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Volume 16   Number 31

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   > Article: A Little Fire Over a Steak

   > Food Funnies: Signs Your Cruise Ship Cut Corners With the Food

       S E L E C T E D    R E C I P E S :

    * Joe's Crab Shack Crab Cakes
        
    * Flank Steak with Balsamic-Beer Sauce
        
    * Cheesy Chili Chicken
        
    * Turkey Empanadas
        
    * Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Leaves
        
    * Muffuletta Salad
        
    * Tomato Vegetable Casserole
        
    * Chocolate Caramel Brownies

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Egg Puff-Muffins

    Diabetic: Strawberry Fruit Pie

    Low Fat: Zesty Minestrone

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  This Week's Cooking Tips

     Canning Tips:

 * Choose only perfect produce. Overripe or damaged fruits and
   vegetables are more prone to spoilage.

 * Your jars, lids and sealing rings should be in good condition and
   sterile (washed and scalded).

 * Wash your produce thoroughly before processing.

 * Know your produce. Be sure to use the correct time, temperature and
   method of processing for the food you will be canning.

 * After canning, check the seal on every jar to make sure they are
   air tight - when you push down on a self-sealing lid, it should
   stay down. Test porcelain lids by turning the jars upside down. If
   you see a stream of tiny air bubbles, the seal is not air tight.

 * Don't use foods from any jar that has a foamy or discolored
   appearance. Watch for bulging or misshapen lids and leaking rims.
   Throw those jars away.

 * Home canned vegetables should be boiled before they are served
   (with the exception of tomatoes). More Cooking Tips

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz (Answer at the bottom of page)

   The Quanjude Restaurant in Beijing offers the capital's most
  famous dish, Bei Jing Kao Ya. What is Bei Jing Kao Ya?

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  Quote of the Week:

   "I eat at this German-Chinese restaurant and the food is
    delicious. The only problem is that an hour later you're
    hungry for power."

    - Dick Cavett

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

           August is: National Catfish Month 
                      National Water Quality Month

             July 31 - National Raspberry Cake Day
             August 1 - National Raspberry Cream Pie Day 
             August 2 - National Ice Cream Sandwich Day 
             August 3 - National Watermelon Day 
             August 4 - National Chocolate Chip Day 
             August 5 - National Waffle Day 
             August 6 - National Root Beer Float Day 
             August 7 - National Raspberries & Cream Day

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   Make Your Favorite Restaurant and Grocery Foods At Home!

  > World Famous Recipes!
  > Make Them Fresh! Save Money!
  > Over 400 Recipes For Brand Name Foods!!

       Insider's Recipes For Brand Name Foods

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    A Little Fire Over a Steak
     By Mark Bittman

  I'm usually of the "less is more" philosophy in cooking, but I am by
 no means anti-sauce, and there are times when anyone wants to make a
 good thing better. That is the case, I believe, with this rich, smoky
 sauce of chipotle chilies, bacon and tomatoes. It is an odd sauce:
 while the combination of ingredients is reminiscent of the one used
 for spaghetti all'amatriciana, the chipotle transforms it into
 something that needs not a tame pasta but a sturdy steak.

  Chipotle chilies are jalapenos dried by smoking. They are often sold
 in cans, packed in adobo - a kind of tomato sauce - but they are
 easier to use and cleaner-tasting when purchased dried in bulk. In
 either case, I find one sufficient to add a noticeable but still
 tolerable amount of heat. But because they must be soaked and
 softened before use, you can just tear off a piece and add that if
 you want a milder sauce. If you want a hotter one, use the whole
 pepper, or two.

  There is little notable about the sauce's remaining ingredients -
 good bacon makes a difference, of course, as do fresh tomatoes. The
 technique is simple and quick.

  If you are grilling, cooking the steak is easy: build a hot fire,
 and sear the meat on both sides. If it isn't well enough done for you
 at that point, move it to a slightly cooler part of the grill and
 finish the cooking there; rarely will cooking time exceed 10 minutes
 total.

  But even if you are not grilling, you can put a good crust on a
 steak without setting off the smoke detector by using the
 stove-to-oven method described in the recipe.

  Steak With Chipotle, Bacon and Tomatoes
  =================================
    1 or more dried chipotle chilies 
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
    1/4 cup minced bacon 
    1 medium onion, peeled and diced 
    2 cups cored and chopped tomatoes, preferably fresh and ripe 
    1 1/2 to 2 pounds strip sirloin, skirt or rib-eye steak 
    Salt and pepper to taste

 1. Start a charcoal or gas grill; fire should be quite hot, and rack
    about 4 inches from the heat source. If using oven, turn it to its
    maximum temperature. Put chipotle in a bowl, and add boiling water
    to cover.

