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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 296

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).

ANTIPASTO DI FAGIOLI

ARTISTRY BEHIND MASTERFUL BREAD

ASPARAGUS SALAD

BACARDI RUM CAKE

BEEF AND EGG FILLED PIROSHKI

BEER DOUGHNUTS

BITTER HERB SALAD

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST FOCACCIA

BOOM BOOMS CHICKEN

BRAISED MEAT INFORMATION

CELERY CITRUS SALAD

CELERY INFORMATION

CHEESE QUESADILLAS

CHICKEN SUPREME CASSEROLE

COLA GLAZED HAM

COOKED FROSTING

COQ CLASSIC WHEN YOU

COUNTRY FRENCH PEAR CLAFOUTI

CREME BRULEE

CREOLE BARBECUE SHRIMP

DAUBE OF BEEF

DISHES THAT SIMPLIFY A MIDWEEK SEDER

DO AHEAD BRUNCH SOLVES EASTER CRUNCH

DRIED FIGS IN RED WINE

FAUX LAPIN A LA MOUTARDE

FETA CHEESE AND FRESH HERB ROLL

FISH WITH RED PEPPER SAUCE

FIVE SPICE STIR FRIED PORK

FOOD FROM BIBLICAL TIMES

GIANNINI CHILI

GLAZED RADISHES

HELP FOR DIETERS

HIGH QUALITY VANILLA INFORMATION

HOLIDAY MEATBALLS

HONEY MUSTARD SALMON

INDIVIDUAL ORANGE SOUFFLÉS

KRAUT AND RIB SOU

LAVASH CRACKERS

LEEKS WITH GINGER AND SHRIMP

LEMON BUTTER EASTER EGG COOKIE TREE.

LEMON BUTTER EASTER EGG COOKIES

MAPLE GLAZED CARROTS

MARINATED MUSHROOMS

MERINGUE NESTS WITH STRAWBERRIES

MOCK PATE

MORE HAM GLAZE RECIPES

NEW YORK STEAKS WITH STIR

PEPPERMINT CHIFFON PIE

POTATO PEEL BROTH

QUICK COQ AU VIN

REAL EASTER BUNNY

RED SPANGLED SLAW

ROAST FRESH HAM

SEAFOOD and SAFFRON QUICHE

SEARCH FOR BAKEWARE ORIGINS

SLOW COOKED GINGER

SMOKED SALMON

SOUR CHERRY RICE

SOUR CREAM HOLLANDAISE

SPRING ONION EGG SALAD

SUNFLOWER OATMEAL BREAD

UNLEAVENED GRIDDLE BREAD

VEGETABLE CAKE

WELSH RABBIT

WHOLE WHEAT SPICE BREAD MIX

 

 

 

ANTIPASTO DI FAGIOLI

1 X 400g can Cannellini Beans

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper

1/2 small Onion

Lemon Juice

Strain and Rinse the can of cannellini, place in a small bowl. Chop up the

half onion very thinly and add to beans. Pour about 1 tablespoon of olive

oil into bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, sprinkle salt and pepper on

top of beans and mix. Let sit for 5 minutes. Mix well again before serving.

Can be served as a starter or side dish, or just as a snack.

ARTISTRY BEHIND MASTERFUL BREAD

REVEALED IN RECIPES

By Lydia Itoi, Mercury News

 

I am a rice eater, so my husband often mourns the lack of bread at our table. In Venezuela, his family goes down to the corner Portuguese bakery for fresh bread twice a day.

 

Good bread, by which I mean crusty loaves with well-developed texture and crumb, is much easier to find now than it was when I was growing up in the land of Wonder Bread. Still, it is hard to have in the house every day. My few previous experiments with bread making had produced an unacceptable work-to-results

ratio. An artisanal loaf goes stale far faster than the two of us can eat it, the bakery is a car trip away, and we don't have a bread machine. So for many meals, we do without bread.

 

That is, we did until I saw Peter Reinhart's new book, ``The Bread Baker's Apprentice.'' There is a young Japanese woman on the cover, one of Reinhart's students, dressed in a spotless cooking-school uniform. She is clasping a huge round loaf in her arms, and her eyes wear a calm, knowing expression. She loves bread, I thought. Suddenly, I wanted to be that student. I pulled out my flour and got to work.

 

Reinhart, I quickly learned, has quite the medieval idea of apprenticeship. It's back to basics, often just flour, water, salt and yeast. Sometimes, you even have to spend a week catching the yeast yourself. The first hundred pages are a minute deconstruction of the bread-making process, sort of a 12-step program for bread heads. Most recipes take about two days to complete. This is serious bread, and only the dedicated need apply for membership into the guild.

 

But membership has its rewards. The first are some 50 meticulously tested, carefully illustrated formulas for the home baker who wants to learn not only to bake but also to think like a professional. Reinhart is a gifted and generous teacher, acknowledging his own teachers and passing their accumulated wisdom to his students. He shows, in clear language, not only what to do but also how it will affect the result.

 

I also got to brush up on my math skills. Each recipe comes with baker's ratios that help apprentices find their wings and manipulate the outcome. But the greatest benefit is the gift of a baker's feel for dough. Because dough is a living organism that is sensitive to ambient conditions, bread making will always be more art than science. A recipe may specify the amount of ingredients by weight to three decimal places, but the actual amount needed depends ultimately on the baker's ability to feel when the dough is right -- a very difficult thing to learn alone in the kitchen.

 

After a bit of beginner's luck with focaccia, which turned out perfectly as I followed the directions to the letter, I soon learned that I couldn't follow the recipes mindlessly. My French bread dough felt too stiff, but I did not add water. It didn't look quite browned when it registered 205 degrees, but I took it out anyway. Bake and learn.

 

But we are not alone when this book is in the kitchen. The key to success is to create a dough that fits the detailed verbal description and illustrations in the recipe. And Reinhart gives us many ways to test for proper dough behavior. We might need a little more flour or water, a little more kneading or resting, until the dough passes the windowpane test or the float test or just feels right and looks like the picture. He gives us the map, but we must find our own way.

 

Once I understood this principle, I became fascinated by the way that flour and water could turn into beautiful brioche, rich cinnamon rolls, or New York-style bagels with plenty of chew and attitude. But the dough that changed everything was the pain à l'ancienne. Reinhart reveals a revolutionary delayed-fermentation technique for a dough made with ice water, a trick he picked up from Parisian champion boulanger Philippe Gosselin. This is the bread I want to eat every day from now on, and it is easy enough to do so. The bread looks like crusty, feather-light bones, with sweet, nutty flavor trapped in a lovely web of large, airy holes.

 

My adventures stalking wild yeast, however, were something of a mixed bag. The directions for the initial seed culture were the only ones that I could not get to jibe with the intended results. On Day 1, 1 cup rye flour mixed with 3/4 cup water made a thick batter, not a stiff dough. I found that 1/4 cup water to 1 cup flour produced the desired stiffness, but in that batch, the strong, unpleasant aromas that Reinhart warns about never dissipated. They just penetrated my kitchen like a toxic cloud. The first batter-like seed culture worked fine as a leavening agent, but the taste was distinctly more sour than I would have liked. But my starter is still young, and I will continue to adjust its feeding according to Reinhart's guidelines and see how it develops.

 

The exceptional acidity of our native bacteria that works so well for San Francisco sourdough makers is less attractive in wild-yeast panettone, which to me should be a rich, yeasty, sweet bread perfumed with flowers and fruit.

 

With a little trepidation, I even made the huge, round miche loaf shown in the cover photo. Here was the flavor of long fermentation, the dense texture giving full expression to the whole wheat. It was certainly not a true poila^ne, but I recognized the family resemblance even in my first clumsy attempt. In this wild yeast dough, there was also the unmistakable tang of our own Lactobacillus sanfrancisco. The taste experience was like eating bread at the corner of Lombard and the rue du Cherche-Midi. When the miche came out of the oven looking picture-perfect, I too wanted to throw my arms around it.

 

ASPARAGUS SALAD

WITH LEMON SOY DRESSING

Serves 4

 

1 1/4 pounds asparagus spears, diagonally cut into 1/2-inch pieces

8 scallions

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon gingerroot

5 scallions, minced

1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken bouillon

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Lemon juice to taste

 

Steam asparagus and 8 whole scallions in a steamer over boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Remove vegetables to a colander. Rinse with cold water; drain. Chill, covered, until cool.

 

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add gingerroot. Sauté until it begins to color. Stir in 2 minced scallions; sauté several seconds. Add bouillon, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil 30 seconds. Stir in pepper and lemon juice.

 

Combine asparagus, whole scallions and remaining 3 minced scallions in a bowl and toss gently. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat.

 

 

 

 

BACARDI RUM CAKE

12 servings

 

Cake:

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 box yellow cake mix

1 (3 3/4 -ounce) box Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)

 

Glaze:

1/4 pound butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Bacardi rum (80 proof)

Whipped cream, optional

 

For cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan.

 

Mix cake ingredients together. Pour batter over nuts. Bake one hour. Cool.

 

Invert onto serving plate. Prick top. Spoon and brush glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until glaze is used up. Decorate with whipped cream if desired.

 

For glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.

BEEF AND EGG FILLED PIROSHKI

IN PUFF PASTRY CRUST

Makes 35 little pies

 

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

8 ounces extra-lean ground beef, crumbled

1/4 cup beef broth

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh dill

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. When it foams, add onion and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add beef and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add broth, eggs, salt, pepper and dill; cook 1-2 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

 

On a lightly floured board, roll out puff pastry dough into 1/4-inch-thick sheet. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 4-inch circles. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each circle. Using a small pastry or paint brush, brush a little beaten egg along edges. Fold over, making a half circle, and pinch edges together to seal. Set aside. Repeat until all filling is used.

 

Brush top of each piroshki with some of remaining egg. Place on baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve as an appetizer or an accompaniment to soup.

BEER DOUGHNUTS

 

Makes 6 regular doughnuts, or 24 miniature doughnuts

 

Here's a version of Jon Graber's beer doughnuts. It's adapted from a recipe from King Arthur's Flour baking catalog (www.kingarthurflour.com; 800-827-6836), which also sells a convenient doughnut mix and baking pans for regular or miniature doughnuts. The pans look like muffin pans with impressions for making the holes in the doughnuts.

 

1/4 cup butter (see note)

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh ground is best)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons dried buttermilk powder

2 eggs

6 tablespoons amber ale (IPA, India Pale Ale, adds a nice bite)

Powdered sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter and let cool. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and buttermilk powder together in a large mixing bowl.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter and beer until well-blended.

 

Grease the doughnut pan (or a muffin pan with 6 miniature Bundt cups) with a generous amount of butter or vegetable shortening. Pour the liquid blend into the dry ingredients all at once, and mix just until blended (do not over-mix, or the doughnuts will be tough).

 

Fill each doughnut form half-full. Bake on the middle rack for 8 to 9 minutes for miniature doughnuts, 9 to 12 minutes for regular-size doughnuts. The doughnuts should not be browned on top. Remove pan from oven, let cool for a minute, remove from pan and roll in powdered sugar.

