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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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




































































(That's Italian for "Jump Into the Mouth")

Abalone Saltimbocca is a bit involved because you'll probably have to prepare your own abalone "out there". They must be cleaned, sliced very thin, and pounded for quite a while or they won't be tender.

6 thin slices of ham

6 slices of swiss cheese

12 abalone steaks, pounded

1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup flour plus more for coating

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 eggs beaten with 2 tbsp milk

2 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp butter

1 can Cream of Chicken Soup

3/4 cup white wine

Make the ham & cheese slices about 1/4" smaller than the abalone. Make into sandwiches and secure with toothpicks. Mix Parmesan cheese, flour, sage, salt, and pepper. Dip the sandwiches in the plain flour, then in the egg mixture, then in the Parmesan mixture. Press the coating into the abalone to be sure it sticks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 300°. Heat the oil in a skillet and lightly brown the sandwiches on all sides. Transfer them to a shallow casserole dish in a single layer and pour on the sauce made by mixing the cream of chicken soup and wine. Heat in the oven for 15 minutes. (Note, you can use a crock pot, but it takes 2 hours.)


2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1/2 cup almonds, sliced or quartered

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh lemon or lime juice (optional

Steam beans for about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well.

Sauté almonds in butter until well coated and crisp. Pour over beans. Add vanilla, salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lime juice if desired.

Serves 6 www.chef2chef.com


1 (1 to 1 1/4 pound) loaf sourdough bread or black olive bread, crusts removed if


3 (6 1/2-ounce jars) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and 3 tablespoons of

marinade reserved

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or tarragon OR 1 teaspoon dried

3 plump garlic cloves, roasted in a dry skillet until soft, and smashed

3/4 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, crumbled

3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

8 large eggs

2 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil or butter a deep 9- to 10-inch baking dish. Slice bread into 1-inch cubes. Transfer bread to a baking sheet and toast about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and lightly crisp. Slice artichoke hearts about 1/3 inch thick. Mix with thyme and garlic in a small bowl. Arrange 2 or 3 equal, alternating layers of bread, cheeses and artichoke hearts in baking dish.

Whisk eggs with half-and-half, salt, pepper and reserved artichoke marinade. Pour over bread mixture. Drizzle olive oil over surface. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Remove strata from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake strata for 50-55 minutes, until puffed, golden brown and lightly set in center. Serve hot. 8-10 servings.


1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut 1/2 inch pieces

8 fresh medium sized mushrooms, sliced

1 large ripe avocado, peeled, cubed

1 medium zucchini, diced

1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

1 medium red onion, sliced

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive or canola oil

1 tbsp basalmic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Place asparagus and 2 tbsp water in microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 3 to 6 minutes, or until tender-crisp, stirring once;

drain and cool.

In large bowl, combine asparagus, mushroom, avocado, zucchini, tomato, and onion; toss gently. Combine remaining ingredients in jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to combine. Pour over salad. Toss lightly to coat. Cover, and refrigerate until serving. Serves 7.



4 beef tenderloin steaks

1/4 cup wine vinegar or dry white vermouth

1 tablespoon shallots or scallions, minced

1-tablespoon fresh tarragon minced or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/3 cup butter (6 tablespoons)

2 whole eggs

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or to taste

Salt and white pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, boil vinegar or vermouth with shallots, tarragon, salt and pepper. Reduce to two tablespoons. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

While butter is melting, beat eggs with vanilla, then add slowly to melted butter, beating with a whisk. Continue to beat until mixture is thick. Remove from heat immediately.

If mixture begins to separate or is too thick, add a few drops of hot water and beat well. www.chef2chef.net


Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) Mesquite Grilling Sauce

2 tablespoons bourbon

4 pounds pork spareribs

1. Mix grilling sauce and bourbon in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Grill ribs, rib side down, over indirect medium heat 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender and starts to pull away from the bones. During the last 20 minutes of grilling, brush both sides of ribs with grilling sauce mixture.


3 Egg Whites

1 dash Salt

3/4 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Chocolate Wafer Cookie Crumbs -- (about 13)

1/2 cup Walnuts -- (optional)

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 pint Cream -- sweetened & whipped

In a large, chilled bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in crumbs, nuts and vanilla. Pour into a 9 inch pie pan. Bake 35 minutes at 325 degrees F. Chill for 3 or 4 hours, then top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate, decorettes, or more chocolate wafer crumbs. Chill and serve.

Note: May be colored for different holidays.

Source: "Yesterday's Today's Tomorrow's Cooking, Berea Lutheran Church,

Chappell NE 1887-1977, Bonnie Kechley"


2 - 3 medium butternut, delicata, or banana squash

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Scrub squash, cut in half, and remove seeds. Place cut side up in a large roasting pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Spoon mixture into squash halves.

Cover squash with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Spoon sugar mixture over squash, leave uncovered, and bake another 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.






4 lg. boneless chicken breasts, or 8 small

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp butter, divided

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided (I use Canola oil)

3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onions

Juice 1/2 lime or lemon

2 Tbsp brandy or cognac

3 Tbsp chopped parsley

1 - 2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard (to taste)

1/4 cup chicken broth

Place chicken halves between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Pound slightly with mallet. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 T. oil and 1 T. butter in large skillet. Cook chicken over high heat for four minutes on each side. Do NOT cook longer, or they will be overcooked and dry out. Transfer to warm serving platter and add chives, lime juice, brandy, parsley and mustard to skillet. Cook 15 seconds, whisking constantly.

Whisk in broth and stir until sauce is smooth. Add remaining butter and oil; pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately. Good served with rice or noodles, steamed broccoli and salad.

NOTE: Always use caution when adding alcohol (like brandy) to a hot skillet, as it will flare up to burn off the alcohol. www.chef2chef.com


Recipe copyright 2000, Mario Batali. All rights reserved.

1 cup all purpose flour

Salt and pepper

4 (8-ounce) chicken breasts

4 large slices prosciutto

4 large sage leaves, plus 20 smaller leaves

2 cups plus 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 shallots, thinly sliced

1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

1 cup Marsala wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped to yield 1/4 cup

Season the flour with salt and pepper.

With a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts to 1/4-inch thickness. Season each breast with salt and pepper and lay 1 sage leaf on each breast. Lay 1 slice prosciutto over each piece and fold in half like a book. Secure the two sides with a toothpick and dredge each breast in the seasoned flour.

In a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides, heat the 2 cups olive oil to 375 degrees. Make sure that you have a slotted spoon or spider close by. Working in a few batches, fry the leaves in the oil, removing with the slotted spoon after 30 seconds. Season with salt, set on a plate lined with paper towels to drain, and set aside.

In a 12 to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil until smoking. Add the chicken and sauté until golden brown on both sides. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have sweated, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Marsala and chicken stock and cook over high heat until reduce by half. Swirl the butter into the pan, add the parsley and serve on 4 warmed dinner plates, topped with the fried sage leaves. Yield: 4 servings


1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked

1 1/2 cups dark molasses

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped

1/2 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pie shell 5 minutes; remove from oven. Place molasses and sugar in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Beat eggs until frothy. Very gradually beat syrup into eggs in a steady stream. Beat in butter and vanilla. Fold in nuts and coconut. Pour into partially baked pie shell. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. As pie cools it will become firm. Makes 8 servings.



