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

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 310

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).









































































Makes 6 servings

Add the potatoes to the oven after the beef tenderloin has cooked for about 20 minutes.

6 medium baking potatoes

4 tablespoons butter or olive oil, or a mixture

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub and quarter potatoes. Melt butter in a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish in oven.

Place potato quarters in dish and toss to coat with melted butter; arrange potatoes cut side down and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender when pierced with a sharp knife (about 30 minutes).



Makes 1 cup

This sauce is good on chicken, ribs or chops.

1/2 cup tomato ketchup

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Combine ketchup, water, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt and hot pepper sauce in saucepan and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Brush sauce on chicken, ribs or chops during last 10 minutes of grilling.


California Marinade (see below)

3 pounds beef chuck roast -- 2 1/2 to 3 inches thick (3 to 4-pounds)

2 tablespoons ketchup


Mix together:

2 cloves garlic -- crushed

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary OR 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (dry)

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar OR 1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup sherry OR 1/4 cup apple juice

Prepare California Marinade in shallow nonmetal dish or resealable plastic bag.

Add beef to marinade, turning to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag and refrigerate, turning beef frequently, at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

Remove beef from marinade. Insert barbecue meat thermometer so tip is in center of beef and not touching bone. Place marinade in heatproof container; stir in ketchup. Heat marinade mixture on grill, stirring occasionally, until heated through; brush over beef.

Grill beef uncovered 4 to 5 inches from MEDIUM heat 1 to 1 1/4 hours, turning and brushing every 10 minutes with hot marinade, until medium doneness (155ºF on meat thermometer). Discard any remaining marinade. Serves 6


(makes 4 to5 dozen biscotti)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1-cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons Canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs, or 1 large egg and 4 egg whites

cooking spray

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a heavy or cushioned cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Combine oil, vanilla and eggs and add to flour mixture. This may be done by hand or in an electric mixer, at low speed. Mix until the ingredients are well blended, but be careful not to overdo it or the biscotti will be tough.

Note: If doing one of the variations listed below, add here, before forming the dough into rolls.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly a few times. Divide the dough into thirds and form into 4 10" rolls (or 2 wider rolls to create extra long dipping biscotti). Place rolls 6" apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and flatten each roll slightly, to 1" in thickness.

Gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg whites and sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon sugar.

Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow rolls to cool for five minutes.

Using a serrated knife, carefully cut each roll diagonally into 18 1/2" slices. Reserve the tiny end slices for snacks.

Place dough slices, bottom-side down, on the baking sheet. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 20 minutes more. Cool completely on a wire rack (so the biscotti don't become soggy as they cool). Biscotti freeze beautifully. When completely cooled, reassemble slices back into a log. Wrap each log tightly in aluminum foil and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to two months.

Biscotti Variations

Biscotti variations take place in step 3 of this recipe. Mix the crunchy ingredients into the dough by hand until they are evenly distributed. Be careful not to over- mix, as this can break up the nuts, smear the color of the fruits into the dough or melt the chocolate. Lots of the variations feature fun toppings that are well worth the trouble. Once you get going with this basic recipe, any dessert concept you find may become your next biscotti.

Variation 1: Dessert in Athens

the rind of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 teaspoons anise seeds

1 cup slivered almonds

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top before baking

Variation 2: Breakfast in Tuscany

the rind of one tangerine (optional)

Substitute 1/2 cup yellow corn meal for the last 1/2 cup of flour

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup pine nuts to sprinkle on top before baking

Variation 3: Pretty Valentine Biscotti

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top before baking

Variation 4: Turkish Delight

3/4 cup Turkish apricots, cut in 1/4" strips

1/2 cup raw, unsalted pistachio nuts

1 teaspoon almond extract

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar on top before baking

Variation 7 Peanut Butter Chocolate

Substitute brown sugar for white sugar

Substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for 1 egg

1/2 cup salted peanuts

Variation 5: For after a movie

Substitute 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder for the last 1/2 cup of flour

Substitute 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for an additional 1/2 cup of flour

1 cup toasted hazelnuts

1 tablespoon espresso powder or instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon almond extract 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract, if available

Variation 6: The California Special

Substitute 3/4 cup of crunchy granola cereal plus 1/4 cup dried cranberries for the last cup of flour.

Sprinkle some granola on top before baking.

When cooled, drizzle with melted caramel.

Variation 7: The Peanut Butter Biscotti

Substitute 1/2 cup peanut butter for 1 egg

1/2 cup salted peanuts

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Drizzle with melted milk chocolate and then with melted peanut butter chips, When cooled, drizzle with melted white chocolate.



By Jan Nix, Special to the Mercury News

Bell peppers may be nature's perfect containers. Though most other vegetables have to be hollowed out or scooped clean before they can hold anything, bell peppers are like soda cans: Pop the top and you're practically ready to go.

Once you've sliced, diced, chopped and pureed more peppers than you thought possible, do what creative cooks around the world do: stuff them. With each variation in stuffing and seasoning, bell peppers take on a new culinary identity.

Chinese cooks, for example, cut bell peppers into bite-size pieces to be eaten with chopsticks. Then, they combine the peppers with ground pork. A lighter alternative is to pair peppers with a ginger-spiked shrimp mousse.

In Middle Eastern kitchens, whole peppers are stuffed with ground lamb or an onion-rice mixture. My variation includes both meat and rice, but keeps the traditional seasonings of allspice and cinnamon. These sweet spices go particularly well with green bells.

Move to kitchens in the American Southwest and you'll find bell peppers stuffed with another pre-Columbian vegetable, corn. The flavor is mild, so if you like more of a kick, add canned diced green chilies instead of green beans. You can also use canned nopales.

Peppers vary greatly in size and weight; an average bell pepper weighs 6 to 8 ounces and holds about 1 cup of filling. If you plan to stuff whole peppers, look for those with a boxy shape so they will stand upright when you bake them.

Each of my recipes suggests a bell pepper to use, but you can mix and match the fillings with green, red, yellow or orange bells as you like. Avoid purple bell peppers, which fade to khaki when heated.



Makes 45 little pies

Oh my, are these good! There may be no health benefits from these little treasures, but they are good for the soul. Boiling the corn syrup, sugar and butter for 3 minutes reduces the liquid and heats the filling, which shortens the oven cooking time to prevent the crust from overcooking. The high sugar concentration and the starch (arrowroot or tapioca starch) prevent the eggs from curdling.

Shells and pecans:

3 boxes phyllo shells (see note)

3 tablespoons butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 cups pecan halves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch

2 tablespoons water, at room temperature

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

1 egg yolk

Place oven rack a little below center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

To make shells and pecans: Place phyllo shells on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. In medium, heavy saucepan, combine butter, salt, corn syrup and light brown sugar, and cook about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Spoon mixture with 1 to 2 pecans into each shell.

To make filling: In medium, heavy saucepan, combine corn syrup, light brown sugar, butter and salt, and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 2 minutes. In small bowl, stir together arrowroot and room-temperature water. Stir in bourbon and vanilla. Add to hot syrup and stir well. In medium bowl, stir together eggs and egg yolk. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot syrup. Stir all this back into pan of hot syrup and fill each shell almost to the top with the mixture. Bake about 20 minutes or until beginning to set. Remove from oven and place 1 or 2 pecans on top of each. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes. Cool on cooling rack. Serve at room temperature.

Note: The shells can be found in the freezer section of your market, next to the phyllo and puff pastry packages. There are 15 small shells in each package, already baked and ready to use.







