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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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

ALMOST REALLY GAZPACHO

APPLES AND CRANBERRIES

AYERS ROCK LAMB SHANKS

BAKED FOUR CHEESE PASTA

BAKLAVA

BALSAMIC CHICKEN

BARBECUED PORK PULL

BASIC BOURBON BASTE

BEEF MUSHROOM STEW WITH BARLEY

BRAISED BEEF BRISKET

BRAISED POLISH NOODLES WITH CABBAGE.

BUTTER GAINS NEW POPULARITY

BUTTERMILK BREAKFAST SCONES

BUTTERY BAKING POWDER BISCUITS

CHAR SIU RACK OF LAMB

CHERRY CLAFOUTI

CHEZ JOSE LIME CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

CHILI TOMATO MAC

CHILIS SIGNATURE DRINKS

COUSCOUS PILAF

CR_ME BRULEE

CRANBERRY BUTTER

CREAM SAUCE

DIET SOUP

DIVINE BISCUITS

EASY SOUR CREAM DROP SHORTCAKES

GINGER SCENTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

HEINZ IS PLAYING CATCHUP

HOISIN BARBECUE SAUCE

HOMEMADE DINNER HELPER

HONG KONG SOFT BEEF TACOS

LEMON SCONES WITH CLOTTED CREAM

MACARONI AND ASIAGO

MODIFIED SPICED MUFFINS

MONTEREY JACK FRENCH TOAST

OUR QUEST FOR PERFECT GADGETS

OVEN ROASTED COD WITH CAPERS

PANZANELLA DI FRATELLI

PEACH AND RASPBERRY COBBLER

PILE SALAD GREENS ATOP YOUR STEAK

PLUM UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

POT STICKER SPINACH CHICKEN SOUP

RED EYE GRAVY

RICE WITH TUNA

ROAST CHICKEN

ROAST PORK LOIN

ROASTED POTATOES WITH ASPARAGUS

SALMON SALAD

SHRIMP WITH PASTA AND CREAM SAUCE

STEAK PROVENCAL

STEAK WITH PEPPER AND MUSHROOM SAUCE

STEAK WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES

STIR FRIED SPICY CHICKEN

SWEET AND SALTY POPCORN

TERIYAKI BEEF SOUP

THESE ARE THE TIMES

VEGETARIAN CHILI

WALNUT CHEESE CUSTARD

WHOLE MEAL CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

WHY LEFTOVER PEA SOUP

WILD RICE SALAD

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

ZUCCHINI GARBUE WITH ROUILLE

 

 

 

ALMOST REALLY GAZPACHO

Makes 6 servings

 

There's a lot of leeway in the amounts of this recipe, which derives from countless recipes I've come across. Lean in the direction of the vegetables you favor. The texture closest to my memory is one that is mostly pureed but with a partially chunky consistency.

 

About 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 large green (or red or yellow) bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

About 11/2 cups plain tomato sauce

About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste

About 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, or to taste

1 tablespoon honey

(or 1/2 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar), or to taste

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 to 11/2 cups torn-up stale country-style bread

Hot pepper sauce to taste

1 to 2 cups cold water, as needed

Garnish:

1 to 11/2 cups 1/2-inch cubed stale country-style bread, browned in olive oil

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

 

Set aside 1/4 cup each of the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers for stirring into the pureed soup.

 

In a large bowl, combine the remaining tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper with the garlic, onion, celery and tomato sauce. Stir in the oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the torn bread chunks with the tomato mixture.

 

Then, in batches, process the mixture in a blender or food processor until thoroughly combined, but don't process it so long that it's uniformly smooth. Leave some chunk to the texture. Stir in the reserved chopped vegetables.

 

Add hot sauce to taste and adjust seasoning. Every tomato has a different acidic level that you can balance with the addition of more vinegar, honey or oil. Chill for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

 

Before serving, taste for seasoning again and add just enough cold water to achieve the consistency you desire. Serve in individual bowls garnished with croutons and chopped cucumber.

 

Note: To make the croutons: If the cubes of bread are not already stale and fairly dry, put them in a 250-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes before proceeding. Heat 2 or 3 roughly chopped cloves of garlic in 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until they begin to color. Remove the garlic, increase the heat to medium and add the bread. Stirring frequently, sauté the bread cubes until they become golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste

APPLES AND CRANBERRIES

COUNTRY STYLE PIE PAIRS

January 9, 2002 Posted: 05:40:06 AM PST, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Make the most of cranberries in this sweet-tart combination with apples, baked in a country-style pie.

 

Jonagold apples are a good choice for the recipe. They are a cross between the Jonathans and Golden Delicious, with the Jonathan's tang and the sweetness of Golden Delicious.

 

You can use frozen and thawed cranberries, or dried cranberries. And don't worry if your pie crust isn't symmetrical or picture perfect -- it's supposed to look rustic.

 

COUNTRY-STYLE APPLE-CRANBERRY PIE

 

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 Jonagold apples, peeled, cored, quartered, then each quarter cut crosswise

into 4 pieces

1/3 cup fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (or 1/2 cup dried cranberries soaked

in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained)

 

For the pie pastry:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons chilled butter or margarine

3 to 4 tablespoons cold water

 

Combine sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon with fingertips or 2 knives until crumbly; set aside.

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

To make pastry for a 10-inch country-style pie: Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing to mix. Gather into disk, wrap in waxed paper; chill 1 hour.

 

Roll out pie pastry on lightly floured surface to a 15-inch circle. Fold it gently into quarters and transfer to a large baking sheet.

 

Unfold and arrange apples in center 10 inches of dough; sprinkle with cranberries. Sprinkle with sugar mixture.

 

Bring outer edge of dough 21/2 inches over apples, pleating as needed. Gently press the outside edge of dough to the pan.

 

Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent crust from becoming too brown. Cool on rack 10 minutes; serve warm.

Recipe from Washington Apple Commission MORE ON: www.bestapples.com.

AYERS ROCK LAMB SHANKS

WITH BISTRO BEANS AND GREMOLATA

Makes 6 servings

 

11/3 cups dry 7-bean mix

1/3 cup olive oil

6 lamb shanks

7 cloves minced garlic (divided)

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

1 bottle sheaf stout (1 pint, 9.6 ounces; see note)

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped (see note)

About 8 cups rich beef or veal broth

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold water

2 ounces diced Nueske apple-wood smoked bacon (see note)

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Grated peel of 1 lemon (yellow part only)

 

Place the beans in a bowl and cover with water to 2 inches above the top of the beans. Let soak overnight. Or place the beans in a medium saucepan and cover with water to 2 inches over the top of the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and cover the beans. Let soak for 1 hour. When the beans have been soaked, set aside.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

To make shanks: Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot. Brown the shanks on all sides. Remove shanks and set aside. Add 5 cloves minced garlic, onion, carrot and celery to the pan and cook over medium heat until limp. Add the stout, thyme, rosemary and tomato and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced by half.

 

Return the lamb shanks to the pot and add enough beef broth to almost cover the shanks. Bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and place in oven. Bake for 21/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. When the lamb is done, remove from the pan and set aside to keep warm. Skim off any excess fat from the top of the broth.

 

Stir the flour into the cold water until smooth. Stir the flour mixture into the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 or 6 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

To make beans: While the lamb shanks are cooking, sauté the bacon in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan until the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp.

 

Drain the soaked beans, add to saucepan with 4 cups fresh water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the largest beans are tender and the water is absorbed, about 1 hour. If the mixture becomes dry during cooking, add a little more water. Add the brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the mustard until blended.

 

To make gremolata: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 cloves minced garlic, parsley and lemon peel.

 

To serve, spoon some of the cooked beans onto a serving plate. Top with a lamb shank and pour a little sauce over the shank. Sprinkle with the gremolata. Pass remaining sauce at the table.

 

Note: Sheaf stout is available at supermarkets.

 

Note: To peel tomatoes, plunge into boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove immediately and plunge into cold water. Skin should slip off easily.

 

Note: Nueske apple-wood smoked bacon is available at Zupan's.

 

From Craig Vollan, University Club

BAKED FOUR CHEESE PASTA

 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, plus extra for baking dish

1 pound penne

4 cups whole milk

6 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups (1/2 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese (divided)

2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Asiago cheese (divided)

2 cups (1/2 pound) grated fontina cheese (divided)

1 cup plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup whipping cream

 

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or 2 1/2-quart casserole. Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl.

 

In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a boil. Remove from heat. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 8 tablespoons butter. Reduce heat to low and whisk in flour, cooking for three to four minutes. Do not brown mixture. Slowly add hot milk, whisking constantly. Add salt and cayenne, raise heat to medium, and simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture has thickened, eight to 10 minutes.

 

Remove from heat and add 1 cup each of grated cheddar, Asiago and fontina, whisking until cheeses are melted. Pour cheese sauce over pasta, tossing to coat evenly.

 

Place half of coated pasta in buttered baking dish and distribute remaining cheddar, Asiago and fontina over top. Cover with remaining pasta. In mixing bowl, toss bread crumbs, Parmesan and melted butter.

 

Pour heavy cream over pasta and evenly distribute bread crumb mixture over top. Bake on middle shelf of preheated oven until top is light brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Makes four to six servings.

-- "Macaroni and Cheese: 52 Recipes, From Simple to Sublime" by Joan Schwartz

 

 

 

 

BAKLAVA

For syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

For pastry:

3 cups finely chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

1/2 package frozen phyllo dough, thawed

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Prepare syrup by placing sugar, water and lemon juice in a saucepan and bringing to a boil. Boil 5 minutes and remove from heat. Cool.

 

To prepare pastry, combine walnuts and spices in a large bowl. Melt butter in a microwave or in a small saucepan. Brush butter on bottom and sides of a 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2-inch by 1-inch jelly roll pan or baking sheet. Carefully unwrap phyllo and remove half the leaves. (Wrap remaining leaves in plastic and return to refrigerator.) Cover leaves you will be using with damp cloth. Gently remove one sheet and lay it in pan. Brush phyllo with butter. Continue layering phyllo and brushing with butter until you have 6 layers of pastry.

