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Volume 17   Number 37

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No. 36   


  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

  > Article: Asian Twist For Tomatoes

  > Food Funnies: The Top Kitchen Tips for Newlyweds

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

    * T.G.I. Friday's Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad
        
    * Savory Pot Roast
        
    * Apple Ginger Pork Chops
        
    * Shepherd's Pie
        
    * Mahogany Chicken Wings
        
    * Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
        
    * Mini Egg Rolls
        
    * Classic Honey Cake

    Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Pumpkin Bars

    Diabetic: Instant Cocoa Mix

    Low Fat: Pasta and Bean Soup

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  This Week's Cooking Tips

    Formal Table Setting:

  Generally, the more formal the occasion, the more courses are
served, which of course means more flatware. There should be a
different set of utensils for each course: salad fork, dinner fork;
dinner knife, bread knife; and so on. 

  Some special dishes such as oysters have special utensils. These can
be served at the presentation of the food, but generally are placed
on the table in order of course. When oysters are served as an
appetizer for example, set the oyster fork to the right of the spoon.

  Building from the basic set-up (dinner fork on the left of the
plate; knife to the right of the plate, dinner spoon to the right of
the knife):

  On the left side of the plate put the salad fork to the left of the
dinner fork. On the right add a soup spoon to the outside of the
dinner spoon if soup will be served. Place the soup bowl above the
soup spoon and to the right. The bread plate goes to the left, about
two inches above the fork. Place the butter knife across the bread
plate at a diagonal, upper left to lower right. Small salad plates go
to the left and a little below the bread plate. Dessert spoons, or in
some cases knife and fork, are placed about an inch above the top of
the plate with the handle(s) on the right side. 

  The largest glass on the table is the water glass which goes on the
right side above the dinner knife. It may be filled and iced when
guests arrive or left empty to be filled at each diner's request.
If wine or some other beverage is served, set the appropriate glass
to the right and a little down from the water glass. More Cooking Tips

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

  Canada's smallest province is Prince Edward Island, best
  known as the home of "Anne of Green Gables", but what is it's
  major crop?

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  Quote of the Week:

    "I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the
      appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a
      small provincial town."

      - Alexandre Dumas, early 19th century

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

        September is: National Biscuit Month
                      National Chicken Month
                      National Cholesterol Awareness Month
                      National Honey Month
                      National Mushroom Month
                      National Organic Harvest Month
                      National Papaya Month
                      National Rice Month

            September 11 - National Hot Cross Bun Day
            September 12 - National Chocolate Milkshake Day
            September 13 - National Peanut Day
            September 14 - National Cream-Filled Donut Day
            September 15 - National Creme de Menthe Day
            September 16 - National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day
            September 17 - National Apple Dumpling Day
            September 18 - National Play-Doh Day

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    Asian Twist For Tomatoes
    By Mark Bittman

  When asked what ingredients they will miss most as summer fades to
fall, many people mention tomatoes. But even as the ultraripe
tomatoes of peak season give way to the lesser lights of September,
there are ways to coax intense flavor from them.

  One is to slow cook them, in the tradition of sun drying. The other
is much faster - grilling. When you grill a ripe or even a semiripe
tomato, the high heat caramelizes some of the fruit's sugars while
driving out a bit of its liquid. It also softens the flesh, removing
traces of rawness.

  The whole process takes just 5 or 10 minutes. Heating the grill, of
course, takes somewhat longer, though the identical technique can be
performed in a heavy skillet over high heat. (All of this can be done
hours before you intend to use the tomatoes.)

  You can integrate the cooked tomatoes into a salad or a risotto. You
can also serve them as is, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with
basil. But I often use them in two dishes I've become especially
enamored of.

  The first integrates the cooked tomatoes with pasta, good olive oil
and, of course, basil. I've added at different times a little minced
garlic, chopped or puréed olives, a bit of dried red chili flakes or
freshly grated Parmesan. I add these singly, not in combination,
because this is a situation in which you don't want to sully the
tomatoes' flavor.

  The other preparation is less obvious but completely addictive. It's
a twist on what used to be called a Spanish omelet but whose origins
are Chinese.

  The grilled tomatoes are combined with eggs and typically Asian
seasonings - garlic, sesame oil and ginger - and scrambled soft.
Served over rice (or, heretically, with bread), it makes a fast,
satisfying and unusual weeknight meal.

  Grilled Tomatoes and Scrambled Eggs, Chinese-Style
  ==========================================
    3 or 4 ripe tomatoes
    2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
    Salt and pepper
    3 tablespoons neutral oil like corn or canola
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon minced ginger
    6 eggs
    2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
    1/4 cup minced scallions, optional

1. Start a gas or a charcoal grill; fire should be moderately hot
    and the rack about 4 inches from heat source. Core tomatoes
    and cut each into 3 or 4 thick slices. Brush them with one
    tablespoon sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Grill tomatoes, turning once, until they are soft but not mushy.
    As they cook, use tongs to remove and discard their skins. You
    should be able to lift them from grill with a spatula without
    their falling apart.

