with both sensory and safety issues,'' says Michael Hernandez, chief of the seafood safety program for the food and drug branch of the California Department of Health Services. ``It's the smell, the color, the taste, as well as safety considerations with parasites and toxins.''


With regard to food safety, California seafood processors and dealers are required to assess their product and develop plans to ensure the fish is safe to eat raw, using guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But because those plans are tailored to each dealer and are different for various types of fish, safety plans can vary widely.


For instance, FDA guidelines recommend that all fish to be eaten raw, other than tuna, first be frozen to kill parasites. But California regulations require freezing only if parasites are found. (Tuna is exempt because it's not prone to parasites.)


In the United States, human parasitic infections from seafood are rare, according to the National Academy of Sciences. In California, incidents of illness from parasites, toxins or bacteria from raw fish also are uncommon, Hernandez says. Still, because few foods have zero risk, he adds, consumers who plan to eat raw seafood should patronize reputable seafood stores and restaurants that turn over seafood stock frequently.



1 1/4 cups couscous

16 ounces firm tofu, cut in 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped basil, divided

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided

1 green bell pepper, cut in 1 inch strips

1 red bell pepper, cut in 1 inch strips

1 1/4 pounds eggplant, cut in 1/4 inch slices

1 pound zucchini, cut in 1/4 inch slices

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon salt. divided

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil, coat with cooking spray.

Bring 1 1/2 cups lightly salted water to boil, add the couscous, cover the pan and remove it from the heat, let stand, covered, while you prepare the vegetables.

Toss the tofu cubes with 1/4 cup of the basil and 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and set aside.

In a single layer, lay the peppers, eggplant, zucchini and tofu on the baking sheets. Brush the eggplant and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the salt over all vegetables. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are fork-tender and golden.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Using a fork, toss the couscous with the vinaigrette.

Divide the couscous among 4 plates and arrange the vegetables on top of

each serving. Makes 4 servings.



2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup good quality salsa (your heat preference)

1/2 cup corn (or a small can of Mexican style corn)

Using a nonstick skillet, cook the chicken in a very small amount of olive oil, until done. (Or you could grill them on your George Foreman, or the barbecue.


Add the salsa and corn to the chicken, and cook over medium heat until the

mixture is good and hot. Serve over rice.




Makes 2 servings


When you know how to prepare a good brown butter sauce, sautéed fish fillets rise above the ordinary into a more refined and elegant realm. Any fish would be honored to join it on a plate. The trick to making this sauce is allowing the butter to reach the perfect degree of golden brownness as it swirls in the pan over high heat. The wonderful, nutlike flavor and aroma that emerge at this precise point define the sauce -- but be careful, since only a second or two separates brown from burnt butter.


Have the lemon juice, capers, salt, pepper and parsley ready and waiting so they can be added swiftly at just the right moment. The lemon juice halts the browning process, allowing a few seconds for you to finish the sauce.


This recipe, which is also very good made with halibut or swordfish, can easily be doubled or even tripled. Once you've made brown butter a few times, experiment with adding other flavorful ingredients such as pecans or almonds, fresh tarragon or chives, shallots or garlic, depending on the type of fish.


2 salmon fillets, skinned (7 to 8 ounces each)

Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Juice of half a lemon

1 teaspoon small (nonpareil) capers, with brine

1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves


Rinse the salmon, then pat dry. If the fish still has a few bones, remove them with tweezers or your fingers if you can. Sprinkle the fish all over with salt and pepper.


Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add the oil and, when it's almost smoking, add the salmon and sauté until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.


How long you need to cook the fish depends on how thick it is and how done you like it. Figure 10 minutes per inch of thickness for any kind of fish. When it's cooked to the desired doneness, transfer the fish carefully to individual serving plates and cover lightly with aluminum foil to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.


Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Place it back over medium-high to high heat and add the butter. Let the butter melt, swirling it as it foams up, then subsides. When it reaches a dark, nutty brown, a matter of mere seconds (take care that it doesn't burn), immediately add the lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for a few seconds more, then add the parsley. When the parsley sizzles, remove the skillet from the heat, pour the sauce over the fish and serve immediately. From "Staff Meals From Chanterelle" by David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips.