 

Spoon half of walnut mixture onto phyllo. Layer 4 more layers of phyllo and butter and spoon remaining walnut mixture onto the pastry. Layer remaining 6 leaves of phyllo on top, brushing each layer with butter.

 

Score the top layered sheets and filling with a sharp knife into 2-inch diamonds. Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and pour cooled syrup on top. Cool, then cut along scored lines and serve.

BALSAMIC CHICKEN

Makes 2 servings

 

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 4-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup sliced green bell pepper

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 141/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup hot cooked long-grain rice (1/3 cup uncooked)

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Add bell pepper, vinegar, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve over rice.

BARBECUED PORK PULL

Serves 8

 

Non-stick spray

1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (about 6 pounds)

1 1/2 cups cider vinegar

1 cup ketchup

2 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Hot red pepper sauce, such as Tabasco, to taste (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Coat large casserole or Dutch oven with non-stick spray.

 

Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides. Transfer pork to prepared dish.

 

In saucepan, bring to boil vinegar, ketchup, water and salt and pepper to taste. Pour ketchup mixture over pork, cover and bake about 40 minutes per pound, basting occasionally and turning every hour.

 

Allow meat to cool slightly before carving. Chop meat into bite-size pieces. If desired, season with vinegar, salt and pepper and hot sauce.

BASIC BOURBON BASTE

 

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce

1/2 tablespoon capers, crushed with a fork

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger

Pinch ground cloves

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour to reduce liquid by roughly half.

 

The baste can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

BEEF MUSHROOM STEW WITH BARLEY

 

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups dry red wine

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

2 cups beef broth

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

2 strips orange zest (orange part only)

1 cup pearled barley

3 cups (about) water

 

Place the porcini in a medium-size bowl. Pour the boiling water over. Let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over high heat. Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the meat to the Dutch oven and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer the meat to a large bowl.

 

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic and stir for two minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan.

 

Add the tomatoes, broth, rosemary, mushroom-soaking liquid, bay leaves and orange zest. Return the meat to the pan along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low. Cover and simmer for 11/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

 

Uncover, stir in the mushrooms, and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 1 to 11/2 hours longer, adding more liquid to the pan if the mixture looks dry.

 

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add the barley and 3 cups of water to the pan.

 

Bring to a boil. Cover and cook until the barley is tender and the mixture is thick, stirring frequently and adding more water if the mixture gets too dry.

 

Return the meat to the stew, stir to combine. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Makes six to eight servings.

BRAISED BEEF BRISKET

Serves 8

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 beef brisket (3 to 4 pounds)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups minced onions

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 1/2 cups beef stock

1 1/2 cups red wine (preferably zinfandel or pinot noir)

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in a large ovenproof casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add brisket and brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Remove meat. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of oil, add butter and cook onions over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in ketchup, garlic, stock and wine. Add meat, cover tightly, transfer to preheated oven and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning meat every hour.

 

Remove meat to cutting board. Thicken sauce by boiling over high heat until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Slice meat against the grain. Serve with sauce.

BRAISED POLISH NOODLES WITH CABBAGE

(KLUSKI Z KAPUSTA)

Makes 4 servings

Salt, to taste

8 ounces dried flat noodles

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1 large head green cabbage, shredded

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt, for garnish (optional)

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and boil 10 to 12 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and caraway seeds; sauté 2 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the cabbage and apples; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add the cooked noodles to the pan, mix well and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve with a small dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

BUTTER GAINS NEW POPULARITY

RENEWED APPETITE AND HOLIDAY BAKING PUT SQUEEZE ON PRICE

BY BEVERLY BUNDY, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

Consumers have been slowly but surely oozing their way back to butter over the past seven years or so. It's not a huge jump, but the category is steadily growing at about 6 percent a year, with Americans consuming about 4.3 pounds per person a year.

 

After the scared-of-your-dinner 1980s, this increase is a good sign to dairy farmers, who've watched their countrymen gobble up margarine and other spreads. But butter consumption is still a long way from what it once was.

 

``There was a time in this country,'' says Al Costigan, the president of the American Butter Institute, a trade group for dairy farmers and marketers, ``that Americans each ate about 16 pounds of butter a year.''

 

Why weren't Americans then keeling over in the streets, clasping their buttered muffins to their chests, their heart muscles seizing? Because in the days before World War II, much of America was agrarian, and we worked off all that saturated fat that so terrified us in the Reagan years.

 

That was before America's young men went off to war, leaving the folks behind to mind the store and ration the food so there would be enough for the troops. Rosie the Riveter and all her buddies at the plant turned to margarine, that thoroughly modern spread, which was sold as a thick, white paste with a capsule of food coloring that consumers stirred in to get that yellow color.

 

In 1930, per capita consumption of margarine was only 2.6 pounds (vs. 17.6 pounds of butter). Today, per capita consumption of margarine in the United States is 8.3 pounds (including vegetable-oil spreads), whereas butter consumption is about half that.

 

But something odd is happening on the way to the gym.

 

Ice cream consumption rose 14 percent from 1990 to 1998, and many of the most popular flavors are relatively high in cream content.

 

Cream cheese consumption doubled between 1984 and 1998.

 

Overall cheese consumption hits new records each year. In 1999, U.S. consumers ate a record 28.9 pounds of cheese per person.

 

Premium butters are showing up on grocery-store shelves.

 

As Americans are returning to the butter fold, they're discovering a perfect example of supply and demand. Between the country's rocketing thirst for higher-fat products and ebbing subsidies for the dairy industry, it's sticker shock, not fat shock, that is waking up shoppers.

 

Butter prices have been on a roller-coaster ride at the cash register, and with holiday baking boosting demand even further, a pound of butter sells for about $3.99. According to University of Wisconsin Dairy Marketing numbers, that same pound cost $3.50 in July and $2.90 in March.

 

Land O Lakes, the only national butter brand, has had to economize because of butterfat prices. The 2001 State Fair of Texas, usually the proud showcase for a statue carved of butter, had to go without this year. Land O Lakes cited the high price of butter for the shortfall in sculpture.

 

And here's where Mother Nature comes in. The birthing season for cows runs from late winter -- January and February -- in the South and goes through June for cows in the coldest parts of the country. After delivering their calves, cows produce a great deal of milk -- at an inconvenient time (January through May). Butterfat's peak demand season is the summer, for ice cream, and September through December, for baking.

 

So, it's an Economics 101 lesson -- supply and demand. There's a tightness in supply just when there is the most demand, which means you pay more.

 

But not much of this seems to be dissuading the consumer from going back to the luxury of butter.

 

A product of northern Europe and North America, butter is not beloved the world around. You can trace butter patterns by simply looking at the desserts countries eat. If a nation's desserts includes risen cakes, you can bet its residents eat butter.

 

Butter was limited in geographical reach by climate. Before widespread refrigeration, any country with a hot climate was not butter-friendly. Just about the only warm-weather country that includes butter in its diet is India, where expensive ghee, a form of clarified shelf-stable butter, is used.

 

Australia and New Zealand, being offshoots of Great Britain, do keep up their end of things. New Zealand has the highest per capita butter consumption in the world at 17 pounds per person.

BUTTERMILK BREAKFAST SCONES

WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES

These tender scones are made without eggs. Serve them warm with cranberry butter. Makes 16 scones

 

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chilled margarine, cut into 6 to 8 pieces

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup buttermilk

 

Glaze:

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

 

In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the margarine and beat with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add the dried cranberries and orange zest. Pour in the buttermilk and mix until blended.

 

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half. On a lightly floured board, roll into two circles approximately 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Cut each circle into eight wedges.

 

To make the glaze: Combine the cream, cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Bake the scones on the prepared baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are golden. Remove scones from oven and brush with glaze.

BUTTERY BAKING POWDER BISCUITS

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups whipping cream

2 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the whipping cream all at once.

 

Using a fork, stir just until moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Quickly knead by gently folding and pressing dough 10 to 12 strokes. Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch square. Cut into 16 squares. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on a large ungreased cooking sheet. Brush tops with the melted butter.

 

Bake in a preheated oven at 425 for about 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve hot. Makes 16 biscuits.

 

CHAR SIU RACK OF LAMB

 

This dish came from chef Chiang Shing-Kung at the Long Tong Loa Beijing restaurant. Nothing could be more Chinese than char siu, but this recipe -- using lamb rack, paired with fruit salsa -- reflects the flair of Hong Kong. Serves 4

For marinade:

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 rack of lamb, trimmed of fat, about 2 pounds

For glaze:

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

For salsa:

1 mango, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon plum sauce

For serving:

Hot cooked rice

Mint leaves, for garnish

 

To prepare marinade: Combine rosemary, garlic, peppercorns, soy sauces, salt and oil in a large bowl. Add lamb and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours.

 

To prepare glaze: Combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce and honey in a bowl. Mix and set aside.

 

To prepare salsa: Combine mango, bell pepper, onion, mint, soy sauces, honey, lemon juice and plum sauce in a bowl; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat broiler with rack placed 4 to 5 inches from heating element. Place lamb, meat side up, in a foil-lined baking pan. Broil lamb, meat side up, for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn, brush with glaze, and broil for 5 to 7 minutes more. Turn meat again, brush with glaze, and broil for 3 to 4 minutes more.

 

Slice rack between ribs. Serve with rice and salsa and garnish with mint leaves.

CHERRY CLAFOUTI

Makes 8 servings

 

1 1/2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)

1 pound dark sweet cherries, pitted

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)

4 eggs

Small pinch salt (does it hurt the salt when you pinch it?)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup 1 percent milk

1/4 cup kirsch liqueur (see note)

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Grease a shallow 10-inch porcelain or earthenware dish with 1/4-inch sides with 11/2 teaspoons butter. Spread cherries in a single layer in the dish.

 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, and salt until well-blended. Sift in the flour, stirring at the same time with the whisk. Whisk in the milk and kirsch. Pour the mixture over the cherries.

Cut the remaining 1 tablespoon butter into shavings and scatter over the surface. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

 

Bake until the surface is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool 15 to 30 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

 

Note: Kirsch is a clear cherry brandy.