 

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

 

BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST FOCACCIA

Serves 6-8

 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

2 (1 pound) loaves frozen bread dough, defrosted

3 cups fresh or frozen unthawed blueberries

3/4-1 cup raw sugar

 

Brush a 14-inch pizza pan with some of the melted butter. Press bread loaves together and roll out with a rolling pin into an uneven 9- to 10-inch circle. Transfer dough onto pan and press dough out with your fingers, making an even flat surface to the rim. Press fingertips into top of dough, making indentations. Drizzle with remaining butter. Evenly sprinkle top with blueberries, then with sugar. Gently press into dough to adhere.

 

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes, until puffy.

 

Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in center of oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Slide off pan with a spatula, cut into wedges and serve immediately with low-fat cream cheese for spreading.

BOOM BOOMS CHICKEN

1/2 cup vegetable oil (8 tablespoons; divided)

3 large tomatoes, cut up into 8 to 10 pieces

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, cut into pieces

1/3 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup chopped celery

Dash dried thyme

Dash ground nutmeg

Dash garlic powder

Dash Italian seasoning

Dash dried rosemary

Salt and black pepper to taste

About 11/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, halved

All-purpose flour to coat chicken

2 plaintains, peeled, sliced lengthwise and cut into halves

Cooked basmati rice

 

Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a large skillet. Over medium heat, cook the tomatoes, onion, green pepper, green onion, celery, herbs and spices, and salt and pepper until the vegetables are soft and reduced into a sauce, about half an hour.

 

Meanwhile, in large bowl, coat the chicken in flour. In a separate skillet, heat the remaining 6 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over medium heat, and fry the chicken pieces until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oil, reserving the oil. Drain chicken on paper towels and add chicken to the tomato-vegetable sauce and simmer 15 minutes.

 

In the reserved oil, fry the plantains until golden brown; drain on paper towels.

 

On a serving plate, arrange cooked rice, plantains and chicken. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve. -- Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje

[] There is an NBA basketball player with the same last name; I wonder if the

author of the recipe is he? []

BRAISED MEAT INFORMATION

 

Braised meats earn soft spot in chef's heart

By Mark Sullivan with Katie Morford Sullivan, Special to the Mercury News

 

I love braised meat. Beef, pork or lamb, gently simmered for what seems like an unreasonably long time, becomes so tender you can practically eat it with a spoon. The secret: Use the right cut of meat and never rush.

 

Braising is cooking in liquid at a low temperature in a covered pot, either on top of the stove or in the oven. Back when cooking meant building a fire, the pot was set over hot embers. More embers were piled onto the lid, which had a raised edge to contain the coals, creating a heat source from above and below.

 

The technique has long been an ideal way to transform tough, heavily marbled, and often inexpensive cuts of meat into tender, complex and delicious meals.

 

You first sear all sides to create a crusty, flavorful, caramelized exterior, then gently cook the meat in liquid to moisten it and help break down connective tissue, the tough part of the meat. The tight lid traps in moisture as the cooking liquid -- usually wine or stock -- evaporates. Aromatic ingredients such as onions, carrots, celery, leeks and herbs help season the dish.

 

But braising isn't limited to meat. The French classic coq au vin is chicken cooked in wine and was traditionally made with older, tougher birds that needed tenderizing to be palatable. Hearty vegetables such as artichokes, cabbage, leeks and celery lend themselves beautifully to braising, though the initial searing is eliminated and cooking time is reduced considerably. Most fish is too delicate to braise and fares better with speedier methods. The same is true for lean cuts of meat, which tend to dry out and become tough in a braising pot.

 

The popularity of braising crosses cultures and borders. Jewish families have brisket, Italians have osso buco and New Englanders have pot roast. At the Village Pub, we've adopted the French approach to braising with our Daube of Beef. It's a dish so basic to French cuisine that some households even have a daubière among their cookware, a lidded casserole used especially for making daube.

 

At the restaurant, I marinate the beef in wine for three full days prior to cooking. The acidity of the wine helps break down the protein and, if done right, makes it unbelievably tender. You don't need to invest in an expensive vintage, just something drinkable. For the meat, we use the eye of the chuck -- a cut that is marbled with plenty of fat. Beef shoulder or shanks also work well. We cook the meat at a low temperature for about five hours, a leisurely pace that slowly coaxes out the fat, which melts and then saturates and moistens the beef.

 

Although this can serve a crowd, don't shy away if there are just a few of you. It becomes even more tender as a leftover. Pull the meat into bite-size chunks the day after and fold it into a pasta sauce, or tuck it into a baguette for a sandwich.

 

Daube of beef is just a starting point. You can easily take the same approach with pork shoulder, perhaps substituting white wine for red and adding a handful of chopped sage to the braising liquid. Or use lamb shanks, adding about a pound of chopped tomatoes to the vegetables and a few sprigs of rosemary in place of the thyme.

 

The best tip I can give you is to rely a little more on your intuition when following a recipe and a little less on your intellect. In cooking, there is no substitute for your senses: the sound of the sizzle as the meat hits the hot pan; the smell of the onions as they begin to caramelize; the look of the gently bubbling red wine; the feel of the meat under your fingertips as you test for doneness; and the taste of the finished product. Trust your senses instead of a measuring cup and timer, and you will have learned the best-kept secret of any good restaurant kitchen.

 

CELERY CITRUS SALAD

Serves 4-6

 

For vinaigrette:

3 blood oranges, juiced

1 lime, zested and juiced

1 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced

3 shallots, peeled, minced fine

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped fine

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced fine

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

For salad:

4 to 6 stalks of celery (de-ribbed)

1 celery root, peeled, cut into very thin strips (optional)

1 tangerine, segmented

1 blood orange, segmented

 

In a small pot, combine juice from blood oranges, lime and lemon. Over medium high heat, let juices reduce by half to about 1 cup liquid.

 

Place shallots in a mixing bowl. Pour hot, reduced citrus juice over shallots; allow to steep and cool to room temperature. To the mixing bowl, add vinegar, tarragon, chives, salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil, taste and adjust seasoning.

 

Using a peeler, peel ``ribbons'' of celery into a separate mixing bowl. Add celery root. Add citrus segments. Spoon vinaigrette over top. Season with salt and pepper.

 

CELERY INFORMATION

The best supporting veggie is celery

By Sheila Himmel, Mercury News

 

On this, the first day of spring, we lick our chops at the start of California's spectacular seasons of fruits and vegetables.

 

Celery is never mentioned.

 

Yet the versatile year-round vegetable and its sibling, celeriac, are popping up in restaurants as if they were arugula or Meyer lemons.

 

``I think it is underutilized,'' says Bart Hosmer, executive chef at Bradley Ogden's snazzy new Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, where it appears in everything from salad to mashed potatoes. ``But chefs are starting to prepare celery differently.''

 

When we think of celery at all, many of us recall ants on a log (raisins dotting peanut butter mushed into a canoe of celery). Or celery slathered with cream cheese. Too many think celery without topping is all water and string. Tasteless and annoying.

 

``What's the point of celery?'' said the teenage critic in my house.

 

In fact, celery is a go-along, get-along vegetable. Cook or eat raw. Everything -- roots, seeds and stems -- can be used.

 

``You just throw it in the soup because your grandmother did,'' says Jeff Pieracci, co-owner of Galli Produce in San Jose. ``It's the ultimate accompaniment, never in the spotlight, but always there.''

 

Even more than usual right now. With a freeze in Yuma, Ariz., taking out much of the winter crop of leaf lettuces, what's left is very costly. At wholesale, ``iceberg is $50 a case, if you can find it. Celery is $17,'' Pieracci says.

 

But it's not just price that is driving celery's new appearance. Chefs cite its flavor and versatility.

 

In her newest cookbook, ``Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen,'' restaurant owner and PBS star Lidia Bastianich includes no less than eight celery recipes and a section of advice on which cheeses to pair with celery (Parmigiano-Reggiano or room-temperature Gorgonzola). Bastianich braises, bakes, pickles and makes a sweet-and-sour marinade of simple celery.

 

With 20 calories to the cup, celery long has been shunted to the diet side of life. As Pieracci says, ``You can eat 10 ribs of celery and still be hungry.''

 

Celery and celeriac are the two cultivated types of wild celery, which dates back to a mention in Homer's ``Odyssey,'' when it was called selinon. Modern names grew from there, says Alan Davidson in ``The Oxford Companion to Food.''

 

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians may have given celery its unhappy ``good for you'' connotation by using it for medicinal and religious purposes. The Chinese began cultivating a thinner, juicier version in the 5th century AD.

 

Howard Bulka, executive chef of Marché in Menlo Park, is a fan of celeriac, which he learned to appreciate while living in France. The ugly brown knob is not, as is commonly thought, the root of the pale green stalks stocked even by mini marts. It is a special type of celery cultivated specifically for its root. And it's equally cheap and nearly as available as celery.

 

``In France, celery root is a much-loved vegetable accompaniment to roasted meats, particularly poultry and game birds, and is often used raw in a salad with rémoulade dressing to accompany charcuterie or as part of a composed salad,'' Bulka wrote in an e-mail.

 

But Bulka prefers his root raw. ``The flavor is most pronounced and the texture is crisp and refreshing, much like cabbage in coleslaw.''

 

At Marché, he uses celery root rémoulade to cut the richness of a foie gras appetizer and as an accompaniment to the house smoked salmon. Cooked to a silky puree, celeriac rests alongside roasted Sonoma squab. And in a classic sauce périgourdine, celery root becomes redolent with black truffles.

 

At Parcel 104, Hosmer also loves the ``soft, floral sweetness'' of celery root in soups, folded into mashed potatoes, pureed as the starch for a meat such as lamb chops. At lunch, he pairs celery salad with a grilled, butterflied lamb sandwich, kalamata olives and goat cheese. Sometimes he'll do a light braise of local, organic celery.

 

Even though celery is showing up in all the right places, it's still not getting top billing. Menus rarely dare speak its name. ``It is not a big driver in sales,'' Hosmer says. ``But people like it and will ask: What flavor is that? How can that be celery?''

CHEESE QUESADILLAS

WITH MAPLE-FLAVORED SAUTÉED APPLES

2 6-inch flour tortillas

4 ounces sliced fontina cheese (divided)

2 tablespoons butter (divided)

2 small, unpeeled, firm sweet apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup apple juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

11/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

 

Place 1 flour tortilla on work surface. Arrange half the cheese on half of the tortilla. Fold over to form a semicircle. Repeat with remaining tortilla and cheese.

 

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet. Ease tortillas into skillet in one layer and sauté over medium heat 3 minutes per side, or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted. Remove from skillet. Cut each tortilla in half to form 4 pieces. Set aside and keep warm.

 

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in skillet. Add sliced apples and brown 2 minutes. Add maple syrup, apple juice, salt and nutmeg and cook over high heat until apples are tender and liquid is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Serve apples over quesadillas.

CHICKEN SUPREME CASSEROLE

This creamy casserole is perfect on a warm evening, accompanied by a green

salad. Serves 6

2 whole chicken breasts, cooked & finely diced, (about 1-1/2 to 2 cups)

1 cup raw macaroni, cooked and drained (I use smallest shells)

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup light sour cream

1 small onion, minced

2 tbsp parsley, chopped fine, or 1/2 tsp dill weed or both

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 tbsp dried bread or cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except crumbs; mix

well. Place in 2-qt casserole dish. Top with crumbs. Bake 35-40 minutes.

