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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 293

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).

AMAZON CAKE

AMBROSIA PANCAKE

AUSSIE CHIPS

BAKED MASA BOATS

BEEF AND ROOT VEGETABLE POTPIE

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

CARAMEL PRALINE PANCAKES

CHERRY BARS

CHICKEN BROCHETTES

CHICKEN POTPIE

CHILI BURGER SUPPER

CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

CHOCOLATE QUAKES

COCOA PANCAKE ETTES WITH FUDGE SAUCE

COCOS SPECIAL CHEESE DRESSING

CORN MEAL AND BACON PANCAKES

CRAB CAKES AND BASIL AIOLI

CRANBERRY BAKED PANCAKES

CROCK POT LACQUERED CHICKEN HOT DISH

ENCHILADAS EL POPO

FRANKFURTER CASSEROLE

FRESHEN UP FRUIT MENU

GINGER CARROT AND SESAME PANCAKES.do

GINGER OAT PANCAKES

GLAZED ORANGE OR LEMON PEEL

GO CUCKOO FOR FINE COCOA

HOW TO EAT JAPANESE FOOD POLITELY.do

IRISH AMERICAN SODA BREAD

IRISH POTATO BREAD

MAC and CHEESE GOES MODERN

MACARONI AND BEEF HOT DISH

MACARONI AND CHEESE WEDGES

MACARONI AND CHEESE

MACARONI WITH WISCONSIN ASIAGO

MEAN AND MEATY CHILI

MOUSSELINE AU CHOCOLAT

MUSHROOM QUESADILLAS

ORANGE TIRAMISU

PANCAKE TIPS

PANETTONE

PEAR JALAPENO PEPPER JELLY

PECAN CRUSTED MONKFISH

PHIL BERT COFFEE

PISSALADI_RE STUFFED

POTATO GRATIN WITH GREEN CHILIES

POTPIE INFORMATION

RED POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

RIGATONI WITH CAULIFLOWER

RISOTTO CAKES WITH CR_ME FRAICHE

ROAST PORK TENDERLOIN WITH FENNEL

SHRIMP WITH SPICY FRUIT SALSA

SIMMERED BEEF ROAST

SUNDAY CHICKEN HOT DISH

TAMALE PIE

TORTILLA GLOSSARY

TORTILLAS LAYERED

TRUFFLED MUSHROOM SAUCE

TRY IT WITH CINNAMON

ULTIMATE MACARONI AND CHEESE

WHOLE WHEAT HONEY PANCAKES

WILD RICE HOT DISH

WILD RICE SALAD

YUCATECAN WILD BOAR POTPIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMAZON CAKE

Serves 8

 

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons corn oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Confectioners' sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, vanilla and vinegar with 1 cup cold water. Whisk in dry ingredients, blending until completely free of lumps. Pour into a greased, 9-inch, round cake pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until top springs back when pressed gently. Cool before removing from pan and dusting with confectioners' sugar.

AMBROSIA PANCAKES

Serves 6

 

1/2 cups pancake mix; more if needed to achieve desired thickness

1/2 cup skim milk or water

1/2 cup orange juice

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 cup flake coconut

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 1/2 cups syrup

1 medium orange, peeled, seeded and diced

 

Combine pancake mix, milk or water, orange juice, egg whites and extract, until just moistened. Stir in coconut and orange zest.

 

Bake on a greased hot griddle, using 1 tablespoon of batter for miniature pancakes, more for standard pancakes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

 

Combine syrup and diced oranges. Heat and serve warm with pancakes.

 

Adapted from "The American Country Inn and Bread & Breakfast Cookbook" (Rutledge Hill Press, 1987, $26.95 hardcover)

 

 

AUSSIE CHIPS & AUSSIE CHEESE FRIES

Outback Steakhouse(r) (a clone, from TOP SECRET RECIPES)

These French fries are easy to make with a couple sliced russet potatoes -- the frying is real basic stuff. But the big secret is found in the special seasoning that's sprinkled over the top. That's what makes these fries unique and tasty. Make a home version of this dish as a clone of Outback's Aussie Chips or as the gooier cheese-topped version that falls right in behind the Bloomin' Onion on the menu's cool lineup of appetizer offerings.

From Top Secret Recipes:

 

Aussie Chips:

 

2 medium russet potatoes

6 to 8 cups vegetable oil or shortening

 

Seasoning:

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon ground thyme

 

On the side:

ranch dressing

 

1. Preheat oil to 375 degrees in a deep fryer.

2. Cut potatoes into French fry slices using a vegetable slicer or mandolin. It's important to use a gadget for the slicing so that the fries will all be the same thickness, and will cook evenly. Submerge all of the sliced potatoes in a large bowl filled with cold water for 30 minutes.

3. Combine all of the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Remove potato slices from the water and onto a clean towel. Blot dry.

5. Fry potato slices for 8 to 12 minutes in hot oil until light brown. Drain fries on a rack or paper towels and sprinkle with some of the seasoning. Pile the fries on a plate and serve with ranch dressing on the side, if desired.

 

Serves 4 to 6.

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUSSIE CHEESE FRIES

 

plate of cloned Aussie Chips (from above recipe)

 

1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 bacon slice, cooked

 

On the side

ranch dressing

 

1. Prepare the clone for the Aussie Chips and arrange the seasoned fries on an oven-safe plate. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix the cheeses together and sprinkle the blend over the fries. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it over the cheese. Bake the plate for 4 to 5 minutes in the hot oven, until cheese is melted. Serve with ranch dressing on the side. Serves 4 to 6. http://www.topsecretrecipes.com

BAKED MASA BOATS

WITH CHEESE AND ROASTED POBLANOS

(Cazuelitas de queso y rajas)

makes 8 appetizers

 

3 medium poblano chilies

1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

1 small white onion, sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped

11/4 teaspoons dried oregano

2/3 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a dash for seasoning

1/2 pound (about 1 cup) fresh masa for tortillas (see Note 1)

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup finely crumbled queso anejo, dry feta or Parmesan cheese (see Note 2)

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon baking power

1 chorizo sausage, about 7 ounces, casing removed (see Note 2)

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce

4 radishes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

 

Place poblanos over a gas flame or 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for open flame or 10 minutes for broiler.

 

Cover with a kitchen towel; let stand 5 minutes. Peel. Pull out stem; seed.

 

Rinse lightly to remove bits of skin or seeds. Slice into 1/4-inch strips. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of the oregano and the thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in poblanos. Season with a dash of the salt; cool.

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

For cazuelitas, combine the masa with the lard, 1/2 cup of the Chihuahua cheese, queso anejo, egg yolk, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands until a smooth, soft dough is formed, about 5 minutes.

 

Divide into 8 balls. Flatten each with your fingers into a 3-inch disc with raised edges. Place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet; bake in upper third of oven until barely set and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.

 

Cool slightly; pinch a 1/2-inch high border of the still-soft masa around the edge of each. Press down centers to flatten evenly.

 

Combine the poblano strips with the remaining 1 cup Chihuahua cheese; divide among the cazuelitas. Bake until cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

 

Cook the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat, breaking up any lumps, until thoroughly cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

 

Toss the lettuce with the radishes, vinegar and a little salt.

 

Divide among serving plates. Set the cazuelitas on the lettuce; top with a spoonful of chorizo.

 

Note 1: If you can't get fresh masa for these, make your own by combining 1 cup masa harina with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water.

 

Note 2: Look for queso anejo (dry, aged cheese) and chorizo sausages in some markets or Mexican markets.

BEEF AND ROOT VEGETABLE POTPIE

IN CRACKED PEPPER CRUST

Serves 4

 

For the crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

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

2 to 4 tablespoons cold water

3/4 teaspoon very coarsely ground black peppercorns

 

For the filling:

2 each medium carrots, parsnips and turnips, peeled and cut into 1-by-1/2-by-

1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup each)

20 pearl onions, peeled and with an X cut in each root end

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

8 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, including green parts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/4 pounds well-trimmed filet mignon, cut into 1-inch cubes

5 medium shallots, thinly sliced

10 black peppercorns

1/2 cup full-bodied red wine

1/4 cup Cognac or brandy

1/2 cup demiglace

1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

 

For the crust: Combine flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal.

 

Pour in 2 tablespoons water and process just until mixture comes together into a ball, adding additional water by the teaspoon if pastry is too dry. Add pepper and pulse to mix.

 

Remove pastry, divide into 4 equal pieces, dust lightly with flour and flatten into small disks. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

Roll each pastry disk out on a lightly floured board into a circle measuring about 8 inches in diameter and about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to individual pie pans measuring about 6 inches across. Trim excess pastry and decorate edges with the tines of a fork. Prick several times. Place a piece of aluminum foil on each crust, smoothing it against the edges, and weight it with dried beans or rice.

 

Bake in the middle of the oven just until crusts are set, 6 to 8 minutes.

 

Remove foil and beans, return crusts to oven and bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Turn oven down to 200 degrees. Keep crusts warm until final assembly. Or let cool and reheat when needed.

 

Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Blanch carrots, parsnips, turnips and pearl onions separately in boiling salted water until just cooked through but still firm, about 1 to 2 minutes.

 

Shock in cold water, drain and blot dry. Set aside until final assembly, then heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet until hot.

 

Add vegetables and scallions and sauté until heated through and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

 

Blot meat dry.

 

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over high heat until almost smoking. Quickly sear meat on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan and season with salt and pepper.

 

Adjust heat to medium-high, stir in shallots and peppercorns, and cook until shallots are light brown, 2 minutes.