Serves 4

1 whole frying chicken, about 3 1/2 pounds

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Wash chicken and pat dry. Remove neck, liver and heart and pull out excess fat. With poultry shears, cut along each side of backbone and remove. Pull bird open and turn skin side up on counter. Press chicken, using a heavy frying pan if necessary, to flatten its rib cage.

Mix all remaining ingredients in a glass or ceramic dish large enough to hold chicken. Place chicken in marinade, turning to coat completely. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat grill to medium hot (when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for 5 to 6 seconds). With a wadded paper towel, oil grate liberally. Place chicken, skin side down, on grill. On top of the chicken, place a heavy cookie sheet or roasting pan, weighted with 3 or 4 bricks.

Cover grill and cook about 20 minutes, until skin is well-browned. Remove pan, turn chicken over and grill, covered, about 10 minutes more without weights. Use an instant-read thermometer to measure internal temperature of bird at thickest part of thigh. It should read at least 165 degrees.

Remove chicken from grill, cover with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes before carving and serving. San Jose Mercury News


Donna Spitzer


4 to 5-Ib. brick roast

1 Spanish onion, diced Pepper

Garlic powder



1 pkg. onion soup mix

1/2 small jar hot and spicy duck sauce

1/2 sm. jar sweet and sour duck sauce


Sauté onion. Smear oil over roast and sprinkle pepper, garlic powder and paprika liberally. Put onions on top of roast. Mix duck sauce and onion soup mix together and pour over roast (can change the ratio of duck sauce according to taste}. Marinate overnight. Cover tightly and bake covered 2-21/2 hours at 350°. Uncover for 1/2 hour to brown the meat. Baste often.



18 graham crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter

Crush graham crackers. Melt butter. Mix ingredients together, and spread on bottom and sides of 8x11-inch baking pan. Put in refrigerator.


3 8-oz. packages cream cheese - at room temperature

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mash the softened cream cheese in a bowl. Add eggs into bowl, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add sugar and vanilla into bowl. Pour the cheese mixture onto the crust. Bake at 375-degrees for metal pan, or 350 for pyrex - for 40 minutes.


1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups (16 oz.) sour cream

Mix ingredients together, and spread over baked cake.

Bake at 475-degrees for metal pan, or 450 for pyrex - for 5 minutes.



Makes 8 servings Time: 2 hours plus 4 hours chilling time

11 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons; divided; see note)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or to taste

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt 9 tablespoons butter. Let cook until white foam begins to sink to bottom and turn a rich nut brown, about 7 minutes. Pour butter through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup. You should have 1/2 cup (discard any extra). Refrigerate until butter solidifies, about 3 hours.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil. Add onions, shallots and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and caramelized, about 1 hour. Add a splash of water to pan during cooking if onions look dry. Remove thyme branches and stir in vinegar and more salt and pepper. Set aside.

In bowl of a food processor, pulse flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt to combine. Cut chilled brown butter into pieces and add it to flour. Pulse until mixture resembles oatmeal. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water over mixture and pulse until it begins to come together. Empty dough onto a work surface and press it into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to a 10-inch round. Fit it into a 9-inch tart pan, folding excess dough back into crust to build up sides. Prick dough all over with a fork and wrap in foil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line tart shell with foil and fill with pie weights or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove foil and weights and bake for 10 minutes longer, until crust is golden. Cool on a rack. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together creme fraiche and egg yolks. Stir in caramelized onions. Spread mixture in tart shell and bake until set, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.



1 box (about 18 oz.) spice cake mix

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's Tomato Soup

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

1 medium carrot, shredded

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tbsp. apple juice

PREHEAT oven 350ºF. Place liners in 24 (2 1/2") muffin-pan cups. MIX cake

mix, soup, water and eggs according to package directions. Stir in carrot

and raisins. Fill each muffin-pan cup almost full. BAKE 20 min. or until

done. Cool completely. MIX sugar and juice. Frost cupcakes. Makes 24.


(original recipe from The Jewish Festival Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene)

(A blintz is more or less a crepe only instead of rolling it up or just folding over it is folded up to become an envelop looking dish, they can be sweet or savory. This is a sweet cheese filled one.) This gives the same taste without all the work of making the crepes, filling and folding.


4 large eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt

1/4 cup melted butter

3/4 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour

1-2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking powder


2 7 1/2 - 8 ounce containers of farmer cheese

1 15-16 ounce container of ricotta cheese

2 eggs

2-3 Tbsp sugar

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. In food processor combine batter ingredients. Process

until very smooth, scraping the sides down once or twice. Lightly grease a

9 by 13 baking dish. Measure out 1-1/2 cups of batter and pour evenly in to

the pan. Bake for about 10 min. or until set. Meanwhile, make filling. In large bowl add all filling ingredients and mix well. When bottom has set, remove from oven, spread filling over and smooth top. Give remaining batter a brief stir and then pour gently and slowly over the batter to cover the whole filling. Return to oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until top is puffed and set. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. (8 servings as main, more as side dish).

Note: If you omit vanilla and sugar from the batter, and add a bit of salt and garlic powder, you can have a savory filling, such as sautéed mushrooms and onions.

Of course, omit the sugar and lemon juice from the filling, if you want savory.

The appropriate herbs would be good in the filling, also; oregano, basil, etc.



2 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade

1/8 teaspoon grated lime rind

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 tablespoon grated ginger root

4 chicken breast halves without skin -- boned

Combine first 4 ingredients. Place chicken on grill, and brush with half of marmalade mixture. Cook, covered, over medium-hot coals for 6 minutes. Turn chicken, and brush with remaining marmalade mixture; cook 6 minutes longer or until done. Yield: 4 servings.


Serves 4

Shrimp stuffing:

1/2 pound medium raw shrimp, shelled, deveined and finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts

1 egg white

2 teaspoons dry sherry

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

1 green onion, minced

To finish:

1 each: large red and green bell pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil


1/2 cup chicken broth or water

2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Combine stuffing ingredients in a bowl, mix well.

Discard peppers' seeds and veins. Cut bell peppers into 1-inch pieces. Mound each piece with a rounded teaspoon of shrimp stuffing.

Heat oil in a wide, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Place peppers in pan, filling side down; cook 3 minutes.

In a bowl, blend broth, oyster sauce and sugar. Pour over peppers. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until peppers are tender, 7-9 minutes. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens slightly.


Makes 12 servings

The cherry sauce in this recipe needs to be made ahead, and the ice cream needs time to set up, so plan accordingly.

6 eggs, separated (divided)

2 cups granulated sugar (divided)

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup liquid chai concentrate (see note)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until they are pale yellow and fluffy. Add 11/2 cups sugar and beat to combine.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Add slowly to the egg mixture while beating. Stir in the chai concentrate and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff, but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter, being careful not to deflate the whites.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes for a 9-by-13-inch pan or 35 minutes for two 9-inch round pans. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean. Cool completely before removing from the pans.

Note: Most supermarkets carry this in the tea or coffee section, or look in nutrition section.


Ice cream base:

4 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch salt

5 egg yolks

Cherry sauce:

1/4 pound dried cherries

1 cup Riesling wine

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 to 2 drops red food coloring (optional)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

To make base: Combine the half-and-half, sugar, honey, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan. Scald mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches 170 degrees F on a thermometer. Do not let the cream boil. Remove from heat.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Slowly add the hot cream mixture, about a fourth of it at a time, to the egg yolks, whisking between each addition. Pour the cream mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and chill.

To make cherry sauce: Place the cherries in a bowl and cover with wine. Let sit 4 to 6 hours or overnight to plump.

Drain cherries, reserving wine, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the reserved wine, corn syrup and food color, if desired. Cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half and is a syrupy consistency. Be careful not to burn.

