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Volume 16   Number 9        No. 8    No. 7    No. 6    No. 5    No. 4    No. 3    No. 2   No. 1

  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

    >  Article: "Move Over, Vinaigrette"

    >  Food Funnies: Foods They Won’t Even Sell at Convenience Stores

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

    * Howard Johnson's Boston Brown Bread
        
    * Red Wine Pot Roast with Porcini
        
    * Crock Pot Ham and Beans
        
    * Pirozhki
        
    * Wilted Greens with Garlic and Anchovies
        
    * Taco Soup
        
    * Baked French Toast Casserole
        
    * Angel Food Cake
 

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Black Pepper and Balsamic Pork Chops

    Diabetic: Italian Style Green Beans and Tomatoes

    Low Fat: Squash Dinner Rolls

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  This Week's Cooking Tips
  ========================

 * To frost a cake quickly without having it crumble, freeze the
   layers in the cake pans for about one hour, then remove them
   from the pans and frost them. This also prevents the layers
   from splitting in the center.

 * To keep a cake from sticking to the pan, grease the pan with
   one part shortening and two parts flour mixed until it has a
   sandy consistency.

 * To keep loaf cakes fresher longer, cut slices from the middle
   rather than from the end. When you're finished slicing, firmly
   push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This
   way, you eliminate an exposed, quick-to-dry-out "end" slice.

 * To prevent cake filling from soaking into the cake, sprinkle
   layers lightly with confectioners' sugar before spreading filling.
   More Cooking Tips

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

      What is a tomato-based Italian stew that has a variety of
     fish and shellfish in it?

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  Quote of the Week:

   "We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from
   artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons."

   - Alfred E. Newman

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

             March is: National Nutrition Month 
                       National Frozen Food Month 
                       National Peanut Month 
                       National Sauce Month 
                       National Flour Month 
                       National Noodle Month

           February 28 - National Chocolate Souffle Day
           March 1 - National Peanut Butter Lover's Day
           March 2 - National Banana Cream Pie Day
           March 3 - National Mulled Wine Day
           March 4 - National Pound Cake Day
           March 5 - National Cheese Doodle Day
           March 6 - National Frozen Food Day
           March 7 - National Crown Roast of Pork Day

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  FREE E-COOKBOOKS!

   Get 14 Sample E-Cookbooks Absolutely FREE!

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       Move Over, Vinaigrette
        By MARK BITTMAN

  Ponzu, an all-purpose sauce from Japan, is the rough equivalent of
 vinaigrette. But bottled ponzu, which is what you will find in
 Japanese markets, is to real ponzu as a supermarket brand is to real
 vinaigrette: a pale shadow.

  Real ponzu is delicious. With soy sauce and citrus as its base, and
 a few other esoteric but readily available ingredients chipping in,
 why wouldn't it be? Though the sauce is quickly made, at its best it
 is complex. Simply throwing together some soy, lemon and ginger and
 calling it ponzu, as most restaurants do, is not the answer.

  I began to learn what ponzu was on a visit to Japan a couple of
 years ago, and have since improved my technique, largely through
 swapping recipes with a few other fanatics, in particular my friend
 Daniel Del Vecchio, a chef. I am enamored of the refined recipe here.

  In Japan, ponzu is usually made with yuzu, a citrus fruit that is
 rarely found here and is outrageously expensive when it is. A
 combination of lemon and lime juices substitutes well. You can vary
 these to taste; I prefer a bit more lemon than lime. Still, this does
 not make an acidic-enough mixture, and a touch of rice wine vinegar
 is needed. Balance is provided by mirin, a sweet sake used for
 cooking.

  The subtle underlying keys are kelp (dried seaweed) and dried bonito
 flakes (bonito is a relative of tuna). When you add these two
 ingredients the mixture becomes smoky and rich. Without them, it is
 just sweet-and-sour soy sauce.

  All these ingredients are sold in almost every Asian market and will
 keep in your pantry for months if not years. I cannot find much
 difference in the quality of different types of mirin, rice vinegar
 and kelp. In Japan, large bonito flakes are preferred to small, but
 there, you can buy the flakes freshly shaved. As always, however, it
 is worth buying good soy sauce. The standard brands (Kikkoman,
 Yamasa, San-J and so on) are fine, as is any soy sauce that lists as
 its ingredients only soy, wheat, salt and "culture," the yeast that
 makes the mixture ferment.

