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).

 

A-1 STEAK SAUCE

AMERICAN POTATO CUTLETS

ARTICHOKE SOUP FOR ONE

BASIC POLENTA

BLACK BEANS IN MANGO SAUCE

BLT SPINACH WRAP

BREADED SAUTÉED GOAT CHEESE PATTIES.

CARAMEL POPCORN

CHEESEBURGER SOUP

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK FOR ONE

CHICKEN WITH BEET AND FENNEL SALAD

CHILES RELLENOS CASSEROLE

CHILIES RELLENOS

CHINESE NOODLES

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CHEESECAKE

CLASSIC SPARERIBS WITH BLACK BEAN SA

CREAMY APPLE PIE

CRISPY SOUTHWEST POLENTA HASH

CRUNCHY LEMON RICE

EGGPLANT AND FETA STRUDEL

EGGPLANT GRATIN

FARM STYLE BUTTERMILK PIE

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

GREEK STYLE STUFFED EGGPLANT

GRILLED MOZZARELLA TOMATO AND BASIL

GRILLED POLENTA

GRUY_RE QUICHE WITH GOLDEN ONION

HOMEMADE PROTEIN BARS

KNOTTS BERRY FARM CHICKEN SOUP

LEMON CLOUD

LINGUINE WITH CHICKEN AND CARIBBEAN

LOBSTER BISQUE

LOTUS ROOT SOUP

MAWA PATTIES

MOROCCAN EGGPLANT SALAD

ORANGE GLAZED QUINCES

PARSNIP GALETTE WITH GREENS

PASTA PUTTANESCA

PERSIMMON PUDDING

POLENTA WAFFLES WITH BERRIES

POMEGRANATE AND FILBERTS SALAD

PRESERVED CHINESE FOODS

QUINCE CRANBERRY CRUMB DESSERT

QUINCE CRISP

QUINCE PRESERVES

RANCH DRESSING

RED PEPPER WALNUT PASTE

REPLICATING THE SWEETS OF INDIA

RICOTTA SOUFFLE

ROASTED SQUASH AND APPLE BISQUE

SALTED FISH WITH GROUND PORK

SANDESH

SNAPPER WITH CHINESE VEGETABLES

SOY GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

SPICY ROAST DUCKLING

SPIKE'S FAMOUS LASAGNA

SPRINGERLE III

SPRINGERLE IV

SPRINGERLES II

STOVE TOP BAKED BEANS

SZECHWAN EGGPLANT

TUNISIAN TOMATO SOUP

TUSCAN TOMATO SOUP

 

A-1 STEAK SAUCE

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

2 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1. Bring to boil 2 minutes stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

3. Pour mixture into blender until it is pureed.

4. Pour into bottle and cap tightly. refrigerate, and use within 90 days.

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN POTATO CUTLETS

For an unusual skillet breakfast, serve these mashed potato cakes with Fried Green Tomatoes.(Recipe below.) The timing is good, because you can prepare the tomatoes first and then let them cool while you fry the potato cakes. (The tomatoes need time to cool anyway.)

Why russets? Because they are a dry, meaty variety that mashes well. Other, waxier types can turn gluey when mashed.

You can use leftover mashed potatoes for this. If they've been salted, adjust the amount of salt accordingly.

If you're cooking the potatoes just for this recipe, use 1 pound. Peel them, cut them into chunks, and boil until soft. Drain very well, and mash until smooth.

You can make and coat the patties up to a day in advance, storing them on a plate, tightly covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Dredge them again in bread crumbs just before frying.

YIELD: About 4 servings (2 patties each)

 

1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed russet potatoes

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup finely minced scallion

1 hard-boiled egg, minced or grated

3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 large egg, beaten

1/3 to 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

A little butter (optional)

Place the mashed potatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Add the mustard, dill, garlic, scallion, hard-boiled egg, salt and pepper. Mix until everything is thoroughly blended. Break the egg onto a dinner plate, and beat it with a fork until smooth. Place the bread crumbs on another plate. Use your hands (wet them if you like, for easier handling) to form the mixture into 3-inch patties, using about 1/4 cup for each. Carefully dip both sides of each patty in egg and dredge them lightly in the bread crumbs to coat on all sides.

Place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. After a minute or two, add the olive oil, wait for about 10 seconds, then swirl to coat the pan. If you like, you can also melt in some butter.

When the pan is hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb, fry the cutlets about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp. Remove the cutlets from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack over a tray to cool. (This retains their crispy texture.) Serve hot or warm.

VARIATION: Broccoli-Potato Cutlets

Follow the main recipe with these adjustments. Add to the potato mixture:

1 1/2 cups finely minced broccoli (florets and peeled stems)

For a touch of color, replace the scallion with: 1/2 cup finely minced red onion

ARTICHOKE SOUP FOR ONE

1 1/4 cup (310 ml) chicken stock

1 scallion (spring onion), thinly sliced

1 tsp (5 ml) lemon juice

3 cooked artichoke hearts, fresh, frozen, or canned, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Tbsp (30 ml) heavy cream

Bring the stock, scallion, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat. Add the remaining ingredients and return to the boil, stirring occasionally. Serves 1.

Bon appetit from the Chef at World Wide Recipes

BASIC POLENTA

Makes 6 to 8 servings

These simple ingredients bake into a luxuriously rich custard to top with tomato sauce or to serve with grilled meats.

 

1 cup water

3 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (11/2 sticks; divided)

1 cup polenta

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups freshly grated parmesan (31/2 ounces; divided)

2 egg yolks

In a heavy, medium saucepan over moderate heat, combine water and milk with salt and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Bring to a boil, then gradually whisk in polenta and flour. Continue whisking until mixture thickens slightly, then switch to a wooden spoon and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thick, about 20 minutes more. Stir in 6 tablespoons more butter and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.

Remove polenta from heat and stir in half the cheese and the 2 egg yolks. Pour polenta into a buttered 9-by-11-by-11/2-inch roasting pan. Cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cooled polenta into squares or diamonds, using a knife, or into rounds or other shapes, using a biscuit or cookie cutter. Place polenta on buttered baking sheet. Dot with remaining butter; sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake 15 minutes; turn heat up to 450 degrees and bake until lightly browned.

GRILLED POLENTA

Makes 4 servings

When cooled until firm, then sliced and grilled, polenta develops an appetizing crust that makes it a good accompaniment for braises and stews. Serve the grilled polenta plain or with a savory tomato or mushroom sauce.

Vegetable oil

Basic Polenta (see accompanying recipe)

Oil an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan or a 1-inch-deep cake pan. Pour hot polenta into prepared pan. Cool, then chill until firm.

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Oil grilling rack. Slice polenta 1/2 inch thick. Grill on both sides until polenta is hot throughout and develops an appetizing crust. The polenta may also be successfully cooked on an indoor griddle. Serve immediately.

BLACK BEANS IN MANGO SAUCE

All you need are a couple of perfectly ripe mangoes and you're up and running with this quick, exotic dish. To make it into a complete meal, just add plain steamed broccoli and rice.

Wonderful though they are to eat, mangoes can be difficult to cut up without their turning to mush. The good news here is that in this dish, it doesn't matter, because the mangoes get mashed anyway. So just cut them open, scrape out the flesh and mince as best you can.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 3-inch jalepeño chili, seeded and minced

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

About 6 cups cooked black beans (3 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained)

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 large ripe mangoes, minced

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Minced fresh cilantro (optional)

Squeezable wedges of lime

Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add 1 1/4 cups of the onion and the garlic, chili, ginger, cumin seeds, and salt. Sauté over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the black beans and about half the lime juice. Sauté for about 5 more minutes, or until everything has mingled nicely and the beans are heated through. Mash the beans slightly with the back of the spoon and transfer to a bowl.

Stir the remaining lime juice and about half of the chopped mangoes directly into the hot beans, mashing the mangoes a little as you stir. Grind in some black pepper, then cover and let stand for about 15 minutes to let the sauce develop.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold, topped with the remaining red onion and mango and some minced cilantro, if desired. For a finishing touch, tuck a juicy wedge of lime into the side of each serving.

Yield: About 6 servings, depending on what else is served

BLT SPINACH WRAP

Makes 1 sandwich

1 spinach wrap (sold alongside tortillas)

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1 romaine lettuce leaf

3 thin tomato slices

2 bacon strips, cooked and drained on paper towels (see note) (real or soy)

2 avocado slices (optional)

1 thick slice sweet onion

2 thin slices green bell pepper

Heat wrap for a few seconds in the microwave oven. Place the wrap on a large dinner plate. Spread the barbecue sauce over the open wrap. In the middle of the wrap, layer the lettuce leaf, tomato slices, bacon, avocado (if desired), onion and bell pepper. Fold up wrap.

Note: Brands of soy bacon include Lightlife's Smart Bacon, Morningstar Farm's Breakfast Strip or Smoky Tempeh Strips from Lightlife. They are sold in the nutrition section of the grocery store. Two strips of Smart Bacon have 1.5 grams total fat, 360 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate and 6 grams protein. -- Adapted from "Amazing Soy" by Dana Jacobi

BREADED SAUTÉED GOAT CHEESE PATTIES

Crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, these patties are a luxurious treat. Eat them plain or accompanied by little toasts and some vegetables and olives. They also fit perfectly on an English muffin, or tucked inside a cooked portobello mushroom.