Makes 12 servings


Savory cheesecakes can be served at cocktail buffets, as an appetizer or even as the entree for a light lunch or supper. The parmesan-and-rosemary crust of this elegant cheesecake is crisp, crunchy and flavorful, and the creamy cheesecake is accented with crunchy red bell peppers and carrots. I'm an artist at heart and I love decorating the top of this cheesecake. Carrots and red bell peppers can be cut into shapes to form dragonflies and flower petals, and parsley can be used for stems and leaves.




4 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 cup)

1 cup dried bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted (5 tablespoons)



10 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

11/2 pounds cream cheese, softened (three 8-ounce packages)

8 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream (1 cup)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste

2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

1 tablespoon minced fresh chervil

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage

1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup finely diced carrot

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 egg whites, at room temperature

Additional herbs and/or vegetables, for decoration


To make crust: Mix Parmigiano-Reggiano, bread crumbs, rosemary and butter in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan. Refrigerate while you make the filling.


To make filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Place the unpeeled cloves of garlic in a small ramekin or ovenproof dish and drizzle with the olive oil.


Bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft when tested with the tip of a knife. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.


Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skins and mash or chop the garlic, along with the olive oil, to a puree. Combine the garlic puree, cream cheese, creme fraiche, whole eggs, flour and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 2 minutes. Add the parsley, chervil, basil, oregano and sage and process for 1 minute. Pour the cream cheese mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the red bell pepper and carrot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Blend a spoonful of egg whites into the cream cheese mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.


Pour the cheesecake batter into the chilled crust. Line a baking pan with foil and set the spring-form pan on top of the foil (to catch any drips). Using the additional herbs and vegetables, float a design on top of the batter. Alternatively, you can decorate the cheesecake after it is baked.


Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. When done, the cake will have risen and the center will be almost set. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to remain in the oven for 1 hour longer, without opening the door. Don't worry if the cake is cracked. Remove the cheesecake and set it on a rack to cool for 11/2 hours.


Remove the outer ring of the spring-form pan. Loosen the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan, using a knife, and slide it onto a serving plate.


Serve at room temperature, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving and allow it to come to room temperature. If desired, decorate the top of the cheesecake using herbs and/or vegetables.


The cheesecake is lovely served whole for a cocktail buffet party, but it can also be cut into wedges and served on individual plates.


Savory Stilton Cheesecake Variation: Reduce the cream cheese to 12 ounces (11/2 cups) and add 12 ounces crumbled Stilton (about 2 cups). From "The Cheese Lover's Cookbook & Guide" by Paula Lambert



1/2 cup butter or margarine -- melted

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash cayenne

2 cloves garlic -- minced

2 cups soft bread crumbs

4 cups cooked shrimp -- peeled and deveined

Combine first 6 ingredients; stir in breadcrumbs. Place shrimp in a greased, 11- x 7- x 2-inch baking pan; spoon breadcrumb mixture evenly over shrimp. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes. Garnish dish with extra parsley, if desired. 8 servings.



1/2 c Soy sauce; can use light

1 tbsp Allspice

4 tbsp Sugar

2 tsp Fresh ginger; grated

1 Clove garlic; minced

1 tbsp Liquid smoke; hickory or mesquite

2 lb Ground meat; leanest possible

Press hamburger meat into flat strips 5 inches long by 1-1/2 wide and 1/4 inch thick. Place one layer of hamburger strips in dish for marinating. Mix marinade ingredients together in a bowl. After well mixed, sprinkle marinade sauce over meat, soaking well. Turn meat over and sprinkle with sauce. Add layers of hamburger strips to marinating dish and repeat sprinkling of marinade. Pour remaining marinade sauce over meat. Cover tightly and let marinate in refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours. rotate layers of meat occasionally. Place in dehydrator until dry. While meat is drying, blot

excess oil with paper towel.