COLA GLAZED HAM

YIELD: About 1 1/3 cups

 

1 cup Coke Classic

1/4 cup juice from 2 limes

2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar

2 medium jalapeno chilies, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

 

Bring Coke Classic, lime juice, brown sugar and jalapenos to boil in small non-reactive saucepan over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 11/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

 

Glaze will thicken as it cools between bastings; heat over medium heat about 1 minute, stirring once or twice, before using.

COOKED FROSTING

1 cup milk

5 Tablespoons flour

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla.

Boil milk with flour until thick and smooth. Cream butter until fluffy

then gradually add sugar beating smooth. Add the cooled paste gradually

to creamed mixture to make a good icing. Flavor with vanilla.

COQ CLASSIC WHEN YOU'RE IN A HURRY

March 27, 2002 Posted: 05:40:10 AM PST, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

You'd think a classic chicken dish with a stylish French name couldn't be done without hours of toil over a hot stove.

 

Take heart. A streamlined but richly tasty version of "coq au vin" (pronounced coke oh van) can be ready in about half an hour. You can also prepare it ahead of time, then reheat.

 

Here's the secret: Cooking the ingredients uncovered, over high heat, allows the liquid to reduce and concentrate its flavors in a fraction of the time required for the traditional long-simmered dish.

 

The recipe is included in a feature titled "Home Bistro," in the March issue of Cooking Light magazine. The piece extols the bistro's comfortable, casual ambience and its matching cooking style.

 

For a start, Marge Perry writes, you don't need special pots and pans. "The large stockpot you've had for years will do just fine." And all the dishes emphasize using ingredients simply, with no elaborate time-consuming techniques needed.

COUNTRY FRENCH PEAR CLAFOUTI

Serves 4-6

 

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup half and half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons Calvados or brandy

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges

1/2 pint cold heavy cream, for serving

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter in a 10-inch pie plate. Place baking dish in oven to melt butter while making batter.

 

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a deep bowl. Stir to combine. Add milk, half and half, eggs, Calvados and vanilla. Beat vigorously with a balloon wire whisk or hand-held immersion blender until smooth, yet frothy, 1-2 minutes. Batter will be thin.

 

With oven mitts, remove baking dish from oven and tilt pan back and forth to coat bottom and sides with the melted butter. Set dish on a folded tea towel while filling. Distribute pear wedges over bottom of hot dish in a single layer and immediately pour in batter.

 

Return dish to oven and bake 12 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking an additional 35-45 minutes or until puffed and very dark brown (especially around the edges) and a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

 

Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes. Serve hot, warm or room temperature in fat wedges, with a small pitcher of cold heavy cream on side.

CREME BRULEE

Makes 6 servings

9 egg yolks

3/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons superfine sugar (divided)

1 quart whipping cream

1 vanilla bean

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, cream together egg yolks and sugar with a whisk until the mixture is pale yellow and thick.

 

Pour cream into a medium saucepan over low heat. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add them to saucepan.

 

Bring cream to a brief simmer. Do not boil or it will overflow.

 

Remove from heat and temper the yolks by gradually whisking the hot vanilla cream into the yolk and sugar mixture. Do not add hot cream too quickly or the eggs will cook.

 

Divide custard among six 6-ounce ramekins, filling them about 3/4 full. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and fill pan with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until barely set around the edges, about 40 minutes. You may want to cover loosely with foil to prevent browning.

 

Remove from oven; transfer the ramekins to the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.

 

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of each chilled custard. Hold a kitchen torch 2 inches above surface to brown the sugar and form a crust. Garnish with cookies and fresh fruit. Serve at once.

 

Variation: Before dividing among ramekins, add 3 ounces of shaved dark chocolate for chocolate creme brulee; add 4 slices of crystallized ginger for ginger creme brulee; add 3 slices of orange peel for orange creme brulee. Let steep 20 minutes to infuse the flavor. Strain out the ginger and orange peel before baking. -- Courtesy of Tyler Florence, "Food 911"

CREOLE BARBECUE SHRIMP

 

1/4 cup butter, unsalted (4 tablespoons)

1/4 cup peanut oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 red or green chilies or jalapenos, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade (finely shredded)

1 tablespoon paprika

3/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 lemon, juiced

20 pieces shrimp (16/20 size), shells on (about 1 pound)

 

In a sauté pan, heat butter and peanut oil. Add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes, then add chilies, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and continue to sauté for 2 minutes more.

 

Add shrimp and sauté until cooked through, until shrimp turns pink, about 5 minutes; do not overcook. -- Courtesy of Cheryl Smith, "Melting Pot"

DAUBE OF BEEF

Makes 8 hearty portions

 

A 5-pound chuck roast, boned, rolled and tied

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 leeks, chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 parsley stems

6 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

15 whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 bottles red wine

 

Select a pot, Dutch oven or casserole with a fitted lid. The pot should be large enough to hold roast comfortably, without being too roomy. Season meat liberally with salt and pepper.

 

Coat bottom of pot with oil and set over medium-high heat. Add roast and sear all sides until nicely browned. Remove roast; set aside in a large bowl.

 

Add about 1/3 cup wine to pot. It will sizzle. With a wooden spoon, scrape up the flavorful bits left from the meat. This is called deglazing the pan. Add this liquid to the bowl with the meat.

 

Coat pot again with oil and set over high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, leeks and garlic and sauté, stirring regularly until vegetables just begin to caramelize, turning a light brown. Add parsley, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and tomato paste.

 

Add roast and cooking juices to pot. Pour in enough wine so it is about 2/3 of the way up the side of roast. Bring wine to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate roast in pot for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days, turning once as it marinates.

 

When you're ready to braise, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set covered pot in oven. Check from time to time and when liquid just begins to boil, reduce heat to 250 degrees. This may take up to an hour or so. Continue cooking roast at a gentle simmer, turning over after about 2 1/2 hours. Continue cooking another 2 hours and then test for doneness by gently piercing meat with a fork. When it easily pulls apart and is melt-in-your mouth tender, it is done. Cook another 1/2 hour if meat is not done.

 

Pull meat out and set on cutting board. Strain braising liquid through a fine colander. Discard vegetables and return liquid to pot, skimming off thin layer of fat. Bring liquid to a simmer; cook about 15 minutes. For a more intensely flavored sauce, simmer up to 1 hour.

 

While liquid is simmering, remove strings from roast and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. Layer meat on a platter and spoon braising liquid over it. You can store daube in its braising liquid for up to 1 week in the refrigerator, or 1 month in the freezer.

 

DISHES THAT SIMPLIFY A MIDWEEK SEDER

By Julie Kaufmann, Mercury News

 

Imagine being host to your family, close friends and a few people you barely know for a five-course dinner, using special china and a real tablecloth. A lot of basic, everyday ingredients -- little things such as flour -- cannot be used. And, for an hour or so before the meal is served, you'll be at the table with your guests, not in the kitchen.

 

Now imagine doing all that on a Wednesday after work.

 

That's the situation Jews face March 27, the first night of Passover, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt. The holiday opens with a Seder, a ritual meal that is both a religious service and dinner party.

 

Besides family and friends, it's customary to invite anyone who needs a place to go for the holiday. The dietary rules of Passover are meant to emphasize the hasty flight from slavery -- there was not even time for bread to rise, which is why flour or grain-based foods, except those based on the unleavened bread matzo, are forbidden.

 

A Seder is challenging enough on a weekend, but it takes serious planning to pull it off midweek. To succeed, cooks need to keep the menu simple and do everything possible ahead -- from setting the table to making charoset, the mixture of chopped apple, nut and sweet wine that represents the mortar Hebrew slaves used in Egyptian building projects. (It tastes better after a couple days' aging, anyway. Just drain off the excess liquid.)

 

Matzo balls pose a problem. They're best when freshly made, but shaping a gooey mix of pulverized matzo and egg into little balls may not be the best idea when guests will ring the doorbell at any minute. Make them Tuesday night, let them cool in their salted cooking water, and refrigerate them in a covered, flat container with a little of the water. Reheat gently, in lots more salted water, and add to hot chicken soup just before serving.

 

Brisket is the classic make-ahead main dish, but for something lighter, try fish cooked in a vivid red sauce of roasted sweet peppers. Make the sauce Sunday or Monday. The fish cooks, unattended, while everyone -- including the cook -- is eating matzo ball soup.

 

For dessert, a chocolate honey sauce can be the basis of any number of ideas. The simplest? Serve it as a dip for fresh fruit or drizzled over sorbet. Or let its moist richness improve a piece of cake that could use a little help, as egg- and nut-based Passover tortes often do.

 

DO AHEAD BRUNCH SOLVES EASTER CRUNCH

March 27, 2002 Posted: 05:40:10 AM PST

By KATHY MARTIN, MIAMI HERALD

 

Easter, the central holiday of the Christian year, brings with it two obligations for the food-loving faithful: to attend church and to serve a festive meal.

 

A do-ahead brunch is the best solution to conflicting claims on a home cook's Sunday morning.

 

The classy quiche recipe comes from a lovely little book called "Holiday Eggs" by Georgeanne Brennan (Chronicle, $14.95). The combination of shrimp, crab meat and saffron is just right. You can make the quiche a day ahead, let it cool completely on a rack and refrigerate it, covered, overnight.

 

Let it come to room temperature before serving.

 

Sour-cream hollandaise, with its lemony edge and luxurious texture, is the perfect accompaniment for spring asparagus. Prep the stalks and set out your steaming gear ahead of time and you'll need only minutes to cook them.

 

Slice red-ripe tomatoes at the last minute to serve on the side, along with your favorite rolls.

 

The meringue nests for dessert can be made several days ahead. (Don't take them out of the oven early or they'll get sticky.) The strawberries will hold well for a few hours, so save the slicing for Sunday morning.

DRIED FIGS IN RED WINE

Serves 4

 

2 cups dry red wine

1 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

2 whole cloves

2 whole allspice

1 cardamom pod

1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)

1 bay leaf

1 package (10-12 ounces) dried Calimyrna figs

Sour cream, crème fraiche or whole milk yogurt for topping

 

In a medium saucepan, combine wine, water, sugar, cloves, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. Heat to boiling, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add figs.

 

Cover and cook over very low heat, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering a little longer if needed, until syrup is slightly thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

 

Serve topped with spoonful of sour cream or yogurt.

FAUX LAPIN A LA MOUTARDE

4 to 6 servings

 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced

6 to 8 chicken thighs, skin removed (fake rabbit) - or use the real thing!

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine

2 to 3 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup heavy cream

 

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 to 10 minutes.

 

Smear chicken pieces on all sides with mustard. Season generously with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high and add thighs to skillet, working in batches so you don't overcrowd them. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned. Remove to a plate and keep warm while you cook the remaining thighs.

 

Return all the chicken to the skillet. Add 1/2 cup wine. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a square of cheesecloth and add to the skillet. Cover, reduce heat to a steady simmer, and cook about 15 minutes. Uncover, turn chicken and add more wine if necessary. Cover and continue cooking 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

 

Remove skillet from heat and use tongs to move chicken pieces to a serving platter. Remove the herb bundle and use tongs to squeeze juices back into the skillet before discarding. Add cream to the skillet and stir with a wooden spoon to mix with the cooking juices.