You can make these ahead of time and store them in an airtight wrapper or container in the refrigerator for up to a week. They reheat very quickly (about 20 seconds on High) in a microwave. You can also keep the patties warm in a 300°F oven just after cooking them.

1 cup soft goat cheese

1/4 cup fine bread crumbs

Freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Optional Accompaniments

English muffins or little toasts

Olives

Thinly sliced radishes

Thinly sliced cucumber

Tiny Cherry Tomatoes

Place about 2 tablespoons of the cheese on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap, and gently pat and "massage" the cheese into a patty 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. (You can also skip the plastic wrap, and just use your hands. Dampen them first, so the cheese won't stick.) Repeat with the rest of the cheese. You should have 8 patties.

Place the bread crumbs on a plate, grind in some fresh black pepper and stir to mix. Press the cheese patties into the crumbs until coated on both sides and around the edges.

Place a heavy, nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, wait about 30 seconds, then swirl to coat the pan. When the skillet is very hot, add the coated cheese patties and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, adding more oil if necessary.

When they are done to your liking, transfer the sautéed patties to a plate lined with a double-thickness of paper towels. Serve hot or very warm, sprinkled with more freshly ground black pepper, along with your choice of accompaniments.

Yield: About 4 servings (2 patties each); easily multiplied

 

CARAMEL POPCORN

1/2 cup Butter or Margarine

1 cup Corn Syrup

2 cups Brown Sugar

4 quarts Popped 94% fat-free butter flavor Microwave Popcorn -- or air popped

Bring the first three ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil one minute and pour over 4 quarts of popped popcorn. Spread onto waxed paper for loose caramel corn or form into balls with buttered hands.

Variations: Cracker Jack

Add 1 cup dry roasted peanuts to caramel mixture just before pouring over

popcorn. Follow directions as above for loose caramel corn.

Spooky Mix

Add 1 cup Cashews to caramel mixture just before pouring over popcorn. Mix

as directed above, and when loose caramel corn is cooled, add 2 cups Candy

Corn and 1 cup Raisins; toss. Makes a great snack mix!

CHEESEBURGER SOUP

1/2 lb ground beef

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup shredded carrots

3/4 cup diced celery

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

4 tbsp butter or margarine -- divided

3 cup chicken broth

4 cup diced peeled potatoes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 oz processed American cheese -- cubed

1 1/2 cup milk

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan,

sauté onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until

vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream.

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK FOR ONE

Chicken-fried steak is a staple in many Southern kitchens, and many cooks serve it with milk gravy. I have included a recipe for same if you would like to add it, but consider it optional. It is traditionally made with minute steaks (sometimes called cubed steaks), but any thin, boneless cut of beef will do.

 

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

1 6-ounce (170 g) thin boneless beef steak, pounded to tenderize

All-purpose flour for dredging

2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter

2 Tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the gravy:

1 Tbsp (15 ml) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl. Dip the steak into the egg mixture and coat with flour on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over moderate heat and fry the steak until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

For the optional gravy, remove the steak from the skillet and set aside. Stir the flour into the drippings in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Spoon the gravy over the steak and serve immediately. Serves 1.

Bon appetit from the Chef at World Wide Recipes

CHICKEN WITH BEET AND FENNEL SALAD

Makes 4 servings

Don't use red beets for this recipe; they will bleed into the sauce and turn it a pinkish color, and the chicken could end up with beet-red splotches. Accompany with lightly sauteed chard, baby arugula or similar greens.

Salad:

1 golden beet

1 Chioggia beet (see note)

1/2 fennel bulb

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives

1 teaspoon chopped fresh chervil

Chervil sprigs for garnish (optional)

Chicken and sauce:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 cups chicken stock or broth

1/4 cup creme fraiche

To make salad: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the beets, then wrap them in foil. Roast for 1 hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a skewer. Peel while still warm. When the beets have cooled completely, cut into julienne.

Shave the fennel bulb horizontally into paper-thin slices; set aside.

To make chicken: Remove the tender from each breast and set aside for another use. The tender is the strip of meat, about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide, that can be pulled away from the rest of the breast. During cooking, the tendon that runs the length of each tender causes it to shrink more than the rest of the chicken breast.

Place each breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound the thick part until it becomes more similar in thickness to the rest of the breast.

Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and heat until it shimmers (just before it starts to smoke).

Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 good pinches of pepper per breast. Carefully place in the pan and sear briefly. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the chicken releases from the pan, about 2 minutes, then turn the chicken with tongs. Continue to cook, turning several times if needed, to get a nicely browned surface, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan, loosely cover with foil, and let rest for a few minutes.

To make sauce: Add a little more oil to the chicken-cooking pan, if needed. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat until they are soft and just starting to brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine and vinegar. Cook until reduced by half. Increase the heat, add the chicken stock and again reduce by about half. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning.

To finish salad: While the sauce is reducing, toss together the beets, fennel, olive oil, orange zest and juice, chives and chopped chervil. Season with salt and pepper.

Assembly: Transfer the chicken to serving plates; Spoon the sauce over the chicken, then top with the salad. Garnish with chervil sprigs, if desired.

Note: Chioggia beets are round and red with red and white stripes inside. If you can't find them in your market or farmers market, use another variety.

CHILES RELLENOS CASSEROLE

Makes 6 servings

3 7-ounce cans whole green chilies

1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded (4 cups)

1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)

4 eggs, separated

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tomato slices

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Rinse chilies, slit open and remove any seeds. In a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, alternate chilies with cheeses to make two or three layers.

In a bowl, beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. In another bowl, beat yolks until foamy; beat in evaporated milk, flour, sugar and salt. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture. Pour over chilies and cheese.

Bake 25 minutes. Arrange tomato slices on top. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes longer. -- Los Angeles Times

CHILIES RELLENOS

Makes 6 servings

6 poblano or Nu Mex chilies

3 large ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cups grated Monterey jack cheese (12 ounces; divided)

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

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

Make a lengthwise slit in each one, and remove seeds and membranes.

In blender, puree the tomatoes, onion and garlic. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet, add the tomato puree and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, add 1 teaspoon salt, the bay leaves and pepper and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Set aside while preparing chilies.

Fill each chili with 1/2 cup of grated cheese and set aside.

Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then stir in yolks one at a time. Spread the flour on a plate, turn each chili in it to coat lightly, then dip into the beaten eggs until completely covered.

Heat 1/2 inch oil in a skillet on medium-high heat, add the chilies one or two at a time and fry on each side until lightly browned. Drain on absorbent paper.

Heat tomato sauce and arrange chilies carefully in the same skillet so that each is almost covered with sauce. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.

-- Elizabeth Smith, Westwind Gardens

CHINESE NOODLES

2 servings.

1/4 pound Chinese noodles (fresh or dried) or angel hair pasta

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the noodles and boil one minute for fresh or three minutes for dried. Drain, return to the saucepan and add sesame oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Divide noodles between two dinner plates.

 

 

CHOCOLATE PRALINE CHEESECAKE

Crust

1 package Duncan Hines Golden Sugar Cookie Mis

1 egg

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Filling

1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 (8 oz each) packages cream cheese; softened

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 square ( 1oz) unsweetened chocolate; melted

20 to 25 pecan halves (1/2 cup)

Caramel flavor topping

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make crust: Combine cookie mix, contents of butter flavor packet from mix, 1 egg and chopped pecans in large bowl, Stir until thoroughly blended. Press mixture into bottom of ungreased 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until edge is light brown and center is set. Remove from oven.

For Filling: Combine brown sugar and flour in small bowl; set aside. Place cream cheese in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer, adding brown sugar mixture gradually. Add beaten eggs and vanilla, mixing only until incorporated. Remove 1 cup batter to small bowl; add melted chocolate. Pour remaining plain batter onto warm crust. Drop spoonfuls of chocolate batter over plain batter. Run knife through batters to marble. Arrange pecan halves around top edge. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until set. Loosen cake from sides of pan with knife. Cool completely on rack. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until ready to serve. When ready to serve remove sides of pan. Glaze top of cheesecake with caramel flavor topping.

CLASSIC SPARERIBS WITH BLACK BEAN SAUCE

Serves 4 as a side dish

For sauce:

2 tablespoons fermented black beans, rinsed

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon dry sherry

For ribs:

1 1/2 pounds pork spareribs, cut Chinese-style to inch-wide strips (see Notes)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin pieces

1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and mashed with side of cleaver

1 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed well with 2 tablespoons cold water

1 green bell pepper, diced (see Notes)

2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

Place black beans and garlic in a small bowl and mash together with end of a cleaver. Add soy sauce and sherry, mix to blend. Set aside.

If not already done, cut ribs into bite-sized pieces. Place spareribs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a near boil. Reduce heat and parboil the ribs for just a minute to remove extra fat; rinse immediately with cold water. Drain and set aside. To cook: Heat wok with vegetable oil, swirling to coat sides. Stir-fry the onion, ginger and spareribs over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add black bean sauce and continue stirring until all ribs are coated with sauce.

Add chicken broth, cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes over low heat. Raise heat and bring contents back to a slight boil. Stir in cornstarch mixture; add peppers. Simmer 3-4 more minutes, until bell pepper is cooked. Toss in green onions. Adjust sauce if needed by adding more soy sauce.

Serve over or with rice. This dish is excellent reheated the next day.

Notes: Friendly butchers will cut the spareribs for you free of charge. You can use 1/2 red pepper and 1/2 green pepper for added color if you prefer.