2 small serrano chili peppers (or 2 ounces canned green roasted chili peppers,


1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

2/3 cup low-fat milk or soy milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil or 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, plus

additional for the baking dish

3 tablespoons maple syrup or sugar

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

For the corn bread: Preheat the broiler.

Place the chili peppers on a baking sheet and broil until they blister and turn black. Turn the peppers and repeat. Transfer the peppers to a resealable plastic bag or a brown paper bag; close the bag tightly. Set aside to cool. The skins should become loose as the peppers cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil or butter, maple syrup or sugar and cilantro. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.

Peel the skins off the chili peppers and discard. Slice each pepper in half, directly down the middle. Open each and remove and discard the seeds. Cut each into small pieces, add to the batter and stir until combined.

Lightly oil or butter a 9-inch square baking pan or 12 individual muffin molds. Spoon the batter into the pan or molds. Bake for about 20 minutes if using a muffin pan or about 25 minutes if using a baking pan, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To slice into pieces, make 1 slice directly down the middle of the baking pan and 4 slices across to make 10 rectangular pieces. Makes 10 servings.



4 Cornish game hens

Coarse sea salt and coarsely ground pepper

2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 cups Bing cherries, stemmed and pitted

4- inches of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4 teaspoons sugar or 1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 cup ruby port

2 tablespoons cherry vinegar (or other fruit vinegar)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rub game hens with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Place in oven and roast until tender, basting several times.

When hens are tender, place on platter and keep warm.

Place pan with juices over high heat, and deglaze pan with cherry vinegar. Add vanilla bean, sugar or honey, tarragon and port, and mix well. Add cherries and cook until cherries are tender and pan liquor has reduced by 1/2. If cherries are tender but the sauce hasn't reduced enough, spoon cherries into a small bowl and continue reducing liquor.

Adjust seasonings, add cherries back into pan to heat if necessary, then pour over game hens and serve with wild rice pilaf or plain buttered rice. Serves 4-6



1 cup polenta

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 cup cream or evaporated milk

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup Havarti or Swiss cheese (or other mild creamy cheese)

1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In a 5- to 6- quart pan, blend polenta, broth and cream or milk. Stir over high heat until mixture just comes to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until the polenta is smooth and no longer tastes gritty (about 15 minutes).

Add pure vanilla, butter, and Havarti (or Swiss) cheese. Add a little more broth or cream if mixture is too thick.

Serve in a bowl with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top. www.chef2chef.net



A simple, elegant, non-fat dessert or part of a brunch table, you can use any sweet late-harvest or dessert wine

1 large ripe honeydew, Crane, or Crenshaw melon, or a blend of two or more melons, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup blueberries

2 cups sweet white wine

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Chill the wine until very cold. Prepare melon and berries and place in chilled bowl (glass would be perfect). Add wine, lemon zest, and vanilla. Allow flavors to blend for 10 -15 minutes before serving. www.chef2chef.net


This is another family favorite; it's great in summer, when fresh tomatoes and vegetables are readily available. Also good for picnics, because you don't have to worry about refrigeration.

1 lb. small zucchini

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms

1 pint Plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/2 cup sliced, pitted ripe olives

1 medium (red) Bermuda onion, or other sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 sm. bottle Red wine vinegar and oil salad dressing

Rinse, pat dry and slice mushrooms and zucchini. Place all vegetables in large salad bowl. Pour salad dressing over, just enough to season salad. Cover and let set for 1 hr. or longer. Serve as is, or on lettuce leaves. Makes 6-8 servings.




These legs from the king of crabs come already cooked and usually previously frozen, so we won't have to boil them long to finish them off. But we do want to give them a long enough bath to get the flavor of garlic into the meat. To aid in this process we need to poke several holes in the shell along each leg so that the garlic water can seep in. Use the handle end of a nut cracker (the kind that is often served with crab to help crack the shells), or the end of a wooden spoon to make those holes. Pound the garlic cloves flat before chopping them up so that the maximum flavor will be released into the boiling water.

From Top Secret Recipes:

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large heads garlic (separate and peel all cloves)

2 pounds king crab legs

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

On the Side:

melted butter

1. Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add oil and bring to a boil. Separate and peel the garlic cloves. Crush all of the garlic cloves with a mallet and then chop them up real well with a knife. When the water and oil comes to a boil add the garlic and boil for 15 minutes.

2. Cut the crab legs in half so that they will fit into the pot. Use the handle end of nut cracker or wooden spoon to poke several holes in the shell of each crab leg. This will allow the flavor of the garlic to seep into the crab. Lower the crab into the pot and boil for 5 to 6 minutes.

3. Remove crab legs and drain. Arrange one pound of crab on each plate. Sprinkle crabs legs with parsley flakes and serve with melted butter on the side.

( http://www.topsecretrecipes.com ) Serves 2.


Makes 8 servings

2 pounds assorted vegetables like zucchini, squash and bell peppers

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Season-All(r) Seasoned Salt

1. Preheat grill.

2. Cut each vegetable into 4-6 pieces.

3. Combine butter and Season-All. Brush over vegetables. Place around outer edges of grill rack. Grill 8-12 minutes or until fork tender, brushing with remaining butter mixture.


2 tablespoons minced shallot

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon sugar

5 tablespoons cabernet sauvignon

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup clam juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 pinch fresh ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 lb Halibut, cut in two pieces

2 teaspoons each, butter and oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Caramelize shallot and garlic with sugar and butter in small saucepan over low heat, about 10 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, and clam juice, and boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Strain. Press liquid out of shallots with the back of a spoon. Add vanilla and reduce again to 2 tablespoons. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Season with salt and pepper. Cool.

Dredge halibut lightly with flour. Heat butter and oil in sauté pan until very hot. Add sea bass and sauté on both sides until golden. Remove from heat and brush all sides with cooled glaze. Immediately place in hot oven until cooked through, about 5 minutes.


Makes 2 servings. This recipe can easily be doubled.


1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 pounds (about 3 large) russet potatoes, peeled and grated

1 small to medium onion, finely diced

3/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste

1 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1 cup grated pepper Jack or sharp Cheddar cheese (about 1/4 pound)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Warm oil in a heavy, oven-proof 8- to 9-inch skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and onion, stir to coat with oil, sprinkle in at least 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and pat mixture down. Par-cook potatoes, scraping up and patting back down several times, until golden, somewhat sticky, crispy in spots, and reduced in volume by about half, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Press potato mixture down around bottom and up edge of skillet to form a crust about 1 1/2 inches high. A spoon helps in shaping it evenly.

Whisk together creme fraiche, half-and-half, eggs, chives, dry mustard and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

Sprinkle cheese into potato crust, then pour creme fraiche mixture over cheese. Dust with paprika. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned and a small thin knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let sit at least 10 minutes to firm a bit before slicing. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes 6 servings.


