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Volume 16   Number 39

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  >  Article: Three Days Until Oktoberfest

  >  Food Funnies: Top Restaurant Good Signs/Bad Signs 

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

    * McDonald's McRib Sandwich
    * Chicken Scaloppine With Lemon Glaze
    * Beef Wellington with Gorgonzola
    * Shrimp and Crab Au Gratin
    * Margherita Pizza
    * Wild Mushroom Bisque
    * Caramelized Butternut Squash
    * Chocolate Truffles

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Greek Chicken

    Diabetic: Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Low Fat: Black Forest Cake


  This Week's Cooking Tips

 * If you are only using half an avocado, leave the pit in the unused
   half and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap. This will retard

 * When breading chicken, coat the pieces with mayonnaise instead of
   egg. The mayonnaise clings to the chicken and doesn't drip like the
   egg does. Plus, it adds nice flavor.

 * Make ice cubes festive for a party by freezing sprigs of mint,
   maraschino cherries, lemon or orange peel in them.

 * Placing flour in a custard cup in the oven next to a roast will
   assure nice brown flour for gravy when the meat is done.
   More Cooking Tips


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

     What would have been the preferred cooking method of
    eggs in the European Middle Ages? 


  Quote of the Week:

     "Without question, the greatest invention in the history
      of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was
      also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly
      as well with pizza."

      - Dave Barry



          October is: National Cookie Month 
                      National Pasta Month 
                      National Apple Month 
                      National Seafood Month 
                      National Pork Month 
                      National Pretzel Month 
                      National Dessert Month 
                      National Pickled Peppers Month 
                      National Country Ham Month

            September 25 - National Crab Newberg Day 
            September 26 - National Pancake Day 
            September 27 - National Chocolate Milk Day 
            September 28 - National Strawberry Cream Pie Day 
            September 29 - National Mocha Day 
            September 30 - National Mulled Cider Day
            October 1 - World Vegetarian Day 
            October 2 - National French Fried Scallops Day 


    Three Days Until Oktoberfest
     by John Havel

  Much as summer's warm days and plentiful rains lead to sun-ripened
 tomatoes and plump eggplants, frigid winter is the promise on which
 comfort food relies. Instinctively, we gravitate to the stove and the
 gifts it gives us. Time, now somehow a little less urgent, is given a
 wider berth, one generous enough to accommodate a rising yeast dough,
 or the baking of an apple pie, or the preparation of sauerbraten.

  Sauerbraten (literally translated, sour roast) is one of those
 dishes for which there are almost as many recipes as there are cooks
 who make this uber-Germanic specialty. Some use gingersnaps to season
 and thicken the gravy. Other cooks use a roux. Some add red wine;
 others just vinegar. In some regions, buttermilk is part of the
 marinade. Garlic is favored by some cooks; others just add lots of

  Whichever way you cook it, it's a wonderful way to turn a relatively
 inexpensive cut of meat into a splendid winter main course. Although
 in many German-style restaurants in America, potato pancakes are
 paired with sauerbraten, this is common only in a small part of
 Germany. Spaetzle or another form of plain pasta is the choice of
 many cooks, while others might serve potatoes -- plain boiled, mashed
 or potato dumplings -- that will absorb the delicious gravy. 

    5 pound top round
    10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
    1 quart red wine vinegar
    2 cups julienned onions
    1 small bundle of fresh thyme
    4 bay leaves
    1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
    1/4 cup sugar
    4 cups beef stock
    1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
    1 cup sour cream

  Stud the roast with the whole garlic cloves, and season with salt
 and pepper. Place the roast in a deep glass bowl.

  In a mixing bowl, whisk the vinegar, onions, herbs, and sugar
 together. Whisk the liquid until the sugar dissolves. Pour the
 marinade over the roast and cover with plastic wrap. Place the roast
 in the refrigerator and marinate for 72 hours.

  Remove the roast from the marinade. Strain the marinade. Place the
 roast in a braising pan. Add the beef stock to the strained liquid.
 Pour the liquid over the roast and place in the oven. The liquid
 should cover 1/2 of the roast. Braise the roast covered at 325F for
 2-3 hours. Turn the meat several times and add additional stock if
 needed. Remove meat from pan and set aside.

  Place pan with the braising liquid over a burner. Bring the liquid
 to a simmer. Whisk the crushed gingersnaps into the liquid. Simmer
 the sauce for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the
 sour cream and return meat to pan. Slice the roast and coat meat with
 some of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce separately. 


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  FOOD FUNNIES: Top Restaurant Good Signs/Bad Signs

 7. Good sign: No sign of cockroaches in the kitchen.
    Bad sign: They were all eaten by the rats.

 6. Good sign: The restaurant's signature dish is Crepes
               Suzette flambe.
    Bad sign: Suzette is the name of the owner's missing wife.