Whisk together the cornstarch and the 2 tablespoons water. Add to the boiling syrup and cook for about 2 minutes to thicken the syrup. Stir in the reserved cherries and remove from heat. Chill.

To make ice cream: Freeze ice cream base according to ice cream maker's directions. When ice cream is almost frozen, add the cherry sauce and allow to churn for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove ice cream from machine and ripen in freezer for at least 1 hour before serving. Makes 8 cups.

Warm Riesling Sauce

2 cups Riesling wine

2/3 cup corn syrup

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (not margarine), cut into pieces (1 stick)

In a small saucepan, bring the wine to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Add corn syrup and brown sugar and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow to boil until the mixture is reduced by half again.

Place pan in refrigerator for 10 minutes to cool. Whisk in the butter, a few pieces at a time, until the butter in completely incorporated. Serve warm. Makes 11/2 cups.

To serve, place a piece of cake on a serving plate, place a scoop of ice cream next to the cake and drizzle with the warm sauce. Serve immediately.


Makes 12 to 16 servings Crust:

8 ounces chocolate wafers (sometimes called icebox wafers)

3/4 stick unsalted butter (6 tablespoons; see note)


12 ounces semisweet chocolate (2 cups chips or twelve 1-ounce squares,

coarsely chopped)

3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 cup sour cream

Whipped cream, fresh strawberries, raspberries, or drained canned black Bing

cherries, for garnish

Adjust oven rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Separate the bottom from the sides of a 9-by-3-inch spring-form pan; butter the sides only. (If you butter the bottom, the crust will stick to it and be difficult to serve.) Replace the bottom in the pan and set aside.

Crumble the cookies coarsely and place them in a food processor or a blender to make fine crumbs (or place them in a plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin); you should have 2 cups of crumbs. Place them in a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter and stir it into the crumbs until thoroughly mixed. Pour about two-thirds of the mixture into the prepared pan. To form a thin layer of crumbs on the sides of the pan, tilt the pan at about a 45-degree angle, and with your fingertips, press a layer of the crumbs against the sides. Press from the bottom up toward the top of the pan and leave a rim of un-crumbed pan 3/4 inch deep around the top. Rotate the pan gradually as you press on the crumbs. Then turn the pan upright on its bottom, pour in the remaining crumbs and, with your fingertips, distribute them evenly around the bottom of the pan. Then press them firmly to make a compact layer.

To make filling: Place the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over hot water on low heat. Cover pot until chocolate is partially melted, then uncover and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the hot water and set aside to cool slightly.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese until it is very smooth. Add the vanilla, salt and sugar and beat well, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula, until very smooth. Add the chocolate and beat to mix. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl with the spatula and beating until thoroughly blended after each addition. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.

Pour the filling into the crumb crust (it will not quite reach the top of the crumbs) and rotate the pan briskly first in one direction, then in the other, to smooth the top. (It might also be necessary to smooth the top a bit with a spatula.)

Bake for 1 hour. (The cake will still seem quite soft.) Let stand on a rack until completely cool. Cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. The cheesecake may be removed from the pan just before serving or a day before.

With a firm, sharp, heavy knife, cut around the sides of the crust, pressing the knife blade firmly against the pan as you cut. Then release and remove the sides of the pan. Now use a firm (not flexible) metal spatula (either a wide one or a long narrow one): Insert spatula gently and carefully under the crust and ease it around to release the cake completely from the bottom of the pan. The cake will be firm and strong and easy to transfer.

If you are serving it within a day or two (the cake may be refrigerated a day or two before serving), place it on a large flat dessert platter; if you are going to freeze it place it on a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap airtight. Refrigerate or freeze. If you freeze the cake it should thaw completely, overnight in the refrigerator, before it is unwrapped. Serve it cold. Whipped cream can be served on the side with a few fresh strawberries, raspberries or drained, canned black Bing cherries.

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

-- From "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts





Makes 1 loaf

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/3 cups shredded coconut

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut in large bowl.

In separate bowl, beat milk, egg, oil and vanilla together until well-blended.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ones and stir to blend. Do not over-mix. Pour batter into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert the bread onto a cake rack to cool completely.


Makes one 9-inch pie

1 9-inch pie shell, fully baked

3 tablespoons apricot jam

3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (divided)

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups warm milk

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (divided)

1 cup whipping cream

Bake pie shell according to package directions. Spread the jam on the bottom of the pie shell. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup sugar, the flour and salt. Gradually add milk and mix ingredients thoroughly. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Gradually add some of the hot mixture to the egg yolks. Return the yolks to the saucepan. Cook over moderate heat 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the butter, vanilla and 1 cup coconut. Pour into the pie shell. Refrigerate until chilled.

Whip the cream with the remaining teaspoon sugar until the mixture stands in peaks. Spread over the cold pie. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.


(Traditional Preparation)

6 Empire Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or defrosted)

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. Margarine

1 tbsp. Oil

1 cup chunky salsa (your choice, mild or hot)

1/2 cup tequila, optional

1 large green pepper, diced

Juice of 1/2 lime

Combine the flour, chili powder, and cayenne and dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Melt margarine and sauté chicken in skillet until brown on both sides.

Remove chicken and set aside. Add the oil to the same pan. Add green pepper and onion and sauté until soft. Add salsa, tequila and lime juice.

Heat until hot.

Place chicken on top of the sauce, cover and cook about 15 minutes or until breasts are just cooked, but still tender. Serve over rice.


Cohen's Margarita Chicken (Grilled Method)


6 Empire Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts (fresh or defrosted)

1 tsp. Chili powder

1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

1 tbsp. Oil

1 cup chunky salsa (your choice, mild or hot)

1/2 cup tequila, optional

1 large green pepper, diced

Juice of 1/2 lime

Sprinkle chili powder and cayenne pepper directly on chicken.

Cook directly on grill until breasts reach an internal temperature of 160°F.

In the meantime, pour oil into a skillet and add green pepper and onion. Sauté until soft. Add salsa, tequila and lime juice. Add green pepper and onion and sauté until soft. Add salsa, tequila and lime juice. Heat until hot. Spoon sauce over grilled chicken and serve over rice.



Serves 6

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon dry mustard, preferably Colman's

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

2 pound tri-tip roast, trimmed of fat

Combine all spices and rub mixture generously over meat. Cover and let marinate overnight in refrigerator. Let meat come to room temperature before grilling.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling, arranging coals evenly on either side of the grate and leaving a fire-free space in the middle. (For gas grills, preheat grill with all burners on, then turn off burner that will be directly under the food while it's cooking.) Sear meat for 2 to 3 minutes per side directly over the heat, then move meat to area with no fire or coals. Place a drip pan under meat, cover grill and roast for 15 minutes.

Begin checking internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Remove roast when temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium rare, and up or down by 10 degree increments depending on how you prefer your meat. Let meat rest, loosely covered with foil, for 5 to 15 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain and serving. San Jose Mercury News



3-tablespoons margarine

1 large onion, diced

5 cups boiling water

2-tablespoons chicken bouillon granules

1-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick

2 cups shredded carrots

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1-teaspoon curry powder

1/2-teaspoon salt

1/4-teaspoon black pepper


In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in margarine for 5 minutes. Add water, bouillon and potatoes. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender. Puree. Add carrots, parsley and curry powder. Simmer 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.