1 pound Milkcote -- (chocolate coating)

120 small Pretzels -- traditional shape

Line two large baking sheets with waxed paper, and set aside. Next, melt

milkcote in a glass bowl, in your microwave on medium heat. It is best to

do this in one minute sessions, stirring between each session- this will

take 2 - 3 minutes. If your milkcote becomes stiff or lumpy, add vegetable

shortening, 1 Tbsp. at time to melted milkcote until it becomes the proper

consistency again. Now you are ready to make snowflakes!

Using a fork, place 5 pretzels into the melted coating. Remove them one at

a time, and place them with the single hole sides facing toward each other,

in a small ring, with sides touching. Next, using a small bit of milkcote,

drizzle a bit of coating where each pretzel touches (to insure they will

stick together) and then make a lacy pattern with the coating, in the hole

in the center of the pretzel ring. Repeat until all pretzels have been

used. Let these dry until they are no longer glossy- about 30 minutes.

NOTES : This recipe can be made for non-diabetic diets by using white Almond

Bark coating in place of the Milkcote coating.

These also make great Christmas tree ornaments when a loop of curling ribbon

is added through one loop, for hanging on the tree branches.



Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed

2 cups whole milk

11/2 cups half-and-half

1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed, washed and chopped (or one 10-ounce box

frozen chopped spinach, cooked)

1 pint shucked blue-point or other oysters with their liquor

Worcestershire sauce to taste

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste


Heat oil in heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add onion, then crumble chorizo into pan. Cook, stirring often, until sausage is browned, about 10 minutes. Drain well to remove fat, wipe out pan and return sausage and onion to pan.


Place soup pot over medium heat and add milk and half-and-half; heat just until steaming. Add spinach and simmer 1 or 2 minutes.


In a skillet, heat oysters and their liquor just until edges curl up. Pour into soup pot and heat until very hot but not boiling. Season to taste with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Adapted from "Pacific Passions" by Karen Barnaby





Let's face it: Sometimes we cook to eat, other times we cook just to cook.

And so for one hour on that misty Sunday, I stirred together a meat mixture, made a tomato sauce, peeled cabbage leaves and stuffed them. Then I stuck

the whole thing in the oven and picked up a good book, periodically hauling

myself up out of my chair to inspect, but mainly just to sniff.

Cabbage rolls are a perfect project for a day like that. They'll keep you busy, but not to the point of distraction.

Start making cabbage rolls by bringing a big pot of water to the boil. While cabbage has a rather coarse reputation among the uninitiated, it has attributes no other vegetable can claim. One is a sweet vegetal flavor; the other is a surpassing silkiness of texture.

Cabbage, like all leafy greens, is composed of little cellulose cells holding water. It's the water that makes these greens firm, much as a balloon is given shape by air. When these leaves are heated, the water in the cells expands, bursting the cellulose walls and collapsing the structure. While more delicate greens, such as lettuces or herbs, disintegrate into formless rags, cabbage is sturdy enough to retain some character. Kitchen alchemy has turned those leaves, once so coarse, into silk - the perfect wrapper for a meat stuffing.

How you make your stuffing is pretty much up to you. The important thing to

remember is that you'll need about a pound of ground meat for six servings (perfect for one head of cabbage), and that it will be stretched out with 3/4 cup of uncooked rice, moistened with half a cup of wine or broth, seasoned with two tablespoons of salt, and bound with about one egg.

Stir this just until it comes together and there is no moisture left in the bottom of the bowl. Don't overwork it. It will get dense and heavy if you play with it too much.

By now the water should be boiling. Set the meat aside and turn to the cabbage. Use a small knife to dig out as much of the core as you can. It doesn't need to be either perfect or neat -- you'll have another chance to clean it up later.

First, make sure you've got something to rescue the cabbage with -- one of those Chinese "spider" skimmers is perfect -- then dump the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water. It'll naturally turn core-side down. That's fine since that's the densest part and will take longest to cook. But what you want to pay attention to are the leaves on top. After about 5 to 10 seconds, they will soften and turn silky, slightly loosening from the head.