CREAMY APPLE PIE

Makes one 9-inch pie

 

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 4 apples)

Juice of half a lemon

1 unbaked 9-inch double pie crust

2 tablespoons butter

Cream sauce:

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 3-ounce package cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine sugar, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and flour. Toss sliced apples with lemon juice and add to sugar mixture. Blend well.

Put the apple mixture in an unbaked pie shell. Dot with butter. Cover with top crust. Cut a steam hole in the center. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking for 40 to 45 more minutes. Meanwhile, prepare sauce as directed below. Cool pie 10 minutes, then pour the cream sauce into steam hole.

To make cream sauce: Combine egg, sugar and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in cream cheese and sour cream. Blend until smooth.

Note: This pie was presented by the New Jersey Apple Industry Council during an event sponsored by the New Jersey Agriculture Society.

CRISPY SOUTHWEST POLENTA HASH

In this fun breakfast or brunch dish, you sauté Polenta pieces in a hot skillet with savory southwestern seasonings for a terrific crunchy hash.

Be sure to use a large enough skillet (or two skillets, side by side) so the polenta can have maximum contact with the hot surface. That is what gives this dish the crisp texture that makes it extraordinary.

This hash is good with eggs or by itself. It's really good with salsa! Use your favorite commercial brand, or make your own.

The Polenta pieces must be made at least 1 1/2 hours ahead of time. You can make them several days ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

The jalapeño adds a bit of heat. For a milder flavor, remove and discard the seeds. (Wash your hands after handling this or any other hot pepper.)

You can also substitute canned green chilies.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings (depending on the context)

Preparation time: 30 minutes (...once the Polenta Pieces are made. They take at least 1 1/2 hours to prepare, cool, firm up, and cut)

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons butter (optional)

Polenta Pieces (recipe follows)

Nonstick spray (optional)

1 heaping cup minced onion

2 to 3 tablespoons minced jalapeño (a 3-inch chili)

2 teaspoons pure ground chili powder

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 to 2 cups fresh corn kernels (optional)

1 to 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15-ounce can), drained

Salsa (any kind)

Place a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, wait another 10 seconds or so, then swirl to coat the pan. You can also melt in some butter for a richer flavor.

Add the Polenta pieces (you should hear a nice sizzle on contact), and sauté in a single layer for a good 12 to 15 minutes, loosening and moving them around every 5 minutes with a metal spatula to keep them from sticking. They will crumble somewhat, which is actually desirable, as it makes a crisper result.

Don't move the pieces any more often than every 5 minutes, letting them sit over the heat is what gets them crisp. If the polenta appears to be sticking, push it to one side, lightly spray the pan with nonstick spray--or add a little more olive oil and resume sautéing until all surfaces are golden.

When the polenta turns golden, move it over to one side of the pan and pour in a little additional oil.

Add the onions, jalapeño, and chili powder and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are very soft. Stir in the garlic, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Push the polenta pieces back into the center and mix everything together in the pan, still over the heat. Gently stir in the corn, tomatoes and beans and cook just until heated through. (Be careful not to break the beans as you stir. The dish looks nicer if they remain whole.)

Serve hot or warm, with salsa if desired.

Polenta Pieces

1 3/4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal (polenta)

1 cup cold water

Pour 1 3/4 cups water into a medium-sized saucepan, add the salt, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, place the polenta in a bowl with the cold water and stir until it is completely moistened.

Turn heat under the boiling water down to a simmer and spoon in the wet polenta. Stir with a wooden spoon, and cook over medium- low heat for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until very thick.

Turn the polenta out onto two dinner plates, spreading it into a thin circle all the way to the rims of the plates. Let it cool for at least 1 hour. It will become very firm.

Cut the polenta into cubes or dice and proceed with the following recipe.

NOTE: For an even crisper result, let the cut pieces "air out" for about an hour before frying.

CRUNCHY LEMON RICE

1/2 cup uncooked regular long-grain rice

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules

4 drops red pepper sauce (4 to 6 drops) -- optional

1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts -- drained and chopped

1/3 cup sliced green onions

1 tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel

Heat rice, water, bouillon granules and (optional) pepper sauce to boiling in 2-quart saucepan, stirring once or twice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 14 minutes (do not lift cover or stir); remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Fluff lightly with fork. Yield: 6 servings.

EGGPLANT AND FETA STRUDEL

4 to 6 servings

1 medium eggplant, about 1 to 1 1/4 pounds

Olive oil (or vegetable oil spray)

Salt, pepper

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons pesto

4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 large tomato, seeded and diced

8 ounces phyllo dough (about 20 8-by-11-inch sheets), thawed

Butter-flavored spray

Cut off eggplant top. Do not peel. Cut into 1/2-inch dice. Spread on a baking sheet and spray or drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat evenly. Bake at 450 degrees for five minutes. Stir. Bake three to four minutes longer, or until tender but not mushy. Transfer to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

On a work counter, line up bowls of the eggplant, pesto, cheese and tomato. Remove the dough from the box and cover with a damp towel. If necessary, cut dough to the correct size.

Working quickly, peel off two sheets of phyllo together and place on work surface. Spray with butter-flavored oil. Peel off two more sheets of dough, and stack directly on top of first two sheets. Spray with oil. Continue until 10 sheets have been stacked and sprayed.

Spoon half of the eggplant along one long edge of the pastry stack, about two inches from edge. Top with half of the pesto, half of the cheese and half of the tomatoes. Pull dough over the filling, tuck edges in and roll up like a cigar.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.

EGGPLANT GRATIN

Serves 6

2 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled if white

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced

4 large eggs

1 cup milk or light cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

10 large basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish. Cut eggplant into rounds or slabs a scant 1/2-inch thick. Salt if you wish and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet, add onions, and cook over medium heat, turning frequently, until soft and light gold, about 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl. While onions are cooking, beat eggs with milk; stir in cheese, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground pepper.

If you salted eggplant, rinse it, then wick up water with a towel. Heat remaining oil in skillet. When hot, add eggplant and immediately turn it in pan so that all pieces are coated lightly with oil. Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally until eggplant is golden, about 25 minutes.

Season eggplant with salt and pepper to taste, then toss with onions and basil. Put in prepared dish and pour custard over top. Bake until golden, firm, and puffed, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving. This dish can be served warm or at room temperature. It also can be made ahead, and then reheated.

FARM STYLE BUTTERMILK PIE

WITH FRIED APPLE RINGS

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Pastry:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (1 stick; see note)

1 egg yolk

Cold water

Filling:

2 Golden Delicious apples

11/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (see note)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

11/2 cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (see note)

To make pastry: Put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine repeatedly -- 6 or 7 one-second bursts -- until the butter is broken into very small pieces.

Place the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measure and add just enough water to equal 1/4 cup liquid. Using a fork, blend the water and yolk. Remove the lid of the processor and pour the liquid over the entire surface of the dry ingredients. (That is, don't pour it in only one spot.) Pulse the machine again, in short bursts, until the pastry starts to form large clumps. Don't overprocess, or the butter will start to melt rather than stay in small pieces.

Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap about 14 inches long and place it nearby.

Empty the contents into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, pack the dough as you would a snowball. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times, right in the bowl. Put the dough in the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about 3/4 inch thick. The edges will probably crack slightly; just pinch and mold them back into a smooth disk. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the pastry into a 131/2-inch circle using a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place the pie shell in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, then fully bake it.

To bake the pie shell, tear off a long sheet of aluminum foil and press it into the pastry until it fits like a second skin.

Arrange the excess foil on either side so it points out like a pair of wings. This gives you something to grab when you remove the foil later. Don't bunch the foil around the pan, or it will deflect the heat. Fill the foil with about 11/2 pounds of dried beans, pushing them up the sides a little to keep the pastry snug in the pan.

Bake the pie shell on the center rack for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using pot holders, grasp the foil on either side and slowly lift the beans out of the shell. Using a fork, poke the bottom of the pastry 5 or 6 times, twisting the fork slightly to enlarge the holes, so steam can escape. This will prevent the pastry from puffing up.

Put the pie shell back in the oven and bake for another 7 to 8 minutes for a partially prebaked shell, or bake about 15 minutes for a fully baked shell. The bottom of the former will be a light golden in color; the latter will be a bit darker.

As the pie shell cools, prepare the filling.

To make filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Leaving the skins on, cut the apples into crosswise slices 3/4 inch thick. Core each ring and select the 6 best-looking ones. Melt the 11/2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and add the apple slices, sprinkling 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar over them. Fry over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then flip the slices and fry them on the other side for a few additional minutes, until nearly tender. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar over the apples and flip again. Cook for another minute or 2, until the slices are tender. Transfer the slices to a plate.

Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the eggs and yolk and the vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the buttermilk and melted butter, and process just until blended.

Put 1 apple ring in the center of the prebaked pie shell and arrange the others around it. Very slowly pour the buttermilk custard over the apples. If the slices don't rise, lift them with a fork. Put the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for about 45 minutes. To check for doneness, poke the pie pan. The custard shouldn't move in waves but instead should seem set in the center; don't overbake.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

Tart, crunchy, and dripping with juice, fried green tomatoes are rarely considered a breakfast food. But picture a few slices -- coated with golden cornmeal -- on the plate next to your scrambled eggs or tofu, and I think you'll reconsider. They're also a perfect partner for American Potato Cutlets.