 

Pour over the chicken on the platter and serve.

 

 

 

 

FETA CHEESE AND FRESH HERB ROLL

Serves 8

 

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

8 ounces whipped cream cheese

1 bunch EACH fresh Persian leeks and Persian basil (see Note)

1 small bunch EACH fresh mint, tarragon and cilantro

1 lavash made for Aram sandwiches (Hye Roller brand preferred)

8 ounces Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled

 

Combine walnuts and cream cheese in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

 

Clean fresh herbs in cold water, rinsing well to remove any dirt and grit. Remove stems and discard. Dry leaves thoroughly, wrap in damp paper towels and refrigerate in plastic bags until needed.

 

When ready to assemble, chop herbs. Lay lavash on top of a large piece of aluminum foil. Spread walnut and cream cheese mixture evenly on lavash and sprinkle uniformly with feta cheese and chopped herbs. Roll lavash tightly, being careful not to break the bread. Wrap snugly in aluminum foil, twisting firmly at both ends, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

 

Unwrap foil and carefully slice sandwich into 1-inch rounds, using a sharp knife. Arrange on a platter and serve.

 

Note: Persian leeks resemble flat chives and taste like green onions. Trim their tops and bottoms, and wash well before using. Persian basil is smaller than the usual variety sold in grocery stores. Look for both Persian leeks and Persian basil in stores that sell Persian food products.

FISH WITH RED PEPPER SAUCE

Serves 6

 

2 pounds firm white fish fillets such as cod, flounder, snapper or halibut

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red pepper sauce:

3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped WEAR GLOVES

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 to 3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander

Juice of a lemon (optional)

Pinch of sugar (optional)

Olive oil

 

Place fillets on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

 

In a food processor or with a mortar, combine peppers, garlic and 1/2 cup water; process or mash to a spoonable sauce, adding water as needed. You should have about 1 1/2 cups pepper puree. Season with salt, pepper, paprika (and cumin, if using). Stir in coriander. Taste, add lemon juice and sugar if desired.

 

Place fillets in single layer in large sauté pan and pour pepper sauce over fish. Drizzle with olive oil. Place pan over low heat, cover and cook gently until fillets test done with point of a knife inserted into thickest part, 10-15 minutes.

 

Transfer fillets and sauce to platter and serve immediately.

 

Note: To roast, place peppers on a cookie sheet under the broiler until the skins char, turning every few minutes as needed. Or use a fork or tongs to toast over gas flame on range. Place in plastic bag to steam when done, then skin and seed. Or substitute 4 jarred peppers.

FIVE SPICE STIR FRIED PORK

Serves 2

 

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (see Note)

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Mix vinegar, five-spice powder, garlic, soy sauce, water and cornstarch.

 

Heat oil in a wok or skillet until smoking. Add pork and let sit in the heat 1 minute. Toss to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add sauce and stir-fry 2 minutes to thicken.

 

Remove to a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over crispy Chinese noodles and greens.

 

Note: Chinese five-spice powder can be found in the spice or Asian food section of most supermarkets.

 

 

FOOD FROM BIBLICAL TIMES

A testament to taste

STAPLES WERE NATURAL WHEN FOOD WAS SEEN AS GIFT FROM GOD

By Elizabeth Softky, Special to the Mercury News

 

For the Lord, your God is bringing you into a good land . . . a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.

 

-- Deuteronomy 8: 7-8

 

Forget the mint jelly for your leg of lamb. This year, why not bring the refreshing flavors of the eastern Mediterranean to your Easter table and let the foods of the Bible inspire your feast?

 

It's a way to symbolically join hands with spiritual ancestors -- shepherds and prophets, farmers and weavers -- to celebrate enduring religious and culinary traditions.

 

After the Sept. 11 attacks, there was an increase in Bible sales from people seeking words of comfort. But even before the attacks, cultural observers such as Christopher deHamel noticed a renewed interest in the Bible and in the religions that claim it as a sacred text. Because of technological advances, there is also more information today about plants and crops of the biblical era, which has sparked a new realm of study known as biblical botany. And, with the popularity of Mediterranean cuisine -- particularly recent books on Sephardic cuisine -- cooks and authors are exploring biblical food. There is even a biblically based diet, detailed in a recently released book titled ``What Would Jesus Eat?'' (see story below).

 

Cookbook author Kitty Morse, who has written about Sephardic, Moroccan and vegetarian cuisine, became curious about food in the Bible after realizing that Jesus and his friends were reclining while eating the Passover meal -- which was exactly the way people in Morse's native Morocco dined at every meal.

 

``But what was the dish they shared on that Passover evening?'' she asked herself. ``More fundamentally, what constituted the diet of the ancient peoples of Scripture?''

 

We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt . . . the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic . . -- Numbers 11:5

 

What Morse learned was that people in the Middle East during biblical times ate a largely vegetarian diet of fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts that grew well in the hot, dry summers and damp, cold winters of the region, along with dairy products, fish and -- on special occasions -- meat or poultry.

 

For the Hebrew people and early Christians, food was regarded as a gift from God, to be treated with respect. As such, it could convey ideas about spiritual life and what it meant to belong to a religious community. Prime examples are the Passover Seder and the Christian Eucharist.

 

Despite the role of food, the Bible contains no real recipes, though it comes close in this list of ingredients for bread from Ezekiel 4:9: ``. . . take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; and put them into one vessel . . .''

 

In her book ``A Biblical Feast, Foods from the Holy Land'' (Ten Speed Press), Morse details the food and preparation methods of the time, but her recipes are extrapolations from the Old and New Testaments that use current customs.

 

Throughout the Holy Land, grapes grew in abundance. Melons, cucumbers and fava beans flourished in irrigated gardens. Date palms thrived in desert ``wadis,'' oases. And people craved members of the allium family -- onions, garlic and leeks.

 

The olive tree, long-lived and evergreen, was a symbol of fertility, peace and divine blessing to both Jews and Christians. Its fruit, or the oil pressed from it, was found at every meal. The cuisine of North Africa and the Middle East still relies heavily on these foods.

 

The basic source of protein was milk, mostly from goats, though sheep's milk was considered the tastiest. Since there was no refrigeration, fresh milk often was mixed with mint to keep it from spoiling. Or it was fermented and turned into yogurt or a soft cheese that was salted and mixed with garlic, oil, vinegar and herbs.

 

The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. -- Joel 2:24

 

For the people of the ancient Middle East, grains were the essential food. Wheat and its primitive cousins, emmer, spelt, einkorn, as well as barley, grew well in the region. Most often, those grains were used for bread, which was baked on flat, heated stones or in simple clay ovens, similar to methods used today to make Indian naan.

 

In poor families, the evening meal was the only one of the day. They ate simple dishes such as potages (thick soups), or stews of vegetables, barley and beans, seasoned with salt and herbs. People also enjoyed salads, the lettuce for which was gathered from tall, stalky plants.

 

The wealthy, with their abundance of servants, started off with a light breakfast of bread, milk and maybe a little butter. Their food was seasoned with luxury imports such as black pepper and cassia cinnamon, and they substituted more expensive east African rice for everyday barley.

 

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. -- Psalm 104:14-15

 

The rich drank wine with their evening meals. It was usually pressed from grapes, in shallow depressions carved in rock, though wine also was made from rimmon (pomegranates), dried figs and dates. Noah is credited in the Bible with planting the first vineyards and perhaps in this way fulfilling his father's hope that he would ``bring us relief from our work and the toil of our hands.''

 

Beer was the drink of the poor. Some scholars argue that Jesus turned water into beer, not wine. Beer, made locally or imported from Egypt, would have been brewed by women since bread baking and beer brewing were complementary activities.

 

With the recipes on this page as a starting point, you can explore the Bible's culinary heritage. Maybe you'll even get carried away and invite guests and family members to dine Bible-style: sitting or reclining on the floor, eating from a communal dish with the fingers, leaning against one another, shoulder-to-shoulder, in reflection and celebration.

GIANNINI CHILI

Serves 10

 

1/2 pound pinto beans

5 cups canned tomatoes

1 pound green bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 pounds onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 1/2 pounds beef chuck, ground

1 pound lean pork, ground, or mild Italian sausage (about three sausages)

1/3 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed

 

Wash beans and soak overnight in water 2 inches above beans. Simmer, covered, in same water until tender.

 

Add tomatoes and simmer while you do the following: sauté green pepper in oil. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently. Add garlic and parsley. Add all to tomato mixture.

 

Using same skillet, brown ground meat about 15 minutes. Drain fat. Add meat to tomato mixture, plus chili powder and other seasonings. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours, then uncovered for at least 30 minutes. Skim fat. Freezes well.

GLAZED RADISHES

AND RED BLISS POTATOES

Serves 4

 

1 1/2 pounds Red Bliss potatoes, scrubbed (see Note)

2 dozen small radishes, trimmed (or use fewer larger ones, cut in half)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup chicken stock

Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper

5-7 chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

 

Using a 1-inch melon baller, scoop pieces from the potatoes and drop into a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. Don't worry about making them perfectly round, but try to leave a bit of red peel on one side to add to the color of the dish. Discard potato trimmings. If radishes are a lot bigger than potato balls, cut radishes in half.

 

Drain potatoes and combine with radishes in a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and stock; season with salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir to distribute butter, and cover tightly. Simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes.

 

Remove cover, increase heat to high and continue to cook, shaking pan to prevent sticking, until liquid has reduced to a glaze, 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with chives.

 

Note: If you can find fresh-dug potatoes the size of the radishes, use them and skip the shaping. You need 1 pound.

 

HELP FOR DIETERS

1) Make "rich" cream soups by using powdered milk mixed double strength.

Potato soup, cream of mushroom soup, etc., will taste just as good, but have

practically zero fat.

2) Turkey bacon and turkey ham taste pretty darned close to the real thing

with FAR less fat. I'm not as crazy about them plain, but they flavor

recipes very well. Crumble turkey bacon or chop turkey ham and put into the

potato soup from above. Add them to your favorite casserole recipe. Or

even add them to a pot of beans. Your husband will at least get the flavors

he craves.

3) Sometimes low-fat or fat-free sour cream can help ease the craving for

cheese. (I don't like the fat-free cheeses very much.) The sour creams on

the market today taste very close to the full-fat versions, and can be made

into the same dips, etc. Stir in some ranch dressing mix or onion soup mix

& let him dip baked potato chips or cut veggies. It isn't the same as a

drippy cheeseburger, but at least it feels a little rich!

4) Use more seasonings/flavorings. It'll be harder to miss the cheese in

fajitas if you use a little more seasoning and an extra dollop of grilled

onions/bell peppers. Add a little extra garlic to lean beef stew and it'll

seem richer. And use low-salt chicken or beef broth (normally fat-free

anyway) in dishes you usually make with water. Sometimes even a little

extra salt helps when you've cut the amount of butter in a dish (i.e. mashed

potatoes). Anytime you cook, just remember that an increase in flavor helps

mask a decrease in fat.

Having said that, here are a few of my favorite deceptively low-fat recipes:

Summer Queso

2 (8-oz.) pkg. low-fat or fat-free cream cheese, softened

1 can diced tomatoes & green chiles (Ro-Tel)

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese with half of tomatoes until well

blended; stir in remaining tomatoes. Chill and serve with baked tortilla

chips or vegetable dippers. Also makes a great baked potato topper instead

of cheese and sour cream.