Adapted from "Provence, The Beautiful Cookbook" by Richard Olney

CHEZ JOSE LIME CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

Makes 8 enchiladas

1 31/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into pieces

1 cup diced onion

1/3 cup white wine

2/3 cup chicken broth

21/2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons white pepper

2 teaspoons dried oregano

21/2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)

Juice of 21/2 limes (divided)

1 16-ounce container sour cream (2 cups)

1/2 cup half-and-half

Pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

Grated peel of 1 lime (green part only)

Vegetable oil for softening tortillas

8 corn tortillas

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)

 

In a medium stockpot, combine the chicken, onion, wine, broth, garlic, white pepper, oregano, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, juice of 11/2 limes and enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is tender and comes off the bone easily, about 45 minutes.

 

Cool chicken 15 minutes and remove from broth. Strain broth and refrigerate or freeze for another use. Remove skin and bone from chicken and dice chicken meat into 1/2-inch pieces. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, half-and-half, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cayenne, the remaining juice of 1 lime and the grated lime peel. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

 

Over medium-high heat, heat about 1/8 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet. Soften each tortilla in the hot oil, turning once. This should only take a few seconds on each side. Add more oil to the skillet if necessary. Pat the excess oil from each tortilla with a paper towel.

 

Fill each softened tortilla with 1/2 cup chicken. Roll tortilla into an enchilada and place into the prepared pan. Top with the lime/sour cream mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately. By Tom Midrano, Chez Jose, from the Portland Oregonian

CHILI TOMATO MAC

1 pound Lean Ground Beef

1 cup Water

1 1/2 cups Elbow Macaroni -- un-cooked

32 ounces Canned Tomatoes -- chopped

1 tablespoon Chili Powder

1/2 cup Dinner 'Helper' mix ("homemade dinner helper")

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, and drain off fat. Add water, uncooked macaroni, tomatoes, chili powder and helper mix. Stir well, and simmer in a covered pan for 20 minutes, or until macaroni is tender. Serve hot as a main dish. NOTES : This recipe from the book 'Volume 3, Gifts & Mixes' written by

Kaylin Cherry, and offered at http://www.realfood4realpeople.com/books.html

CHILIS

(r) SIGNATURE DRINKS

by Todd Wilbur

To ring in the new year it seems appropriate that we improve these clones of fabulous cocktails from one of America's most popular restaurant chains. Here we have a couple cool cocktails from Chili's Grill and Bar. The Twisted Lemonade is a simple, thirst-quenching blend of citrus-flavored vodka, triple sec and sweet & sour mix. The Margarita Presidente is a much fancier and more expensive designer libation made from Sauza Conmemoritivo, Cointreau, and Presidente Brandy. It's served up in a salt-rimmed martini glass, and will surely become a favorite drink for your year-end festivities at a fraction of the cost of the real deal. Happy New Year from TSR!!

 

From Top Secret Recipes:

Twisted Lemonade

1 1/4 ounces Smirnoff Citrus Twist vodka

1/2 ounce triple sec

1/3 cup sweet & sour mix

lemon wedge

 

1. Fill a 14-ounce glass with ice. Add vodka and triple sec.

2. Top off the drink with sweet & sour mix

3. Add a lemon wedge garnish and serve with a straw.

Makes 1 drink.

 

Tidbits

You can also add a splash of cranberry juice to make this a pink lemonade twist.

 

Margarita Presidente

1 1/4 ounces Sauza Conmemoritivo tequila anejo

1/2 ounce Cointreau liqueur

1/2 ounce Presidente brandy

4 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet & sour mix

splash Rose's lime juice

 

1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with crushed ice. Shake

2. Pour drink into a martini glass rimmed with salt. Add a lime wedge and serve with the remainder of the drink in the shaker on the side. (http://www.topsecretrecipes.com) Serves 1.

COUSCOUS PILAF

WITH LENTILS AND PINE NUTS

Serves 4 to 6

5 cups water

1 cup dried French green lentils

1 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

1 2/3 cups (10 ounces) quick-cooking couscous

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

About 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

 

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add lentils and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until lentils are tender but firm, 30 minutes or as package directs. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place pine nuts in a small pan and bake, shaking once or twice, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool.

 

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining 2 cups water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes.

 

Scrape couscous into a large bowl and separate grains with a fork. Let cool slightly. Add lentils, pine nuts, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, cranberries, green onions, mint, lemon juice, parsley, orange zest and lemon zest. Toss gently to mix well. Taste, adding more salt or lemon juice if desired. Serve at cool room temperature. Note: You can make this dish ahead, but you may need to add more lemon juice and olive oil if you do, because the lentils and couscous absorb a lot of liquid as they sit.

CRANBERRY BUTTER

Serve this versatile butter on the breakfast scones (see recipe) as well as waffles, pancakes and muffins.

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup light-brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

4 tablespoons ground walnuts

1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce (in a bowl, stir to loosen the sauce before

measuring)

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons buttermilk

 

In a large bowl, whip the softened butter at high speed with an electric mixer until it turns pale yellow, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all the butter gets whipped.

 

Add the cranberries, sugar, honey, walnuts, cranberry sauce and orange and lemon zests. Whip at medium speed until the mixture turns light pink. Add the buttermilk and whip until fully incorporated.

 

The butter can be covered and stored in the mixing bowl or, using a rubber spatula, transferred to smaller bowls for storage.

 

It can also be refrigerated for five minutes to firm up slightly and then shaped into a log approximately 1 inch in diameter for easy slicing into discs.

 

Store well wrapped in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or freeze for up to three months.

 

 

CREAM SAUCE

January 9, 2002 Posted: 05:40:06 AM PST, DETROIT FREE PRESS

 

Creamy white pasta sauces are often made with heavy whipping cream for that rich, velvety texture and flavor.

 

But along with that rich taste comes loads of fat. Substituting half-and-half works well in most sauces, but for this recipe for shrimp with angel hair pasta and cream sauce we tried canned evaporated milk. The results were fantastic.

 

This dish is very easy and involves one pot, one bowl and a quick-cooking pasta. The shrimp and vegetables are cooked along with the pasta, making cleanup a breeze.

 

All the sauce ingredients are mixed in a serving bowl, then the pasta, shrimp and vegetables are tossed with it. Top with shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese, and you have a rich-tasting dinner in minutes.

 

Beware: The sauce has a strong garlic flavor because raw garlic is added to it. Adjust to suit your taste. Likewise, experiment with other quick-cooking vegetables, such as sugar snap peas and red or green peppers.

CRÈME BRULEE

Recipe from "The Universal Kitchen", by Elisabeth Rozin

In the hands of the French, the egg achieved immortality in a number of forms; surely one of those is the crème brulee, an outrageously rich and voluptuous dessert that makes an ordinary custard bow its head in shame. In this version, crushed hazelnuts, hazelnut liqueur, and dried sour cherries dress up the basic crème, which doesn't need dressing up at all, but well, why not? I do the crème in a baking dish, but it can also be baked in small individual custard cups or ramekins.

1/2 cup dried pitted sour cherries [Tart Cherries are best ]

2 tablespoons Frangelico, a hazelnut liqueur

3 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

6 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar

1/4 cup very finely chopped skinned hazelnuts

Combine the dried cherries and the hazelnut liqueur; let stand for at least 1/2 hour. In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream over low to moderate heat until it is very hot, just coming to the simmer. Stir in the sugar and mix well, then remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are very thick. Slowly pour the cream into the eggs, whisking constantly until the mixture is very well blended. Stir in the vanilla and the liqueur from the cherries. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Sprinkle the drained cherries on the bottom of a shallow 8 or 9 inch casserole or baking dish. Strain the custard into the dish. Set the custard dish into a larger container or baking tin, then carefully pour boiling water into the larger container so that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller baking dish. Carefully place the double casserole on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the crème is just lightly set. Remove the crème from the hot-water bath and cool for at least 1 hour.

Combine the brown sugar and the chopped nuts and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle

the mixture evenly over the top of the cooled crème. Place the crème under

the broiler and watch carefully until the sugar melts and begins to bubble - it takes only a few seconds. (Professional chefs use a propylethelyne torch to caramelize the topping.) Let the crème cool, then chill thoroughly. Serves 6-8

DIET SOUP

1 head cabbage, shredded or sliced

2 large onions, diced

2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

2 green peppers, diced

4 stalks celery

1 or 2 package Lipton Onion soup or other dry packed soup to vary the flavor.

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1- 4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

2 or 3 bay leaves

1/2 pound sliced green beans

Put cabbage, onion, tomatoes, peppers, celery parsley, garlic and bay leaves in large pot. Cover with water about 2 inches over the vegetables. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce heat, add green beans and Lipton Soup mix, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Makes a lot, but a cup or two of it half an hour before dinner or with dinner cuts your appetite and contains only about 50 calories and no fat. Also, studies have shown that people who regularly eat a bowl of hot soup to start dinner will eat less and lose weight.

2. Use the 'Divide the plate into quarters' system. 1/4 starch, 1/8 (or less meat) and 5/8 vegetables and salad with fat free dressing.

3. Snack only on veggies and small pieces of fruit.

4. Find a walking buddy and or get yourself a Walkman and start walking every day. If you can only walk down your driveway and back, do that. If you do it every day, it gets easier and you can increase your distance gradually.

Note from Kaylin: Please remember to check with your doctor or dietician

before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you have an

existing medical condition, such as high cholesterol or diabetes.

DIVINE BISCUITS

 

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)

2 cups warm buttermilk

5 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/3 cup butter

Milk or egg white

 

Spray two 9-by-13-inch pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

 

Add the yeast to the warm water in a measuring cup or small bowl. Warm the buttermilk in microwave. Combine the yeast and buttermilk; set aside.

 

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Cut the butter in using a pastry blender or your fingertips until you cannot see any large pieces of butter.

 

Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture; combine until thoroughly moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly three or four times, just until smooth. Roll or pat out to 1/2-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or a cup, cut out rounds approximately 21/2 inches across. Place in prepared pans, brush tops with milk or a lightly beaten egg white mixed with a little water. Set aside while oven preheats to 450. Bake eight to 10 minutes, or until golden. Serves 30.

