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Volume 18   Number 11   

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THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

> Article: A "Traditional" St. Patrick's Day

> Food Funnies: Excuses for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts

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

* Applebee's Garlic and Peppercorn Fried Shrimp

* Corned Beef and Cabbage

* Steak with Spinach and Blue Cheese

* Pollo Romano

* Guinness and Onion Soup

* Potato Casserole

* Sesame Grilled Asparagus

* Sauteed Bananas with Praline Sauce

Healthy Eating:

Low Carb: Cabbage Lasagna

Diabetic: Penne Casserole

Low Fat: Deep Dish Fruit Pie

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

Storing and Handling Eggs:

* It's best to keep eggs in their carton in your refrigerator to
be sure they stay cold.

* If desired, store eggs with the large end up to keep the yolk
centered for more attractive hard- and soft-cooked eggs.

* Uncooked eggs in the shell will keep up to 5 weeks when properly
stored in the refrigerator.

* Unbroken egg yolks store best when covered with a small amount
of water in a tightly covered container. They'll keep for a day
or two in the refrigerator.

* Egg whites may stand safely at room temperature for up to 30
minutes. Room-temp whites will beat up fluffier for recipes such
as meringue. More Cooking Tips

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

What popular Irish dish is made from shredded cabbage, onions,
mashed potatoes, and butter?

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Quote of the Week:

"Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he's a dead man. An
Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But
whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him."

- Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

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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 14 - National Potato Chip Day
March 15 - National Pears Helene Day
March 16 - National Artichoke Hearts Day
March 17 - National Green Beer Day
March 18 - National Oatmeal Cookie Day
March 19 - National Chocolate Carmel Day
March 20 - National Ravioli Day
March 21 - National French Bread Day

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THE E-COOKBOOKS LIBRARY - ALL YOU NEED TO COOK IT RIGHT!

Discover The #1 Cookbook Collection In The World!

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A "Traditional" St. Patrick's Day
by John Havel

Ask someone, especially a North American, who hasnít lived or
visited Ireland about what Irish food is like, and nine times out
of ten, as they grope for answers, theyíll mention corned beef and
cabbage. However, investigation shows that, while corned beef and
cabbage is sometimes eaten there, itís probably eaten a lot less than
most people imagine: and it's definitely not the Irish national dish.

To be sure, cattle were kept there from very early times, but they
were kept mostly for their milk. From the earliest historical times,
for routine eating, pork was always the favorite. Those who did eat
beef, tended to eat it fresh: corned beef surfaces in writings of
the late 1600's as a specialty, a costly delicacy (expensive because
of the salt) made to be eaten at Easter, and sometimes at Hallowe'en.

Many Irish people got their first taste of beef when they emigrated
to America or Canada - where both salt and meat were cheaper. There,
when they got beef, the emigrants tended to treat it the same way
they would have treated a "bacon joint" at home in Ireland. They
soaked the salt beef to draw off the excess salt, then braised or
boiled it with cabbage, and served it in its own juices with only
minimal spicing (a bay leaf or so, perhaps, and some pepper).

Irish stew is an extremely old Irish traditional meal that is still
very common to this day in Ireland and is usually made on a Saturday
or a damp cold day to help heat up the body. My grandmother made it
any time of the year (90 degree days in August), so when everyone
else is sweltering in the "dog days of summer", we would jokingly
call it "lamb stew weather".

Soda bread dates back to approximately 1840, when bicarbonate of
soda was introduced to Ireland. It is a type of quick bread in which
baking soda has been substituted for yeast. The ingredients of
traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.
Other ingredients can be added such as raisins or various forms of
nuts. Soda bread eventually became a staple of the Irish diet.

As an Irish national holiday for many years, St. Patrickís Day is
now celebrated throughout the world. Celebrations usually include
obligatory green beer, green hair, and - outside of Ireland - plenty
of corned beef and cabbage. If you have a desire to break from an
American tradition, try an Irish tradition.

Irish Lamb Stew
===============
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 pounds lamb for stew, cut in serving pieces
3 tablespoons fat
1/2 cup sliced onions
Boiling water to cover, about 2 1/2 cups
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, scraped and diced
2 or 3 white turnips, quartered

Blend the flour, salt and pepper and dredge the meat in the flour
mixture. Brown in the hot fat in a skillet. Transfer to a heavy pot.
Cook onion in fat until lightly colored, then add to the meat. Add
boiling water to cover meat, cover pot tightly, simmer at low heat
1 1/2 to 2 hours. Blanch potatoes by covering them with boiling
water; drain. Add potatoes, carrots and turnips to stew during the
last 20 minutes. Cook until vegetables are tender. To thicken sauce,
blend part of the flour mixture used for dredging the meat with
sauce from the pot to make a thin paste, add this to the sauce in
the pot, simmer until thickened.

Irish Soda Bread
================
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups all purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into cubes
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray 8-inch-diameter cake pan with nonstick
spray. Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt, and
baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips,
rub in until coarse meal forms. Make well in center of flour mixture.
Add buttermilk. Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend.
Mix in raisins.

Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared pan
and flatten slightly (dough will not come to edges of pan). Sprinkle
dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake bread until brown and tester inserted into center comes out
clean, about 40 minutes. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to
rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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FOOD FUNNIES: Excuses for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts

9. You've just lost too much skin trying to grate them into
coleslaw.

8. "I'm saving room for another helping of haggis and monkey
brain stew."