Santa Fe Crockpot Chicken

(adapted from SouthernCooking.Com)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 4 lean, trimmed 1-inch pork chops

1 can black beans, drained

2 cans whole kernel corn, drained

2 c. chunky salsa (we like "Hot")

Spread about 1/2 c. salsa in bottom of crockpot. Arrange chicken in single

layer over salsa, sprinkling generously with salt and pepper. Add beans and

corn; top with remaining salsa and cook on Low for 6-8 hrs. Serve with rice

or baked tortilla chips if desired. We like to let it go the full 8 hrs.,

when the chicken falls apart. At that point, we serve it like chili.

At my house, we usually call this one "3-B Dinner". If you use really lean

meat, it makes a very hearty guilt-free "comfort" food.

Flemish Carbonades

(adapted from Mabel Hoffman's "Crockery Cookery")

2 to 3 lbs. very lean boneless beef, cut into 1-inch cubes (can use LEAN

pork loin)

1 lge. onion, thinly sliced

1 to 2 carrots, sliced (opt.)

1 tsp. salt

Dash of pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

2 to 3 slices turkey bacon, cooked & crumbled

1 (12-oz.) can beer (non-alcoholic is fine)

4 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup water

In crock pot, layer meat, onions, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt, pepper,

garlic, and turkey bacon. Pour beer over all. Cover and cook on Low for

5-7 hrs. or until beef is tender. Increase heat to High. Dissolve

cornstarch in water and stir into crock pot mixture. Continue cooking on

High 20-30 min. or until slightly thickened. Serve over rice or noodles.

Reheats well.

HIGH QUALITY VANILLA INFORMATION

High quality vanilla can take a great recipe to next level

By Jennifer Viegas, Special to the Mercury News

 

If vanilla beans are in your pantry, you possess one of the most exotic, prized and labor-intensive ingredients in the world. It takes at least four years after planting to produce the beans, which are the only edible fruit found in the orchid family. Given that connection, it's no wonder vanilla has such an intoxicating flavor and aroma.

 

Native to the Americas, vanilla was first grown by the Totonaca tribe along Mexico's gulf coast. From there it spread to Colima, Ecuador, other parts of Central and South America, and other countries with climates suitable for growing vanilla, such as Tahiti.

 

Bourbon vanilla, also called Madagascar vanilla, is the most commonly used in extracts. But while Bourbon vanilla is now grown on the islands of Reunion and Comoros near Africa, it originated from Mexican vanilla plant stock.

 

Mexico no longer dominates the world supply of vanilla beans, but some smooth, richly flavored beans still come from the areas in and around Veracruz.

 

Be sure to avoid any products from Mexico that contain an artificial vanilla flavoring called coumarin. This substance, a natural extract from the tonka bean, has been banned in the United States and can cause liver problems, according to some studies. A number of extract suppliers that import from Mexico note on their labels that their product is ``FDA Approved'' or ``coumarin-free.''

 

Mexican vanilla has an almost cult-like following among many professional chefs. You can get away with average-quality vanilla in dishes, but add pure, strong Mexican vanilla and you've kicked the taste up a big notch.

 

One of the first uses for vanilla in Mexican cooking was in the hot chocolate drinks of the Aztecs. Roasted cocoa beans and corn were pulverized with a mano y metate or big stones. One or more vanilla beans were added, along with water and honey. Hot chilies might have been included, too, although they have been replaced today by cinnamon and other sweet spices.

 

Vanilla is often used in Latin main courses. One of my favorites is a white wine sauce for lobster that includes garlic and vanilla. The unexpected flavor of vanilla brings out the sweetness of shellfish and many other seafood dishes. Or try this pork dish with vanilla and Chilean cherry sauce.

 

HOLIDAY MEATBALLS

Makes 60 appetizers

1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef

2/3 cup dry bread crumbs

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup HEINZ Chili Sauce

1 cup grape jelly

Combine first 8 ingredients. Form into 60 bite-sized meatballs using rounded

teaspoon for each. Place in shallow baking pan or jelly roll pan brushed

with oil. Bake in 450'F oven 15 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile,

in small saucepan, combine chili sauce and grape jelly. Heat until jelly is

melted. Place well-drained meatballs in serving dish. Pour chili sauce

mixture over; stir gently to coat. Serve warm. Tip: For a zestier sauce,

substitute hot jalapeno jelly for grape jelly."

 

HONEY MUSTARD SALMON

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 pieces salmon fillet with skin on (about 6 ounces each)

Baby Lettuce Salad:

1 Gala or Red Delicious apple

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 5-ounce bag baby lettuce

Lemon slices and parsley sprigs for garnish (optional)

 

Preheat broiler.

 

In a small bowl, with fork, mix mustard, honey, salt and pepper.

 

Place salmon, skin side down, on rack in broiling pan. Spoon the mustard glaze over the fillets. Place pan in broiler 5 to 7 inches from source of heat and broil 8 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork (do not turn the salmon over).

 

To make the salad: Meanwhile, core and cut apple into thin wedges. In large bowl, mix vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Add baby lettuce and apple wedges, and toss to coat.

 

Arrange salmon and salad on 4 dinner plates. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley, if desired.

INDIVIDUAL ORANGE SOUFFLÉS

BAKED IN ORANGES

Serves 6

 

6 navel oranges

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, separated

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut off top third of each orange; reserve tops. Using a large metal spoon, scoop out oranges, putting pulp of 4 oranges into a bowl and saving the rest. In a blender, process pulp until just pureed, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Pour pulp through a sieve into a medium bowl, pressing gently with back of a wooden spoon to release juice. Using a zester or peeler, remove zest from reserved orange tops. Mince zest and reserve 1 tablespoon.

 

In a large saucepan, combine juice and butter. Bring to a boil and continue to boil 3-4 minutes, until reduced by 1/4. Stir in minced zest. Reduce heat to low and whisk in flour to make a smooth paste. Whisk in sugar and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, until mixture thickens and becomes gelatinous.

 

Remove from heat and gradually whisk in egg yolks until a creamy mixture forms and color lightens, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, glossy peaks form. Fold egg whites into juice mixture. Fill 6 orange shells equally with mixture. Place shells on baking sheet and bake 15- 18 minutes, or until soufflés are puffed and lightly golden. Serve immediately.

KRAUT AND RIB SOUP

6 servings

 

3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork ribs

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon caraway seed

2 whole bay leaves

1 can (27-ounce) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained

1/2 pound cabbage, cut in fine shreds

1 can (16-ounce) tomatoes

1/2 cup pearl barley

2 quarts regular-strength beef broth

 

In a 6- to 8-quart kettle, cook ribs over medium-high heat until browned on all sides, about 25 minutes. Set ribs aside.

 

Add vinegar to pan, scrape to loosen browned bits. Add oil, onion, caraway and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about five minutes.

 

Stir in sauerkraut, cabbage, tomatoes and barley; break up tomatoes with spoon. Return ribs and accumulated juices to pan and pour in broth. Bring to a boil on high heat, cover, reduce heat and simmer until meat pulls easily from bones, 21/2 to three hours.

 

Skim excess fat. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot, or cool, cover and refrigerate up to three days, then reheat.

LAVASH CRACKERS

Makes 1 sheet pan of crackers

 

1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) unbleached bread flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup water, at room temperature

Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds or kosher salt for topping

 

In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, yeast, honey, oil and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup water.

 

Sprinkle some flour on counter and transfer dough to counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (meaning a small piece of dough can be stretched into a paper-thin, translucent membrane) and register 77-81 degrees. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough, satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer dough to bowl, rolling it around to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

 

Ferment dough at room temperature 90 minutes, or until dough doubles in size. (You can also instead retard dough overnight in refrigerator immediately after kneading.)

 

Mist counter lightly with oil spray and transfer dough to counter. Press dough into a square with your hand and dust dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper-thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift dough from the counter and wave it a little, then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift dough and lay it on parchment. If it overlaps edge of pan, snip off excess with scissors.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with oven rack on middle shelf. Mist top of dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds and spices on dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt). Be careful with spices; a little goes a long way. If you want precut crackers, use a pizza cutter and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

 

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until crackers begin to brown evenly across top. When the crackers are baked, remove pan from the oven and let cool in pan about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

LEEKS WITH GINGER AND SHRIMP

Serves 4

LEEKS HIGHLIGHT SHRIMP AND GINGER

DISH STARTS AS TRADITIONAL STIR-FRY

By Mark Bittman, New York Times

 

You might call this combination of leeks, ginger and shrimp a stir-fry because the technique is similar to that used in making many Chinese classics.

 

But the proportions are unusual; there is almost none of the traditional sauce; and it is actually better served with bread than with rice.

 

This is a less-is-more dish, with little guile.

 

It began as a traditional stir-fry, but when I recognized that the softened leeks were the highlight, I adjusted the proportions so the leeks dominated. You take two bites of leeks for every shrimp.

 

I also boosted the amount of ginger and, by undercooking it, left it slightly crunchy, so that its presence is forceful. The result is a flavorful medium for the shrimp (you could use scallops, tofu, chunks of chicken or pork, or slices of beef) that emphasizes one of the first vegetables to be harvested each spring.

 

For a touch more juice and another flavor element, you might add a bit of stock, sherry or soy sauce to the pan. Lime juice or sesame oil works, too.

 

If you want to make the dish more traditional and a bit more complicated, you could substitute minced garlic for half the ginger and finish it with the stock, sherry, soy sauce or sesame oil, alone or in combination. Or just use a few tablespoons of hoisin sauce. I liked these variations, but as I tinkered with the dish, I realized that I preferred the original.

here we go:

 

1/4 cup peanut or olive oil

4 large leeks, about 3 pounds, chopped

1 1/2 to 2 pounds peeled medium shrimp (about 20-24 to the pound)

1/4 cup minced ginger

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon good stock, dry sherry or soy sauce (optional)

 

Put half the oil in a large skillet, preferably non-stick, and turn heat to high. When a bit of smoke appears, add leeks, all at once. Let sit for a couple minutes, then cook, stirring only occasionally, for about 10 minutes. When leeks dry out and begin to brown, remove from pan and set aside.

 

With heat still on high, add remaining oil to pan, immediately followed by shrimp. Sprinkle with ginger. Cook for about a minute, then stir. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until shrimp are almost all pink, about 5 minutes. Return leeks to pan, along with salt and pepper. When shrimp are done, stir in liquid if desired, taste and adjust seasoning, and serve.

LEMON BUTTER EASTER EGG COOKIES

With Royal Icing

Makes about 36 cookies

 

Cookies:

 

13/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (see note)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons grated lemon zest

Royal Icing:

2 egg whites (see note)

1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups), plus more as needed

1 teaspoon water (optional)

Food coloring, as desired

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

To make cookies: Sift together flour, baking powder and salt onto piece of wax paper.

 

In medium bowl, using electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, lemon juice and zest. Add flour mixture in thirds, stirring after each addition, until dough is smooth.

 

Transfer dough to lightly floured board and roll to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired cookie shapes (egg shapes are nice for Easter). Place cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Gather up scraps of dough and roll out and cut with cookie cutter.

