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Volume 17   Number 42

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  >  Article: Brunch With Elegant Simplicity

  >  Food Funnies: Signs Your Cooking Skills Have Gotten Rusty

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

    * Carrabba's Chicken Marsala
    * Carbonnades a la Flamande
    * Cola Basted Ham
    * Crock Pot Lasagna
    * Bacon and Tomato Pasta
    * Green Beans Provencale
    * Scalloped Potato Gratin
    * Pumpkin Seed Brittle

     Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Cheesy Rosemary Turkey Bake

    Diabetic: Chocolate Brownies

    Low Fat: Pork Tenderloin with Applesauce


  This Week's Cooking Tips

 * Use a potato or vegetable parer to make chocolate curls for
   decorating cakes and pies. You can use bars of semi- sweet or
   bitter chocolate. The chocolate should be at room temperature or
   even very slightly warmer. You can adjust the thickness and length
   of the curls by the pressure of your strokes.

 * Fudge won't "sugar" if you add a dash of Cream of Tartar to it.

 * For moist brownies, let them cool completely before cutting so no
   moisture is lost.

 * When baking a chocolate cake, don't use flour to "dust" the pan.
   Use cocoa instead. This way, the white flour "dust" won't cling
   to the sides of the cake. More Cooking Tips


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

     The word "chocolate" stems from the word "xocolatl" (meaning
    "bitter water"), which comes from which civilization?


  Quote of the Week:

       "There is nothing yet which has been contrived by man by
        which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern."

        - Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)



          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

            October 16 - World Food Day
            October 17 - National Pasta Day 
            October 18 - National Chocolate Cupcake Day 
            October 19 - National Seafood Bisque Day 
            October 20 - National Brandied Fruit Day 
            October 21 - National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day 
            October 22 - National Nut Day 
            October 23 - National Boston Cream Pie Day 


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

                Discover The E-Cookbooks Library


  Brunch With Elegant Simplicity
    by John Havel

  There are at least two stories about the original Eggs Benedict,
 though both date to 1890’s New York City. One story names Delmonico’s
 as the point of origin, in 1893. A Mrs. LeGrand Benedict was tired of
 the usual fare at the restaurant, and negotiated the new dish with
 the help of Chef Charles Ranhofer. The other story credits Mr. Lemuel
 Benedict, who requested toast, bacon, poached eggs, and a small
 pitcher of hollandaise to help treat a hangover one morning in 1894
 at the Waldorf-Astoria.

  Regardless of it's origin, Eggs Benedict is the reigning queen of
 the brunch. Rich as any European kingdom, this simple, elegant repast
 can elevate a gathering of commoners to an almost royal status. With
 four basic ingredients it's not hard to get it right.

  The English muffins should be as fresh as possible. Don't use the
 frozen muffins you bought for Aunt Martha last summer. Tearing the
 halves apart with a fork or with hands, rather than slicing them,
 increases their surface area, and therefore also their flavor and

  Often, ordinary ham is substituted in Eggs Benedict, but does not
 produce the same smokey flavor. Back bacon, as it's called in Canada,
 is taken from the lean, tender eye of the loin, which is located in
 the middle of the back. Although it costs more than ham, the taste
 is well worth it.

  I can't tell you how many people don't know what a poached egg is.
 I've seen eggs fried, steamed, baked, and soft boiled trying to pass
 for poached. They always end up being too rubbery and stand out as
 opposed to merging with the other ingredients.

  Finally, there is the Hollandaise sauce. Once you get the hang of
 making it right, you'll start finding more and more uses for it.
 The rich lemon-butter flavor enhances everything from vegetables to
 steaks to fish. Also, don't forget the final dusting of paprika, and
 make sure it's of good quality and freshness.

  Eggs Benedict
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
    3 egg yolks
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    4 slices Canadian bacon
    2 English muffins, split
    4 eggs
    1 tablespoon vinegar

  Cut one tablespoon of butter from stick and set aside. Melt the
 remaining butter and place in a pourable container. Put the egg yolks
 and lemon juice in the upper section of a double boiler and stir with
 a wire whisk until well-blended. Stirring eggs continuously, bring
 the water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer. Do not let
 it boil. Continue the constant whisking until the eggs have thickened
 to the consistancy of very heavy cream. Immediately whisk in the
 reserved tablespoon of butter to cool the eggs before they scramble.
 Turn heat off to the double boiler. Begin to add the melted butter
 with one hand, whisking vigorously with the other. Pour extremely
 slowly so that each addition is blended into the egg mixture before
 more is added. Set sauce aside, but whisk once in awhile to keep it
 smooth and creamy.