Serve these warm, not hot, as the insides of the tomatoes retain a lot of heat and could burn your mouth.

The tomatoes don't have to literally be green, as long as they're unripe and really hard. They soften up so much during the cooking process that if they're at all ripe to begin with, you'll have mush when you're done.

Use a metal spatula for turning the tomatoes and scrape the surface of the pan when you lift them. This ensures that you won't accidentally separate the cornmeal coating from the tomato.

YIELD: 2 to 3 servings (2 to 3 thick slices per serving)

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes, plus 20 minutes to cook

2 large unripe tomatoes (about 1 pound)

1/3 cup cornmeal or polenta (rounded measure)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Nonstick spray and a little butter for the pan

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

Coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Core the tomatoes, and thinly slice off the ends. Cut the tomatoes into half- inch-thick slices (you'll get about 3 or 4 slices per tomato) and set aside.

Combine the cornmeal and salt on a dinner plate. Mix until uniformly blended.

Dredge the tomato slices in the cornmeal mixture, pressing it into the cut surfaces of the tomatoes to create a thick coating.

Place a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes. Spray the hot pan with nonstick spray and melt in a little butter. After a few seconds, tilt the pan to distribute the butter, then add the coated tomatoes.

Fry the tomatoes on each side for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden. You might need to add a little more butter at some point to keep them from sticking.

Remove the tomatoes from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack over a tray to cool. (This retains their crispy texture.) Wait at least 5 minutes before serving, as the insides of the tomatoes will have become very hot and will need to cool down a little.

Serve warm, and pass some coarse salt, a pepper mill

VARIATION: Fried Green Tomatoes With Melted Cheddar

Follow the main recipe with this adjustment.

Preheat the broiler. Place the fried tomatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with 1/2 cup (packed) grated sharp cheddar. Broil just long enough to melt the cheese. Serve right away.

GREEK STYLE STUFFED EGGPLANT

6 servings

Filling:

1 pound ground chuck

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon oregano

Salt, pepper

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice

Shells and toppings:

3 medium eggplants

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 container (10 ounces) refrigerated commercial Alfredo sauce

3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

For the filling: Brown beef in a large, nonstick skillet. Drain off most of the grease. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened. Stir in spices, salt and pepper. Cook two minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and simmer over medium heat until liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.

Cut off stems and cut eggplants in half lengthwise. With a sharp knife, cut around the inside of each half, about 1/2 inch from skin.

Score flesh, being careful not to cut through skin. Scoop out flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch lining clinging to the skin. Chop into 1/4-inch dice.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté diced eggplant until softened. Stir into meat mixture. Place eggplants cut sides down in hot skillet. Cover and cook for about four to five minutes. Turn over, cover and cook four to five minutes longer, adding water if necessary to prevent eggplant from burning. The shells should be soft but not mushy.

Place eggplant shells, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Fill with meat filling. Top with Alfredo sauce. Combine bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over tops. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until brown and bubbly.

GRILLED MOZZARELLA TOMATO AND BASIL SANDWICH

Makes 2 sandwiches

3 ounces whole-milk mozzarella

1/2 ripe avocado

2 tablespoons softened butter

4 slices firm pumpernickel

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

6 ounces thinly sliced smoked turkey

Salt and pepper

Thinly slice mozzarella. Pit, peel and thinly slice avocado. Spread mustard on bread slices. Top 2 slices of bread with mozzarella, avocado and turkey. Season turkey with salt and pepper and top with remaining 2 bread slices. Butter tops of sandwiches.

Heat a heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and Add sandwiches, buttered side down. Cook until bread is crisp, about 11/2 minutes, turn and butter tops of sandwiches. Cook until cheese is melted, about 11/2 minutes. -- From Gourmet magazine (Gourmet is a Conde Nast publication; Conde Nast is owned by Advance Publications, which also owns The Oregonian.)

 

 

 

GRILLED POLENTA

Makes 4 servings

When cooled until firm, then sliced and grilled, polenta develops an appetizing crust that makes it a good accompaniment for braises and stews. Serve the grilled polenta plain or with a savory tomato or mushroom sauce.

Vegetable oil

Basic Polenta (see accompanying recipe)

Oil an 8- or 9-inch loaf pan or a 1-inch-deep cake pan. Pour hot polenta into prepared pan. Cool, then chill until firm.

Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Oil grilling rack. Slice polenta 1/2 inch thick. Grill on both sides until polenta is hot throughout and develops an appetizing crust. The polenta may also be successfully cooked on an indoor griddle. Serve immediately.

GRUYÈRE QUICHE WITH GOLDEN ONION

AND RED PEPPER

You can prepare the sautéed vegetables (steps 1 and 2) up to several days ahead.

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cups sliced onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 unbaked Quiche Crust

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

1 cup (packed) grated gruyère

3 large eggs

1 cup milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and wait about 2 minutes. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion, sauté for 5 minutes and then add the salt, herbs and mustard. Cover the pan, lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. (During this time, preheat the oven to 375°F, and place the unbaked crust on a baking tray.)

Stir the vinegar and bell pepper into the onions, turn the heat up to medium and cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Sprinkle the cheese into the crust, then spoon the onion-pepper mixture on top of the cheese.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and black pepper to taste and slowly pour this over the vegetables and cheese.

Bake on the baking tray in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the custard is set. Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing, and serve at any temperature.

HOMEMADE PROTEIN BARS

Making your own granola bars is much easier than you may think and it's really fun. These homemade bars are very economical and you get to select all the ingredients according to your own standards, needs, and taste.

Try adding some or all of the protein boosters that follow the recipe. You may never make these the same way twice.

For nondairy bars, replace the yogurt with unsweetened applesauce, canned pumpkin, or mashed banana (Or try the silken tofu option in the Protein Boosters box.) Add an extra pinch of salt if using pumpkin or silken tofu.

The range of sugar allows you to make these bars sweeter or not, according to your taste. YIELD: About 20 medium-sized bars

 

Nonstick spray

1 cup soy protein powder

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup oat bran

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350'F (325'F for a glass pan). Lightly spray a 9- by 13- inch baking pan and a baking tray with nonstick spray.

Mix together the protein powder, flour, oats, oat bran, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Crumble in the brown sugar, rubbing it with your fingers to break up any clumps. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Measure the yogurt, oil, and vanilla into a second bowl, stirring until well combined. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix patiently, until thoroughly blended. (You may have to use your hands--it will be a thick batter, verging on a dough.)

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, patting it evenly into place with your hands. Bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and cut into bars of any size or shape.

Place the bars on the prepared baking tray and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges. (For extra-crunchy bars, turn off the oven and leave them in there for up to 45 minutes longer.)

Remove the bars from the oven, and place them on a rack to cool.

Eat the bars within a few hours, or seal them in a heavy zip-style plastic bag and store in the freezer. For maximum crispness, "refresh" them in a toaster oven after defrosting.

VARIATIONS: Protein Boosters

You can make the main recipe with any combination of the following adjustments:

Replace the canola oil with 1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (softened in a microwave).

Replace the flour with quinoa, ground to a powder in a blender or an electric spice grinder.

Replace the yogurt with mashed silken tofu (soft or firm.) Add an extra pinch of salt.

Add 2 to 3 tablespoons powdered egg whites

Add up to 1 cup chopped nuts and/or sunflower seeds.

KNOTTS BERRY FARM CHICKEN SOUP

Serves 8-10

To make soup:

1 (3-pound) chicken OR 3 pounds chicken parts (necks, backs, etc.)

Water to cover

2 onions, chunked

6 carrots, chunked

4 stalks celery, with tops

1 parsnip, chunked

5 sprigs parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

To make mushroom dumplings:

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon parsley, minced

1/4 cup finely chopped or ground fresh mushrooms

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place soup ingredients in a Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Skim foam off top, cover and simmer 1 hour or more. Remove chicken pieces and, when they're cool enough to handle, separate the meat from the bones and cut into small pieces. Return chicken to the pot and bring the soup back to a simmer.

To make mushroom dumplings, beat egg yolks until light, then add parsley, mushrooms and flour mixed with baking powder, salt and pepper. Beat whites until stiff but not dry and fold into egg yolk-mushroom mixture.

Drop mushroom dumpling batter by the tablespoonful into the soup. Cover and simmer 10 minutes.

LEMON CLOUD

The next time you make a special dinner, surprise your family and friends with this tart, lowfat dessert soufflé. If you put it in the oven as you sit down to dinner, it will be ready in all its puffy splendor just at the right time. (As with all soufflés, Lemon Cloud collapses soon after it is baked, so if you want puffy splendor, serve it immediately. On the other hand, if you don't care about puffy splendor, serve this within an hour or two of baking and it will taste just as wonderful.)

4 whole large eggs, plus 1 extra egg white

A little butter and sugar for the baking dish

1/2 to 2/3, cup sugar

1/3 cup unbleached white flour

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup yogurt (low-fat okay)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

*Add the smaller amount of sugar if you like your desserts really tart.

*Separate the eggs ahead of time, so they can come to room temperature.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks and whites in two separate medium-sized bowls. Cover both bowls and let the eggs come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (8-cup) soufflé dish and dust it with sugar.