 

To hang cookies on cookie tree later, make a 1/4-inch-diameter hole in each cookie using an ice pick.

 

Bake until just lightly browned on bottom and pale golden on top, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool on pans 5 minutes. Then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

 

To make icing: In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat egg whites and sugar about 10 minutes or until stiff enough to spread. If icing is too stiff, beat in 1 teaspoon water. If too thin, continue beating another 2 to 3 minutes or beat in another 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

 

To color icings, divide icing among several bowls and add food coloring as desired. Using knife or spatula, spread icing on cookies.

 

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

 

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

-- Adapted from "Holiday Eggs" by Georgeanne Brennan

 

LEMON BUTTER EASTER EGG COOKIE TREE

 

A cookie tree made with flowering spring branches is a lovely decoration for the home at Easter. At any holiday gathering that includes children, it will surely be the center of attention.

 

You will need:

 

Floral foam blocks

Sharp knife

Watering can

Heavy-stemmed flowering tree branches, such as dogwood, cherry, plum, quince

or almond

Lemon-Butter Easter Cookies (see accompanying recipe)

or any other pretty cookies, into which you poke a hole for hanging

Narrow ribbon, cut into pieces

Scissors

 

Soak floral foam in water until it is full. With the knife, trim it to fit the watering can. Then place it inside the watering can and partially fill with water. Poke lower end of the branches into the floral foam. String the cookies with pieces of ribbon cut to size and tie them to the branches.

-- Adapted from "Holiday Eggs" by Georgeanne Brennan

MAPLE GLAZED CARROTS

4 servings

 

1 tablespoon butter

2 medium shallots, minced

6 medium carrots (about 1 pound), peeled and cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-

thick ovals

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (optional)

 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until golden but not burned, about four minutes. Add the carrots, 1/2 cup water, maple syrup, nutmeg and salt to taste. Cover and cook 10 minutes.

 

Remove cover and simmer briskly three to four minutes, until carrots are tender but not mushy and liquid has reduced and thickened. Stir to coat carrots with glaze. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and serve.

MARINATED MUSHROOMS

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Basil Leaves

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Marjoram Leaves

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Mustard Seed

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Onion Salt

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms -- sliced

Place all ingredients except mushrooms in large bowl and stir to combine.

Add mushrooms, mix well, and cover. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before

serving. This recipe yields 1 cup.

MERINGUE NESTS WITH STRAWBERRIES

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings

 

6 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar plus more for berries

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries (2 pints)

 

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

 

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla. Gradually add the 11/2 cups sugar a few tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until stiff, glossy peaks form.

 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a piece of ungreased brown paper, such as a piece cut from a paper grocery bag. Scoop up about Three-quarters cup of the mixture and drop it onto the paper into a mound about 3 inches in diameter. With the back of a spoon, shape a shallow well in the center. Repeat to use the remaining meringue.

 

Bake the meringues for an hour. Turn off the heat and let them cool in the oven at least two hours -- overnight if possible. Slip the meringues into a paper bag in a single layer, fold the top over, and store them in a dry place until ready to use, up to three or four days.

 

In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar. With the back of a spoon, mash some of the strawberries; taste and add more sugar if desired.

 

To serve: Place the meringues on individual dessert plates and spoon some of the strawberries and their juice over each.

MOCK PATE

1 package Philadelphia Cream Cheese (8-oz.)

1 package liver sausage

1 tablespoon onion -- chopped

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

dash salt and pepper

Combine softened cream cheese and liver sausage, mixing until well blended.

Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Chill. Serve with party rye or

pumpernickel bread or assorted crackers.

MORE HAM GLAZE RECIPES

 

Hams are frequently served with a sweet glaze or sauce to complement their salty flavor:

 

CIDER AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZE

About 1 1/3 cups

 

1 cup apple cider

2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar

5 whole cloves

Bring cider, brown sugar and cloves to boil in small nonreactive saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 11/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

 

Glaze will thicken as it cools between bastings. Cook over medium heat about 1 minute, stirring one or twice, before using.

 

CHERRY SAUCE

 

1 can cherry pie filling

1 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

 

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until warmed through.

Serve over baked ham.

 

FRUIT GLAZE

 

1 cup apricots

2 cups apple cider

1 cup apples, diced

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

 

Soak apricots in cider for 1 hour.

 

Blend in remaining ingredients. After ham has cooked 1 to 11/2 hours, add fruit mixture to pan. Baste ham with juices during remaining cooking time.

 

HOLIDAY GLAZE

 

1 cup light or dark corn syrup

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons prepared mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Dash ground cloves

 

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Over medium heat, bring mixture to boiling. Stirring constantly, let boil 5 minutes.

 

Brush mixture on ham every 6 to 8 minutes during the last 30 minutes of baking.

 

'SECRET GLAZE'

 

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (6 pound) bone-in smoked precooked ham

 

In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, honey, red wine, pineapple juice and garlic.

 

Place ham in marinade, turn to coat it, and let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate overnight. Turn the ham in the marinade as many times as you can remember.

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham on a rack in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan, reserving the marinade.

 

Bake ham, basting often with the reserved marinade, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the ham (not touching the bone) reads 120 degrees, about 1 hour.

 

Note: For larger hams, allow 10 minutes per pound to heat meat through, but baste only during the last hour of cooking or the glaze may scorch.

 

NEW YORK STEAKS WITH STIR-FRIED

VEGETABLES AND WASABI SAUCE

Makes 6 servings

 

Steaks:

 

1/2 cup mixed black, green and pink peppercorns (divided)

About 1/4 cup port wine

6 5-ounce New York steaks

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons mild-flavored oil, such as almond or safflower

1 cup red wine

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup beef broth or stock

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon wasabi paste

Sprig of fresh cilantro or mint for garnish

Stir-Fried Vegetables:

 

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1/4 pound Chinese snow peas, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 cup oyster mushrooms, whole or cut in half, depending upon size

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, whole or cut in half, stems removed

1 cup each red and yellow bell pepper strips, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 large Japanese eggplant, cut into 6 or 7 slices

1/4 medium bok choy, cut into 1-inch chunks

5 broccoli florets

5 young asparagus spears, cut into 11/2- to 2-inch lengths

1/3 cup chicken broth or stock, heated

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

To make steaks: Place 1/4 cup of the peppercorns in a small bowl and add enough port wine to cover; soak overnight.

 

The next day, use a rolling pin to crush the remaining 1/4 cup peppercorns between folded napkins.

 

Remove excess fat from the steaks. Season with salt and the crushed peppercorns. Heat a large, heavy skillet. Pour in oil and, over high heat, cook the steaks, about 4 minutes each side for medium-rare. Remove steaks and keep warm. Pour out fat from pan; deglaze pan with red wine and balsamic vinegar, and reduce by about half. Add cream and beef stock, and continue to reduce until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in butter, 1 small piece at a time. Add wasabi and drained peppercorns and season to taste with salt.

 

To make vegetables: In a wok or large skillet over high heat, heat the oil. Add the snow peas, mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, bok choy, broccoli and asparagus and stir-fry just unil coated with the oil. Pour in broth and soy sauce and stir until al dente, about 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the soy sauce is salty. Serve immediately.

 

To serve, divide stir-fried vegetables among 6 plates. Slice steaks thinly across the grain and place on top of the vegetables. Sauce the steak lightly with the peppercorn and wasabi sauce; pour the rest around the vegetables. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro or mint. - Courtesy Wolfgang Puck

 

PEPPERMINT CHIFFON PIE

8 servings

 

2 cups crushed chocolate wafer cookies (30 to 36 cookies)

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 (3.4-ounce) package white chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix

1 1/2 cups milk

3 drops red food coloring

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 1/2 cups frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed

6 red and white mint candies

 

Measure 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs into medium-size bowl. Stir in butter till well-blended. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie plate.

 

Place pudding mix in a large bowl. Whisk in milk, food coloring and peppermint extract. Fold in whipped topping. Pour 1/3 of mixture into pie shell. Layer with remaining cookie crumbs. Top with remaining filling.

 

Refrigerate at least an hour or till set. Unwrap and crush mint candies. Sprinkle around edge of pie. Serve chilled.

POTATO PEEL BROTH

(or garbage soup)

 

1 large onion

2 carrots

1 small stalk celery

6 cups peels from 6 or 7 large, healthy potatoes, cut about 1/4-inch thick

1 1/2 quarts water

1 sprig of parsley

1 clove garlic

Salt and pepper

 

Peel and quarter onion; peel and wash carrots and celery and cut in large pieces. Put potato peels and all other vegetables into a large pot with water, parsley and garlic. Simmer on low for at least 1 1/2 hours, until all vegetables are soft. Add water as it evaporates, keeping everything covered. For a clear broth, simply drain off liquid and correct seasoning.

 

Variations on this broth may be made easily by adding other vegetables in small amounts, or by seasoning with herbs such as bay leaf or sweet basil. The basic broth should be fragrant, light brown in color and delicious to taste all by itself. But it can be used as a base for a number of soups.

 

By adding 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 bay leaf, about 16 garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon thyme and a pinch of sage, you can make garlic broth. Simmer slowly for 30-45 minutes, then discard garlic cloves and bay leaf. This again makes a base for other soups.

QUICK COQ AU VIN

6 servings

 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

Six (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 cups quartered cremini mushrooms

2 cups sliced (1/4-inch thick) carrots

1/3 cup sliced (1/4-inch thick) Canadian bacon

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

 

Combine flour, thyme and salt in a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.

 

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook eight minutes or until browned, turning frequently.

 

Remove chicken from pan.

 

Add mushrooms, carrots and bacon to pan. Saute 2 minutes. Stir in wine, broth and tomato paste. Cook nine minutes.

 

Return chicken to pan; cook eight minutes or until chicken is done.

REAL EASTER BUNNY

Will the real Easter Bunny please stand up?

March 27, 2002 Posted: 05:40:10 AM PST

By KATHLEEN PURVIS, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

 

Here it is Easter, and what could be better than a nice, succulent plate of ...

 

Oh, simmer down! Do you really think we'd risk overloading the phone system with thousands of irate calls by suggesting that you cook the Easter Bunny?

 

OK, the thought of running a story on classic dishes for rabbit has darted across our minds. Rabbit, after all, is a respected food in many cuisines. France and Germany are full of classic uses for rabbit, like "lapin a la moutarde" (rabbit with mustard sauce) and "hassenpfeffer" (peppered rabbit). America's own pioneers didn't wrinkle their noses at a little rabbit stew.

 

But while it's true that Easter and rabbit are often mentioned in the same sentence, we'd never suggest it as a menu item (at least, while the kids are in the room). On the other hand, it does seem like the perfect time to consider not cooking a rabbit. That's not as hare-brained as it sounds. Rabbit's white meat tastes so much like chicken that in France it is sold in poultry shops. Chicken makes a good substitute for rabbit in most recipes.

 

In fact, after making that lapin a la moutarde with both rabbit and skinless chicken thighs, we preferred the chicken version.

 

Rabbit is a firm meat that benefits from longer cooking, like stewing, while the dark chicken meat has plenty of flavor to stand up to the mustard cream sauce.

 

There are other rabbit-themed dishes, too. How about Welsh rabbit (or rarebit)? It's not rabbit at all, of course, but a simple cheese sauce over toast.