 

Pour in wine, Cognac and demiglace, and boil for 1 minute to reduce liquid, scraping up any browned cooking bits. Keep warm on low heat.

 

Knead remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and flour with your fingers until blended, then stir it by bits into the sauce until it thickens. Add parsley, then taste for seasonings.

 

Return meat and any juices that have accumulated along with the vegetables to pan, turning to coat evenly. Divide between warm pie crusts.

 

Serve at once, or cover lightly with foil and hold in a warm oven for up to an hour.

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

WITH MAPLE-YOGURT TOPPING

12 pancakes

 

Blueberry pancakes:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup melted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

 

Maple-yogurt topping:

1 1/2 cups natural yogurt

1/3 cup maple syrup

 

Garnish: 1 cup fresh blueberries

 

To make the pancakes: In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, beat together milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to liquid, mixing just until combined. Fold in blueberries.

 

Heat skillet or griddle over medium heat; brush with oil or unsalted butter.

 

Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until top of each pancake is speckled with bubbles and underside is golden brown (about three minutes). Turn and cook until underside is lightly browned (about one minute).

 

Serve with fresh blueberries and maple-yogurt topping.

 

Maple-yogurt topping: Whisk together yogurt and syrup until well blended. Spoon over warm pancakes.

 

Garnish with fresh blueberries.

 

From Canadian TV personality Jonathan Torrens in TV Guide

CARAMEL PRALINE PANCAKES

20 pancakes

 

1 recipe caramel whipped cream (recipe follows)

(1 cup whipping cream

( 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 beaten eggs

2 1/3 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans

 

Caramel whipped cream: In a chilled mixing bowl, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping. Using chilled beaters, beat with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until needed, up to an hour.

 

For pancakes: In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and cooking oil. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until blended, but still slightly lumpy. Stir in pecans.

 

Heat a lightly greased griddle over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles.

 

For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Cook until golden, turning to cook second side when pancake has bubbly surface and slightly dry edges. Serve with caramel whipped cream.

CHERRY BARS

5 dozen

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 cans (42 ounces) cherry pie filling

 

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 to 3 tablespoons milk

 

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Combine flour and salt and add to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.

 

Spread 3 cups batter into a greased 15-inch by 10-inch by 1-inch baking pan. Spread with pie filling. Drop the remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over filling.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over bars.

CHICKEN BROCHETTES

WITH BABY CARROTS AND ARTICHOKES

Makes 4 brochettes

 

Baby artichokes are the charming crowning touch for chicken brochettes, which can be broiled or grilled.

 

12 baby carrots, scrubbed

4 baby artichokes, trimmed

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Preheat broiler. Parboil carrots in boiling water until barely tender (3 to 5 minutes); parboil artichokes for 5 minutes in lightly salted acidulated water. Drain well.

 

Meanwhile, slice each breast lengthwise into 4 strips.

 

Thread 4 skewers, alternating chicken strips with carrots on 8-inch metal skewers, finishing with a baby artichoke.

 

In a small bowl, make a vinaigrette by vigorously whisking together the mustard, vinegar and oil.

 

Broil brochettes 5 inches from heat until chicken is done (about 6 to 8 minutes per side), basting frequently with half of the vinaigrette. Serve brochettes with remaining vinaigrette.

CHICKEN POTPIE

Serves 6

 

For the pastry:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

1/3 cup water

 

For the filling:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

4 cups large chunks of cooked chicken

12 small white onions, cooked until tender

3/4 cup shelled peas (see note), cooked until tender

3/4 cup sliced carrots, cooked until tender

3/4 cup diced celery, cooked until tender

 

For the pastry: Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle water over pastry mixture, a tablespoon at a time, and mix lightly with a fork, using only enough water so the pastry holds together when pressed gently into a ball.

 

Roll dough into an 11-inch circle between pieces of wax paper or on a cloth. Refrigerate until needed.

 

For the filling: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

 

Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slowly add broth, cream, pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, until thickened and smooth.

 

Put chicken pieces in a deep pie plate or casserole. Cover with sauce and stir in small onions, peas, carrots and celery. Place prepared pie crust over casserole, allowing enough overhang so that edges can be crimped.

 

Cut vents into crust to allow steam to escape. Bake until crust is nicely browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Note: Substitute defrosted petite frozen peas, if desired.

CHILI BURGER SUPPER

Submitted by Maggie Durgin, MiWuk Village, CA

A quick and easy hot dish! A favorite with my mother, who would read a book up to the last minute before Dad's arrival at 5:00, then say, "Well, what shall I make for supper?" By this example I learned the importance of reading and am now a librarian who cooks between books!

 

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 lb. ground chuck

1 can condensed chili beef soup

1 can condensed tomato soup

3 slices American cheese

Cook macaroni following package directions. Drain thoroughly. Brown ground meat in skillet. Add both soups and macaroni. Heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 - 7 minutes until the mixture bubbles. Lay cheese slices on top, cover for a few minutes until cheese melts slightly. Serves 6 (or 2 adults and 2 teenage boys).

CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE

Serves 6

 

For raspberry coulis:

3/4 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries, defrosted

2 tablespoons sugar

For chocolate:

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces semisweet chocolate

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons raspberry coulis

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

 

To prepare coulis: Puree raspberries and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing on solids to extract juice.

 

To prepare chocolate: In a heavy pot, heat cream until almost boiling. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Add egg yolks, vanilla and raspberry coulis. Stir until smooth. Stir in butter until melted and well blended. Pour into 6 small (2-ounce) bowls, espresso cups, Asian teacups or other small dishes. Chill until firm.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

AND STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Makes 8 servings

 

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

3 eggs yolks, slightly beaten

3 tablespoons stick margarine or softened butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

8 individual-size tart shells, baked

Whipped cream

 

Mix sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Slowly pour milk into the pan, stirring the whole time.

 

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute more.

 

Slowly stir at least half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Stir this mixture back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir for another minute.

 

Remove pudding from heat. Stir in margarine and vanilla. Pour pudding into individual tart shells or dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Top with whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

Makes 12 servings

 

2 quarts strawberries, sliced

1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons (divided)

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup vegetable shortening

11/2 cups milk

Margarine or butter, softened

Sweetened whipped cream

 

Mix strawberries and 1 cup of sugar; let stand for 1 hour.

 

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Add shortening. With a pastry blender, cut shortening into flour mixture until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add milk, stirring, until milk just barely blends in.

 

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, gently smooth into a ball and knead 20 to 25 times. With a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick. Cut rectangle into circles with a floured, 2-inch biscuit cutter.

 

Place dough circles about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Split shortcakes horizontally in half while hot and spread margarine on split edges. Fill with strawberries; replace tops, and top with more

CHOCOLATE QUAKES

Makes about 2 dozen

 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cocoa, preferably Dutch process

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup finely ground pecans or almonds

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

About 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar.

 

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, egg and vanilla on low speed until pale yellow in color and thickened, about 1 minute. Sift cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and mix on low until incorporated. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips.

 

Cover and chill until dough is firm enough to handle, about 1 hour.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

 

Place confectioners' sugar in a medium bowl. Form chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Place in confectioners' sugar, and coat completely. Place on a baking sheet, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes, or until cookies are puffed and sugared surfaces have cracked apart. The centers will appear underdone. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

COCOA PANCAKE ETTES WITH FUDGE SAUCE

Serves 6

 

Fudge Sauce:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Pancakes:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup whole milk

1 large egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Confectioners' sugar

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

 

To make the fudge sauce: Stir cocoa, sugars and salt in medium saucepan until blended. Stir in cream; the mixture will be very thick.

 

Add butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand five minutes. Stir in vanilla. Serve warm. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.

 

To make pancakes: Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl.

 

In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, milk, egg and melted butter until blended. Add to dry ingredients and gently fold until blended.

 

Fold in chocolate chips. Do not overmix.

 

Heat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Brush with a thin film of vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add batter by rounded tablespoons.

 

Adjust heat to medium-low and cook until bubbles begin to appear around the edges and the bottoms are lightly browned. If necessary, reduce the heat to low to prevent the pancakes from scorching or browning too fast. Carefully turn and lightly brown other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

 

Reheat fudge sauce, if necessary.

 

Arrange pancakes on dessert plates about four per serving. Sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar. Drizzle with warm fudge sauce.

 

Spoon a little whipped cream onto the side of each plate. Serve warm.

 

COCOS SPECIAL CHEESE DRESSING

makes about 2 cups

 

1/4 to 3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup buttermilk

4 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 

Combine milk, mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk and whisk until blended.

 

Place vinegar in cup and stir in garlic salt and pepper. Add to mayonnaise mixture and blend in cheese.

 

Store in refrigerator.

CORN MEAL AND BACON PANCAKES

serves 4

 

2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled; reserve 1 tablespoon drippings

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 egg

1 1/4 cups milk

1 tablespoon reserved bacon drippings

 

In large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

 

In separate bowl, mix egg, milk and bacon drippings. Stir into dry ingredients, mixing well. Batter should be fairly thin; add milk if necessary.

 

Mix in bacon.

 

Cook pancakes on a greased skillet or on a griddle, and serve with butter and maple syrup.

 

From "The American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbook" (Rutledge Hill Press, 1987, $26.95 hardcover)

CRAB CAKES AND BASIL AIOLI

8 crab cakes

 

12 ounces crab meat

1 tablespoon cilantro, optional

3 tablespoons basil aioli (recipe follows)

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3 cups fresh bread crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

2 large egg yolks

All-purpose flour to coat the cakes

2 large egg whites, beaten until foamy

3 tablespoons butter

 

Combine crab meat and cilantro, if using, basil aioli and lemon peel in a large bowl. Mix in 11/2 cups of bread crumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in yolks. Mixture will be soft.