  Homemade ponzu will keep for several days with no loss in quality.
 Put it to work as a dip for seafood of any kind, as a marinade or
 sauce for chicken (roast chicken with ponzu splashed over it is
 fantastic) or, mixed with a little bit of oil, as a great dressing
 for salads or vegetables. Like vinaigrette, there is seemingly no end
 to its uses.

  Ponzu Sauce
  ===========
    2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste 
    1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste 
    1/4 cup rice vinegar 
    1 cup good-quality soy sauce 
    1/4 cup mirin (or 1/4 cup sake and 1 tablespoon sugar) 
    1 3-inch piece kelp (konbu) 
    1/2 cup (about 1/4 ounce) dried bonito flakes 
    Pinch cayenne

  In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Let sit for at least 2 hours or
 overnight. Strain. Just before using, you might add a small squeeze
 of fresh lemon or lime juice. Covered and refrigerated, ponzu will
 keep for at least several days. Yield: 2 1/2 cups.

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  Food Funnies
  ============
      Foods They Won’t Even Sell at Convenience Stores:

  9. Tofu Jerky

  8. Bleu Cheese Ice Cream 

  7. Diarrheatos

  6. Pickled Twinkies 

  5. Rocks-from-the-Road Ice Cream

  4. Shingles Potato Chips

  3. Slimfast Jims

  2. Chock Full o’ Gnats Coffee

   ... and the #1 Food They Won’t Even Sell at Convenience Stores ...

  1. Roadrage! Supercharged Energy Drink

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

  Howard Johnson's Boston Brown Bread
  ===================================
    1 cup unsifted whole wheat flour
    1 cup unsifted rye flour
    1 cup yellow corn meal
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    3/4 cup molasses
    2 cups buttermilk

  Grease and flour a 2 qt. mold. Combine flours, corn meal, soda,
 and salt. Stir in molasses and buttermilk. Turn into mold and cover
 tightly. Place on trivet in deep kettle. Add enough boiling water to
 kettle to come half way up sides of mold; cover. Steam 3 1/2 hr., or
 until done. Remove from mold to cake rack. Serve hot with baked beans.
 Makes 1 loaf.

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  Red Wine Pot Roast with Porcini
  ===============================
    1 cup low-salt chicken broth or beef broth 
    1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 
    1 (4 pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed 
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    1 large onion, coarsely chopped 
    2 celery stalks with some leaves, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices 
    3 garlic cloves, smashed 
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram plus sprigs for garnish 
    1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained 
    1 cup dry red wine 

  Preheat oven to 300F. Bring broth to simmer in saucepan. Remove
 from heat; add mushrooms, cover, and let stand until soft, about
 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to cutting board.
 Chop coarsely. Reserve mushrooms and broth separately. 

  Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large oven-
 proof pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until brown on all
 sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer beef to large plate. Pour off
 all but 1 tablespoon drippings from pot. Place pot over medium heat.
 Add onion and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until
 beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, chopped marjoram,
 and reserved porcini mushrooms; saute 1 minute. Using hands, crush
 tomatoes, 1 at a time, into pot. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently
 and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Add wine; boil 5
 minutes. Add reserved mushroom broth, leaving any sediment behind.
 Boil 5 minutes.

  Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover; transfer to
 oven. Cook 1 1/2 hours. Turn beef and continue cooking until tender,
 about 1 1/2 hours longer. Transfer beef to cutting board; tent with
 foil. Spoon fat from surface of juices in pot. Bring juices to boil;
 cook until liquid is reduced to 4 cups, about 7 minutes. Season with
 salt and pepper. Cut beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer to
 platter. Spoon juices over, garnish with marjoram sprigs, and serve.

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  Crock Pot Ham and Beans
  =======================
    1 lb. dried great northern beans or other dried beans
    3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 
    1 large sweet onion, chopped coarsely 
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
    1 lb. smoked ham or ham hock 
    6 cups water or broth 

  Sort beans and soak in enough water to cover overnight, or you may
 sort them and place in a saucepan with 2 inches of water to cover.
 Bring them to a boil, boil for 3 minutes, then cover and remove from
 heat. Allow to sit for one hour after boiling (don't lift the lid).
 Whatever method you use, rinse and drain the beans before placing
 them in the crock pot.