 

The name stems from an old joke about hunters coming back empty-handed.

 

And just to round things out, we added a recipe for maple glazed carrots. It seemed fitting.

 

So, give Peter, Bugs, Bambi's pal Thumper, the Playboy Bunny, the Energizer Bunny, the Easter Bunny and all the other rabbits the day off. Celebrate the rabbit in other ways.

RED SPANGLED SLAW

WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES

as seen on Good Morning America

9 c. thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1(c)1/2 lbs.) OR bagged slaw mix

3 c. thinly sliced red cabbage OR bagged slaw mix

1 c. dried cranberries

2 medium tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2" cubes

Dressing:

3/4 c. frozen margarita, mix, thawed

1/4 c. cider vinegar

1/4 c. vegetable oil

3/4 tsp. celery seed

3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

red cabbage leaves for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss together green and red cabbage, cranberries, and

apple.

** To make dressing: In a small bowl, stir together margarita mix, vinegar,

oil, celery seed, and salt. Pour over slaw and toss well. Cover and

refrigerate for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend. (Slaw may be

refrigerated overnight.)

** Before serving: Line a salad bowl with red cabbage leaves, if desired,

and fill with slaw. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

(Faster: Purchase presliced cabbage or coleslaw mix from the supermarket

produce section or refrigerator case. A 16-oz. package yields about 10 cups.)

ROAST FRESH HAM

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings

 

Put A Shine On Easter Ham

March 27, 2002 Posted: 05:40:10 AM PST, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Expert tasters have proclaimed this the best roast pork they ever tasted.

 

The mouthwatering masterpiece is documented in "The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook" (Boston Common Press, 2001, $29.95), compiled by the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine.

 

This is not what most of us understand the term "ham" to mean. It's not cured, salted, pressed, molded or smoked.

 

"In fact, the only reason this cut of pork is called a ham is because it comes from the pig's hind leg," the text says.

 

The testers decided that a full fresh ham, weighing about 20 pounds, was too much for most feasts. So they used one of the two cuts into which the leg is usually divided: the shank (the bottom of the leg). The other cut (the top end) is the sirloin or butt.

 

Testers summarized: "Use the shank end, brine the meat, rub it with herbs and garlic, then roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes before lowering the temperature and applying a sweet glaze."

 

If you don't have room to brine the ham in your refrigerator, use insulated cooler or a small plastic garbage can. Add five or six freezer packs to the brine to keep it well cooled.

here we go:

For the roast:

 

1 bone-in fresh half ham with skin, 6 to 8 pounds, preferably shank end, rinsed

 

For the brine:

 

4 cups kosher salt or 2 cups table salt

3 cups packed dark or light brown sugar

2 heads garlic, cloves separated, lightly crushed and peeled

10 bay leaves

1/2 cup black peppercorns, crushed

 

For garlic and herb rub:

 

1 cup lightly packed sage leaves from 1 large bunch

1/2 cup parsley leaves from 1 bunch

8 medium cloves garlic, peeled

1 tablespoon kosher salt or 11/2 teaspoons table salt

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Glaze (recipes follow)

 

For the roast: Carefully slice through skin and fat with serrated knife, making 1-inch diamond pattern. Be careful not to cut into meat.

 

For the brine: In large (about 16-quart) bucket or stockpot, dissolve salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon hot tap water. Add garlic, bay leaves, crushed pepper, and 1 gallon cold water.

 

Submerge ham in brine and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours.

 

Set large disposable roasting pan on baking sheet for extra support; place flat wire rack in roasting pan. Remove ham from brine; rinse under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

 

Place ham, wide cut-side down, on rack. (If using sirloin end, place ham skin-side up.) Let ham stand, uncovered, at room temperature 1 hour.

 

For the rub: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees. In work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process sage, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and oil until mixture forms smooth paste, about 30 seconds. Rub all sides of ham with paste.

 

Roast ham at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast, brushing ham with glaze every 45 minutes, until center of ham registers 145 degrees to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 21/2 hours longer. Tent ham loosely with foil and let stand until center of ham registers 155 degrees to 160 degrees on thermometer, 30 to 40 minutes. Carve and serve.

 

 

 

SEAFOOD and SAFFRON QUICHE

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

 

Dough for a single-crust pie

3 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

3 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup minced green onions, including some of the green

2 ounces shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped

6 ounces fresh lump crab meat, shredded

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 eggs

1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into 1/8-inch thick circle.

 

Drape the dough over the rolling pin and unfold it over a 10-inch round quiche or tart pan, pressing it gently into the pan. Trim off the excess dough level with the pan.

 

Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil. Add a layer of pastry weights or dried beans and bake for about eight minutes. Remove it from the oven and lift out the foil and weights. Prick the bottom with a fork and return the shell to the oven. Bake four to five minutes, until slightly firm and lightly colored. Set aside on a rack to cool.

 

In small saucepan, heat the wine and saffron until it boils. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 20 minutes.

 

In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the onions and saute them for one minute, just until limp. Add the seafood, salt and pepper, cook for one to two minutes, then add wine mixture. Remove from heat and let cool.

 

Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees.

 

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, cream, tomato paste and cayenne. Stir in the shellfish mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, dot with butter if desired and bake for 30 minutes, or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

SEARCH FOR BAKEWARE ORIGINS

LED BY CRACKED PAN

By Beth Hensperger, Special to the Mercury News

 

If you like to bake bread, you know all about the search for the perfect loaf pan.

 

Because all bread pans bake just a little bit differently, bakers tend to own at least two types: a metal loaf pan handed down in the family over the years and a Pyrex pan that allows you to see underneath to make sure the bottom crust is baking properly.

 

But my search ended when I got my first pair of terra-cotta clay pans more than 16 years ago from a friend, who was manager at Williams-Sonoma and set the last two pans aside as a surprise for me. Bread thrives in these heavy stoneware pans with their classic shape.

 

The first thing I noticed about them was the price: These handsome, red brick pans cost about $12 each. The second thing was their weight: about 2 1/2 pounds each. But the pans were shaped just like a classic Pyrex pan, which made me feel as if I was using something familiar. At home, I set aside the enclosed flier, which identified the pans as Alfred Bakeware, and got to work.

 

I brushed the pans with vegetable oil and placed them, empty, in a hot oven to season them as directed by the flier. When they were cool, I immediately made a batch of sunflower oatmeal bread that turned out to be my best ever. The bread was earthy, with an enviable, crunch-crisp crust, a higher dome and not a single burn spot.

 

The terra cotta baked more evenly than my other pans, producing the quality and texture of an artisan loaf made on the stone tiles used by dedicated bakers for their even heat distribution.

 

The clay pans quickly became my preferred pans until a few months ago, when I noticed a long fracture in one of them. It looked as though King Arthur Baker's Catalog carried them, but when I inquired, owner Brinna Sands said the catalog no longer offered them, despite their popularity. ``It is a small operation in upstate New York,'' she said, ``and their production level varies.''

 

Investigating further

 

Luckily, I still had the original flier, with its directions for seasoning the pan and the makers' name and location: Alfred Bakeware, Tufty Ceramics, Andover, N.Y. A telephone number was provided, and on the second ring Karen Tufty, the creator of the pans, answered. Not only was I able to replace the cracked pan, but I also learned how it was developed.

 

Alfred Bakeware has been in demand by gourmet bakers since its appearance in the mid-1970s. James Beard discovered the pans back when they were still made at their namesake Alfred University and marketed them under his name as Beard Glaser and Wolfe (BGW) at Bloomingdale's as The Brick Oven Bakeware. They were given even wider distribution in Canada and Australia as Country Clay Bakeware.

 

The pans are made from pure Alfred shale, a mined red clay native to upstate New York that has been used for ceramic roof tiles since the early 1800s because of its ability to withstand extremes in temperature.

 

The loaf pans were designed, patented and produced at Alfred University, one of the world's top ceramic colleges, by ceramic engineering students. Shapes are made by ram-pressing at 1,800 pounds per square inch, which creates a pan that is very durable for home baking. ``This is a clay that is incredibly moldable,'' said Tufty, who arrived at Alfred University in 1976. ``There's something wonderful about it, and I always seem to have my hands in it.''

 

Shape and sealing

 

The secret to making this pan so wonderful is not just its classic loaf pan shape but the coating sealing the entire pan, which gives it a delightful non-stick surface even though the coating is not a glaze. The terra sigillata coating, which translates as ``earth seal,'' simulates the process used by Native Americans, who burnished unfired pottery by rubbing it with a stone. To produce the coating, crushed Alfred pottery is placed in a water formula to dissolve the minute clay platelets. The substance is then sprayed back onto the pottery, filling the microscopic hills and valleys of the unfired clay. After firing, this creates the ultra-smooth, semiporous finish that is the key to the pans' even, non-stick baking.

 

When the university shifted its focus to a more educational setting, the bustling factory was closed. Tufty, who designed the shape of the pan and trained more than 500 students in the bakeware process, bought the patents and equipment from the university in 1985. The land that contained the shale pit was for sale and she, along with her blacksmith husband, settled on the Andover property and started producing the pans, with a partner, under the name Tufty-Swain. My original pans, stamped with TS5 on the bottom, were among the first produced.

 

Swain left the business in 1991, but Tufty has continued on her own, designing pizza pans, quiche pans, pie pans, a lasagne baker, large and mini bread pans, a 9-by-9-inch square pan, a souffle dish and various roasters. I ordered a 14-inch pizza pan and 10-inch pie pan -- and a new set of instructions that told me how to avoid having to search for replacements ever again.

 

The new flier warned me not to place a hot pan right out of the oven onto the metal element of my stove top, which quickly absorbs the heat in the pan. That difference in temperature had cracked my original pan. These pans need to cool on a wooden surface or folded towel. You can bet I'll be taking good care of these new pans.

 

The recipes that follow are perfect in my terra cotta pans, but you can make them in your favorite pan and they'll still taste great.

SLOW COOKED GINGER

and MOLASSES BEEF STEW

2 pounds beef stew meat -- cut into 1" cubes

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 cups carrots -- sliced

2 medium parsnips -- sliced

1 large onion -- sliced

1 stalk celery -- sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup tapioca -- (quick-cooking)

14-1/2 ounces diced tomatoes -- canned, undrained

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup raisins

In a large skillet brown meat, a third at a time, in hot oil. Drain off fat. In slow cooker, place carrots, parsnips, and celery. Sprinkle tapioca over vegetables. Add meat. Combine un-drained tomatoes, vinegar, molasses, salt, pepper, and ground ginger; pour over meat. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting 4 to 5 hours. Stir in raisins; cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Yield: 8 servings.

SMOKED SALMON

AND CELERY ROOT RÉMOULADE

Serves 4

 

Rémoulade dressing:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 or 2 teaspoons horseradish (optional)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Salad:

1 pound celeriac

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup red onion, finely minced

To serve:

12 ounces smoked salmon, sliced

Parsley, finely chopped

Lemon wedges

 

To make dressing: Combine mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and sugar. At the restaurant, we use a Dijon mustard that is more piquant than those typically found in supermarkets. The addition of prepared horseradish helps compensate for the timidity of American Dijon. The dressing should have a nice kick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

To make salad: Peel celeriac and place in acidulated water to keep it from discoloring. (The juice of 1 lemon in 1 quart of water is sufficient.) Cut celeriac first into thin slices, then into fine strips. Return cut strips to water. Drain celeriac well; dry on a kitchen towel.