Miriam Weber


10-12 Iarge Mushrooms

1/2 cup white beans

1/4 cup barley

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onions

3 Tbsp butter

2 qt. Water

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup milk

Dill, optional


Wash and slice mushrooms. Add to boiling water along with the beans, barley, carrots, celery, salt and 1/2 tablespoon butter. Cook covered for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Melt the remainder of the butter in a frying pan. Sauté onions. Add flour and stir. Add milk, making a smooth white sauce. After 1 hour, add sauce. Adjust seasoning and garnish with dill. www.aish.com


Brownie Mix - one that will make a 10 x 13 pan - cheap mixes work just fine

2 packages chocolate mousse mix (milk or dark chocolate - your choice)

8 ounces whipped topping

3 Skor or Heath candy bars, crushed - or Bits of Brickle toffee chips

Approximately 1/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Allow to cool after

baking. Prepare both packages of chocolate mousse while the brownies are

baking. Refrigerate.

To assemble: Crumble half the brownies in the bottom of a large bowl. Press down lightly. Top with half the mousse, carefully spreading to the edge of the bowl. Top that with half the whipped topping - spread carefully so as not to mix with mousse. Sprinkle with half the crushed candy bars and half the nuts. Repeat layers of brownie, mousse, whipped topping, ending with nuts and candy. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight.


Makes about 1 cup

This is a lovely vinaigrette that can be drizzled over salad greens, cold meats or cooked green beans. It also makes an excellent crudite dip.

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Coarse (kosher) salt and freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Place mustard and vinegar in blender or food processor and process until blended and smooth, about 15 seconds.

With machine running, slowly add oils through feed tube in thin, steady stream. (Vinaigrette will emulsify nicely to a thick, smooth consistency.) Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk briskly to reblend ingredients.


Vegetable spray -- for pan

1 cup unsweetened coconut meat -- grated, thawed*

1 cup pecans or walnuts -- finely chopped

1 pkg German Chocolate Cake Mix -- with or w/o pudding

1 1/3 cups water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 lg eggs

1 stick butter -- melted

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese -- softened

4 cups confectioner's sugar -- sifted

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly mist a

13x9" pan with spray. Set pan aside. Scatter the coconut and pecans in the

bottom of the prepared pan. Combine cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat 2-3 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look well-combined. Pour the batter over the coconut and nuts in the pan, smoothing it out with the spatula. Combine the melted butter, cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. The mixture should look smooth. With a large spoon**, place 12 large globs of the topping on top of the cake batter, distributing them well. Place the pan in the oven. Bake the cake until the center jiggles a little when you shake the pan, 40-45 minutes. Don't over-bake the cake because it will set up as it cools. Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cut into squares and flip them onto a plate so the pecans and coconut are on top. Store the cake, covered in aluminum foil, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze it, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator before serving.


Serves 6

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries

6 ounces fresh lemon juice

2 ounces fresh orange juice

1/4 cup honey

16 ounces sparkling orange juice beverage, such as San Pellegrino Aranciata or


2 trays of ice cubes (use bottled or filtered water, if you can)

For garnish:

6 orange wedges

6 blackberries

In a blender, mix blackberries, lemon juice, orange juice and honey until smooth.

Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large glass pitcher. Chill until ready to serve. Instead of wiping your fingers, smoosh any leftover blackberry mixture on your face to make a facial mask. Retire to the bathroom and lounge. You won't need to wear rouge -- perhaps ever again.

When ready to serve, add sparkling orange beverage to pitcher and stir to combine. Serve lemonade in tall glasses filled with ice. Garnish each glass with a wedge of orange and a blackberry skewered on a cocktail pick.


Tzippy Mayerfeld


Bottom Layer:

2-lb. bag Bodek broccoli

3 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 T. oil

2 T. cornflake crumbs


Grease 9 x 13-inch pan. Cook broccoli. Mash and mix with t~ rest of the ingredients. Lay on bottom of pan. Sprinkle crumbs on mixture. Put in freezer.


Middle Layer:

2 Ibs. Bodek cauliflower

3 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

2 T. cornflake crumbs

Pinch pepper

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 T. oil


Cook cauliflower and mash with fork. Mix with rest of ingredients. Smooth on top of broccoli mixture. Sprinkle with crumbs. Freeze.


Top Layer:

6 sweet potatoes

3 eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

Pinch pepper

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 T. oil

2 T. cornflake crumbs


Cook sweet potatoes. Mash and mix with rest of ingredients. Spread ! on top of cauliflower and sprinkle with cornflake crumbs. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until crunchy.


1 lb. tender green beans, trimmed

1 lg. fennel (AKA anise) bulb, about 1 lb.

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 canned flat anchovy fillet, minced

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Coarse salt to taste

1/4 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and quartered (small Greek olives)

Freshly ground pepper

If green beans are large, cut them in half lengthwise. Do not use old beans. Blanch them in an abundant amount of boiling salted water until tender yet crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water; shake dry.

Trim stalks from the fennel bulb and cut away any bruised, discolored or tough outer leaves. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Trim the root end, cut out the core at the base of the bulb. Slice lengthwise into thin strips. To make the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, anchovy, garlic and salt in a large salad bowl. Before serving, removed the garlic clove, toss the fennel and green beans in the dressing. Sprinkle with olives and grind pepper over the top.

Serves 4. (Note: The author cheated: He placed the dressing ingredients in his processor and briefly processed with the steel knife, thus ensuring no one would get a piece of the anchovy. Such is life...you either love anchovies or hate them.)

From Cucina Fresca cookbook (now out of print). www.chef2chef.com



Deliciously marinated with "Southwest-style" seasonings, these chicken breasts go well with steamed zucchini and Mexican rice.

Makes 6 servings

1/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons tequila (optional)

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Cilantro Leaves

1 teaspoon McCormick(r) Garlic Powder

1/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Cumin

1/4 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Red Pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a glass dish or large self-closing plastic bag. Add chicken, turn to coat. Cover or close bag. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

2. Remove chicken from marinade and grill or broil 5-7 minutes per side. Baste with marinade halfway through cooking, if desired.


Gas vs. charcoal: a draw

Stories by Aleta Watson, Mercury News

Joanne HoYoung Lee - Mercury News


As grilling season shifts into high gear with the arrival of Memorial Day this weekend, the fundamental question still burns: charcoal or gas?

Traditionalists swear by their lumps of carbon, extolling the smoky flavors they get. Pragmatists praise the convenience of their propane-fired grills and insist their steaks and chicken are delicious.

But is there a real difference in the flavor of food cooked over gas and charcoal? The Mercury News put that question to the test in a cook-off comparing identical foods grilled over both types of fuel.

We cooked chicken, salmon, tri-tip and burgers side by side on a popular, inexpensive gas grill and on a covered kettle burning with one of the best-selling brands of charcoal briquettes. Each dish was treated identically, from the marinade or rub to the cooking method and time. Only the fuel varied.

Yet when our blind tasting panels finished chewing over their samples, there was no clear winner. That certainly surprised the amateur grillers among the tasters. Even those who use gas because it's easy expected charcoal would trounce gas in the flavor department.

But professional cooks, who switch back and forth between fuels all the time, had predicted a draw. For them, the choice between gas and charcoal usually depends on which grill is available and what they're cooking.

Among our tasters, everyone preferred the gas-grilled chicken, citing the charred skin produced by flare-ups from chicken fat dripping on the burner. But most of the half dozen tasters also assumed the chicken had been cooked over charcoal. The same group went for the salmon cooked over charcoal -- in part, perhaps, because the fish cooked over gas was slightly more rare.

An elusive difference

Tri-tip and burger tasters were almost evenly split, and a couple even admitted they couldn't tell the difference between the two roasts. Out of 10 tasters, only two -- including wine columnist Laurie Daniel, who stakes her professional reputation on her taste buds -- correctly identified which fuel was used to cook the meats.

Such results are familiar to Napa chef Jamie Purviance, author of ``Weber's Big Book of Grilling,'' who has spent a lot of time working over both gas and charcoal.