When this happens, remove the whole head from the water and rinse it briefly under cold water. Carefully peel back the cooked outer leaves, separate them from the head at the base and set them aside on a towel to drain. When you hit leaves that still have some crispness left, return the head to the water for more cooking. Keep repeating this process until you get down to the inner clenched fist of cabbage leaves, which will be so small, so thick and convoluted that no amount of cooking will make them right for stuffing. These you'll shred and add to the sauce.

To make the rolls, sort through the leaves, setting aside both the very biggest and the very smallest. You never can tell exactly how many leaves it will take to use up all of the stuffing mix, so have some in reserve. You want to start with the middling leaves so the rolls will be consistent in size.

When all the rolls are ready, place them in the skillet of tomato sauce. You want to handle them gently, so they don't spring a leak, but don't worry about squeezing them together in the pan -- you'll need to in order to fit them all in. You can even stack one or two on top, if you like. Cabbage rolls are forgiving.

Lay some of the unused leaves on top to create a moist cover, slap on a lid and then stick the pan in the oven to bake. The rolls will take a while, so maybe you can catch a good book and a nap. Don't worry too much about the dish. Your nose will tell you when they're done.

After about an hour, you'll notice that the bright fresh fragrance of tomato sauce has turned into something deeper, darker and more developed.



2 lbs Sugar

2 tbsp Syrup

small tin condensed milk (sweetened)

2 ozs Margarine

3 ozs water

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Place all in pan. Melt slowly. Stir till boiling. Boil about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and beat well and pour into greased tin. Mark when cool; cut when cold.




4-5 lbs pork

1 onion 2 cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

salt to taste


5 guajillo chilies or any spicy chili

3 dried red ancho chili

1/2 c pork broth

7 cloves garlic

1/2 lb pork lard

1/2 tsp. whole pepper

1/2 tsp whole cumin

salt to taste

Masa (dough):

1 4.4 lb pkg masa harina (instant Corn Tortilla mix)

1 Tbsp baking powder

2 Tbsp salt

2 1/2 lbs pork lard

7 1/2 c pork broth

12 oz dried corn shucks (these must be soaked in water 1-2 hours before use)

To prepare the filling: Boil the pork shoulder in a large stock pot with the onion, garlic, bay leaves and salt. When it is well cooked (about 1 hr of cooking time), remove the meat from the broth. Reserve the broth for later use. Remove meat for the bones. Discard the bones. With meat grinder, grind the cooked pork. (If you don't have a meat grinder, mince the meat as finely as possible with a knife, or grind in a food processor.)


To prepare the meat filling seasoning: Boil the chilies together until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the stems, and chilies to the container of a blender. Add in the 1/2 c pork broth and garlic, and puree well (add more broth if necessary to facilitate blending.) Strain puree through a wire strainer to extract any seeds. In a spice grinder (mortar & pestle) (or coffee grinder), grind pepper, garlic, and cumin with some salt. Make sure the mixture is finely ground. Set aside. In a skillet, heat 1/2 lb lard. When melted, add the ground spice mixture, and sauté for 20 seconds. Add in chili puree, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add in ground pork, combining well. Adjust the seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat. Set aside.

To prepare the Masa: Pour the contents of the package of masa into a very

large bowl ( like a metal turkey roaster pan.) Add in the baking powder and salt. Knead the lard in with your hands. Add in the broth one cup at a time. You may need a bit more or less broth. The masa is ready when the dough no longer sticks to your hands, and is smooth and delicate to the touch. To assemble the tamales: Dry off some of the corn shucks, and place a few within reach. To make a proper tamale, the corn shuck bottom edge should be round 6-7 inches wide. Discard those that are too narrow, and tear bits of the ones that are too wide. Take a corn shuck and spared the bottom 2/3 of the leaf with 3-4 Tbsp. of masa. Leave a 1 1/2" wide area along one edge free of masa. Spread the masa thinly. Place line of about 2 Tbsp of the filling, following the direction of the corn shuck veins, on the spread masa, towards the center of the prepared shuck.