3. While tomatoes cool, put oil in a 10-inch skillet, preferably
    nonstick, and turn heat to medium-high. Add garlic and ginger
    and cook just until they sizzle. In a bowl, beat together
    tomatoes and eggs.

4. Add tomato-egg mixture to skillet and cook, stirring almost
    constantly, until mixture forms soft curds, 5 to 10 minutes.
    Stir in remaining sesame oil and soy sauce. Garnish, if you like,
    with scallions, and serve.

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                        The E-Cookbooks Library
                    
    Find Out How To Get Over 100 E-Cookbooks For Less Than $20!

                Discover The E-Cookbooks Library

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  FOOD FUNNIES: The Top Kitchen Tips for Newlyweds
  

9. Never go to bed angry or without checking to see if the stove
    is off.

8. Order in. A lot. You can learn to cook later.

7. Flavored massage oils are not recommended for seasoning new
    skillets.

6. No matter how romantic the idea may seem at first, frying
    bacon for breakfast in the nude is guaranteed to result in a
    trip to the emergency room for one of you.

5. Microwaves + silverware = BAD IDEA.

4. No matter how many crock pots you got as wedding gifts, you only
    need one to make a meal.

3. Freezer burn is not nearly as fun, nor as healthy, as rug burn.

2. Even if it says "Homestyle" on the can, it won't fool your
    mother-in-law.

    ... and the #1 Kitchen Tip for Newlyweds ...

1. Even if it is your refrigerator too, your sneakers and your
    bait are going to have to find a new home.

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  T.G.I. Friday's Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad
  ===================================
  Chicken:
    4 (4 oz.) chicken breasts, boneless
    3 cups chopped pecans
    2 cups flour
    3 large eggs
    1 oz. milk

  Glazed Pecans:
    1 cup chopped pecans
    1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    1 tablespoon water

  Salad:
    1 head romaine lettuce
    1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing
    1 can mandarin oranges
    1/2 cup craisins
    Crumbled blue cheese, to taste

  For Chicken: Mix 2 cups pecans with 1 cup flour and pulsate in food
processor. Mix eggs and milk for batter. Place leftover flour in one
bowl, egg batter in second bowl, and pecan flour in third bowl. Coat
chicken first in flour, then in egg batter and third in pecan flour.
Saute chicken breasts in vegetable oil over medium heat until browned
on both sides. Bake chicken breasts in oven at 350F for 7 to 8
minutes or until fully cooked. Cool and slice.

  For Pecans: Mix chopped pecans with brown sugar and water. Heat and
set aside.

  To Assemble: Toss salad ingredients with glazed pecans. Top with
sliced chicken. Makes two salads.

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  Savory Pot Roast
  ==============
    1 boneless chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds)
    salt and ground pepper
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 medium onion, chopped medium
    1 small carrot, chopped medium
    1 small celery rib, chopped medium
    2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    2 teaspoons sugar
    2 cups beef broth
    1 sprig fresh thyme
    water
    1/4 cup dry red wine

  Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to
300F. Sprinkle the roast generously with salt and pepper. Heat the
oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high until shimmering
but not smoking. Brown the roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing
the heat if the fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the
roast to a large plate; set aside.

  Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion, carrot and celery to the
pot and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown, 6-8
minutes. Add the garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30
seconds. Add the beef broth and thyme, scraping the pan bottom with
a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Return the roast and any
accumulated juices on the plate to the pot; add enough water to come
halfway up the sides of the roast. Cover with a lid, bring the liquid
to a simmer over medium heat, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook,
turning the roast every 45 minutes until fully tender and a meat fork
or sharp knife slips easily in and out of the meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

  Transfer the roast to a carving board; tent with foil to keep warm.
Allow the liquid to settle about 5 minutes then use a wide spoon to
skim off the fat from the surface and discard the thyme sprig. Boil
over high heat until it is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes.
Add the wine and reduce to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season with
salt and pepper to taste. Cut up the meat and pour sauce over all.

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  Apple Ginger Pork Chops
  ====================
    4 pork chops, double cut, center cut, bone in
    1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    2 teaspoons minced ginger
    1 teaspoon minced garlic
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 cup white wine
    1 cup sliced (1/4-inch) yellow onions
    2 cups cored and sliced (1/4-inch) Granny Smith apples
    1/2 cup raisins
    2 tablespoons butter

  In a resealable plastic bag, add the chops, apple cider vinegar,
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, ginger, garlic, lemon juice,
salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes.