``I'm convinced the flavor of food will be almost identical, whether you're using charcoal or gas,'' he said. ``I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking you can only get smokiness out of charcoal.''

In truth, Purviance said, smoke primarily comes from fat or juice hitting a hot surface as it drips from the meat. Smoke from mesquite charcoal or wood, such as oak or apple, can make a difference. But gas grillers can get that flavor, too, by using wood chips in a special box or in heavy foil for additional smoke.

Gas grills on rise

Thousands of grillers apparently have arrived at the same conclusion. Although the backyard grilling mania began with charcoal in the years after World War II, gas grills have outsold charcoal models since the mid-'90s. Six out of 10 U.S. families with grills now use gas, although many own both, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.

Steve Ichikawa of Fremont converted to gas 12 years ago.

``I wouldn't go back, not for what I use it for, which is weekend grilling and sometimes, if I get home earlier, grilling after work,'' Ichikawa said.

``I would say the main thing is convenience. It's easy to set up. I just light it, go inside and prepare the food for cooking, and when I come back it's ready,'' said Ichikawa, a product-line director at National Semiconductor.

``I don't have to mess with the charcoal, even getting it lit or cleaning up the mess afterward. I don't have those black charcoal hands.''

Rico Flores of San Jose, a serious amateur barbecue cook, also owns a gas grill but only uses it if he wants to cook something quickly for himself.

``If I'm ever going to prepare anything for someone else, it's not going to be with gas -- never,'' said Flores, parts manager for Viking Freight. In his experience, gas doesn't produce as much flavor as charcoal.

But Flores rarely uses charcoal briquettes, either, for his barbecued meats, which he may spend the whole day smoking and cooking. When he's babying his ribs, he prefers to use hardwood to smoke them before finishing them off with mesquite charcoal -- which burns faster and hotter than run-of-the-mill coals.

A lifestyle issue

Purviance argued that the choice is really a reflection of personality and lifestyle.

``Some people enjoy not only the art of making the fire but also tending it. Charcoal has a life of its own. It's changing every 10 minutes,'' he said.

``It is primal. It's kind of a sport, too. You're really engaged in this thing,'' he added. ``And with gas you can pretty much close the lid and walk away until you think it's done.''

Ichikawa agreed. ``You know, it's kind of like driving a stick shift or an automatic,'' he said. ``Yeah, it takes more effort to drive a stick shift, but it's more interesting.''

It's hard to get around the fact that gas is easier, contended San Jose caterer Maria Parish.

``There's nothing like the good flame,'' she said, ``but gas is nice because it's consistent. You can control the temperature easier.''

TV chef Bobby Flay, author of ``Boy Meets Grill,'' does most of his television demonstrations on gas because ``that's where people are going right now.''

Flay often grills with wood because he prefers the flavor. Yet, ``If I want to grill a steak, a burger or fish, there's no reason not to use gas. It's not going to be on the grill that long.''

Sausage maker Bruce Aidells also uses both gas and charcoal and sees advantages in both. For people switching to gas, he suggests a grill that allows you to control the fire in sections and cook food such as turkey and tri-tip roast indirectly. Gas grills start at around $100 and can run as high as $8,000 or more. But Aidells scoffed at the high-priced models, noting that good grills are available for far less.

``There's a kind of boy toy thing about it,'' he said. ``Some guys just want to spend copious amounts of money on things.''


Fresh peaches and raspberries combine with the "sweet heat" of orange and cinnamon to create a fruity salsa that perfectly complements the flavorful pork. Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak(r) Seasoning adds robust flavor to the pork.

Makes 6 servings


2 fresh peaches or 3 nectarines, peeled, & cut in small cubes (2 cups)

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Cinnamon

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, optional

1 cup fresh raspberries


6 boneless pork loin chops, cut 1-inch thick, (about 1 3/4 pounds)

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Thyme Leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Rosemary Leaves

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

1. Combine peaches with orange juice, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon and mint, if desired. Add raspberries and mix gently. Set aside.

2. Trim excess fat from pork chops. Combine thyme, rosemary, and Montreal Steak(r) Seasoning. Rub herb mixture on both sides of pork chops. Grill over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side, or until done.

3. To serve, spoon salsa over grilled chops.


Makes 6 side-dish servings

2 cups dried navy or pea beans, soaked overnight (see note)

8 cups water

1 large onion, diced

2 dried chipotle chilies

1 cup tomato ketchup

1/4 cup honey mustard

1/4 cup honey, or to taste

Salt and black pepper

Drain beans. Combine beans in large pot with 8 cups fresh water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until just tender, about 1 hour. Skim off any foam that rise to top of pot.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine beans, their cooking liquid, onion, chilies, ketchup, mustard, honey and salt and pepper to taste in bean pot or baking dish and mix well. Cover and bake for about 3 hours or until beans are completely tender. Check occasionally to make sure beans remain moist and add more hot water if needed. Remove and discard chilies. Serve hot.

Note: For faster soaking, use the quick-soak method: Place beans in pot with water to cover by at least 3 inches. Cover and bring to boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour before draining and proceeding with recipe.

-- Adapted from "366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans and Grains" by Andrea Chesman



By Linda Gassenheimer

Knight Ridder

Fresh tuna steaks get a pleasing jolt from horseradish, which gives special texture and tang to dishes such as scrambled eggs, salad dressings, meat and fish. To salute this ancient root, I've created this simple glazed fish dish.

Fresh tuna is nothing like the familiar canned variety. Meaty and delicious, tuna steaks can dry out easily and need to be carefully cooked. In fact, it's best to undercook them a little. The tuna will continue to cook in its own heat when removed from the stove.

A rule of thumb: measure the steak at its thickest point and cook it 8 minutes per inch of thickness. If you like your tuna rare, make sure your pan is smoking hot and sear the tuna about 3 minutes per side if 1-inch thick, 2 minutes per side if thinner.

Round out the meal with sautéed new potatoes; a salad of washed, ready-to-eat spinach topped with grated carrots; and a rich merlot.


Serves 2

2 1/2 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish (see Note)

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3/4 pound fresh tuna steak

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together marmalade, horseradish and mustard. Set aside.

Heat oil on medium-high in a non-stick skillet and sear tuna for 2 minutes. Turn, then salt and pepper cooked side. Sear second side 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium and continue to cook 4 minutes. Remove to dinner plates.

Add marmalade mixture to skillet and sauté 1 minute to melt marmalade, scraping up any brown bits in pan. Spoon sauce over tuna.

Note: Horseradish can be found in the refrigerated dairy case in most markets.


Serves 4 to 6


1 chicken (4 to 4 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces

1 cup jerk paste (see recipe above)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided use

2 tablespoons molasses

Vegetable oil for brushing

4 to 6 firm, ripe bananas, unpeeled, halved lengthwise

Place chicken pieces in a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag or in a shallow baking pan. Coat all sides of chicken with jerk paste. Seal bag or cover pan. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours. Occasionally turn bag or rotate chicken pieces to keep sides coated. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas or electric grill on medium-high. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine 1 tablespoon of the butter with molasses. Set aside.

Brush grill grate with vegetable oil. Place coated chicken directly over medium-low fire. Cover grill and cook chicken about 12 minutes. Turn and cover again. Cook about 12 minutes more, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife or an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into thickest part of breast and thigh. Transfer to a platter and keep warm while you grill bananas.

Brush bananas with remaining butter. Grill, cut-side down, until bananas begin to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn and grill, skin-side down, 2 minutes more. Remove from grill and brush generously with molasses glaze. Serve with chicken.