7. They just keep rolling off my plate onto the floor ...
whenever I raise the table to more than 30 degrees.

6. "I can't afford to, not now when I'm so close to my goal of
having all of the arteries in my body *completely* clogged."

5. "Mom, I just saw this movie called 'Invasion of the Pod
People', and I think I've figured out where my little sister
came from."

4. They are clearly intended to serve not as food but rather as some
sort of horrible practical joke.

3. Brussel told me not to, and they *are* his sprouts.

2. It's not Tuesday.

... and the #1 Excuse for Not Eating Your Brussels Sprouts ...

1. "Unless they're wrapped in cream cheese, breaded, deep fried and
dipped in sauce, it really isn't worth it."

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Applebee's Garlic and Peppercorn Fried Shrimp
=============================================
1 pound shrimp, raw, peeled, tail off, thawed, 61-90 count
Vegetable oil, as needed
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh cracked/ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon fresh cracked/ground black pepper

Fill fryer 2 to 3 inches deep with oil and heat to 350F. Combine
flour, salt, 1 teaspoon cracked pepper, garlic, paprika and sugar
into a bowl. Beat eggs only slightly in another bowl. Mix bread
crumbs and 1 teaspoon pepper in a third bowl. Coat shrimp with flour
mixture, then eggs, then bread crumb mixture, being careful to shake
off excess between steps and not overcoat. Fry two to three minutes
or until golden brown.

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Corned Beef and Cabbage
=======================
5 lb. corned beef brisket
1 large onion stuck with 6 whole cloves
6 carrots, peeled and halved
8 medium potatoes, washed and quartered
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small bunch parsley
1 head cabbage (about 2 lbs), quartered

Horseradish Sauce:
1/2 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2-4 tablespoons prepared horseradish
(Whip cream until it stand in peaks. Fold in mayonnaise
and horseradish.)

Put beef in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to
a boil with the lid off the pot. Add thyme, parsley and onion.
Turn to simmer and cook for 3 hours. Skim fat from top as it
rises. Add cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. Simmer for 20-30
minutes until cabbage is cooked. Remove the meat and cut into
pieces. Place on center of a large platter. Strain the cabbage
and season it heavily with black pepper. Surround the beef with
the cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Serve with horseradish sauce.

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Steak with Spinach and Blue Cheese
==================================
1 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef top loin (strip) steak (1/2 pound)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Blue cheese
5 ounces baby spinach (10 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pat steak dry and sprinkle all over with a scant 1/2 tsp salt and
1/4 tsp pepper. Heat oil and butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over
medium heat until foam subsides, then cook steak, turning once, until
well browned, 7 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a
cutting board and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Add shallot to skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about
3 minutes. Add cream, blue cheese, and spinach and cook, scraping up
brown bits from bottom of skillet and turning spinach with tongs,
until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Thinly slice steak
and serve with spinach.

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Pollo Romano
============
4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When
the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove
from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto
and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp,
about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the
tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned
bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add
the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30
minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to
combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and
sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day,
reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers
and the parsley and serve.

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Guinness and Onion Soup
=======================
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves minced garlic
8 cups thinly sliced onions
Gray salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/2 cups dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
6 cups beef stock
6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted
1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and
cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook
for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for
about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden
brown.

Add the thyme, vinegar, and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the
beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or
individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and
sliced Cheddar. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown slightly.
Serve piping hot.

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Potato Casserole
================
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper
1 small onion, sliced thin
1 small bell pepper, sliced thin
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar
4 medium potatoes, cooked
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp

Preheat oven to 350F. Spread mashed potatoes evenly on bottom of
casserole dish. Layer sour cream evenly over top. Add salt and pepper
to taste. Saute onion and bell pepper in 1 tablespoon of butter;
evenly layer over top of sour cream. Slice potatoes and layer over
onions and bell peppers. Melt remaining butter and drizzle over
potatoes. Finally top with cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove
from oven and crumble bacon over top.

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Sesame Grilled Asparagus
========================
Wooden toothpicks or bamboo skewers
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Salt and black pepper

In a shallow pan, soak skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain
and set aside.

Preheat grill to high. Snap off the woody bases of the asparagus and
discard. Skewer 4 or 5 asparagus spears together, using the toothpicks
or 2 bamboo skewers, forming a raft shape.

In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and
stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on
both sides. Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of
pepper.

When ready to cook, place the asparagus rafts on the hot grate and
grill until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle
with the sesame seeds as they grill. You can serve the asparagus as
rafts or unskewered.

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Sauteed Bananas with Praline Sauce
==================================
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
4 bananas, halved lengthwise, then crosswise
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice
vanilla ice cream

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately
high heat until foam subsides, then saute half of bananas, cut sides
down first, turning over once, until golden, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total.
Transfer with a slotted spatula to 2 dessert bowls. Heat 1 tablespoon
butter and saute remaining bananas in same manner, transferring to
2 more bowls.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderate heat,
then add brown sugar, cream, cardamom, and a pinch of salt and simmer,
stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2
minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Spoon sauce over
bananas and ice cream.

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This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Colcannon

It can contain other ingredients such as milk, cream, leeks,
onions, chives, garlic, boiled ham or Irish bacon. At one time
it was a cheap, year-round staple food. An old Irish Halloween
tradition was to serve colcannon with prizes of small coins
concealed in it, as the English do with Christmas pudding. This
is still done today and small amounts of money are placed in the
potato.

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