EASY SOUR CREAM DROP SHORTCAKES

 

2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup milk

At least 6 cups sliced strawberries, sweetened

1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar

 

Heat oven to 400. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

 

In medium mixing bowl, combine self-rising flour and sugar. In smaller bowl, combine melted butter, sour cream and milk. Whisk well, then pour over dry ingredients. Stir just until blended. Drop dough by large heaping spoonfuls onto baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Split warm shortcakes, fill with berries and softly whipped cream. Makes eight to 10 servings.

GINGER SCENTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Makes about 6 cups

 

Few products compare to cooked butternut squash for convenience. Peeling and seeding a whole winter squash is a time-consuming task, whereas opening the package takes but moments.

The amount of ginger recommended is conservative. Add more if you like your soup spicy.

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 10-ounce packages frozen cooked butternut squash

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

About 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground ginger, plus additional to taste

1/2 cup whipping cream

 

In a medium pot over medium heat, combine the broth and frozen butternut squash. Cook, spooning the broth over the squash, until the squash has defrosted, about 12 minutes. Add the applesauce, salt to taste, sugar and ginger; whisk to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cream and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste and season accordingly.

HEINZ IS PLAYING CATCHUP

WITH KETCHUP THIS YEAR

BY CANDY SAGON, Washington Post

Anyone who's ever pounded on the bottom of the ketchup bottle to get those last few dollops will appreciate the saga of Bill Baker, who forced H.J. Heinz Co. to squeeze out a little more of the red stuff for millions of ketchup fans.

 

In 1995, Baker, of Redding, bought a 20-ounce bottle of Heinz ketchup for his wife's meatloaf. Her recipe called for 2 1/2 cups ketchup, or 20 ounces, but the bottle came up a few ounces short. So Baker called the state's Division of Measurement.

 

Baker's query touched off a statewide investigation and consumer protection lawsuit. Heinz agreed in November to overfill its plastic 18- to 64-ounce ketchup containers in California for the next 12 months to make up for the short-weighting. The agreement will require about 78,000 gallons of free ketchup for Californians.

 

We have been eating ketchup, in various forms, since the 1700s when we got it from the British (who got it 100 years earlier from the Chinese). Back then it was spicy and tart. It didn't contain sugar; it wasn't red.

 

Thanks to Baker, California is now getting its full share of ketchup. What can be done with the extra red stuff? Here are a few ideas.

HOISIN BARBECUE SAUCE

Makes 1 cup

6 tablespoons hoisin sauce

6 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

 

Combine ingredients well. Brush on seafood, chicken or beef during grilling.

 

From ``The Thrill of the Grill'' by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby (Morrow)

HOMEMADE DINNER HELPER

2 cups Nonfat Dry Milk -- instant

1 cup Cornstarch

1/4 cup Chicken Bouillon Powder -- (can use beef)

2 tablespoons Onion Flakes -- dried

1 teaspoon Thyme -- dried

1 teaspoon Black Pepper

2 tablespoons Parsley -- dried

1 tablespoon Garlic Powder

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use this seasoning mix as a base for the following recipes: Chili Tomato Mac, Ground Beef Stroganoff, Hungry-Man Potato Casserole, Busy Day Lasagna. For more convenience, or as a gift, place all ingredients for the meal recipes in zip baggies or sealed cans/jars and store them in a larger sealed container (except meat and fresh ingredients, of course), such as a recycled coffee can, or plastic box container, and label. When giving as a gift, attach instructions written on a card, and include a fresh loaf of bread.

(C) 1999, Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People All Rights Reserved.

NOTES : This recipe from the book 'Volume 3, Gifts & Mixes' written by

Kaylin Cherry, and offered at http://www.realfood4realpeople.com/books.html

HONG KONG SOFT BEEF TACOS

Serves 4 to 6

For marinade:

2 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 pound beef flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

For sauce:

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons chili sauce

For filling:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 pound button mushrooms, julienned

1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps julienned

1/4 cup fresh wood ear mushrooms, trimmed and julienned (optional)

5 Chinese chives or green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup julienned carrot

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

6 8-inch flour tortillas, warmed

 

To prepare marinade: Combine soy sauce, garlic and cornstarch in a bowl. Add beef and stir to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

 

To prepare sauce: Combine hoisin and chili sauces in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

To prepare filling: Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add 2 tablespoons oil, swirling to coat sides. Add beef and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove meat from wok. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to wok, swirling to coat sides. Add all mushrooms, chives and carrot; stir-fry for 2 1/2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Decrease heat to low and simmer for 1 minute. Return beef to pan and add cornstarch solution. Cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens.

 

Place meat mixture in a serving bowl. Serve tortillas and sauce alongside. To eat, spread about 2 teaspoons of sauce on a warm tortilla, top with 1/4 cup meat filling. Fold tortilla in half, and eat out of hand.

LEMON SCONES WITH CLOTTED CREAM

This recipe calls for currants, but you could easily substitute raisins.

 

To make true clotted cream, you'll need a cow and fresh, unpasteurized cream. For those without cows, you can make a very good substitute in less than 10 minutes using the following recipe. It makes a nice accompaniment to fresh berries and has about 34 calories per tablespoon.

 

Scones: (makes 24 scones)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

Zest of 2 lemons, finely diced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup currants

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water for egg wash

 

Clotted cream: (makes 1 1/2 cups)

 

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.

 

Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the zest and rub the butter into the flour by hand or cut in with a pastry blender.

 

Combine the eggs and cream and blend into the flour mixture. Fold in the currants. Do not over-mix.

 

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll into two circles 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into scones. Press together leftover dough, roll into a circle 1/2-inch thick and continue cutting out rounds until all the dough is used.

 

Place the scones 2 inches apart on two baking sheets and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

 

Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 

For clotted cream: Beat the cream and lemon juice on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until it begins to thicken, about three to four minutes. Do not scrape down the sides while it is mixing. Then turn up the speed to high and beat another few minutes. You should get a curd-like cream on the top and thick cream on the bottom.

 

Mix the cream gently together. The consistency should resemble pudding before it is set. Serve cold.

MACARONI AND ASIAGO

 

1 pound cavatelli (small shell pasta)

7 tablespoons butter, plus extra for gratin dishes (divided)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 quart whole milk

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash of hot pepper sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 cups (1/2 pound) grated aged Asiago cheese

1 cup (1/4 pound) grated sharp white cheddar cheese

1 1/3 cups (about 5 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (divided)

3/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup minced fresh chives

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

 

Preheat oven to 350. Butter six individual gratin dishes. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and cool.

 

In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook, stirring, three minutes. Whisk in milk. Increase heat to high. When milk begins to boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened. Add mustard, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

 

In large bowl, toss together pasta, sauce, Asiago, cheddar, 1 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and chives. Spoon mixture into buttered gratin dishes. Mix together bread crumbs and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and sprinkle over pasta. Dot lightly with remaining butter and bake on middle shelf in preheated oven until crumbs are lightly browned and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Makes six servings.

 

MODIFIED SPICED MUFFINS

Spiced fruit muffins containing a blend of apple, raisin, carrot, coconut and pecans have been popular in recent years with home bakers. Made according to the original recipe, they have 270 calories and 15 grams of fat apiece. This lightened version retains all of the mix-ins except the coconut, and cuts the calories to 175 each. Makes 18 muffins

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cholesterol-free egg substitute equivalent to 4 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups chopped apples, unpeeled

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup grated carrots

2 tablespoons chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, combine egg substitute, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in apples, raisins and carrots. Add to flour mixture and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and bake 35 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan to a rack to cool completely. These freeze well and may be rewarmed before serving.

MONTEREY JACK FRENCH TOAST

Makes 4 servings

3 eggs

2 tablespoons buttermilk or whole milk

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 1/2-inch slices challah or potato bread

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack with jalapeno cheese or packaged shredded

"Mexican" or "Tex-Mex" cheese

 

Beat the eggs, milk and salt in a shallow bowl large enough to hold the bread slices a piece or 2 at a time. Dip and soak the slices in the mixture.

 

Heat the butter in a skillet. Just before cooking, sprinkle one side of each slice of bread with a heaping tablespoon of cheese. Don't assemble the French toasts until you are ready to fry them. You want the egg to stay moist to keep the cheese in place.

 

Gently place the slices, cheese side down, in the pan, taking care not to let the cheese drop off. Sprinkle the top side of each slice with another heaping tablespoon of cheese. Fry about 3 minutes, turn carefully and fry the other side.

 

Serve with a favorite salsa.

 

Variations: Substitute any cheese that can be shredded or use a combination of shredded cheeses. Virtually any handmade bread, homemade or purchased, can be used in place of the challah or potato breads. Likewise, consider serving mustards, chutneys or other condiments with savory French toasts.

 

OUR QUEST FOR PERFECT GADGETS

 

LOS ANGELES TIMES, January 9, 2002 Posted: 05:40:06 AM PST

 

In the sentimental 1950 film "The Goldbergs," there's a dinnertime scene in which Jake Goldberg talks about his hopes for the future.

 

He tells his adored wife, Molly, he wishes he could buy her dinner plates made of gold.

 

Molly turns to him and asks, "Would the food taste any better?"

 

Which brings us to the subject of high-tech appliances that kitchen shops, mail-order catalogs and Internet sites are offering this new year. Equipped with microchips and digital readouts, these devices are designed to do tasks formerly done with old-fashioned analog machines -- or sometimes no machines at all.

 

Is there really a need for a "fuzzy logic" rice cooker, electronic cocktail jigger or digital coffee scoop? To find out, we gathered a group of home cooks -- some of whom love gadgets and others who hate the idea of any kitchen item that comes with a manual.

 

We found that some of these devices -- ranging in price from $20 to $1,200 -- are just plain useless and even hilarious. But there are a few even Molly would have loved.

 

FrancisFrancis! X4 Espresso Machine ($1,195.99 at Williams-Sonoma): It is the most expensive item in our test, and it looks it, with a stainless-steel body that is part art deco and part industrial chic. This handsome machine is a lovely kitchen sculpture. But can it make coffee? Yes, and very well, although the coffee snob in the group (me) sniffed that the finished product could have used a bit more "crema."

