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Volume 16   Number 12        No. 9    No. 8    No. 7    No. 6    No. 5    No. 4    No. 3    No. 2    No. 1

No. 11    No. 10    

  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

   >  Article: "The Amazing Stir Fry"

   >  Food Funnies: Signs You're Watching the Wrong Cooking Show

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

    * Olive Garden's Penne Senese
        
    * Pork Tenderloin with Sage Cornbread Crust
        
    * Chicken Breast Spanaki
        
    * Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce
        
    * Steak and Chimichurri Toasts
        
    * Broad Bean Risotto
        
    * Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
        
    * Strawberry Shortcut Cake

      Healthy Eating:

     Low Carb: Cheddar Pancakes

     Diabetic: Peanut Butter-Coconut-Raisin Granola Bars

     Low Fat: Low Fat Taco Casserole

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

 * If a recipe calls for 1 cup sour cream, you may substitute
   1 cup cottage cheese blended until smooth with 1 tablespoon
   lemon juice and 1/3 cup buttermilk.

 * When using fresh herbs such as dill, chives, parsley, etc.,
   hold them together in small bunches and snip with kitchen
   scissors. It is a lot faster this way, and you'll find the
   herbs will be light and fluffy, not bruised and wet as they
   often get when chopped.

 * When going on a picnic, keep sandwiches from becoming soggy
   by packing lettuce and condiments in separate containers.
   Add them to sandwiches just before serving.

 * Thaw fish in milk for fresher flavor.

 * You can correct greasy gravy by adding a little baking soda to it.
   More Cooking Tips

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

  One of the most well known Indian dishes is Tandoori chicken.
 The Tandoori style of cooking is a specialty of which Indian state?

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    Quote of the Week:

     "Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into
      four pieces with your bare hands -- and then eat just
      one of the pieces."

      - Judith Viorst

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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

           March 21 - National French Bread Day 
           March 22 - National Bavarian Crepes Day
           March 23 - National Chip and Dip Day
           March 24 - National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
           March 25 - National Lobster Newburg Day
           March 26 - National Nougat Day
           March 27 - National Spanish Paella Day
           March 28 - National Black Forest 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!!

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    The Amazing Stir Fry
      by John Havel

  Stir frying is one of the quickest and healthiest way to prepare
 a meal and is easily adapted to most cooking styles. There are many
 advantages to eating stir-fried foods.

  First, oil is kept to a minimum. Secondly, the food is cooked on
 high heat thus preserving its natural flavor and texture. Stir fries
 are also great fun to make. The sizzling and the energetic jostling
 of food within the large surface area of your wok makes for an
 evening of frolic in the kitchen! And then of course, it's just
 plain easy cooking which is what this is all about.

  The process is simple. Keep your ingredients chopped and ready and
 handy. Prepare sauces in advance. Start with sauteeing garlic and/or
 ginger in hot oil. Add your choice of meat, cook until almost done,
 and remove to the side. Add your veggies that take the longest to
 cook and work your way down to those that don't. Add some sherry and
 then a sauce that thickens at the last minute and you're ready to
 serve.

  One of the things I like best about stir frying is that you can
 pair pretty much any meat with almost any vegetable. Think of the
 possibilities! Beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or seafood with broccoli,
 green beans, onions, snow peas, bean sprouts ... the choices are
 limited only by your imagination. The main rule to remember is that
 in order for the food to cook evenly, quickly and aesthetically,
 the pieces must all be as close in shape and size as possible.

  You can't have a good stir fry without using high heat. This is why
 a wok is used. The shape produces a small, hot area at the bottom
 which allows some of the food to be seared by intense heat while
 using relatively little fuel. Curved sides allow a person to cook
 without having to "chase the food around the pan" since bite-sized
 or finely chopped stir fry ingredients usually tumble back to the
 center of the wok when agitated.

  This isn’t all you need to know about stir frying by a long shot,
 but it's a good start. The sort of stir fry you will make out of
 using this method is one that has a sauce that is highly flavored
 from multiple reductions and a single deglazing. The sauce will not
 be plentiful, but will instead glaze the food ingredients and cling
 tightly to them. The intense flavor more than makes up for a lack of
 sauce. This is the way a lot of Chinese homestyle cooking is done,
 with very little, but very flavorful sauces.

  Beef with Broccoli
  ==================
    3/4 pound flank steak
  Marinade:
    1 tablespoon dry sherry
    2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    3 tablespoons cornstarch

  Other:
    4 tablespoons oil for stir frying, or as needed
    3/4 pound fresh broccoli
    1 clove garlic, minced
    2 tablespoons dry sherry
  Sauce:
    1/2 cup chicken stock
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon cornstarch

  Cut the beef across the grain into thin slices. Add the marinade
 ingredients and marinate for about 15 minutes.