  Preheat oven to 350F. In a large saute pan heat 1 tablespoon
extra-virgin olive oil to almost smoking, then add pork chops,
shaking off excess marinade. Brown on both sides, then place on a
sheet pan and put in the oven for 20 minutes or until internal
temperature reaches 135 degrees F.

  In the same saute pan deglaze with wine then add onions, apples and
raisins and cook until apples are soft and onions are translucent.
Add butter salt and pepper, to taste, and keep warm. Remove chops
from oven and add to the apple mixture. Serve hot.

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  Shepherd's Pie
  ============
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1 large onion, peeled and chopped
    1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
    1 pound ground lamb (or substitute half with another ground meat)
    1 cup beef or chicken broth
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
    1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    1 cup frozen peas
    2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 cup milk
    Kosher salt to taste

  Preheat oven to 375F. In a large saute pan over medium-high heat,
heat the oil, then add the onion, carrot, and meat. Cook until
browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato
paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes,
then add the peas. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish;
set aside.

  Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until
tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter,
milk, and salt. Spread them over the meat mixture, then crosshatch
the top with a fork. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

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  Mahogany Chicken Wings
  ====================
    1 1/2 cups soy sauce 
    3/4 cup dry sherry 
    1 1/8 cups Hoisin Sauce 
    3/4 cup Chinese Plum Sauce 
    18 green onions, minced 
    3/4 cup cider vinegar 
    1/2 cup honey 
    6 to 7 pounds chicken wings

  In a three quart sauce pan, combine all ingredients except wings.
Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Pour cooled sauce over
disjointed chicken wings, cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain
wings. Place on 2 large shallow roasting pans which have been oiled.
Roast at 375F uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, basting every 20
minutes with remaining sauce to brown evenly. Remove wings from pans
and let cool on large sheets of foil.

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  Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
  ========================
    2 pounds carrots (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled,
      halved lengthwise
    2 pounds parsnips (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), peeled,
      halved lengthwise
    6 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter
    1 1/2 tablespoons honey
    1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  Position 1 rack in center and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and
preheat to 400F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil. Divide
carrots and parsnips between prepared sheets. Sprinkle generously
with salt and pepper, then drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over vegetables
on each sheet; toss to coat.

  Roast vegetables 10 minutes; stir. Roast vegetables 10 minutes
longer, stir, and reverse sheets. Continue roasting until vegetables
are tender and slightly charred, about 15 minutes longer.

  Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in honey
and vinegar. Drizzle honey glaze over vegetables and serve.

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  Mini Egg Rolls
  ===========
    1 package frozen egg roll wrappers
    1 pound ground pork
    1/2 head of large cabbage, shredded
    4 green onions, chopped
    1 carrot, shredded
    4 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
    2 whole garlic cloves, peeled & minced
    2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, shredded

  Cook ground pork until well done. Let cool slightly. Combine
cabbage, green onions, and carrot in a large bowl. Add pork and
remaining seasonings and blend well.

  Clear a good sized area to work and have handy a napkin and small
bowl of clean water. Lay about 4 wrappers on the counter and cut
each in half. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each
wrapper. Roll wrapper according to package directions, dipping your
fingertips in the water to seal eggroll wrapper. Place finished
eggrolls on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

  When all eggrolls are finished, place cookie sheet in freezer for
1-2 hours until they are semi-frozen. At this point you can place
them in zip lock bags and freeze them for later use, or remove from
freezer for frying.

  Preheat deep fryer to 375F. Place eggrolls, one at a time, in hot
oil allowing each to fry for about 30 seconds before adding another.
This will avoid having them stick together. Fry 4-5 minutes, or until
golden brown. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve with Chinese
mustard and sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

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  Classic Honey Cake
  ================
    3 eggs
    1 1/3 cups honey
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 cup strong black coffee
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    3 tablespoons margarine, softened
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    4 cups flour
    1 teaspoons cinnamon

  Preheat oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch cake pan.
In a large mixer bowl, beat eggs and honey together. Add sugar
and mix again. Mix coffee with baking powder, and then add with
margarine to the egg mixture. Add baking soda, flour, and cinnamon
and beat together well. Pour into greased cake pan. Bake for 55
minutes to an hour.

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Potatoes

  Every Stompin' Tom fan knows that PEI is the home of Bud the Spud.
PEI's rich, red soil produces fine potatoes, and who doesn't like
potatoes? You can boil 'em, steam 'em, roast 'em, bake 'em, fry 'em,
deep-fry 'em and serve them mashed, hashed, sliced, diced, whipped,
in soup or salad, a la Lyonnaise or Duchess-style and so on and so
on. You can even make pancakes, bread, cakes, doughnuts, and scones
with the humble potato.

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