 

But the machine's high-tech component -- which allows the viewing of the exact operating temperature and lets you program the X4 to go into "sleep cycle" between uses -- is largely digital window dressing. If you like the styling of the FrancisFrancis!, the analog X1 version at about $500 is the same basic machine. In fact, it looks even cooler, with its retro toggle switches and circular temperature dial.

 

Smart Coffee Scoop ($20 at Brookstone): It is one of those items that got lots of laughs from the test group. The device's handle includes a digital readout that simply lets you know how many scoops per cup to use. For example, if you want to make four cups of "medium" strength coffee, it tells you to use four scoops, and for a stronger brew use five. This one rates high on the "duh" scale.

 

Remote Thermometer ($54 at Williams-Sonoma): It is a digital meat thermometer with a little transmitter that sends a wireless signal to a tabletop unit (about the size of a kitchen timer) that you can carry into the next room.

 

When your roast reaches the optimum temperature -- you can go with the built-in settings, which can lead to overdoneness in some cases, or set your own -- a beeping alarm is triggered. The idea is that you can be with your guests and not worry about checking the oven every few minutes. It works wonderfully well, but it'd be even nicer if you could wear the receiver on a belt like a pager. Then you could ask the crowd, "Is that my agent calling or is the turkey done?"

 

National Electronic Rice Cooker-Warmer ($199 at Williams-Sonoma): This one is a winner, albeit a pricey one. This machine supposedly uses fuzzy-logic microchip technology to adjust to varying conditions. But whatever makes it work, the Calrose rice used for the test turned out perfectly fluffy and fragrant.

 

And, best of all, the unit's warmer cycle keeps the rice in pristine condition for at least three hours (don't try this feature with brown rice, which can go bad when kept under constant heat). The ergonomics of the oval-shaped machine also gets high marks.

 

Digital Wine Thermometer ($24.95 at Sharper Image): This is a handy item with a flaw. It not only takes the temperature of the wine in the bottle, it tells you if that particular "vino" is at the optimum temperature for imbibing. The problem is that the bottle needs to be uncorked for the device to work. Thus, if the wine needs further cooling, the bottle needs to be recorked and returned to the fridge. A wine connoisseur might not approve.

 

Wine Smart ($20 at Brookstone): This is a pocket-size device that has a digital screen to suggest the type of wine that would be appropriate to serve with various foods. Not a bad idea, but it is odd that it comes attached to a key ring. As a friend noted, "It's just the thing for those who are planning to drink and drive."

 

Bar Smart Cocktail Jigger ($35 at Brookstone): It is a regular jigger with directions for 40 cocktails programmed into its digital-screen-equipped handle. Some of the recipes are a bit mysterious. The Bar Smart's margarita calls for regular instead of sweetened lime juice and there is no mention of ice. The result is a room temperature, quite sour, margarita.

 

So, when all was said and done, the question remained: Did the food taste better? No. Everything we did could have been made as well or better with analog equipment. But the rice maker, remote thermometer and wine thermometer made our tasks easier and a bit more fun.

 

And we'll be laughing about the coffee scoop for years.

OVEN ROASTED COD WITH CAPERS

CITRUS AND THYME

Makes 4 servings

8 large carrots

A few drops of olive oil

4 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (divided)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 fillets of cod, trimmed of fatty tissue; about 6 ounces each

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup drained capers

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

2 tablespoons fresh dill leaf, picked from the stem and chopped (or 11/2 teaspoons dried dill weed)

4 sprigs of fresh dill (for garnish)

 

Preheat the oven to at least 400 degrees.

 

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the carrots until they are tender but firm to the bite. Drain and allow them to cool to room temperature. Cut the carrots into 1/4-inch-thick slices on the bias.

 

Transfer the carrots to a bowl, then toss them with a few drops of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the shallots, sugar, salt and pepper to coat them evenly.

 

Use four 6- to 8-inch nonstick skillets or one large nonstick skillet that will accommodate all the ingredients. Distribute the slices of carrots across the inner bottom of the pans, slightly overlapping one another. Lay the cod in the center of the carrots. Season the cod generously with sea salt and pepper.

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Add the capers, mustard and chopped dill. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons shallots in a linen towel, squeeze them and rinse the towel under running cold water to remove the strong shallot juices. Squeeze out the excess water; stir the shallots into the sauce. Season with salt and a generous dose of black pepper to your taste. Reserve at room temperature.

 

Place the skillets on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the cod is opaque, slightly firm and done, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Carefully remove the skillets from the oven, remembering that the handles are very hot.

 

With one or two spatulas, remove the carrots with the fish atop them and transfer all to the center of a warm serving plate. Repeat with the remaining servings.

Mix the vinaigrette again to combine and spoon it over the fish or serve in a sauce boat on the side. Garnish with a sprig of dill and serve immediately.

PANZANELLA DI FRATELLI

Makes 4 servings

2 cups fresh artisan bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup fresh artisan bread crumbs

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 red onion, julienned

2 homegrown tomatoes, cut into wedges

3 roasted red bell peppers, julienned (see note)

2 tablespoons mashed capers

5 anchovy fillets, mashed into a paste

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 cups mixed salad greens

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup whole, small-leaf fresh basil

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

 

Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place the bread crumbs on another baking sheet. Bake until each is crisp and toasted, about 30 to 45 minutes. Toss the bread crumbs once or twice while baking. When crisp, remove from the oven to cool.

 

Meanwhile, combine the cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, red peppers and capers in a mixing bowl.

 

In a small bowl, combine the mashed anchovies, garlic, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil.

 

Pour the dressing over the vegetables in the mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat and refrigerate for about 3 hours. Bring to room temperature before finishing the salad.

 

When ready to serve, drain the excess dressing from the vegetable mixture. Add the mixed greens, parmesan cheese, basil, toasted bread cubes and toasted bread crumbs. Toss gently and taste for seasoning. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Arrange on one large plate or on 4 smaller plates and serve.

 

Note: To roast peppers, place on broiler pan and broil about 5 to 6 inches from the heat source, turning often, until skin is charred on all sides. Place in a bag or covered bowl for about 10 minutes. Skin should peel right off.

From Fratelli Ristorante, Portland - Portland Oregonian

PEACH AND RASPBERRY COBBLER

WITH BUTTER BISCUITS

 

Fruit:

8 large peaches, peeled and sliced

2 cups raspberries

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Biscuits:

2 cups flour

31/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup whipping cream

Flour, sugar

Vanilla ice cream

 

For fruit, combine peaches, raspberries, sugar, flour and cinnamon in large mixing bowl; pour into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Set aside. Heat oven to 425.

 

For biscuits, mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with pastry blender, two knives or food processor. Stir in milk and cream until just combined (don't overmix); turn onto floured surface. Knead dough about 10 times; roll or pat to 1/2-inch thick. Cut into circles or other shapes with biscuit cutter; place biscuits on top of fruit. If you don't have a biscuit cutter, you can use the top of a drinking glass.

 

Sprinkle biscuits with sugar. Bake 35 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly browned. Serve with ice cream. Serves 10

-- Adapted from "Bill Neal's Southern Cooking"

PILE SALAD GREENS ATOP YOUR STEAK

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ; January 9, 2002 Posted: 05:40:06 AM PST

 

With carefully chosen ingredients that combine simple, fresh items and lively seasoning, dishes that are quick and easy to make can also have a variety of texture and depth of flavor.

 

This recipe for citrus-marinated tomato salad over steak is an example that draws inspiration from Hispanic cuisine traditions.

 

It's based loosely on a classic meat preparation and takes just 30 minutes to make.

 

In this version, thin steaks are rubbed with cumin and black pepper, then pan-fried and served over yellow rice. The steak is topped with salad greens and marinated tomatoes.

 

CITRUS-MARINATED TOMATO SALAD OVER STEAK

Serves 4

 

1/2 cup prepared regular or low-fat Italian salad dressing

1/2 teaspoon grated orange or lemon peel

1 pound fully ripened tomatoes, diced (about 21/2 cups)

7-ounce box yellow rice mix

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound beef round cube steaks, pounded thin

1 (12-ounce) package mixed salad greens

 

In a medium-size bowl, combine salad dressing and orange peel.

 

Add tomatoes; toss gently; let stand for 15 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, prepare rice according to package directions (omit oil).

 

In a cup, combine salt, cumin and pepper; sprinkle over steaks.

 

In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Cook two steaks at a time on both sides until browned, about 11/2 minutes, using remaining oil as needed.

 

Spoon rice on serving plates. Top with steaks, salad greens and marinated tomatoes.

PLUM UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Makes 8 servings (one 9-inch or 10-inch cake)

Topping:

1/2 cup granulated sugar or firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup butter or margarine (see note)

Grated peel of 1 orange (orange part only)

11/2 to 2 pounds fresh plums

 

Cake:

1 1/2 cups cake flour or 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup butter, at room temperature (2/3 stick; no substitutes)

2/3 cup 1 percent milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 egg

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 

To make topping: Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Melt butter in a 9-inch or 10-inch cast-iron skillet or ovenproof skillet over low heat. Mix in sugar mixture and orange peel. Take off heat. Wash and halve or quarter plums (depending on size). Place cut side up over bottom of skillet and set aside.

 

To make cake: Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into large mixer bowl. Add the butter and milk and beat at lowest speed on electric mixer just to blend. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl and beater once or twice. Add vanilla and egg and beat 2 minutes longer, scraping bowl occasionally.

 

Pour batter evenly over plums in skillet. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until cake is golden brown and pulls away from sides of pan or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan on wire rack 3 to 4 minutes.

 

Loosen edges of cake; place heat-proof serving plate over top of cake and turn pan over so cake slides onto plate. Serve warm or cold with sweetened whipped cream, if desired.

 

 

 

 

POT STICKER SPINACH CHICKEN SOUP

Makes 3 servings Betty Robbins says, "This is a complete meal when served with crispy hot French or sourdough bread and a glass of your favorite wine."