3 ounces Gelatin Powder -- Strawberry Flavored

1 1/2 cups Boiling Water

2 teaspoons Sugar

pinch Salt

1 whole Angel Food Cake -- prepared

4 cups Strawberries, halved -- or sliced

16 ounces Cool Whip

Stir gelatin into boiling water with sugar and pinch of salt. Stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until semi-set. Stir in strawberries and whipped cream. Cut approximately one inch off top of cake, flipping top onto a plate- set aside. Hollow out cake and spoon in half of berry/cream mixture. Replace top of cake. Cover cake with remaining mixture and chill until set.



1 pound stew meat cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoons each salt and pepper

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans lower-sodium beef broth

1 (15- to 19-ounce) can drained chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion with liquid

1 cup water

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 cup orzo or other small pasta

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine meat, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid and water; mix well. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or high 5 hours. Stir in mixed vegetables and pasta. Cover and continue cooking on high for 1 hour or until beef and pasta are tender. Stir before serving.

Note: Thin with extra broth or water if desired. Makes about 14 cups.


1 1/2 teaspoons allspice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each dried thyme, ground coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and garlic


1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 (4-ounce) boneless, center-cut loin pork chops about 1/2 inch thick

Combine allspice, salt, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and vegetable oil; mix well. Spread paste mixture on both sides of each chop. Place chops in a resealable plastic bag or baking dish and cover. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Place chops on rack in broiler pan; broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until browned and chops reach 160 internal temperature. Makes 6 chops.


This incredible combination of grilled chicken, pork, salmon and sausage is a great way to satisfy everyone with their special favorite. Makes 8 servings

1 package McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) Zesty Herb Marinade

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons white vinegar

3 tablespoons oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1/2 pound

2 pork loin chops, about 1/2 pound

1 salmon steak, about 3/4 pound

1/2 pound Italian sausage links

1. Combine Marinade mix, water, vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Place chicken, pork, salmon and sausage links in a single layer in a large, self-closing plastic bag. Pour marinade over meat and close bag. Turn bag gently to coat all sides of meat. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

2. Remove meat from marinade. Place meat on preheated grill. Discard any leftover marinade. Grill chicken and pork 5-7 minutes per side or until done. Grill salmon and sausages 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and sausages are well done.


Lentils are the fastest-cooking dried legume and, for that reason, can be cooked with white rice into an interesting pilaf. Whole cumin seeds lend a wonderful aroma to the dish. Serve as a side dish or as a main course topped with cooked veggies.

Stir into a medium saucepan of boiling water:

1/2 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed

Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes; drain.

Heat in a large saucepan or deep skillet over low heat:

2 tbsp veggie oil

Add and cook, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes:

1/2 cup chopped onions

Add and cook just until sizzling, about 1 minute:

1 clove garlic, finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp from jar of minced garlic)

1/2 tsp cumin seeds (or) omit and add raisins (see below) with the rice

Add the lentils along with:

1 cup white basmati rice (or plain, white long-grain rice)

1/4 cup raisins or dried currants (if cumin seeds are omitted)

Stir to combine. Add:

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt

Bring to a boil. Stir once, cover, and cook over medium-low heat until the stock is absorbed and the rice and lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover and let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, toast in a small skillet over medium heat:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Sprinkle over the pilaf and serve.


2 cups vegetable stock or purified water

1 cup brown rice

1 teaspoon salt

36 bottled grape leaves

For filling:

1/3 cup grated radish

1/3 cup chopped scallions or green onions

1/2 cup minced celery

3/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup currants or golden raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pinch salt (optional)

1 tablespoon capers

To finish:

1 bunch chives

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring stock or water to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice and salt. Reduce heat and simmer, covered with a tight-fitting lid, for 45 minutes; all the water should be absorbed.

Meanwhile, gently lift the grape leaves out of the jar, lay them in a bowl and run a soft stream of water over them. Transfer leaves to a colander and let them drain or lay them on a flat surface and pat dry with a clean cloth.

Fluff the rice with a fork and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the remaining filling ingredients, tossing to mix thoroughly.

Spread the grape leaves out and spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons of the filling on the end of each leaf. Roll up, folding the outer edges in. Dip chives briefly in boiling water to make them more pliable. Wrap each grape leaf in a strand of 3 chives, trimming excess. Place in a small casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm or cold. Makes 36 grape leaves.


1 Mexican vanilla bean, split

1 cup half and half

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar

6 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon Pure Mexican Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon freshly ground canela (Ceylon cinnamon) (optional)

Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla bean. Place the vanilla bean and seeds, half and half, heavy cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and gently warm over a low flame until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl and beat (electric mixer or by hand with a whisk) until the mixture thickens and turns pale yellow.

Add about 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until blended. Gradually add the rest of the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, beating as you do so.

Return the custard to the saucepan and gently cook until it thickens to the coats-the-spoon stage. Don't hurry this step. Stir constantly over a low flame, taking care not to curdle the custard.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Remove the vanilla bean, scrape out the pods and add to the strained custard and stir until well blended. Add additional extract to taste.

Continue the final process of making the ice cream according to the directions of your ice cream maker. Makes 1 quart. www.chef2chef.com


This simple glaze is extremely versatile. Serve it over grilled or roasted lamb, poultry fish, portabello mushrooms, or tofu.

If you don't have madeira, substitute dry sherry or marsala or even broth; the glaze will still be delicious.

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup madeira

1 cup water or stock

2 vanilla beans, chopped

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water or stock, room temperature

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Continue cooking for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until sugar has caramelized. Watch carefully - sugar burns easily. When caramelized, add Madeira and stir until sugar mixture has dissolved.

Add stock or water and vanilla beans, simmer on stove until mixture has reduced by one-half. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour.

When ready to use, remove vanilla beans and reheat mixture, bringing it to a simmer. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with water (or stock) and add to the sauce. Simmer 3 minutes, or until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Glaze meats or poultry before cooking, or coat poached poultry, cooked meats, or baked tofu with the glaze. Glaze can also be served warm in a gravy dish and added to foods as desired. Makes about 2 cups of glaze. www.chef2chef.net





Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup soy sauce

4 teaspoons McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 pounds sirloin or strip steak

1. Combine olive oil, soy sauce and Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak Seasoning in a large self-closing plastic bag or glass dish. Add steak and seal bag or cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

2. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Preheat grill or broiler. Grill or broil steak 8-10 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.


1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 pound mushrooms, sliced

5 large eggs

1 envelope Lipton Golden Onion Soup Mix

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

6 cups 1/2-inch cubes French bread (crusts removed)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter, add the onion, and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn a golden color, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they are golden brown, another 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, soup mix, cream and Worcestershire. Stir in bread cubes until they are well-coated. Stir in the onions and mushrooms. Pour into prepared dish and sprinkle with cheese. Refrigerate at least 12 hours before baking to ensure bread is saturated.

Bring pudding to room temperature, then bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let it rest 10 minutes before serving. Makes 8 servings.








8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1/2 banana)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons grated or minced orange zest

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (or 1 cup oatmeal plus 1/2 cup 4-grain cereal)

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts

1/2 cup golden raisins or 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat the butter and egg until well blended and smooth. Gradually beat in the banana, vanilla and sugar and mix until combined. Add the orange zest and, using a wooden spoon, mix well.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, oats, coconut, walnuts and raisins or chocolate chips. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until there is no sign of dryness.