  While the beef is marinating, prepare the other ingredients. Cut the
 broccoli flowerets into small pieces and cut the stalk diagonally
 into thin slices. In a bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients.

  Heat the wok. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the heated wok. When the oil
 is hot, add the minced garlic and stir fry until golden brown. Add
 the beef in one layer to the bottom of the wok. Don't touch it for
 about 45 seconds. Then, stir fry until it changes color and is
 nearly cooked through. Remove and set aside.

  Add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the
 broccoli. Stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons sherry and
 cover the wok quickly. Cook, covered, for about 2 minutes. Add beef
 back to the wok to briefly reheat. Add sauce mixture and stir until
 thickened. Serve immediately with hot white rice.

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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 You're Watching the Wrong Cooking Show
   ==========================================================

 8. It's hosted by the pimple-faced teen manning the shake machine.

 7. The fat lady has sung, and the other fat lady has bitten the
    head off a live bat.

 6. "Today we're preparing a Chuck Roast. Let's have a big round
    of applause for Chuck."

 5. Great Italian Chefs, Great Italian Food. You don't speak Italian.

 4. Tony Soprano's Recipe For Rat Pork Sausages: First, take one
    whacked wiseguy and cut him up into....

 3. Who would have known the "Tin Chef" followed a homeless man on
    his search through garbage cans, gathering ingredients for his
    showcase meal?

 2. The Naked Chef is a big hairy guy wearing nothing but a spatula.

   ... and the #1 Sign You're Watching the Wrong Cooking Show ...

 1. "The Head Chef! Starring Jeff Dahmer."

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

  Olive Garden's Penne Senese
  ===========================
    1 lb. penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup yellow onions, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 lb. mushroom, sliced
    6 Italian sausage links, casing removed
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white wine
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 quart heavy cream
    1/4 lb. prosciutto ham, chopped
    1 tablespoon fresh sage (or 1 tsp dry)
    1 tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dry)
    1/2 lb. grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt to taste

  Heat pan over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Add oil,
 onions and garlic. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms
 and sausage. Cook until pink is no longer visible in sausage.

  Add white wine and bring to a boil. Whisk in flour and let cook for
 1 minute to remove flour taste. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to
 a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until sauce reaches
 desired consistency.

  Add cooked, drained pasta to pan with sauce. Toss well. Transfer
 to large serving platter and garnish with fresh basil, sage and
 additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

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

  Pork Tenderloin with Sage Cornbread Crust
  =========================================
    1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin 
    2 teaspoons salt 
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
    1 tablespoon olive oil 
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
    2 garlic cloves, minced 
    1 cup crumbled corn muffin, or 2 corn toaster cakes, crumbled 
    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage 
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard 

  Preheat oven to 425F. Pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and
 pepper. Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until
 hot but not smoking, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes.
 Transfer to an oiled shallow baking pan. 

  Add butter to skillet and cook garlic over moderate heat, stirring,
 until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in
 crumbs, sage, and salt and pepper, to taste. 

  Spread mustard over pork and pat half of seasoned crumbs onto
 mustard, then sprinkle with remaining seasoned crumbs. Roast in
 middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally
 2-inches into meat registers 140F, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check after
 15 minutes to see if crumbs are getting too dark; if they are, tent
 loosely with foil.) Transfer to a cutting board, then tent loosely
 with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

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  Chicken Breast Spanaki
  ======================
    1/2 cup olive oil 
    2 stalks fresh green onions, chopped 
    1 medium onion, chopped 
    1 pound frozen spinach, washed, squeezed to remove excess water 
    1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped 
    2 whole eggs 
    1 pound feta cheese, crumbled 
    1 tablespoon ground pepper 
    8 large chicken breasts 
    Olive oil 
    Lemon 
    Oregano 

  Pour olive oil in pot over medium heat and add both types of onion.
 Saute for 1 minute, and then add spinach. Saute for approximately
 10 minutes. 

  Preheat the broiler. Pour spinach mixture in a bowl and cool. Add
 dill, eggs, feta and pepper to spinach mixture and mix very well. 
 Butterfly chicken breasts and fill with spinach/feta mixture. Close
 the breast and broil for 10 minutes on each side. After 15 minutes,
 douse chicken breasts with olive oil, lemon and oregano, and serve.