2 14 1/2-ounce cans reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 fresh green or red jalapeno chili, seeded and minced WEAR GLOVES

16 to 18 frozen pork pot stickers (or substitute other pot stickers; see note)

1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach or regular spinach, torn (about 1 ounce)

or 1/3 cup frozen leaf spinach (one-fourth of a 10-ounce box), thawed,

drained and squeezed to remove excess liquid

 

Hot chili oil (optional) In a medium saucepan, simmer chicken broth with garlic and jalapeno over low heat for 5 minutes. Add frozen pot stickers and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Add spinach and simmer just until wilted but still bright green.

 

Serve hot, with chili oil on the table for those who prefer it. Note: Wear gloves when handling fresh chili peppers; the pepper oil may cause a burning sensation on the skin.

 

Note: Pot stickers come in various sizes and packages. We used Trader Joe's frozen Pork Gyoza Pot Stickers (also labeled Pork and Vegetable Dumplings); there are 24 to 26 per 1-pound package.

 

Editor's note: For further convenience, you could use roasted garlic chicken broth instead of or in addition to fresh garlic. Betty Robbins, Portland

RED EYE GRAVY

 

To make red-eye gravy, you begin by pan-frying country-cured ham. After removing it from the skillet (it has to be cast-iron), deglaze all the drippings in the pan with hot coffee and cook until the gravy slightly thickens. (Although that's all the original gravy called for, modern versions may have you thicken it with a little cornstarch and water or adding some cream to make it more of a sauce consistency.) When it's ready, you pour the gravy over the ham steaks and biscuits, chow down, and chase it with the rest of that extra-strong hot coffee. Then, look yourself in the mirror and say, "Yippee Ti Yi Yay!"

 

Now that's comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

RICE WITH TUNA

BROCCOLI AND PARMESAN

Makes 4 servings

1 red onion, chopped

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

1 cup arborio rice

1 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon or dillweed

1 16-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 of a 1-pound package broccoli slaw

1 6-ounce can albacore tuna in spring water, drained

3/4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

(Arborio rice is a rounded, medium-grain rice from Italy that is both firm and creamy when cooked.)

Put onion and butter in microwave-safe 2-quart casserole with lid. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes, stirring once.

 

Stir in rice and tarragon. Cover and cook on high 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on high 10 minutes. Reduce power to medium; stir in broccoli slaw. Cover and cook until rice is just tender and slaw is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

 

Stir in tuna and cream. Cover; cook on medium heat 30 seconds. Let stand 3 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese.

ROAST CHICKEN

MADAME ARNAUD'S

Makes 6 servings

1 5 1/2- to 6-pound whole roasting chicken

Kosher or coarse sea salt

Cracked black pepper

4 sprigs fresh thyme (divided)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

 

Set the oven rack at the middle level and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

 

Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper and 2 sprigs of the thyme. Rub the outside with the softened tablespoon butter and season with salt, pepper and the leaves of the remaining sprigs of thyme. To loosen leaves, run your thumb and forefinger down the sprig's stem and the leaves should pop off.

 

Combine the broth and wine in a measuring cup or pitcher. Scatter the carrot chunks and onion slices on the bottom of a roasting pan.

 

Place the chicken, breast side up, on a roasting rack and set it in the pan over the vegetables. Roast for 10 minutes.

 

You will now baste and turn the chicken, roasting it for 10 to 15 minutes each on its sides and back, to achieve an evenly browned skin. Follow this timetable:

 

Baste with about 2 tablespoons of the wine and broth mixture and turn the chicken on its side. Baste and roast for 10 minutes. Baste again and turn the chicken on its other side. Baste and roast for an additional 10 minutes.

 

Lower the temperature to 350 degrees, baste again and roast for 15 minutes. Baste, turn the chicken so the legs are up and continue roasting for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken breast side up and baste. Continue roasting for an additional 40 to 50 minutes or until done, basting every 10 to 15 minutes.

 

The best test of chicken doneness is to take a temperature reading. A whole roast chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh on a meat or instant-read thermometer.

 

Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Pour the accumulated cooking juices and vegetables from the roasting pan into a small saucepan, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and place over low heat, keeping the mixture warm.

 

Carve the chicken and arrange pieces on a serving platter. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve, pressing down on the vegetables with the back of a wooden spoon to extract the liquid, into a warmed sauce boat. Pass the sauce at the table. Adapted from "The Artful Chicken" by Linda Arnaud

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROAST PORK LOIN

WITH A GOLDEN ALMOND CRUST

Serves 6 to 8

1 boneless pork loin roast (about 4 pounds)

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

2 cloves garlic, smashed with flat side of a knife and peeled

For Dijon mustard sauce:

4 cups chicken stock

2 to 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper, and rub with mustard.

 

In food processor, whirl bread crumbs, almonds, parsley, herbs and garlic, pulsing machine on and off until finely chopped.

 

Pat almond mixture over roast, pressing to coat well. Place on rack in a shallow roasting pan; cook until crust is lightly browned and a meat thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 155 to 160 degrees, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

 

While pork roasts, make sauce: In a medium saucepan, simmer chicken stock over medium heat until reduced to 1 cup. Reduce heat to low and whisk in 2 tablespoons mustard. Taste, adding more mustard as desired. Whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, until butter is incorporated and sauce is smooth.

ROASTED POTATOES WITH ASPARAGUS

CHERRY TOMATOES AND BLACK OLIVES

Makes 6 servings

 

Easy, beautiful and delicious -- what more could you want? The original recipe called for small fingerling potatoes, which can be hard to find. Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes work just as well, as do small red potatoes. Kalamata olives -- the Greek black ones -- can be found in most supermarkets, but French oil-cured picholine olives are also excellent in this recipe.

 

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise (may substitute other, slightly larger, potatoes, quartered lengthwise)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed (about 16 spears)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried

Sour cream (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, without stirring, for 15 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, in the same bowl, toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil. Add to the partially roasted potatoes; roast for 15 minutes longer.

 

In the same bowl, toss the remaining 1 tablespoon oil with the tomatoes, olives and thyme. Add the tomato mixture to the partially roasted potatoes and asparagus and roast until the tomatoes soften, about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.

SALMON SALAD

WITH HORSERADISH VINAIGRETTE

Makes 4 servings

 

This recipe takes some multitasking, but the result is delicious, beautiful and will be a hit with dinner guests (or your family). The salmon could be cooked earlier in the day or even the day before. The dressing also can be made ahead of time. That leaves just the vegetables to prepare and everything to be combined just before serving.

11/2 pounds new potatoes (about 10)

11/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus extra to taste

10 ounces haricots verts (thin French green beans), ends trimmed and discarded

1/4 cup red wine or sherry vinegar

1/4 cup prepared horseradish (preferably white)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup finely diced red onion

1/4 cup finely diced fresh chives

6 ounces mixed salad greens (optional)

11/2 pounds poached or grilled salmon fillet, skinless, flaked into bite-size pieces

 

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by at least 1 or 2 inches. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the potatoes; set aside.

 

Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water; set aside. Rinse saucepan, fill with cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon salt and the beans; cook until bright green and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain; plunge into ice bath. Drain; pat dry.

 

Combine vinegar and horseradish in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil until well-blended; season with salt and pepper.

 

Halve the potatoes lengthwise; cut the beans in half crosswise. Toss gently in a serving bowl with the onion, chives and half of the dressing.

 

To serve, divide the greens among individual plates and top each with the vegetables and then the salmon. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad. Serve immediately. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

SHRIMP WITH PASTA AND CREAM SAUCE

 

2 large cloves garlic, peeled, finely minced or crushed (or less - to taste)

4 to 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup half-and-half or fat-free evaporated milk

8 ounces angel hair pasta

2 cups broccoli florets

2 cups zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined or already-cooked frozen

shrimp, thawed

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, optional

1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

 

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the garlic, Dijon mustard and pepper. Whisk in the half-and-half or evaporated milk. Set aside.

 

When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta. Return to a boil and add the broccoli and zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes.

 

If using fresh shrimp, add it to the pasta pot and cook 2 more minutes or until the shrimp are pink and cooked through.

 

Drain the mixture into a colander; make sure pasta drains well. Pour the pasta mixture into a large serving bowl and toss with the sauce. Drizzle the olive oil over the noodles and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve immediately with crusty bread and a salad.

STEAK PROVENCAL

Makes 6 servings

 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 yellow summer squash, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 15-ounce can great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

1 141/2-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves, trimmed

1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

 

In a soup pot, heat the oil over high heat. Add the steak, onion, garlic and pepper. Saute for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the steak and onions are browned, stirring frequently.

 

Add the yellow squash, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Add the beans, tomatoes and basil; mix well. Cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, or until heated through.

 

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach wilts. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

STEAK WITH PEPPER AND MUSHROOM SAUCE

Serves 2

1 bunch watercress (about 4 cups)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon cracked black pepper

3/4 pound beef tenderloin, fat removed

(or strip steak, rib eye, flank steak, skirt steak)

Olive oil spray

2 medium-size shallots, chopped ( 1/4 cup)

1 medium garlic clove, crushed

1/4 pound button mushrooms, sliced (1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons brandy

2 tablespoons light cream

 

Wash and dry watercress. The quickest way to wash watercress is to place it head first into a bowl of water. Leave for a minute, then lift out and shake dry. Remove long stems.

 

Heat a medium non-stick skillet on medium high. Add watercress and toss 1 minute until just wilted. Remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Press cracked pepper onto both sides of steak. Spray skillet with olive oil spray and add steak. Brown 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

 

Lower heat to medium and add shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Saute 5 minutes. Return steak and cook until done, 5 minutes for 3-inch-thick tenderloin (3 minutes for thinner flank steak). Add brandy and cook 30 seconds. Remove steak and place on bed of watercress. Add cream to skillet and whisk. Add salt to taste. Spoon sauce over steak and serve with potatoes.