2 eggs

2 tablespoons cold water

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon butter

1 to 2 tablespoons prepared lemon curd

1/4 cup mixed fresh blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries (or at least 2


2 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Powdered sugar (optional)


Combine the eggs, water, salt to taste and a grinding of pepper in a medium bowl and gently whisk or beat with a fork just until blended.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet with low, sloping sides over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add butter (it should be hot enough to sizzle) and swirl to coat the pan. When the butter stops sizzling, pour the egg mixture into the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the bottom is set, about 10 seconds. Using a heatproof flat-edged rubber spatula or wooden spoon, pull the set eggs at the edges of the pan toward the center, allowing the unset eggs to run from the center to the sides.

Continue cooking until the eggs are soft-set -- just a thin layer of unset moist egg should be visible on the top of the omelet -- adjusting the heat if necessary so the bottom does not brown. The total cooking time should be less than 2 minutes.

Spread the lemon curd onto the third of the omelet closest to the handle of the skillet.

Using the spatula, fold the third of the omelet nearest the handle over the center third, then fold the final third over the center. Holding the pan by the handle, tilt it so that the omelet rolls out of the pan and onto a plate seam side down. Serve at once, topped with the berries and powdered sugar, if using.

-- Adapted from "The Good Egg" by Marie Simmons


Serves 4

4 medium green bell peppers

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound lean ground lamb or beef

1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice

1/2 cup chicken broth or beef broth

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce, divided use

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup water

Cut tops (stem ends) off peppers and reserve to use as lids. Remove seeds and veins from peppers. In a large pot of boiling water, parboil peppers and tops for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and set aside.

Place a wide, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add pine nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, 3-4 minutes. Remove nuts from pan.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add meat and cook until lightly browned and crumbly. Add rice and cook 1 minute. Add broth and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove rice and meat from heat and stir in pine nuts, parsley, salt, allspice, cinnamon and pepper. Spoon stuffing into peppers and cover each with its lid.

Pour remaining tomato sauce into a deep baking pan in which the peppers will fit snugly. Add water. Stand peppers in pan. Cover and bake until peppers are tender and filling is hot, 25-30 minutes. Serve with pan juices.


The Fourth of July celebration will be an extra special event when you serve Revolutionary Montreal Salmon Rub.

Makes 8 servings

2 teaspoons Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak Seasoning

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 teaspoon McCormick(r) Dill Weed

2 pounds salmon fillet

1. Heat grill to medium heat. Blend Montreal steak seasoning, lemon peel and dill weed. Rub mixture over salmon. Allow to stand 5 minutes.

2. Place salmon, skin side down, on grill. Cook 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness (without turning) or until fish flakes easily with a fork.



Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak(r) Seasoning seasons the steak and apricots add the surprise ingredient in this recipe created by Chef Chris Schlesinger of East Coast Grill in Cambridge, Massachustetts. Makes 8 servings

2 pounds strip or sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

3 tablespoons olive oil

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

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares

1 red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

16 dried apricots


1 tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup pitted black olive halves

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

1/4 cup julienne-cut fresh basil

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon McCormick(r) Ground Black Pepper

1. Brush steak with olive oil, then sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning.

2. Thread skewers, starting and ending with red pepper, and alternating steak, red onion, red pepper and apricot.

3. Preheat grill or broiler to medium-high. Cook skewers 4-6 minutes per side or until meat is done.

4. In a medium bowl, combine relish ingredients. Serve skewers with relish.



1/2 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)

1 1/4 cup sugar

7 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

6 large egg whites

4 large egg yolks

powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter eight 2/3 cup soufflé dishes. Sprinkle with sugar; tap out excess. Bring milk and 1 cup sugar to simmer in heavy large saucepan, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Pour into large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.

Using electric mixer, beat whites in another large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. Whisk yolks into chocolate mixture. Whisk 1/4 of whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whites. Divide mixture among prepared dishes. Bake until soufflés puff, about 16 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over soufflés.



NAOMI'S, from Chavie Pollack


3 1/2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

4 pears

1 cinnamon stick


Custard Sauce:

1 cup milk or 8 oz. Coffee Rich

3 egg yolks

3 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp. vanilla


Bring water, sugar and cinnamon stick to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and bring to a simmer. Add pears and cook for 1!2 hour, covered. Remove pears from syrup. Pour milk in saucepan and stir until bringing it to a boil. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and yolks, with a beater. Stir in hot milk and continue to beat. Put this mixture back into saucepan and keep stirring over low heat until it thickens. When cool, add vanilla.


Chocolate Sauce:

1 Noblesse semi-sweet chocolate





Combine and stir over low flame. Serve pears over custard and drizzle with chocolate sauce.


Makes 16 large cookies


If you have a 3/4-cup measuring cup, it's the only one you'll need for this recipe. The sugars measure 3/4 cup each, the chocolate chip quantity is 11/2 cups (or 3/4 cup times 2), and the flour is 21/4 cups (or 3/4 cup times 3). I prefer Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate bars, cut into small chunks, for these cookies, but 11/2 cups of chocolate chips can be used as well. When adding nuts, I usually reduce the chocolate from 11/2 cups to 1 cup. Toasted nuts taste great in these cookies. Bake the nuts in a 325-degree oven until fragrant, about 10 minutes. -- Pam Anderson

2 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks; see note)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil (such as canola)

8 ounces good-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate bar, chopped into 1/4-

inch chunks (about 11/2 cups chopped), or 1 cup chocolate chunks and 1

cup toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, macadamias, or unsalted peanuts; see

note above)

Mix flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside. Mix eggs, vanilla and salt in a small bowl; set aside. Microwave butter on high power until just melted but not hot, 30 to 45 seconds (or in a saucepan over low heat); set aside.

Mix sugars in a large bowl. Add butter and oil. Stir until smooth. Add egg mixture; stir until smooth and creamy. Add dry ingredients; stir to form a smooth dough. Stir in chocolate and nuts (if using).

Using a 11/2-ounce (3 tablespoon) spring-action ice cream scoop, spoon 16 dough balls into a pan that would fit into your freezer. Don't worry if they're too crowded; they pull apart when frozen. Freeze until dough is hard, about half an hour. Once balls are frozen, they can be stored in freezer bags for up to 3 months, and baked as desired.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to upper middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working with half batches, place 8 frozen dough balls on cookie sheet. Don't press them down. Bake until set, but not brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Continue to bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges and lightly brown on the top. That should take about 10 minutes longer. Let cookies cool completely on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough balls (cookies can be stored in airtight tin or container for up to 5 days).

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

-- From "CookSmart" by Pam Anderson


1/2 cup ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil OR 1 tbsp dried basil leaves

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon margarine or butter -- softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic -- finely chopped

2 pound boneless turkey breast half with un-torn skin

Vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Heat coals or gas grill for indirect heat.

Mix ricotta cheese, basil, Parmesan cheese, margarine, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the garlic. Loosen skin on turkey in 4 or 5 places. Carefully stuff ricotta mixture evenly under skin. Rub turkey skin with oil. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Insert barbecue meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of turkey breast.

Cover and grill turkey, skin side down, over drip pan and 4 to 5 inches from MEDIUM heat 20 minutes; turn. Cover and grill 40 to 50 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 170ºF and juice of turkey is no longer pink when center is cut. Remove turkey from grill. Cover with aluminum foil tent and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Yield: 8 servings.


Makes 4 servings

1 15 1/2-ounce can red salmon, drained

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives or 2 teaspoons freeze-dried

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Dash of Tabasco sauce, or to taste

1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs

1/4 cup vegetable oil (divided)

Tartar sauce

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together the salmon, fresh bread crumbs, parsley, chives, lemon zest and juice, egg, milk, Dijon mustard and Tabasco until well-combined. Shape the mixture into eight 11/2-inch rounds. Put the dried bread crumbs on a plate and coat each salmon cake thoroughly with the crumbs.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add half of the salmon cakes and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to an ovenproof platter and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining salmon cakes in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Place 2 salmon cakes on each serving plate and pass Tartar Sauce separately.