Smear 1/4 teaspoon butter on a baking sheet, then drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the sheet 2 inches apart. Press down lightly against the dough to flatten. Bake for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Do not overbake. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Makes 16 large cookies.

Miami Herald


1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked

Cheesecake layer:

1/4 cup sugar

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste

1 egg

Pecan layer:

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup pecans, broken

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick bottom and sides of pie crust with a fork. Bake 10 minutes and set aside.

Cheesecake layer: In a mixing bowl, blend sugar and cream cheese. Add milk, vanilla and lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice if needed. Beat in egg. Pour into crust. Set aside.

Pecan layer: In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs well with electric mixer. Blend in sugar, butter, salt, corn syrup and vanilla.

Sprinkle nuts on top of cheese layer. Slowly pour syrup mixture on top. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Serve cold. Store in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.


Pots De Crème:

2 cups light cream

1 vanilla bean, split open down center

4 ounces semisweet chocolate

6 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch salt (optional)

2 tablespoons vanilla cordial or vanilla rum

Whipped Cream:

1/2 pint heavy cream

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine 1-3/4 cups of the cream and vanilla bean in a saucepan. Heat, add chocolate, and stir until chocolate is melted and thoroughly blended with the cream. Beat egg yolks until light and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in sugar and salt. Add the remaining 1/4 cup cold cream and cordial or rum. Mix well.

Stir in the hot cream. Remove vanilla bean and scrape seeds into mixture.

Pour the mixture into ramekins or crème pots. Arrange in a baking pan. Pour hot water into the pan, about 1 inch deep. Cover the ramekins with foil.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool and chill.

Blend whipping cream with sugar and beat until mixture begins to thicken. Add pure vanilla extract, and whip until cream is thickened but not stiff.

Top chocolate crèmes with whipped cream, and decorate with a small flower or sprig of mint. Or, dust tops with cocoa. www.chef2chef.com


1 large chicken cut into serving size pieces

1 cup water or chicken broth

1/4 cup or to taste large dried chilitepin chilies (or substitute other dried chili)*

1/4 cup mild cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lard or butter

3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

Juice of two oranges

2 vanilla beans, split open

Salt and pepper to taste

Place the chicken and water into a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil, then cook, uncovered until the water has evaporated and the chicken is cooking in its fat (about 20 minutes for a supermarket chicken). Continue cooking until the skin is lightly browned on all sides.

Once the chicken is cooking, place chilies in a heavy skillet over low heat. Toast, stirring constantly, for about 10 - 15 minutes. They should be slightly darkened, but not burned. Let cool slightly, then grind to a fine powder.

After chicken is browned, remove excess fat, then return to heat. Sprinkle chilies, salt and pepper over the chicken, turning to coat evenly. Add vinegar, lard or butter, garlic, orange juice and vanilla bean, and cook until the vinegar has mellowed and chicken is well cooked.

Serve with rice, beans, tomatoes and tortillas

* You can use pre-ground Mexican chili or cayenne.





Steak au poivre's tender; pronunciation's tough


We in America are blessed with an abundance of international comestibles -- and cursed with an inability to pronounce them. Who hasn't been on the receiving end of a French waiter's sneer as you haltingly inform him that, for your entree, you'd like the coq au vin? Or the derision of the deli counterman when your rendering of kreplach fails to gargle sufficiently. It's a linguistic jungle out there. Here's a survival guide.


French is as difficult to pronounce as it is ubiquitous in toney restaurants. While the subtleties of a French accent take years to acquire, the following cheat sheet should set you on the right track. (And just remember, when you're feeling totally inadequate, that the average Frenchman's rendition of ''hamburger'' isn't anything to write home about.)

• coq au vin: COKE oh-VANH

While the ''coq'' in ''coq au vin'' refers to a rooster, the dish usually entails a female chicken braised in red wine (``vin'').

• duck a l'orange: DUCK ah-lo-RAHNGE

Here's an example of one of those hybrids that starts with English, takes a hard right into French, and leaves the speaker in the dust. Colman Andrews, editor of the food magazine Saveur, thought that for consistency's sake the dish should be billed either as canard a l'orange (ca-NARH ah-lo-RAHNGE) or ``orange duck.''

• steak au poivre: STAKE oh PWAHV

According to Andrews, we should really be calling this ``pepper steak.''

• Saveur: sa-VUR

While we're at it, we might as well tackle this most unpronounceable of food monthlies. ''In retrospect, calling it Saveur probably wasn't the wisest thing, but it's too late now,'' Andrews said. He advised, 'If you speak French pretty well, you can try sa-VEUHR, but I tell Americans to say it as if it were sa-VUR. In any case, it's better than say-VIEW-er or savior' -- which I hear a lot.''

• confit: kohn-FEE

Confit literally means ''preserved.'' The term traditionally refers to meat (often duck) that has been cooked, then preserved in its own fat. Vegetables such as onions and tomatoes whose life has been cooked out of them are also sometimes called confit.


• cordon bleu: core-donh BLEUH

Cordon bleu is simply French for ''blue ribbon,'' and, as in English, the blue ribbon connotes culinary excellence. Veal (or chicken) cordon bleu is made by sandwiching ham and cheese between slices of meat and frying. Le Cordon Bleu is also a French cooking school established in 1895.

• prix fixe: PREE FEEKS

Fancy for ``fixed price.''

• haricots verts: AH-ree-co VAIR

Haricot is French for ''bean,'' vert means ''green,'' and haricots verts are those very thin, very expensive string beans.

• vichyssoise: vee-shee-SWAHZ

A pureed soup of leeks and potatoes that is served cold. Vichyssoise is named for the French city of Vichy.

• mirepoix: meer-PWAH

Many French preparations start with a mirepoix, a sautéed mixture of chopped carrots, onions and celery. Mirepoix was the first French word chef Michael Maroni learned, and so, disregarding the advice of friends and associates, he used it for the name of his Glen Head, N.Y., restaurant. Although the correct pronunciation is printed on the menu, he and his staff are treated each night to ''meer-pox,'' ''meer-poy'' and everything in between.

• foie gras: FWAH GRAH

Literally ''fat liver,'' foie gras refers to the liver of a goose that has been force-fed for a number of months until its liver reaches gigantic, and fatty, proportions. Mirepoix's Maroni has grown accustomed to requests for ``fire grass.''


Compared to the French, Italians are exceedingly forgiving when it comes to the mangling of their language. And in fact Italian isn't that hard to pronounce. But you can improve your Italian immeasurably by remembering that both ''che'' and ''chi'' are hard, K sounds. You don't call Chianti ''she-ANT-y,'' do you?

• bruschetta: brew-SKET-uh

This simple dish of toast rubbed with garlic and anointed with olive oil (and usually topped with tomatoes) is doubtless the most mispronounced word on any Italian menu. Your waiter may well have gotten it wrong.

• radicchio: ruh-DEEK-yo

This crisp, red-leafed chicory brings up another rule of Italian: the ''io'' at the end of a word is one, not two syllables: ``yo.''


• maraschino: ma-ruh-SKEE-no

It has become standard English to call the thoroughly denatured cherries that adorn your Shirley Temple ''ma-ruh-SHEE-noes,'' but we thought you'd like to know the truth.