Fold the edge of the prepared shuck over the filling, then roll up towards the edge of the shuck with no masa. Fold down the top flap. Continue until all the tamales have been formed. Place tamales in a large steamer basket. boil water in the

bottom of the steamer. As a top layer cover the tamales with extra shucks, then with a sheet of plastic wrap. Secure the lid of the steamer, using foil around the edges of the lid to prevent the escape of steam. Place the steamer over the boiling water. Steam the tamales for about 50 minutes, until the masa is firm.


Makes about 1 gallon

1 gallon jar dill pickles

Small bottle Tabasco sauce

3 cloves garlic, chopped

5-pound bag sugar

Drain all juice from pickles and discard. Slice pickles lengthwise and place in jar. Add Tabasco and garlic. Add about one-third of the sugar.

Screw lid back on jar tightly, so no juice will leak out. Gently tip jar back and forth several times to allow sugar and spices to mix with pickles. Leave on counter at room temperature for about a week.

As sugar dissolves, add more until all sugar is used. Gently tip jar back and forth daily to allow spices and sugar to mix. When all sugar is absorbed, pickles will be dark green and crispy. Serve on platter with sliced vegetables.




Makes 2 dozen cocktail meatballs


Beefeaters will thank you for serving meatballs reminiscent of one of their favorite steaks. These pepper-coated meatballs can be broiled or cooked on a stovetop grill and basted with anchovy sauce, as described below, or pan-fried in the anchovy-butter mixture and served in a chafing dish.


2 pounds lean ground beef

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)

3 anchovy fillets, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons cognac or other brandy (optional)


Preheat broiler or indoor grill. Mix meat and olive oil together lightly. Form into 24 small balls. Lightly crush peppercorns in a pepper grinder. Roll balls in the crushed pepper.


In a small skillet, heat butter and anchovies, mashing anchovies against the side of the skillet with a wooden spoon until they are pasty. Add garlic and saute slowly 3 minutes. If desired, add cognac and ignite; allow flames to die down.


Baste meatballs with anchovy sauce, then broil or grill until well browned, and cooked through with no pink in the center, basting once or twice with more sauce. Serve meatballs with cocktail picks and remaining sauce in a heatproof dish; rewarm sauce if needed.



Serves 2


3/4 pound boneless, skinless turkey fillets or slices or 2 cups cooked turkey

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1/2 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)

3/4 cup fat-free, low-salt chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Slice turkey into 1/4-inch strips.

Heat one teaspoon oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet and brown turkey.

This will take less than a minute. Try not to overcook the turkey. Remove to

a plate and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Add second teaspoon oil and onion. Sauté five minutes. Add mushrooms and

continue to sauté for five minutes more minutes. Pour in broth. Add tomato

paste, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Simmer five minutes.

Taste. You may need to add a little more mustard or Worcestershire sauce.

There should be a delicate blend of flavors. If using cooked turkey, add it

now. Return the turkey to the sauce and add sour cream. Mix thoroughly.

Serve over egg noodles. Sprinkle with parsley.



Makes 8 servings


It's well worth your while to seek out small, greenish French de Puy lentils for this recipe. Their flavor and texture are superior to those of the larger, more common brown lentils at the supermarket, although I don't hesitate to use the brown kind if that's all I have on hand.



You could say this dish is salad-like rather than a salad, since it's served warm and is almost, though not quite, pourable. The butter adds richness and mellowness to the flavors, and the balsamic vinegar adds a complementary touch of sweetness and acidity. It's lovely served with the Sauteed Salmon With Brown Butter, Lemon and Capers, or with steak, lamb chops or pork sausages. And it makes a fine appetizer served on a bed of salad greens or cooked leafy green vegetables.


When reheating leftovers, you may need to add a little water or chicken stock.


2 cups French de Puy (green) lentils or regular brown lentils

4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt, plus more to taste

1 cup mixed fresh vegetables, such as leeks, carrots, zucchini, onion and bell peppers, cut into 1/8-inch dice

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1 stick)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, or less to taste

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves


Combine the lentils, chicken stock and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium-size, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils are cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.


Add the vegetables and garlic and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes.


Add the butter, 1/2 cup vinegar or less and the olive oil, and stir over low heat until the butter is melted and everything is heated through and well-combined. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper and more balsamic vinegar, if needed. Stir in the parsley and serve immediately while still very warm.