-- Excerpted from "Mary Engelbreit's Queen of the Kitchen Cookbook"


Serves 2

3/4 pound new potatoes, red or white

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons water

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash potatoes but do not peel. Cut in quarters.

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high. Add water and potatoes and sauté 15 minutes, tossing occasionally to make sure all sides are browned and crisp. Add garlic and continue to sauté 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Makes 4 servings

1 small onion, peeled

1 head garlic, top sliced off to expose the cloves

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup milk

1 shallot, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

11/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided; see note)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup fish stock

20 sea scallops

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap onion and garlic separately in foil and roast until soft, about 45 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze garlic cloves from skin. Puree onion and garlic separately in a blender or food processor. Set aside.

Break cauliflower into florets and set aside 4 nice, large florets. Thinly slice remaining cauliflower and place in a pot with milk, shallot and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to high, and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Use a blender or food processor to puree cauliflower, and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

In a skillet, warm olive oil over medium-high heat and add 4 reserved cauliflower florets. Cook, stirring, until golden brown on all sides. Transfer florets to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside.

Place 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons) in a large non-reactive pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let cook, whisking until white foam begins to sink to bottom and turn a rich brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk in balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar and fish stock. Whisk in 1 tablespoon each of onion and garlic purees and salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until needed.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of remaining butter. When foam subsides, add half the scallops. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes a side. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and scallops.

Arrange scallops on each of 4 plates and drizzle with some of the sauce. Spoon some cauliflower puree next to scallops and garnish with caramelized florets. Serve immediately. -- Adapted from Citarella, the Restaurant


Makes 6 servings

Slicing into this butterflied and rolled roast reveals a colorful filling of bacon and spinach. Ask the butcher to butterfly and pound the tenderloin until it's about 3/4 inch thick -- just right for rolling. Baked potato sticks complement the meat's juicy tenderness.

4 strips bacon, diced

Leaves from 1 bunch spinach, washed and dried (5 to 6 cups, loosely packed)

1 beef tenderloin, trimmed, butterflied and pounded (31/2 pounds)

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

2 tablespoons brandy

2 tablespoons olive oil

In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, sauté diced bacon until golden brown. When fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, add spinach and cook until wilted (about 6 minutes).

Place spinach-bacon mixture over inner surface of butterflied tenderloin, spreading it to within 3/4 inch of each edge. Roll up tenderloin jellyroll fashion. Tie with kitchen twine in 4 places to fasten securely.

In a small bowl, mix together mustard and brandy. Rub over tenderloin. (At this point, meat can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours, if desired. One hour before cooking, bring meat to room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and place tenderloin, seam side down, in skillet; brown on all sides (5 minutes per side). Place tenderloin in oven; roast about 40 to 50 minutes, or until internal temperature registers 140 to 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Let tenderloin rest about 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil, before slicing. Slice across the grain of the meat into 6 pieces.



Makes 6 servings

2 flank steaks (each about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed of all excess fat

6 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

8 tablespoons dark sesame oil (1/2 cup; divided)

Vegetable oil for greasing grill

2 bunches green onions

Sea salt or kosher salt (see note)

3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see note)

Place steaks in shallow non-reactive dish that will hold them comfortably in a single layer.

In small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce and 6 tablespoons sesame oil. Pour marinade over the meat. Cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight, turning several times.

When ready to cook, lightly oil grill rack and arrange 5 inches from heat source.

Cut off root ends and all but 4 inches from green stems of green onions. Place onions in shallow dish and brush all over with remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil. Set aside.

When grill is hot, remove steaks from marinade. Lightly pat dry with paper towels. Place steaks on grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until a meat thermometer registers 145 degrees F. When done, place on platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Grill green onions, turning them until slightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, slice meat diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange meat and grilled onions on serving platter and season with salt to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Note: Sea salts contain trace minerals and add a distinctive seasoning note to foods. Because they are quite strong, use them sparingly. My favorite is fleur de sel. If sea salts are unavailable, use kosher salt.

Note: To toast sesame seeds, place them in medium skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring, until seeds are golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and cool. Sesame seeds can be toasted 2 hours ahead and left at room temperature.


Serves 4

1/4 cup light soy sauce

1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

2 scallions chopped

4 8-ounce salmon steaks

Mix together first 7 ingredients for marinade and place in a glass dish or resealable plastic bag big enough to hold fish. Pat salmon steaks dry and place in marinade, turning to coat well. Refrigerate up to 1 hour while you start the fire.

When fire is hot, take fish from marinade and place directly on oiled grill grate. Cook about 5 minutes per side, until fish is done to your taste.



1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk or water

2 tablespoons oil

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Mix ingredients together. Heat a thin coat of oil in a frying pan. Put a thin layer of batter into the pan, until golden brown. Flip over until the other side is golden brown.


16 oz. cottage cheese

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling options: sour crème, fruit jam, chocolate spread, date spread, etc.

Roll into blintz.



When you're looking to liven up a meal, try Sizzlin' Steak à la Montreal. McCormick(r) Montreal Steak(r) Seasoning, paired with balsamic vinegar and ground mustard, will jazz up any steak.

Makes 4 servings

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

2 teaspoons McCormick(r) Ground Mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 New York or rib eye steaks, cut 1-inch thick (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1. Combine Grill Mates(r) Montreal Steak(r) Seasoning, ground mustard and balsamic vinegar to make a paste. Rub paste over both sides of steak.

2. Grill or broil over high heat 5 to 7 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness.


Annette Rubin


1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. dark brown sugar

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 Tbsp margarine, melted

1/4 lb. each peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans

and whole unpeeled almonds (total 1 1/4 lbs.)

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss nuts to combine and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast 10 minutes. In a big bowl, mix rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and margarine. Toss warm nuts with spiced margarine. Serve warm.


1 pound Carrots -- sliced

1 medium Green Pepper -- seeded and cut in 1" cubes

8 ounces Pineapple Chunks in juice

1/3 cup Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

2 tablespoons Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon Cornstarch

2 tablespoons Vinegar

In saucepan, cook carrots, covered, in small amount of lightly salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. Add green pepper and cook 3 minutes more. Drain. Drain pineapple, reserving juice; add water to make 1/3 cup liquid. In saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir in pineapple liquid, vinegar and soy. Cook and stir until bubbly, stir in vegetables and pineapple. Heat through. Source: "Dorothy "Grandma Great" Owens & DD White"


1 pound ground turkey or ground beef

Cooking oil, if needed

1 can enchilada sauce (size can vary)

1 bottle taco sauce (size can vary)

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1 dozen corn tortillas

Grated Monterey Jack cheese, or the cheese of your preference

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crumble ground turkey and sauté in small amount of oil. (If you use ground hamburger, no oil is necessary; drain off fat when done.)

Add enchilada sauce, taco sauce and mushroom soup. Stir together and bring to boil; cook over medium heat 5 minutes.

In a lasagna-size casserole dish (about 9 by 13 inches), layer the following: one-third of the sauce, 6 tortillas (the sauce should be covered), one-third of the sauce, 6 tortillas, one-third of the sauce.