  Put the rinsed beans, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, parsley, cloves,
 ham (chopped into large chunks) or ham hocks into the crock pot along
 with 6 cups water or broth. Cover crock, and cook on low for about
 8 hours, or until beans are tender and creamy. Skim any excess fat,
 if necessary, before serving. 

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  Pirozhki
  ========
    2 cups milk, warmed 
    1 tablespoon white sugar 
    1 tablespoon active dry yeast 
    2 tablespoons butter, melted 
    1 egg 
    1 teaspoon salt 
    6 cups all-purpose flour 
    1 tablespoon butter 
    1/2 medium head cabbage, finely chopped 
    6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped 
    salt and pepper to taste

  Place 1/2 cup milk in a cup or small bowl. Stir in sugar and
 sprinkle yeast over the top. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
 Pour the remaining milk into a large bowl.

  Add the melted butter, egg, salt and 1 cup of flour to the large
 bowl with the milk. Stir in the yeast mixture. Mix in flour 1 cup at
 a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and doesn't
 stick to your hands. Cover the bowl loosely and set in a warm place
 to rise for about 1 hour. Dough should almost triple in size.

  While you wait for the dough to rise, melt the remaining butter in
 a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook, stirring
 frequently, until cabbage has wilted. Mix in the eggs and season with
 salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until
 cabbage is tender. Set this aside for the filling.

  Place the risen dough onto a floured surface and gently form into a
 long snake about 2 inches wide. Cut into 1 inch pieces and roll each
 piece into a ball. Flatten the balls by hand until they are 4 to 5
 inches across. Place a spoonful of the cabbage filling in the center
 and fold in half to enclose. Pinch the edges together to seal in the
 filling.

  Preheat the oven to 400F. Line one or two baking sheets with
 aluminum foil. Place the pirozhki onto the baking sheet, leaving
 room between them for them to grow. Bake for 20 minutes in the
 preheated oven, or until golden brown. 

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  Wilted Greens with Garlic and Anchovies
  =======================================
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
    3 anchovy fillets, rinsed 
    4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
    1 head escarole or 1 head or bunch other sturdy leafy green,
      such as dandelions or turnip greens, cut crosswise into
      1/2-inch-wide ribbons, washed and spun dry 
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    1/2 lemon 

  Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the
 olive oil, anchovies, and garlic and cook just until the garlic is
 light golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the greens and cook,
 stirring constantly, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with
 salt and pepper, squeeze the lemon juice over, and serve.

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  Taco Soup
  =========
    2 pounds ground beef 
    2 cups diced onions 
    2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans 
    1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans 
    1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained 
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes 
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles 
    2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles 
    1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional 
    1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional 
    1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix 
    1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix 
    Corn chips, for serving 
    Sour cream, for garnish 
    Grated cheese, for garnish 
    Chopped green onions, for garnish 
    Pickled jalapenos, for garnish 

  Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the
 excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large
 slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green
 chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch
 dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours
 or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove.
 To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over
 them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

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  Baked French Toast Casserole
  ============================
    1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces) 
    8 large eggs 
    2 cups half-and-half 
    1 cup milk 
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
    Dash salt 
    Praline Topping, recipe follows 
    Maple syrup

  Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread
 for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously
 buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the
 slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk,
 sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary
 beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over
 the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-
 egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover
 with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

  The next day, preheat oven to 350F. Spread Praline Topping evenly
 over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly
 golden. Serve with maple syrup. 

  Praline Topping:
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter 
    1 cup packed light brown sugar 
    1 cup chopped pecans 
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup 
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes
 enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

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  Angel Food Cake
  ===============
    1 3/4 cups sugar 
    1/4 teaspoon salt 
    1 cup cake flour, sifted 
    12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better) 
    1/3 cup warm water 
    1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice 
    1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes
 until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt and the
 cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside. 

  In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg
 whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes,
 switch to a hand mixer. Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating
 continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks,
 sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam.
 Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour
 mixture is incorporated. 

  Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35
 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When
 inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should
 come out dry). Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour
 before removing from pan.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Cioppino

  Cioppino came about from the Italian fishermen of the San Francisco
 area in the late 1800s. It was often made out at sea and then brought
 into port. The feature fish was typically the catch-of-the-day. It is
 often served over long pasta with the shells still on the crabs and
 other shellfish. Eating this treat might take some extra effort!

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