 

Form crab mixture into eight 3/4-inch thick cakes, about 1/4 cup each. Coat cakes on both sides with flour. Shake off excess. Brush both sides with beaten egg whites. Roll in remaining bread crumbs. Chill for two to six hours.

 

Warm butter in a heavy skillet. Cook approximately five minutes until warmed through and golden brown. Serve with aioli sauce.

BASIL AIOLI

 

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Can be made two days ahead.

CRANBERRY BAKED PANCAKES

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE'S

serves 4

 

1 1/2 cups pancake batter (you can use your own recipe or a ready-made batter

from a mix)

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 cup Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/3 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Prepare pancake mix according to package directions and set aside.

 

Pour melted butter in 9-inch pie plate. Place apple slices in bottom of pie plate; arrange cranberries on top of apples.

 

Sprinkle cinnamon and drizzle syrup over apples; carefully pour batter on top.

 

Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched.

 

Loosen edges and invert onto serving plate. Cut in wedges and serve with warm maple syrup or fresh apple butter.

 

From Arsenic and Old Lace Bed & Breakfast Inn, Eureka Springs, Ark.

CROCK POT LACQUERED CHICKEN HOT DISH

Submitted by Rich Healey, Franklin, MA

 

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 lb whole chicken

3 very large onions, peeled and chopped

5 large tomatoes, chopped

1 medium orange, unpeeled, seeded, chopped

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 cup water

1 bouillon cube, crumbled

3 heaping Tbsp red currant, raspberry or red grape jelly

1/4 cup sweet sherry

 

In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, heat the oil and sauté the chicken, turning often, until well browned all over. Remove the chicken to a plate. Sauté the onion in the skillet until well browned. Turn on the crock pot. Place the tomatoes, orange, sugar, salt and pepper in the pot and set the chicken on top. Rinse the skillet with the water and scrape into the cooker. Add the bouillon cube. Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. Before serving, remove the chicken to a deep serving dish and keep warm. Turn the pot contents into a skillet, set the heat to high and simmer until thick enough to mound on a spoon. Stir in the jelly and the sherry and cook, stirring until the sauce boils. Do not overcook, lest the sauce lose its shiny quality. If you wish, add some sugar or sweet sherry to further brighten the taste. If sauce is not shiny enough, bring back to a very brisk boil and quickly stir in some jelly. Pour sauce over the chicken.

From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

ENCHILADAS EL POPO

serves 6

 

1 jar (16 ounces) prepared tomato salsa

Olive oil

12 chili-flavored tortillas

2 potatoes, peeled, cooked, diced

1 chorizo sausage, about 7 ounces, crumbled, fried, drained

1 cup shredded Chihuahua cheese

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Spread 1/2 of the jar of salsa on bottom of greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

 

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat; add tortillas in batches. Warm about 20 to 30 seconds per side, turning once. Keep warm.

 

Mix diced potatoes and crumbled chorizo in a medium bowl. Spoon the mixture down the center of each heated tortilla; roll up. Arrange rolled up tortillas, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining salsa over the top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Heat until hot and cheese is melted, 20 minutes.

FRANKFURTER CASSEROLE

10 1/2 ounces Bean and Bacon Soup -- undiluted

10 1/2 ounces Water

2 cups Beef Frankfurters -- sliced 1/2" thick

1 medium Onion -- chopped finely

2 medium Green Onions -- chopped finely

1/2 cup Celery -- chopped

2 tablespoons Prepared Mustard

1 roll Biscuit Dough -- separated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients,

except biscuit dough. Boil mixture gently, in a large pot, for 5 minutes,

over medium-high heat. Place approximately 3/4 cup of mixture into 8

individual baking dishes, and top each with a biscuit. Bake until golden

brown, about 20 minutes. Serve hot. RF4RP

FRESHEN UP FRUIT MENU

WITH OFFBEAT VARIETIES

March 13, 2002 Posted: 05:15:08 AM PST

By CATHY THOMAS, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

 

Go ahead, strip away the gift wrap. The fragrant prize inside is worth the effort.

 

Citrus fruits, their juice-packed segments tidily arranged like succulent spokes of a wheel, are colorful flavor gems bound in sunlit peels.

 

And now, the flavor (and visual) possibilities seem endless. Many markets sell a larger variety of fruits than ever before.

 

No longer limited to oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons and limes, growers and importers are providing a whole new citrus world: piles of pomelos and blood oranges, troughs of oro blancos and kumquats.

 

"There's been a boom of citrus specialties in the last four years," says Robert Schueller, assistant marketing director at a Los Angeles produce store. "A lot of these were chefs' secrets, but now the cat is out of the bag.

 

"But it can be confusing because there are so many choices, so many flavors, so many colors and sizes." So venture beyond the basics.

 

Pomelo

 

At first glance, the pomelo appears to be a huge green grapefruit. And it is an ancestor to the grapefruit, but it can be the size of a healthy cantaloupe. Wildly popular in Asian cuisine, pomelos range in flavor from tangy with a slightly tart edge to spicy-sweet. This tropical citrus has extremely thick rind and white to deep-pink flesh, which varies from juicy to slightly dry. Like other citrus fruits, pomelos are high in potassium and vitamin C. A fourth of one pomelo provides 130 percent of the vitamin C recommended for the day. Choose pomelos that are heavy for their size. Store in the refrigerator up to a week.

 

Anjou pears

 

The firm-fleshed Anjou is now the most abundant pear variety in the United States. Available in green or red, Anjous are delicious eaten fresh or added to salads and desserts.

 

Pears are loaded with carbohydrates, your body's main source of fuel. Pears also are rich in potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

 

Select pears that are firm (not hard), well-shaped and free of blemishes. Don't rely on color, because Anjou pears do not change color as they ripen.

Kumquats

 

These beauties look like tiny oval oranges, generally about 1 inch long. The entire fruit, native to China, is edible, both sweet rind and tart interior.

 

"In Cantonese, kumquat translates as 'gold orange,' a nod to the fruit's role as a symbol of prosperity," Georgeanne and Ethel Brennan write in their book "Citrus." Although they can be thinly sliced, seeded and used raw in green salads, they also shine when cooked.

 

Kumquats are delicious candied with juice or sugar and water. Spoon it over pound cake or ice cream.

 

Kiwi fruit

 

Kiwi's refreshingly tart and sweet flesh has more nutrition per bite than many other fruits. Two medium kiwi fruit provide more than twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange and as much fiber as a serving of bran-flake cereal.

 

Select plump-looking fruit. Firm kiwi will ripen quickly at room temperature. When ripe, it yields to gentle pressure when squeezed in the palm of the hand.

 

Mangoes

 

Spicier than peaches, mangoes are exceptionally juicy and wonderfully sweet.

 

Mangoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, a nutrient that converts to vitamin A in our bodies and helps to keep our eyes, skin and hair healthy.

 

A ripe mango will have a sweet aroma and be slightly soft to the touch, similar to a peach. The skin should show a blush of yellow-orange or red, which will spread as the fruit ripens. A few brown speckles on the skin are a normal sign of ripeness.

 

Store unripe fruit at cool room temperature to soften and sweeten. Keep out of direct sunlight.

GINGER CARROT AND SESAME PANCAKES

4 servings

 

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 cups shredded carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped scallions

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, crushed through a press

1/2 cup cracker or matzoh meal

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil

 

Thai dipping sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons thinly sliced hot chili pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

 

Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over low heat, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes.

 

Combine carrots, scallions, ginger and garlic in large bowl. Add cracker meal, eggs, sesame seeds and salt; stir to blend.

 

Heat 1/2 inch oil in medium skillet until hot enough to sizzle a crust of bread. Add batter by rounded tablespoons and fry, turning once until browned on both sides. Repeat with remaining batter.

 

Serve warm with Thai dipping sauce.

 

To prepare Thai dipping sauce: Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Serve at room temperature.

 

Variation: Replace the carrots with shredded zucchini or use half carrots and half zucchini.

 

From "Pancakes A to Z" (Houghton Mifflin, 1997, $15 hardcover)

 

GLAZED ORANGE OR LEMON PEEL

Makes about 1/2 cup

This provides a nice decoration and is easy to make.

3 bright-skinned oranges or 5 lemons

1 quart simmering water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Remove the colored part of the orange or lemon skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut into julienne strips 11/2 inches long and 1 16 -inch wide. Simmer in water for 10 to 12 minutes or until just tender when bitten. Drain. Refresh in cold water. Dry on paper towels.

 

Boil the sugar and water in a small saucepan to the thread stage (230 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat. Stir in the drained peel and the vanilla. Let the peel stand in the syrup for at least 30 minutes. Drain when ready to use. Under refrigeration, the peel will keep in the syrup for several weeks.

GO CUCKOO FOR FINE COCOA

By Regina Schrambling, New York Times

 

Cocoa has always had an image problem.

 

For years it was considered the poor substitute for chocolate, a pallid powder that needed major help from margarine and still could not produce a decent brownie.

 

But lately cocoa has been turning up on all the best shelves. High-end chocolate producers such as Valrhona, Scharffen Berger and Fauchon now make cocoa powders that leave Hershey's in the dust. I first noticed the phenomenon a couple of years ago in France, where every good chocolatier sells bags of cocoa, but lately even U.S. supermarkets carry Ghirardelli alongside the Nestlé's and house brands, and some natural food stores offer a choice in organic cocoa.