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  Poached Salmon with Mustard Sauce
  =================================
    1/3 cup dry white wine 
    1 green onion, chopped 
    2 6-ounce 1-inch-thick skinless salmon fillets 
    1/4 cup whipping cream 
    2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
    Chopped green onion tops 

  Bring wine and onion to simmer in heavy large skillet. Add fish,
 cover and simmer until fish is just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
 Transfer fish to plates. Tent with foil to keep warm. Add cream to
 skillet and bring to boil. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency,
 stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Mix in mustard. Spoon sauce
 over fish. Sprinkle with green onion tops.

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  Steak and Chimichurri Toasts
  ============================
    1 cup packed fresh parsley 
    3/4 cup olive oil 
    3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
    2 tablespoons dried oregano 
    2 teaspoons ground cumin 
    1 teaspoon salt 
    2 garlic cloves, minced 
    1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper 
    2 (1-pound) pieces flank steak 
    1 (16-ounce) thin French-bread baguette, cut into 40 slices 
    Additional olive oil 

  Blend parsley, 3/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, oregano, cumin, 1
 teaspoon salt, minced garlic, and crushed red pepper in processor
 until smooth. Place meat in large glass baking dish. Sprinkle with
 salt and pepper. Brush meat with 2 tablespoons chimichurri sauce.
 Cover steaks and remaining sauce separately and refrigerate at least
 1 hour.

  Preheat oven to 450F. Place bread slices on large baking sheet.
 Brush with olive oil. Bake until just firm, about 5 minutes.
 Transfer to large platter. 

  Preheat broiler. Transfer meat to rimmed baking sheet and broil
 until cooked to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for
 medium. Transfer to cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut each
 steak along grain in half. Cut each half crosswise against grain
 into 10 slices. Top each bread slice with 1 piece of meat. Spread
 each with some chimichurri sauce; place on platter. Spoon remaining
 sauce into small bowl and place in center of platter. Serve warm or
 let stand up to 2 hours at room temperature.

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  Broad Bean Risotto
  ==================
    2 cups risotto rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
    4 cups brown chicken (or vegetable) stock
    1 1/4 cups shelled broad (fava) beans
    1 1/4 cups peas (or petits pois), thawed if frozen
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra shavings to serve
    1 1/2 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
    handful fresh chives, chopped (optional)
    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  To blanch the rice, wash the rice in cold water and strain off. Put
 into a pan with 2 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups water and a generous
 pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer and blanch the rice for
 7 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a lightly oiled tray to cool.

  To finish the risotto, place the blanched rice in a shallow pan and
 pour in just enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to the boil quickly
 and cook until nearly all of the stock has evaporated. Taste the
 risotto to see if it is al dente, adding a little more stock if it
 needs a bit more cooking. Add the broad beans, peas, Parmesan and
 butter. Cook for a further few minutes until the beans are tender.
 Season to taste. Finally add the fresh chives, if desired.

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  Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
  ======================================
    1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets 
    1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
    5 tablespoons vegetable oil 
    1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds 
    3/4 teaspoon salt 
    1 medium onion, finely chopped 
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
    2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeno, including seeds 
    2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger 
    1 teaspoon ground cumin 
    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne 
    1/2 cup water 

  Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan
 on rack. Preheat oven to 475F. 

  Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons
 oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and
 roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned
 in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. 

  While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeno, and
 ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over
 moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to
 turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric,
 cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring
 constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits
 from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook,
 covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

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  Strawberry Shortcut Cake
  ========================
    1 (18.25-ounce) box strawberry cake mix 
    3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced 
    2 tablespoons cognac 
    1/4 cup sugar 
    1 cup heavy cream 
    1/4 cup confectioners' sugar 
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    1 (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
    Fresh strawberries, for garnish 

  Preheat oven to 350F. Follow cake directions as written on cake
 mix box. Remove from oven and cool cake completely.

  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine strawberries, cognac and sugar.
 Let macerate 20 minutes. Invert and release cake onto a decorative
 platter. 

  Whip cream with confectioners' sugar and vanilla at medium-high
 speed until it reaches stiff peaks. Do not over whip. Mix gelatin as
 directed on box. Refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden,
 it should cool to a liquid consistency. 

  Using a straw, poke holes all over the cake. Pour gelatin into holes
 and spread over the top of the cake. Spread layer of macerated
 strawberries on top of cake. Spread layer of whipped cream on top
 of the strawberries, making pretty swirls and ripples. Garnish with
 fresh strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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   This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Punjab

  A Tandoor is a clay oven in which food is cooked over a charcoal
 fire. Tandoors were also found in excavations at the Harappa and
 Mohenjo Daro settlements of the Indus Valley civilization. Tandoori
 chicken was first cooked when the Mughals ruled India.

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