Add 1/2 to 1/3 cup sugar, the flour, lemon zest and salt to the yolks and whisk for about 2 minutes, until creamy and smooth. Pour in the yogurt and lemon juice and whisk for a minute longer, or until uniform. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. Sprinkle in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Fold about half the egg whites into the lemon mixture, using a rubber spatula and a gentle turning motion to bring the lemon mixture up from the bottom of the bowl. (It doesn't need to be uniform.) Fold in the remaining egg whites.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake on the center rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until puffy on top, and just a little bit wobbly in the middle. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

LINGUINE WITH CHICKEN AND CARIBBEAN SAUCE

1 pound Linguine, Spaghetti or Thin Spaghetti -- uncooked

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 10-ounce package frozen peas -- thawed

1 red bell pepper -- coarsely chopped into 1-inch pieces

3 stalks celery -- diced

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

 

SAUCE

1 medium onion -- quartered

1 piece fresh ginger (2 inches) -- peeled

1/3 cup spicy teriyaki sauce

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a food processor or blender, purée together all the ingredients for the sauce. When the pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.

Lay the chicken in a jellyroll pan and pour half the sauce over it. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, turning halfway into cooking. Remove the chicken from the oven and slice it.

In a large serving bowl, toss the pasta with the peas, red pepper, celery, chicken broth and remaining sauce. Arrange the chicken slices on top and serve. Yield: 6 servings.

LOBSTER BISQUE

Yield 1 gallon

Serves 16 - 8 oz. servings

3/4 cup (6 oz.) Margarine or Butter

1-1/4 cup (6 oz.) Flour

3 qt. water, hot

1/2 cup (5 oz.) Minor's (r) Lobster Base

dash of ground red pepper

1 qt. Cream or Half and Half

2/3 cup Pale Dry Sherry

In an 8 qt. sauce pot over medium high heat, melt margarine or butter. Blend in flour. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add water, Lobster Base and red pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and gently boil 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cream and sherry, mixing well. Heat to a gentle boil, stirring frequently. Optional: Add 15 oz. cooked lobster meat cut into 1/4 inch pieces

LOTUS ROOT SOUP

Serves 8

1 pound (about 3-4) fresh, firm lotus root (see Note)

6 dried shiitake mushrooms

10 cups chicken broth

2/3 pound lean pork, cut into 2-inch cubes OR 1 pound pork bones with some

meat intact

2 pieces tangerine peel, softened in hot water

6 dried Chinese dates, soaked in hot water

2 dried duck giblets, soaked in hot water (optional)

1 small piece preserved cabbage (shoong choy)

1 small piece Chinese dried octopus (jeung yee), soaked and rinsed (optional)

6 slices fresh ginger

To finish:

Chinese parsley (cilantro) to garnish

Peel and cut lotus root into rounds approximately 1/8-inch thick. Cut large rounds in half. Place in a bowl of cold water to cover and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt to prevent discoloration. Set aside until ready to use.

Soak mushrooms in hot water to reconstitute. Drain, remove stems and slice in half.

Drain lotus root.

Place chicken broth into a stock pot with all other ingredients and bring to a near boil. Simmer up to 1 1/2 hours, or until pork is tender. If desired, separate pork from soup before serving. Serve pork separately with soy sauce on the side as a dip for the meat. Or you can serve the soup with the meat in it. Top with sprigs of Chinese parsley and serve.

Note: Lotus roots resemble links of potatoes. When cut, the pieces resemble snowflakes. When bitten into, the lotus root is a little fibrous.

MAWA PATTIES

(Mawae ki Kachori)

Serves 6

For the filling

2 tablespoons ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon milk powder

1 teaspoon ground almonds

1 teaspoon ground pistachios

1 teaspoon chopped raisins

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cashews

3 tablespoons half and half

For the covering

One packet frozen phyllo dough

About 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted, sweet butter

For the syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

A few saffron threads

1/2 teaspoon of rose water (see Note)

Let phyllo package sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours before you start. This will help thaw the sheets. Simultaneously, start preparing filling.

To prepare filling: mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat gently over a low to medium flame. Mix well and stir constantly. Continue stirring until ingredients become soft and change color to become brown, about 20 minutes. Let mixture cool. Quickly pull out about 3 sheets of phyllo. Using scissors, cut sheets into circles with a 2 1/2-inch diameter.

Brush each phyllo circle lightly with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets of phyllo circles. Do not worry if phyllo sheets tear a little; that will be camouflaged after baking. Stack all three layers of phyllo circles on top of each other. Roll 2 heaping teaspoons of filling into a small ball. Place ball in the center of the phyllo circles so the filling rests on the dough. Cover filling with the remaining phyllo, folding it up to make a round structure. Brush the top with diluted rose water or a little bit of butter. Repeat until filling is formed into mawa balls and placed in phyllo circles.

To prepare syrup: Mix all ingredients and heat in a pan until a smooth liquid is formed. Keep warm.

Bake kachoris at 350 degrees 10 to 15 minutes, or until light brown. Pour warm syrup over top and serve.

Note: Rose water is available in Indian grocery stores.

MAWA

Makes about 1/2 cup

2 cups half and half

Pour half and half into a large pot. Heat over medium to high flame until mixture starts to thicken. Keep stirring constantly with a non-stick spoon. When the liquid becomes denser, reduce heat to low and continue stirring constantly. Remove from heat when the mixture becomes semi-solid, which will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Typically, the amount of mawa produced will be one-fourth the quantity of initial liquid.

From Ajay Kumar of Lovely Sweets in Fremont

MOROCCAN EGGPLANT SALAD

6 to 8 servings

2 large or 3 medium eggplants

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon (or less) cayenne pepper

1/4 cup lemon juice

3/4 cup fruity olive oil

3 ripe large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt, pepper

Prick each eggplant in a few places with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes, until tender but not mushy. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.

In a food processor, purée onion, garlic, spices and lemon juice until very smooth. Pour over eggplant. Add olive oil, tomatoes and parsley. Mix gently. Season with salt and pepper. -- From "The Mediterranean Kitchen" by Joyce Goldstein

ORANGE GLAZED QUINCES

This is a delicious fall dessert.

4 servings

4 quinces, about 8 ounces each

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup raisins

1 tablespoon orange marmalade

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

1 tablespoon butter

Whipped cream, optional

1 orange

3 cups water

4 cups sugar

Cut off top quarter from quinces. Peel skin about halfway down from top. Remove seeds and cores, making about 1 1/2-inch cavity in centers.

Mix together almonds, raisins and marmalade. Place some of mixture in hollowed-out center of each quince.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, orange juice, grated rind and butter. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for three to four minutes.

Place quinces in a shallow baking dish and spoon syrup over them. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for one hour, basting occasionally with the syrup from the pan.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream if desired.

 

 

PARSNIP GALETTE WITH GREENS

Serves 2

1/2 pound (2 or 3) parsnips

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups mixed cooking greens: tatsoi (rosette bok choi), red mustard, green

mustard, etc.

2 eggs

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped sage

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Sunflower or olive oil for frying

Heat a large pot of water for the greens. While it's heating, peel parsnips, then grate them lightly, stopping when you get to the core, which should be visible. You should have about 2 cups. Set aside.

When water comes to a boil, add salt, plunge in greens and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, press out much of the moisture, then chop coarsely.

Beat eggs. Then whisk in flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in parsnips, greens and cheese. Season with pepper.

Melt butter in an 8-inch non-stick skillet. Add sage and walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until they smell toasty, after just a few minutes. Add them to parsnip mixture.

Wipe out skillet and add enough oil to coat lightly. When hot, add parsnip mixture and pat evenly into pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Slide galette onto a plate. Place skillet over it and, grasping both plate and skillet, flip them over. Cook second side until golden and crisp. Then slide galette onto a counter, cut into pieces and serve.

PASTA PUTTANESCA

(Pasta With Uncooked Tomato and Herb Sauce)

Makes 6 servings

Absolutely do not add grated cheese to this dish.

1 pound very ripe tomatoes (3 to 4 tomatoes)

4 cloves garlic

25 large leaves fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried pasta, such as chiocciole (shells or snails), mostaccioli or penne

Dice tomatoes and place in medium bowl. Chop the garlic coarsely, tear basil leaves into thirds and add both to the bowl, along with oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix ingredients together, then cover the bowl with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving time, bring a large amount of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 12 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain quickly and place it in a serving bowl. While the pasta is still extremely hot, pour the refrigerated sauce over it. It is the reaction of very hot to very cold that releases the unique flavor of this dish. Toss very well and serve at once. -- Adapted from "The Fine Art of Italian Cooking" by Giuliano Bugialli

PERSIMMON PUDDING

Makes 8 servings

We use Hachiya persimmons at their peak of ripeness for this pudding; their flesh should be so soft it nearly falls off the skin. If you find persimmons in this fragile state, make this pudding! It is moist and flavorful, and wants only a spoonful of gently whipped cream.

11/2 pounds Hachiya persimmons

11/2 cups milk

1/4 cup whipping cream

3 eggs

1 tablespoon honey

11/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled (3/4 stick; see note)

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (about 6 ounces; see note)

Sweetened, cognac-flavored whipped cream

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Cut out a cone from the stem end of each persimmon as you would from a tomato. Cut the persimmons in half and scoop out the pulpy flesh with a spoon. Put the flesh through a strainer or puree in a blender or food processor; you should have 11/2 cups of puree.