 

This month, in a whirlwind of shopping and baking, I was able to buy and try no fewer than 15 varieties. I made shortbread, muffins, two kinds of cookies and many cakes, using powders that cost as little as $2.50 and as much as $16 for about half a pound.

 

What I found would surprise any baker accustomed to starting a dessert recipe by melting a pound of pricey chocolate with a stick or two of equally extravagant butter. Cocoa, even inexpensive cocoa, has a deep, dark intensity of flavor and a versatility that even the best brands of 77 percent cacao chocolate lack. It cannot replace chocolate. But in recipes designed to make the most of its sharp taste and chemical capabilities, nothing works better than pure cocoa.

 

The explosion in the cocoa category is all the more surprising, considering how completely the powder fell out of favor in the age of excess that followed the era of fat fears, as Americans traded Snackwells for molten chocolate cakes. If a pastry chef picked up a container of cocoa, it was only to dredge chocolate truffles or sift over tiramisu. Today, cookbooks by pastry wizards such as Claudia Fleming do not even mention cocoa in the index.

 

But in their rush to melt high-quality chocolate in increasingly extravagant quantities, chefs and recipe writers lost touch with a remarkable ingredient. It was as if they had abandoned mushrooms after discovering black truffles. One is not better than the other. They just have to be treated differently.

 

In my experience, cocoa does more than intensify flavor and sharpen edges. It also creates a moist, perfect crumb in a cake, a crisp bite in a cookie. As it blends into dry ingredients, it transforms the results no less than baking powder does.

 

The big lie of baking is that three tablespoons of cocoa powder combined with one tablespoon of fat can replace an ounce of chocolate. Every basic cookbook repeats it, but I learned at any early age that Betty Crocker was fooling. Nothing replicates the richness of chocolate.

 

Instead, cocoa works best in recipes designed for it. Buttermilk brings out its tanginess, and the two combine to produce a springy texture in a cake. Even something as simple as the classic Amazon, or black-bottom, cake found in so many cookbooks uses no dairy products or eggs, only vegetable oil and vinegar with cold water. The cocoa reacts to the combination to produce the darkest, most moist cake seen outside the photo on a box of mix.

 

Until recently, I always thought the type of cocoa made a difference. I had switched to Droste, a Dutch brand, about 18 years ago after discovering how much better it worked in baking than Hershey's. But today's cocoas are almost evenly divided between Dutch style, like Droste, and natural style, like Hershey's. And all have their advantages.

 

The first step in producing any cocoa powder is always the same: After cocoa butter is extracted from cacao, the pods are pressed again to make a cake with no fat, just flavor.

 

What happens next separates the sharp from the mellow. If the cake is merely converted into a powder, it is considered natural and has a more aggressive, unadulterated chocolate taste. But if it is first Dutched, or treated with an alkali like potassium carbonate (similar to sodium bicarbonate), the color and flavor are enhanced. Alkalization makes a mellow cocoa, but it can also be a way of camouflaging inferior cocoa beans.

 

Not all labels disclose the type of processing, but you can guess a brand is natural if the box says ``100 percent cocoa.'' Many either say Dutch process or list alkali as an ingredient.

 

Some of the newly available cocoas have a powerful chocolate taste even though no alkali is involved. Still, the Dutched varieties are almost uniformly excellent.

 

Cocoa has a huge advantage over chocolate for a home cook because it is so easy to work with. No melting is required, only a little sifting at most. It will never seize up or turn bitter as chocolate can.

 

To me there's one more advantage: Cocoa is tidier than chocolate. Chocolate leaves a kitchen looking like a crime scene. After working with cocoa, you need only dust.

HOW TO EAT JAPANESE FOOD POLITELY

By Sharon Noguchi, Mercury News

 

The diner two tables over had just plunged both chopsticks into her rice and left them standing, TV antenna style, while she reached for a piece of tempura.

 

Horrified, I turned away only to see my daughter grab a pot sticker like a pot handle and mop up soy sauce. My other daughter was chasing an errant glob of rice around her plate.

 

Normally at Japanese restaurants, I try to turn off my Japanese sensibilities to preserve my dining peace of mind. Apparently, I don't switch them on enough at home. A Japanese mothers' admonition popped to mind. ``Osodachi ga warui!'' -- ``You've got bad upbringing!''

 

Common knowledge, which includes good manners, is becoming less common, even in Japan.

 

Most diners, of course, can't blame poor upbringing for any faux pas committed at the sushi bar. Where would they learn the myriad detailed rules, such as which fingers go where when lifting the soup bowl? Astute observers might pick up tips from Japanese diners, who supposedly learned all these rules in the home.

 

But older people lament that the younger generation isn't learning proper etiquette. Fewer households include a grandparent, the traditional preservers and teachers of culture. And many parents are failing to teach their children.

 

Also, more families eat spaghetti, curry and hamburgers while sitting at their Western-style tables, and are thus less familiar with their own traditions.

 

There's no Berlitz for manners. So how do you ensure you'll not offend a Japanese business partner, sister-city family or date?

 

The serious-minded might attend workshops on tea ceremony and other cultural subjects (for classes offered by tea masters Larry Tiscornia and Kimika Takechi, see www.chanoyu.com).

 

For others, I offer a brief guide to avoiding the more common and horrendous blunders. I do this to better the social good, and also because some day, I may be dining at the table next to you.

 

Clean vs. dirty

 

Fine restaurants provide chopstick rests, to prop up the utensils during a meal. Use them. This prevents both the unclean (in concept only, of course) table from touching the chopstick tips, and the chopstick tips from soiling the table.

At everyday restaurants, rest the chopstick tips on your soy sauce dish, or any of your small dishes, or across a larger plate. When not in use, chopsticks should be left together, parallel.

 

Don't whittle your chopsticks. (Remove any splinters with your fingers.) Don't drum with them. Do not use your food as a chopstick pincushion. And never, ever, pass a dining companion a piece of food, chopstick to chopstick. That maneuver is used only for handling cremated bones; it is forbidden at the table.

 

What, no soup spoons?

 

Lift your soup bowl to your mouth to drink, and use chopsticks to direct any solids toward you. And lift your bowl when eating rice, but don't shovel from bowl to mouth directly (unless you are eating tea and rice, as you might at someone's home). Foods that can't be picked up neatly usually are served in bowls that can. If you are attending a chopsticks-only church potluck, do not attempt to take the Jell-O unless you are extremely dexterous.

 

If the rice is served on a plate, you should be provided a fork. (Then, the rice is called raisu rather than gohan.) And, in that case, you don't need to lift anything but the utensil.

 

Think restraint

 

When creating your own bowl of dipping sauce, be moderate. You want to add a touch of flavor, not immerse every bit of rice in a wasabi soy sauce bath. Take just enough to last for a while, what you're certain you'll use up. Leaving a pool of soy sauce is both wasteful and insulting to the chef.

 

Pay attention

 

If your guest drains his glass of beer or sake, that's a sign for the host to order more and pour it for him. If the cup isn't empty, that's a sign that he doesn't want any more -- unless, if you offer, and after some protesting, he drains his cup and holds it out.

 

Need we say this?

 

Don't use your chopsticks as a pointer or skewer. Don't wave them in the air while talking. Don't slurp your soup. Don't talk with your mouth full. If you're a guest, clean your plate. In other words, do as your mom and dad told you.

 

At a refined meal, save serious talk until afterward. Mealtime chitchat is focused on the meal.

 

One footnote on slurping: In Japan slurping noodles is OK. Actually, noodles are kind of inhaled through the mouth, producing a slurping sound. But please, this is not Japan. Respect Western sensibilities.

 

Thank you

 

Japanese express thanks for the meal both before and after eating. ``Gochisosama deshita'' usually is translated ``It was a feast, thank you.'' Literally, it is a phrase composed of the characters ``You underwent a lot of confusion and chaos to produce this meal.'' Which, if you didn't know your manners, you very well may have imposed on your host. Do say thank you, in any language.

IRISH AMERICAN SODA BREAD

Makes 8 servings

 

The American idea of Irish soda bread looks like a giant golden brown scone studded with raisins and caraway seeds. It is richer, sweeter and more cakelike than authentic Irish soda bread.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 egg

1 teaspoon orange zest

2/3 cup buttermilk

4 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick; see note)

 

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.

 

In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.

 

In another bowl, whisk together egg, orange zest, buttermilk and melted butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter will be stiff but sticky.

 

Scrape the batter onto the baking sheet in a mound 6 to 7 inches in diameter. Use a sharp, floured knife to slash a large X about 1/2 inch deep on top of the batter. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 40 minutes. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely before serving.

 

Note: Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.

IRISH POTATO BREAD

Makes 1 small loaf

 

3/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled

1 cup cold mashed potatoes

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk or cream, plus more for glazing

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 scant teaspoon coarse salt

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet.

 

Grate raw potatoes, using large holes of a box grater. Place grated potato in center of a clean kitchen towel; gather up edges and squeeze to eliminate as much water as possible. Dump potato into a large bowl and stir in mashed potatoes.

 

Beat egg, milk and butter together with fork or whisk. Stir into potatoes. Stir flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. Add dry ingredients to potato mixture and stir to combine. Try to make a dough that will hang together.

 

Flour your hands, transfer dough to center of baking sheet, and pat lightly to flatten it into a 7-inch round. Ideally, it should be shaped so that it is slightly raised in the center. Score a large ``X'' into the surface with a sharp knife and brush top with milk or cream.

 

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve. This bread, known as boxty, is excellent right out of the oven but also can be baked several hours ahead.