• ceci: CHEH-chee

The lowly chickpea offers an object lesson in pronunciation: Without an ''h'' after the ''c,'' ''ce'' and ''ci'' are pronounced like the ''ch'' in chair.

It's not a matter of pronunciation per se, but a number of Italian food words seem only to have reached these shores in the plural.

• biscotti: bees-COHT-ee

Biscotti are first baked as a single loaf, then sliced and baked again to achieve their distinctive crispness. ''Bis'' means twice, and ''cotto'' means cooked, so a ''biscotto'' is a twice-cooked cookie. If you can't bring yourself to ask for ''one biscotto, please,'' consider asking for ``one of those biscotti.''

• cannoli: can-NOHL-ee

Again, unless you're prepared for a substantial dessert, you want to order one cannolo.

• gnocchi: NYOH-kee

It's unlikely that you'll ever have the opportunity to order one gnocco (NYOH-ko), but now you'd know what to call it.


In French, a final ''e'' without an accent is usually silent, but in Italian and Spanish, you're safe pronouncing it.

• tagliatelle: tahl-yuh-TELL-ay

From the Italian verb tagliare, to cut, these 1/4-inch-wide ribbons of fresh pasta are associated with the cooking of Emilia-Romagna and the north of Italy. In Rome, the comparable pasta -- which is often a hair broader -- is fettuccine (feh-too-CHEE-nay.) Note: the ''g'' in tagliatelle is silent.

• pappardelle: pop-par-DELL-ay

Wider than tagliatelle or fettuccine, pappardelle can reach widths of up to one inch.

• mascarpone: mah-scar-POE-nay

Folks often misplace the ''r'' in this sweet, creamy fresh cheese, calling it ``mar-ska-PONE.''



• chayote: chi-OH-tay

Looking like a pear that has lost its dentures, the chayote is native to South America and shows up in many Latin American cuisines.

• chipotle: chih-POHT-lay

This chili pepper is nothing more than a dried, smoked jalapeño that is frequently canned in adobo sauce.


In Spanish, two consecutive l's are pronounced like the English ''y,'' as folks with the barest acquaintance with tortillas well know. But this hard-won expertise sometimes vanishes with less familiar words.

• tomatillo: toh-mah-TEE-yoh

Looking like small green tomatoes wearing thin paper shrouds, tomatillos are a key ingredient in green salsas.


There's no way to express properly in writing that guttural hocking tone that's called for in certain Yiddish words, so we're going to use ''ckh'' to signify the sound made at the back of the throat when you gargle.

• challah: CKHAH-la

In certain assimilated circles, this egg-enriched loaf traditionally eaten with Sabbath dinner is sometimes called ``holly bread.''

• knaidlach: kuh-NAYD-lackh

Knaidlach is Yiddish for matzo balls. One matzo ball is a knaidl (kuh-NAYD-ul).

• kreplach: KREP-lackh

The plural form of krepl (KREP-ul), kreplach are boiled, meat-filled dumplings that are pretty close to wontons.


We've come a long way since avocado was considered an exotic vegetable. Now the markets overflow with produce, much of which could use operating instructions in addition to a pronunciation guide.

• jicama: HEE-kuh-muh

This bulbous Mexican root vegetable, usually eaten raw, has a surprisingly delicate taste, halfway between potato and apple.




• celeriac: seh-LER-ee-ak

Also called celery root, this vegetable is indeed the root of a celery plant that has been cultivated to have an extra-large root.

• morel: muh-REHL

A wild mushroom with a distinctive cap -- peaked and honeycombed -- the morel is sold both fresh and dried.

• sorrel: SOR-uhl

Also called sour grass, sorrel is a leafy herb that can taste shockingly bitter. Sorrel is the principal ingredient in the traditional Jewish soup schav (SHAHV).


This isn't the place to take on the linguistic hornet's nest that is wine, but here are a few of the most commonly flubbed wine terms.

• Sommelier: suh-muhl-YAY

Restaurants with extensive wine lists sometimes employ a wine expert -- a sommelier -- whose responsibilities include buying wine, ensuring its proper storage, serving and helping customers with their selections.

• Pinot Noir: PEE-noh NWAR

• Pinot Grigio: PEE-noh GREE-jo

The sommelier at the Carltun on the Park in East Meadow, N.Y., Natalia Zelevska, has heard it all, from Peanut Nor to Pinenut Gringo.

• Gewurztraminer: guh-VURTS-trah-mee-ner

No doubt sales would increase for this fruity white wine if the name itself didn't strike terror in the hearts of all but the stoutest wine enthusiasts.


Here we find those poor words whose mispronunciations are actually more common than the correct version.

• restaurateur: res-toe-rah-TEUHR

This word, which derives from the French verb ''restaurer,'' to restore, describes someone who runs a restaurant, but, nevertheless, does not have an ''n'' in it. Dictionaries have begun to list ''restauranteur'' as a secondary pronunciation, but this surrender to a popular misconception should not be encouraged.



• quinoa: KEEN-wah

This South American grain has been stumping shoppers and diners since it hit the American market.

• Zagat: zuh-GATT

Nina and Tim Zagat, founders of the popular restaurant guides, fight a losing battle for the correct pronunciation of their name. Nina Zagat recounted a story that has become legendary at the publishers' office.

'When we were first starting out, Tim was here late one night and a man called to order some ZAG-ut surveys. We usually don't correct people, but Tim said to him, Sir, it's zuh-GATT.' The man responded, 'Look, I know Tim ZAG-ut and it's ZAG-ut.' So Tim said, How many books would you like?' ''


For cake:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For filling:

1/2 pound cream cheese, softened

3 ounces almond paste, crumbled

3 tablespoons sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup raspberry preserves (avoid sugary varieties)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch spring-form pan.

Prepare cake batter, first combining flour, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl with pastry blender until softly crumbled. Scoop out 1 cup of flour-butter mixture and reserve. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt to rest of mixture. Then mix in sour cream, egg, egg yolk and almond extract. Spread batter in pan, smoothing as well as you can.

Prepare filling, stirring cream cheese and almond paste together in another mixing bowl. Almond paste will stay a bit nubbly, but when otherwise well combined, mix in sugar and egg. Drop filling over batter by spoonfuls. It will cover much of the surface but not all. Drop dollops of preserves over filling. Scatter reserved flour mixture over preserves; top with almonds.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until center feels lightly set and edges are golden brown. Cool at least 10 minutes. Run a knife around inside edge of pan and unlatch spring to remove pan's rim. Eat warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-10 servings.



This soup makes an amazing first course. Select a fruity (not dry) red wine such as a beaujolais or pinot noir.

1/2 teaspoon cardamom pods, lightly crushed (pods and seeds)

6 whole cloves

2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed

3-inch cinnamon stick, broken

1/4 teaspoon peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 cups fruity, fairly light red wine

1 pound rhubarb, ends and thick strings trimmed (5 cups sliced)

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped

1 medium beet, peeled and chopped

2-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

1/3 cup whole-milk yogurt

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, peppercorns, thyme, wine and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture, discarding the solids.

Rinse the pan, return the liquid to it and return to medium-high heat. Add the rhubarb, apple, beet, ginger, sugar and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, until the vegetables are soft, about 35 minutes. Set aside to cool at least 10 minutes.

Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside to cool completely. Taste the soup and, if desired, thin it with additional water. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours.

Gradually stir the maple syrup into the soup. Taste and add more if desired. Ladle the soup into bowls. Whisk the yogurt until smooth, then drizzle a bit into each bowl. Source: Vegetables From Amaranth to Zucchini.


This light, refreshing sauce is great with seared salmon, grilled or poached chicken breasts or broiled firm white fish. It's adapted from a recipe by chef Rocco DiSpirito in Food & Wine magazine.

1/2 pound rhubarb, ends and thick strings trimmed

1 1/2 cups dry fino sherry

1/4 cup turbinado sugar, palm sugar or light brown sugar

Cut the rhubarb on the diagonal into 1/3-inch slices. Set aside. Place a colander over a bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sherry and sugar and cook, stirring constantly, just until the sugar dissolves. Add the rhubarb and cook just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the colander and drain, reserving the liquid. Set the rhubarb aside. Return the liquid to the pan and boil over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, 4 to 8 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, return the rhubarb to the pan and stir to combine and rewarm. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. Makes 4 servings.


This pairs well with rich pork or poultry dishes.

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb (stalks must be of equal width), trimmed

1 tablespoon butter

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch ground allspice

Pinch freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the rhubarb on the diagonal into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces. Lightly butter a baking dish that will accommodate the rhubarb in a tight single layer.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, syrup, vinegar, salt, allspice and pepper. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from the heat. Using a spoon or brush, generously coat the bottom of the baking dish with some of the syrup. Arrange the rhubarb in neat rows, rounded-sides up and tightly packed, in the dish. Using a spoon or brush, coat the rhubarb with half of the remaining syrup.

Bake 5 minutes. Coat the rhubarb with the rest of the syrup and bake just until tender, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

Source: adapted from Vegetables From Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider (Morrow, $60).


Thoughts of sage bring to mind Saltimbocca, one of the most classic Roman dishes. The name literally translates as hop in the mouth and is singularly appropriate -- you can never have too many of these.

Assuming you want to serve 4 you will need:

1 pound of veal cutlets or scallops (8, each about the size of a playing card)

8 slices of prosciutto,

4 leaves of sage,

butter or oil for sautéing,

wooden toothpicks

salt and pepper to taste.

Flatten out the cutlets with the flat of a broad-bladed knife, lay half a leaf of sate on each, and a slice of prosciutto. Affix the prosciutto to the veal with the toothpicks. Heat a couple of tablespoons of sweet butter or oil in a skillet and sauté the cutlets until done, cooking them more on the veal side than the prosciutto side. Season to taste and serve them with their drippings.

As variations, you can sprinkle some (a couple of tablespoons at the most) wine or lemon juice into the pan when the cutlets are almost done. In any case, these will go well with a white wine from the Colli romani.


1 lb. thinly sliced leg of veal for scaloppine


2 ounces of prosciutto, sliced paper thin

1 or 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces of mozzarella, cut into quarter sizes

1 recipe of filetto di pomodoro prepared without garlic (any basic tomato sauce

will do)

a few tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each slice of veal into 2 or 3 pieces so that

each piece is not more than 3 inches square. In a 10 inch skillet, heat the oil and when very hot, pat the veal pieces dry with paper towel and add to the oil. Cook no more than 3 or 4 pieces at the time. Cook about 1 minute on each side then transfer to baking dish or heat proof platter. Season with salt. Cut the slices of prosciutto to roughly fit the veal pieces. Tuck in the excess prosciutto so none overlaps the veal. Top each veal slice with 2 or quarter size slices of mozzarella. The cheese should not entirely cover the meat. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of tomato sauce over each piece. Sprinkle lightly with grated parmigiano.. just before serving, bake the veal in a preheated 450 degree oven for 5 minutes. The mozzarella should melt but not bubble. serve immediately.

This dish has been a popular item on Italian restaurant menus since world war 2.

From "Naples at table" by Arthur Schwartz


This is a fun recipe for those overgrown zucchini lurking under the thick leaves in the garden. Saltimbocca is classically prepared with milk-fed veal, but I like tweaking traditional recipes to create lighter dishes, like this one.

Recipe from Tra Vigne Cookbook

(Serves 4 as a light main dish, 6 to 8 as a side dish or starter)

About 2 pounds zucchini (see Chef's Note)

Gray salt and freshly ground pepper

8 thin slices prosciutto (about 1/4 pound)

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh sage

About 1/3 pound Fontina cheese, thinly sliced

2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

3/4 cup fritto misto flour or all-purpose flour

About 1/4 cup pure olive oil

1-1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

About 2 tablespoons freshly grated

Parmesan cheese

1 lemon, cut into wedges


Cut a thin lengthwise slice off each zucchini so they can then be cut lengthwise into even 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices. This is most easily done on a mandoline. You will need 16 slices total. Lay them out in pairs on paper towels or a clean tea towel, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Arrange the prosciutto slices on half the zucchini slices so none hangs over the edges. Place 2 sage leaves on top. Place the cheese slices on top, taking the same precautions you did with the prosciutto. Finally, lay the remaining zucchini slices on top of each stack. Cover with paper towels or another clean tea towel, and press down firmly to extract moisture and firm the zucchini.

Pour the eggs into a deep plate. Season the flour with salt and pepper and put on another plate. Pick up each zucchini stack by both ends and hold it securely closed as you dip it first in the egg and then dredge in the flour until evenly coated.

In a skillet large enough to hold at least 3 zucchini stacks at a time, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the zucchini, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and keep warm until all are cooked. Add more oil by tablespoonfuls, if needed.

Add the remaining sage leaves to the hot pan and cook briefly until crisp. Arrange several crisped leaves on top of each saltimbocca. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley, a light dusting of Parmesan, and lemon wedges.

Choose fairly fat, evenly round zucchini that are similar in length and diameter. Those that are about 8 inches long and 1-1/2 inches in diameter work well. In addition, the zucchini should be as even in diameter from one end to the other as possible. It is important to work quickly, not hesitating between assembling, coating, and cooking. A microplane grater is my absolute favorite for grating Parmesan cheese. It produces a fine dusting using less cheese to cover more area.


Quick Tip:

Even though it's fried, you can make this fritto misto ahead because it tastes great at room temperature, as well.


1/4 cup flour

Salt and finely ground black pepper

6 veal scaloppine

6 paper-thin slices of prosciutto

6 fresh sage leaves

3 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup Chardonnay*

Additional sprig of fresh sage

Place flour in a shallow plate or bowl. Add a couple of shakes of salt and pepper and stir with a fork. Dredge (dip) scaloppine in flour mixture and coat both sides. Pin a slice of prosciutto and a fresh sage leaf to one side of each scaloppine with a toothpick (sage on top).

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or frying pan. Sauté scaloppine for 2 minutes on the veal side and 1 minute on the prosciutto and sage side. Be sure scaloppine is cooked through. Transfer to a heated platter and keep warm.

Turn the heat under the pan to high. Pour wine into the pan and stir well. Reduce over high heat for 2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the scaloppine and serve garnished with a sprig of sage.