Cover the top with grated cheese. (You can also include cheese with every layer if you want.) Bake 30 minutes; let dish sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Elizabeth Kurtz


6 chicken cutlets

White wine, for poaching 1 c. thinly sliced celery

1 c. finely diced red pepper

1/2 c. chopped scallions

2 T. chopped cilantro

2 bananas, sliced 1/2 c. coconut

1/2 c. unsalted dry roasted peanuts Salt, to taste


Poach chicken in white wine (can use water as well). Chicken should be covered with wine. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 12 minutes, uncovered. Cool to room temperature. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch strips. Combine chicken, celery, scallions and cilantro.




1 tsp. grated lime zest

1/4 c. limejuice

1 tsp. crushed dry chili pepper

Salt, to taste

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. olive oil


Combine all dressing ingredients, drizzling in oil, a little at a time. Add dressing and salt to salad. Chill the salad no more than 4 days. Add banana, coconut and peanuts before serving.





Tube of tomato paste cuts waste when all you need is a spoonful. When a recipe calls for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, I'm never sure what to do with the rest of the can. Can I freeze it? How long will it keep in the refrigerator? The best solution for recipes that call for less than a 6-ounce can is to purchase tomato paste in a tube. Several brands are available, most containing 41/2 ounces (71/2 tablespoons). Once open, the tomato paste is safe to eat for about a year. Some brands say to refrigerate after opening, others do not. Follow the package directions. The tubes are available at some larger supermarkets and specialty stores.


While cleaning out my cupboards, I found several different kinds of flour. How long does flour keep? It depends on the flour. Flour does not spoil in an obvious way. It can lose moisture or absorb moisture from the air, affecting the taste and texture of your baked goods. Check the package for a "use by" date. According the General Mills Consumer Services phone line, all-purpose flour and bread flour keep up to 18 months, self-rising flour for 10 months and whole-wheat flour 6 months. Because whole-wheat flour contains fat from the bran, it can turn rancid and taste bitter if stored too long. Also, self-rising flour has leavening agents that deteriorate over time. To extend the life of whole-wheat, all-purpose and bread flour, store in a moisture- and vapor-proof container and refrigerate or freeze. They should keep several months longer. General Mills does not recommend freezing self-rising flour, as it does not prolong its shelf life. When using flour for baking, always bring it to room temperature in the sealed container/bag to properly restore its moisture.


What is white vinegar made from? It's obvious with red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, etc., but not with white vinegar. Any idea? According to "Food Lover's Companion" by Sharon Tyler Herbst, distilled white vinegar is made from a grain alcohol diluted to a 5 percent acidity level.


How do I freeze fresh asparagus? For best quality, be sure the asparagus is very fresh. Wash and sort stalks by size. Either snap off the tough ends or, preferably, gently peel the stalks, starting at about 4 inches from the tip, all the way down. Cut off about 1/2 inch of the lower stalk. Leave spears whole or cut into 2-inch pieces. Place asparagus (about 3 cups cut up or 1 pound whole) into a large pot of boiling water. Blanch about 2 minutes for small stalks and pieces, and 3 to 4 minutes for larger ones. Start counting as soon as the stalks hit the boiling water. Water should quickly return to a boil. Drain asparagus and plunge immediately into ice-cold water. Drain well and pat dry. Place in freezer bags or containers.


2 Tbsp melted butter

1 Cup sugar

1 can Tomato soup

1 tsp baking soda

1 pinch salt

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp nutmeg

1 cup nuts, chopped

1 cup raisins or dates

Cream sugar and butter. Add tomato soup & mix. Add sifted dry ingredients

and mix. Add nuts & raisins. Bake 40 min. in 375 degree oven. Frost with

cream cheese icing


1/2 cup real butter, softened

1-1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. Baking soda

1/4 cup water

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup

1 cup chopped nuts (your choice, or leave them out).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9"x13" pan. Cream together

butter and sugar. Add eggs, and beat until fluffy. Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix tomato soup and water. Add dry ingredients and soup mixture alternately to creamed mixture. Fold in nuts. Pour into pan, bake for 30 minutes. Frost with your favorite frosting after the cake has cooled. Butter-cream is nice.







Fast & Easy


1 box (about 18 oz.) spice cake mix

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell's Tomato Soup

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour two 8" or 9" round cake

pans. MIX cake mix, soup, water and eggs according to package directions.

Pour into prepared pans. BAKE 25 min. or until done. COOL on wire racks 10

min. Remove from pans and cool completely. FILL and frost with your favorite

cream cheese frosting. Serves 12.


1 lb. cheese Tortellini

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1-tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 cup vodka

1 cup canned whole tomatoes, drained

3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup coarsely grated Romano cheese

1 cup heavy cream

Cook the Tortellini. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle in crushed red pepper flakes. When the butter is bubbling rapidly, pour in the vodka. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the whole tomatoes and both grated cheeses. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Pour in the cream and simmer for 1 additional minute. Remove the sauce from the heat. Pour the sauce over the Tortellini and serve immediately


Makes 10 servings


If you're not in the mood to make a pie crust, you can make a divine chocolate dessert by pouring the prepared filling into ovenproof pot de creme cups or 1 large ovenproof dish and baking as directed.


11/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, diced (1 stick)

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


16 ounces Scharffen Berger 70 percent bittersweet chocolate, chopped (see


1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 egg yolks

3 whole eggs

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

To make pastry: In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, mix together on low the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and mix until it forms small, dime-sized flakes. Stop the machine and add the cream, yolk and vanilla. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together smoothly. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Dust a countertop with flour. Unwrap dough and roll from the center out. (If dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes.) When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter and less than 1/4 inch thick, move the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, raising the excess above the rim. Roll the rolling pin along the top of the pan to remove the excess dough.

Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and paper and bake 5 minutes longer. Let cool.

To make filling: Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

In a double boiler over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter together. Stir and set aside. In a mixer fitted with a whisk or whip attachment, whip the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar until thick and fluffy. Add the vanilla and salt. Slowly add the chocolate mixture while mixing on low speed. Scrape the bowl and then whip mixture on medium speed for 1 minute. Pour into the prepared tart shell and bake until the top looks dry and the filling is just set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour before removing tart band.

Note: Scharffen Berger comes in 9.7-ounce bars and is available at most specialty supermarkets -- such as Zupan's Markets, Whole Foods and City Market -- for about $9. Substituting other brands of chocolate is possible, but the flavor just isn't the same. So go ahead and splurge!

Adapted from pastry chef Melissa McKinney, Bluehour


There are a few tricks to picking a great watermelon:

1. Choose one that is symmetrical.

2. It should be dull, not shiny.

3. Check the belly, where it was on the ground. It should be yellow, not white.

4. Gently scratch the rind with a fingernail. The rind should come up easily.

5. Seeded watermelons should have no stem, which means the melon was ripe enough to slide easily off the vine. Black crystallized sugar around the stem means there is good sugar content.

6. Hold the melon and slap it with one hand. You should feel it vibrate. If it doesn't, the melon most likely is mushy.


Serves: 4 (about 1 cup each)

Source: "1,001 Recipes For People with Diabetes" by Surrey Books

Book info: http://tgcmagazine.com/bin/track/click.cgi?id=24

Vegetable cooking spray

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 cups fat-free milk

1/2 to 1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 cup plain fat-free yogurt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 dashes hot pepper sauce

Salt and white pepper, to taste

1/3 cup chopped, seeded cucumber

1/3 cup chopped, seeded yellow tomato

1/3 cup cubed avocado

Finely chopped cilantro or parsley, as garnish


Spray large saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot. Cook onion and garlic over medium-low heat until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add milk and bouillon cube; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is hot and bouillon cube is dissolved. Process soup, yogurt, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce in food processor or blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cook; refrigerate until chilled, 3 to 4 hours. Stir in cucumber, tomato, and avocado into soup; pour into bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.



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