MAC and CHEESE GOES MODERN

February 27, 2002 Posted: 04:30:05 AM PST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE

 

No matter what you do to macaroni and cheese, it's always pretty darn good.

 

It can be the plainest dish imaginable, or dolled up with lobster meat and truffle oil, but the slippery noodles and creamy base are always a pleasurable meal.

 

At a time when cozy, filling food is at the top of everyone's list of requests, macaroni and cheese -- as a side dish or a meal -- warms the body and soul better than the wooliest sweater.

 

But few people are content to stick to what Mom used to make. Many cooks add their own touches, with interesting cheeses, maybe some vegetables or meat. It seems everyone is giving mac 'n' cheese a makeover.

 

The great variety of American and imported artisan cheeses make the opportunities even richer, allowing cooks to layer flavors using everything from sharp Cheddars to mellow goat cheeses.

 

"I find that unless one uses cheese with strong character, the bechamel (white sauce) gives the dish a blandness that is all too common in macaroni and cheese," said chef David Shea.

 

If the potential of this classic hasn't yet been fully explored, along comes the recent release of the cookbook, "Macaroni & Cheese: 52 Recipes from Simple to Sublime," by Joan Schwartz.

 

The recipes range from a three-cheese macaroni made with Wisconsin Asiago and a Greek-style dish with feta cheese and spinach to a New England macaroni and cheese with oysters and pork sausage and a version flavored with salsa from famed chef Rick Bayless.

 

"It is such a forgiving dish to prepare," Schwartz said. "I wanted to give people a starting point and help them 'think outside the box,'" she said, referring to America's best-known macaroni and cheese, the one from Kraft.

 

"It smells good, it looks good," Schwartz said. It takes you back to a time when you were taken care of and nourished. "

 

Get that happy feeling back by making one of the recipes here, or challenge yourself by dressing up a family favorite. No one will leave the table dissatisfied. Unless, of course, you didn't make enough for leftovers.

 

 

Using your noodle (and other stuff)

 

Classic macaroni and cheese -- at least the cafeteria kind -- calls for elbow pasta, but with so many other shapes available you might as well experiment.

 

What you are looking for is something twisty, curvy or ridged that will help the sauce grip the noodles. Spirals such as rotini or fusilli are nice, as are bowtie shapes called farfalle.

 

Quill-shaped penne, particularly with ridged sides, lets the sauce get into the center, as do other hollow pastas. Shell shapes are another good idea. Avoid really tiny pastas, which tend to get lost in the sauce.

 

For the creamy macaroni and cheese base, feel free to build on a basic white sauce, or bechamel. Make it by cooking 2 tablespoons each of butter and flour over low heat for about 3 minutes, then stir in 1 cup milk, cooking until it thickens. Season to taste with salt, black or ground red pepper, nutmeg, or whatever suits.

 

Add the cheese of your choice in batches, stirring until well blended. Don't let the sauce get too hot or the cheese may clump.

 

Once the pasta and sauce are assembled, you can't call it a casserole without some sort of topping. Dried bread crumbs will do, but the commercial kind are often too finely ground. Better bets are fresh bread crumbs that have been toasted in the oven or in a pan with a little butter.

 

Another good choice is panko. These very dry, coarse Japanese bread crumbs stand up beautifully to moisture and deliver real crunch. Look for panko in Asian food markets and natural foods stores.

 

Finally, some people wouldn't dream of topping macaroni and cheese with anything other than cracker crumbs, the more buttery, the better. It's your choice. Just remember that this is fun food, so feel free to play around while cooking.

MACARONI AND BEEF HOT DISH

Submitted by Natalie Woods Grosfield, Bemidji, MN

 

1 lb. elbow macaroni

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained

1 28 oz. can Italian tomatoes with liquid, broken up (may want to add 1 smaller

can, too...drain and reserve liquid, in case it is needed)

Salt and pepper

2 cups shredded cheddar or mozzarella

 

Cook macaroni until just tender. Brown beef with onions and drain. Mix macaroni, meat and tomatoes, season. Pour half into a lightly buttered casserole and top with half of cheese. Add remainder of mixture and top with remainder of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Variations: You can add oregano, chopped garlic, Italian seasoning, etc.

From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

MACARONI AND CHEESE WEDGES

Serves 6

 

Sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 quart milk

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Pasta:

1 package (1 pound) penne or gemelli pasta

3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

11/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

For the sauce: Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add flour; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in milk.

 

Heat to boil; simmer, stirring constantly, 5 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste.Set aside; keep warm.

 

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. Spread pasta on wax paper-lined cookie sheets. Cool 5 minutes.

 

Fold Cheddar, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, salt and white pepper into the sauce. The cheese should not fully melt. Mix pasta into cheese mixture. Pack into a plastic-wrap-lined 8-inch-square baking pan. Chill until firm, 3 hours or overnight. Melt butter in a small skillet. Add bread crumbs; toast until golden, 4 minutes. Mix with parsley and remaining Parmesan cheese.

 

Pack onto the top of the macaroni.

 

Cut macaroni and cheese into desired shapes, such as triangles.

 

Serve at room temperature or heat in microwave, 1 to 11/2 minutes on medium high, or until melted and warm.

MACARONI AND CHEESE

WITH BACON AND TOMATO

Serves 8

 

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 package (1 pound) cavatappi or penne pasta

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 quart milk

1/2 teaspoon each, or to taste: salt, freshly ground pepper

1/2 pound each, shredded: Gruyere cheese, processed cheese (such as

Velveeta)

1 pound bacon, cooked, crumbled

3 ripe plum tomatoes, diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Generously butter a 11/2-quart baking dish. Add 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs; shake to coat dish evenly.

 

Heat large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain. Place in large bowl.

 

Melt butter in large saucepan. Whisk in flour; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add nutmeg; cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk all at once.

 

Heat to boil; simmer, stirring, 5 minutes.

 

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses until melted.

 

Add sauce to pasta, mix well. Spoon 1/2 of the mixture into prepared baking dish. Add tomatoes and bacon in an even layer. Top with remaining macaroni mixture. Combine 1/2 cup of the remaining bread crumbs with olive oil in small bowl. Sprinkle over macaroni.

 

Bake until golden and bubbly, 45 minutes.

MACARONI WITH WISCONSIN ASIAGO

Serves 8

 

1 package (1 pound) rotini or cavatelli pasta

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon each: ground red pepper, hot red pepper sauce

1/2 pound Wisconsin Asiago cheese, grated

6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated

4 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup minced fresh chives

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or fresh bread crumbs, toasted

 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

 

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

 

Drain; cool. Place in a large bowl.

 

Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour; cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Whisk in milk; raise heat to high. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to medium.

 

Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 6 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, red pepper and hot pepper sauce.

 

Pour sauce over pasta; mix. Add Asiago, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, Cheddar, parsley and chives; toss to mix. Pour into a buttered 21/2-quart baking dish.

 

Mix bread crumbs with remaining Parmesan cheese in small bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan; pour over bread crumbs. Toss to mix; sprinkle over pasta.

 

Bake until crumbs are lightly browned and sauce is bubbling, 40-50 minutes.

 

MEAN AND MEATY CHILI

[sort of a hot dish] Submitted by Craig Paetz, Saginaw, MI

My wife made this recipe and took 3rd place in The 1998 Saginaw County Fair. That's what the judges gave her but in my opinion it is number one. Here goes:

 

3 lbs. Ground Round

1 lb. sirloin steak cut in small pieces

3 stalks celery chopped

1 large onion chopped

2 T. chili powder

2 tsp. cumino (cumin)

3 large cloves crushed garlic

4 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

 

Brown meat. Add celery, onion and spices. Stir often for about 10-15 mins. on medium heat. Use fresh spices from a Mexican store or mail order spices like Penzeys for much better flavor. Then add:

 

1/2 cup ketchup

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 28 oz. can of water (add a little at a time for thickness you desire)

1 10 oz. can of undiluted tomato soup

1 16 oz. can of dark red kidney beans

1 15 oz. can pinto beans

2 15 oz. cans traditional style refried beans (use one w/green chilies for spicier

flavor)

Stir well and cook, uncovered, for at least one hour or until desired thickness.

From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

 

MOUSSELINE AU CHOCOLAT

(Chocolate Mousse)

Makes 6 to 8 servings

 

Among all the recipes for chocolate mousse this is one of the best; it uses egg yolks, sugar and butter, and instead of cream, beaten egg whites. The orange flavoring suggested here is delicious with chocolate.

4 eggs, separated (see note)

3/4 cup superfine or Baker's Sugar

1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier

6 ounces semisweet baking chocolate

4 tablespoons strong brewed coffee

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (11/2 sticks; see note)

1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel (this was optional in the original recipe)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 cups lightly whipped cream sweetened with powdered sugar or your own recipe for creme anglaise (custard sauce)

 

In a stainless steel mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and superfine sugar together until mixture is thick, pale yellow and falls back upon itself, forming a slowly dissolving ribbon. Beat in the orange liqueur. Then set mixing bowl over a pan of not-quite-simmering water and continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is foamy and too hot for your finger. (Reserve hot water.)

 

Place the bowl of beaten egg yolks over a bowl of cold water and beat 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is cool and again forms the ribbon. It will have the consistency of mayonnaise.

 

Melt chocolate with coffee over pan of hot water. Remove from heat and beat in the butter a bit at a time, to make a smooth cream. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar, then beat in the orange peel; set aside.

 

Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form; sprinkle on the granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest.

 

Turn into serving dish, dessert cups or petits pots. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

 

Pass the sauce or whipped cream separately.