 5. Good Sign: The Michelin Guide rates it as the best restaurant
               in Paris!
    Bad sign: That's Paris, Texas.

 4. Good Sign: It's a brand new steak house.
    Bad sign: Those "char marks" look suspiciously like the treads
              off a Goodyear. 

 3. Good sign: There is a line clear out the door.
    Bad sign: It leads to the bathroom. 

 2. Good sign: They take all major credit cards.
    Bad sign: They don't give them back. 

 ... and the #1 Restaurant Good Sign/Bad Sign ... 

 1. Good sign: They offer Surf 'n Turf.
    Bad sign: The waiter asks if you want one straw or two. 

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

  McDonald's McRib Sandwich
    1 JTM Brand "Grillin' Ribs" pork patty*
    1 6 inch long sandwich bun
    2 tablespoons Bullseye barbecue sauce
    1 tablespoon chopped white onion
    3 sour dill pickle slices

  * JTM is a brand of pressed and formed pork patties that are shaped
    like a rack of ribs. Look for them at Wal-Mart in the frozen meat
    section near the pre-formed hamburger patties.

  Preheat your griddle to 400F. Cook the pork patty following package
 directions. Toast the faces of both halves of the bun. On the toasted
 crown (top) half, apply the barbecue sauce and follow that with the
 dill pickle slices, spread out evenly. Put the cooked "rib" patty on
 next, then add the onions, followed by the heel (bottom). Wrap the
 sandwich in a 12"x16" sheet of waxed paper, let sit 5 minutes, then
 microwave on high about 15 seconds, still wrapped.

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

  Chicken Scaloppine With Lemon Glaze
    4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (pounded to about 1/3-inch
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
    2 eggs 
    1 cup dry breadcrumbs 
    1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or to taste) 
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
    1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt 
    2 tablespoon olive oil

  Lemon Glaze:
    1/4 cup chicken broth 
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    5 thin lemon slices 
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

  In a small bowl or shallow dish whisk together mustard and eggs;
 set aside. Combine the dry bread crumbs with poultry seasoning,
 garlic powder and seasoning salt; spread on a piece of waxed paper.
 Dip the breasts firstly in egg/mustard mixture (shake off any excess
 egg) then coat well with the crumb mixture, pressing downs with hands
 to adhear the crumbs to the breast.

  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in chicken and
 cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until it is no longer pink
 inside; remove and transfer to a plate to keep warm.

  For the glaze; in the same skillet add in the broth, lemon juice and
 salt. Bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the pan. Add in
 lemon slices and parsley; mix to combine for about 1 minute. Spoon
 the glaze over chicken and serve.

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

  Beef Wellington with Gorgonzola
    4 (1 1/2 inch thick center-cut) filets mignons (about 6 oz. each)
    4 large mushrooms (about 1/4 pound total)
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 large egg
    1 puff pastry sheet (from a 17 1/4-ounce package frozen puff
      pastry), thawed
    4 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)

  Pat filets mignons dry and season with salt and pepper. In a
 shallow roasting pan roast filets in middle of oven 12 minutes, or
 until a meat thermometer registers 110F for rare, and cool. Chill
 filets, covered, until cold, about 1 hour.

  Thinly slice mushrooms and in a heavy skillet cook in butter with
 shallot, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat,
 stirring, until mushrooms are lightly browned. Transfer mushroom
 mixture to a bowl to cool completely. In a small bowl lightly beat
 egg to make an egg wash.

  On a lightly floured surface roll out puff pastry sheet into a
 14-inch square. Trim edges to form a 13-inch square and cut square
 into four 6 1/2 inch squares. Put 1 tablespoon Gorgonzola in center
 of 1 square and top with one fourth mushroom mixture. Top mushroom
 mixture with a filet mignon, pressing it down gently, and wrap 2
 opposite corners of puff pastry over filet, overlapping them. Seal
 seam with egg wash. Wrap remaining 2 corners of pastry over filet
 and seal in same manner. Seal any gaps with egg wash and press pastry
 around filet to enclose completely. Arrange beef Wellington, seam
 side down, in a non-stick baking pan. Make 3 more beef Wellingtons
 in same manner. Chill remaining egg wash for brushing on pastry just
 before baking. Chill beef Wellingtons, loosely covered, at least
 1 hour and up to 1 day.

  Preheat oven to 425F. Brush top and sides of each beef Wellington
 with some remaining egg wash and bake 20 minutes, or until pastry
 is golden.