  Pour water into a large skillet to a depth of about 2 inches. Add
 vinegar and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, saute Canadian bacon with a
 little butter until warm throughout. Set aside and keep warm. Toast
 English muffins and keep warm.

  Break eggs into individual cups. Carefully slide eggs from each cup
 into the boiling water. Immediately reduce the heat so the water
 barely moves. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the yolks are
 still runny but the whites are firm.

  Place English muffin halves on serving plates. Top each with one
 slice of Canadian bacon. With a slotted spoon, place one poached egg
 on each. Spoon Hollandaise on top and dust with paprika. Serve warm.


  FOOD FUNNIES: Signs Your Cooking Skills Have Gotten Rusty

 8. You know one of these is a strainer and one’s a flyswatter;
    if only you could remember which is which.

 7. Your kids have run away from home so they can eat at the
    homeless shelter.

 6. Your husband just ate your son’s macaroni picture and
    complimented you on your improving skills.

 5. You call the spatula "that flippy-turner paddle

 4. Most people avoid the use of charcoal lighter fluid when
    making creme brulee.

 3. You’re puzzled as to why yelling "double with cheese, no
    tomatoes" into the clown’s mouth you painted on your oven door
    has yet to produce results.

 2. Rusty? Your tools are rusty; your skills are *fossilized*!

  ... and the #1 Sign Your Cooking Skills Have Gotten Rusty ...

 1. Every night at 6:15 sharp, Domino’s calls *you*.


  Carrabba's Chicken Marsala
  Marsala Sauce:
    1/3 cup butter
    1 slice prosciutto, diced
    2 teaspoons minced shallots
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    2 (4 oz.) cans mushrooms, drained
    1/4 cup Lombardo dry marsala wine
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 cup chicken stock
    2 teaspoons corn starch
    1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
    2 tablespoons heavy cream

  Chicken Spice:
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
    1/4 teaspoon marjoram
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

    4 chicken breasts; small butterfly cut double breasts or
      large single breasts
    olive oil

  Melt butter over low heat in a medium saucepan. Turn heat up to
 medium high to saute the prosciutto in the melted butter for about
 2 to 3 minutes; be careful not to burn butter, add shallots and
 garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add marsala wine, simmer for
 another 30 seconds or so, then add mushrooms and black pepper.
 Simmer over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Dissolve corn starch
 in chicken stock. Add stock to the saucepan and simmer for an
 additional 5 minutes. Add parsley and cream to the sauce and simmer
 for 3 to 4 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat, cover until

  Preheat barbecue grill on high heat. Combine ingredients for the
 chicken spice in a small bowl. Use your thumb and fingers to crush
 the spices in the bowl to make a finer blend. Brush each chicken
 breast generously with olive oil. Sprinkle spice blend over both
 sides of each chicken breast and grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side
 or until done. Give chicken a one quarter turn on each side while
 cooking to make the criss cross grill marks. Serve entree by
 arranging each chicken breast on a plate. Spoon one quarter of the
 marsala sauce over each serving of chicken and serve.

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  Carbonnades a la Flamande
    2 pounds beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
   1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    2 tablespoons butter
    4 cups sliced onions (4 medium)
    1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    2 teaspoons dried parsley
    1 bay leaf
    1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 (12 oz.) bottle dark beer
    1/4 cup - 1 cup beef stock
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  In a large bowl, toss together the beef, flour, salt, and pepper.
 In a large saucepan over high heat, brown the beef in the canola oil
 and butter. Carefully watch the beef to make sure it doesn’t burn,
 but give it enough time to develop a nice, rich brown color - the
 caramelized sugars will greatly enhance the stew’s flavor.

  Add the onions and herbs to the beef and stir thoroughly. The
 onions will pick up a bit of the browned bits in the bottom of the
 pan. Stir in the beer and add enough beef stock to cover the beef
 in the pan. Cover the stew, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for
 1 1/2 hours, until the beef is tender. Remove from the heat and stir
 in the apple cider vinegar. Serve hot with boiled potatoes.