* Drink the rest.


1 pound bulk breakfast sausage

1 quart water

3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 cup stone-ground grits

1/4 pound (1 cup) mild or smoked cheddar cheese, grated

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or to taste

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 to 2 green onions for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 2-quart baking dish. In a large skillet, fry the sausage until well browned. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan over high heat, bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits a handful at a time. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the grits until thick and soft, 30-40 minutes. Stir, especially as grits thicken, to prevent scorching. Remove the grits from the heat and mix in sausage, cheese, butter and Tabasco. Check seasoning, adding more salt or Tabasco if necessary. Add eggs, stirring briskly. Spoon into prepared dish. Bake 35-40 minutes or until puffed and lightly set. While grits bake, slice the green onions into sections about 2 inches long. Cut each section into long, thin strips and reserve. Garnish the casserole with green onions. Makes 8 servings.



Grill Mates(r) Montreal Chicken Seasoning, allspice, chili powder and other herbs and spices combine to make a grilling paste that makes succulent, juicy chicken. It works well with the chicken skin on or off. Makes 12 servings

3 tablespoons McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) Montreal Chicken(r) Seasoning

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Allspice

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Chili Powder

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Thyme Leaves

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Caraway Seed, crushed

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Mustard

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 pounds chicken parts

1. Preheat grill.

2. Combine first six ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in balsamic vinegar and oil. Rub mixture evenly on chicken.

3. Grill chicken over medium direct heat for 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature of the thickest portion of breast reaches 170°F and thigh reaches 180°F. Turn every 5 minutes to prevent chicken from burning.


Six 6-ounce salmon fillets, skinned if desired

1 tablespoon sesame oil, preferably untoasted

3 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon grated or minced orange zest

3 tablespoons sherry

1/2 teaspoon peeled, grated or minced fresh ginger root

2 thin slices orange, unpeeled

Pat the salmon dry. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have ready a glass baking dish large enough to hold the salmon in a single layer. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the salmon and sear, turning once, for 1 minute on each side. You should hear the fish sizzle. Transfer the salmon to the baking dish and drizzle with the soy sauce and wine. Transfer to the oven and roast until cooked through and flakes easily, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the orange juice and zest, sherry and ginger and simmer, stirring frequently, until reduced by half and the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Add the orange slices and cook, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat.

Transfer the salmon to individual plates, drizzle with the sauce and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


1 c Water,

1 c Sugar, and

1/2 c Potato flakes.

Mix the ingredients. Cover loosely and leave in a warm place, such as on top

of a water heater, for 3 or 4 days. If the mixture starts to smell yeasty prior to 3 or 4 days, or is ready. Go ahead and feed it and start making bread. See the feeding directions below. This is from the "Panola County Heritage Cookbook".

For people who have trouble cultivating wild yeast, this is an alternate starter recipe:


2 envelopes (2 TBS.) active dry yeast,

1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 F),

1 cup warm water (105 to 115 F),

2/3 cup sugar,

3 TBS. instant potato flakes.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in 1 cup warm water, sugar, and potato flakes.

Let the mixture sit out all day, then refrigerate 10 to 15 days. (A 10 day schedule works fine.) Remove from refrigerator and feed, see the feeding instructions below. Now you are ready to use 1 cup of the starter to make bread.

Return the rest of the starter to the refrigerator for another 5 to 10 days. Before making your next batch of bread, feed the starter again. * Or, another Starter recipe with the bread recipe

Now that we have a starter, we need to feed it.

Feeding Recipe: Starter from recipes above,

1 cup water,

3/4 cup sugar,

3 tbsp instant potato flakes.

Into starter, stir ingredients well and keep at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.

Makes 2 - 3 cups.



1 pkg. dry yeast

2 tbsp. sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. all purpose flour

1/2 c. lukewarm water

2 c. warm water

Mix yeast with 1/2 cup warm water. Mix sugar with 2 cups warm water and flour. Add yeast mixture and let sit in glass jar covered with a cloth for 5 days (no tight lid). Then put in refrigerator for 4 or 5 days. Feed to make bread.


3/4 c. sugar

1 c. warm water

3 tbsp. instant potatoes

Add to starter every 3 days. Let sit overnight or all day before making bread.

Keep 1 cup of starter. As feeder is added, a cup may be given to a friend or thrown away.


6 c. bread flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 tbsp. salt

1/2 c. corn oil

1 3/4 c. warm water

1 c. starter ()

Make dough, kneading a little. Let rise double. Punch down and let rise

again. Make into 3 loaves or 3 pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

Start in cold oven (do not preheat).



2 pts fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

3/4 ;cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate

1 to 3 tbsp lemon juice

mint leaves (for optional garnish)

Place ingredients in blender or food processor; cover, process until smooth. Pour into ungreased 8" square pan. Cover and freeze for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until partially set. Spoon into mixing bowl; beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Return to dish; freeze for 2 to 3 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving. If desired, garnish with mint leaves.


5 cups fresh strawberries

Sugar to taste

2 (1.4-ounce) packages fat-free and sugar-free vanilla pudding mix

4 cups 1 percent milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 (10.75-ounce) fat-free pound cake, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

1/4 cup orange juice, divided

Light whipped cream for garnish

Reserve 1 cup berries; cut remaining 4 cups into halves or fourths depending on size. Toss berries with sugar to taste. Prepare the pudding as directed. Stir in almond extract. In a decorative clear bowl, arrange a layer of cake slices on bottom of bowl. Brush cake with 2 tablespoons juice. Cover with half the sliced strawberries and then about half the pudding. Repeat layers, finishing with pudding. Decorate the top with the reserved whole berries. Garnish with light whipped cream. Makes 12 servings.


2/3 cup tapioca, small pearl

3 1/2 cups coconut milk

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bourbon vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 egg, separated

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring (be sure to get to the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching). When pearls are slightly translucent, remove pan from heat. Let cool slightly.

Whisk in egg yolk. Cool completely. When cool, beat egg white until stiff and fold in. Remove vanilla bean and spoon tapioca into bowls. Garnish with fresh tropical fruits and grated coconut, if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.



This burger "works" from the inside out. All the great flavors that are usually on the roll are already inside the burger. Makes 4 servings


1 pound lean ground beef

1 1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 tablespoons ketchup

4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Dill Weed

1 medium onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices

4 slices American cheese

4 hamburger rolls


Tomato slices

1. In a bowl, mix together ground beef, Montreal Steak Seasoning, ketchup, bacon and dill weed. Shape into four patties.

2. Brush onion slices with oil. Place patties and onion slices on grill over medium heat. Grill 8-12 minutes or until burgers are well-done (160°F internal temperature) and onion is tender, turning once.

3. Add cheese slices to each burger one minute before cooking is completed. Place on hamburger rolls. Top with lettuce and tomato.





Fresh greens

Red onion, thinly sliced

Cucumber, thinly sliced

Alfalfa or clover sprouts or pea shoots

Rose petals or nasturtiums, thinly sliced (optional)


8 tablespoons vanilla flavored oil (or 8 tablespoons mild oil and 1/2 teaspoon

pure vanilla extract)

3 to 4 tablespoons berry vinegar

1 shallot, finely minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash greens and break into bite-sized pieces. Place in bowl and toss.