Combine the persimmon puree, milk, cream, eggs and honey and lightly whisk until smooth. In another bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

A little at a time, add the persimmon mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth after each addition. Let the batter stand about 15 minutes to thicken. Stir in the melted butter and the walnuts and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 to 11/2 hours, until completely set and pudding is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Serve the pudding warm, with lightly sweetened, cognac-flavored whipped cream.

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

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

-- From "Chez Panisse Fruit" by Alice Waters

POLENTA WAFFLES WITH BERRIES

An extra benefit from making these delicious waffles is that the berries emit an amazing aroma when they hit the hot waffle iron. It will fill your kitchen with the best of breakfast smells! I use polenta instead of regular cornmeal for these waffles, because its coarse grind gives them a slightly crunchy texture.

You can use any kind of berry--and frozen ones work beautifully--so you can have these any time of year. You can use a mixture of different types. You can buy an unsweetened frozen berry mix in most supermarkets. Don't defrost them before adding them to the batter, but do cut larger berries into smaller pieces. (You can do this while they are still frozen.)

To keep the waffles warm, transfer them to a rack on a baking tray, and place the tray in a 200°F oven until serving time. (The rack keeps them crisp.)

Canola oil can be substituted for some or all of the butter.

4 servings (8 standard waffles, or 4 Belgian waffles)

 

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup polenta

1/4 teaspoon salt (rounded measure)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

4 tablespoons (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups berries (any kind)

Nonstick spray

Butter for the waffle iron

Preheat the waffle iron.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Break the eggs into a second medium-sized bowl and beat with a whisk until frothy. Drizzle in the milk.

Add the egg-milk mixture to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter and the berries. Mix with decisive strokes from the bottom of the bowl, until all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Try not to over-mix and also try to avoid breaking the berries. You'll break some anyway, but just do your best.

Lightly spray the hot waffle iron on both the top and bottom surfaces with nonstick spray and rub on a little butter. (This is most easily accomplished by generously buttering a chunk of bread and using it as an edible utensil to butter the waffle iron.)

Add just enough batter to cover the cooking surface--approximately 1/2 cup for a standard waffle (1 cup for a Belgian waffle).

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your waffle iron. Don't over-bake-- you want it crisp and brown but not too dark. It's okay to peek.

Serve hot, with your chosen toppings.

POMEGRANATE AND FILBERTS SALAD

Makes 6 servings

1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 pomegranate (about 1/2 cup seeds)

6 generous handfuls of arugula, washed and dried

1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

11/2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

To toast hazelnuts, spread the shelled nuts in a shallow pan and roast in a 275-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the skins crack. To remove skins, rub nuts while warm with a rough cloth.

To get the seeds out of the pomegranate, cut it in half horizontally and smash the fruit, cut side down, onto a plate. Most of the seeds will come out. Remove the remaining ones with a spoon. Or, cut off the crown, cut the fruit into quarters and peel the skin back to expose the seeds. Hold the sections under water while you work the seeds free.

Put the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the vinegars, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss, making sure all the leaves are evenly coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the toasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds, toss again and serve. -- From "Chez Panisse Fruit" by Alice Waters

PRESERVED CHINESE FOODS

MEAN STAYING POWER FOR GENERATIONS

By Shirley Fong-Torres

Special to the Mercury News, San Jose, California

When I was a child, my father cooked dinner for us every night at our family's restaurant in Oakland's Chinatown. Because we did not eat the same food as our customers, my siblings and I longed for such forbidden fruits as egg rolls, fried prawns, and sweet and sour pork. As with most children, we didn't fully appreciate at the time the wholesome, healthful meals our father provided.

But just as Marcel Proust accessed the sweet spots of his childhood with a taste of madeleine cakes, I visualize my father's gentle smile every time I taste salted egg with minced pork. Father used preserved foods in almost all the dishes he served us: soup with dried bok choy, salted fish with ground pork, preserved vegetables steamed with slices of pork and steamed whole fish with fermented black beans and ginger.

In Cantonese-American families like mine, preservation saves not only food but also memory.

Initially, foods such as Chinese soy and black bean sauces were invented as a safe way to provide the working masses with enough protein to survive the barren seasons. In China, dried fish and shrimp, salted eggs, soy sauce and preserved vegetables have been used by the poor for perhaps five millenniums. When rich Chinese consumers learned to use them to enhance flavors, preserved foods moved up the food chain.

These days, in our jet-propelled, disposable society, we spend billions trying to preserve our skin tone, our hair color and our vision. The only reason preserved foods linger is because they have tastes that surpass even the freshest foods. For instance, dried shiitake mushrooms are more intense and flavorful than fresh mushrooms. Dried, candied plums, enhanced by dried tangerine peel and five-spice powder, enter a new dimension. And dried abalone, sharks' fins, birds' nest and squid are among the true delicacies of world cuisine.

Preserved foods are part of almost every culture. When I taught school in Texas, I learned to love the smoked meats of the American South. Traveling in Thailand, I took an instant liking to Southeast Asia's fish and pepper sauces. In Las Vegas, one of my favorite restaurants uses balsamic vinegars aged for 80 years. And at Yosemite National Park, I laugh at the prices backpackers pay for dehydrated foods.

Today, we cook with preserved foods because we like the way they taste but certainly not because they are easy to prepare. A good Carolina pork shoulder takes 12 hours to smoke. The hyperbole that is called the ``1,000-year-old egg'' must be buried in dirt, where the egg is preserved by lysines that leach in from the soil. In southern Asia, fish and shellfish are laid in the sun for days, even weeks to dry.

In this era when Federal Express can deliver fresh foods halfway around the world, I still prefer a clay pot filled with the foods of my youth: chicken, mushrooms, tofu and salted fish. I love the 1,000-year-old egg that comes with a steaming bowl of rice congee, called jook. I never teach a cooking class without introducing fermented black beans, whether for spareribs or seafood. Since I teach primarily the Cantonese home cooking I learned from my parents, I feel I am preserving ancient traditions. And memories.

Like me, many of my Chinese-American friends look back fondly on preserved food as part of their childhoods. Frank Jang of San Mateo remembers hom donn jee yuk -- salted duck eggs with pork hash. Cyndi Chen of Des Moines, Iowa, recalls how everything was pickled with plum. Eric Kwan of Honolulu loved mui choy jing jee yuk -- salted, preserved mustard greens with minced pork marinated with Chinese wine and soy. And Lily Yee Smith, who grew up in Phoenix, still puckers up to soy sauce-preserved grapefruit rind.

But for others, it is the preservation process -- not taste -- that conjures the strongest memories. Stephen Chung of Hawaii grew up in his parents' Hunan restaurant in San Francisco, where his mother made a famous wushiang dofu -- five-spice pressed tofu.

``She had those special boards, cheesecloth and the all-important heavy, leadlike bricks. I have no idea where they came from. After a thorough marinade, in the special sauce, they were pressed under tremendous weight until all the water was gone, thus becoming a tough, grayish but flexible square. And in this preserved state, she could slice them and add to any stir-fry. Even now when I see them in a restaurant-prepared dish, I am reminded of Mom's resourcefulness and energy.''

Arnold Chew of San Jose remembers his grandmother trying to make salted fish when he was young. While others rolled the whole fish in salt and laid it on the roof to dry in the sun, that wasn't going to work in his family.

``We lived with my grandma at this time at the edge of Oakland's Chinatown, near the highway. Lots of dirt was blown up by the traffic, so Grandma tried to dry the fish inside the garage. I remember the cats coming and eating the fish. Then my dad and his brothers built a cage to hang the fish. Because it was indoors, the fish did not dry quickly and smelled a lot. They stopped making this after a few tries.'' Sometimes, the nose has a longer memory than the tongue.

Chef-author Shirley Fong-Torres is the owner of Wok Wiz Chinatown Tours & Cooking Co. in San Francisco. Contact her at wokwiz@aol.com or visit her Web site, www.wokwiz.com for information on tours and classes.

CRANBERRY QUINCE CRUMB DESSERT

6 servings

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

3 cups fresh cranberries

2 quinces, each about 8 ounces

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind

2 tablespoons butter

Cookie crumb topping

32 vanilla wafers

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan, mix together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the corn syrup and water. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens slightly.

Rinse the cranberries; remove any stems. Peel, core and dice the quinces.

Add cranberries and quinces to the syrup mixture and cook for five minutes or until the cranberry skins break. Remove from heat and add orange rind and butter and stir until butter melts.

Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with cookie crumb topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cookie crumb topping: Crush enough vanilla wafers to make 1 cup. Mix together all topping ingredients until well-blended. Sprinkle topping over quince-cranberry mixture.

QUINCE CRISP

Makes 6 servings

Lesley Morris discovered that she could substitute quince for apples in this recipe. "The flavor is a cross between an apple and a peach, and it's quite wonderful," she said.

4 cups peeled, cored and sliced quince (4 quince)

2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup stone-ground or all-purpose flour

2/3 cup oatmeal, uncooked

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup melted margarine (1/2 stick; see note)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the quince in a buttered 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. Blend brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg and margarine together until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the quince. Bake for 30 minutes. Or, in a microwave-safe dish, microwave 20 minutes on high, turning once during baking.

Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Frozen variation: Extra quince can be peeled, sliced and frozen in quart containers. For a quick dessert, empty a quart of partially thawed quince into a baking dish, sprinkle with topping and bake. Add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.

Note: Use only real margarine (80 percent fat) or butter. Lower-fat spread products may not produce best results. -- Adapted from "Cooking With Stone Ground Flour" by Arlene Kovash and Marcie Anderson

QUINCE PRESERVES

Remove all of the quince's core to avoid grainy preserves.