 

Rinse minced red onion under cold water for a couple of minutes to remove some of the bitterness. Drain and dry well.

 

Combine about 1/2 cup dressing, onion and celeriac. Do not over dress the salad, which should be creamy like coleslaw, but not dripping with dressing. It can be eaten immediately, but will improve after 1 hour in the refrigerator.

 

Place thin slices of smoked salmon on a large plate. Place a pile of the celery root rémoulade in center of plate. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

SOUR CHERRY RICE

WITH MINIATURE TURKEY MEATBALLS

Serves 8

 

For sour cherry rice:

5 cups basmati rice (Pari brand preferred)

1/3 cup salt

1 (16-ounce) jar sour cherry jam (K. Klonis brand preferred)

1 lavash (Hye Roller brand preferred)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/8 teaspoon plus a couple of pinches of saffron powder, divided use

For turkey meatballs:

1 pound lean ground turkey

1/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 medium onion, quartered

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in slices

1 teaspoon liquid saffron (see Note)

To assemble:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup unsalted pistachio nuts, slivered

1 teaspoon liquid saffron

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and clarified

 

To make rice: Rinse rice several times in cold water until water runs clear. Place in bowl with enough water to cover. Add 1/3 cup salt and disperse through rice with hands. Soak at least overnight. Refrigerate if soaking longer.

 

Using a colander or sieve, drain cherries from jam syrup (save syrup for another use).

 

Fill a stockpot with 12 cups water and bring to a boil. Tilt bowl in which rice has been soaking and carefully pour off water. Do not re-rinse rice. Ease rice into boiling water and cook until al dente, 10-15 minutes after water returns to a boil. Pour rice into a colander and immediately rinse with a spray of cool running water to halt cooking. Tilt colander for about 10 minutes to drain well.

 

Using lid of a pot as a guide, cut lavash in a circle 1 inch wider than circumference of lid. Lightly pierce bread with a fork. Melt butter over medium heat in pot. Add vegetable oil and 1/8 teaspoon saffron powder. Position lavash in bottom of pot.

 

Layer rice and cherries in a pyramid atop lavash, starting with 1/4 of rice and 1/3 of cherries. Make sure cherries do not clump. Sprinkle them lightly with pinch of saffron powder before adding more rice. Continue layering, topping with rice and a final touch of saffron powder. Cover pot and place over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. Once condensation begins to form under lid, uncover pot and stretch 2 layers of paper towels across top, then recover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for an hour or until rice is cooked through.

 

For turkey meatballs: Season meat with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Place onion and 1 tablespoon water in a blender and thoroughly puree. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve over a small bowl, separating onion pulp from juice; set both aside. Add onion pulp to turkey in a mixing bowl and knead mixture until it becomes sticky. Using palms of your hands, roll meat into tiny meatballs about the size of a hazelnut. Dip your hands in cold water frequently to keep mixture from sticking.

 

Place meatballs in a frying pan in a spiral formation, starting from center of pan. Place over medium heat and sauté 3 minutes, then add reserved onion juice. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes, or until all liquid evaporates.

 

Uncover and add butter slices to meatballs. Immediately add liquid saffron, reduce heat to medium and sauté meatballs until golden orange, about 5 minutes.

 

To assemble: Melt butter in a small sauté pan over low heat. Add pistachios, sauté 2 minutes or just until nuts are warm and toasty; keep warm.

 

Use a kafgir, a large flat spoon with or without small holes, to transfer the very top layer of the rice pyramid to a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with liquid saffron while rice is hot; blend together and set aside.

 

Gently scoop out half of remaining cherry rice from pot, shaking it off the kafgir onto serving platter so that the grains fall separately and are not broken. Layer with 1/3 of meatballs. Add rest of rice and another 1/3 of meatballs. Top with saffron rice. Arrange remaining meatballs around edge of platter. Garnish with pistachios and pour clarified butter over entire dish.

 

Hold a round platter on top of rice cooking pot and flip both over to remove the tahdig, the crispy bottom-of-the-pot layer of rice. Cut tahdig into pie-shaped wedges for serving.

 

Note: To make liquid saffron, steep 1 teaspoon saffron powder in 1/2 cup hot water. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar until ready to use.

SOUR CREAM HOLLANDAISE

FOR STEAMED ASPARAGUS

YIELD: About 1 1/3 cups

 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 egg yolks

 

Melt butter or margarine in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. With a wire whisk, beat in sour cream and lemon juice. Beat in egg yolks.

 

Continue beating over medium-low heat five minutes or until slightly thickened. Use warm or refrigerate up to two weeks. Warm over low heat, stirring constantly.

 

 

 

SPRING ONION EGG SALAD

WITH EDIBLE BLOSSOMS

Makes 16 open-face tea sandwiches

 

1/3 cup homemade or purchased mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice

4 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons minced green onion

4 slices homemade-style white or wheat bread

4 to 6 butter lettuce leaves

1/2 cup onion, alfalfa or other sprouts

1/4 cup mixed edible flower petals

 

In a medium bowl, stir mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and pickle juice together, mixing well. Add chopped eggs and green onion, folding gently into mayonnaise mixture.

 

Spread each slice of bread on one side with thin layer of egg-mayonnaise mixture, then place a lettuce leaf on each to cover it fully, using bits of extra leaves if needed. Spread a thicker layer of egg-mayonnaise mixture across lettuce, dividing evenly among 4 slices. Using a sharp knife, cut each piece of bread twice on a diagonal to make 4 triangles. Sprinkle each with a few onion sprouts and flower petals.

SUNFLOWER OATMEAL BREAD

Makes 2 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaves

 

1 tablespoon active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons SAF instant yeast

Pinch of sugar

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

1 1/4 cups gently warmed buttermilk

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons molasses

1 large egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 tablespoon salt

About 4 1/2 cups bread flour

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

 

In work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, sprinkle yeast and sugar over warm water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

 

Add buttermilk, honey, molasses, egg, butter, whole-wheat flour, oats, salt and 1 cup of bread flour to yeast mixture. Beat on low 3 minutes. Add sunflower seeds and remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. Switch to dough hook and knead 5 minutes on medium speed, using a timer. Dough will retain a slightly sticky, nubby quality, yet should be very springy. Do not add too much flour.

 

Transfer dough into a greased, deep container or leave in mixing bowl. Turn dough once to grease top and to prevent a skin from forming. Loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

 

Grease two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans with non-stick vegetable cooking spray.

 

Turn dough out and divide into 2 equal portions. Pat each portion into a rough 8-by-12-inch rectangle and roll up from short edge to make a pan loaf. Place loaves, seam side down, in pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough is fully double in bulk and about 1 inch over rims of pans, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

 

Twenty minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees if you are using glass loaf pans or pans with a dark finish). Place pans on center rack of oven and bake 40-45 minutes, or until loaves are golden brown and sides slightly contract from pan and sound hollow when tapped with a finger. Remove loaves from pans immediately to a cooling rack. Loaves are best at room temperature, and slices make great toast.

UNLEAVENED GRIDDLE BREAD

Makes 8 six-inch breads

 

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups white bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon black cumin seeds

Olive oil for cooking

 

In a large bowl, combine flours. Add salt; blend. Make a well in center and gradually add water. Mix thoroughly until a loose dough forms. Transfer mixture to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until dough becomes soft and elastic, 10-12 minutes. Shape into a ball and let rest 15-30 minutes. Knead again, vigorously, 1 minute.

 

Preheat a cast-iron pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Separate dough into 8 equal balls. On a floured surface, roll out each ball to 6-inch diameter and 1/8-inch thickness. Sprinkle tops with cumin seeds. Using rolling pin, roll seeds into top of dough. Lightly coat pan or griddle with oil. Place bread rounds in pan or on griddle; cook until each round is dotted with dark brown spots and puffs slightly, 2-3 minutes per side. Stack on a plate and serve warm.

 

VEGETABLE CAKE

1 cup Potatoes -- shredded, un-peeled

1/2 cup Zucchini -- shredded

1/2 cup Carrots -- shredded

1/2 package Yellow Cake Mix -- any brand

1 Egg

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. This cake may be baked

a couple of different ways:

1- Using 'waterless cookware', bake in a medium sized saucepan on top of

your stove. Prepare pan with a thin coating of vegetable shortening, and

pour batter into pan. Preheat burner to medium heat, then turn burner to low

heat when placing pan on burner, and bake 10- 12 minutes, covered, or until

cake is completely done.

2- Using a 1-1/2 quart covered casserole dish, prepare dish with a thin

coating of vegetable shortening, and pour batter into dish & cover. Bake in

a 350 degree F oven 20 - 25 minutes or until batter is completely done.

You may need to run a butter knife between the cake and the side of the pan

when removing cake from pan/dish. Just place a dinner plate on top of the

pan/dish and invert until cake falls onto the plate. This is a very moist

cake and will not require frosting.

This is a great way to sneak vegetables into your family's diet! You will

never know there are vegetables in the cake- they just give the cake

moisture and a great amount of nutrition!

Variation: Pineapple Upside-down Cake. Before adding batter to pan or dish,

place 2 Tbsp. melted margarine & 1/3 cup brown sugar in bottom. Arrange

several slices of pineapple on top of the margarine/sugar mixture, then pour

batter on top of the pineapple. Bake the same as directed above. RF4RP

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELSH RABBIT

Sources disagree on the name. Some say it was a misinterpretation of "rare bit," while others say the joke about it being "rabbit" for luckless hunters came first. It was a fashionable Sunday night supper in the 1930s, when electric chafing dishes and toasters were the rage. There are many variations, including Pink Bunny with tomatoes and Rinktum Ditty (spelled many ways) with tomatoes and eggs.

4 servings

 

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream

1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Pinch of cayenne pepper

 

Toasted bread slices

 

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan or chafing dish over low heat. Stir in the flour and cook briefly for one or two minutes. Slowly add the half-and-half or cream, stirring constantly, and cook until it begins to thicken.

 

Add the cheese in batches, stirring until melted before adding more. Stir in the dry mustard, Worcestershire and cayenne.

 

Spoon over slices of toast and serve immediately.

WHOLE WHEAT SPICE BREAD MIX

Mix:

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 tablespoons Dry Milk

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

3/4 teaspoon Salt

1/2 cup Raisins

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Ginger

2 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast

To Make Bread:

1 1/4 cups Water -- very warm

2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla

Place cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into a small zip baggie and set aside. Do

the same with the yeast, or set aside a prepackaged envelope of yeast. Mix

and place remaining dry ingredients into a quart sized jar. Lay baggies of

spices and yeast on top of mix and apply lid. Label and store in a cool,

dry place for up to one year.

To make bread later, use the list of wet ingredients above. Place all

ingredients into bread pan, in the order recommended by manufacturer of your

bread maker. Insert the bread pan into the bread maker, and select "White",

desired crust color, rapid or normal baking cycle and loaf size (1 1/2

pounds). Select desired delay option, and press Start.

(C) 2000, Kaylin Cherry/Real Food for Real People All Rights Reserved.

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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