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

  Shrimp and Crab Au Gratin
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter 
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
    1/2 cup whole milk 
    1/2 cup dry white wine 
    1 lemon, juiced 
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
    1 pound small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 
    1 pound claw crabmeat, picked through for shells 
    1 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar 

  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat.
 When the butter is completely melted, stir in the flour with a
 wooden spoon. Cook for about 1 minute over low heat, stirring
 constantly. Slowly add the milk. Using a whisk, stir briskly until
 you have a smooth sauce, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice,
 salt, black pepper, and cayenne and whisk again. Switch to the
 wooden spoon and keep stirring the white sauce until it is completely
 smooth and thickened, about the consistency of mayonnaise. Remove
 from the heat. 

  Bring 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium
 saucepan and add the shrimp. When the water returns to a boil, cook
 the shrimp for 1 minute. Drain immediately. Roughly chop the shrimp
 and put in a large mixing bowl. Add the crabmeat and, with your
 hands, toss gently to mix. 

  Pour the sauce over the seafood. With a large spoon, gently combine,
 taking care not to break apart the crabmeat. 

  Spray an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish with vegetable oil cooking
 spray. Pour the mixture into the pan. Place the grated cheese on top,
 completely covering the seafood mixture. Bake in a 350F oven
 uncovered, for about 25 minutes, until bubbly.

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

  Margherita Pizza
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, additional for dough 
    1/2 lb. plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped in 1/2" pieces 
    1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped 
    1/2 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper 
    1 12" uncooked NY Style dough crust 
    6 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded 
    6 fresh basil leaves cut into julienne strips 
    1/4 cup fresh shredded parmesan cheese

  Combine 2 Tbls. olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, salt, and pepper 
 in a bowl. Allow to marinate while making dough. 

  Brush dough crust lightly with olive oil. Top with cheese, then 
 tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake in preheated 500F oven on 
 pizza stone for 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and 
 cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and top with parmesan cheese, 
 then basil. Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes before cutting 
 into wedges and serving.

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

  Wild Mushroom Bisque
    1.5 oz. dried porcini mushrooms 
    2 pints assorted wild mushrooms - button, Shiitake and oyster 
    8 cups beef stock 
    3 cups water 
    1 carrot 
    3 stalks celery with leaves 
    1 medium onion 
    1 cup half and half 
    1/2 cup sherry 
    2 tablespoons of butter 
    2 tablespoons olive oil 
    salt and pepper to taste

  In a sauce pan, bring 3 cups of water to a gently boil. Add dried 
 mushrooms and reduce heat to simmer for 30 minutes uncovered. 

  In a pot, saute fresh mushrooms in 1 tbsp. butter. Add a pinch of 
 salt to allow mushrooms to release their liquid. Set aside in a bowl.

  In same pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add 
 shredded carrots, diced onion and diced celery. Saute gently for 
 10 minutes. Add beef stock and simmer gently, uncovered for 30 

  Strain beef stock and discard vegetables. Return stock to pot and 
 add sauteed mushrooms and dried mushrooms with liquid. Simmer 
 uncovered for 10 minutes. Add half and half and sherry. Return 
 to simmer and cook a few minutes more. 

  Blend in blender or use immersion blender to get desired

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

  Caramelized Butternut Squash
    2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total) 
    6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
    1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut off the ends of each butternut squash
 and discard. Peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Using a
 spoon, remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" cubes
 (large and uniform is best), and place them on a baking sheet. Add
 the melted butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper. With clean hands,
 toss all of the ingredients together and spread out in a single layer
 on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes to 55 minutes, until the
 squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. Turn the squash
 while roasting a few times with a spatula to be sure it browns
 evenly. Adjust seasonings if needed. Serve hot.

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

  Chocolate Truffles
    8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
    3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
    2 tablespoons alcohol (Cognac, brandy, Grand Marnier, kirsch, 
      rum, bourbon, or Kahlua to name a few) (optional) 
    cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and toasted coconut, for 
    coating truffles 

  Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. 
 Set aside.  Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium
 heat. Bring to a boil.  Immediately pour the boiling cream over the 
 chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until 
 smooth.  If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the 
 refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take 
 several hours or overnight). 

  Place coatings for the truffles on plates. Remove the truffle 
 mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, or else a melon 
 baller or small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped 
 bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating and 
 place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Make one third 
 with cocoa powder, one third with chopped nuts, and one third with 
 coconut. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Bring to 
 room temperature before serving.


   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Baked

  John Cardy Jeaffreson, a social historian, wrote: "The peasant
 who bakes his egg in hot wood embers piled about the shell knows
 by a sure sign when the meat is sufficiently cooked. As soon as
 a clear dew drop exudes from the shell's top, visible above the
 embers, the egg is done to the perfection of softness." ("A Book
 About The Table", published in 1875.) It sounds strange to our
 ears, but we have to remember that in the Middle Ages they did
 not have modern kitchens!


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