STEAK WITH STEAMED VEGETABLES

SOBA NOODLES AND GINGER SAUCE

An 8-ounce grilled steak and a couple of tablespoons of steak sauce clock in at 790 calories and 44 grams of fat. You can save nearly 300 calories per serving -- and cut more than half the fat -- by cooking the recipe below. Serves 4

1 12-ounce loin steak

1/2 pound soba noodles (see Note)

2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments

2 cups broccoli florets

Sauce:

1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 teaspoon sugar

Cracked black pepper, to taste

 

Cook the steak by grilling, broiling or frying in a non-stick pan, until medium-rare. Set aside on a covered platter to keep warm. Cook soba noodles according to package directions. While noodles are cooking, steam vegetables until tender-crisp. Combine sauce ingredients and heat through. Drain noodles, rinse and drain again. Toss vegetables with noodles. Divide among 4 plates. Slice steak across grain into thin strips. Arrange on top of vegetables and noodles. Top with sauce and serve.

 

Note: Soba noodles, a Japanese-style noodle available in Asian markets and large supermarkets, are made from buckwheat and wheat flours.

 

STIR FRIED SPICY CHICKEN

WITH ORANGE ZEST AND CRISPY CASHEWS

adapted from China Moon Cookbook, by Barbara Tropp

Velvet Marinade and Chicken:

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1-1/2 pound skinless, boneless fresh chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes

Aromatics:

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic

2 tablespoons thinly slice green and white scallion rings

1/2 teaspoon finely minced red chilies

OR 1/4to 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

Grated zest of 1 scrubbed small orange

Sauce:

1-1/2 cups defatted, unsalted chicken stock

2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

2 teaspoons soy or tamari sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 cup broccoli florets OR 1 carrot sliced diagonally into coins

8 to 10 ears baby corn

2 to 3 tablespoons peanut oil, for stir-frying

1 small yellow onion cut into large dice

1 red bell pepper cut into large dice

2 cups Napa cabbage, shredded

1/2 teaspoon finely minced red chilis OR 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1-1/2 tablespoons cold chicken stock

OR water

1/2 cup fried or roasted cashews

In a bowl, briskly whisk together the marinade ingredients through the cornstarch until smooth and thick. Add the chicken and toss well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 24 hours. Let come to room temperature and re-toss before cooking. Combine the aromatics in a small dish; cover until ready to use.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir to blend, leaving the

spoon in the bowl.

Blanch the broccoli or carrot in simmering water to cover to seal the color

and cook the outside, 15 to 30 seconds.

Plunge the vegetable into ice water to chill, then drain. Blanch the baby corn (if fresh) for 5 seconds. Chill in ice water and drain. All the above, including the vegetable cutting, may be done a full day ahead. Seal and refrigerate

the ingredients; bring to room temperature before cooking.

About 15 minutes before serving, bring 4 cups of water to a steaming near

simmer. Add the chicken, stir to separate the cubes, and cook until the outside turns 90% white, 40 to 50 seconds. Drain and set aside. The chicken will be cooked on the outside and a bit raw in the center.

Heat a wok or large heavy skillet over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and swirl to glaze pan. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a scallion ring on contact, reduce the heat to moderate and add the aromatics. Stir gently until fully fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, adjusting the heat so they foam without browning. Add the onion and bell pepper, and toss briskly until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrots (if using) and the baby corn, and toss until hot, about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, broccoli, chilies or dried chili flakes, and toss until the cabbage is wilted, about 1 minute. As you

stir-fry, adjust the heat to maintain a merry sizzle and drizzle a bit more oil down the side of the pan, if needed to prevent sticking.

Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Raise the heat to high, cover the pan, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir the cornstarch mixture, add it to the pan, and stir the sauce until turns glossy, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the chicken cubes

and toss gently until the chicken in cooked through, about 30 seconds.

Serve on a heated platter. Garnish with cashews.

 

SWEET AND SALTY POPCORN

WITH ORANGE-BLOSSOM HONEY

Makes 6 servings Time: 15 minutes

6 cups popped white popcorn

1 cup salted roasted nuts (one kind or a mixture; optional)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup orange-blossom honey

1 teaspoon coarse salt

 

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn and nuts in a large ovenproof bowl and place in oven. Pour sugar into a small, heavy saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. When sugar is melted and a light caramel color, add honey and stir until smooth and liquid. Remove from heat.

 

Take popcorn from oven, sprinkle it with salt and then pour sugar syrup over it. Using a potholder to steady bowl with one hand, stir quickly, using a large fork, to fluff and coat popcorn. Spread on baking sheet and let cool. Break into large pieces; store in an airtight tin.

TERIYAKI BEEF SOUP

 

8 ounces boneless beef sirloin steak

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

4 cups water

1 cup apple juice or apple cider

2 carrots, cut into thin bite-size strips

1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules

2 cups small broccoli flowerets

1 to 2 tablespoons light teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional)

Slivered green onion tops (optional)

 

Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into thin, bite-size strips. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and shallot. Cook and stir for two to three minutes or until meat is brown.

 

Use a slotted spoon to remove meat mixture; set aside.

 

In the same saucepan, combine water, apple juice, carrots, rice, ginger, garlic and bouillon granules. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until carrots are tender.

 

Stir in the meat mixture and broccoli. Simmer, covered, for three minutes more. Stir in the teriyaki sauce and, if desired, the sherry. Ladle soup into bowls.

 

Garnish with slivered green onion tops, if desired. Makes five servings.

THESE ARE THE TIMES

THAT TRY MEN'S SOULS ... AND PALATES

 

In the year ahead, home cooks will continue to yearn for the food of their memories, such as grandma's meat loaf.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, January 9, 2002 Posted: 05:40:06 AM PST

 

What's on the radar for foodies in 2002?

 

"Products that pop, fizz and rocket through your mouth are going to increase this year," says Lynn Dornblaser of the Global New Products Database and New Product News.

 

She bases her prognostication on 2001's introduction of carbonated juice from Switch Beverage and the arrival of White Soda and eMoo, both carbonated milk beverages.

 

Soy will also be big, she forecasts. "Look for strong marketing campaigns aimed at the 5- to 12-year-old market. These products will have unusual flavors, colors and positionings, but will get young consumers sold on soy."

 

They will be jockeying for position with grapefruit-flavored medicine, Hispanic-inspired flavors (such as dulce de leche-flavored M&Ms) and spray-on tooth whitener that temporarily whitens teeth.

 

Some things we'll see in 2002:

 

Comfort food: Home cooks will continue to yearn for the foods of their memories. Things grandmother used to make: stews, meat loaf, roast chicken, mashed potatoes and layer cakes.

 

According to New York City industry consultant Clark Wolf, "Now, cooking is comforting -- and when entertaining, it's no more show-off cooking, it's communal cooking."

 

One-dish dining: With the recession officially under way, look for more meals to be prepared at home. But American diners, accustomed to the convenience of takeout meals and restaurant cooking, are even less interested now in spending a lot of time fixing dinner. That's why you'll see a steady growth in fix-it-fast meal kits and comfort food in stores, such as the new Stouffer's Slowfire Classics, Campbell's Supper Bakes and Ragu Express pasta dishes.

 

Even the side dish is disappearing, as consumers skip the extra step needed to make an extra dish and instead throw vegetables into one-dish meals such as stir-fries, stews and casseroles.

 

Greens go global: With the multi-ethnic makeup of American diners, look for more markets to stock edibles such as mustard greens, water spinach, sea vegetables, chards, bok choys, "dinosaur" and other hearty kales.

 

Upscale goes down market: On restaurant menus, look for some high-ticket ingredients replaced by less costly alternatives. For example, lamb shank instead of rack of lamb, or chicken instead of duck. Look, too, for more daily special items such as filled omelets and hearty soups that offer chefs an opportunity to recycle ingredients.

 

Dish of the year: Mac & cheese earns Good Eating's predictions as the most yearned-for dish in 2002, at least until the weather warms up again.

 

Who can resist? Plump pasta nestled and baked with creamy Cheddar cheese sauce until the whole thing mingles and melds. Trust us, this is not just food for kids!

 

Self-serve supermarkets: The need for speed is everywhere, especially in the supermarket and most especially at the checkout. That may explain why some customers would rather scan products themselves, and why supermarkets are increasingly willing to oblige them.

 

"Self-scanning has grown in various pockets around the country," says Michael Sansolo, senior vice president of Food Manufacturers Institute, a trade group for the supermarket industry. "For a quick trip, it's much simpler for shoppers."

 

Customers who use self-checkout are usually in a hurry and don't mind technology, he says. Self-scanning won't replace clerks, but usually occupies one or two aisles in stores that offer it. Expect to see it grow.

 

Artisan attention: The trend toward handmade, small-batch foods will continue as consumers seek higher quality. Artisan cheeses from small farms, rustic breads from high-quality bakeries, chocolates made by hand, even olive oil from "estates" in Italy and California -- all will find their way to our cupboards in 2002.

 

According to Howard Solganick, a supermarket industry consultant, "I don't know how else to put it, but once you taste really good bread, it's hard to go back to Wonder."

 

Organic goes mainstream: Americans will increasingly "go organic" -- but not where you'd expect. Organic products totaled $7.8 billion in sales in 2000, according to a report by the Food Marketing Institute, which found that 69 percent of shoppers surveyed said they bought their organic products at their primary supermarket. This was borne out by the Organic Trade Association, which reports that mass-market supermarkets accounted for 45 percent of organic sales.

 

Expanding cookbooks: Publishers are learning that cookbook buyers want a lot more information when they wade into recipes. Check out the growing inclusion of background information, extensive glossaries, kitchen tips, supplier lists, menu ideas, wine suggestions, measurement conversion charts and other hand-holding hints. These soon-to-be-standard extras appeal not only to eager cooks, but to the totally clueless. Two upcoming examples: "Lorenza's Italian Season" from Lorenza de Medici (Trafalgar Square), with holiday menus and preservation tips; and an American regional barbecue book from Dallas writer Dottie Griffith (Simon & Schuster), packed with history, cooking tips, Web sites and a bibliography.

 

Chill-free foods: Shelf-stable foods (which do not require refrigeration) will mushroom in the supermarket aisles, predicts Art Siemering, editor of the Food Channel Trendwire newsletter. It's another of our convenience-oriented cooking habits.

 

"We'll see continued growth among shelf-stable entrees and canned items in general," Sie- mering said. "The bowl format still has lots of unexplored possibilities, including the conversion of many existing canned items. Why not shelf-stable vegetables that can come directly to the table?"