1 Tablespoon white vinegar

2 Tablespoons baking soda

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon glycerin (available at the craft or drug store)

Plastic bottle caps, or Styrofoam egg carton.

food coloring

1. Mix vinegar and baking soda together in a small bowl.

2. When mixture stops foaming, add cornstarch and glycerin.

3. Pour into bottle caps or egg carton.

4. Add several drops of different colors to each cap or carton cup. Stir until color is well mixed. Be sure to add plenty of coloring, since the tint will lighten upon drying. Mix primary colors to make secondary colors. For really intense colors try Kool-Aid or food coloring gels (Wilton makes great gels).

5. Let set overnight to harden.

Note: After about the first batch, I started to make each of the primary colors up in a single batch. Also the plastic cups that Crystal Lite comes in makes great pots.


Makes about 3 pounds

3 cups sugar

1/2 stick margarine

1 (5 1/3-ounce) can evaporated milk

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 pound Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 pound candied red cherries, halved

1/4 pound candied green cherries, halved

Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan.

Combine first three ingredients in large saucepan, stir over medium heat until smooth and melted. Bring to boil and cook for five minutes, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer registers 238 degrees (soft-ball stage).

Remove from heat and quickly stir in marshmallow creme. Add all remaining

ingredients. Stir well; mixture will be stiff. Press into prepared pan and cool. When cooled, cut into small squares.



3 cups Fat Free Half & Half

1 cup Egg Substitute

1 Tbsp Real Vanilla

1/2 cup brandy or to taste

1/2 cup Myers' Rum or to taste

1/2 cup Amaretto or to taste

4 pkt sugar substitute or to taste

Blend well. Place a scoop of Fat Free Ice cream in each cup. Sprinkle with

nutmeg, pour in 'nog'.



Makes 6 servings


This vegetable stew is based on Italian ribollite and French garbures that I've eaten over the years, which are either vegetable- or meat-based stews thickened with bread. For this garbure, each serving is garnished with a dollop of a fiery rouille, a Provencale mayonnaise flavored with roasted red peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.


To reduce your work time, prepare the zucchini and tomatoes while the onions are slowly sauteing. To keep the dish vegetarian, use water or vegetable broth rather than chicken broth.

6 slices stale Italian bread or other coarse-textured bread, 1/2 inch thick, from a

large round loaf (or fresh bread will do)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound yellow onions, sliced


1 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into half-moon-

shaped slices about 1/4 inch thick

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (1/2 pound)

1 141/2-ounce can chicken broth



3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large pieces bottled roasted red peppers, drained (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup mayonnaise


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake the bread slices on a baking sheet until crisp but not browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove bread from oven and increase temperature to 375 degrees.


In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion, salt lightly and saute over low heat until softened and golden, about 20 minutes; don't let it brown.


Drain the tomatoes over a bowl, reserving liquid. Chop tomatoes into small pieces. In a small cup, mix the thyme, basil, 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper.


Spread 1/2 cup of the cooked onion over bottom of a deep, 6-quart ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven. Top with 2 slices of the toasted bread, half the remaining onions, half the tomatoes, half the herb mixture, half the garlic, half the zucchini and half the cheese. Repeat layering, ending with 2 slices of bread. Pour the chicken broth and 1/2 cup reserved tomato juice over contents of pot. Cover pot. Bring to a boil on stove top.


Place casserole in 375-degree oven. Bake 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Uncover pot. Bake until bread on top is crisp, 15 minutes. If still not crisp, place briefly under broiler.


To make the Rouille: Using the side of a chef's knife, smash together the garlic and salt on a cutting board to make a paste. Scrape into a small bowl. In a food processor, puree the red peppers. Stir into garlic mixture, along with the red pepper flakes and mayonnaise.


Spoon garbure into soup bowls. Top with a dab of rouille and serve.

Serving tip: Add a green salad, tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.


Make-ahead tip: This casserole can be assembled earlier and refrigerated. Add some extra baking time if it's going straight from the refrigerator to the oven.

From "Home Cooking Around the World" by David Ricketts



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