 2. Put olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat; a minute
    later, add bacon, and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp,
    about 10 minutes. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally,
    until it is softened, about 5 minutes. Lower heat, stem and seed
    chipotle and add it (or a piece of it, to taste), along with
    tomatoes; adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily but not
    violently. (Reserve chipotle soaking liquid.)

 3. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Grill about 4 minutes on a
    side, or until they reach desired degree of doneness. If cooking
    steaks inside, heat a cast iron or other heavy skillet over high
    heat 3 to 4 minutes. Add steak, and, a minute later, transfer pan
    to oven; turn after about 4 minutes, and continue to cook to the
    desired degree of doneness.

 4. When tomatoes break up, taste sauce; add salt and pepper as needed
    and, if it is not hot enough, add a bit of the chipotle-soaking
    liquid. When steaks are done, serve them with sauce.

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   Personalized Chef Coats

    Kick it up a notch with a touch of class! Create a
    personalized and professional look in your kitchen.

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Signs Your Cruise Ship Cut Corners With the Food
  =============

 9. Every menu includes directions to the sick bay.

 8. The main design motif in the dining room is golden arches.

 7. Room service consists of Pepto Bismol only.

 6. The Seafood Bar lobsters have tuna fish salad inside the
    shells.
 
 5. The 24-hour buffet is open for 1 hour, 24 times during the
    entire cruise.

 4. Your filet of sole has a heel attached to it.

 3. Your server asks if you’d like another drink while sliding
    your spouse’s half-finished glass towards you.

 2. The only sound you hear coming from the kitchen is a can opener.

 ... and the #1 Sign Your Cruise Ship Cut Corners With the Food ...

 1. The Catch of the Day is an illness.

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  Joe's Crab Shack Crab Cakes
  ========================
    2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1 egg yolk
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    1 dash crushed red pepper
    1 dash Old Bay seasoning
    1 dash salt
    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    1 1/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
    3 tablespoons chopped parsley
    1 lb. crab meat
    1 tablespoon butter or margarine

  Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Fold in breadcrumbs
 and parsley to incorporate evenly. Fold in crab meat. Form into
 4-6 patties. Over medium heat, melt butter in skillet. Fry crab
 cakes in butter for 4-5 minutes on each side.

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  Flank Steak with Balsamic-Beer Sauce
  ==============================
    1 1/2 lbs flank steaks
    1/2 cup beer or ale
    3 garlic cloves, minced 
    1/4 cup ketchup 
    1 tablespoon chili powder 
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
    2 tablespoons brown sugar 
    2 tablespoons grainy mustard or Dijon mustard 
    salt and pepper, to taste

  Pierce meat with a fork several times. Place in a plastic bag. Mix
 all other ingredients and pour over meat. Marinate in fridge 12 hours
 or overnight.

  Prepare grill for medium high heat. Grill steak 5 to 6 minutes per
 side. Let meat rest 5 minutes when done. Boil marinade in saucepan
 for 5 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Slice steak into thin
 strips and top with sauce.

      =+=-=+=-=+=-=+= Free Recipes and Cookbooks =+=-=+=-=+=-=+=-=

  Cheesy Chili Chicken
  =================
    2 tablespoons olive oil 
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    1 tablespoon chili powder 
    1 tablespoon ground cumin 
    2 teaspoons kosher salt 
    1 clove garlic, chopped 
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne 
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds) 
    1/4 cup julienned green bell pepper 
    2 tablespoons diced red onion 
    1 medium plum tomato, cored and diced (about 1/4 cup) 
    4 ounces shredded Colby-Jack cheese 

  Preheat oven to 400F. Whisk together the oil, chopped cilantro,
 chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl;
 add the chicken and toss to coat. 

  Transfer chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet and arrange the green
 pepper, onion, and tomato over each. Roast until the largest piece
 is just cooked through, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in
 the thickest part reads 165F, about 20 minutes.

  Remove the chicken from oven and immediately top with the cheese
 and serve as the cheese melts. Transfer the chicken to a platter or
 among plates and garnish with additional fresh cilantro leaves.

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  Turkey Empanadas
  ===============
    1 pound ground turkey
    1 large onion, diced
    1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
    4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning mix
    1/2 cup packed grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 2 ounces)
    3 (7.5 oz.) cans refrigerated biscuit dough (10 biscuits per can)
    1 egg, beaten to blend
    Oil for deep frying 

  Saute turkey in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat
 until cooked through and brown, breaking up meat with fork, about
 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer turkey to small bowl. Add
 onion to drippings in skillet and saute until light brown, about
 7 minutes. Return turkey and any juices to skillet. Add tomato sauce
 and Cajun seasoning; simmer until mixture is almost dry, stirring
 occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool
 completely. Mix in cheese.