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  Cola Basted Ham
    1 (18-pound) cured ham 
    2 (12-ounce) cans cola 
    Canned pineapple rings 
    Brown sugar 
    Maraschino cherries 

  Preheat the oven to 325F. Place ham in a shallow roasting pan.
 Baste the ham with cola. With toothpicks, stick some pineapple
 rings on the ham, about 4 or 5 rings. Sprinkle some brown sugar
 on the rings. With toothpicks, place a cherry in each pineapple
 ring hole and then stick some cloves in the rings. Cover it with
 foil. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes per pound of ham, or until the
 ham reaches an internal temperature of 140F. Baste with cola
 about every 30 minutes during cooking.

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  Crock Pot Lasagna
    1 lb. lean ground beef 
    1 onion, chopped 
    2 garlic cloves, smashed 
    1 (28 ounce) can tomato sauce 
    1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste 
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
    1 teaspoon dried oregano 
    12 ounces cottage cheese
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or asiago cheese 
    12 ounces lasagna noodles, uncooked
    16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

  Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in frypan. Add tomato sauce,
 tomato paste, salt and oregano. Cook long enough to get it warm.
 Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker.
 Add a double layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (break to fit) and
 top with cheeses. Repeat with sauce, noodles and cheeses until all
 are used up. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

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  Bacon and Tomato Pasta
    2 tablespoons kosher salt 
    16 ounces spaghetti pasta 
    1 pound thick-cut bacon or pancetta, chopped 
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    1 cup red onion, diced 
    1 teaspoon red chili flakes 
    3 tablespoons garlic, minced 
    2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced 
    1/4 cup red wine 
    4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade 
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan 
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  In a large stock pot, boil 3 quarts of water, when boiling add
 2 tablespoons kosher salt and the pasta and cook until the pasta
 is al dente. 

  In a large saute pan over medium heat, add bacon and saute until
 bacon is crispy. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate
 and remove 3/4 of the bacon fat from the pan. Add extra-virgin olive
 oil, onions, and red chili flakes. Cook until onions are translucent,
 add garlic, cook for 2 minutes then add tomatoes. Saute for about
 5 minutes, then deglaze with wine. 

  Drain pasta and add to the tomato mixture pan. Add basil and bacon.
 Toss with Parmesan, and add salt and pepper, to taste.

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  Green Beans Provencale
    1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and broken in 2-in lengths 
    1/4 cup water 
    2-4 teaspoons olive oil 
    1/2 cup sliced green onion 
    4 cloves garlic, minced 
    2 tablespoons shallots, minced 
    1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved 
    1 teaspoon dried rosemary 
    2 teaspoons dried basil 
    salt and pepper

  Place the green beans and water in a large skillet. Bring to a boil,
 cover and reduce heat; steam 5 to 8 minutes or until crisp tender.
 Drain well and set aside.

  Over medium-high heat, heat oil in skillet; add rosemary until
 fragrant. Add onion, garlic and shallots; saute 1 minute. Add green
 beans; saute 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil; saute 2 minutes and

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  Scalloped Potato Gratin
    1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
    1 sprig fresh thyme 
    2 garlic cloves, chopped 
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
    2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices 
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for broiling

  Preheat the oven to 375F. In a saucepan, heat up the cream with a
 sprig of thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg. 

  While cream is heating up, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer
 of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper.
 Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top
 with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered,
 for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more Parmesan and broil until cheese
 browns, about 5 minutes.

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

  Pumpkin Seed Brittle
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup water
    1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted; 4 oz)

  Put a 24" by 12" sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor
 corners with pieces of tape. Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a
 boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until
 sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any
 sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold
 water, until syrup registers 238F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer,
 12 to 14 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). Remove from heat
 and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until
 syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.

  Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until
 sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy
 before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more
 (seeds will be toasted). Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto
 parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll
 out (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a
 rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and
 immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza
 wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom.
 Alternately, break brittle into pieces once cool.


   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Aztec

  Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are native to Mexico and
 Central and South America. Chocolate has been made in that area for
 thousands of years. However, it wasn't until Spanish conquistador
 Hernan Cortes's 16th-century conquest of the Aztecs that chocolate
 began to be imported to Europe, where it quickly became popular with
 the nobility.


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