 

Note: Because of the possibility of salmonella bacteria in raw eggs, FOODday home economists recommend using powdered egg whites or pasteurized eggs, available at Trader Joe's markets.

 

Note: Use real butter or stick margarine. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads; their higher water content often yields less-satisfactory results.

MUSHROOM QUESADILLAS

serves 4

 

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or oil

1 pound mushrooms, chopped

7 green onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

3 fresh serranos or 1 jalapeno chili, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white wine

12 to 15 freshly made corn tortillas, about 6 inches in diameter

Salsa of your choice

 

Heat shortening in a large skillet. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add onions, garlic, chilies and salt. Cook 1 minute. Add wine; cook until moisture has evaporated, about 1 minute.

 

Set aside.

 

Heat a heavy skillet or griddle. Place 1 or 2 tortillas in skillet; warm on one side. Turn and warm other side. (Or heat directly over a low flame on a gas stove; turn with tongs.) Spoon about 3 tablespoons filling onto each tortilla. Fold over, pressing down lightly to close. Return to hot skillet; cook until quesadilla is heated through.

 

Remove to platter; keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

 

Serve with salsa.

 

Filling variations:

 

Cheese and onion: Combine 2 cups mozzarella, Monterey jack or other mild cheese, 3 tablespoons chopped white onion and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro or epazote. (Look for the herb epazote in Mexican markets.)

 

Shredded beef: Combine 1 pound cooked, shredded skirt steak with 1 cup chopped onion and 2 chopped serrano chilies.

 

ORANGE TIRAMISU

Makes 12 large servings

 

This is definitely not a weeknight dessert. It's for special occasions, when you want to roll out the heavy artillery for people who've really earned it. It makes 3 cups of custard. You'll use a cup for the tiramisu, and have 2 cups left over for another use. Enjoy it after your party with nothing more than candied orange peel sprinkled over it. The custard must be made the night before you begin the tiramisu.

 

Custard:

 

1/3 cup granulated sugar

31/2 tablespoons cornstarch

6 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 cups milk (I use 2 percent)

1 tablespoon rum

Tiramisu:

 

1/2 cup dark rum

1/2 cup orange muscat wine (Essencia)

2 7-ounce packages crisp lady fingers (you'll use about 11/2 packages)

1 pound fresh mascarpone cheese

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1/2 cup good quality bittersweet chocolate, grated

1 tablespoon (approximately) espresso coffee granules

1/2 cup candied orange peel

 

To make custard: Mix the sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks in the top of a double boiler (do not set over heat yet). Scald the milk in a 4- or 5-cup glass measuring cup in the microwave (be careful it doesn't overflow). Pour the milk slowly over the egg mixture while beating with a whisk. Cook over barely simmering water, stirring with a whisk, until it thickens (don't let it boil). Cool; stir in the rum. Put in a bowl and cover top with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

 

To make tiramisu: Use a large trifle dish or a straight-sided glass salad bowl. Pour the rum and muscat together in a pie plate and dip in each lady finger on both sides, then set upright around the bowl, pushing gently into the side and against one another to secure. When the sides of the bowl are covered, break several other lady fingers in half or thirds to cover the bottom of the bowl (they don't have to cover it completely), dipping them into the rum mixture.

 

Using about a third of the mascarpone, drop tablespoonfuls over the bottom lady fingers, and then carefully spread to cover. Add about a third of the custard, followed by a thin layer of whipping cream, then a sprinkling of chocolate, coffee and orange peel. Repeat layers 2 more times, finishing with lady fingers if there's room. Pipe remaining whipping cream over the top and sprinkle with remaining chocolate (or add chocolate curls).

 

Refrigerate at least a couple of hours before serving. There's no way to keep it pretty once you start scooping into it, so don't even try. (In other words, it's not an attractive dish for an extended buffet.)

PANCAKE TIPS

March 13, 2002 Posted: 05:15:08 AM PST, the Modesto Bee

COLUMBIA (S.C.) STATE

 

Making pancakes is a fairly simple cooking task, but these tips will help perfect the process:

 

PREPARING THE BATTER

 

Combine all dry ingredients in one large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together liquid ingredients. Add liquid ingredients to the dry all at once.

 

Stir -- never beat -- the ingredients together just until blended and evenly moistened. Overmixing will toughen the pancakes.

 

If the batter seems too thick, add water or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.

 

COOKING PANCAKES

 

Preheat the pan. Test the heat by adding a drop or two of water.

 

The surface is hot enough when the water sizzles for a second, then evaporates.

 

When the pan is hot enough, brush it with vegetable oil or use cooking spray. Use minimal oil; pancakes should be cooked on a fairly dry surface. You may add more for additional batches, but it usually won't be necessary.

 

Never rush pancakes. A rushed pancake will be underdone inside.

 

Let the pancakes cook slowly until tiny bubbles begin to appear all over the surface, two to three minutes or more, depending on the batter. When bubbles appear on the surface, use a spatula to lift one side gently.

 

Look at the bottom to see whether it is evenly browned. If it is, turn the pancake and cook the other side. When the pancakes are browned on both sides, remove one and test it by cutting into the center to see whether it is done.

 

Keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven while you prepare more.

 

Preheat oven to 200 to 250 degrees. Place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet, cover lightly with foil and keep in oven for no longer than 10 minutes.

 

LEFTOVERS

 

Leftover pancakes freeze well and make great after-school snacks or a quick weekday breakfast.

 

Separate them with pieces of foil or wax paper and place them in a sealable plastic bag.

 

To reheat, place them on a baking sheet in a preheated oven or a toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Or warm them in the microwave.

 

Source: "Pancakes: A to Z" (Houghton Mifflin, 1997, $15 hardcover)

PANETTONE

Makes 2 loaves

 

3/4 cup milk, scalded

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon anise seed

1 teaspoon anise extract

3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup coarsely chopped citron

1/2 cup pine nuts

Melted butter

 

Scald milk and set aside to cool. Sprinkle yeast into warm water and let stand until dissolved. In large bowl of electric mixer, cream butter until soft. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add yeast mixture, milk, lemon rind, salt, anise seed and anise extract.

 

Add 1 cup of the flour and beat 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon or wire whisk, gradually beat in remaining flour, adding only enough to make a soft dough. Mix in raisins, citron and pine nuts.

 

Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 10-12 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

 

Turn out again onto floured board and knead lightly. Place dough in a greased and flour-dusted panettone mold or two greased 1-pound coffee cans. (Or generously butter two brown paper bags, the No. 6 lunch bag size, each with its top folded down to form a 3-inch cuff.) Cover and let rise until double in size.

 

Brush tops of dough with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 30-40 minutes. To serve hot, tear off bag or remove can and cut bread into wedges. To serve cold, wrap bread, still in can or bag, first in a clean cloth, then in foil and let cool completely.

PEAR JALAPENO PEPPER JELLY

Makes 3 - 4 pints

 

2 green bell peppers

4 to 5 jalapeno peppers

2 to 3 pears

4 cups sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

6 ounces liquid pectin

 

Finely chop the bell peppers, jalapeno peppers (for more fire, include the stems, seeds and ribs) and pears.

 

In a 3-quart microwave casserole, combine ingredients except the pectin. Cook, uncovered, on high for eight to 12 minutes to a full boil. Stir well to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.

 

Stir in pectin. Cook on high for one to three minutes to a full boil.

 

Stir well and spoon or pour into sterilized jars. Cover tightly with sterilized lids and rings. Store in the refrigerator up to four months.

PECAN CRUSTED MONKFISH

WITH BALSAMIC GLAZE

Serves 6

 

4 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil

1/3 cup finely crushed toasted pecans

1 large shallot, minced

1/3 cup plain bread crumbs (preferably fresh)

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

6 (6-ounce) monkfish fillets

For balsamic glaze:

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cold water

 

To prepare fish: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix butter or olive oil with pecans, shallot, bread crumbs, parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Evenly coat fish fillets with pecan mixture and place in baking dish. Bake about 15 minutes, until fillets flake with a fork and coating is golden and crispy.

 

To prepare glaze: In a small saucepan, combine chicken broth, vinegar, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water together and pour into boiling sauce. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

 

Serve fish with glaze drizzled over top and around the plate.

PHIL BERT COFFEE

Makes 1 serving

Paddy's Bar and Grill in Portland, Oregon serves this for St. Paddy's Day.

1 ounce Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey

1/2 ounce Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)

4 ounces steaming hot, strong black coffee

2 tablespoons lightly whipped cream to taste

1/2 teaspoon ground hazelnuts

 

Warm a 7-ounce Irish coffee glass.

 

Pour Irish whiskey and Frangelico into the preheated coffee glass. Add steaming coffee. Float whipped cream on top. Shake ground hazelnuts on top as garnish and serve.

PISSALADIÈRE STUFFED

BAKED RED POTATOES

Serves 4

 

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

3 small garlic cloves, minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 or 4 anchovies, chopped

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley

A few sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water to soften, finely chopped (about 2

heaping tablespoons)

1 tablespoon capers, drained, rinsed and chopped

4 good-sized red-skinned potatoes (about 1/2 pound each)

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Heat about half of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add onion. Cook until it begins to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add fennel and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in anchovies, tomatoes, parsley and capers. Taste for salt and pepper.

 

Slice a thin sliver off bottom of each potato to form a flat seat -- you want them to stand without rolling. Then slice top quarter off each potato. Discard slices from top and bottom, or you'll end up with too much filling. Use a melon-baller to scoop out insides of potatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick wall around. Pile scooped-out insides on a cutting board and finely chop. (Or use a food processor to chop potatoes, setting on pulse.) Stir potatoes into skillet with other ingredients.