  On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 biscuit dough piece to
 4-inch-diameter round. Place 1 tablespoon filling on round. Brush
 half of dough edge with beaten egg. Fold dough over filling to
 create half circle and seal edges by pressing with tines of fork.
 Set empanada on baking sheet and cover with damp cloth. Repeat with
 remaining biscuits and filling.

  Pour oil to depth of 1/2 inch into heavy large skillet. Heat oil
 over medium-high heat to 350F. Fry empanadas in batches until
 golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels.
 Serve warm or at room temperature.

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  Hoisin Chicken in Lettuce Leaves
  ==========================
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 scallions, chopped (1/4 cup)
    2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb total),
      cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1 (8-oz) can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and coarsely chopped
    1/4 cup bottled hoisin sauce
    1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon rice vinegar
    1/2 cup pine nuts (2 1/2 oz)
    12 large red or green leaf lettuce leaves

  Heat a wok or a 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderately
 high heat until just smoking, then add oil. Add ginger, salt, and
 2 tablespoons scallions and stir-fry until ginger is fragrant, about
 45 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through, about
 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts, hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce,
 vinegar, and pine nuts and stir-fry until heated through, about one
 minute. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons
 scallions.

  Have guests serve themselves by spooning chicken mixture into
 lettuce leaves and wrapping leaves around filling to enclose. 

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  Muffuletta Salad
  ============
    1 pound small shell pasta, cooked until tender and cooled
    1/2 pound salami, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    1 pound provolone, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    1/2 pound mortadella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    1/2 pound boiled ham, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    20 pitted jumbo black olives, sliced
    20 green olives stuffed with pimientos, sliced
    1/2 cup minced yellow onions
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
    1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
    Salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    Hot sauce, to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup green onion, sliced thin
    1/4 cup Parmesan

  In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, salami, provolone,
 mortadella, ham, olives, onions, garlic, celery, parsley and thyme.
 Mix well. Season with salt and pepper. In a small mixing bowl,
 whisk together the oil, vinegar, Worcestershire, and hot sauce.
 Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the pasta
 mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Store in an
 airtight container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. Remove
 from the refrigerator and spoon onto a large platter. Garnish
 with green onion Parmesan cheese and serve. 

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  Tomato Vegetable Casserole
  =======================
    1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
    1 medium yam, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
    1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
    2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
    5 tablespoons olive oil 
    1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings 
    1 large zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces 
    Salt and pepper 
    2 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices 
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
    2 tablespoons dried Italian-style bread crumbs 
    Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish 

  Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the potato, yam, bell pepper,
 carrots, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 13 by 9 by 2-inch
 baking dish to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss until
 coated. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the pan. 

  Arrange the onion slices evenly over the vegetable mixture.
 Arrange the zucchini over the onion. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons
 of oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the tomato slices
 over the zucchini. 

  Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a small bowl to blend.
 Sprinkle the Parmesan bread crumbs over the vegetables in the
 baking dish. Drizzle with the last tablespoon of olive oil. 

  Bake uncovered until the vegetables are tender, and the topping
 is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs,
 if desired.

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  Chocolate Caramel Brownies
  =======================
    1 package (18.25 oz.) chocolate cake mix
    1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    1 cup evaporated milk, divided
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
    35 (10 oz. pkg.) caramels, unwrapped
    2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

  Preheat oven to 350F. Combine cake mix and nuts in large bowl.
 Stir in 2/3 cup evaporated milk and butter (batter will be thick).
 Spread half of batter into an ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
 Bake for 15 minutes.

  Heat caramels and remaining evaporated milk in small saucepan over
 low heat, stirring constantly, until caramels are melted. Sprinkle
 chocolate chips over partially cooked batter and drizzle caramel
 mixture over all. Drop remaining batter by heaping teaspoons over
 caramel mixture. 

  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on
 wire rack. Cut into 24 squares.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Peking Duck

  Quanjude is one of Beijing's best known duck restaurants, and has
 been in business for almost 150 years. The duck is roasted in a
 wood-fired oven, using fruit wood for extra flavor, for about
 45 minutes. The whole duck is brought out and sliced at the table.
 The duck is eaten wrapped in a thin pancake, with a little spring
 onion, cucumber and sweet plum sauce.

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