About 3 pints

3 pounds quinces

2 lemons

1 orange

3 cups water

4 cups sugar

Peel and slice the quinces, removing the seeds and cores. Place quince parings in a large saucepan. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the sliced quince and set aside.

Cut the other lemon and orange into thin slices. Add the lemon and orange slices and the water to the saucepan with the quince parings.

Simmer the mixture until the parings are soft, about 15 minutes. Strain, reserving only the liquid.

Place quince slices and the reserved liquid in saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the syrup thickens. While hot, place in sterilized jars and seal.

RANCH DRESSING

season mix:

16 saltine crackers

1 tbsp dry minced parsley flakes

1/2 cup dry minced onion

1 tsp dry dill weed

1/4 cup onion salt

1/4 cup garlic salt

1/4 cup onion powder

1/4 cup garlic powder

salad dressing:

2-1/2 tablespoons mix

1 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods or Hellmann's)

1 cup buttermilk

Put crackers through a blender on high until they turn to powder. Add parsley, minced onions and dill weed. Blend again until powdered. Put into a sealable bowl and stir in onion salt, garlic salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Put lid on tightly. You may store your mix up to 1 year. For a change, make it with vinegar and oil.

RED PEPPER WALNUT PASTE

Based on the Middle Eastern sauce called muhammara (an Arabic word meaning "the color of red bricks"), this delicious paste is simultaneously pungent, slightly hot and sweet. I make it often and keep it around for many uses: as a topping for pilafs and other cooked grains, for spreading on pizzettas, crostini, crackers and sandwiches and as a dip for cooked or raw vegetables.

Try spreading Red Pepper Walnut Paste on grilled tofu, fish, or chicken breasts for a fantastic barbecue experience.

2 heaping cups lightly toasted walnuts

2 to 3 medium cloves garlic

4 medium-sized red bell peppers (about 2 pounds), roasted and peeled

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Black pepper and cayenne to taste

This keeps well for at least a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In fact, the flavors deepen over time. For a California twist, you can use almonds in place of the walnuts.

Place the walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground, but not yet a paste.

Seed the peppers, cut them into chunks and add them to the walnuts, along with the vinegar, lemon juice, cumin and honey. Process to a fairly smooth paste, then transfer to a bowl, and season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne.

Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Use as desired. Yield: 3 to 4 cups

REPLICATING THE SWEETS OF INDIA

By Radhika Sharma

Special to the Mercury News, San Jose, California

I have vivid childhood memories of the sweet-maker in our neighborhood standing behind the counter next to his colossal iron saucepans, slowly stirring milk until it shriveled and began to look tender.

In India, such shops are a feature of most towns. And, in addition to selling sweets known as mithai, many serve the ancillary function of selling mawa, a semisolid byproduct of milk that is a key ingredient in many of India's milk-based sweets.

As a child, I found salvation in the form of sweets such as gulab jamuns, sandesh and gajar ka halwa only a short walk away. But in a new country, it is not often that simple. Even the bravest of palates longs for the comfort of the familiar when it is time for dessert. After I polish off exotic dinners here and am handed the dessert menu, I begin to long for an Indian sweet.

Making mawa, also known as khoya, can be a tedious task, requiring hours of patient stirring. And because the whole milk available in most U.S. grocery stores is not as creamy as milk in India, the process can take even longer. So I decided to explore shortcuts.

There are some stores in the Bay Area that sell mawa, places such as Lovely Sweets in Fremont. Owner Ajay Kumar, who shares his recipe (at left) said, ``The chefs in Lovely make mawa six to seven hours daily, as without good mawa, one cannot produce good fresh sweets.''

But store-bought mawa tends to be more expensive than homemade substitutes, and you need a reliable supply close to home. Fortunately, healthy and simple substitutes for mawa are readily available in most grocery stores. And the resulting mithai is just as good as the original, if not better.

As with most aspects of cooking, some of my discoveries came from friends and family, while others resulted from trial and error. Since different sweets require different consistencies of mawa, the consistency of the substitutes should vary likewise.

Mawa generally is classified as loose, solid or granulated. For loose mawa, a good substitute is sweetened condensed milk or whipped cream. Solid mawa can be replicated with ricotta cheese, and granulated mawa with milk powder or milk-mawa powder, which can be found in Indian stores. If you want to experiment, you could use just about any milk product with a sweet or neutral base.

My task, however, was a bit more daunting because I wanted to re-create mawae ki kachori that is famous in Rajasthan. These sweet round desserts with mawa centers are covered with flour dough and then dipped in sugar syrup after deep-frying. I soon realized that the original deep-fried form would take a long time to re-create and would contain more calories than I wanted.

I chose to bake instead of fry and borrowed insights about working with phyllo gained by nutrition major Fatima Altakrouri, who makes baklava. I replaced the filling of baklava, composed primarily of ground walnuts and cinnamon, with mawa, successfully creating my own version of mawae ki kachori.

Of course, I still missed the original. But may I share a secret? I meant for it to be that way. Radhika Sharma is a freelance writer in Milpitas. Contact her at rvyas2000@yahoo.com.

RICOTTA SOUFFLE

Serves 2

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 medium zucchini cut in julienne strips (1 cup)

2 carrots cut in julienne strips (1 cup)

1/4 pound mushrooms cut in julienne strips (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 small onion cut in julienne strips ( 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

1 cup non-fat ricotta cheese

1 whole egg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a medium-size, non-stick skillet. Add zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and onion, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix basil with bread crumbs and add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove vegetables to a bowl and mix with ricotta cheese and egg. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a thin layer in an 8-by-10-inch baking dish. Spread bread crumbs on top. Bake 15 minutes.

QUICK BRUSCHETTA

This recipe serves 2.

1/2 French baguette

1 medium clove garlic

1 small tomato, diced, ( 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Line a baking tray with foil. Cut baguette in half lengthwise and toast in oven with the ricotta souffle until golden, about 3 minutes.

Cut garlic clove in half and rub cut halves over bread. Toss diced tomato and olive oil together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over baguette and serve.

ROASTED SQUASH AND APPLE BISQUE

Serves 6

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch cubes

2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped

1 leek (white part only), sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces

2 cups apple cider (divided use)

3 cups high-quality, neutral-tasting chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped crystallized ginger or ground nutmeg, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine squash, apples, leek and garlic in baking dish. Dot with butter. Pour 1/2 cup cider into dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Roast in preheated oven 30 minutes. Remove foil, then roast another 30 minutes, until squash is completely soft.

Divide vegetables into 3 batches and puree in blender or food processor, adding remaining 1 1/2 cups cider and some of broth to each batch. Combine batches in large saucepan, adding any remaining broth. Bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, topping each bowl with a few pieces of crystallized ginger or a sprinkle of nutmeg.

SALTED FISH WITH GROUND PORK

Serves 4

3 pieces of salted fish, cut into 3/4-by-2-inch pieces (see Note)

1 pound ground pork

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon soy sauce

White pepper to taste

Sprinkling of cornstarch

1 knob of fresh Chinese ginger, peeled, cut into matchstick pieces

Soak fish in cold water for 10-15 minutes, then drain.

Place pork into a bowl. Add salt, soy sauce, pepper and cornstarch and mix.

Set up a 12- or 14-inch wok for steaming. Place 3 inches of water in the wok and put a steaming trivet in the center.

Form pork into even patties and place on a plate. Put salt fish and ginger slices over patties; then place them into steaming wok. Cover and cook at medium high heat for 20-25 minutes. Serve with rice.

Note: Salted fish is available in Asian specialty stores.

 

SANDESH

Serves 15

2 pounds low-fat ricotta cheese

2 cups sugar

1 heaping teaspoon cardamom powder

For garnish:

Raisins

Ground pistachios

Rose petals, optional

Mix first three ingredients thoroughly until texture becomes grainier. Transfer and spread mixture into an 8-inch-square baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool and then place in freezer for about 1 hour.

Remove from freezer. Cut into small, square pieces and garnish with clean rose petals, pistachio powder and raisins. In Rajasthan, this sweet is sometimes served with crushed ice. If you wish to try that method, mix equal amounts of crushed ice and crushed sandesh mixture and serve.

SNAPPER WITH CHINESE VEGETABLES

2 servings.

3/4 pound snapper fillets

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup shredded carrots

6 scallions, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or 2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sherry

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut two circles of foil about 12 inches in diameter. Divide the snapper into two portions and place one portion on each circle. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place half the mushrooms, carrots, scallions, ginger and cilantro on each fillet.

Mix the soy sauce, sherry, sugar and sesame oil together; drizzle over the fish and vegetables. Fold foil in half and seal the edges. Place on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Open packets and spoon contents over noodles.

 

SOY GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

Serves 6

3 large sweet potatoes, either the dry or moist-fleshed types

1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons mirin or sweet sherry

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub sweet potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters or halves. Place in a baking dish roomy enough to hold them in a single layer.