 

Rub potato shell inside and out with some of remaining olive oil and sprinkle inside with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into potatoes, pressing down to compress as you go and mounding it up on top. Arrange filled potatoes in a baking dish. Drizzle a bit of oil over each potato. Brush dull side of a piece of foil with oil and use it to cover dish tightly. Bake 45 minutes.

 

Remove foil and spoon any juices in pan over potatoes to baste. Increase temperature to 400 degrees and continue baking, uncovered, until potatoes are lightly browned on top, 10-15 minutes. Serve hot, as a side dish or a zesty main lunch.

POTATO GRATIN WITH GREEN CHILIES

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 cup chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon cumin

Generous dash pepper

1/3 cup chopped canned green chilies

1 cup shredded jack cheese

Salt

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

 

Use half of the butter to grease a shallow gratin dish or casserole with a 4- to 6-cup capacity.

 

Cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices by hand or with the slicing blade of a food processor.

 

Bring the garlic, chicken stock, cumin and pepper to a boil in a small saucepan while you are slicing the potatoes. Have the chopped chilies and shredded cheese at hand.

 

To assemble the gratin: Arrange half the potato slices in the baking dish, dot them evenly with half the green chilies, then sprinkle half the cheese over. Salt very lightly or not at all, depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock.

 

Repeat with another layer, using up the remaining potatoes, chilies and cheese.

 

Remove the garlic clove from the boiling stock and carefully pour the broth over the potatoes. Dot the surface with the remaining butter.

 

Bake for 30 minutes or until the surface of the gratin is browned and the potatoes are knife-tender. Allow to cool a few minutes and serve.

POTPIE INFORMATION

A pleasure for cozy dining at home

February 27, 2002 Posted: 04:30:05 AM PST

By JOANNA PRUESS, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Cover even mundane ingredients with a golden crust, tender biscuits or swirls of buttery mashed potatoes, and they are seemingly transformed into a one-dish feast.

 

Pierce the topping, and the seductive aromas of rich stewed meats and vegetables that escape can unleash shivers of anticipation and dreams of homey comfort before a single bite is taken.

 

Well, perhaps not quite that dramatic. But, still, most of us have fond potpie memories.

 

One friend still swoons decades later at thoughts of her Southern grandmother's flaky lard-based pastry over succulent cubed chicken, carrots and potatoes.

 

For many Americans growing up in the '50s, the standard versions were Swanson & Son's frozen chicken, turkey and beef pies.

 

While still available for under a dollar each, they have been joined by many refined variations in supermarkets and even upscale restaurants.

 

It is no wonder their popularity endures. Potpies appeal on many levels: Comfort is just the first. Served in or directly from the baking dish, readily adapted to personal tastes, and easily prepared in advance, they fulfill our desire to cocoon, to stay home with friends and family and share a relaxing, satisfying meal.

 

Even when made with luxury ingredients, they're rarely pretentious. Breaking a crust together is like sharing bread: It's primal communion.

 

Old-fashioned classics, such as Marion Cunningham's chicken potpie in the revised "The Fannie Farmer Cookbook," recall kinder, simpler times. They still please us. Yet, modern, inventive versions inspired by global cuisines and contemporary ingredients can produce similar results, even some that are cutting-edge fusion in style.

 

Some potpies are large enough to feed eight; others are made for an individual serving. They may have double or single crusts. But for any pastry-enclosed pot pie, a good crust is essential to its success.

RED POTATO AND LEEK SOUP

Makes 8 servings

 

1 small parsnip, peeled and cut into small dice

2 ounces butter or any desired oil (1/4 cup)

1 large leek, white part only, julienned (reserve small handful to fry for garnish)

1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice

2 ounces Oregon pinot gris or other white wine (1/4 cup)

2 to 21/2 cups chicken, beef, vegetable or seafood stock

11/2 to 2 cups whipping cream or milk, depending on desired richness

1 pound red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 bay leaf

Bouquet garni (dried thyme, parsley stem, garlic and peppercorns tied into

(cheesecloth with butcher's twine)

Salt and white pepper

11/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh herbs for garnish

 

In a large stockpot, cook parsnip with butter on medium heat until semisoft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add leek and onion, and continue to cook on medium heat until onion is translucent. Add wine and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock, cream, potatoes, bay leaf and bouquet garni.

 

Bring to low boil and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and bouquet garni and season with salt and white pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh herbs and fried leeks.

RIGATONI WITH CAULIFLOWER

PINE NUTS AND RAISINS

Makes 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons salt, plus more to taste (divided)

1 small cauliflower, cored and separated into about 4 cups of florets

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 large bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon saffron

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup water

1/3 dry white wine

12 ounces rigatoni

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, for garnish

 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt. When water returns to a boil, add the cauliflower and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove the cauliflower and set aside. Reserve the water for cooking the pasta.

 

In a wide, heavy sauté pan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the pine nuts, garlic, bay leaves, saffron and red pepper flakes and sauté for 2 minutes.

 

Stir in the tomato paste, raisins, water and wine. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cauliflower and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, return the cauliflower water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the pot with the sauce. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until pasta is tender.

 

Add the parsley and pepper. Top with parmesan cheese.

-- From "The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen"

 

RISOTTO CAKES WITH CRÈME FRAICHE

AND SOY CAVIAR

Serves 6

 

For risotto cakes:

3 1/2 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock or water may be substituted)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large shallot, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped

1 cup all purpose flour

Canola oil for frying

For serving:

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1/2 cup soy caviar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Lemon wedges

 

To make risotto: Heat stock in a medium saucepan until simmering. Lower heat and keep stock warm on stove.

 

Heat a large, heavy bottomed pot over high heat. Add olive oil and butter. When butter is melted, add shallot and cook, stirring, until shallot is soft and translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add rice and stir until grains are coated with oil. Add warm stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and cook, stirring, after each addition until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock in this manner until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. The rice should be fairly thick so that it sticks together when you make the cakes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and chives. Allow mixture to cool a few minutes before adding egg. Stir until well combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

 

To make risotto cakes: Form rice mixture into patties, about 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Fill a skillet with canola oil to a depth of about 1 inch. Heat oil over medium high heat until very hot (a grain of cooked rice should sizzle when dropped into the oil). Fry cakes, 5 or 6 at a time, for about 2 minutes per side, or until light golden brown on all sides. When cakes have finished cooking, place on paper towels to drain.

 

To serve: When all cakes are cooked, place on a serving platter and allow to cool slightly. Place a teaspoon of crème frai^che on each cake and top with a teaspoon of soy caviar. Garnish with chopped chives and place lemon wedges around platter.

ROAST PORK TENDERLOIN WITH FENNEL

serves 4 as main dish

2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 pound each), trimmed and cut lengthwise into

1/2-inch-thick slices, leaving core intact

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 whole pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

Herb sprigs for garnish

 

Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

 

In 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan, toss fresh fennel with 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2/3 teaspoon pepper. Push fennel to sides of pan.

 

Place pork in center of pan with fennel. In small bowl, stir sugar, fennel seeds and remaining 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2/3 teaspoon pepper. Rub fennel-seed mixture all over pork.

 

Roast pork and fennel, stirring fennel occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork reaches 155 degrees.

 

Meanwhile, in small bowl, stir parsley and lemon peel.

 

Transfer pork to cutting board; cut into slices. Place sliced pork on large platter; sprinkle with half of parsley mixture. Toss fennel with remaining parsley mixture and arrange around pork.

 

Garnish with herb sprigs.

SHRIMP WITH SPICY FRUIT SALSA

Serves 2

 

For the salsa:

 

1/2 cup diced mango (or one diced red onion, halved red grapes or orange bell

pepper)

1/2 cup diced papaya

1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish

(or basil or mint)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 Thai chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (may substitute any chili

pepper)

 

For the shrimp:

 

About 12 ounces shrimp, preferably large, peeled and deveined

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

 

For the salsa:

 

In a bowl, combine the mango, papaya and pineapple; set aside.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juices, cilantro, olive oil and chili pepper; pour almost all of the vinaigrette over the fruit and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate.

 

For the shrimp: Rinse and pat dry the shrimp. (Be sure they are completely dry.) Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

 

In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, heat the canola oil until hot but not smoking. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, just until pink on each side, curled and almost evenly colored throughout, two to three minutes per side, depending on the size. Remove from the heat; set aside. The shrimp will continue to cook slightly after removal from the heat.

 

To serve: Spoon some the fruit salsa onto the center of each plate.

 

Fan the shrimp around the salsa. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the shrimp and, if desired, sprinkle with additional cilantro. Serve immediately.

SIMMERED BEEF ROAST

Serves 10

 

A 4-pound rump roast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 bay leaves

16 whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon allspice

2 medium onions, minced

3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and chopped

2 cups beef broth

1-2 teaspoons arrowroot (optional)

 

Season roast with salt; heat olive oil in a heavy pot and brown roast.

 

Add vinegar, maple syrup, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice, onions, anchovy and broth. Cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours on top of stove until meat is fork tender and well done. Alternatively, you can place roast in a covered pan and cook in a 325-degree oven for about 2 1/2 hours.

 

Just before serving, strain gravy juices from pan. Mix arrowroot with a little cold water and stir into gravy. (The easiest way to mix it is to shake it in a closed jar.)

 

Cut roast on the diagonal and serve topped with arrowroot gravy.