 

Super-ply panache: It's the age of "super-ply" in home cookware. The trend for pots and pans will be anything "clad," according to the Cookware Manufacturers Association. Even the humble saucepan may be made with up to nine separate pieces of metal. In these new pans, a stainless-steel bottom (and sometimes a stainless interior) wraps around layers of aluminum or copper. The multiple metals improve heat conductivity that stainless alone can't give. Traditional copper pans are superb heat conductors, but also are expensive and time-consuming to maintain. The new pans combine the best of both worlds.

 

Vitamins with your water: Neither man nor woman can live by wine alone, but the new-product gnomes are making strides toward a pure water diet. Energy Brands, a New York State company, has introduced Glaceau Vitaminwater, "the must-have accessory of the modern consumers' on-the-go lifestyle." It is a line of 11 low-calorie, vitamin- and electrolyte-enhanced flavors of water, each in a distinctive color. "Endurance peach," for example, contains vitamin E and ginseng. "Focus kiwi-strawberry" offers vitamin A, ginkgo biloba and gotu kola.

 

More dessert, please: Restaurant customer numbers and per-customer spending have sagged since the Sept. 11 tragedies, but dessert sales have gone up in most restaurants. And the kinds of desserts we're buying are becoming more exotic: chocolate hazelnut ganache tarts, chocolate malted gelato and deep-fried chocolate truffles.

 

Food security: "Making food safe" used to be all about bacterial contamination of raw foods and the cleanliness of kitchens, at home and in restaurants. But the boom in the security business since September's terrorist attacks has extended to "food security" as well.

 

The National Center for Food Safety teaches smaller processors the basics: prevention of tampering, screening employees, securing the physical plant and procedures to safeguard raw and finished products.

 

Phytochemicals: Anti-oxidants will continue to generate heat in nutrition circles as researchers in 2002 discover even more about the health benefits of these phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. Many of these natural anti-oxidants have been shown to help guard against cancer, heart disease and other illnesses by neutralizing "free radicals," which can destroy healthy cells.

 

Nutritionist Phyllis Bowen says specific anti-oxidant vitamins such as C and E will be studied, as will the phytochemical anthocyanin (found in blueberries, raspberries and cranberries), which is thought to improve mental acuity.

 

Cow safety: The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service released a risk analysis Nov. 30 about the prospects for mad cow disease in the United States, which up till now has avoided Britain's fate. The "executive summary" of the analysis, produced by scenario modeling at Harvard University's school of public health, predicts little threat to American cattle, and even less to burger lovers.

 

"The course of the disease has been arrested and it is destined for eradication by the measures currently in place," the authors conclude. Doubters, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Public Citizen, object to how much money Harvard's Center for Risk Analysis gets from the very industries whose issues it studies.

 

Los vinos d'España: As in any country that throws off the cloak of tradition, modern Spain embraces the new. Wine is no exception. From the staid bodegas of Rioja to the shiny stainless-steel tanks of Galicia, bold experiments are resulting in a new species of wines, brighter and more vibrant than those of the past. They are attractively priced. Look for reds from Navarra, Ribera del Duero and Rioja; and whites from Galicia.

VEGETARIAN CHILI

 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1-3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground ancho chili, or 1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup coarsely chopped canned tomatoes, drained

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons masa or corn meal

Freshly ground black pepper

 

In a medium Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, bell pepper and garlic in the oil until the onion is translucent, about four minutes. Add the jalapeño pepper, cumin, ancho chili or chili powder, and oregano, Stir until the spices are fragrant, about one minute. Take care not to let them burn.

 

Add the beans, chopped tomatoes, all but 3 tablespoons of the vegetable broth, and the cilantro. Set the remaining vegetable broth aside. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, place the masa or corn meal in a small bowl. Mix in the reserved vegetable broth, stirring to make a smooth mixture. While stirring the chili, blend in the corn mixture, blending it in well.

 

Mix in a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Continue simmering the chili 10 minutes longer. Makes four servings.

WALNUT CHEESE CUSTARD

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups sliced walnuts

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

2 cups whipping cream

1 cup (6 ounces) grated sheep's milk cheese, such as manchego

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. Bake, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.

 

Generously coat eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups with butter. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until well blended. Stir in cream, then walnuts and cheese. Divide custard equally among ramekins. Arrange filled ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake until custard no longer jiggles when a ramekin is gently shaken, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before serving with fresh berries and a glass of tawny port, if you like. Note: This is a cross between cheesecake and panna cotta, with the texture of bread pudding; you also can bake it in a shallow 3-quart gratin dish.

WHOLE MEAL CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

CHINESE STYLE

Makes 4 servings

 

Fresh Asian-style noodles are turning up everywhere these days -- even supermarkets -- and they're ideal for soups, because you can cook them right in the broth. It only takes a few minutes and, unlike dried noodles, they won't make the broth too starchy. Here, then, is a noodle-based chicken soup that you can take in many different directions.

 

6 cups chicken broth

10 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

11/2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 cup broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch or smaller pieces

1 pound fresh, thin Asian-style egg noodles (see note)

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, or to taste

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1/2 cup minced green onions

 

Heat the broth with the ginger and crushed garlic while you prepare the other ingredients. Keep it warm and simmering until you're ready to use it.

 

Pour the peanut oil into a broad, deep skillet or saucepan and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the minced garlic and stir, then add the chicken. Turn the heat to high and cook, stirring only occasionally, until the chicken begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

 

Strain and add the broth; adjust the heat so that it boils gently. Add the noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are separate and tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame oil, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the soup among four bowls; add a little more broth to each if you want the mixture thinner. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

 

Note: Fresh Asian-style egg noodles can be found at Asian markets and some supermarkets. They may be labeled "soup noodles" or "wonton noodles" or simply "noodles." From "Mark Bittman . . . Cooks Dinner"

WHY LEFTOVER PEA SOUP

BECOMES EXCESSIVELY THICK

BY ROBERT L. WOLKE

Q Why is it that when I make split-pea soup and put the leftovers in the refrigerator, it sets up like cement? I then have to add a lot of water and ``beat it into submission'' to make it thin enough to eat with a spoon.

 

A Peas are seeds, and they therefore contain an abundance of starch to fuel the growth process when the seed germinates. When you simmer the peas, the starch granules are released and disperse throughout the liquid, where they take on water and swell. This process is what thickens the soup into a sort of paste. That's fine if you eat it while it's hot. A good, thick pea soup is among life's most comforting foods, especially in cold weather.

 

But when the leftovers are cooled, the swollen starch grains begin to stick together, trapping a lot of water and forming a gel. In a gel, the water is locked into a semi-solid mass and is no longer free to flow easily. To thin the soup back to its original consistency, heat and stir it thoroughly while adding more water to replace that which became trapped and immobilized in the gel.

 

I'm told that the traditional Dutch pea soup (erwtensoep), also called snert, is deliberately made a day ahead and refrigerated, so that when it is reheated before serving, it will be thick enough to support a spoon standing straight up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert L. Wolke is professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. His latest book is ``What Einstein Told His Barber: More Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions.''

 

WILD RICE SALAD

WITH DRIED CHERRIES AND HAZELNUTS

Makes 6 servings

2 cups cooked and cooled white rice (2/3 cup uncooked; try basmati or jasmine)

2 cups cooked and cooled wild rice (1/2 cup; see note)

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped hazelnuts (see note)

Dressing (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Mix cooked white and wild rice with the cherries and hazelnuts. At the last minute before serving, toss with dressing and chives; season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Note: To cook the wild rice, cook 1/2 cup rice in 2 cups boiling water, covered, for 45 to 50 minutes. The rice is done when two-thirds of the grains have "exploded." This will give the rice a nice variety of textures, from chewy to melt-in-your-mouth.

 

Note: To toast hazelnuts, spread shelled nuts in dry skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, about 10 minutes or until skins crack. Be careful not to burn. To remove skins, rub warm nuts with a rough cloth.

 

Dressing:

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground cardamom

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and salt and pepper to taste by hand with a whip.

From chef Peter Leigh Gallin Applewood Catering, Vancouver, Wash.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Makes 25 appetizers

 

You can make these ahead, but they're never quite as good as when they're eaten straight from the pan. Make them the night before, then reheat in a 325-degree oven until they're warm. Or freeze in a single layer, then carefully place in a sealed plastic bag. Reheat frozen fritters in ovenproof container in a 350-degree oven for about 12 minutes. Do not reheat in microwave.

 

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, shredded (about 3 cups)

1 medium onion, grated

2 medium carrots, grated

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 green bell pepper, shredded

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

4 eggs

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon baking powder

Vegetable oil

 

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, onion, carrots, garlic, bell pepper and chopped parsley. Set aside.

 

In another bowl, beat eggs, salt and pepper. Add flour to the mixture and beat as you would for pancake batter (mixture will be a little thicker than pancake batter). Add cheese and baking powder and beat well. Set aside.

 

Pour oil, 1/2 inch deep, into skillet. Heat oil until it's hot enough to deep-fry (about 300 to 325 degrees F).

 

When oil is almost ready, pour batter over vegetables and gently combine. Using a slotted spoon, lift out about 1 to 11/2 tablespoons vegetable batter, shape and press into a small disk, then carefully turn out into the hot fat. (As batter sits, it will get more watery -- don't worry, it's easy to press much of it out through the slotted spoon).

 

Continue making and frying fritters, adding no more than 6 fritters at a time to the pan. Fry until golden brown, turning once.

 

Remove fritters to paper towels to drain. Very lightly salt 1 side and sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. Repeat until batter is gone.

 

ZUCCHINI GARBUE WITH ROUILLE

Makes 6 servings

 

This vegetable stew is based on Italian ribollita 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 Provencal mayonnaise flavored with roasted red peppers, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

 

In order to reduce your work time in the kitchen, prepare the zucchini and tomatoes while the onions are slowly sautéing. 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 (2 medium)

Salt to taste plus 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (divided)

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

Rouille:

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, 20 minutes; don't let them brown.

 

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

 

Spread 1/2 cup of the 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 spice 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.

 

Bake 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Uncover pot. Bake until bread on top is crisped, 15 minutes. If still not crisp, place briefly under broiler.

 

To make 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

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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