Combine rest of ingredients except sesame seeds. Brush all of resulting sauce over sweet potatoes, then cover dish tightly with foil. Bake until nearly tender, 50 minutes to an hour. Remove foil, baste sweet potatoes with their juices, and return to oven until liquid has reduced to a glaze and potatoes are fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

SPICY ROAST DUCKLING WITH RASPBERRY SAUCE

Serves 2

2 pieces whole carrot (5 inches long)

2 pieces celery rib (5 inches long)

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 duck, split and trimmed of all fat and excess skin

Mild Louisiana-style hot sauce

For dry rub:

2 tablespoons salt

1/4 cup dried onion

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 tablespoon white pepper

2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

For sauce:

1 jar (8 ounces) raspberry jam

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 ounce Triple Sec (orange liqueur)

1 ounce raspberry brandy

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In 3-inch-deep roasting pan, build nest of carrot and celery pieces topped with sliced onion. Moisten duck halves with hot sauce and place halves atop vegetables, skin side up.

Prepare dry-rub seasoning by blending together in food processor the salt, dried onion, pepper, paprika, basil, mustard, cumin and garlic. Dust duck with 1 tablespoon dry-rub seasoning. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Remove duck from oven and, avoiding steam, remove foil. Cool slightly and remove duck to platter. (Fat in pan may be saved and used for frying potatoes.) Discard vegetables and any liquid remaining in pan. Cool duck until it can be comfortably handled. Remove all bones from body cavity. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Prepare sauce by mixing jam, sugar, water, Triple Sec and brandy in 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain mixture into 2-quart saucepan and return to low heat. Mix together cornstarch and teriyaki sauce. Add to raspberry jam mixture and heat until slightly thickened.

To serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from duck. Place halves, skin side up, in baking dish and heat in preheated oven 15 minutes. Baste with raspberry sauce and return to oven for 5 minutes.

SPIKE'S FAMOUS LASAGNA

Grate about 1/2 lb of Cheddar cheese and 1/4 lb of Mozzarella cheese, and set aside.

 

Cook in a skillet (fry pan) over medium heat,

1 lb ground beef, crumbled (raw)

1 medium onion, chopped and cooked in the skillet when the beef is about half

cooked

1/2 tsp chopped or minced garlic (do not use garlic powder or garlic salt)

 

In a separate pot,

1 can diced tomatoes, and the liquid in the can

1 can tomato puree (same size as tomatoes)

1 can tomato paste (that is a tiny can)

1 tsp Italian Seasoning (a seasoning blend sold by McCormick-Schilling)

1/2 tsp salt

 

When the ground beef (with onion and garlic) is cooked, add it to the pot with

the tomato stuff. It should simmer for about an hour.

 

Meanwhile, in a large pot (kettle), bring four or five cups of water to a rolling boil.

Add 1/2 package macaroni shells or other type of macaroni. (There is special

pasta for lasagna, but it is very chewy and is more floury than the others.) Cook

the pasta for about 20 minutes, and drain carefully. Set aside.

 

Spray or grease a cooking dish. Put in 1/2 the pasta, then layer over it, about

1/2 the sauce (beef and tomato stuff), and over that, about 1/2 the cheese. Add

the rest of the pasta, then the rest of the sauce, and put the rest of the cheese

on top. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees F. for 45 minutes, or until cheese is

bubbly.

SPRINGERLE II

4 Eggs

2 Cups Sugar

4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Anise Oil -- DO NOT EVEN think you need more -- you certainly don't

 

Beat eggs until lemon coloured -- about 5 minutes.

 

Beat Sugar into eggs about 2 TBSP at a time.

 

Stir in flour and remaining dry ingredients

 

Refrigerate over night.

 

Roll our 1/4 inch thick. Cut into squares, bake at 300 approximately 10 - 15 minutes. Do not allow to brown. Although the bottoms may brown slightly.

 

Cool and store in air tight containers.

 

These cookies get hard very easily if not stored in an airtight container.

 

 

 

SPRINGERLE III

(German Anise/anisette cookies)

4 1/2 cups flour

1 pound confectioner's sugar

4 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon Crushed anise seeds

1/2 oz. Ouzo (optional)

Beat the eggs, and gradually add the confectioner's sugar. Gradually add the

rest of the dry ingredients. If it gets too dry, you can wet it with 1/2 oz. of Ouzo, but this makes the cookies fairly strong. Chill covered for about 6 hours.

Put dough on a lightly floured surface, roll out, and press with a springerle mold (a square cookie mold with designs on it). Place cookies on a floured surface and allow them to dry out overnight (sounds odd, but you'll get used to it after tasting the first batch). Grease a cookie sheet with butter or margarine lightly, and sprinkle it with some of the crushed anise seeds. Bake the cookies at about 250-275F for about a half an hour or until done.

DO NOT LET THEM TURN BROWN; they are supposed to be white. If you want

a glossy sheen, brush them with an egg white before cooking.

SPRINGERLE IV

GERMAN SPRINGERLE COOKIES (CHRISTMAS COOKIES)

1 Dozen Eggs

3 Pounds Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Hartshorn or Baking Ammonia or

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

1 1/4 Teaspoon Anise Oil or 2 tsp Anise Flavoring

Flour enough to be able to roll out---maybe 4-5 Cups

Beat all eggs together for 15 minutes. Add powdered Sugar and beat another 30 minutes (Yes, a half hour). Add hartshorn (or approved substitution) and anise oil (Flavoring) and mix well. Add flour until you can handle it and the cookie dough gets dried out enough to roll out well. Roll out to inch thick with regular rolling pin. Use special Springerle rolling pin and roll it one time over dough,

leaving imprints and dividing lines. Cut apart along lines and put on pans. Let dry overnight, turning to let underside dry also. Bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10-12 minutes. Yields 175-200 cookies

 

STOVE TOP BAKED BEANS

 

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/4 cups chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

2 cloves garlic minced

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons hickory liquid smoke

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1 16 ounce can red beans drained

1 15.8 ounce can great northern beans drained

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper

and garlic. Cook 4 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

SZECHWAN EGGPLANT

4 servings

Seasonings:

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon roasted and crushed Szechwan peppercorns

Stir-fry:

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 1/2 pounds small eggplants

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon Chinese chili oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 quarter-size pieces of ginger, peeled and minced

1 green onion, chopped

Combine seasoning ingredients in a small jar or a bowl; mix well and set aside (to roast peppercorns, place in a dry skillet over high heat, shaking occasionally, until they become fragrant, about three to four minutes).

In a custard cup or small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water and stir in sesame oil; set aside.

Rinse and dry eggplants and cut off stems. Do not peel. Quarter them lengthwise, and cut each quarter into two-inch wedges.

Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat for 30 seconds.

Stir in the vegetable and chili oils and heat. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger and green onion for 15 seconds. Add eggplant and stir and flip for two minutes. Turn heat to medium, cover and steam for two to three minutes. Stir, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover and cook until soft but not mushy, three to four minutes longer.

Turn heat to high. Stir seasonings and add to pan. Stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Toss briefly, until sauce has thickened.

-- From "The Key to Chinese Cooking" by Irene Kuo

TOASTED BRIE AND SMOKED HAM

Makes 2 sandwiches

1 baguette loaf

Honey mustard

1/4 pound thinly sliced smoked ham, such as Black Forest

1/4 pound brie, cut in thin slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread in half horizontally. Spread mustard over the bottom half. Layer with ham and brie. Replace top half of bread. Cut into 2 equal sandwiches. Wrap in foil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the sandwiches are hot and the cheese has melted.

TUNISIAN TOMATO SOUP

WITH CHICKPEAS AND LENTILS

It seems like an ordinary list of ingredients, but when they are combined in this very satisfying soup, the flavors transcend the sum of their parts.

1 cup uncooked chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 1 to 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas)

1 cup uncooked lentils (any kind), rinsed and picked over

1 cinnamon stick

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups minced onion

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

11/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 to 3 bay leaves

1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Black pepper and cayenne to taste

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

Yogurt

Minced fresh parsley or mint

A few currants

NOTES: *Streamline the preparation time by chopping the onions, mincing the garlic and sautéing them with the seasonings while the legumes cook.

*This soup freezes well if stored in an airtight container.

Place the soaked, uncooked chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 1 hour. (If you're using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain them and set them aside.)

Add the lentils and cinnamon stick, partially cover again and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the chickpeas and lentils are perfectly tender, but not mushy. (If you're using canned chickpeas, just cook the lentils with the cinnamon stick in 7 cups water until tender-about 30 minutes.)

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick, and drain the legumes, saving the water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, ground cumin and bay leaves and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Add 6 cups of water (including the reserved cooking water from the lentils) and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for another 15 minutes or so. (The timing does not need to be exact.) Fish out and discard the bay leaves.

Stir in the chickpeas and lentils and cook for only about 5 minutes longer, so the legumes won't become mushy. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne and lemon juice.

Serve hot, topped with some yogurt, a sprinkling of parsley or mint and currants, if desired. Yield: 6 servings (maybe a little more)

 

 

 

 

TUSCAN TOMATO SOUP

(Pappa al Pomodoro)

 

10 oz. very thin sliced sourdough bread

18 oz. fresh vine-ripened tomatoes

2 cloves fresh garlic

1/4 cup fresh basil

1 quart chicken or vegetable broth

2 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

More extra virgin olive oil for the final drizzle

1.In a medium pot, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic whole. Cook until golden in color

.2. Add fresh tomatoes and basil, season with salt and pepper, and simmer at low heat for 15 minutes.

3. Add the broth and when it starts to boil, add the bread and simmer 20 minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and let stand for 30-45 minutes.

5. Heat again and serve with a fresh drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

 

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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