SUNDAY CHICKEN HOT DISH

Submitted by Lynn Peterson, Eden Prairie, MN

It was always a special treat to have my Grandmother's creamy chicken hot dish for Sunday supper. You can prepare it Saturday night, refrigerate, then have it cooking while you're at church. It's a lovely aroma to come home to.

 

4 boneless breasts

4 slices bacon

Buttered pan

3 oz. can chipped beef (chopped, then layered on bottom of pan)

 

Wrap chicken in bacon and hold together with toothpick. Combine 1/2 can mushroom soup with small carton sour cream. Pour over chicken. Place chicken in buttered pan. Cook uncovered, baking for 4 hours at 275 degrees. Serve with rice or wild rice and steamed vegetables.

From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

 

TAMALE PIE

Submitted by Terry Setser, Gaston, SC

 

2 lbs. ground beef

1 large chopped onion

1 large chopped green bell pepper

1 cup tomato sauce

1 can chopped black olives

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal

3/4 lbs. shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp. ground cumin or 2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt (once again)

 

To a large skillet add ground beef, onion, green pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Sauté until beef is browned and veggies are soft. Drain fat from pan. Add tomato sauce and stir until boiling. In medium sauce pan, stir 2 1/2 cups water, corn meal and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring mixture to boil until thickened. Grease huge casserole (hot dish) dish, coat bottom of casserole (hot dish) dish with half the corn meal mixture, pour beef mixture into casserole (hot dish), cover top with chopped or sliced black olives. Layer cheddar cheese over top of that. Spoon remainder of hot corn meal mixture over entire top. If need be, make another batch of corn meal mixture for top. Bake at 350 degrees until top is golden brown and bubbly. From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

TORTILLA GLOSSARY

 

Antojitos: Dictionaries translate these as "little whimsies." At the table, it usually means snacks, ranging from tacos to quesadillas.

 

Burritos: Tex-Mex snacks wrap flour tortillas around almost anything.

 

Chilaquiles: Dried or day-old corn tortillas baked in a chili-spiked sauce. Think bread pudding or noodle kugel.

 

Chimichangas: Deep-fried burritos.

 

Enchiladas: Corn tortillas rolled around a filling and sauced.

 

Fajitas: Tex-Mex roll-your-own flour tortillas with grilled fillings.

 

Flautas: Filled, rolled then fried corn tortillas that look like little flutes.

 

Gorditas: Thick corn tortillas split then stuffed with beans, meats, etc.

 

Huaraches: Thick, rimmed oval corn tortillas.

 

Quesadilla: Folded tortillas filled, usually with cheese, then heated.

 

Sopes: Thick, rimmed round corn tortillas.

 

Taco: A medium-thick, freshly made corn tortilla folded over assorted fillings.

 

Tostada: Crisp-fried round corn tortilla topped with beans or meat.

 

Tostaditas: Deep-fried, cut up tortilla pieces. Also called totopos.

TORTILLAS LAYERED

WITH GREEN SALSA

(Chilaquiles verdes)

8 servings

 

16 tomatillos, husked, washed, quartered

3 jalapenos, seeded, chopped

1 quart water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

12 corn tortillas, 6 inches in diameter, cut into eighths

2 cups Chihuahua cheese, shredded

Sour cream

 

Place tomatillos, jalapenos and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to blender container. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water; puree. Season with salt.

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet; add some of the tortillas. Fry until crisp, about 2 minutes.

 

Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining oil and tortillas. Place half the fried tortillas in a greased 8-inch-square baking dish.

 

Sprinkle half of the cheese over the tortillas. Add enough sauce to moisten. Add another layer of tortillas; moisten with sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until hot throughout and the sauce has reduced, about 10 minutes. Top with dollops of sour cream.

 

(Note: Some cooks in Mexico layer in shredded, cooked chicken; others garnish with rings of white onion.)

TRUFFLED MUSHROOM SAUCE

Serves 6

 

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 medium shallots, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup red wine

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon black truffle oil

 

Heat olive oil and butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are browned. Add wine, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes longer until wine has been soaked up by the mushrooms. Add sage and broth. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer 20-30 minutes, until sauce is reduced by about half. Remove from heat and stir in truffle oil.

ULTIMATE MACARONI AND CHEESE

Serves 8

 

1 package (1 pound) elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup white bread crumbs

2 cups whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

1 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 teaspoon each or to taste: kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta until al dente, 10-12 minutes; drain.

 

Meanwhile, heat butter in small saucepan. Add bread crumbs; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

 

Combine macaroni, cream and mustard in a large saucepan; cook over medium heat until hot, 3 minutes.

 

Add cheese; stir to melt. Add salt and pepper. Place macaroni in serving bowls. Sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs and chopped parsley.

WHOLE WHEAT HONEY PANCAKES

12 pancakes

 

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup low-fat milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey

Nonstick cooking spray

 

Combine the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to mix well. In small bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil and honey in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

 

Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir it gently until it is smooth.

 

Heat a large skillet or pancake griddle over medium-high heat.

 

Spray it with cooking oil. Use a 1/4-cup measuring cup (not completely full) to pour the batter onto the skillet or griddle. Cook pancakes for about three minutes, or until little bubbles appear on top. Turn the pancakes over, and cook one to two minutes longer, until golden brown.

 

Serve with maple syrup, jam or fresh fruit and yogurt.

 

From Pat Baird's "Cooking With Mickey & Friends" (Disney Press, $18.95)

WILD RICE HOT DISH

Submitted by Mildred Weedlebard-Christensen, Concord, NH

This recipe was passed down to me by my father, the Rev. David "Rocket" Christensen, who grew up in Minnesota before moving to the East Coast in the 1940s. Hope you like it.

 

1 lb. ground beef

1 green pepper

1 cup celery, chopped

1 can mushrooms

1/2 pkg. slivered almonds

1 can mushroom soup

4 cups canned chicken broth

1 cup wild rice, washed

1 T. soy sauce

Pinch of rosemary

Handful of cranberries (preferably fresh, although dried will work, too)

 

Brown first four ingredients in a pan. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Rice will soak up the broth and pop open. After 1 hour, put the cranberries on the top of the hot dish. This will give the dish a surprisingly tart flavor when the berries are mixed in with the rest of the hot dish.

From the Prairie Home Companion 2/25/02

 

WILD RICE SALAD

Makes 12 1/2-cup servings

 

11/2 cups raw wild rice, well-rinsed

About 6 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste or salt and 1 teaspoon jalapeno chili, seeded and

minced

2 ribs celery, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup diced candied orange peel

1/2 cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, chopped

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped lengthwise (see note)

 

Place wild rice in a large saucepan and add enough chicken stock to cover by about an inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to barely simmering and cook for about 45 minutes, or until tender and puffed out.

 

While the rice is cooking, make a vinaigrette by whisking together the oil, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to taste (or salt and jalapeno) until emulsified; refrigerate.

 

Drain the rice very well and refrigerate, covered, about 2 hours.

 

In a large bowl, combine the rice, celery, onion, pepper, orange peel and parsley. Add the vinaigrette (whisk it again briefly) and mix well. Sprinkle pecans over top just before serving.

 

Optional additions: 1/2 cup cooked shrimp; 1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries or golden raisins; 1/2 cup chopped, cooked chicken (especially teriyaki); about 1/4 cup good salami (such as Molinari), in julienne slices; a small can of well-drained mandarin oranges.

 

Note: To toast nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them.

 

 

 

 

 

YUCATECAN WILD BOAR POTPIE

WITH JALAPENO CORN CRUST

Serves 4

 

For the stew:

1 pound wild boar or pork shoulder cut in 1-inch cubes, seasoned with kosher

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard

1 cup yellow onions, cut in medium dice

1 cup seeded poblano chilies, cut in medium dice

1/2 cup minced garlic

2 cups peeled and diced yucca (cassava)

2 cups quartered tomatillos

2 cups orange juice

2 bottles dark Mexican beer

1 teaspoon ground cumin, lightly toasted

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Sprigs of cilantro for garnish

 

For corn crust:

1 cup plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 eggs

1/2 cup corn kernels

1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapenos

1 tablespoon minced seeded red bell pepper

2 tablespoons milk

Mexican or conventional sour cream, to garnish

Tomato salsa, to garnish

 

To prepare the stew: In a large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, sear pork in hot oil over high heat, turning to brown all sides.

 

Transfer meat with tongs or slotted spoon to a bowl. Add onions and chilies and cook over medium-high heat until onions are caramelized and golden brown, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

 

Stir in yuca, tomatillos, orange juice, beer and cumin, and bring to a boil.

 

Adjust heat down so liquid simmers, and cover pot. Cook slowly for 2 hours, stirring and occasionally skimming off fat. Add cilantro during the last 10 minutes.

 

Stew should be thick. Add a little water if it gets too dry.

 

Divide among 4 large ovenproof ceramic dinner bowls or cover and refrigerate for later use.

 

To make crusts: While meat simmers, sift 1 cup of the flour with dry ingredients into a medium bowl.

 

Cream butter and eggs together in a food processor. Add corn, cheese and peppers and pulse just to blend. Add dry ingredients and process just until well blended.

 

Gather into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 

Liberally dust a large work space with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out circles just large enough to come to the edges of the bowls.

 

Carefully top each bowl with a disk of crust. Brush with milk and bake until golden brown, 20 minutes. Top with a dollop of sour cream and salsa and garnish with sprigs of cilantro.

 

Dent suggests substituting milk for the chicken stock and adding sauteed chopped onions to the chilies or crumbling some precooked chorizo sausage on top for some tasty variations.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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