Add onion and cucumber slices. Toss with vinaigrette dressing. Just before serving. Garnish with flowers.

Mix vinaigrette ingredients in a bottle and chill. Toss with salads just before serving. www.chef2chef.net


1 pkg ranch flavored dressing mix

1/4 cup lime juice

Mix these together well. Spread it on 1 lb of chicken breast cutlets and let marinate overnight and then broil, grill or sauté. It is very similar to the chip flavor and everyone has really enjoyed it. Use one recipe per pound of chicken.




Heat 6 large fat-free flour tortillas according to directions.

Mix together:

left over cranberry sauce

2 tbsp spicy brown mustard

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Spread evenly on one side of each tortilla.


thinly sliced or chopped turkey breast

3 sliced scallions

2 tbsp toasted pecans

1 cup shredded lettuce.

Roll up and serve with sweet potatoes and pickles, olives, celery as optional garnishes




Serves 4

Saltimbocca literally means to jump in the mouth. This dish is traditionally made

with veal, but we think it will still get your taste buds hopping with turkey.

1/2 pound Notta Pasta 225g

1 pound turkey breast cutlets, pounded slightly 450g

5 cloves garlic, minced fine 5 cloves

2 tablespoons finely minced fresh sage 30ml

3 ounces prosciutto, sliced thinly 90g

3 ounces mozzarella cheese, part skim milk 90g

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 15ml

1 cup dry white wine 250ml

1 teaspoon salt 5ml

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper 2.5ml

1 large onion, cut into thin crescents 1 large

fresh sage leaves, optional

fresh chopped tomatoes, optional

Soak Notta Pasta according to package for sauté.

In a bowl, combine the garlic and sage.

Salt and pepper turkey according to your preference. Evenly sprinkle with garlic/sage mixture.

Layer each breast with a piece of prosciutto and mozzarella.

Fold in half and secure with a toothpick.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Brown the turkey well on each side.

Add white wine, salt, pepper, and onion. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the turkey will be dry. Remove the turkey from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Add drained Notta Pasta to liquid in pan. Sauté stirring constantly until the Notta Pasta is tender but firm.

Pour in a serving platter.

Top with turkey saltimbocca.

Garnish with fresh sage leaves and tomatoes if desired. Serve immediately.

*Serving Idea: Serve with your favorite vegetable for a completely satisfying


*NOTE: You may substitute 2 teaspoons of ground sage for fresh.

*note: If turkey cutlets are not available, this dish works equally well with four 5

ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Note: If sage is not your favorite herb, substitute fresh rosemary.


4-5 cups thinly sliced cabbage

2 ribs celery thinly sliced

1/2 cup finely shredded carrots

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup seedless red flame grapes

1/2 cup thinly sliced dates

1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Salad Dressing:

1/2 cup vanilla-flavored yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 - 1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

salt and white pepper to taste

Combine all of the salad ingredients into a salad bowl and toss.

Mix ingredients for salad dressing well, adjusting flavors to taste.






This is rich, but if you are hungry for a true vanilla mousse, this is it! A bit of work, but worth the effort.

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup water

8 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 quart heavy cream

Pure vanilla extract to taste

Boil sugar and water rapidly for 5 minutes. Cool. Beat egg yolks on top of a double boiler and whip into the syrup gradually. Add vanilla bean, and cook custard over very hot, but not boiling water, stirring constantly, until it becomes creamy and thick. Remove vanilla bean, and squeeze, pressing out seeds. Rub custard through a sieve and stir over a bowl of ice water until it cools.

Whip 1-quart heavy cream until it is stiff enough to hold a shape, add vanilla extract to taste, and fold the cream into the cooled custard.

This can be frozen and served half-frozen, or it can be spooned into cups and served chilled. Decorate with crystallized flowers, shaved chocolate, etc. if desired. Flavored liqueurs can be added instead of vanilla extract for a delicate secondary-flavor, if desired. Serves 6 to 10, depending on serving size.


1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup polenta (not instant)

3 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Tahitian vanilla extract

12 oz unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

Mix together buttermilk and polenta; let soak for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8" tube cake pans.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.

Fold soaked polenta and dry ingredients alternately into creamed mixture, in 3 additions.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

Let cakes cool 5 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool.

Sift vanilla powdered sugar over cakes as soon as you remove them from pans. When cakes are completely cool, sprinkle vanilla powdered sugar over them again.

The cakes may now be wrapped and stored for at least four days. They can be frozen for as long as a month. If you freeze them, dust with powdered sugar again before serving. www.chef2chef.com



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup scallions, sliced thinly or

1/4 cup shallots finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

3-1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into small chunks or bite-size pieces

5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1-1/2 cups arborio rice

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or more to taste)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

In a heavy-bottomed pan, cook scallions or shallots in oil over low-medium heat until lightly golden (about five minutes).

Add arborio rice and turn several times to coat with oil. Turn the heat to medium-high, and add a ladle of broth, stirring constantly to keep rice from sticking to the bottom or sides of pan. When the broth has been absorbed, add another ladleful of broth the squash, and the parsley. Stirring steadily, to keep the rice from sticking, add the balance of the broth, a ladleful at a time.

The rice is done when it is firm, but tender, and without a chalky center






8 very thin slices veal

8 very thin slices ham

8 fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried sage)

Pepper to taste

2 oz butter

1 wineglass white wine

Lay out the slices of veal and lay a slice of ham on top of each one. Place a sage leaf, or sprinkle dried sage, over each slice. Sprinkle with pepper. Roll up the slices and hold with cocktail sticks. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the veal rolls and fry until browned. Add the wine to the pan, bring to the boil then lower the heat. Cover the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes. Remove the cocktail sticks and serve coated with the juices from the pan.


Knight Ridder News Service

As host of PBS's America's Test Kitchen, Christopher Kimball guides viewers to the best recipes, cooking techniques and products.

Experience has taught him that not all recipes are created equal. So, what should home cooks watch for when considering trying a recipe for the first time?

''Read between the lines'' to determine whether a recipe is likely to work, he said.

To that end, Kimball advises:

• Be suspicious of recipes that don't provide a range of cooking or baking times. Nothing bakes for exactly 25 minutes and is then ``done.''

• Good recipes provide visual and textural cues with cooking times, and may tell what to look for, or do, if things go wrong.

• Strip recipes to the basics. Often ingredients and steps can be scaled back for a simpler, better dish. A basic beef stew, for example, doesn't need five spices, three herbs, garlic, shallots and lemongrass.

• Watch for hard-to-find ingredients, long ingredient lists, and complex or lengthy preparations. Also, check for expensive ingredients. Very often they aren't key to the success of the recipe.

Q: What basics can a cook assume about ingredients in a recipe?

Kimball: Use large eggs, unsalted butter, and unbleached all-purpose flour unless otherwise specified. Use butter and eggs at room temperature. And turn baked goods in the oven halfway through baking.

Q: Are there warning signs that a recipe won't work?

Kimball: That's hard to judge unless you know a lot about cooking. For instance, I always look at the amount of chemical leavening in a baking recipe. Many recipes use too much. More than one teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour can cause a recipe to rise too much. It blows itself out and then falls.



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